The Focke-Wulf Fw 187 Falke ("falcon") was a German aircraft developed in the late 1930s. It was conceived by Kurt Tank as a twin-engine, high-performance fighter, but the Luftwaffe saw no role for the design, perceiving it as intermediate between the Messerschmitt Bf 109 and Bf 110. Later prototypes were adapted to two-seats to compete with the Bf 110 in the Zerstörer (heavy fighter) role, but only nine aircraft were built in total.
Focke-Wulf Fw 187 Falke oli toisen maailmansodan aikainen saksalainen kaksimoottorinen raskas hävittäjälentokone eli Zerstörer.
Konetyyppiä valmistettiin vain arviolta yhden laivueen verran. Lentokoneet päätyivät suojaamaan Focke-Wulfin lentokonetehdasta Bremenissä kesällä 1940.
Aseistuksena niillä oli neljä 7,92 mm konekiväärejä ja kaksi 20 mm lentokonetykkejä. Junkers Jumo 210Ga -V-moottorit tarjosivat 700 hv tehon kukin. Ne antoivat koneelle 530 km/h maksiminopeuden. Koneissa käytettiin myös Daimler-Benz DB600A -moottoreita. Lakikorkeudeksi saavutettiin 10 000 metriä.
Konetyypin rakenne poikkesi Me 110:sta lähinnä peräsinrakenteen osalta. Natsi-Saksan ilmailuministeriö katsoi konetyypin sijainneen ”jossain Me 109 Bf:n ja Me 110 Bf:n välimaastossa”. Siten sitä ei määrätty laajempaan tuotantoon. On otettava huomioon, ettei Focke-Wulfin tehdas kärsinyt tuonaikaisesta ”sotilaspoliittisesta paitsiosta” - Ernst Heinkelin tavalla.
Osaa tyypin lentokoneista käytettiin Norjassa sijainneessa JG77:ssa. Koneita käytettiin lähinnä kokeilemistarkoituksiin
An Industrie-Schutzstaffel (Industry-Defense Squadron) comprising the three Fw 187 A-0s was manned by Focke-Wulf test-pilots in defense of the factory in Bremen. Although there are claims that they scored several kills, it is likely that these were propaganda claims. The three A-0s were even sent to Norway and promoted as evidence that the aircraft was entering service to replace the Bf 110 (a similar scheme employing prototype Panzer VI's was also carried out), but by this time any such plan was long dead. The pilots reportedly found the Fw 187 generally superior to the Bf 110 in almost all respects, but the RLM quickly withdrew them from service. They returned to Focke-Wulf, where they were again used for plant defense. One Fw 187 was sent to the aerial gunnery school in Værløse, Denmark in 1942.
Specifications Fw 187 A-0
Length: 11.12 m
Wingspan: 15.30 m
Height: 3.85 m
Wing area: 30.40 m²
Empty weight: 3,700 kg
Loaded weight: 5,000 kg
Powerplant: 2 × Junkers Jumo 210G 12-cylinder inverted-V piston, 515 kW / 700 PS
Maximum speed: 529 km/h at 4,200 m
Service ceiling: 10,000 m
Rate of climb: 1,050 m/min
Wing loading: 164.14 kg/m²
Armament: 4 × 7.92 mm (.312 in) MG 17 machine guns in fuselage sides
Guns: 2 × 20 mm MG FF cannon in lower fuselage
In the early to mid-1930s, developments in airframe design outstripped available aircraft engine power, allowing large aircraft to be built that existing engines were unable to sufficiently lift or propel (at least not alone). A period ensued in which multi-engine designs mostly outperformed aircraft designed with just one engine. In air racing in Europe, the Dornier Do 17 outran every single-engine fighter it competed against. In Germany, this led to the idea of the "schnellbomber", fast bombers that were expected to fly right past the defensive fighters. Although this period of twin-engine superiority would be short-lived, it also led to many air forces considering twin-engine fighter designs.
In 1935, Kurt Tank made the suggestion of creating a long-range single-seat fighter under a private venture within Focke-Wulf. The idea was not to produce a heavy fighter or bomber destroyer like the Bf 110, but instead a long-range design that would have the performance of a single-seat design. Powered by the new 736 kW (1,000 PS) Daimler-Benz DB 600, it had an expected speed of 560 km/h (350 mph). The design was unveiled in 1936 at an exhibition of new weapons, prototypes and projects held at the Henschel factory at Berlin-Schönefeld, where it was viewed by a number of high-ranking Nazi officials, including Hitler. However, the Reich Air Ministry (RLM) rejected the design on the grounds that the single-engine Bf 109 had comparable performance but would cost roughly half as much. The need for a long-range design was not considered serious, as at the time it was believed bomber escort was simply not needed.
A small production run of three Fw 187 A-0 followed in the summer of 1939, based upon the V3 prototype and using the Jumo 210G engines. The Luftwaffe, however, stated that without defensive armament the aircraft could not fulfill the Zerstörer role, and remained uninterested in the design. The three two-seat prototypes were returned to Focke-Wulf after testing at Rechlin. There was a brief study in the winter of 1942/43 as a night fighter, but the lack of room in the cockpit for radar equipment quickly eliminated it from contention. After rejecting the design, the RLM "recycled" their 8-187 airframe number to Junkers for their Junkers Ju 187 dive bomber prototype.
Tank nevertheless directed a series of studies based around new versions of the basic airframe in roles including dive bomber, night fighter, fighter-bomber, high-altitude interceptor (with greater wingspan and lengthened rear fuselage), among others. These designs explored a variety of engines including the Daimler-Benz DB 601, DB 605 and even the BMW 801 radial.
In time the Ta 154 Moskito resulted from the Luftwaffe requirement for a twin-engine heavy fighter like the Fw 187, but constructed from wood instead of light alloys but due to the different material and construction techniques Tank made no use of the Fw 187 work, instead having to design a completely new aircraft to meet this requirement.
Surviving Fw 187s were apparently used as flying test beds during this program
Ernst Udet had replaced von Richthofen in 1936. An influential proponent of high-speed monoplane fighters, he nonetheless demanded manoeuvrability and doubted twin-engine designs could ever fully compete with single-engine types. Nevertheless, he felt the performance of the aircraft warranted development as a potential replacement for the Bf 110 in the bomber destroyer role. Even before V1 flew, Tank had been instructed to convert the design to a two-seater for this role despite the requirement for a second crew member in this role being marginal. The first two prototypes were already at an advanced stage of construction at this point, so two-seater work began on the third prototype which had just begun construction.
Blaser adapted the design by stretching the fuselage slightly but the inclusion of a second crew memebr altered the center of gravity which demanded the engine nacelles be modified to correct changes to handling characteristics. A new extended-length cockpit "framed" canopy was added, but due to the high line of the fuselage there was no easy way to include defensive (rear-facing) armament, relegating the second crew member to the role of radio operator. It was intended the offensive armament be improved by replacing two 7.92 mm (.312 in) MG 17 machine guns with 20 mm MG FF cannons, although these were never actually fitted.
Fw 187 V3 (D-ORHP) flew in spring 1938, but it suffered a starboard engine fire during one of the initial test flights and damaged its main landing gear in the resulting forced landing. It was quickly repaired and returned to service.
Two additional two-seat prototypes, V4 (D-OSNP) and V5 (D-OTGN), followed in the summer and autumn of 1938 respectively. While also powered by the Jumo 210, their performance was disappointing and led to a decision that any advantages of the new type would not warrant the replacement of the existing Bf 110.
The final prototype, Fw 187 V6 (D-CINY), was more heavily modified, receiving the originally specified 736 kW (1,000 PS) DB 600 engines, as well as a new surface evaporative cooling system for reduced drag. First flown in early 1939 it proved to have serious cooling problems (in common with other designs using the system, like the Heinkel He 100) and suffered some skin buckling and distortion. Nevertheless, during a series of carefully timed and measured runs in October 1939, the Fw 187 V6 clocked 634 km/h (395 mph) in level flight, making it the fastest fighter in Germany at the time.