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Heinkel He 219 Uhu

Letov LB-79


He 219A-0

The Heinkel Projekt 1060 received little response from the Reichs-luftfahrtministerium (air ministry) when it was first shown to them in mid-1940, but by late 1941 they were in desperate need of a good night fighter for intercepting Allied bombing attacks. An all-metal shoulder-wing monoplane, the He 219 seated the pilot and navigator back-to-back, was the first operational aircraft in the world to introduce ejection seats, and was also the Luftwaffe's first operational aircraft with tricycle landing gear. The first of ten prototypes, the He 219 V 1, powered by two 1305kW / 1750-hp DB 603A engines, made its first flight on November 15, 1942.
The second prototype, flown in December 1942, had a different armament installation.
They proved fast and manoeuvrable, and had provision for a range of armament including two 20-mm (0.79-in) MG 151 cannon in the wings; two 30-mm (1.18-in) MK 108 cannon in a ventral tray; two oblique upward-firing and fixed 30-mm (1.18-in) cannon, nicknamed 'Schrage Musik' (jazz music), in the rear fuselage; and a 2000-kg (4410-lb) bombload carried internally. The He 219 Uhu (owl) was a midwing monoplane and carried a crew of two. The V4-V10 prototypes were also fitted with FuG 212 Lichtenstein C-1 radar systems.

Heinkel soon received an order for 100 aircraft, and following evaluation of one of the prototypes in mock combat against a Dornier Do 217N and a Junkers Ju 88S, an 'off the drawing board' order for 100 aircraft was increased to 300 by April 1943. Twenty pre-production He 219A-0s had been delivered by that time. These had slightly differing armaments, two MG 151s in the wings, with various weapons in the central position and only one MG 131 in the rear-upper position.

The He 219A-0/R1 to /R6 were similar apart from modifications by Rustsatze (field conversion kits) which provided various ventral gun packs or MK 103 or MK 108 Schrage Musik cannon installations.
From April 1943 a small number of He 219A-0 pre-production aircraft flew with 1.NJG 1 at Venlo in the Netherlands, and on the night of 11 June 1943 Major Werner Streib shot down five Avro Lancasters in a single sortie. The first six operational sorties flown by the unit resulted in claims for 20 RAF aircraft, including six de Havilland Mosquitoes. Despite cancellation of the programme in May 1944, production deliveries of a number of versions were made, principally to 1./NJG 1 and NJGr 10.

The main potential of the aircraft lay in the fact that it could compete on equal terms with the RAF Mosquito intruders. In late 1943 the He 219A-1 appeared, fitted with DB 603A or E engines plus GM1 power boost. Although it was proposed as a production model, only a few were built. The next main production model was the He 219A-2 with DB 603A engines and retaining the two MG 151s in the wings and the two Schrage Musik MK 108s; two MG 151s (A-2/R1) or MK 103s (A-2/R2) were mounted in the ventral tray. Forty of these were built. A proposed A-3 (three-seat fighter-bomber) and A-4 (Jumo-engined high-altitude reconnaissance-bomber) did not get beyond the drawing board.
Production continued in early 1944 with the A-5 which was characterized by a modified cockpit canopy. For this too there were various Rustsatze, RI to R3 denoting alterna-tive ventral gun selections, and R4 providing a rearward-firing gun operated by a third crew member. The A-5 series were powered by DB 603E, G or Aa engines. The A-6 was similar, but was re-engined with GM 1 boosted DB 603Ls of 2100 hp to increase its value as a Mosquito intercepter. The weight was reduced by retention of the wing and ventral armament installations only. Comparatively few A-6s were delivered.
The major service variant was the He 219A-7, a high-altitude type powered by 1900-hp DB 603Gs, with increased armour plating and incorporating FuG 220 Lichten-stein SN-2 and FuG 218 Neptun radar equip-ment. More sophisticated radio systems were also installed. Alternative powerplants were used in the A-7/R5 (Junkers Jumo 213Es) and A-7/R6 (Junkers Jumo 222s). Armament of the A-7 series remained similar to that described and interchangeable, according to availability, using Rustadtze R1 to R4.
Yet another projected high-altitude model, the He 219B-1 appeared in prototype form only. Based on an A-5 airframe, it had a longer fuselage, increased wing area and modified canopy, and carried a three-man crew. A few B-2 anti-Mosquito intercepters did serve with the Luftwaffe - they were modified A-6s - and a B-3 development was begun but not completed. Prototypes were also built of the He 219C-1 and C-2 nigh fighter and fighter-bomber respectively. They had a redesigned fuselage to carry a four-man crew, and with the ventral gun tray removed the C-2 could carry three 500-kg (1100-lb) bombs in its place.
Total overall production of the series was 294 aircraft. There is no doubt that the He 219 was one of the best-armed and most effective night fighters of the Second World War. Although the 219s did remain in service with the Nachtjagdgeschwadern (night fighter groups) until the end of the war, development of the type was discontinued in favour of two other designs, both failures.
The first use of an ejection seat in combat came on 11 April 1944 when the two crew ejected from a Heinkel He219.


Letov LB-79 - Czech Air Force designation for two Heinkel He 219A-5 (lehký bombardér) built from recovered components, 1951, 1 ("34") used as jet engine testbed.

He 219A-0
Wingspan: 18.5 m (60 ft 8.5 in)
Length: 15.33 m (50 ft 11.75 in)
Height: 4.1 m (13 ft 5.5 in)
Weight empty: 11,200 kg (24,692 lb)
Max speed: 416 mph at 22,965 ft
Ceiling: 41,660 ft
Range: 960 miles
Armament: 2 x 30mm cannon, 2 x 20mm cannon, 2 x 30mm Schräge Musik cannon

He 219A-5/R2
Span: 18.5 m (60 ft 10.25 in)
Length: 15.54 m (50 ft 11.75in)
Gross weight: 13150 kg (28 990 lb)
Maximum speed: 630 km/h (391 mph).

Engine: 2 x Daimler-Benz DB 603G, 1417kW / 1874 hp
Max take-off weight: 15300 kg / 33731 lb
Empty weight: 11200 kg / 24692 lb
Wing loading: 70.52 lb/sq.ft / 344.0 kg/sq.m
Wingspan: 18.5 m / 60 ft 8 in
Length: 15.54 m / 50 ft 11 in
Height: 4.1 m / 13 ft 5 in
Wing area: 44.5 sq.m / 478.99 sq ft
Max. speed: 362 kts / 670 km/h / 416 mph
Cruise speed: 340 kts / 630 km/h / 391 mph
Ceiling: 12200 m / 40050 ft
Range: 1080 nm / 2000 km / 1243 miles
Armament: 4x MK 108 30mm, 2x MG151 20mm, 2x MK 103 30mm
Crew: 2





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