American engineers who developed the technology of "stealth" aircraft regained the invisibility of Nazi Germany. Retroistrebitel futuristic Horten 2-29 was developed at the end of the Second World War, and because it did not have time to run into mass production.
The aim of engineers was to find out whether the so-called stealth aircraft invisible to radar. In the process, they acquired new speculation on account of how close Nazi engineers were to the development of the airplane, which, according to some, could have changed the course of the war.
Fighter Ho 2-29 recreated from original drawings Horten brothers, referring to the only extant script, which is stored in the warehouses of the U.S. government for more than 50 years, says National Geographic.
Aircraft wing is more like the current U.S. B-2 bomber or aircraft from "Star Wars" than planes of WWII. Its body is made mostly of wood, it is fitted conventional aircraft engines. However, he had to reach speeds up to 970 km / h. The aircraft is equipped with four 30mm cannons and two 500-kg bombs, it could also be used as a freighter.
Ho 2-29 prototype of successfully flight tested on the eve of Christmas in 1944. However, time was against the Nazis, and they were not able to finalize the model, which has remained at the level of prototypes. Exploring opportunities Ho 2-29 gave reason to believe that would happen if the plane has been adopted by Nazi Germany.
The mind and the Revenge
Airframe Design Bureau developed by Walter and Reimar Horten. Reiman was the lead developer, Walter was a military pilot who lost hundreds of colleagues in the air Battle of Britain in 1940. "He was full of revenge and felt the need to create a glider that would be invisible to the British anti-system" — says historian David Mihr, author of The Horten Brothers and Their All-Wing Aircraft.
The result was a unique collaboration of brothers for the Luftwaffe. "We airframe no vertical surfaces to stabilize the flight or his control. Each outer surface of the works to create the lift force," — says Russell Lee, curator of a single model Horten 2-29, stored in the National Aerospace Museum in Washington.
To determine whether the Ho 2-29 capabilities "stealth" technology, the experts first examined the surviving prototype and tested it on a portable radar station, collected by radar technology during World War II. Then, in the California desert in the autumn and winter of 2008, engineers have built up. The materials used are authentic and technology that were used in the construction of the sample: wood, glue and nails. However, unlike the original copy was built without any expectation of something to run it in flight, although it is known that the Ho 2-29 did go up in the air. Testing for radar invisibility recreated model took place in January 2009.
The main question that many asked themselves, developed a glider with the expectation that it did not see the air defense radars, as was claimed after the war itself Reimar Horten. Some experts believe that the designers set out to outdo the other aircraft in speed and maneuverability, pointing out that during the war Horten did not start talking about the radar. Others, such as David Mihr, convinced of the opposite. "When I spoke with Walter Horten in the 1980s and 1990s, he was always talking about his plane as a secretive" — says Mihr, a former aerospace scientist.
Tests of the restored airframe showed that pterygium and streamlining do give it a significant advantage over the radar, said Tom Dobrents, an expert in "stealth" technology, who led the project to restore the Ho 2-29. In short, the Horten brothers glider can really be considered the world's first stealth aircraft.
The study of the original sample Ho 2-29 showed that between layers of plywood on the front of the plane is the type of carbonaceous material. "Personally, I can not understand why this was done, except to combat radar," — says Dobrents. But even if it did, he added, can not be 100% certain that the German engineers purposefully walked to this or understand that their technology will work.
The outcome of the war
It remains at least one more big mystery. As the appearance of the stealth fighter could affect the outcome of the Second World War, leave it in mass production? "This model of aircraft by 20% reduces the ability of the radar compared to conventional fighters of the day" — says Dobrents.
Tests on a copy of Ho 2-29 showed that British radar could detect a plane over the English Channel for 129 km, whereas conventional aircraft — over 160 km. Like a small difference, but because of the incredibly high speeds while reaching is Ho 2-29 to the goal — the British mainland — would diminish with the usual 19 minutes to 8 minutes. It would be greatly hampered the Allied forces prepare to resist. Probably, it could change the course of the war, at least for a short time, concludes Dobrents.