Fw 187 Falke
|Manufacturer||Focke-Wulf Flugzeugbau GmbH|
|Maiden Flight||1 May 1937|
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
ww2dbaseThe Fw 187 Falke (Falcon) design was drawn up by Kurt Tank as a private venture within the manufacturer Focke-Wulf as a twin-engine long range fighter. The design was unveiled publicly in 1936 at an exhibition attended by top German leaders including Adolf Hitler, but ultimately the Reich Air Ministry rejected the design noting its comparable performance to the single-engine Bf 109 and its high cost. Working around the bureaucracy, Tank took the design directly to Wolfram von Richthofen, chief of the development section of the Techischen Amt, the research and development arm of the Reich Air Ministry, who gave the order to build three prototypes. The first prototype took flight in May 1937, piloted by Hans Sander, achieving the high speed of 523 kilometers per hour; the first prototype was wrecked in a crash on 14 May 1938. The second prototype, with some fixes for previous problems, took flight in summer of 1937, but was wrecked when it crashed at landing. The third prototype took flight in spring of 1938, with a major difference of it being a two-seater at the insistence of Ernst Udet, Richtofen's successor; two more such prototypes followed in the summer and fall of 1938. The sixth and final prototype was heavily modified from previous designed, receiving a more powerful engine and a new cooling system to reduce drag; taking flight in early 1939, it experienced serious problems with cooling system failures and skin distortions, but it proved to be the fastest fighter in the German arsenal at 634 kilometers per hour.
ww2dbaseIn the summer of 1939, a small production run of Fw 187 Falke fighters began based on the third prototype, but when the first three production models were built, the Luftwaffe turned them down, citing that there were no fitting roles for such fighters in the German air force. In the winter of 1942 and 1943, a brief study was done in attempt to evaluate this design as a nightfighter, but it was again turned down, this time citing the lack of defensive armament. Unwilling to give up, Tank continued to perform tests for different roles such as dive bombing and bomber interception for his twin-engine design, but none of the studies came to fruition. The three production models served briefly in the defense of the Focke-Wulf factory in Bremen, Germany; other than that, none of the six prototypes and three production aircraft ever saw combat.
Last Major Revision: Nov 2008
|Machinery||Two Junkers Jumo 210Ga 12-cyl inline piston engines rated at 730hp each|
|Armament||4x7.92mm MG 17 machine guns, 2x20mm MG FF cannon|
|Wing Area||30.40 mÂ²|
|Weight, Empty||3,700 kg|
|Weight, Loaded||5,000 kg|
|Speed, Maximum||529 km/h|
|Service Ceiling||10,000 m|
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