The Go 229: Hitler's Stealth Fighter
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The Go 229: Hitler's Stealth Fighter

The Go 229: HitlerÂ’s Stealth Fighter, The Horten Ho 229 German Stealth Fighter

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The Gotha Go 229 also appropriately designated the Horten Ho IX after its designers was undoubtedly one of Germany’s most kept secret weapon in World War II had it not been plagued by problems that hindered its immediate deployment in exact timing to incur appropriate “lethal punch” to the allied forces. The brothers Reimar and Walter Horten’s work on the flying wing spanned years back in the 1930’s testing the feasibility of the concept with gliders as early as 1931 and improving the design by rectifying problems as glider test results allowed them to. The brothers’ effort to gain approval of then German Luftwaffe chief Hermann Göring who exemplified the design as the one which surpassed his specifications may have been just late to have retrieve Germany’s mounting losses and gain the edge on the war.

It was already 1944 when the Luftwaffe chief learned of the brother’s work on the design after their first attempt for a research and communications prototype which was initially approved was cancelled after two were completed. The brothers managed to persuade the chief of the projected performance of the design and was immediately impressed, it maybe a critical time where Germany has incurred so much losses that the Luftwaffe chief needed every radical approach he could get and the design presentation was just at the proper time for it.

The Go 229’s performance aside from its stealth capabilities which has yet to be discovered and appreciated later was ahead of its time. Northrop in the U.S. was conducting the same research on the flying wing concept but the results were not as satisfactory as the Horten Brothers’ progress on their work. Powered by two Junkers Jumo 004B1-3 axial flow turbojet engines it has a maximum speed of 962 km/h (598 mph) normally loaded. Capable of flying at altitudes of 52,500 feet (16,000 m) loaded with two 1,000 kg bombs it definitely has the speed and capability to elude enemy fighters flying at lower speeds and the capability to defend itself with its four 30mm MK 103/108 cannons when fired upon.

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The aircraft was short of the appropriate time needed for its mass production when U.S. troops discovered Gotha’s plant in Germany which was shown by a nearly complete Go 229. The remains of the aircraft was disassembled and taken to the U.S. which eventually helped in the design and development of the B-2. On a documentary feature of National Geographic Channel in 2008, a team of experts from Northrop Grumman took the data from the original seized Go 229 inside a guarded government warehouse in Washington, D.C. in the U.S. to be measured and reconstructed to a full scale replica not to fly but to test its stealth characteristics. The aircraft’s mostly wooden construction and limited use of metal indeed proved its stealth features and had it been used by the German forces in time, you could probably guess a twist in the course of history the same way how it was featured in films.

Full scale replica Go 229 as completed prior to radar cross-section tests


pp. 102, The Aviation Factfile, Concept Aircraft by Jim Winchester

Hitler’s Stealth Fighter by National Geographic Channel

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Comments (13)

Very cool.

I thought I was pretty informed about German aircraft but I had never heard of this aircraft before. Very nicely done Deep Blue.

Very informative.....Thanks deep

Great aircraft with cool design.

Thanks for the reactions James, Jerry, Abdel, Chan.

Well presented article with in depth information for a wonderful education.

Excellent article !

A very well researched piece of history.Thanks for sharing.

This is very good I Tweeted for you.

Excellent deep blue...another new factoidz for me...

Brilliant work deep blue

Great article on Hitler's stealth fighter.

If this had been workable back then... eep! It's amazing how ahead of their time they were. Fantastic post.