Heinkel He 177

The Heinkel He 177 Greif (was a long-range bomber in service with the Luftwaffe. The troubled aircraft was the only heavy bomber built in large numbers by Germany during World War II. 

Beset by many technical difficulties in development and service, the plane had a troubled service life. This was in part due to overly optimistic design requirements of long range, high speed, heavy bomb load, and dive bombing. Although the He 177 entered service in 1942 it was still far from operational. The He 177 took about two more years to have its problems ironed out. By the end of 1944, the He 177 had become the most reliable, rugged and technically advanced bomber of the Luftwaffe.

Heinkel He 177
Class Aircraft
Type Bomber
Manufacturer Heinkel
Origin Germany
Country Name Origin Year
Germany 1939
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
France View
Germany View
United Kingdom - UK (Great Britain) View
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
Heinkel 1184 View

Reichsluftfahrtministerium (RLM). This specification, first proposed by the RLM on 3 June 1936 – ironically, the same day that the main advocate for the Luftwaffe having a strategic bomber force, General Walther Wever, lost his life – called for an aircraft more advanced than the Dornier Do 19 or Junkers Ju 89 "Ural bomber" prototypes that General Wever had championed. The Bomber A aircraft specification required the plane to carry a bomb-load of at least 1,000 kg (2,200 lb) over a range of 5,000 km (3,100 mi), with a maximum speed of not less than 500 km/h (311 mph) at altitude.

This was a formidable specification, calling as it did for an aircraft able to outrun any modern fighter – as was expected with the top speeds of the main force Schnellbomber concept – and outperform, by a considerable margin, any bomber then in service. On 2 June 1937, Heinkel Flugzeugwerke received instructions to proceed with construction of a full-scale mock-up of its Projekt 1041 Bomber A. That was completed in November 1937, and on 5 November 1937 it was allocated the official RLM airframe type number "8-177", the same day that the Luftwaffe High Command (OKL) stipulated that the new design should possess sufficient structural strength to enable it to undertake medium-degree diving attacks. Heinkel Flugzeugwerke's estimated performance figures for Projekt 1041 included a top speed of 550 km/h (342 mph) at 5,500 m (18,050 ft) and a loaded weight of 27,000 kg (59,500 lb). In order to achieve these estimates, Heinkel's chief designer, Siegfried Günter, employed several revolutionary features.

Role Long-range heavy bomber
Manufacturer Heinkel Flugzeugwerke
Licensed to Arado
Designer Siegfried Günter
First flight November 1939
Introduction 1942
Retired 1945
Primary user Luftwaffe
Number built 1,169
Variants Heinkel He 274
Heinkel He 277 Amerika Bomber


General characteristics

  • Crew: 5
  • Length: 22 m (72 ft 2 in)
  • Wingspan: 31.44 m (103 ft 1 in)
  • Height: 6.7 m (21 ft)
  • Wing area: 101.5 m (1,092 ft)
  • Empty weight: 16,800 kg (37,000 lb)
  • Loaded weight: 31,000 kg (68,340 lb)
  • Powerplant: 2 x Daimler-Benz DB 610 (twin DB 605) 24-cylinder liquid-cooled inline engines, 2,950 hp (2,170 kW) each

Performance

  • Maximum speed: 565 km/h at 6,100 m (350 mph at 21,000 ft)
  • Combat radius: 1.540 km (960 mi)
  • Ferry range: 5,600 km (3,200 mi)
  • Service ceiling 9,400 m (30,800 ft)
  • Wing loading: 319.9 kg/m (65.6 lb/ft)
  • Power/mass: 110 W/kg (0.067 hp/lb)

Armament

  • 2 x 20 mm MG 151 cannon
  • 3 x MG 131 machine gun
  • 3 x MG 81 machine gun
  • up to 7,200 kg (15,873 lb) of bombs or 3 guided missiles Henschel Hs 293 or Fritz X

Usual configuration:

  • 48 x 70 kg bombs (3,360 kg/7,405 lb total)
  • 10 x 500 kg bombs (5,000 kg/11,020 lb total)
  • 6 x 1000 kg bombs (6,000 kg/11,224 lb total)
  • 2 x 2500 kg bombs (5,000 kg/ 11,020 lb total)

or

  • 2 Hs 293 + 1 Hs293 remotely controlled missiles under the fuselage
  • 2 Hs 294 + 1 Hs 294 remotely controlled glide bombs under the fuselage
  • 2 PC 1400 + 1 PC 1400 gliding bomb under the fuselage
  • 2 torpedoes + 2 torpedoes under the fuselage

End notes