Focke-Wulf Ta 154 “Moskito”

 

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The airframe’s structure was to be 50 percent wood, 39 percent steel and 11 percent other materials. Over one half of all wooden elements of the design would be manufactured using beech plywood (0.8 mm to 6 mm thick), and solid or pressed beech wood. The “Entwurf 1” had the following characteristics when it was first submitted to the RLM on September 22, 1942:
Application: fast conventional bomber.
Airframe design: a twin-engine, high-wing monoplane with a monococque fuselage made of plywood with retractable landing gear.
Powerplant: two Junkers Jumo 211 F engines developing 1 340 HP each.
All-up weight: 7 200 kg, range of 2 000 kg with a 500 kg bomb load.
Design strength: N = 4 at 7 200 kg.
Crew: 1
Defensive armament: none.
Bomb load: 1 SC 250 bomb, or 1 SC 500 bomb, or 1 SD 1000 bomb.
Armor protection: pilot’s seat and headrest (65 kg).
Fuel and oil: self-sealing tanks with total capacity of 1 920 l placed in the fuselage. Two armored oil tanks in engine nacelles holding 80 l each.
Radios: FuG 16 Z, FuG 25.
In late September 1942 Milch requested that the project should be modified to include defensive armament. On October 7, 1942 the “Entwurf 1” was re-submitted to the RLM with the following changes:
All-up weight: 7 500 kg, range of 2 000 kg with a 500 kg bomb load.
Design strength: N = 4 at 7 500 kg.
Defensive armament: two fixed aft-firing MG 151 guns with 200 rounds of ammunition per gun.
Gun sight: BZ A 20
Armor protection: none
Fuel and oil: three self-sealing fuel tanks in the fuselage with total capacity of 1 400 l. Two armored engine oil tanks in engine nacelles holding 80 l each.
GM 1 installation: an option to include two GM 1 tanks holding 160 l each allowing the continuous operation of the system for 30 minutes with a range of 1 500 km.
Bomb load:
– one SD 1000 bomb (overweight configuration)
– 2 SD 500 bombs (overweight configuration)
– 1 SC 500 bomb
– 2 SC 250 bombs
– 1 F 5 canister with 223 SD 2 HE munitions, or 191 B1 E 2 incendiary munitions, or 69 BB 3 incendiaries, or 138 NB 2 smoke canisters, or 42 SC 10 fragmentation bombs
– 1 F 2,5 canister with 118 SD 2 HE munitions, or 113 B1 E 2 incendiary munitions, or 32 BB 3 incendiaries, or 70 NB 2 smoke canisters, or 23 SC 10 fragmentation bombs
– 8 AB 36 canisters
– 8 AB 42 canisters
All types of ordnance could be carried internally.
Tank’s team also worked on the night fighter version of the aircraft designated “Entwurf 2”, which was submitted to the RLM on September 22, 1942. The night fighter variant had the following design characteristics:
Application: night fighter.
Airframe design: a twin-engine, high-wing monoplane with a monococque fuselage made of plywood with retractable landing gear.
Powerplant: two Junkers Jumo 211 F engines developing 1 340 HP each.
All-up weight: 7 450 kg
Design strength: N = 4 at 7 450 kg.
Crew: 2 (pilot and observer/radio operator)
Armament: Two fixed forward-firing MK 103 cannons, Two fixed forward-firing MG 151 cannons.
Armor protection: 100 kg
Fuel and oil: self-sealing tanks with total capacity of 1 850 l placed in the fuselage. Two armored engine oil tanks in engine nacelles holding 80 l each.
Radios: FuG 17, Peil G VI, FuBl 2 F, FuNG 101, FuG 25a, FuG 28a, FuG 212.

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In the meantime German air defenses had a very difficult time trying to intercept the RAF Mosquitoes. The incoming British aircraft had to be picked up by radar before their position could be relayed to the closest night fighter unit. By the time the alert aircraft were scrambled and climbed to the Mosquito’s operating ceiling any hope for a successful intercept had been all but gone. Knocking down a Mosquito thus became a simple matter of luck. It was painfully clear that the only way to counter the threat was to develop an aircraft that could outperform its British counterpart.
However, the difficulties with access to raw materials and the limited capacity of German aircraft production industry placed significant limitations on the new design. Below are the technical requirements for an all-weather night fighter as formulated by the TechnischesAmt des Reichsluftfahrtministeriums:
– aircraft must be powered by engines that are currently in serial production,
– offensive armament will consist of four forward-firing 30 mm or 30 and 20 mm cannons,
– flight endurance will be no less than 2.75 hours,
– airframe design will make only limited use of steel and light metals,
– flight test program must commence no later than 12 months after the orders have been placed.
Kurt Tank’s “Entwurf 2” seemed to fit the RLM’s specification quite closely. To pay tribute to the chief designer the proposed aircraft would also receive the “Ta” designation in place of the customary “Fw” prefix used in other Focke-Wulf designs.