- The German Army  1657-1945

Horten Ho 229 Spirit of Thuringia

The Horten brothers submitted a proposal for a two-seat version of their Horten Ho IX intended, among other roles, for service as a night fighter. Shortly thereafter this small company received specifications from the TLR for an 'all-weather day and night fighter'
As an 'immediate solution' the night fighter variant of the two-seat multi-purpose aircraft had a decided advantage over such types as the Ar234P-5, Do 335B-6 or Me 262B-2 in that it would be built almost entirely of tubular steel and plywood and thus at appreciably less cost. Nor was that by any means all. In 1950 Dr Reimar Horten was to say of his design: As wooden surfaces offer very little reflection to electric waves, they are almost invisible on the radar screen. And as a fighter pilot must, and should, utilise the element of surprise to the full, especially by night, so should his aircraft be constructed of wood...
The Horten’s had also listed other advantages in their original submission, such as higher speed, lower wing loading, good climb capability and, not least, considerably extended endurance; each and every one of particular import for a night fighter.
The Horten HoIXVG was to be the prototype for the two-seater variant. Partial assembly had already begun prior to the Reich's capitulation. Under even halfway normal circumstances, the chances of series production would not have been bad. Goring for one was a firm believer in the two brothers' work. 
The Horten H.IX, RLM designation Ho 229 (often, and wrongly, called Gotha Go 229 because of the identity of the chosen manufacturer of the aircraft) was a German prototype fighter/bomber designed by Reimar and Walter Horten and built by Gothaer Waggonfabrik late in World War II. It was the first pure flying wing powered by jet engines.
It was given the personal approval of German Luftwaffen Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring, and was the only aircraft to come close to meeting his "3×1000" performance requirements, namely to carry 1,000 kilograms (2,200 lb) of bombs a distance of 1,000 kilometres (620 mi) with a speed of 1,000 kilometres per hour (620 mph). Its ceiling was 15,000 metres (49,000 ft).
Since the appearance of the B-2 Spirit  flying wing stealth bomber in the 1990s, its similarities in role and shape to the Ho 229 has led many to retrospectively describe the Ho 229 as "the first stealth bomber". A static reproduction of the only surviving Ho 229 prototype, the Ho 229 V3, in American hands since the end of World War II was later tested by the U.S. military who found the basic shape, paint and laminating adhesive composition of the mockup copy would provide for 37% reduction in detection range against the Chain Home radar of the 1940s, but no significant stealth benefit against most other contemporary radar systems.
In the early 1930s, the Horten brothers had become interested in the flying wing design as a method of improving the performance of gliders. The German government was funding glider clubs at the time because production of military and even motorized aircraft was forbidden by the Treaty of Versailles after World War I. The flying wing layout removes any "unneeded" surfaces and, in theory at least, leads to the lowest possible weight. A wing-only configuration allows for a similarly performing glider with wings that are shorter and thus sturdier, and without the added drag of the fuselage. The result was the Horten H.IV.
In 1943, Reichsmarschall Göring issued a request for design proposals to produce a bomber that was capable of carrying a 1,000 kilograms (2,200 lb) load over 1,000 kilometres (620 mi) at 1,000 kilometres per hour (620 mph); the so-called "3×1000 project". Conventional German bombers could reach Allied command centers in Great Britain, but were suffering devastating losses from Allied fighters. At the time, there was no way to meet these goals—the new Junkers Jumo 004B turbojets could provide the required speed, but had excessive fuel consumption.
The Hortens concluded that the low-drag flying wing design could meet all of the goals: by reducing the drag, cruise power could be lowered to the point where the range requirement could be met. They put forward their private project, the H.IX, as the basis for the bomber. The Government Air Ministry (Reichsluftfahrtministerium)  approved the Horten proposal, but ordered the addition of two 30 mm cannons, as they felt the aircraft would also be useful as a fighter due to its estimated top speed being significantly higher than that of any Allied aircraft.
The H.IX was of mixed construction, with the center pod made from welded steel tubing and wing spars built from wood. The wings were made from two thin, carbon-impregnated plywood panels glued together with a charcoal and sawdust mixture. The wing had a single main spar, penetrated by the jet engine inlets, and a secondary spar used for attaching the elevons. It was designed with a 7g load factor and a 1.8x safety rating; therefore, the aircraft had a 12.6g ultimate load rating. The wing's chord/thickness ratio ranged from 15% at the root to 8% at the wingtips. The aircraft utilized retractable tricycle landing gear, with the nosegear on the first two prototypes sourced from a He 177's tailwheel system, with the third prototype using an He 177A main gear wheelrim and tire on its custom-designed nosegear strutwork and wheel fork. A drogue parachute slowed the aircraft upon landing. The pilot sat on a primitive ejection seat. The aircraft was originally designed for the BMW 003 jet engine, but that engine was not quite ready and the Junkers Jumo 004 engine was substituted.
Control was achieved with elevons and spoilers. The control system included both long span (inboard) and short span (outboard) spoilers, with the smaller outboard spoilers activated first. This system gave a smoother and more graceful control of yaw than would a single spoiler system.

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