Ta-183 Next-Generation Jet Fighter


The Focke-Wulf Ta 183 Huckebein was a design for a next-generation German jet-powered fighter aircraft intended as the successor to the Messerschmitt Me 262 and other day fighters in Luftwaffe service during World War II (hence the “next-generation”).

The name Huckebein is a reference to a trouble-making raven (Hans Huckebein der Unglücksrabe) from an illustrated story in 1867 by Wilhelm Busch (German humorist, poet, illustrator and painter).

Ta-183 was developed only to the extent of wind tunnel models when the war ended; however, it was ultimately a highly influential design which to a significant extent shaped the functionality of all modern fighter aircraft.

Whether its design influenced post-war Soviet (MiG-9), American (F-86 Sabre) and Swedish (Saab 29 Tunnan) and French (Ouragan), is highly questionable (although “all of the above” one way or the other did get hold of Ta 183 design documentation).

The only aircraft undoubtedly based on Ta 183 design was the Argentinian FMA IAe 33 Pulqui II (“Arrow”) designed by Kurt Tank (chief designer of Ta 183) who after the war emigrated to that Latin American country.

Ta 183 was a genuinely revolutionary designed because from the very beginning it was intended to carry both autocannons and guided air-to-air missiles (four Ruhrstahl X-4 wire-guided AAM).

The first operational fighter to carry AAM as a standard armament was the US Navy Grumman F-9 Cougar which entered service at the beginning of 1953 and was being armed with AIM-9 Sidewinder guided AAM from 1956.

Nowadays all fighter aircraft carry both guns and missiles; the only difference with Ta 183 being that the former are using a single multi-barrel cannon (e.g. M61 Vulcan) while the former was armed with four single-barrel 30mm MK-108 guns.


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