Focke Wulf Jet Fighters... from Fonthill Media

Title: Focke Wulf Jet Fighters
Author: Justo Miranda

Publisher: Fonthill Media
ISBN: 978-1-78155-664-1


This new book from Fonthill Media and author Justo Miranda comes another of his books on the topic of the fascinating aircraft designs that Germany came up with towards the end of the war.  Focke Wulf had become well known for their Fw 190 design, which proved to be a successful fighter.  Interesting that they chose to use a radial engine for their power unit rather than an inline engine, so they were not competing for those engines with Messerschmitt, who used them for their equally successful 109.

As well as enhancing the performance of their fighter, Focke Wulf also put a lot of work into designing both a high-altitude fighter and a night fighter, all jet powered.  These in turn considered the alternatives of power from Ramjets, Turbojets or Rockets.  After the introduction it provides details of different designs over 24 chapters.  Each one is introduced by the background of the design, and those which did get to the prototype stage, and others which never got past the drawings board, some of these because the war ended before they could go into production.  It includes some of the problems they faced with the new technology, such as exhaust systems that couldn't manage the extreme heat of the jet exhausts, of compressibility, transonic flux and air flow separation of the boundary layer, elements that as a non-aerodynamicist I still don't understand, but the German scientists did.  At the end of the war all this research fell into the hands of the Allies, including Russia.  Each chapter also includes lots of plans of the designs.  Some look like they were the inspiration for Star Wars space ships while others show direct influence on post war designs that were built in the USA, the UK, Sweden and Russia.  The final chapters actually cover things like the RAE (Royal Aircraft Establishment) Transonic Project, two Kurt Tank designs to be built in Argentina after the war, the Hindustan HF24 and a final chapter entitled 'Russian Fakes'.

I found this a fascinating book and the designs show all sorts of ideas, including forward swept wings and the use of assorted jet designs.  Some had a clear lineage to post-war designs in other countries and a number of jets that did go into production, such as the Saab J29, Mig 15 and 17 among others.  Anyone interested in the early jet designs of WW2 and the post-war period will find this interesting I am certain.

Thanks to Fonthill Media for our review copy.