Horten Luftwaffe Intercontinental Stealth Bomber Project
Germany had several plans to realize the dream of an Amerikan Bomber; that is, the capability to bomber the United States from European bases. There were several options and aircrafts that where explored during those years. A preliminary version of a long-range heavy bomber, was the light bomber Horten H.IX, or Ho 229 (or Gotha Go 229 for extensive re-design work done by Gotha to prepare the aircraft for mass production). This aircraft was the first flying wing to be powered by jet engines.
The H.IX V2 only reported moderate lateral instability (a typical deficiency of tailless aircraft) during the first testing flights. Some reports indicate that during one of these test flights, the H.IX V2 undertook a simulated “dog-fight” with a Messerschmitt Me 262, the first operational jet fighter, and that the H.IX V2 outperformed the Me 262.
Another striking feature of this mode was the stealth bomber capability. Some research simulations and modelling suggested that hypothetical Ho 229 raids on England may have been undetectable by radar, until such a bomber was within eight minutes or 80 miles (129 km) of its target.
During the final stages of the war, the U.S. military initiated Operation Paperclip, an effort to capture advanced German weapons research, and keep it out of the hands of advancing Soviet troops. A Horten glider and the Ho 229 V3, which was undergoing final assembly, were transported by sea to the United States as part of Operation Seahorse for evaluation.
The Horten XVIII was a more heavy variant that was designed to be able to reach the United States in long range transatlantic flights.The A model of the H.XVIII was a long, smooth blended wing body. Its six turbojet engines were buried deep in the wing and the exhausts centered on the trailing end.
The B model of the H.XVIIIB was generally the same as the A model, except the four (down from six) engines and four-wheel retractable landing gear were now housed in underwing pods, and the three-man crew housed under a bubble canopy.Armament was considered unnecessary due to the expected high performance.
The C model of the H.XVIII was based on the airframe of the H.XVIIIA with a huge tail. It had an MG 151 turret set in the middle rear of the wing and with six BMW 003 turbojets slung under the wings, however, it was eventually rejected by the Horten brothers, as it was not a major improvement over the Ho XVIIIA.
Several model kits are available for constructing these amazing futuristic aircrafts.