The Heinkel He 219 was originally developed as a private project, the P.1060 recon-bomber, but it got no attention until 1941, when it was accepted as a night fighter. It was primarily built to counter the advances being made the British Royal Air Force’s night time bombing raids on German interests.
The first prototype was flown on 15 November 1942. It was powered by two 1,750hp Daimler-Benz DB 603A engines and originally armed with two 20mm MG151 cannons in a ventral tray and a moveable 13mm (0.51in) MG131 machinegun in the rear cockpit. The system was built with a slim-line streamlined fuselage with the cockpit mounted extreme forward providing unparalleled vision from all around the cockpit for a 2 personnel crew. A pilot and a radar operator, each seated in a tandem, back-to-back, arrangement. Engines were assembled in such a way that they remain away from the fuselage wing roots on monoplane wings and the tail assembly was twin vertical fin “T”-type arrangement. It was the first operational combat aircraft in the world to have ejection seats installed. It was also the first aircraft under Luftwaffe that featured a tricycle-type powered landing gear assembly.
The plane was a capable fighter as the pilots enjoyed a large degree of autonomy. It was the ground control which paved the way for them to move into the right area and then the pilot took over and hunted down the bombers on their own. The armaments had longer range than the distance between the bombers. However, the performance of the plane wasn’t great – about 580km/h, or 360mph. Still, the He 219 gained an almost storybook repute. However, until the 603G engines finally arrived in the A-7 version, the plane was clearly underpowered.
|Length:||15.5 m (51 ft 0 in)|
|Wingspan:||18.5 m (60 ft 8 in)|
|Height:||4.4 m (14 ft 5 in)|
|Wing area:||44.4 m² (478 ft²)|
|Max takeoff weight:||13,580 kg (29,900 lb)|
|Engine:||2x Daimler-Benz DB 603E liquid-cooled inverted V12 engine, 1,800 PS (1,324 kW) each|
|Propellers:||VDM three blade constant speed airscrew|
|Maximum speed:||616 km/h (333 knots, 385 mph)|
|Range:||1,540 km (831 nm, 960 mi)|
|Service ceiling:||9,300 m (30,500 ft)|
|Guns:||up to 4x— 20 mm (0.787 in) MG 151 cannon in a detachable fairing under the fuselage, 300 rounds/gun
2x— 20 mm (0.787 in) MG 151 cannon in wing roots, 300 rounds/gun
2Ã— 30 mm MK 108, SchrÃ¤ge Musik (oriented 65Â° above horizontal), 100 rounds/gun