Blohm und Voss BV.40
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Blohm und Voss BV.40

By 1943 the enormous swarms of US bombers raiding German cities and factories spurred the Reich Air Ministry (RLM) to seek interesting technical solutions from industry: jet fighters, rocket fighters, surface-to-air missiles and a glider fighter. The theory behind the Blohm und Voss BV 40 was that a tiny glider, armed with powerful cannon, could swoop through a formation of bombers and knock one or two down almost before it was detected. After its firing pass it was proposed that the BV 40 make a second pass towing a bomb on a cable, but this was rejected in favour of a second 30mm cannon. Despite losses of several prototypes, the flight test programme proved the basic functionality of the BV 40, but not the feasibility of the concept, and the idea was abandoned in late 1944.

Jim Winchester "The World's Worst Aircraft", 2005

Blohm und Voss BV.40A three-view drawing (1665 x 1163)

    Take-off weight950 kg2094 lb
    Wingspan7.90 m26 ft 11 in
    Length5.70 m19 ft 8 in
    Height1.66 m5 ft 5 in

Francis Maigné, 21.12.2009

Bv 40
Planeur d'interception ponctuel, monoplace en habitacle fermé et blindé, monoplan voilure haute cantilever, monodérive, empenna ge horizontal classique contreventé a l’intrados par deux mâts obliques, train d'atterrissage classique largable après décollage et atterris
sage sur patin ventral semi escamotable, amortisseurs d'extrémité de voilure. Construction métallique pour le fuselage et en bois pour la voilure et l'empennage. E: 7,90 m, L: 5,70 m, H: 1,63 m, Pv: 836 Kg, Ptc: 950 Kg, Vm en piqué: 900 Kmh, Vm de remorquage par Me 109G: 553 Kmh, Vasc.: (en remorquage) 7000 m en 12 mn, Armement: 2 canons MK 108 de 30 m/m dand l'emplanture de la voilure. 1er vol remorqué : Mai 1944,
Production totale : 9 prototypes.

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© As well as minimizing the target size, the small cross-section theoretically enabled the BV 40 to dive from a height onto the bombers at speeds over 805km/h.

© To minimize the frontal area the pilot lay prone in the cockpit with his head resting on a padded support.

© To protect the pilot against return fire from massed heavy bombers, the BV 40's cockpit was heavily armoured on all sides. The windscreen glass was 120mm thick.

© Armament was a pair of heavy Mk 108 30mm cannon as used in the Me 262, mounted in the wing roots and loaded with 35 rounds each.

© The BV 40 took off on a wheeled dolly, which was then jettisoned. If it survived its mission it landed on a retractable skid.

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