Earlier we had 3/28 in which we celebrated the BMW 328 and could have celebrated the 320d. Why? Because that place that writes today as 3/28 calls that model the 328d, because bigger numbers are better.

For the rest of us who are on 28/3 we make a trip back to the Third Reich because they had the fortunate habit of assigning suitable numbers to their military hardware. We could, it must be said, have remembered the 283 engine but that may be for another day.

Instead, meet the Focke-Wulf Ta 283.

Pic from Wikipedia

Yes, it’s a plastic model. That’s because it never left the drawing board, being too late in the war and too weird.

Had it flown, it would have been a high speed interceptor like the Me 163. The logical thing to do would have been to build a jet or indeed just concentrate on the existing Me 262 but Focke-Wulf didn’t do the logical thing. Instead the 283 would have had three engines. One rocket motor to get it up to speed and altitude very fast and two ramjets for cruising. A ramjet is a very simple jet engine which dispenses with the usual turbine blades and instead relies on high speed air being pushed in by its own forward motion so you need another engine to get the plane up to a sufficient speed. I’m guessing that the main incentive for the unusual design was the lack of suitable materials to make a sufficiently durable turbojet.

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The pilot, in the event of surviving refuelling when fuel and an oxidant were loaded aboard in quantities that guarantee an extremely loud bang if they came into premature contact, would ignite the rocket whereupon the plane would fly almost vertically to cruising altitude and then rely on the ramjets.

He would then have had a matter of minutes to locate a target, attack it and make his escape.

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Nothing like it has been made since and there’s a good reason for that.

After the war Focke-Wulf went through several takeovers and name changes and wound up as part of Airbus’ space division. During this process they were part of the consortium that built the VFW 614, the first and only jet airliner designed and made in Germany.