Sunday, March 4, 2018
Focke Wulf FW 190 F-8
The Fw 190F configuration was originally tested in a Fw 190 A-0/U4, starting in May 1942. The A-0 testbed aircraft was outfitted with centreline and wing-mounted bomb racks. The early testing results were quite good, and Focke-Wulf began engineering the attack version of the Fw 190. New armor was added to the bottom of the fuselage, protecting the fuel tanks and pilot, the engine cowling, and the landing gear mechanisms and outer wing mounted armament. This attack configuration with additional armor and an ETC 501 centreline bombrack was officially designated Umrüst-Bausatz kit 3 (abbreviated as /U3). It was first used on the A-4, the 18 known A-4/U3 were later redesignated Fw 190 F-1. The Fw 190 F-2s were renamed Fw 190 A-5/U3s, of which 270 were built according to Focke-Wulf production logs and Ministry of Aviation acceptance reports.
The Fw 190 F-3 was based on the Fw 190 A-5/U17, which was outfitted with a centreline mounted ETC 501 bomb rack, and in the Fw 190 F-3/R1, with two ETC 50 bomb racks under each wing. The F-3 could carry an 80 US gal (300 liter) standard Luftwaffe drop tank. A total of 432 Fw 190 F-3s were built.
The Fw 190 F-4 to F-7 designations were used for some projects, two of them made it into production and were renamed into F-8/F-9 to unify the subversion with the A-series airframe they were based on.
The Fw 190 F-8 differed from the A-8 model in having a slightly modified injector on the compressor which allowed for increased performance at lower altitudes for several minutes. The F-8 was also fitted with the improved FuG 16 ZS radio unit, which provided much better communication with ground combat units. Armament of the Fw 190 F-8 was two 20 mm MG 151/20 cannon in the wing roots and two 13 mm (.51 in) MG 131 machine guns above the engine. In the Fw 190 F-8/R1 two ETC 50 bombracks were installed under each wing, capable of holding a 50 kg bombs. In 1945 the ETC 50 was replaced with the ETC 70, capable of holding 70 kg bombs. According to Ministry of Aviation acceptance reports, at least 3,400 F-8s were built, and probably several hundred more were built in December 1944 and from February to May 1945. (Data for these months is missing and probably lost.) Dozens of F-8s served as various testbeds for anti-tank armament, including the WGr.28 280 mm air-to-ground missile, probably based on the projectiles from the Nbw 41 heavy ground-barrage rocket system, and the 88 mm (3.46 in) Panzerschreck 2 rockets, Panzerblitz 1 and R4M rockets.
There were also several Umrüst-Bausätze kits developed for the F-8, which included the Fw 190 F-8/U1 long range JaBo, fitted with underwing V.Mtt-Schloß shackles to hold two 300 L (80 US gal) fuel tanks. ETC 503 bomb racks were also fitted, allowing the Fw 190 F-8/U1 to carry one SC 250 bomb under each wing and one SC 250 bomb on the centreline.
The Fw 190 F-8/U2 torpedo bomber was fitted with an ETC 503 bomb rack under each wing and a centre-line mounted ETC 504. The U2 was also equipped with the TSA 2 A weapons sighting system that improved the U2's ability to attack seaborne targets with a 1,543 lb (700 kg) BT 700.
The Fw 190 F-8/U3 heavy torpedo bomber was outfitted with an ETC 502, which allowed it to carry one BT-1400 heavy torpedo (3,086 lb/1400 kg). Owing to the size of the torpedo, the U3's tail gear needed to be lengthened. The U3 also was fitted with the 2,000 PS BMW 801S engine, and the broader-chord vertical tail from the Ta 152.
The Fw 190 F-8/U4, created as a night fighter, was equipped with flame dampers on the exhaust and various electrical systems such as the FuG 101 radio altimeter, the PKS 12 automatic pilot, and the TSA 2 A sighting system. Weapons fitted ranged from torpedoes to bombs; however, the U4 was fitted with only two MG 151/20 cannon as fixed armament.
The Fw 190 F-9 was based on the Fw 190 A-9, but with the new Ta 152 tail unit, a new bulged canopy as fitted to late-build A-9s, and four ETC 50 or ETC 70 bomb racks under the wings. According to Ministry of Aviation acceptance reports, 147 F-9s were built in January 1945, and perhaps several hundred more from February to May 1945. (Data for these months is missing and probably lost.)