Horten 229 Flying Wing
Horten 229 Flying Wing
The San Diego Air & Space Museum welcomes its newest addition, the Horten 229 Flying Wing. The National Geographic Channel and Northrop Grumman Corporation teamed up to build the Flying Wing replica for Hitler's Stealth Fighter, a documentary that premiered in June. The top-secret Nazi stealth fighter was reconstructed to determine if Hitler's military had stealth capabilities three decades before the United States. The Flying Wing now hangs in the WWII gallery of the museum.
In the final months of World War II, American troops discovered a top-secret facility in Germany with an advanced, jet-propelled aircraft like none seen before. Shaped like a massive, smooth-contoured bat wing and made almost entirely from wood, the flying machine looked as if it was from another world. Decades ahead of its time, the futuristic fighter jet was brought back to the United States to be studied. Was the plane's strange shape designed to deflect Allied radar? If Nazi engineers had more time, would this jet have ultimately changed the outcome of the war? These questions remained a mystery for more than 60 years while a German prototype was hidden in a U.S. government warehouse... until now.
The National Geographic special on Hitler's Stealth Fighter revealed one of the Third Reich's best-kept secrets. For more than half a century little was known about this mysterious aircraft. Now, with an elite team of Northrop Grumman aeronautical engineers, NGC worked from the original plans and prototype to reconstruct a full-scale replica of the jet and determined if it had stealth capabilities. If proven, it would confirm that Hitler was on the verge of introducing a stealth jet fighter into the battle with the Allies, long before the United States began developing stealth technology in the 1970s. The implications could have been monumental, especially in light of the Nazis' parallel progress in developing atomic capabilities.
For three months, NGC cameras followed the Northrop Grumman team, documenting the meticulous construction of the Ho-229 replica. To stay faithful to the original aircraft, they used time-tested materials and techniques to craft the airplane, but its complex shape presented challenges, even with today's technical advances. Once the model was completed, the team headed to a restricted area in the Mojave Desert where cameras have never before been allowed. At the Northrop Grumman test range, the replica was mounted five stories off the ground so radar could be aimed at it from every angle. Using radar detection technology and simulated aerial attacks, the team finally unlocks the mystery of Hitler's Stealth Fighter after decades of debate.
For more information about Hitler's Stealth Fighter, please visit: www.natgeotv.com/stealth
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