Horten 229 V3 (mock-up)

The National Geographic Channel and Northrop Grumman Corporation teamed to build the flying wing full-size model for the documentary Hitler’s Stealth Fighter. The top secret Nazi flying wing was reconstructed to determine if Hitler’s military had stealth capabilities three decades before the United States. This 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. Decades ahead of its time, the futuristic fighter jet was brought back to the United States to be studied. With a team of Northrop Grumman aeronautical engineers, National Geographic worked from the original plans and prototype to reconstruct a full-scale replica of the jet to determine if it had stealth capabilities. After three months, the model was completed. At a Northrop Grumman test range in the Mojave Desert, the replica was mounted five stories off the ground and radar was aimed at it from every angle. Using radar detection technology and simulated aerial attacks, the tests revealed that the Horten’s Radar Cross Section was 60 percent smaller than that of the Luftwaffe’s mainstay fighter the Messerschmitt Bf 109. Experts thus speculate that the Horten could have been an effective weapon.

San Diego Air & Space Museum

Subscribe to our E-Newsletter

Get Social with SDASM