Most people can tell you that the Germans were developing some weird aircraft during the war. The S”nger Amerika bomber was one of these. A
revolutionary orbital bomber, it was designed as one of the highest-flying warplanes ever.
Dr. Eugen S”nger was a well-known scientist who had published a number of articles about rocket powered aircraft. This notoriety led to a request
from the German government to take charge of a secret aerospace research laboratory in Trauen, where he would design and build an aircraft called
"Silverbird". Silverbird was a strange aircraft which carried one man and could reach orbit. S”nger had been working for years on this concept, and
was already developing liquid-fuel rocket engines. In the early '30s, he had actually perfected a liquid-fueled rocket engine that was cooled by
it's own fuel, which would circulate around the combustion chamber.This incredible rocket produced 3048m/second of exhaust velocity, much greater
than even the V2 rocket.
Dr. S”nger, along with his staff, continued work on the Silverbird under the Amerika Bomber program. The S”nger Amerika Bomber (or Orbital Bomber,
Atmosphere Skipper) was designed for supersonic flight in the stratosphere. The flat fuselage created lift, and the wings were short and wedge shaped.
There was a horizontal tail surface at the extreme aft end of the fuselage, which had a small fin on each end. Fuel was carried in two tanks, one on
each side of the fuselage, running from the wings aft. Oxygen was stored in tanks located one on each side of the fuselage,forward of the wings. The
huge rocket engine of 100 tonnes thrust was mounted in the rear, and was flanked by two smaller rocket engines. The pilot was housed in a pressurized
cockpit in the forward fuselage, and a tricycle undercarriage was fitted for a glide landing. A central bomb bay held one 3629 kg (8000lb)
free-falling bomb. As the aircraft would fly far beyond the range of Allied interceptors, no defensive armament was included in the design. The dry
weight was to be in the neighbourhood of 9979 kg (22000 lbs).
The test facilities for full-scale engine tests were being constructed when the USSR was invaded in June 1941. All experimental programs, including
Amerika Bomber, were canceled due to the need to concentrate on improving existing designs. Dr S”nger went to work for the DFS and later resumed work
on other futuristic designs, but the Silverbird project was never picked up again. After the war, some of the Silverbird research papers were captured
by the Allies and taken to other research facilities. As for Dr S”nger, he later did some work for the French Air Ministry and was almost kidnapped by
the Soviets, who obviously realized the Silverbird's potential, both for scientific and military applications.
WWII German diagram (top) shows RaBo inertial reference planes and trajectory measurement axes. Pilot was to navigate by taking star bearings
during exoatmospheric ballistic peaks. Diagram (above) shows nuclear-bomb-like energy dissipation and radius of destruction produced by hypersonic
impact of RaBo's ten metric ton conventional weapon on its primary target -- lower Manhattan. (USAF)
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