Aviation of World War II

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Bf 161

  • Messerschmitt
  • Light Reconnaissance Bomber. 1937

In accordance with the 1934 specification for an aircraft capable of performing the functions of a bomber, heavy fighter and reconnaissance aircraft, Bayerische Flugzeugwerke (abbreviation BF) developed the Bf.110 twin-engine multirole fighter, which was adopted the following year and served throughout the war. While its development was underway, the changed requirements of the Luftwaffe forced the creation of a more specialized high-speed bomber that could be used as a reconnaissance aircraft. In a short time Bayerische Flugzeugwerke as soon as possible prepared technical documentation for the reconnaissance version, designated Bf.161.

The aircraft was already built taking into account the data obtained during the tests of the Bf.110 and, in general, was similar to its prototype. The scout received the wing from the Bf.110B practically unchanged, but the center section and the rear fuselage, as well as the propeller group, were borrowed from the Bf.162 bomber, which was built in parallel. Instead of a bomb bay, the Bf.161 had a camera or an additional fuel tank. The crew of the aircraft consisted of 2-3 people, located in a common front cockpit.

The first prototype of the Bf.161V-1 (D-AABA) reconnaissance aircraft took off in the spring of 1938 - a year after the start of testing of the Bf.162 high-speed bomber, whose program had a higher priority. The tests carried out did not reveal any definite advantages over the already created Bf 110C, capable of performing the same functions without significant modifications. The prototype Bf.161V-2, built in the same year, with a modified nose section of the fuselage, also did not find support.

In 1939, the first prototype was sent to the test center in Rechlin. The second prototype was first transferred to the center in Augsburg, and later it was transferred to Peenemünde-West.

Bf.161 V1 Specification
Crew 2-3
Wing span, m 16.69
Wing area, m² 12.85
Length, m 12.85
Height, m 3.64
2 × PE Junkers Jumo 210E
(Daimler-Benz DB 600Aa)
2 × 979
2 × 986
Maximum speed over ground, km/h 437
Maximum speed at altitude, km/h 4867
Cruising speed, km/h 423
Maximum rate of climb, m / min 576
Service ceiling, m 8,100
Service range, m 870
2 × 7.9 mm MG 15 machine gun in the rear of the cockpit
Photo Description

Drawing Bf.161

Bf 162

  • Messerschmitt
  • Light Bomber. 1937

The Bayerische Flyugzeugwerke Bf 162, competing with the Junkers Ju 88 and Henschel Hs 127, was quite reminiscent of the Bf 110. The wing design was almost identical to the Bf 110A, but the span and area were noticeably increased. The twin-finned fuselage also resembled a fighter, but the tail section was lengthened to maintain alignment. The nose of the fuselage was completely new and wider, with good glazing. A 7.9-mm MG 15 machine gun was placed in a small ledge behind the cockpit. The crew consisted of three people. The scorer's seat was just behind the pilot. The internal bomb bay just behind the cockpit could hold 10x50 kg bombs. Two 250-kg bombs could be suspended on two ETC ventral mounts.

Two DB 600Aa engines had 986 hp each. On takeoff and 910 hp. at an altitude of 4000 m. Flight tests of the first prototype Bf 162 V1 (D-AIXA) began in Augsburg in late spring 1937. In September, the second, Bf 162 V2, flew. The flight data of the Bf 162 turned out to be disappointing - the maximum speed at an altitude of 3400 m was only 480 km / h. Cruising speed at normal weight was 425 km / h. The poor flight data of the Bf 162 and the idea of ​​the Ministry of Aviation to limit the activities of Messerschmitt and his designers only to the design of fighters led to the termination of work on this aircraft, although the third prototype Bf 162 V3 (D-AOVI) was completed and flew for the first time on August 20, 1938.

Experienced Bf 162s have been used in various research programs. So the Bf 162 V3 was tested with remote-controlled installations for the Me 210. It was not produced in series.

Photo Description

Drawing Bf.162 V1


  • Messerschmitt Bf.161 / Andrey Krumkach /
  • Luftwaffe Aviation / V.N. Shunkov /
  • Wings of the Luftwaffe (combat aircraft of the Third Reich) / William Green /