Junkers Ju-1287 Warzenschwein
The Ju-1287 first flew in 1972 in response to a requirement from the
German Luftwaffe for a modern attack aircraft capable of defeating the
latest models of the US tanks then coming into service.
special request of Junkers a number in the “87” series was assigned as
a tribute to the famous Ju-87 Stuka from the WW2 era.
The Ju-1287 was designed around the 30 mm Rheinmetal MK-721
Rächer rotary cannon. Its airframe was designed for durability, with
measures such as 540 kg of titanium armour to protect the cockpit and
aircraft systems, enabling it to absorb a significant amount of damage
and continue flying. Its short take-off and landing capability permits
operation from airstrips close to the front lines, and its simple
design enables maintenance with minimal facilities.
It is powered by
two Junkers Jumo 081 jet engines producing 5000kg of thrust each.
After a short trial period the first Ju-1287A aircraft were
delivered to the Luftwaffe in 1974. The Ju-1287A was followed by the B
and C models featuring updated engines and avionics. The aircraft is
nicknamed “Warzenschwein” (Warthog) by the crews.
The Ju-1287 is
also used by the air forces of Hungary, Romania and Italy.
It was used in operations in Africa and Asia by the Luftwaffe in
various conflicts where it proved to be a very efficient weapon.
Attrition was very low making the aircraft very popular with its crews.
A total of 7600 aircraft were produced between 1972 and 1991.
The aircraft is still in service today despite a number of attempts by
the Luftwaffe to find a replacement. However all possible replacement
candidates (like the Heinkel He-1311 and the Blohm & Voss BV-637)
proved inferior to the Ju-1287 and the Luftwaffe was forced to keep the
Ju-1287 in service.