Focke Wulf FW-190 Z-5/U2

In 1943 Kurt Tank proposed a twin FW-190 to the RLM based on the FW-190D series. This was to be a heavy fighter and ground attack aircraft.

 Initially there was little interest in the proposal as the RLM felt that the missions envisaged for the the FW-190Z could be carried out also by the ME-410. On the longer term the RLM set their hopes on the Arado Ar-234.

The Focke Wulf works however did not abandon the design and built two prototypes as a privcate initiative. These were converted from FW-190D-9 airframes and designated FW-190Z-0 by the company. This was initially an unofficial designation as the RLM was not aware of the existence of these aircraft. Flight trials showed that the aircraft was rather unstable. This was solved by extending the rear fuselage with a plug just before the tail.

Plans were made for a number of variants of the FW-190 for various roles:
     - Z-1 : A heavy fighter
     - Z-2 : A reconnaissance aircraft
     - Z-3 : A fighter bomber carrying two bombs under the wing
     - Z-4 : A high altitude fighter with greater span wings

At the beginning of 1944 the RLM became more and more concerned about the British night bombing of Germany and the lack of a high performance night fighter. The trials of the heinkel He-219 showed numerous problems which meant that the deployment of that type was delayed again and again. The RLM asked Focke Wulf to provide a proposal for an interim night fighter.

Tank submitted a new FW-190Z variant which he named the Z-5. Two prototypes were ordered and flew in July 1944. These were converted FW-190 Z-0 aircraft. The Z-5 showed excellent performance even when carying the FuG 212 antenna.

A production order was issued and the first aircraft were in service in November 1944. They were very succesfull and shot down many allied bombers. The FW-190 Z-5/U2 carried 6 20mm canon. Two of these were in the outboard wing roots and four in the wing centre section. To extend the range three drop tanks could be carried below the centre section. Some aircaft also carried two drop tanks under the wings.


Last updated: 20/06/2015