Development of the Junkers Ju-588 B-4

As Junkers was developing the Ju-287 jet bomber the design staff realised that there were great risks attached to the design. The forward swept wing of the Ju-287 was untried and could potentially ruin the program. Therefore it was decided to develop a parallel back-up design which featured a more traditional lay-out.

The Ju-287 indeed ran into trouble. The forward swept wing was of insufficient stiffness to enable high speed flight and the program was relegated to research after just a few flights of the prototype. Junkers attemped to rescue the design during 1945 and 1946 but in August 1946 the program was officially halted by the RLM.

The back-up design featured a much more conventional lay-out with a straight wing and two underslung jet engines. The engines were two Junkers Jumo 012 engines developing 2400kg of thrust each. The tailplane was swept for greater efficiency.

Junkers speeded up the development of this aircraft, called EF-131a, as it became clear that the problems with the Ju-287 wouldn't be solved in the short term and submitted a proposal for the aircraft to the RLM at the end of 1945. An order for four prototypes was given in January 1946.

As the Jumo 012 engine wasn't ready yet, the prototypes were fitted with four Jumo 004 engines in dual pods. The flight testing commenced in November 1946 and proved very satisfactory. The aircraft showed good handling characteristics and good performance. Soon an order for 100 production aircraft was given and the designation Ju-588 was allotted.

The Ju-588A retained the four Jumo 004 engines of the prototypes and served in Siberia and Kongo from the end of 1947. In 1948 the Ju-588B  appeared fitted with the Jumo 012 engines which further boosted performance. The aircraft was used by the Luftwaffe in great numbers until the 1980s. More than 10.000 of the type were produced in many different versions. They were used as bombers, night fighters, reconnaissance aircraft and for many other specialized missions.

The model

The model is in 1/72 and is constructed from an old Airfix and an old Matchbox kit. I leave it up to you to find out which ones.

Last updated: 14/03/2009