Fw-190, Focke-Wulf

Focke-Wulf FW 190

The small Fw 190 was one of the greatest fighters of WWII. Designed by Dr. Kurt Tank, the Fw 190 was built as a sturdy all-round fighter, rather than a lightweight interceptor; but the early Fw 190A's nevertheless proved clearly superior to the Spitfire Mk.V. The Fw 190 was a better fighter than the Bf 109, except at high altitude. The radial-engine Fw 190 was also succesfully developed into a series of fighter-bombers. The Fw 190D-series used a liquid-cooled Junkers engine instead of the radial BMW, and had increased span and length. The Fw 190D was a very good high-altitude interceptor, equal to the P-51D or Spitfire XIV and without the altitude limitations of the Fw 190A. It was the stepping-stone to the Ta 152. Total Fw 190 production was 20001.

Type: Fw 190A-3
Country: Germany
Function: fighter
Year: 1942
Crew: 1
Engines: 1 * 1250 kW BMW 801D-2
Speed: 636 km/h
Ceiling: 11300 m
Range: 800 km
Armament: 2*mg7.9mm 4*g 20 mm

Type: Fw 190D-9
Country: Germany
Function: fighter
Year: 1944
Crew: 1
Engines: 1 * 1300 kW Junkers Jumo 213A-1
Wing Span: 10.50 m
Length: 10.20 m
Height: 3.35 m
Wing Area: 18.30 m2
Empty Weight: 3490 kg
Max.Weight: 4840 kg
Speed: 685 km/h
Ceiling: 12000 m
Range: 835 km
Armament: 2*mg 13mm 2*g 20mm 500 kg

Focke-Wulf Fw 190D

The "Dora 9"

The Fw 190D "long-nose" version was an adaptation of the radial-engined Fw 190A to the Junkers Jumo 213 twelve-cylinder liquid-cooled engine. In many respects, the "Dora" was the most successful version of the Focke-Wulf fighter to attain service in quantity.

In 1943, the Luftwaffe was faced with a desperate need for fighters with better high-altitude performances to face the threat of Allied bombers. By that time, the Luftwaffe was aware of the existence of the B-29, and they were also aware that the existing Fw 190 would be incapable of effectively intercepting this American bomber at the altitudes at which it was supposedly capable of operating. Consequently, Dipl.-Ing. Kurt Tank undertook the development of a high altitude version of his Fw 190 fighter to meet the threat.

Tank was convinced that the BMW-801 air-cooled radial would never achieve the required high-altitude performance, and decided that only a liquid-cooled engine would do. Tank proposed that Daimler Benz DB 603 engine be used, but this engine was looked upon with disfavor by the Reichluftfahrtministerium (State Ministry of Aviation, better known as the RLM) for what were basically political rather than technical reasons. Consequently, Tank was told to adapt the existing BMW 801 air cooled radial or use the Junkers Jumo 213 liquid-cooled Vee. As a concession to Tank, he was allowed to work on a DB 603-powered version, but it was made clear to him that it would be only a low-priority project.

Three alternative proposals were considered: the Fw 190B powered by a turbosupercharged BMW-801, the Fw 190C powered by a DB 603, and the Fw 190D powered by a Jumo 213. The Fw 190B and C both ran into an extensive series of teething problems, and, in the event, never entered production. Priority was therefore given to the Fw 190D even though Tank felt that that the DB 603 was a better high-altitude engine than the Jumo 213 and had greater development potential. In addition, it was anticipated that the Jumo 213 would be available sooner than the DB 603 engine, which was still regarded as being "chancy" by the RLM. Tank had always viewed the "Dora" as only an interim type, pending the availability of the DB-603-powered version, which was eventually to evolve into the Ta 152.

The Jumo engine had a nose radiator housed in a short annular duct. In order to compensate for the longer nose, the rear fuselage was also lengthened, overall length becoming 33 feet 11 inches (as compared with 29 feet 0 inches for the Fw 190A version). The vertical fin was increased in width. The Jumo engine was installed as a complete "power egg", being attached by four bolts to the fireproof bulkhead. It drove a three-bladed "paddle" propeller.

There were a small number of Fw 190D-0 and D-1 aircraft built for service evaluation and delivered during the spring and summer of 1943. For some odd reason, the designations Fw 190D-2 thru 8 were skipped, and the first production version of the "Dora" was the Fw 190D-9, which attained production status in the early summer of 1944. It was powered by a Jumo 213A-1 engine rated at 1776 hp for takeoff and 1600 at 18,000 feet. However, with MW 50 (water/methanol) injection, it could give 2240 hp at sea level and 2000 hp at 11,150 feet. The boost could not be used longer than ten minutes at a time, but there was sufficient MW 50 fuel for a maximum of 40 minutes use. Armament was two 20-mm MG 151 cannon in the wing roots with 200 rpg and two 13-mm MG 131 machine guns with 475 rpg mounted in the upper fuselage deck. A 1102-pound bomb could be carried on an underwing rack. Maximum speed was 357 mph at sea level, 397 mph at 10,830 feet, 426 mph at 21,650 feet, and 397 mph at 32,800 feet. An altitude of 6560 feet could be reached in 2.1 minutes, and 32,801 feet could be attained in 16.8 minutes. Range was 520 miles at 18,500 feet on internal fuel. Weights were 7694 lbs empty, 9840 lbs normal loaded, and 10,670 lbs maximum. The aircraft was well-armored, having a 14-mm plate for the pilot's head and shoulders, and an 8-mm plate for the seat back and surrounding area. The engine was protected by armor rings around the cowling.

Delivery of the Fw 190D-9 began in August 1944. The first Gruppe to convert to the "Dora-9" was III/JG 54. Their initial assignment was to fly "top cover" for Me 262 jet fighters during takeoff when the jet fighters were specially vulnerable because of their poor acceleration. At first, Luftwaffe pilots were somewhat suspicious of their new fighter, since the Jumo 213 was thought to be only a "bomber" engine. However, it soon became apparent that they had a winner on their hands. The "Dora" could out-climb and out-dive its BMW 801-powered predecessor with ease, and it possessed an excellent turning rate at speed. An experienced pilot could pull a tighter turn in a D-9 than he could with the BMW-powered FW-190A. The general opinion of the pilots who flew the FW 190D-9 was that it was the finest propeller-driven fighter available to the Luftwaffe during the entire war. In fact, many of its pilots considered it more than a match for the redoubtable P-51D Mustang.

The D-9 also participated in Operation Bodenplatte, a mass attack by several hundred Luftwaffe aircraft on Allied airfields in Belgium, France, and the Netherlands on the first of January, 1945.

Very early in the production run of the "Dora-9", the original Fw 190Astyle cockpit canopy was replaced by a blown hood similar to that used on the Fw 190F fighter-bomber.

The Fw 190D-10 was an experimental version of the D-9 with an engine-mounted MK 108 cannon and two MG 151 cannon in the wing roots. Only two of these were built.

The Fw 190D-11 was powered by the Jumo 213F with MW 50 boost. The fuselage-mounted guns were eliminated, and there were two MG 151s in the wing roots and two MK 108s in the outer wings. Only seven prototypes were built.

The Fw 190D-12 was a fighter-bomber variant, which differed from the D-9 by having a three-stage supercharged Jumo 213F-1 engine rated at 2060 hp for takeoff mounted in a new, more extensively armored cowling. Armanent was one engine-mounted 30-mm MK 108 cannon and two 20-mm MG 151s in the wing roots. Although primarily a ground-attack plane, the D-12 also made an effective fighter and could attain 453 mph at 37,000 feet when MW 50 boost was used. Production began in March 1945 at the Arado and Fieseler plants, but only a few were delivered.

The D-13 differed from the D-12 by having a Jumo 213EB engine and by having a 20-mm engine-mounted MG 151 cannon in place of the 30-mm MK 108 unit. However, only a couple of prototypes were built.

In the late autumn of 1944, the Technische Amt decided to switch to the Daimler-Benz DB 603 engine for future Fw-190D production. A couple of production Fw 190D-9s were re-engined with the DB 603AE, and during tests one of them clocked 435 mph at 32,800 feet. Plans were made to produce the fighter in series with the DB603E or DB 603LA as the Fw 190D-14 and with the DB 603EB or DB 603G as the Fw 190D-15, but the war ended before these plans could be brought to fruition.

Somewhere between 650 and 700 "Doras" were built before the occupation of Focke-Wulf factories by Allied forces brought production to an end.

There is an Fw 190D-9 on display at the WPAFB Museum in Dayton, Ohio. An Fw 190D-12 is on display at the Champlin Fighter Museum at Falcon Field, Mesa, Arizona.

Text : Joe Baugher

Development history

The Focke-Wulf 190 was known as one of the best fighters during the Second World War. Created and developed under supervision of Prof. Kurt Tank, an unquestioned genius among aircraft engineers, it set new standards that the contenders had to rise to from its introduction to the end of the war. Produced in a run of more than 20 000 copies of all versions, the Fw 190 was an important factor determining the power and efficiency of the Luftwaffe.


There were two main reasons for development of the fighter project known later as the Focke-Wulf 190. In the second half of the thirties, the arms race had accelerated and to the Reich Air Ministry (RLM) it was obvious that since only one kind of plane for the fighter mission had been developed for series production, the Messerschmitt Bf-109, the RLM could not guarantee that beyond the immediate future the Luftwaffe would still be in the lead position in world military aviation. Secondly, the RLM administration properly took into account the intelligence information that other major powers were working on, preparing for production of and trying to put into service at least two different types of modern fighters at once. In this context, the Technical Department of RLM (Technisches Amt) developed specifications for the new fighter plane in the winter of 1937/38.

During the spring of 1938 these specifications were sent to manufacturers including Focke-Wulf Flugzeugbau AG. As a result of work under the supervision of Prof. Kurt Tank and engineer Rudolf Blaser, a relatively small fighter of compact construction powered by radial air-cooled engine was developed. RLM management was dominated by in-line water-cooled engines adherents, who did not share his vision of the new project. This aversion to radial engines was explained by the larger pressure drag in airplanes with this type of powerplant and the lower visibility during takeoff. Arguably, these disadvantages of radial engines can be countered by a number of other capabilities. Certainly, examples of successful aircraft in similar foreign designs existed and the radial engine's disabilities could be minimized by proper installation in the airframe. We can draw the conclusion without hesitation that no less important were informal influences favoring particular producers. Probably, the Fw 190 Fighter project would have been put on the shelf and been completely forgotten if a positive coincidence had not occurred. There were two main reasons for it. Most important was that the hopes for the Heinkel 100 and 112 fighters did not come to fruition and both of designs had not become satisfactory designs. After initial acceptance each was withdrawn from production by the German aeronautical industry. The small number of He-112Bs produced were withdrawn from service in Luftwaffe units and sold to Romania. Some pre-series He-100D were used, with propaganda aims, as a new German fighter called the He-113. This misinformation project was a success and some RAF pilots reported He-113 kills.

The second reason for the Fw 190's fortunate success was that the two main, modern, liquid-cooled, in-line engines producers (i.e. Junkers in Dessau and Daimler-Benz in Stuttgart-Unterturkheim) could not, in the near future, produce a sufficient number of engines for all the airframe producers needs. At the commencement of the year 1940 , it was clear that in spite of newly opened production lines, Daimler-Benz could with great trouble provide a barely adequate number of engines for the Bf-109 and Bf-110 fighters. As a result, all other engine orders besides Bayerische Flugzeugwerke (Messerschmitt) were cancelled. Because of this, Heinkel was forced to drastically reduce and later stop production of the He-111P bomber plane powered by the DB-601 engine and concentrate on production of the He-111H plane powered by the Jumo 211 engine produced by Junkers in quantities that met the requirements of the factories producing the He-111, Ju-87 and Ju-88 planes. Thus, partly from necessity, the fighter project presented by the Focke-Wulf Flugzeugbau AG in Bremen was accepted.

For later development of the Fw 190Fighter, a team was established under the supervision of engineer Rudolf Blaser, consisting of engineers Willi Kather, Ludvig Mittelhauber and factory construction office chief Andreas von Fahlman. During this time, Kurt Tank was deputy technical manager of the factory. After the first order from the RLM for four prototypes, work on the plane began rapidly and moved ahead quickly. First, a wooden mock-up was produced and during the autumn of 1938 production of prototypes started. The new plane was a low wing, cantilever monoplane of semimonocoque metal construction with a fully retractable undercarriage. Previously, a new, 18 cylinder, air-cooled, double row radial engine, the BMW 139, was designed for the plane. This was a new BMW company design created by the joining of two BMW 132 nine-cylinder radial engines. This engine limited pilot's visibility from cockpit even more but rated at 1550 hp (1140 kW) it was about 1/4 more efficient than in-line engines such as the DB-601 or Jumo 211, and able to absorb more battle damage. This high engine power came with troubles with the cooling system that were resolved by introduction in the first prototype, Fw 190 V1, (W.Nr.0001) of a special propeller tunnel spinner covering the engine cooling air inlet in the cowling. The purpose of this cowling was to increase the cooling airflow over the engine and reduce the pressure drag.

The prototype was completed in the late spring of 1939, got the registration number D-OPZE and after introductory ground tests, flew for the first time on June 1, 1939 with Hans Sander, chief test pilot in the Focke-Wulf Company at the controls. In the first test flights, good plane handling characteristics were demonstrated (e.g. precision controls response) but aileron response could have been improved. The engine cowling was not as good as expected and the engine still had a tendency to overheat. This problem was so severe that even during low powered flight cockpit temperature rose to 55*C. In addition, the cockpit was not properly sealed and exhaust gases had leaked into it. The exhaust gas level was dangerous for the pilot and only his oxygen mask saved Hans Sander from asphyxiation during the first flight.

After the first series of tests, the plane was transferred to the main Luftwaffe research and development facility at Rechlin. This station also advised the RLM. During tests conducted in Rechlin, advantages and disadvantages of the new plane were discovered. The Fw 190 had shown a surprisingly high maximum speed during horizontal flight without armament at the altitude of 4000 m - 595 km/hr. Next, the plane was returned to the manufacturer for necessary modifications, especially in the cooling system. In the case of radial engines there was only one possible solution: to increase airflow over the engine. This was done by using a ten blade fan on the propeller shaft, in front of the engine, near the cowling. The tunnel spinner was replaced by a traditional spinner, covering only the airscrew hub of the VDM metal propeller. It was decided to use this after tunnel trials which had shown that the big spinner had not given proper airflow for efficient engine cooling and its influence on the reduction of pressure drag was not significant. Engine cooling was improved after this modification, but not to the expected level, and the engine still operated in the high range of acceptable temperatures. In the meantime, civil registration of the plane had been replaced by a military registration: at first WL-FOLY and later FO+LY.

In the autumn of 1939, the second prototype, Fw 190-V2, W.Nr.0002, FL+OZ was completed. It flew for the first time on October 31, 1939. This plane was powered by the engine with the fan. The plane's armament consisted of Rheinmetall-Borsig MG-17 7.9 mm machine guns and 13 mm MG 131 machine guns mounted in the wings near the fuselage. Firing tests were conducted on the firing ground of the Rechlin test facility in Tarnewitz. After changing the registration codes to RM+CA (V1) and RM+CB (V2), both prototypes started the next part of the flight tests for evaluation of the effects of the modifications on the flight characteristics and engine cooling system on January 25, 1940. The Fw 190V2 was demonstrated for Herman Goering. He was impressed by the plane's performance, which doubtless influenced the faster than expected order of a series of 40 pre-production Fw 190A-0 aircraft. A short time later, on March 4, 1940, the V2 prototype had an accident and was badly damaged when during taxiing with Rohlfs at the controls it had flipped. Before this accident the plane had accumulated 50 flying hours.

In the meantime, the BMW factory was developing a more advanced, 14 cylinder, air-cooled, double-row, radial engine designated BMW 801. With the aim of concentrating only on the development of the BMW 801 engine, production of the BMW 139 engine was ended. The older engine was recognized as an unsuccessful design. The new engine had a similar diameter to its predecessor but was longer and heavier. The Fw 190 was developed for the lighter BMW 139 engine so the decision to use the BMW 801 forced the Blaser team to make big changes in the airframe. At this time, two other prototypes, Fw 190V2 and V4 were in an advanced state of completion. However, because of the changes to the engine installation they were abandoned. All efforts were concentrated on the fifth prototype, Fw 190V5, which was built from the beginning to use the BMW 801 engine. Fw 190V3 was used as a source of spare parts and V4 was used for airframe strength tests. Because of the higher weight of the engine it was essential to stress test the airframe. The testing was also important because of the large number of armament variants to be provided for the same airframe. A large part of the airframe structures were strengthened, the pilot's cockpit was moved back, which reduced the troubles with high temperatures, and gave more space for nose armament. The space in the cockpit was reduced, but thanks to the perfect layout of the instruments, that was not important. The rear cockpit fairing was modified by replacement of Plexiglas glazing with duralumin plate fillets. The only negative side effect of the cockpit move was the further worsening of the pilot's view during taxiing. The vertical tail shape was also changed and its tab was replaced by a metal trim strip adjustable only on the ground. In view of the expected huge rise (more than 25%) in plane weight main gear were strengthened. New, stiffer undercarriage struts were introduced, the retraction mechanism was changed from hydraulic to electrically powered, wheels of a bigger diameter were used and new more simple shields were added. To make the needed space for the bigger undercarriage, wheel arches in the wing were enlarged by moving forward the part of the leading edge situated in the wing root. The Fw 190-V5, W.Nr.00 05, powered by a BMW 801 C-0 engine flew for the first time in the early spring of 1940.

After comparative tests with the V1 prototype, it was seen that the weight increase had a negative influence on airplane characteristics and it would get worse after armament and military equipment installation. It was essential to redesign the wing planform because increased wing area could markedly improve plane characteristics. This change was made by increasing the wingspan and moving the leading edge forward. In this way, the new wing was designed with an area increased to 18.30 sq. meter with a span of 10.506 m. Wing profile was not changed. A new, enlarged, 3650 mm span horizontal tail was developed. Subsequently, the area of vertical tail was also increased by moving the leading edge forward. The new wing was planned to be tested on the one of the new prototypes. However, in August 1940, during a landing with an accidentally open engine cowling panel, Hans Sander damaged the V5 prototype's wing. The decision was made to apply the new wing to this plane instead of one of the prototypes under construction. The modified prototype got the designation V5g (g=grosser - bigger) and to distinguish one version from another, the unmodified prototype was designated in documents as V5k (k=kleiner - smaller). As proven by flight tests, introduction of the bigger wing reduced top speed by only 10 km/hr, but other characteristics, especially climb rate, were significantly increased.

In October 1940, the first of 40 Fw 190A-0 on order came from the production line. They received designations characteristic of prototypes: Fw 190V6 W.Nr.0006 and Fw 190V7. Both had the old wing because production started before introduction of the new wing and the first nine airframes were so advanced that the decision was made to introduce the modification from W.Nr.0015 plane. So, the two prototypes and seven of the Fw 190A-0 had the smaller wing. Simultaneously with the new wing, a bigger horizontal tail was introduced. However, the enlarged vertical tail not applied until later, from the A-2 version. The Fw 190 V6 was used for characteristics and performances tests. Fw 190V7 was used for testing of a heavier armament consisting of two 20 mm Rheinmetall-Borsig (Oerlikon licence) MG FF cannons (in addition to the four MG 17 machine guns), mounted in the wing center section just aft of the main gears attachment point. After firing tests at Tarnewitz, this armament was standardized for the Fw 190A-1 planes until the introduction of the 20 mm Mauser MG 151/20 cannons in place of the wing mounted MG 17. This became possible after the introduction of the new synchronizer (for firing through the propeller arc) that had not been ready for the series production.

Starting in November 1940, deliveries of the Fw 190A-0, with BMW 801 C-1 engine in place of pre-series C-0, began with the W.Nr.0010 plane. From the 40 planes ordered, only 28 were built (to W.Nr.0035), most of which were later converted to prototypes used for various armament configuration tests. On some planes new engines and special equipment were tested; e.g. in the summer of 1943 on the Fw 190A-0 (W.Nr.0022, SB+IE) an ejection seat was tested in Langenhagen under the supervision of Hans Sander. It was ejected by a powder charge. These planes received variously the modification designation V used for prototypes or the supplemented letter designation U (Umrustbausatz). There are a large number of U modifications of Fw 190A-0 (from U1 to U13) known of various A-0 airframes. Because of limited space in this book it's impossible to present each modification in detail.

Before beginning the planned series production of the first Fw 190A-1 it was necessary to finish up details of the plane and get some experience in maintenance and service use in line units. Among the desired experience was operation from operational airfields and preliminary training of pilots and support personnel. Because of this II./JG 26 squadron pilots and maintenance personnel team were taken from their unit and formed the basis of experimental squadron (Erprobungsstaffel) 190, formed in March 1941. The unit was commanded by technical officer Oberleutnant Otto Bahrens and received six Fw 190A-0 (W.Nr.0013, 0014, 0018, 0021, 0022). The first training was conducted under the supervision of specialists from the Rechlin establishment on these planes. Flights were made from Rechlin-Roggenthin airfield. Later this unit was transferred to Le Bourget near Paris. During these intensive tests frequent engine failures occurred. The BMW 801 engine still had a tendency to overheat, especially the back bank of cylinders. Overheating occurred generally on the ground during long runs at low power when the flow of cooling air was reduced to a minimum. Troubles were encountered with the automatic control unit (Kommandogerat) of the BMW 801 engine, with leaks in the fuel and lubricating pipe system and also with fast wear of the spark plugs. Troubles with the constant speed VDM propeller continued. During tests it was discovered that engine cowlings had a tendency to open during flight because of weak cowling lock construction. A more dangerous surprise was with the emergency ejection of the rear cockpit canopy, especially during flights with speeds over 250 km/hr, that was caused by airflow pressing the canopy to the fuselage. This problem was solved by addition of a small powder charge used for firing of canopy. The large number of such serious defects was the reason that a special RLM Commission came to Le Bourget and ordered the test program to stop until all defects would be remedied. After about 50 modifications, the RLM approved Fw 190 deployment to Luftwaffe service units.

The RLM placed an order with the Focke-Wulf factory for 100 Fw 190A-1 planes. Because of plans to increase the order it was obvious that the Fw 190 program should include factories producing the plane on licence. Initially, production lines in Focke-Wulf Bremen and Marienburg factories were prepared. The first Fw 190 planes produced on licence would be made at the Arado factory in Warneminde and at the AGO factory in Oschersleben.


The first Fw 190A-1 planes came off the production line at the Focke-Wulf Marienburg factory in June 1941. During August the output rose to 30 planes a month. During this month, deliveries of licence production from Arado Warneminde factory started and were joined in October by deliveries from AGO Oschersleben so that by the end of September, 82 planes were delivered to Luftwaffe units and by end of October all 102 planes ordered were built. On one of these, designated as Fw 190A-1/U-1, a new engine was mounted: the BMW 801D-2. Some of the Fw 190A-1, like some of the A-0, got a FuG 25 IFF device in addition to the radio transceiver set FuG 7. In the Technical Office, reports concerning the Fw 190A-1 main problems still were concentrated on engine overheating and fires. In all series planes' cockpit, oil tank and oil cooler armor became standard.


The Fw 190A-2 was the second series variant and was powered by the modified BMW 801C-2 engine. In this model, problems with the engine rear bank of cylinders overheating were finally solved by the simple introduction of a ventilation slot on the two sides of the engine cowling. The same slots were also introduced in the Fw 190A-1 in service. In place of wing mounted MG 17 machine guns, the Mauser MG 151/20 E 20 mm canons were used because of delivery of the new synchronizers. This replacement produced a small convex bulge of the upper armament covers in the wing roots. In place of the Revi C/120, a modern Revi C/12D gunsight was used. As a result of modifications, plane empty weight rose to 3850 kg. Important modification also included a new, more efficient, electrical gear retraction mechanism. The Fw 190Airframes, including version A-2, had under fuselage hard points for an ETC 501 bomb rack but there is no indication whether it was mounted in the A-2 version or not. One plane (W.Nr120315, CM+CN), was fitted experimentally with an automatic pilot device and was redesignated Fw 190A-2/U-1. In some sources there is information about a A-2/U-3 reconnaissance version. 420 Fw 190A-2 planes were produced.


Beginning in the spring of 1942, series production of a more powerful engine version BMW 801D-2 that replaced previous versions in the Fw 190Fighter created a new plane version designated as Fw 190A-3. The increase in the BMW 801D-2 engine power (to 1730 kW) was due to a higher compression ratio and higher pressure two-speed compressor. A higher compression ratio and charging pressure made it necessary to use high-octane (96 octane) C3 fuel in place of B4 (87 octane) fuel. Armament of standard Fw 190A-3 planes was the same as in the previous version. Starting from this version, A series airframes were widely used in a big development program with the aim of finding the optimum armament and equipment mix that made it possible to broaden the operational capabilities of the plane beyond fighter operations. The largest part of these modifications were in the form of Umrustbausatz kits, but some did not have special designations and can be recognized only from photographs. The total number of such modified planes is unknown. The best known are the Fw 190A-3 with an under-fuselage mounted bomb rack ETC 501 for carriage of 500 kg of bombs (1x500 kg, 2x250 kg or 4x50 kg on the ER4 adapter) or an external drop tank of 300 liters capacity for long range fighters. Some planes used only for fighter operations (without bomb racks) had a reduced armament by removal of wing mounted MG FF cannons, which was not reflected in a designation. Moreover, 72 Fw 190Aa-3 (a=auslandisch-foreign) planes were produced. These were exported to Turkey during October 1942 - March 1943. Most of them had the same armament as the A-1 version e.g. 1x4 MG 17 machine guns and 2x1 MG FF cannon, and for obvious reason there was no FuG 25 IFF device in the radio equipment.

In addition to the previously described modification kits designed for the Fw 190A-3 and later versions other kits Umrustbausatz were prepared; but we must admit that most were unrealized projects or experimental planes that existed only in one or two copies: Fw 190A-3/U1 - only one built, experimental plane (W.Nr. 130270, PG+GY) with engine mount extended for 15 cm. It was used as a prototype of the A-5 version, Fw 190A-3/U2 - underwing mounted unguided missile RZ 65 73 mm racks tested on the plane W.Nr. 130386, Fw 190A-3/U3 - reconnaissance fighter with Rb 50/30 cameras mounted in the fuselage; armament reduced by removing MG FF cannons, one built, Fw 190A-3/U4 reconnaissance fighter with two Rb 12.5/7x9 cameras mounted in the fuselage and camera gun EK 16 or miniature camera Robot II in the leading edge of the left wing root; armament as in U3 version, additional under fuselage mounted ETC 501 bomb rack with stabilizer strips for 300 liter fuel tank.

Twelve planes built, Fw 190A-3/U7 - attempt to create a new high altitude fighter, with reduced weight, with armament consisting of only two MG 151/20 E cannons. Only three planes built (W.Nr. 130528, -530 and -531); they can be recognized by external charger air inlets on both engine cowling sides.


In July 1942, the A-3 was replaced on the production lines by the newer Fw 190A-4 version. The main difference was an BMW 801 D-2 engine adapted to use with a MW 50 system for short period engine power increase by injection of a water-methanol (methyl alcohol CH3OH) mixture in the proportion of 1:1. In this way it was possible to raise engine power to 2100 kW for 10 minutes, after which a high probability of engine failure prevented longer use. Due to delays in MW 50 device production, this system was not mounted on the Fw 190A-4 engines, which had the capability to accept this system. It was not used and only A-8 and later series planes would use the advantages of this invention.

Another difference in the A-4 variant was the replacement of the FuG 7a radio set by the more modern FuG 16z. A less important change was that the vertical line antenna mount was placed on the fin; this made it easier to distinguish between A-4 and A-3 versions. In the case of the A-2 and A-3 versions, it is often difficult to tell them apart. During production, in some Fw 190s another modification was applied. In place of the ventilation slots, engine cowling shutters controlled from the cockpit were installed. The pilot could precisely control the engine temperature by regulation of the shutters. In consideration of increasing number of planes ordered another group of factories and companies started licence production (among others Fiesler in Kassel-Waldau).

Most Fw 190A-4 planes were used with reduced armament, without MG FF cannons. Trials with different variants of armament and equipment, generally with Umrustbausatz kits use, produced the following versions: Fw 190A-4/U1 - bomber-fighter with an under-fuselage mounted ETC 501 bomb rack and reduced armament (without MG FF cannons). As a result of small deliveries of BMW 801 D-2 engines in the autumn of 1943, several dozens of these planes got older C-2 version engines, Fw 190A-4/U3 - bomber-fighter with armament as in the U1 version, but with BMW 801 D-2 engine. Planes for night operation got a landing light, mounted in the leading edge of the left wing root. Designation was later changed to F-1 and in the future the plane was developed as a new attack Fw 190F version, Fw 190A-4/U4 - reconnaissance fighter with two Rb 12.5/7x9 cameras and without MG FF cannons, Fw 190A-4/U8 - long range fighter-bomber with two drop tanks of 300 liter capacity each, mounted under the wings (on the VTr-Ju 87 racks produced by Weserflug company, with duralumin fairings); bombs were placed on the under-fuselage ETC 501 rack. In an attempt to reduce weight, only two MG 151/20 E cannons were retained. This modification was a prototype of a new fighter-bomber Fw 190G version and its first variant (G-1) simultaneously. There also existed a transitional variant (probably in one copy) with modernized V. Mtt-Schlos type racks for underwing fuel tanks; armament: 2x1 MG 17 and 2x1 MG 151/20E, In addition to the Umrustbausatz modifications, from the Fw 190A-4 planes, easier to install Rustsatz (R) kits were produced. Sometimes, the set could be mounted in the field workshops but the plane could also be previously prepared in the factory for such kit application. We must refute the myth of the exceptional ease of application and interchangeability with other kits in particular planes, especially since some of them were as complicated as U kits, More than once, classification to U or R group was just for convenience, later most of the U versions was redesignated as R versions. The first kit widely used was a two tube air-to-air missile launcher W.Gr. 21 210 mm destined for destroying defence formations used by USAAF bomber aircraft. Planes so equipped were designated Fw 190A-4/R6. Some authors have told about the existence of a Fw 190A-4/R1 variant, with the FuG 16 ZE radioset and Morane type antenna installed under the left wing. Very small numbers of such planes existed, but it has not been fully confirmed that it had its own destination in U or R kits. Total production of Fw 190A-4 planes came to more than 900 .


On the basis of data collected during tests of the experimental Fw 190A3/U1, Blaser's designer team became convinced that the planned additional armament would move the plane center of gravity forward. The best solution to offset this was to move the engine forward. This was done with a 15 cm steel tube engine mount extension. This change (new engine mount) was introduced on the all production lines. This also led to an increase of the plane length to 9.10 m and gave life to the new Fw 190A-5 variant that from November 1942 replaced previous the A-4. In the A-5 also introduced small changes in the equipment (e.g. a new electrical artificial horizon and modernized oxygen respirator, and wide use of the FuG 25a IFF device). In the rear fuselage section was slightly moved back and the equipment compartment cover was enlarged. Standard armament did not change and it remained 2x1 MG 17, 2x1 MG 151/20 E , 2x1 MG FF. Proper airframe design provisions meant that the Fw 190A-5 plane was prepared from the beginning to accommodate a large number of Umrustbausatz kits:

Fw 190A-5/U1 - similar (with extended engine mount) to A-4/U1 airplane, temporary powered by a BMW 801 C-2 engine,

Fw 190A-5/U2 - long range fighter-bomber plane adapted to the night operation; it was fitted with anti-reflective strips over engine exhaust pipes on both sides. Mounted under the fuselage, an ETC 501 bomb rack for 250 or 500 kg bombs was added, additional fuel was placed in two external tanks of 300 l capacity each mounted under the wings on V.Mtt-Schloss (Verkleidetes Messerschmitt Schloss) shackles. In the wing leading edge an EK 16 camera and a doubled landing light were installed; the MG FF cannons were deleted in this modification.Based on this version, a night fighter with FuG 217 Neptun J-2 radar was built. However, number of planes built is unknown; the only known specimen of this variant had no bomb rack, camera or landing lights.

Fw 190A-5/U3 - fighter-bomber with the ETC 501 bomb rack and without MG FF cannons. After a change of designation this was serially produced as Fw 190F-2. There was also a desert variant with dust filters designated as A-5/U3/tp (F-2tp).

Fw 190A-5/U4 - reconnaissance fighter fitted with two Rb 12.5/7x9 mm cameras and reduced armament (2x1 MG 17 and 2x1 MG 151/20 E); produced also in a desert variant designated A-5/U4/tp.

Fw 190A-5/U8 - long range fighter-bomber with two underwing mounted external fuel tanks (capacity 2x300 liters) and an under-fuselage mounted ETC 501 bomb rack; armament consisted of only two MG 151/20 E cannons. It was developed into Fw 190G-2 plane and later serially produced.

Fw 190A-5/U9 - experimental plane with heavier armament, it was fitted with 2x1 MG 131 13 mm machine guns in place of MG 17 guns in the fuselage; in the wings the MG FF canons were replaced by MG 151/20 E cannons. Only two were built (W.Nr. 150812, and 150816). The W.Nr 150816, BH+CF plane was later used as test bed for more powerful BMW 801 engine versions.

Fw 190A-5/U10 - experimental plane (only two built W.Nr. 150861 and 150862). It was used as a test bed for a strengthened wing adapted to serial application of heavier armament, generally 20 and 30 mm cannons. Armament consisted of 2x1 MG 17 in the fuselage and 4x1 MG 151/20 E in the wings, later become a standard for A-6 version.

Fw 190A-5/U11- attack aircraft with two 30 mm Rheinmetall-Borsig MK 103 cannons mounted in underwing pods; only one plane existed (W.Nr. 151303, RG+ZA). This kind of armament became later standard as Rustsatz 3 (R3) kit.

Fw 190A-5/U12 - proposal for heavier armament consisting of six MG 151/20 E cannons. They were mounted under the wing in two additional WB 151/20 pods with two cannons in each pod; complete armament could be 2x1 MG 17, 2x1 MG 151/20 E and 2x2 MG 151/20 E. It was also a model for Rustsatz 1 (R1) kit for Fw 190A; two planes (BH+CC, W.Nr. 150813 and BH+CD, W.Nr. 150814) with such armament were completed.

Fw 190A-5/U13 - three prototypes (V42, W.Nr. 151083, GC+LA; V43, W.Nr 150817, BH+CG and V44, W.Nr. 150855) built, long range fighterbomber with two underwing V.Fw Trg. (Verkleideter Focke-Wulf Trager) bomb racks, adapted for carriage of 300 liter capacity fuel tank or 250 kg bomb. The plane was equipped with an automated pilot device and application of knifes for barrage balloons lines cutting on the wing leading edge was considered; one plane was experimentally equipped with a lacunar exhaust flame damper (GC+LA?). Armament consisted of two MG 151/20 E mounted in the wing roots. Plane was later produced under designation Fw 190G-3.

Fw 190A-5/U14 - torpedo plane adopted for transportation of one aerial torpedo LT F 5b mounted on the under-fuselage ETC 502 rack; plane had an enlarged fin (similar to Ta 152) and heightened tail wheel strut to eliminate the possibility ground contact by the torpedo; armament consisted of only 2x1 MG 151/20 E cannons. Two planes were tested TD+SI, W.Nr. 150871 and TD+SJ, W.Nr. 150872.

Fw 190A-5/U15 - experimental plane adopted for transportation of the unpowered Blohm und Voss 246 Hagelkorn (LT 950) flying bomb for destroying of naval targets, radio controlled by an Askania company produced ALSK 121 device. Extensively tested during second half of the 1943, later in the test program an A-8/F-8 series plane (W.Nr 130975) was also included, but tests were cancelled shortly after it was found that because of poor construction, the BV 246 had frequent defects.

Fw 190A-5/U16 - prototype of a fighter plane with heavier armament (W.Nr. 130975), for destruction of bomber formations. The MG FF canons were replaced by heavier 30 mm cannons Rheinmetall-Borsig MK 108. This armament was later standardized as the Rustsatz 2 (R2) kit.

Fw 190A-5/U17 - fighter-bomber with under-fuselage mounted ETC 501 bomb rack and four underwing mounted ETC 50 bomb racks (2x2 50kg bombs). With A-5/U3, this variant was a model for the Fw 190F attack aircraft; basic version for the later Fw 190F-3/R1 variant. Armament was standard without MG FF cannons. Also used in a desert modification.

Finally, in response to the intensifying of the Allies' bombing, numerous Fw 190A-5/R6 planes belonged to units operated in Reich defence system (Reichsverteidigung) have been found. As an interesting detail, we must mention the existence of a Fw 190A-5 plane with external turbosupercharger inlets. The engine cowling with these inlets was proposed as an alternative, but was not used widely because of higher induced aerodynamic drag. There exists a photograph of an A-5 fighter from a II./JG 54 unit deployed to the Eastern Front temporary adopted to bomber missions by four (2x2) under-fuselage mounted ETC 50 bomb racks. In the autumn 1943, one A-5 plane (W.Nr. 157347) were used as the V45 prototype for tests of the GM 1 system that by injection of pressurized nitrogen monoxide as an oxidant to increase engine efficiency at high altitudes. This device was later standardized as the Rustsatz 4 (R4) kit. In connection with the planned 1765 kW (2400 KM) BMW 801 F engine production to be used for A-9 and A-10 series planes, in December 1943 Focke Wulf was ordered to prepare an A-5 airframe (W.Nr. 410230) as the V34 prototype for tests with the experimental BMW 801 V 85 engine; however, we have no evidence that the engine was supplied and mounted on that particular Fw 190 plane. Serial production of BMW 801 F engines never started and A-9 series planes had TS/TU engines mounted.


The main difference of this variant from the previous was the standardized mounting of MG 151/20 E cannons. For this to be possible, it was necessary to redesign the wing for the heavier cannon mount and carriage of a larger ammunition box. Experience obtained during Fw 190A-5/U9 and U10 tests was incorporated in this type. Reinforcements and sockets were made in such a way that serially produced wings would be adapted for internal installation of either 20 or 30 mm cannon ammunition boxes and for installation of underwing armament with the ammunition box installed inside the wing. Proper electrical connections were also provided for the cannons. The manufacturer started serial production of the FuG 16 ZE radio with an additional radial antenna for radio navigation purposes placed under the rear fuselage. This antenna was used also in the some A-5 planes. Serial production of this variant started in July 1943 and ended in November 1943 after the completion of 569 planes. Standard Fw 190A-6 armament consisted of 2x1 MG 17 machine guns and 4x1 MG 151/20 E cannons. Some planes mounted ETC 501 bomb racks for transportation of an additional fuel tank (300 l capacity), these were not designated by separate designation. Unlike other versions, models with different armament or equipment received designations as Rustsatz kits. A lot of these designations had not been previously used.

Fw 190A-6/R1 - attack fighter with armament increased to six cannons and two machine guns (2x1 MG 17, 2x1 MG 151/20 E and 2x2 MG 151/20 E), by mounting of the WB 151/20 underwing pylons with cannons. This modification was based on the A-5/U12 version. In spite of previous plans, only a few planes with this armament were in Luftwaffe service units (e.g. in JG 11).

Fw 190A-6/R2 - equivalent to the A-5/U6 model, armament: 2x1 MG 17 machine guns, 2x1 MG 151/20 E and 2x1 MK 108 cannons; not serially produced.

Fw 190A-6/R3 - equivalent to the A-5/U11 model, armament: 2x1 MG 17 machine guns, 2x1 MG 151/20 E and 2x1 MK 103 cannons; not serially produced.

Fw 190A-6/R6 - plane with standard armament and the addition of W.Gr. 21 missile launchers.

Fw 190A-6/R2/R6 - plane adapted for destruction of bomber formations, with increased armament and missile launchers, only one prototype, V51 (W.Nr. 530765), built. Total armament consisted of 2x1 MG 17, 2x1 MG 151/20 E, 2x1 MK 108 and 2x1 W.Gr. 21.

Fw 190A-6/R7 - armored fighter with standard armament; in service with Reich defence units; often with additional 300 l capacity fuel tank mounted on the ETC 501 bomb rack.

Fw 190A-6/R8 - the Rustsatz kit made by application of both R2 (MK108) kit and R7 kit (armor), often machine guns in the fuselage were removed; efficient as a fighter against American bomber aircraft.

Fw 190A-6/R11 - all weather and night fighter, with anti-reflection strips, landing light, autopilot device PKS 12 and heated windscreen windows.

Some planes mounted a FuG 217 Neptun J-2 radar. Generally, these planes used dropable fuel tanks mounted on the ETC 501 bomb rack.

Fw 190A-6/R12 - the Rustsatz kit created by application of both R2 and R11 kits. Apart from this modification, one or two planes experimentally mounted more the higher power BMW 801 TS engine with three blade wooden VDM propeller with blades of larger area. The aircraft with code letters VO+LY had an additionally armored radiator and oil tank; it's armament was reduced to two MG 151/20 E cannons mounted in the wing roots.


In November 1943 production of the Fw 190A-7 version began. It was developed by standardizing the armament of the A5/U9 modification - 2x1 MG 131 machine guns and 4x1 MG 151/20 E cannons. Cigar shaped bulges emerged on the upper engine cowling in front of the cockpit because of the bigger dimensions of the MG 131 machine gun. The Revi C/12D sight was replaced by a new model 16 B. Strengthen wheel bands as previously used in the F version, were mounted as standard on the undercarriage. Generally, planes were equipped with ETC 501 bomb racks, that were used for 300 liter fuel tank mounting also, but there a photograph of the Fw 190A-7 with under-fuselage mounted light rack used for fuel tank mounting. This plane also had reduced armament (2x1 MG 131 machine guns and 2x1 MG 151/20 E cannons).

There is evidence that this particular plane was used for dog fighting with allied fighters. There is no information about the number of A-7 planes with this equipment. Probably it was a field modification performed on the pilots' or Staffel staff's request. Apart from standard A-7 models there were three modification kits (Rustsatz) provided : R1, R2, R3.

One A-7 plane (W.Nr. 380394) was used as a test bed for the later droppable flattened streamlined fuel tanks known under the name of Doppelreiter. Each tank had a capacity of 270 liters and was mounted on the upper wing surface. Engineers hoped to get low pressure drag and the smallest possible speed loss with a relatively high tank capacity. Armament was reduced to two MG 151/20 E cannons. Development work on this tank was conducted by the research establishment FGZ (Forschungsanstalt Graf Zeppelin) under engineer Isemann's management. After a series of tests that ended with positive results, the RLM, for a big surprise, did not agree to this modification. The reason was: to not to disturb production! In January 1944 production of all variants of the Fw 190A-7 ended after 80 aircraft were produced. It was replaced on the production lines by the more modern A-8 version.


A new model with different equipment. Most important were parts of the MW 50 injection system, used for short term engine power boost. A cylindrical tank of 118 liters capacity was mounted in the rear fuselage. In an emergency, it could be used as additional fuel tank. Tank installation shifted the center of gravity backward and, as a cure, the under-fuselage mounted ETC 501 bomb rack was moved 20 cm forward. This rack became a standard from the A-8 model. The plane was equipped with a FuG 16 ZY radio set that despite the circular radio navigation antenna Morane antenna, was mounted under the left wing. The outstanding element for differentiation between the A-7 and A-8 is the Pitot head moved from mid-wing leading edge to right wing tip. The Fw 190A-8, like previous models, could be equipped with different Rustsatz kits: R1, R2, R3, R4, R6, R7, R8, R11, R12; but R1, R3 and R4 were abandoned shortly thereafter and generally R2, R6, R7 and R8 kits were used. Some of the R11 and R12 modifications produced in small quantities had small differences in the equipment (e.g. MG 131 machine guns tube was covered by a plate for reflection limitation, some got more the more efficient BMW 801 TU engines and FuG 125 Hermine radio navigation device). The variant with radar most often had a FuG 218 Neptune J-3 device.

Apart from the previously described variants, A-8/F-8 series airframes were often used for different armament and equipment testing. These planes also tested several different engines. Unfortunately, only a small part of the documentation concerning these tests survived, making it impossible to describe in detail all of the modifications and resolve some the contradictory information. In spite of this, we know of the following armament modifications:

SG 113 Zellendusche - 3-tube battery based on the MK 103 cannons mounted in the rear fuselage. Firing was made by a photosensor impulse. - SG 117 Zellendusche - 6-tube modification of the previously described battery.

Rohrblock 108 - similar construction with 7 tubes based on the elements of the MK 108 cannon, fired by photosensor impulse. Probably, it consisted only of MK 108 cannons barrels with a single cartridge; after firing of the first barrel others were fired automatically by the recoil force of previous barrel. This kind of armament was used for bombers interception and was tested on the Fw 190A-8 (W.Nr. 733713), prototype designation V74.

SG ...? Harfe - set of 3-4 15-barrel, unguided 20 mm missile launchers mounted in the rear fuselage on both sides. At least one prototype plane had such armament and was presented to Gen. Adolf Galland.

Ruhrstahl X-4 (Ru 334)- wire guided rocket missiles mounted on underwing racks, probably of the ETC 503 type. This armament was developed for destroying ground targets (tanks) and for bombers fighting (different warhead). It was tested on the F-8 version plane.

From 1944, production of fighter planes was sharply increased (so-called Jagernotprog ramm). This required higher production coordination and development of a cooperative network. As a result, the Fw 180 A-8 was produced in mass numbers in nearly all Focke-Wulf affiliated factories (production started also in Cottbus, Sorau, Poznan). A licence was sold to the NDW (Norddeutsche Dornier Werke) factory in Wismar. Smaller factories performed repair work and recycled the planes withdrawn from service units. They also produced smaller aeroplane parts. Special coordination committees secured efficient work systems and continuous parts delivery. As the result 1334 A-8 series planes were built.


Next and last production series of the A version aircraft was the Fw 190A-9. Previously, it was thought this plane would have been powered by a 1765 kW (2400 hp) BMW 801 F engine. But the BMW factory had not started production of these engines in time and, as a replacement, the 1470 kW (2000 hp) BMW 801 S engine was used with a more efficient, 14 blade fan. These engines were delivered as a power unit BMW 801 TS because of their need for a more efficient radiator and bigger oil tank mounted side by side. Both were in the form of a ring ahead of the engine under an armor cover with thickness increased from 6 to 10 mm. Large area, three bladed wooden propeller with constant speed mechanism should have been used as a standard, but for unknown reasons the majority of the A-9 planes (as opposed to F-9) had the metal VDM 9-12176 A propellers, as used in the previous version. One difference in the airframe between A-9 and A-8 model was a larger cockpit canopy, adapted from the Fw 190F-8 version. A few planes got tail sections with an enlarged tail as provided for Ta 152 fighters. Armament and Rustsatz kits were the same as in the A-8 version, but in many cases, on the pilot's request external part of the wing mounted MG 151/20 E cannons were removed.

Production of the plane started in the end of autumn 1944 and continued parallel to A-8 version. Monthly output depended on limited deliveries of BMW 801 TS engines. Also developed was a project for a highly modified Fw 190A-10 fighter powered by a BMW 801 F engine, but it was not completed because of the end of the war.


In connection with the reorganization of diving bomber units into fighter-bomber units and the need to retrain Ju 87 pilots on Fw 190Fighters the Luftwaffe ordered a two-place training version of the Fw 190Fighter.

In the spring of 1944, one A-8 airframe was modified to this standard and received the additional designation U1. The second cockpit was placed just after the first in the place used for the MW 50 installation. This device was not installed in training planes. The back part of cockpit canopy was also modified. It had a three part, sides opening canopy (similarly to the Bf 109 G-12) ended with a duralumin superstructure in the upper rear fuselage. Three planes were modified and designed as a masters for serial fighter planes modification. To this should be added the damaged planes removed from frontline units and modified by field repair stores. For this reason, it is difficult to find a precise number of A-5 and A-8 planes modified to the two place version. It was a relatively small number and planes were designated Fw 190 S-5 and S-8 (S = Schulflugzeug - training plane) respectively.


The very positive results of the introduction into service of the Fw 190A fighter plane, forced the RLM to consider the possibility of using the plane for other roles than dedicated fighter. The greatest hope was placed in adaptation of the Fw 190As a fighter-bomber. It was seen as a replacement of the aged biplane Henschel 123 and, in part, of the Junkers 87 dive bomber that were still providing useful service in modified form, especially on the eastern front .

In early 1942, the RLM widened the specifications for the Fw 190And ordered development of attack and close support (Schlachtflugzeug) versions of the plane. A special project study of the modified Fw 190Airframe, designated Ra-2 (Rechnerische Ankundigung 2), was prepared containing different variants of the Fw 190Fighter plane. In May 1942, previously planned tests were conducted with the modified Fw 190A-0/U4 (W.Nr. 0008) plane. This airframe received under wing and fuselage store stations for ETC 50 bomb racks that provided for 50 kg bomb carriage. Results were so promising that development work was continued. From the beginning, the most serious problem was large air plane weight increases. This came about not only as a result of the additional bombs load, but due to the need to introduce additional armor to protect the plane from ground fire. This armor consisted of plates protecting the fuel tanks, engine and undercarriage firings from below. Previously planned armor plates in the cockpit side walls were abandoned. This decision was made because the worsening overweight condition lead to a marked performance reduction. For the same reason, new strengthened undercarriage struts were not introduced, instead the pressure in shock absorbers was increased.

In connection with the mass production of the Fw 190A fighter aircraft, early development work on the attack version was restricted to A-3, A-4 and A-5 airframe modifications. These planes, already introduced in Luftwaffe service units, were fully suited to fighter-bomber tasks. However, the increased weight forced a reduction the armament suite (removal of the one pair of wing mounted MG FF cannons), that could result in only slightly poorer performance in spite of increased weight.

FOCKE-WULF 190 F-1 and F-2

The best modification proved to be the Fw 190A-4/U3 variant with reduced armament (2x1 MG 17 machine guns in the fuselage and 2x1 MG 151/20 E cannons in the wings) and under-fuselage mounted ETC 501 bomb rack for 250 or 500 kg bomb carriage or with the ER 4 adapter - four 50 kg bombs. The RLM order was for 30 of these planes but only 18 were built, since, in the meantime, the A-4 version was replaced by the modernized Fw 190A-5 plane. This version was modified by creation of different variants adapted for fighter-bomber role. The most numerous version, the Fw 190A-5/U3 (equipped similarly to the A-4/U3), was produced in a production run of 63 planes. Part of these planes received desert equipment (designated as A-5/U3/tp).

Positive opinions coming from Luftwaffe units and increasing demand for fighter-bomber planes caused the Focke-Wulf factory to start production of the attack version of the plane, designated Fw190 F, as a completely new series rather than as a fighter modification, as it was previously. The first production series Fw 190F-1 was intended to be based on the A5/U3 modification. The design office decided to include previously produced Fw 190A-4/U3 planes as the F version with the designation F-1. Planes originally built as Fw 190A-5/U3 modifications were designated as F-2. Generally, through May 1943 271 planes were built as both Fw 190F-2 standard and F-2 tp (desert) versions.


The Fw 190F version development program also included other A-5 version modifications: Fw 190A-5/U10, A-5/U11, A-5/U12 and A-5/U17. The last became a prototype for the Fw 190F-3 that was introduced into series production in May 1943.

The main production model was the F-3/R1 plane equipped with four (2x2) underwing mounted ETC 50 bomb racks and under-fuselage mounted ETC 501 adapted for bombs or an auxiliary 300 liters fuel tank. Numerous planes of this version were fitted with desert equipment (F- 3/R1/tp). The next plane would have been the Fw 190F-3/R3 with two 30 mm MK 103 canons mounted under the wings. It was not produced because of negative test results from the similarly armed Fw 190A-5/U11 (W.Nr. 151303), which was too heavy. In addition it was realized that the MK 103 cannon munitions could not penetrate Russian T-34 tank armor. Only three Fw 190F-3/R3 with two MK 103 cannons were built.

The A-5/U10 wing was adopted for the F series and also in the A-6 and following versions. Since the Fw 190A-5/U12 armed with 6 20 mm MG 151/20 E cannons was found capable of destroying only lightly armored targets, the further development of this version in the F series was abandoned.

The Fw 190F-3 plane were produced until April 1944 in the Arado factory in Warnemunde. 274 F-3 planes of all versions were produced. This plane was powered, like fighter the version, by a 1272 kW (1730 hp) BMW D-2 engine.

In October 1943, planned production of the F-4 version was to start. The main difference between the F-3 and F-4 was a modernized, electrical bomb release installation. The two variants of supplementary armament were provided as in the previous versions: R1 (2x ETC 50 and ETC 501) and R3 (2x MK 103). Other armament was to remain the same (2x1 MG 17 and 2x1 MG 151/20 E). Production did not start.

Two other plane modifications (e.g. Fw 190F-5 and F-6) were not produced. Prototypes of these variants were planned as Fw 190 V36 (for F-5) and Fw 190 V37 and V40 (for F-6). The 1765 kW (2400 hp) BMW 801 F engine were to be used as the power plant but the factory didn't have time to start production of this engine and both modifications were cancelled. The same thing happened in the case of Fw 190F-7 plane which was based on the A-7 airframe. Since development work was concentrated on the Fw 190A-8 plane in the latter part of 1943, the F-7 series was abandoned.


This model was produced in greatest numbers of the all of the F series planes. It was produced based on the A-8 plane airframe. Production started in March 1944 in the Arado factory in Warnemunde and in the April 1944 in the NDW-Wismar factory.

The Fw 190F-8 was powered by a BMW 801 D-2 engine variant adapted for C3 (96 octane) fuel. An additional injector in the left supercharger inlet for emergency short term (10-15 min) engine power increase during flight under 1000 m altitude was standard equipment. Most of the equipment was the same as in the Fw 190A-8. From April 1944, the FuG 16 ZS radio set, adapted for direct communication with units on the battlefield was introduced in place of the FuG 16 ZY . Only a few planes (compared with previous versions) had a desert equipment including an anti-dust filter. In the second half of 1944, a widened rear cockpit canopy was added with the A-8 plane. The purpose of this modification was to improve the pilot's side-forward visibility, important during fighterbomber missions. Armament consisted of two 13 mm MG 131 machine guns mounted in the fuselage and two 20 mm MG 151/20 E cannons in the wings.

Most of the early production series F-8 planes had the additional armor used since the F-3 airframes. For weight reduction and improvement in flight characteristics it was not used in later F-8s. These planes had only the standard Fw 180 A-8 armor. Because the under-fuselage ETC 501 bomb rack was a standard item in A-8 planes all F-8 planes got it as well but without the stabilizers for the droppable fuel tank.

In the beginning of 1944, due to the difficult situation on the Eastern Front, the Luftwaffe was in desperate need of an attack plane with armament capable of destroying armored vehicles including heavily armored tanks (heavy tanks). In this situation, it became vital to arm Fw 190F planes with offensive armaments other than bombs. This was not an easy task, because the Luftwaffe had not developed weapon systems adaptable for mounting in light fighter planes. The only way to solve this problem was by trial and error until the proper armament could be find. First tested on the Fw 190F was the 280 mm mortar W.Gr. 28/32 with high explosive warhead. This missile was judged as unusable because of it's unstable and highly curved flight path that made it impossible to aim them into the targets. Next tested was the Panzerschreck 1 missile launcher combined into two three barreled units mounted under wings on ETC 50 or ETC 70 bomb racks. Each missile had a hollow-charge warhead. They were soon replaced by the more modern Panzerschreck 2 (PD 8.8) launchers combined in units consisting of two launchers with 88 mm missiles with hollow-charge warheads that could be fired individually or in salvos. Equipped in this manner, a Fw 190F-8 (W.Nr. 580383) was tested by Major Eggers at Udetfeld Air Base. The results obtained were satisfactory but there were also some disadvantages like the missile's short (137 m) range and limited accuracy. Despite this, in October 1944 a small number of Panzerschreck 2 equipped planes were delivered to service units on the Eastern Front.

In December 1944, the highly efficient missile Panzerblitz 1 (Pb 1) system consisting of six and, more often, eight R4M air-to-air missiles. They were adapted for tank destroying by mounting an 80 mm M8 type warhead for an armor penetration of up to 90 mm. Using the Pb 1 unit it was possible to destroy tanks at a 200 m distance. The only limitation was a maximum speed of 490 km/hr, not to be exceeded during missile firing (in a salvo of eight or in pairs). Up to February 1945 the Luftwaffe received 115 Fw 190F-8/Pb 1 planes.

The successor to the Pb 1 unit was the Panzerblitz 2 (Pb 2) unit. The main difference between them was the replacement of the M8 warhead by a hollow-charge warhead able to penetrate up to 180 mm armor. Also developed was the new missile system Panzerblitz 3 (Pb 3) with a 210 mm hollow-charge warhead, but it was not operational by the end of the war. The same situation applied with the AG 140 (Abschussgerat 140) missile system consisting of units with two 210 mm missile launchers different from Pb 3. The AG 140 system was tested on the following three Fw 190F-8 planes designated as prototypes: V78 (W.Nr. 551103), V79 (W.Nr. 583303) and V80 (W.Nr. 586600).

Apart from the previously described missile systems on the Fw 190F-8 plane, other weapon systems for ground attack were tested (e.g. doubled SG 113 A Forstersonde missile launchers mounted obliquely inside the wings directed downward. Firing performed automatically using Forestersonde magnetic field detection principle, when the plane flew over the tank. In October 1944, at the research facility FGZ (Forschungsansalt Graf Zeppelin) this device was mounted on the prototype Fw 190 V75 (W.Nr. 582071) and W.Nr. 586586 planes. In December 1944, system was also mounted on the Fw 190 (W.Nr. 933452). This system was found to have low accuracy, so development was abandoned shortly.

In June 1944, the development team commanded by Col. Haupt (Versuchsgruppe Oberst Haupt) prepared a special Gero II type flamethrower in three versions: A, B and C. The device was for attacking ground targets. In February 1945, preparatory work began, by the application of additional fuselage bottom cowlings, on a Fw 190F-8 to mount the flame-thrower. There is still no evidence that this project was realized.

Authorities decided that flight tests with the wire guided air-to-air Ruhrstahl X-4 (Ru 322) missile, probably with modified ground attack warheads, would be carried out on F-8 planes. For the test two prototypes were used: Fw 190 V69 (W.Nr. 582072), V70 (W.Nr. 580029) and three serial production F-8 planes: W.Nr. 583431, 583438 and 584221. During these flights the more modern Ruhrstahl X-7 (Ru-374) Rotkappchen and Henschel 298 missiles were tested as well. Tests were carried out with the unpowered BV 246 (LT 950) Hagelkorn flying bomb. Probably by Fw 190V20.

An F-8 plane was selected to transport the special bomb SB 800 RS known also as Prismen Rollbombe "Kurt" 1 and 2 for attacking the dams of water reservoirs. This bomb was tested in Deba air base in Pommeren, but we have no evidence that an Fw 190F plane was used for these tests. One of the missions FW 190F-8 was used on was marine target attack. Unlike the previously described plane variants, torpedo armament was provided in some of the following Umrustbausatz kits:

Fw 190F-8/U1 - long range fighter-bomber (provided as replacement for the Fw 190G-8 withdrawn from production). The plane had underwing pylons installed from the Bf 110 V.Mitt-Schloss (Verkleidetes Messerschmitt Schloss) for mounting two 300 liter fuel tanks and additional fuel pumps inside the wings. Some planes had ETC 503 bomb racks in place of the pylons that gave the capability of carrying two additional 250 kg bombs (in this case the fuel tank was mounted under the fuselage) on ETC 501 racks. It was possible was to mount bombs on all points (2x250 kg and 1x500 kg), this reduced range but made the Fw 190A dangerous plane carrying 1000 kg of bombs.

Fw 190F-8/U2 - torpedo plane with two underwing ETC 503 racks or under-fuselage mounted ETC 504 (previously ETC 501) bomb rack. The plane was equipped with a special sight system, TSA 2A (Tiefsturzangle 2A) for precise aerial torpedo BT (Bombentorpedo) aiming. Using this torpedo it was possible to attack targets from a higher altitude and from a higher angle than in the case of an ordinary aerial torpedo LT (Lufttorpedo). It was planned to use two BT 400 or one BT 700 torpedo. Other armament was reduced to two fuselage mounted MG 131 machine guns. A small number of these planes were in service with 11./KG200.

Fw 190F-8/U3 - torpedo plane adapted for transportation of the heavy BT 1400 torpedo on an under-fuselage mounted ETC 502 pylon designed specially for this in TWP Gotenhafen-Hexengrund (see the section "Operational use"). His plane had a lengthened tail wheel strut to eliminate the possibility of striking the ground with the torpedo. The plane was equipped with the TSA 2 sight system coupled with a FuG 101 radio altimeter. This version was powered by the more powerful 2000 hp (1470 kW) BMW 801 TS engine. The Ta 152 tail was also mounted.

Fw 190F-8/U4 - night fighter-bomber powered by a BMW 801 TS engine with exhaust flames dampers. Standard equipment was: PKS 12 autopilot device, FuG 101 radio altimeter, TSA 2A sight system and other devices to aid night navigation and flight. Armament consisted of aerial torpedoes and bombs that could be carried on two underwing ETC 503 bomb racks. Other armament was reduced to two MG 151/20 E cannons in wings. Probably only one plane built (W.Nr. 586596). Admittedly, NSGr 20 used numerous Fw 190F-8 with flame dumpers and underwing mounted bomb racks but it was not a F-8/U4 but rather field adapted, standard G-8 or F-8/U1 planes.

Fw 190F-8/U5 - simplified variant of F-8/U2 modification, without some of the external equipment.

During the process of modifying serial production Fw 190F-8 planes (generally done by cooperants and licence production factories) the decision was made to adapt nearly all Umrustbausatz modifications to Rustsatz kit standards. In this way, some U variants were doubled in documentation as R variants. There are six known variants:

Fw 190F-8/R1 - fighter-bomber with four underwing mounted ETC 50 bomb racks for 50 kg bombs, later replaced by ETC 71 dispensers for 70 kg bombs (e.g. AB 70 cluster bomb). There are planes known with both dispenser types mounted in pairs of the different types (2x ETC 50 + 2x ETC 71) under the wings.

Fw 190F-8/R3 - attack plane with two MK 103 30 mm cannons, similar to the A-5/U11 variant. Only two planes built.

Fw 190F-8/R13 - plane adapted for night operations, equivalent to the F8/U4.

Fw 190F-8/R14 - torpedo plane adapted to carry aerial torpedoes LT F 5b and LT 1B on the ETC 502 bomb rack. It was a development of Fw

190 A-5/U14 plane. It was equipped with the lengthened tail wheel strut and enlarged Ta 152 tail. Powered by the more powerful BMW 801 TS engine.

Fw 190F-8/R15 - equivalent to F-8/U3.

Fw 190F-8/R16 - equivalent to F-8/U2.


In October 1944, the new Fw 190F-9 modification emerged from the production lines . It had its roots in the A-9 plane. This version was powered by the more powerful BMW 801 TS engine with the VDM propeller with three wooden blades produced by the Heine or Shwartz companies. The propeller had a diameter of 3500 mm. The F-9 planes used only the enlarged rear cockpit canopy. Some planes also got the vertical tail from the Ta 152 plane. Armament was the same as previous version (2x1 MG 131 and 2x1 MG 151/20 E). For this plane, the same R modification kits (except R3) were provided, but only the standard or R1 version were produced. A few planes had Panzerblitz missile launchers.

At the turn of 1944/45, due to the critical shortage in strategic materials for the aviation industry and the expanded fighter plane production program it was necessary to develop substitute parts for the Fw 190 made of wood. These were generally tails, flaps and ailerons, but there is no information which were used and on how many planes. A small number of Fw 190F-8 and F-9, like the A-8, were used as guiding planes for the Mistel units.

Proposed next for serial production was the Fw 190F-10 variant based on Fw 190A-10. It would have been powered by the BMW 801 F (TF) engine. Use of the Ta 152 tail was planed a standard. New in this variant were the enlarged main wheels of 740x210 mm size. Because of delays in the BMW 801 F engine production, none this variant (like the A-10) was produced by the war's end. The next modification after F-10 would have been the Fw 190F-15 powered by the BMW 801 TS engine. This variant was developed from the Fw 190 V66 (W.Nr. 584002) prototype. In some sources there is information that V66 was not a direct F-15 prototype. Another project was Fw 190F-16. Its prototype, V67 (W.Nr. 930516) was a modified F-8 plane. The only difference was the FuG 16 ZE/ZS radio set was replaced by the FuG 15 radio. The last variant, not even realized as a prototype, could have been the Fw 190F-17 destined for marine attack, equipped with a modernized TSA 2A gunsight system.


Almost concurrently with the start of production of Fw 190F close support attack version (Schlachtflugzeug), its derivative emerged from the production lines - an extended range fighter-bomber, Jabo-Rei (Jagdbomber mit vergrosserter Reichweite), designated Fw 190G. This version was an attempt to cope with the service units' need for a fighter with the capability of carrying ground attack weapons to distances considerably greater than 500-600 km (the range of a Fw 190F).


During the development of this new version, elements of the Fw 190A-4/U8 long range fighter-bomber were used, in which range extension was obtained by use of two dropable underwing fuel tanks of 300 liters capacity each. These tanks were carried on VTr-Ju87 pylons produced by the Weserflug company, with duralumin profiled fairings. However, the increase in fuel weight to 880 kg could considerably reduce aircraft performance and extend takeoff length to the point of reducing the operational ability of the plane from smaller airfields. It was necessary to reduce plane weight.

This could be realized by the reduction of plane armor or armament. The designers applied the second solution and removed the fuselage mounted MG 17 7.9 mm machine guns and resisted applying a second pair of cannons in the wings. This new Fw 190G-1 had armament reduced to only two MG 151/20 E 20 mm cannons mounted in the wing roots with a reduced 150 rounds per cannon ammunition.

For offensive armament the under-fuselage ETC 501 bomb rack could carry 250 and 500 kg bombs or four small 50 kg bombs after the ER 4 adapter applied. The radio equipment suite deleted the FuG 25a IFF device and often the radio altimeter was not mounted. Because of the extended engine operational time it was suggested that an additional oil tank be mounted under the cowling, near the windshield, in the place of the previously used MG 17 machine guns. About 50 Fw 190A-4/U8 planes were produced that were included in the G series and got the official designation Fw 190G-1. During production, the shields of the underwing munitions locks were slightly enlarged and stiffened.


The new Fw 190G-2 model was developed from the A-5 series fuselage and its fighter-bomber U8 modification kit (A-5/U8). It had the same modifications as used in the A-4/U8 plane. Additional fuel (468 kg) was placed in underwing fuel tanks but (except for a few early specimens) carried under the wings on simpler V.Mtt-Schlos locks, with two side struts - stabilizers. Duralumin profiled firings were not used in this plane, because despite its good aerodynamics during the flight to the target, when tanks were mounted, after tank ejection the fairing's influence was highly disruptive - aerodynamical drag was increased, fuel consumption increased and maximum speed was reduced by 40 km/hr. Locks without fairings were beneficial in both flight phases and after tank ejection small locks reduced the speed by only 15 km/hr. As in the Fw 190G-1, some planes got an additional oil tank. There were also some planes adapted for night operations designated Fw 190G-2/N. The main difference was application of flame dampers to protect the pilot from blinding and to reduce the possibility of early detection of the plane by enemy antiaircraft defence. A smaller change worth a word is the application of landing lights to the left wing leading edge (in all planes).


During the summer of 1943 production of modified Fw 190G-3 planes started. In this series the wing from the Fw 190 A-6 plane was applied as standard and underwing shackles for fuel tanks were replaced by similar ETC 501 V.Fw Trg (Verkleideter Focke-Wulf Trager) bomb racks. This solution gives this version the ability to carry both fuel tanks and 250 kg bombs, this considerably increased offensive plane capabilities. In addition to this change, the Fw 190G-3 plane was equipped with the autopilot device PKS 11 (also the more modern version: PKS 12) to reduce pilot work load during long range flights (maximum flight time for Fw 190G was about 2.5 hours). Beginning in October 1943 Fw 190G-3 and later version planes were powered by the BMW 801 D-2 engine adapted for C3 (96 octane) fuel and fitted with an additional injector in the left supercharger inlet. That made it possible to briefly (10-15 min.) increase engine power during flights at low altitudes (under 1000 m).

The Fw 190G-3 had also a desert version, G-3 tp, with anti-dust filters and other equipment useful during operations over desert regions or over regions with similar conditions. Some planes were modified by mounting equipment provided for R kits used for G version:

Fw 190G-3/R1 - heavily armed attack fighter with two WB 151/20 pylons in place of underwing V.Fw Trg. racks. This variant had armament of 2x1 MG 151/20 E with 250 rounds per cannon and 2x2 MG 151/20 E with 125 rounds per cannon. This modernization was ordered in September 1943 to be made by LZA workshops at Sagan-Kupper Air Base. These planes did not have the autopilot device or additional armor. Planes would have been used for bomber formation attack and ground attack.

Fw 190G-3/R5 - close support attack aircraft modified similar to the F-3/R1 standard. In place of V.Fw Trg. racks, ETC 50 bomb racks (2x2 50 kg bombs) were mounted. In this modification, no additional armor and oil tank were applied. Some planes were again equipped with fuselage mounted MG 17 machine guns. Most of the planes had the autopilot device.


Next, and the last production series of the G version, was the Fw 190G-8 plane (G-4 to G-7 variant designated small modifications that were not realized). Basis for this version was the A-8 airframe. It included all modification applied to this version and the enlarged cockpit canopy from the Fw 190F-8. Some G-8 planes also got flame dampers (version G-8/N adapted for night operation). Despite the fact that the plane did not have fuselage mounted machine guns, the G-8 got new, enlarged upper covers forward of the cockpit, adapted for MG 131 machine gun mounting. For transportation of additional fuel tanks and bombs the new ETC 503 bomb racks were used. To widen Fw 190G-8 operational use, the following Rustsatz kits were provided:

Fw 190G-8/R4 - an unrealized project of a plane equipped with a GM 1 installation for nitrogen monoxide (N2O) injection for increased power rising (larger amount of oxygen available for combustion) at high altitudes.

Fw 190G-8/R5 - had four underwing ETC 50 (or ETC 70) bomb racks in place of two ETC 503.

Production of G-8 version continued from September 1943 to February 1944, when production of the Fw 190G-8 was abandoned in favor of modified F-8 series planes. This was connected with the tendency to simplify the production process. In the late series G-8 planes (from February 1944), the autopilot device was not used . In the late Fw 190G-8 (after mounting MG 131 machine guns) there were no longer differences between this version and the Fw 190F-8 attack aircraft type (G-8 = F-8/U1 in the version with ETC 503 bomb racks, and G-8/R5 = F-8/R1 also).

In an emergency, single Fw 190G planes were adapted for the transportation of high weight bombs under the fuselage (1000, 1600 and 1800 kg). In this modification, the shock absorber leg was strengthened and wheels with strengthened tires were used. Also used were special bomb racks (Schlos 1000 or 2000) in place of the ETC 501 bomb rack. The Fw 190G planes with these higher bomb loads needed as long as 1200-1300 m of runway for takeoff.

About 800 Fw 190G planes of all versions were produced. It was also the last version of the Fw 190 powered by a radial engine. We must also admit that finding the true number of planes produced is impossible for the following reasons: first - full documentation is not in existence from all Focke-Wulf airframe factories and companies manufacturing the plane under licence, second - we don't know how many airframes (particularly F series) were assembled in special small workshops (e.g. Menibum), whose main aim was building of torpedo and other variants for special purposes. The other complicating factor, sometimes making detailed compilation impossible is that some planes were assembled in field workshops where airframes and engines from planes withdrawn from service units were recycled. In this process, fully operational planes were made from parts of heavily damaged fighters withdrawn from service. For example, from a plane with a heavily damaged airframe, wings were taken and mounted to another plane with damaged wings. Often such 'composited' planes had tail and engine taken from other Fw 190A, F or G. These composite planes, sometimes a completely new 'version', received new individual serial numbers and were sent to a field unit after a test flight .

Example of this practice is seen in a Fw 190F-8/R-1 plane stored in the National Air and Space Museum (NASM) in Washington, USA. When, after storage in the Silver Hill facility, the process of restoration started, the old identification plate on the fuselage with serial number (Werk Nummer) W.Nr. 640069 was found. This is evidence that the airframe was taken from an A-7 plane. After rebuilding during the war, this particular plane was modified to Fw 190F-8 standard, got a new serial number (W.Nr. 931884) and was again sent to a service unit. The number of Fw 190Fighters produced with radial engines is probably 17000 planes minimum. Some authors quote higher numbers, but because each source is different, these numbers are not credible. Of course, the development of the Fw 190 plane did not end with the A, F and G versions, but continued with water-cooled in-line engines.


As was the case previously with the Bf 109, the Fw 190 (generally in A-8/F8/G-8 versions) was used as a guiding plane for units with a crewless Ju 88 bomber called Mistel and for training (with a piloted Ju 88) - Mistel S. For this bomber, sets were developed with different types of hollow-charge warheads mounted in the front of the Ju 88 fuselage in place of the cockpit. There were several variants of Mistel and Mistel S sets. The main difference was the variant of Ju 88 plane and guiding plane used. The Fw 190 was used in Mistel 2, 3A, 3B, 3C, Mistel S2A, S3A, S3B, S3C sets. The Fw 190Adapted for the Mistel set had armament removed and under the forward cowling was mounted an additional oil tank (most of the G8 planes had this tank mounted previously). On the wing spar and on the aft fuselage, joints for connecting struts with electrical and control connections were mounted. The TSA 1 device was provided for guiding the lower aircraft. Because of the large number of modifications adopted for Mistel sets, planes received the additional designation M (e.g. Fw 190A-8/M). Also developed, but unrealized, was a Mistel set project with Fw 190And Ta 154 planes. The research and development Center working on these constructions was situated in Nordhausen and the Leipzig-Mockau repair factory and ATG in Merseburg were involved in the process of preparation of the Ju 88 bombers.

Text : Joe Baugher

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