- Education and Science»
- History & Archaeology»
- Military History
Hitler's Early Warning AWAC Project
Hitler was bad as human beings go. Yet, even in the worst of people, good does occur. Hitler always demanded of others to think out of the box when it came to weapon systems and designs. Take the VW Kubelwagen. He wanted a cheap car for the people. It began its life in the military during WW2 and evolved to the VW bug. Take four lane highways we drive on today. Hitler wanted a rapid transportation system for troops, thus, by the mid-1930's, Germany had the autobahn- a four lane highway with no stopping-two lanes in each direction. Hitler wanted a AFV that would be dangerous to all other AFVs and was difficult to destroy-by 1942, the Tiger tank shocked American AFVs and soldiers in Tunisia when their shells simply bounced off its armor, worse, its main gun could destroy any tank within 2000 yards of it. This was at a time when most armor had to be within 800 yds. for be effective. Around the same time, Hitler wanted aircraft that were faster than anything else, and by 1944, German jets appeared flying more than 200 mph faster than any allied aircraft.. Even a P51 could not keep up. Around the same time, Hitler was fascinated with rockets gave it top priority. By 1944, the V1, V2 and A4 rockets were operational and bombarding London. There was no defense against them except prayer.
None of the allied nations in WW2 were even remotely close in developing rockets, which is why after the war ended, all of the allies secured German technology to produce their own. In fact, NASA's early engineers were all from Hitler's R&D staff.
So, it is no surprise then that in development was the first AWAC. This was an early warning airborne system to detect enemy aircraft. Hitler requested such an aircraft in November, 1944.The request was simple and his R&D staff began developing it to be perched on top of a Arado-234 jet bomber (which was operational). This AWAC design would set the standard for all others to follow to present day.
The radar was disc shaped using a FuG 224 Berlin panoramic search radar rotating at 1000 rpm. The disc was 6 ft. in diameter, while the actual radar was 5 ft. mounted on a 8" pylon and 15" above the aircraft body. For its time, enemy aircraft could be detected 28 miles away while moving at 500 mph (most aircraft flew at 200-400 mph) using a frequency of 3,300 Mhz.
The project lost urgency by February, 1945, though much of the design existed. Since the jet existed already, it was just a matter of installing the rotating radar panoramic antenna. Like many of Germany's weapon in WW2, many came just too late for German use, but were developed enough for the American and Russians to further develop and create.