Heinkel He.280 “What ifs”

When work on the He 178 was discontinued in the autumn of 1939, effort was transferred to a more advanced twin-engined design which was to be powered by pairs of two new Heinkel turbojets, the HeS 8 and HeS 30. Neither engine was ready for flight when the Heinkel He 280 prototype airframe was itself complete and first trial flights, which began on 22 September 1940, were unpowered, the aircraft being towed to release height behind a Heinkel He 111. A pair of the HeS 8 engines was installed in March 1941 and Fritz Schafer made the first powered flight on 2 April. The engines were producing little more than 500kg thrust, however, and although available thrust had risen to some 600kg by early 1943 when the second and third prototypes were flown, in April of that year BMW 109-003 engines were adopted. Six further prototypes were built, the eighth with a V-tail, but the rival Messerschmitt Me 262 was selected for production and the He 280s were regarded only as useful research aids.


The following profiles are intended to give an idea of what the He.280 may have looked like had it gone in to service.


German Luftwaffe


He280 3. JG 27

He280 Stab I JG 26 Schlageter

Imperial Japanese Army Air Force

He280 3. Japan


Author: Tony Wilkins

When Man entered the atomic age, he opened a door into a new world. What we’ll eventually find in that new world, nobody can predict.

10 thoughts on “Heinkel He.280 “What ifs””

      1. That’s the one, (I did have to look it up though!) I wouldn’t be surprised if it was built under license. I know there was some agreements between the two counties But don’t know if this was included. Do you know if it was? Cheers Tony.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. No this was merely a prototype developed by Heinkel. Despite the superficial resemblence to the Me262 the Kikka was effectively a Japanese aircraft that did incorporate German design cues but with Japanese answers to certain problems. The Kikka was not as advanced as the Me262 but would have given a good account of itself against the B-29

        Liked by 1 person

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