Henschel Hs 293

The beginning of what was to evolve into the Henschel Hs 293 were laid as early as 1939, and a test model, taking the form of a glider, was constructed the following year; the ultimate intention being to develop a missile that could be used against shipping under remote-control from a launching aircraft.

Although a suitable rocket motor was still unavailable, development went ahead using a standard SC 500 bomb fitted with wings and a tail unit (no rudder was incorporated into this design). As time progressed, the program saw the fitting of the first version with a liquid fuel rocket using T-stoff and Z-stoff propellants. Slung under the main body was an 18 channel radio system for remote control operation.

At this point the Hs 293 is starting to look less like a winged bomb and more like a cruise missile/space ship from a Flash Gordon movie.

It was anticipated that the missile would be carried into combat under a parent aircraft, from which warm air was ducted to keep the missile from freezing at high altitude. It was thought that the Hs 293 would be launched from a high altitude to increase range, and thus protect the launching aircraft from shorter range anti aircraft defenses. However at 4,595 ft, a maximum of 5 miles could be achieved.

Once released, the Hs 293 dropped about 295 ft before the rocket developed maximum thrust; the parent aircraft would continue to fly a parallel course, allowing the Fritz pilot to keep the weapon in sight and under control. The bomb-pilot flew the weapon by means of a small control yoke mounted as it he were flying a manned aircraft. The Hs 293 had a bright red flare mounted on its tail to increase its visibility to the pilot. The actual course of the weapon was a series of arcs as corrections were received.

The main disadvantage of the Hs 293A was that the parent aircraft had to maintain a straight level course after launch, evasive maneuvers to avoid fighters or anti-aircraft fire were not possible. An improved Hs 293D with television aiming was planned but the war ended before it could be completed.

The problem of icing was never conquered, and the Hs 293 was always plagued by icing problems.


  • Type: Rocket-propelled anti-ship missile
  • Powerplant: one 600kg thrust Walter 109-507B rocket
  • Performance: Maximum speed- 900 km/h (559 mph)
  • Weight: round 1045 kg (2,304 b); explosive 295 kg (650 lb)
  • Dimensions: span- 3.14 m (10 ft 3.6 in)
    length- 3.58 m (11 ft 9 in)
    fuselage diameter- .48 m (1 ft 6.9 in)
    wing area- 1.92 square meters (20.67 sq ft)

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