25 January 2011

BA349 Natter Fighter

Designed near the end of the war, the strange-looking Bachem BA349 Natter ("Adder") interceptor required no run-way for take-off.

Instead, the aircraft was launched up a vertical 8 meter (25ft) rail attached to a small tower. The flight of the fighter would be controlled by radio from the ground until it neared a group of Allied bombers. Then, the pilot would take over and jettison the nosecone to fire off salvos of rockets into the formation.

After firing off all of the rockets, and running out of fuel, the plane would glide down to 3000m (10,000 ft), whereupon a number of parachutes in the rear fuselage would deploy. The entire front of the aircraft (including the cockpit) would detach from the tail, and then the pilot would (hopefully) parachute to safety. Only the pilot and the tail (containing the rocket engine) would be recovered from each mission – the cockpit, wings, and nose were all expendable. Despite the death of a test-pilot during the first manned launch of the plane, 36 of these fighters were built, although none were before the end of the war.



  1. Good idea for a WW3 or WWW scenario - Allies aiming to capture or destroy a squadron of these...

  2. Just what I was thinking too!