He 162 Salamander

German Nazi flagJet fighter and interceptor Heinkel He 162 Salamander or ‘People’s fighter’.

He 162 museum plane

He 162 Salamander with 2 x 30mm guns as a museum plane.

Heinkel He 162 Salamander (Volksjäger).
Type: German Luftwaffe jet fighter and interceptor.


One of the most rapidly conceived warplanes ever produced, the He 162 home defence fighter existed as a wooden mockup within 15 days of the issue, on 8 September 1944, of the RLM requirement. Seven days later a huge production contract was placed; detail design drawings were completed by the end of October; and on 6 December 1944 – less than 13 weeks from initiation of the pro­gramme – the He 162 V1 (or A-01) made its first flight. Dubbed, for propaganda pur­poses, the Volksjaeger (People’s Fighter), the He 162 was of attractive if unorthodox appearance and was built largely of wood and other non-strategic materials.

Its looks, how­ever, belied a dangerous instability and some vicious handling characteristics, and troubles were also encountered (as in the Focke-Wulf Ta154) with the wood-bonding adhesive used. Under the high priority given to fighter programmes in 1944-45, manufacture of the He 162, under the code name Salamander, was assigned to numerous factories. It was planned to produce 2,000 a month by May 1945 and 4,000 a month ultimately, and about 800 were in various stages of assembly when the war in Europe ended. A further 280 or so He 162 A-0s, A-1s and A-2s had actually been completed. These differed primarily in their armament, the A-1 having two 30 mm MK 108 cannon in the lower forward fuse­lage and the A-2 a pair of 20mm MG151s.

The first Luftwaffe unit to fly the He 162A was Erprobungs­kommando 162, which began to receive these aircraft in January 1945; but the first operational units, I. and II./JG I, were still working up at the beginning of May. Conse­quently, very few He l62s were actually encountered in com­bat. I./JG I was operational at Leck, though nearly without fuel. But it managed to shot down two Allied planes at the end of April, one of them a Hawker Tempest.

Proposed later versions included He 162A sub-types up to A-14, the He 162B (one or two pulse-jet engines), the He 162C (swept-forward wings), the He 162D (swept­back wings), and models with combined jet and rocket pro­pulsion.

Users: Germany (Luftwaffe).

Animated 3D model of Heinkel He 162 Salamander

Specifications for Heinkel He 162 A-2 Salamander (Volksjaeger)

Heinkel He 162 A-2 Salamander (Volksjaeger) Specification
Type jet fighter, interceptor
Power plant one 1,764 lb thrust BMW 003E-1 or E-2 Orkan single-shaft turbojet
Accommodation 1
Wing span 23 ft 7.5 in
Length overall 29 ft 8.3 in
Height overall 8 ft 6.4 in
Wing area 120.13 sq/ft
Weight empty 3,876 lb
Weight loaded 6,184 lb
Max. wing loading 51.48 lb/sq ft
Max. power loading 3.51 lb/lb st
Maximum speed 562 mph at 19,685 ft (490 mph at sea level)
Initial climb 4,613 ft/min
Service ceiling 39,500 ft
Range 434 miles (at full throttle)
Heinkel He 162 A-2 Salamander (Volksjaeger) Specification
forward 2 x 20mm Mauser MG151/20 (720 rpm, velocity 1,920 ft/sec) with 120 rounds each
early He 162A-1 versions 2 x 30mm MK108 (650 rpm, velocity 1,705 ft/sec) cannon with 50 rounds each
Service statistics
Heinkel He 162 Salamander (Volksjaeger) data
First flight 6 December 1944
First delivery January 1945
Final delivery May 1945
Total production figure (all) Total: 300 (+800 in factories, 2,000 a month by May, 4,000 a month from June 1945)

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