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DFS 194
Role Experimental
Manufacturer Deutsche Forschungsanstalt für Segelflug
Designed by Alexander Lippisch
First flight 1940
Primary user Luftwaffe
Number built 1
Developed from DFS 40
Variants Messerschmitt Me 163

The DFS 194 was a rocket-powered aircraft designed by Alexander Lippisch at the Deutsche Forschungsanstalt für Segelflug (DFS - "German Institute for Sailplane Flight").

Design and development

The DFS 194 was based on Alexander Lippisch Delta series of tail-less designs. As originally conceived, it would have been a tail-less aircraft similar to his DFS 40, powered by a conventional piston engine driving a pusher propeller. The airframe was completed in this configuration in March 1938.

Lippisch's designs had attracted the attention of the Reichsluftfahrtministerium (RLM - Reich Aviation Ministry) who believed that tail-less aircraft were the best basis for a rocket-powered fighter. On January 2, 1939, Lippisch and his team were transferred to the Messerschmitt company to begin work on such an aircraft, under what was known as Project X. The DFS-194 was modified to accept a Walter R I-203 rocket engine designed by Hellmuth Walter, and by October, the aircraft was undergoing engine tests at Peenemünde. These were followed by glide tests in early 1940 leading to the first powered flight in August with Heini Dittmar at the controls. The flight went exceedingly well, the plane attaining a top speed of 343 mph (550 km/h), with performance much superior to the more basic Heinkel He 176 which had been tested July 20, 1939 with an earlier Walter rocket engine.

The aircraft proved to have excellent flying characteristics, and proved safe to fly at nearly twice the anticipated speed. These excellent results paved the way for the next stage of the project, which now received priority status from the RLM. The following year, the result would be the Messerschmitt Me 163, a considerably refined design along the same basic lines.


General characteristics

  • Crew: one, pilot
  • Length: 6.4 m (20 ft 11 in)
  • Wingspan: 10.4 m (34 ft 1 in)
  • Height: 2.13 m (7 ft)
  • Wing area: 18 m² (193 ft²)
  • Loaded weight: 2,100 kg (4,620 lb)
  • Powerplant: 1× Walter R I-203 rocket, 3.9 kN (882 lbf) 3.9 kN


See also

Related development

Comparable aircraft

Related lists

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