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In 1959 the design teams of the German companies Bolkow, Heinkel and Messerschmitt were formed into a consortium named Entwicklungsring Sud to develop a Mach 2 VTOL interceptor for the Federal German defence ministry. Heinkel left the consortium in 1964 and in the following year it was re-formed as a company with the title Entwicklungsring Sud GmbH, EWR.


115 foreign companies’ participed including 35 in England, 60 in the US and 20 in France. A test rig built had three 2200 lb thrust Rolls-Royce engines installed in the same geometric arrangement as the VJ-101. Latter two 2759 lb thrust Rolls-Royce RB 145s in each of the two wing tip pods plus another two installed vertically in the fuselage were installed.

Two prototypes of the EWR VJ 101C single-seat experimental VTOL aircraft were built. Generally similar, they were both of high-wing monoplane configuration, primarily of light alloy construction, had retractable tricycle landing gear and accommodated the pilot in a pressurised cockpit, seated on a Martin-Baker ejection seat. Powerplant comprised six 2750-lb (1247-kg) thrust RB.145 turbojets, developed jointly by Rolls-Royce and MAN-Turbomotoren, with two mounted vertically in the fuselage, immediately aft of the cockpit, and two in a swivelling pod at each wingtip.

Those in the fuselage were used only for VTOL and low-speed flight, those in the wingtip pods for VTOL, low speed, transition from vertical to horizontal flight, and high-speed flight. Control of the aircraft in flight had been explored by a hovering rig powered by three Rolls-Royce RB.108 lift-jets, and by May 1963 this had made a total of 70 flights.

The VJ 101C X-1 prototype was flown for the first time in free hovering flight on 10 April 1963. It had exceeded a speed of Mach 1 several times before it crashed, following a vertical take-off, on 14 September 1964.



The VJ 101C X-2 differed by having afterburning engines in the wingtip pods, providing greater power (3550-lb / 1610-kg) for take-off and landing, and this made its first hovering flight on 12 June 1965. Four months later, on 22 October, the X-2 achieved the first full transitions from vertical to horizontal flight and vice versa, but development was discontinued soon after.


In absence of support by US Defence department or private manufacturers, the German government indicated in 1964 it won’t continue with a production version. Flight tests of the VJ.101C, including low supersonic advancement with afterburners fitted to the RB.145 engines, was continuing.

Production of a single-seat interceptor was planned, under the designation EWR VJ 101D, but this would have differed considerably from the research prototypes. VTOL lift would have been retained by a battery of Rolls-Royce/ MAN RB.162 lift-jets in the fuselage, but primary propulsion would have come from two Rolls-Royce/MAN RB.153 turbofans mounted in the rear fuselage, these relying upon thrust deflection for control purposes. None of these aircraft was built.





EWR VJ 101C X-1
Engines; 6 x Rolls-Royce/MAN RB.145, 1247kg / 2750-lb
Max take-off weight; 6000 kg / 13228 lb
Wingspan; 6.61 m / 21 ft 8 in
Length; 15.70 m / 51 ft 6 in
Height; 4.13 m / 13 ft 7 in
Max. speed; 1.08M
Crew; 1

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