Kit #AA2111. 1/72 scale. This is a highly-detailed
resin kit of the EWR VJ 101, Versuchsjäger, complete with decals.
The EWR VJ 101 was
an experimental vertical take-off-and-landing (VTOL) tiltjet fighter with a
Mach 2 capability. It was developed as a
candidate to replace the West German Luftwaffe’s Lockheed F-104G Starfighter. After a five-year test program, this project
was canceled in 1968.
German interest in
VTOL interceptor and strike fighters stemmed from their proximity to the Warsaw
Pact, and their fear that runways would be cratered early in any conflict with
the Soviets, leaving their air force grounded.
Great Britain and even the US Air Force tested VTOL and Zero-Length Launch
systems to address a similar concern.
Recognizing this interest, EWR was created by the post-war German
aircraft designers Messerschmitt, Heinkel
and Bölkow to build the VJ 101
C. Each had been developing their own
VTOL designs prior to the merger, and these concepts were blended into the
final product. In appearance, their
aircraft resembled the Bell XF-109 – both designs had paired engines mounted in
rotating pods on the wingtips.
Proof of concept
mock-ups were extensively used to test out the concepts behind the VTOL
features, and proved the design was feasible.
Two prototypes were then produced, the X-1 and the X-2. X-1 began flying in 1963, proving that the
plane worked, and that, even without afterburners, it could operate beyond the
sound barrier – a first for VTOL aircraft.
A faulty autopilot caused the crash of X-1 in 1965, but because the
fault lay in the autopilot, not the aircraft, testing continued with X-2, which
was equipped with afterburners.
Although it proved successful from a technical
standpoint, it was not proceeded with – the Luftwaffe instead purchased the
McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II, and became one of the first to use the