The FW 190 was the only completely successful piston-engined fighter introduced by the German air force, the Luftwaffe, after World War II started. The Museum's Fw 190 F and D represent the "second-generation" Fw 190s which followed the Fw 190A into combat. The Fw 190D interceptor was considered by many German pilots to be the finest piston-engined fighter in Luftwaffe service.
The Fw 190 D was a reengined and reengineered development of the widely-used Fw 190 A, the first Fw 190 production model. It was viewed by its designer, Kurt Tank, as an interim design pending availability of the Ta 152. Prototype testing began in March 1942, with the unreliable air-cooled BMW 801-series engine replaced by the liquid-cooled Junkers Jumo 213A 12-cylinder engine (1776hp, boosted to 2240hp with water-methanol injection). This engine had previously been used exclusively on bombers.
The longer-nosed Fw 190 D, with a redesigned tail, was a success with pilots because of increased engine reliability and performance much superior to the Fw 190 A-8 in climb, dive and level speed. The aircraft attained 692kph (430mph) at 11,300m (20,200ft) and could fly 850kmh (480mi/h) -- performance that made it a much better interceptor against the burgeoning and fighter-escorted Allied bomber formations. Pilots considered it more than a match for the P-51D "Mustang". Armament was two 20mm Mauser MG-151/20 cannon in the wing (with a robust 250 rounds per gun) and two 13mm Rheinmetall MG-131 cannon (with 475 rounds per gun) over the engine. Small batches of Fw 190 D-0 and D-1 preproduction fighters were delivered for service evaluation in Spring and Summer 1943, just as the American 8th Air Force was starting large daylight bombing raids.
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