The Horten H. IX (“Horten Ho 229”) was a late World War II German prototype fighter / bomber that was designed by the brothers Reimar and Walter Horten and built by Gothaer Waggonfabrik after receiving personal approval from Reichsmarshall Hermann Göring. The Horten Ho 229 was the only plane that was able to meet his criteria for performance. Reichsmarshall Hermann Göring’s criteria were that the plane should be able to carry 1,000 kilograms (2,200 lb) of bombs over a distance of 1,000 kilometers (620 mi) with a speed of 1,000 kilometers per hour (620 mph).
The only surviving Horten Ho 229 airframe is the V3 (V3 denotes 3rd prototype) build by Gotha at Friedrichsrodal as a prototype of the senior production version. The V3 was captured in April 1945 in northern Germany. It was in unfinished condition but was complete with the two jet engines, the cockpit, landing gear, and other parts. However the outer wing panels were found at a different location.
Later that year in July 1945, the V3 was moved to Cherbourg, France and loaded onto the SS Richard J. Gatling. The ship left on 12 July 1945 heading to the United States of America. Years later, around 1950, the Horten Ho 229 V3 would arrive at the Paul E. Garber Restoration Facility in Suitland, Maryland.
The Horten Ho 229 V3 is currently visible to the public inside the Mary Baker Engen Restoration Hangar at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia. As of now staff work to document the aircraft’s condition and are restoring it to stabilize its delicate structure.
Technical features of the Horten Ho 229:
Wingspan: 16.8 m (55.4 ft), Length: 7.47 m (24.6 ft), Height 2.81 m (9.3 ft), Weights: Empty 5,067 kg (11,198 lb) and Gross 8,999 kg (19,887 lb). Notably: It was the first pure flying wing jet.