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In early 1942 the German Air Ministry (RLM) issued a specification to selected aircraft manufacturers for a multi engine jet bomber. Later in the year the RLM issued a contract to Junkers, which eventually became the Ju-287. Heinkel had also committed resources on design work for that specification referred to as Project P.1068. This design resulted in the development of features and ideas that were ultimately used in the development of the He-343.
In January of 1944 the RLM made the decision that future aircraft designs were to concentrate on the usage of jet propulsion. Even though the war was going upside down for Germany, a need for a larger jet bomber than the Ar-234 was foreseen. Oberstleutnant S. Knemeyer of the RLM Charged Heinkel with the development of designing a new jet bomber. The design takeoff weight of the aircraft was to be 16 tons resulting in the project being referred to as Strabo 16.
The design was to be ready for flight-testing in early 1945 with production to commence in the summer of 1945. The RLM issued an order for 20 prototypes on June 22, 1944. The He-343 was based on later Arado 234 designs but was significantly larger and as stated earlier, included a number of features and ideas from the P.1068 project. Heinkel developed 3 main variants of the He-343 including Bomber. Heavy Fighter and Reconnaissance versions. All were similar in size but differed in their intended purposes.
The Bomber variant was referred to, as the He-343A-1 and had a 2 man crew in a pressurized cabin. The He-343A-1 bomber was to be capable of carrying 4400 lbs. of bombs internally and an additional 2200 lbs. of bombs externally mounted on the inside engine nacelles. The He-343A-1 was to be also capable of carrying the highly effective SC-2000 Fritz radio controlled anti-ship bomb. This weapon would require the addition of a third crew member. Two rear firing machine guns near the back end of the aircraft would have made up the He-343A-1 defensive armament. The He-343A-1 was to be powered by four HeS-011A jet engines giving the Bomber a maximum speed of 910 km/hr. and a maximum range of 1880 km.
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