Heinkel He 170

The Heinkel He 170 was an export version of the military version of the high speed He 70, originally designed as a prestige airline for Lufthansa.

The He 170 was very similar to the military versions of the He 70, but with a much more powerful engine. The BMW engine of the He 70 was replaced with a 910hp Gnome-Rhône 14K Mistral-Major fourteen-cylinder radial air cooled engine, produced under licence as the Manfred Weiss WM-K-14. The engine was enclosed in a circular cowling, giving the He 170 a very different appearance to the 'hunch-nosed' He 70. The new engines raised the top speed of the aircraft from 224 to 270mph.

The prototype He 170 made its maiden flight in 1937. It was followed by eighteen production aircraft, which were delivered to Hungary in 1937-38, and entered service with I Independent Long-Range Reconnaissance Group in Carpatho-Ruthenia in March 1939.

In the summer of 1941 the Hungarians took part in the German attack on the Soviet Union. The He 170 saw a short period of front line service, starting on 27 June 1941. It quickly became clear that it was not fit for military service even this early in the war on the Eastern Front. It was badly under-armed, with only two machine guns, and the wooden wings were seen as a fire risk. As with the He 70 the elliptical wings and low cockpit room limited its usefulness as a reconnaissance aircraft, and it was withdrawn from the front line in July.

Engine: Gnome-Rhone 14K Mistral-Major
Power: 910hp
Max Speed: 270mph at 11,155ft
Armament: Two 7.92mm machine guns

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (23 November 2009), Heinkel He 170 , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_heinkel_he_170.html

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