Messerschmitt Me P.1090 "Modular Aircraft"

          This Messerschmitt design dates from early 1943, and was an attempt at making a "modular" aircraft. Basically, the idea behind this project was for whole sections of fuselage, wings or other components which could be exchanged for other sections to make a "new" aircraft for different roles. Some of the roles envisioned were to be:

  • single-seat heavy fighter
  • twin-seat heavy fighter
  • strike fighter
  • high-altitude fighter
  • nightfighter
  • high-speed bomber
  • dive bomber
  • torpedo bomber
  • fighter-bomber
  • reconnaissance
          Approximately the size of a Messerschmitt Me 410 (span: 16.39 m, length: 12.56 m), the P.1090 could be powered by either two Daimler Benz 603G 12- cylinder piston engines (2000 horsepower each) or two turbojets (probably Jumo 004s). By the use of Rüstsätze (field conversion sets), different configurations could be achieved (please see table below). All fuel was to be carried in the wings with the exception of those configurations that would carry extra fuel in the center fuselage section. The empty weight ranged from 5.5 to 8 metric tons, and the takeoff weight could go as high as 11.5 metric tons. On both the piston and jet powered versions, the twin wheeled main landing gear would retract into the engine nacelles. The piston-powered aircraft featured a retractable tail wheel; the jet powered example used a front wheel tricycle gear arrangement. Top speed was estimated to be in the neighboorhood of 500-775 km/h for the DB 603-powered aircraft, and 1010 km/h for the Jumo 004-powered version.
          Messerschmitt built a wooden mockup with modular sections that could be swapped out to prove his concept to the RLM, but nothing ever came of this novel arrangement. The only surviving drawing is shown below.

Modular Configurations
Section Changes
cockpit single or twin seats, different armament packages
fuselage center photographic, bomb bay, extra fuel
rear fuselage different radio, navigation or rescue equipment 
outer wing increase wing area from 28 m² to 31 m² or 36 m²
engines either DB 603G or Jumo 004

drawing label translations by Andres Valdre