The Henschel Hs 117 Schmetterling (German
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....
A butterfly is a mainly day-flying insect of the order Lepidoptera, which includes the butterflies and moths. Like other holometabolous insects, the butterfly's life cycle consists of four parts: egg, larva, pupa and adult. Most species are diurnal. Butterflies have large, often brightly coloured...
) was a German
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...
A surface-to-air missile or ground-to-air missile is a missile designed to be launched from the ground to destroy aircraft or other missiles...
project developed during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...
. There was also an air-to-air version.
The operator used a telescopic sight and a joystick
A joystick is an input device consisting of a stick that pivots on a base and reports its angle or direction to the device it is controlling. Joysticks, also known as 'control columns', are the principal control in the cockpit of many civilian and military aircraft, either as a center stick or...
to guide the missile by radio control
Radio control is the use of radio signals to remotely control a device. The term is used frequently to refer to the control of model vehicles from a hand-held radio transmitter...
HistoryIn 1941, Professor Herbert A. Wagner
Herbert A. Wagner
Herbert Alois Wagner was an Austrian scientist who developed numerous innovations in the fields of aerodynamics, aircraft structures and guided weapons...
(who was previously responsible for the Henschel Hs 293
Henschel Hs 293
The Henschel Hs 293 was a World War II German anti-ship guided missile: a radio-controlled glide bomb with a rocket engine slung underneath it. It was designed by Herbert A. Wagner.- History :...
anti-ship missile) invented the Schmetterling missile and submitted it to the Reich Air Ministry (RLM), who rejected the design because there was no need for more anti-aircraft weaponry.
However, by 1943 the large-scale bombing of Germany caused the RLM to change its mind, and Henschel was given a contract to develop and manufacture it. There were 59 experimental firings, of which 34 failed.
In May 1944 23 Hs 117 missiles were successfully tested. Mass production was ordered in December 1944, with deployment to start in March 1945. In January 1945 a prototype for mass production was completed, but on 6 February SS-Obergruppenführer
Obergruppenführer was a Nazi Party paramilitary rank that was first created in 1932 as a rank of the SA and until 1942 it was the highest SS rank inferior only to Reichsführer-SS...
General Dr Ing. Hans Friedrich Karl Franz Kammler was a civil engineer and high-ranking officer of the SS. He oversaw SS construction projects, and towards the end of World War II was put in charge of the V-2 missile programme.He is most commonly referred to as Heinz Kammler or Hans...
cancelled the project.
VariantsThe Hs 117H was an air-launched variant, designed to be launched from a Dornier Do 217
Dornier Do 217
The Dornier Do 217 was a bomber used by German Luftwaffe during World War II as a more powerful version of the Dornier Do 17, known as the Fliegender Bleistift . Designed in 1937 and 1938 as a heavy bomber, its design was refined during 1939 and production began in late 1940...
, Junkers Ju 188
Junkers Ju 188
The Junkers Ju 188 was a German Luftwaffe high-performance medium bomber built during World War II, the planned follow-on to the famed Ju 88 with better performance and payload...
, or Junkers Ju 388
Junkers Ju 388
The Junkers Ju 388 Störtebeker was a World War II German Luftwaffe multi-role aircraft based on the Ju 88 airframe by way of the Ju 188. It differed from its predecessors in being intended for high altitude operation, with design features such as a pressurized cockpit for its crew...
aircraft. The Hs 117H was designed to attack an enemy aircraft up to 5 km above the launching aircraft.
- Primary Function: surface-to-air missile
- Contractor: Henschel
- Power Plant:
- booster rockets: 2 Schmidding 109-553 solid-fuel boosters, giving total 17.1 kN (1750 kgfKilogram-forceA kilogram-force , or kilopond , is a gravitational metric unit of force. It is equal to the magnitude of the force exerted by one kilogram of mass in a gravitational field...
) thrust for 4 s
- main rocket: liquid fuel BMWBMWBayerische Motoren Werke AG is a German automobile, motorcycle and engine manufacturing company founded in 1916. It also owns and produces the Mini marque, and is the parent company of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. BMW produces motorcycles under BMW Motorrad and Husqvarna brands...
109-558 rocket motor giving 3.7 kN (375 kgf) for 33 s, followed by 588 N (60 kgf) for 24 s
- booster rockets: 2 Schmidding 109-553 solid-fuel boosters, giving total 17.1 kN (1750 kgf
- Propellants: SV-Stoff (nitric acidNitric acidNitric acid , also known as aqua fortis and spirit of nitre, is a highly corrosive and toxic strong acid.Colorless when pure, older samples tend to acquire a yellow cast due to the accumulation of oxides of nitrogen. If the solution contains more than 86% nitric acid, it is referred to as fuming...
), TonkaTonka (fuel)Tonka is the name given to a German-designed rocket propellant; it has also been used by North Korea and by the Soviet Union....
- Length: 4.2 m (13 ft 9 in)
- Diameter: 350 mm
- Wing Span: 2 m
- Launch Weight: 420 kg (presumably excluding boosters, which weighed a total of 170 kg)
- Speed: 183 m/s (not sure about this)
[tests showed 304m/s initial, slowing to 270-210m/s ]
- Warhead: 25 kg explosive
- Range: 32 km (20 mi)
- Altitude: 10.7 km
- Guidance system: MCLOSMCLOSMCLOS is a first-generation method for guiding guided missiles.With an MCLOS missile, the operator must track the missile and the target simultaneously and guide the missile to the target. Typically the missile is steered with a joystick, and its path is observed through a periscope-type...
; visual guidance, radio controls
- Unit Cost:
- Date Deployed: never
- Users: GermanyGermanyGermany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...
- Henschel Hs 293Henschel Hs 293The Henschel Hs 293 was a World War II German anti-ship guided missile: a radio-controlled glide bomb with a rocket engine slung underneath it. It was designed by Herbert A. Wagner.- History :...
- WasserfallWasserfallThe Wasserfall Ferngelenkte Flakrakete , was a World War II guided surface-to-air missile developed at Peenemünde, Germany.-Technical characteristics:...
- List of World War II guided missiles of Germany
- Video of Schmetterling missiles being fired
- Henschel Hs117 Schmettering (Butterfly) - Royal Air Force Museum, Cosford (UK)
Rheintochter was a German surface-to-air missile developed during World War II. Its name comes from the mythical Rheintöchter of Richard Wagner's opera series Der Ring des Nibelungen.- History :...
The Wasserfall Ferngelenkte Flakrakete , was a World War II guided surface-to-air missile developed at Peenemünde, Germany.-Technical characteristics:...
Heinkel He 114
-See also:-Bibliography:* Donald, David, ed. Warplanes of the Luftwaffe. London: Aerospace, 1994. ISBN 1-874023-56-5.* Smith J. R. and Kay, Anthony. German Aircraft of the Second World War. London: Putnam & Company Ltd., 1972. ISBN 0-370-00024-2....
Heinkel He 115
The Heinkel He 115 was a World War II Luftwaffe seaplane with three seats. It was used as a torpedo bomber and performed general seaplane duties, such as reconnaissance and minelaying. The plane was powered by two 720 kW BMW 132K nine-cylinder air-cooled radial engines...
Heinkel He 116
-See also:-Bibliography:* Smith J. R. and Kay, Anthony. German Aircraft of the Second World War. London: Putnam & Company Ltd., 1972. ISBN 0-370-00024-2....
Hs 117 -
Heinkel He 118
-See also:-References:* Green, William. Warplanes of the Third Reich. New York: Doubleday, 1972. ISBN 0-385-05782-2....
Heinkel He 119
|-See also:-References:*Donald, David, "An Industry of Prototypes - Heinkel He 119", Wings of Fame, Volume 12. Aerospace Publishing Ltd., London, UK/AIRtime Publishing Inc., Westport, Connecticut, 1998, ISBN 1-86184-021-7 / 1-880588-23-4, pp. 30–34....
List of surface-to-air missiles