National Geographic Channel (NGC) and Northrop Grumman Corporation teamed up to build a Horten 229 flying wing replica for Hitler’s Stealth Fighter, a new documentary premiering June 28, 2009 at 9:00 p.m. The top-secret Nazi stealth fighter was reconstructed to determine if Hitler’s military had stealth capabilities three decades before the United States. The Horten 229 is scheduled to be unveiled as part of the Museum’s World War II Gallery on Wednesday, June 24, 2009.
In the final months of World War II, American troops discovered a top-secret facility in Germany with an advanced, jet-propelled aircraft like none seen before. Shaped like a massive, smooth-contoured bat wing and made almost entirely from wood, the flying machine looked as if it was from another world. Decades ahead of its time, the futuristic fighter jet was brought back to the United States to be studied. Was the plane’s strange shape designed to deflect Allied radar? If Nazi engineers had more time, would this jet have ultimately changed the outcome of the war? These questions remained a mystery for more than 60 years while a German prototype was hidden in a U.S. government warehouse… until now.
Premiering June 28, 2009, at 9 p.m. ET/PT, Hitler’s Stealth Fighter reveals one of the Third Reich’s best-kept secrets. For more than half a century little was known about this mysterious aircraft. Now, with an elite team of Northrop Grumman aeronautical engineers, NGC worked from the original plans and prototype to reconstruct a full-scale replica of the jet and determined if it had stealth capabilities. If proven, it would confirm that Hitler was on the verge of introducing a stealth jet fighter into the battle with Allies, long before the United States began developing stealth technology in the 1970s. The implications could have been monumental, especially in light of the Nazis’ parallel progress in developing atomic capabilities.
For three months, NGC cameras followed the Northrop Grumman team, documenting the meticulous construction of the 229 replica. To stay faithful to the original aircraft, they used time-tested materials and techniques to form it, but its complex shape presented challenges, even with today’s technical advances. Once the model was completed, the team headed to a restricted area in the Mojave Desert where cameras have never before been allowed. At the Northrop Grumman test range, the replica was mounted five stories off the ground so radar could be aimed at it from every angle. Using radar detection technology and simulated aerial attacks, the team finally unlocks the mystery of Hitler’s Stealth Fighter after decades of debate.
Hitler’s Stealth Fighter premieres Sunday, June 28, 2009, at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT. For more information, visit www.natgeotv.com/stealth
For more information about the unveiling and pictures of the Horten 229 please visit: www.sandiegoairandspace.org or call 619.234.8291 x140.
Hitler’s Stealth Fighter is produced for the National Geographic Channel by Flying Wing Films. For Flying Wing Films, executive producers are Michael Jorgensen and Carrie Gour. Writer/director is Michael Jorgensen. For the National Geographic Channel, executive producer is Michael Welsh, senior vice president of production is Michael Cascio and executive vice president of content is Steve Burns.
National Geographic Channel
Based at the National Geographic Society headquarters in Washington, D.C., the National Geographic Channel (NGC) is a joint venture between National Geographic Ventures (NGV) and Fox Cable Networks (FCN). Since launching in January 2001, NGC initially earned some of the fastest distribution growth in the history of cable and more recently the fastest ratings growth in television. The network celebrated its fifth anniversary in January 2006 with the launch of NGC HD which provides the spectacular imagery that National Geographic is known for in stunning high-definition. NGC has carriage with all of the nation’s major cable and satellite television providers, making it currently available in nearly 70 million homes. For more information, please visit www.natgeotv.com.
About Northrop Grumman
Northrop Grumman Corporation is a leading global security company whose 120,000 employees provide innovative systems, products, and solutions in aerospace, electronics, information systems, shipbuilding and technical services to government and commercial customers worldwide.
The San Diego Air & Space Museum is California’s official air and space museum and education center. The Museum is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, and it was the first aero-themed Museum to be accredited by the American Association of Museums. Currently on display: THE DA VINCI EXPERIENCE, a special exhibition featuring remarkable reproductions of Leonardo da Vinci’s most famous artwork and interactive replicas of his mechanical devices created more than 500 years ago. Visit www.sandiegoairandspace.org for more information. The Museum is located at 2001 Pan American Plaza, Balboa Park, San Diego, CA 92101. The Museum and gift store are open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., with admissions until 5:00 p.m. Closed Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.