The operator used a telescopic sight and a joystick to guide the missile by radio control.
In 1941, Professor Herbert A. Wagner (who was previously responsible for the Henschel Hs 293 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 Hans Kammler cancelled the project.
The Hs 117H was an air-launched variant, designed to be launched from a Dornier Do 217, Junkers Ju 188, or Junkers Ju 388 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 kgf) thrust for 4 s
- main rocket: liquid fuel BMW 109-558 rocket motor giving 3.7 kN (375 kgf) for 33 s, followed by 588 N (60 kgf) for 24 s
- Propellants: SV-Stoff (nitric acid), Tonka
- 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)
- Warhead: 25 kg explosive
- Range: 32 km (20 mi)
- Altitude: 10.7 km
- Guidance system: MCLOS; visual guidance, radio controls
- Date Deployed: never
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