X-Files: VJ 101C

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

In today’s Sydney Flyer article we are delighted to welcome back author Anthony Coleiro and the most recent instalment of his X-Files series. For those of you not aware, Anthony has written 130 articles under the ‘X-Files’ series for the club magazine, with this one making it 131. What a record!

Do you consider yourself an aviation enthusiast? Do you consider yourself a wordsmith? Have you been on an amazing adventure lately? Been to a fantastic airshow? Flew a new plane? Passed a test or a significant endorsement? Have you had a close call and want to share with the world what you’ve learned? Are you planning a fly-away? Or perhaps wanting to share some aviation history or fascinating facts?  If so, we want to hear from you!

Currently seeking story submissions for our e-newsletter, website and Facebook.

Submit your stories to Michelle for consideration.


In 1959 three German aircraft manufacturers formed a consortium to develop a Mach 2 Vertical Take Off and Land (VTOL) interceptor for the Federal German Defence Ministry. The three companies that combined their efforts at the behest of the Defence Ministry were Heinkel, Bölkow and Messerschmitt; they called themselves, Entwicklungsring Süd. With a project as complex as this, international help was sought and in all, 115 foreign companies had some sort of input into the project. 60 were from the USA, 35 were from the UK and 20 were from France.

The aircraft was a high wing monoplane, primarily of light alloy construction. The single occupant sat in a pressurized cockpit on a Martin-Baker ejector seat. The aircraft had six engines; they were 2,750 lb thrust Rolls-Royce RB.145. Two were mounted in the fuselage just aft of the cockpit and four in swivelling pods on each wing tip mounted in pairs. The fuselage engines were only used for VTOL and slow speed flight while the wing tip engines were used for this also but had the additional tasks of transitional and horizontal flight. Two prototypes had been built after the configuration was tested in a specially built skeletal test rig.

The first prototype, X-1, was flown for the first time on 10 April 1963 in a free hover. In horizontal flight-testing, it had exceeded Mach 1 several times before it crashed in a vertical take-off mishap on 14 September 1964. That same year Heinkel pulled out of the consortium. In 1965 the two remaining partners reformed calling themselves Entwicklungsring Süd GmbH or EWR for short. The second prototype, X-2, commenced testing and it differed from the first one by having 3,550 lb thrust afterburning version of the Rolls-Royce RB.145 engines in the wing tip pods giving greatly increased power. The aircraft achieved a speed of Mach 1.4 in this configuration. In October 1965 the X-2 achieved the first full transitional flight but development ceased soon after with changing military requirements.

The planned production version was to be called VJ 101D but it would have been considerably different from the prototypes with the removal of the swivelling wing tip pods. It was envisaged that the aircraft would have a battery of Rolls-Royce RB.162 engines on the fuselage with the primary propulsion engines being Rolls-Royce RB.153 turboprop engines mounted in the rear of the fuselage and relying on thrust deflection. None of these aircraft were ever built.



The Illustrated Ency. of Aircraft

Orbis Publication

Vertical Flight Aircraft of the World

F. G. Swanborough

Air Progress

Aug/Sept 1964

Conde Nast Publications Inc.

Aircraft Prototypes

Christopher Chant


Anthony Coleiro

Subscribe to our member & guest newsletter

Be first to hear about fly-aways, events, offers, courses and more

Get in touch

Please fill in your enquiry below and someone at SFC will be in touch with you shortly.

Contact Info