Wehrmacht History 1935 to 1945


Sponsored Links

My Other Sites

Sponsored Links

Henschel Hs 117

Surface-to-Air Missile

Henschel Hs 117 Schmetterling (Butterfly) Surface-to-Air Missile

Service Data

In Service: 1943 to 1945

Production Data

First Flight:
Manufacturer: Henschel
Number built:

Technical Data

Type: Surface-to-Air Missile

Guidance system: radio controlled
Length: 4.30 m
Wingspan: 2 m
Diameter: 0.35 m
Weight: 420 kg
Engine: 1 × BMW 109-558 liquid fuel rocket engine producing up to 375 kg of thrust 2 × Schmidding 109-553 solid fuel rocket engine producing up to 1,750 kg of thrust
Maximum speed: km/h
Range: 32 km
Warhead: 25 kg
Fuze: proximity
Launch Platform: 3.7 cm gun carriage
Operators: Luftwaffe
Hs 117
Hs 117H

Other: Missiles


The Henschel Hs 117 Schmetterling (Butterfly) was a subsonic missile. Designed and developed by Henschel und Sohn in 1941 under the leadership of Dr.-Ing. Herbert Alois Wagner.

The Henschel Hs 117 Schmetterling was a subsonic missile was shaped like a small aircraft with swept back wings and cruciform tail unit. The nose was asymmetric and divided into the warhead extension on the starboard side and a shorter extension for a generator propeller on the port side. Aerodynamic control was by means of solenoid operated Wager bars at the trailing edges of the wings and tail plane, and no rudder was required.

To launch a Henschel Hs 117 a modified 3.7 cm gun carriage was used, which formed two crutches, on which the wings rested. For takeoff boost, 2 × Schmidding 109-553 solid fuel rocket engine producing up to 1,750 kg of thrust. Once expended the boosters fell away to ignite the main engine, which was 1 × BMW 109-558 liquid fuel rocket engine producing up to 375 kg of thrust, an alternative main engine could be used, which was the Walter 109-729. An automatic system was employed to ensure that the missile flew at its correct, Mac number and that the correct airspeed was obtained.

The Henschel Hs 117 was intended for low and medium altitude interceptions it was expected that visual line of sight guidance would be sufficient, using already available equipment in order to get the missile operational in the shortest time. The Hs 117 was sighted visually use in a 10 × telescope. Two operators were needed one to search and set the telescope in the approximate direction given by the standard optical flak predictor, and the other to control the missile into a line of sight using a joystick control. The control link was along similar lines to the Kehl-Straßburg (designed and developed by Telefunken) system.

Under Blind conditions. It was hoped to use the mannheim Riese ground radar systems whereby both target and missile were showed on cathode ray tubes, and the operator applied control.

Testing of the Henschel Hs 117 began in May 1944 at Karlshagen on the Baltic coast, and by September twenty two. Hs 117 had been launched including the ones launched by He 111.

The first blind tests was simulated with Würzburg radar equipment when the missile was released from an He 111 and controlled from the ground, with acceptable results. According to pilots observations. Other tests were made from September 1944, by the Luftwaffe's flak units, which had the task of appraising the flak missiles and formulating techniques for their utilisation.

Production of the Henschel Hs 117 was ordered in December 1944 and projected to start in March 1945 with a starting figure of 150 per month, and slowly rising to 3,000 a month. By November of that year. The first launching site was projected for March 1945 with 60 sites to set up by November. Plus 10 a month after this, although the Henschel Hs 117 came nearest of all German ground to air missiles to being operational.

The Hs 117H was an air launched variant, designed to be launched from a Do 217, Ju 188, or Ju 388 aircraft.


Henschel Hs 117 Schmetterling (Butterfly) Surface-to-Air Missile picture 2

Leave a Comment




CAPTCHA Image Audio Version Refresh


The Warplanes of the Third Reich.
ISBN-10: 0385057822

German Aircraft of the Second World War.
ISBN-10: 0370000242

Hitler's Luftwaffe.
ISBN-10: 051718771X

For a complete list of sources
WWII News articles from around the world

Sponsored Links

WWII Timeline
World War Two Timeline, detailing every event, day by day from 1935 through to 1945.
WWII Timeline

Support This Site
There are many ways to help support this site if you would like more information
Click Here

Join Our Newsletter
To receive the latest news on Book Reviews, Movies and site updates join my free Newsletter

Sponsored Links

Sponsored Links

Bookmark & Share
Please bookmark this site and tell your friends!
Bookmark and Share

This website is NOT meant to promote Nazism, the politics of Adolf Hitler, or any other political ideology. It deals with the subject of German military during a particular period of history nothing else.

©Wehrmacht History

Reliable Web Hosting