MEMOIRS from the Egyptian Side

The first Arab supersonic aircraft

Built by ambitious young Egyptian Engineers

The pride of Egypt, destroyed by incapable military dictatorship

Collection of Articles

Now when you Google "HA 300", you will find "HA-300 Long-Range Alert Kit" !!!

Dr Adel Elsaie, PhD Aerospace Engineering

In English, and Arabic (For Egyptians who say "تسلم الايادى تسلم يا جيش بلادى")

300 حلوان - HELWAN HA 300

اهكذا تحولت الطائرة الحربية المصرية في عهد عبد الناصر إلى أدوات منزلية. شهادة المهندس رشدي عطية


The Helwan HA300 fighter prototype was originally a project by Hispano Aviacion in Spain before it was acquired by Egypt.
in Spain before it was acquired by Egypt.


Kurt Tank

I remember the HA 300 many times in my life. Now, I realize that this was about 50 years ago, when I started working in Helwan on this great project from 1962 - 1970. I don't remember everything during this period, but there are some memories that I can’t forget.

When I left Helwan Aircraft Factory, I was the chief of the Aerodynamics Department, responsible for Aerodynamics, stability and control, and flight performance. I was still young, less than 30 years old.

After Gp Capt Kapil Bhargava left Helwan Aircraft Factory, Major Sobhy El Tawil took over as a flight test pilot, and I was working closely with him to check the flight performance. We compared the fight performance of HA 300 with the Russian MIG 21 and the American F4. HA 300 was far superior than both aircrafts due to it light weight. When I published the comparison results, I was called by the military Intelligence, where they asked me about my sources of Information about MIG 21 and F4. They thought I was connected with both the CIA and the KGB??? !!!. I told them I got all my information from a published book "Jane- All the World Aircrafts"

We built 3 prototypes. The first one was subsonic (below the speed of sound). The first flight was in 7 March 1964. The second was Transonic (passed the speed of sound). Can you imagine the pride of the Egyptian Engineers and the test pilots.

Before the 1967 war with Israel, we were testing the MIG 21 and our Interceptor HA 300. We found out the MIG 21 was not capable of intercepting the Israeli aircrafts and come back to its base in Egypt. We told the Russian we need bigger fuel tanks for their aircraft. They said it was not possible, because the fuel tanks would increase the drag on the aircraft, and this would have adverse effects on its performance. We designed bigger fuel tanks for the MIG 21 and proved the Russians were wrong, (or lying). They asked us to scrap our modified fuel tank, and they would send us THEIR modified fuel tank!!!!!! This was how we were dealing with the Russians.

I went to Bangalore, India, with about 50 Egyptian Engineers for about 6 months to work with our Indian counterparts as a joint team for HA300 and HF24.

I had the honor of having Prof. Kurt Tank as my external supervisor of my PhD thesis. I used to go to his Villa in Maadi many times with my supervisor Prof. Ismail Rashed to discuss my thesis.

I remember closing the project in May 1969. It was a very sad day in our life. It was the day when the third prototype was supposed to be tested for supersonic speed. With the Egyptian Jet Engine E-300 had started taxi testing, the command came from “above” to stop and scrap the whole project. The Soviet pressured Nasser to stop the program to prevent the HA-300 to win the challenge against the Soviet Mig-21, the high availability of Russian fighters with soviet pilots, the special discounts for arms sales to Egypt, the Egyptian government terminated the project finally in May 1969.

What I know we did not run out of money and patience. Because we used to have Qaddafi, when he was young and patriot, coming to Helwan in a helicopter and asking us what we need to complete this aircraft. May Arab leaders considered this aircraft as an Arabic aircraft and they were willing to help with money. The reason of shutting off this project, that I know, was that the Russians commanded Nasser to scrap the project, or else they would not supply Egypt with weapons during Egypt war of attrition with Israel. The Russians had full control on our destiny. They knew they are dealing with incompetent military dictator.

We started building a sound industry in the 50’s and 60’s; at the same time India and South Korea started modernizing their countries. They had democratic leaders, and poor Egypt had incompetent and corrupt military dictators.

Helwan HA-300


In the early 1960s Egypt started an ambitious project to develop and produce a supersonic fighter, with Spanich assistance. The famous German aeronautical enginner Willi Messerschmitt was responsible for the project. The most famous jet of World War II was the Messerschmitt ME-262A. It could have possibly changed the outcome of the war if it had come a little earlier and in greater numbers. Fourteen hundredof these twin-engine German jets were produced during the war, but only about 100 ever saw operationas fighters. An additional 200 were used as tactical fighter bombers.

Messerschmitt's team designed a lightweight supersonic fighter designated as HA-300P. By mid 1956, there were contacts between Hispano Aviacion and the Egyptian government led by Gamal Abdel Nasser. They led to the purchase of the Spanish license constructed Me 109 as well as the cloning of HA 200. The interest of Egypt awakened Spain's hopes in finding a partner that would help divide the development costs of the HA. During these negotiations, Egypt had made it clear that the initial flight of the HA 300 was the prerequisite for the contract of the licensed construction.

In 1960, the Egyptian government purchased the documents for the HA 300, the Hispano Aviacion refunded all of the development costs up until that point. When Spain ended its support to the project, the entire Messerschmitt team moved to Egypt. All construction groups of the jet fighter as well as the volplane HA 300 P were overtaken by the purchaser. On March 7, 1964, the first prototype of HA 300 started on its initial flight to Cairo. During 1965, the second flight took place. Both prototypes were equipped with Bristol Orpheus 703-engines. For the third prototype, the Orpheus 12 was used and the aircraft was expected to achieve Mach 2 speed. The engine manufacturer aborted the development, however. Egypt kept the engine despite its development costs, however it was denied.

Willy Messerschmitt was asked to develop his own engine. Though he was no engine constructor, he found help from Ferninand Brandner. The Jumo 222 was developed and was the strongest German aircraft engine of the Second World War. Brandner later went to the Soviet Union where he developed the stronger propeller turbine jet air engine in the world, the Kuznetow NK-12M with 8,800 kW. The Austrian jet enjine expert Ferdinand Brandner was invited to develop a new turbojet for the new fighter. Test facilities and workshops for the new fighter and engine were built at Helwan / Hulwan airbase, southeast of Cairo. The newly built E-300 jet engine ran for the first time in July 1963, while the HA-300 first prototype made its first flight on 7 March 1964.

The turbo jet engine E300 with 33.3 kN thrust suggested by Brandner and the 49 nK with afterburn was not just expected from the HA 300, but also for the fighter HF 24 Marut which Kurt Tank had been developing for the Indian government. A corresponding contract between India and Egypt was signed in September 1964. India helped fund development of the E-300 engine in order to acquire a new power plant for its HF-24 Marut jet fighter. The E-300 engine was eventually used in the Indian HF-24 Marut fighter. Two Egyptian pilots went to India in 1964 and attended the Indian air force test pilot school to prepare for the HA-300 flight development. India also provided a Marut fighter for the E-300 project.

The cell of the HA 300 had to be altered for the new engine. Problems concerning the procurement of construction parts delayed the project. After the outbreak of the Six Day War in 1967, Messerschmitt and Tank had contracts for the development of a third prototype of the HA 300.

After the 1967 defeat, continuous Soviet pressure sought to stop the project. Due to financial problems and the availability of large numbers of Soviet fighters, the Egyptian government cancelled the project in 1969 when the third prototype with the E-300 had started taxi testing. In 1969, the development was aborted and the German engineers had to evacuate the country due to tensions with the Federal Republic of Germany which led to a standstill in work. Egypt made close contacts with the Soviet Union and purchased aircrafts instead of developing them itself. The HA 300 program cost the Egyptian governament more than 135 million Egyptian pounds.

مشروع الطائره القاهره 300

Tarek Khaled, Ph.D, Chief Advisor, Metallurgy

Federal Aviation Administration


هل سمع أو يعرف أحد الأخوة الأعزاء أن مصر أنتجت طائرة مقاتلة حقيقية ، و أن هذه الطائرة كانت متفوقة على الطائرات الروسية و كان من الممكن أن تتفوق على الطائرات الأميركية؟


قطعا أغلبكم أو كلكلم لا تعرفون ذلك – عامة أليكم قصة هذه الطائرة و لكن قبل أن أسرد قصتها أحب أن أعرفكم أن معاهدة كامب ديفيد المخزية كان من نتائجها أن قامت مصر فى عهد السادات بتسليم الأمريكان كافة الأوراق و التصميمات الخاصة بهذه الطائرة كما قام الأمريكان بأنفسهم بتفكيك كل الطائرات و أرسالها لأمريكا حتى أن قطع الصاج التى يصنع منها جسم الطائرة تم جمعها ولم يترك ولو مسمار واحد – علاوة على هذا التخاذل أسمعوا منى الأنكى و الأفدح من ذلك – كان هناك لدى المخابرات المصرية نسخة من التصميمات الأصلية خبأها السادات عنهم و لكنهم عرفوا فى عهد الخائن المخلوع الذى قام بتسليمها لهم بكل سهولة


أشياء حين تسمعها يحترق دمك و يرتفع ضغطك – ولكن ما باليد حيلة – دعونا نشعر ولو ببعض الفخر لما أنجزه أخواننا المصريين سابقا :


في بداية الستينيات بدأت مصر بتوجيه من الرئيس جمال عبد الناصر صناعة طيران مدني و حربي على السواء ، فبدء مشروع طموح لإنتاج وتطوير طائرة أسرع من الصوت بمساعدة شركة إسبانية. وكان المهندس الألمانى المشهور ويلى مسريشميت المسئول عن المشروع. قام بتصميم طائرة خفيفة الوزن أسرع من الصوت وتمت تسميتها بـ”HA-300P“.


بدء المشروع في مصر بشراء التصميم الذي لم ينفذ بعد إنهاء إسبانيا دعمها للمشروع عام 1960. و بذلك انتقل المشروع إلى مصر وتم دعوة خبير المحركات النفاثة فريدناند براندنر لتصميم محرك جديد للطائرة.

تم توفير أماكن الاختبار والورش الخاصة بالطائرة والمحرك بقاعدة حلوان الجوية جنوب شرق القاهرة.

محرك القاهره 300 تحت جناح طائره انتينوف للاختبار


أختبر محرك من طراز بريستول أورفيوس من إنتاج شركة رولز رويس عليها، إلا أن مصر لم تقتنع بأدائه كما أن الرئيس المصري رأي أن الإعتماد على محرك بريطاني يشكل تهديدا للأمن القومي المصري ذلك نظرا لحالة العداء المتبادل بين مصر و بريطانيا وقتها خاصة أن حربا كانت بينهما عام 1956 ( العدوان الثلاثي ) ، و قامت مصر بتصنيع وإنتاج المحرك E3-300 الأفضل.


تم تجربة المحرك الجديد E-300 أول مرة في يوليو 1963 في حين أن النموذج التجريبى للطائرة HA-300 تم تجربته في 7 مارس 1964.


قامت الهند بالمساعدة في التمويل لتطوير المحرك E-300 وذلك لاستخدامه في مقاتلاتها HF-24 Marut وتم إرسال اثنان من الطيارين المصريين لكلية الطيران بالهند للاستعداد لقيادة الطائرة حلوان 300 ووفرت الهند طائرة من طراز Marut لتجربة محرك E-300.



 بعد نكسة 1967 مارس السوفييت ضغط متواصل لإيقاف المشروع وإلا فلن يمد مصر بالسلاح في وقت كان فيه هو المورد الأوحد للسلاح إلى مصر وكذلك الوضع العسكري السئ لمصر في أثناء حرب عام 1967 والتي أدت إلى تدمير أجزاء كبيره من الجيش المصري ، كما أن نجاح مشروع حلوان 300 كان يهدد و بقوة مبيعات طائرة ميج 21 السوفيتيه الأضعف و الأقل قدرة.


نتيجة للمشاكل المالية وتوافر عدد كبير من الطائرات الروسية التي تم تخفيض سعرها فقط وخصيصا لمصر لتدعيم موقف مصر في الحرب و نظرا أيضا لإنعدام الدعم العربي عسكريا لمصر في الحرب ، إضطرت الحكومة المصرية إلى إلغاء المشروع في 1969 وذلك بعد إنتاج النموذج الثالث من المحرك E-300 وتجربته ونجاح الطائره وتوقفها عند حد الإنتاج الكمى لها.


  كلف هذا المشروع الحكومة المصرية أكثر من 135 مليون جنية مصري أى ما يوازي حاليا 14 مليار جنيه مصري أو 2.3 مليار دولار ، وتم استخدام المحرك E-300 في المقاتلات الهندية HF-24 Marut

أجري الرئيس الجزائري أحمد بن بله مفاوضات لشراء الطائرة مع الرئيس جمال عبد الناصر و شاهدا عرضا جويا لأحد نماذج الطائرة ، و قد وافق الرئيس المصري على بيع الطائرة للجزائر بنظام الأجل الطويل نظرا للظروف الإقتصادية للجزائر بعد تحررها من الإستعمار و ذلك فور دخول الطائرة لخطوط الإنتاج بعد إنتهاء تطويرها ، إلا أن نكسة عام 1967 و توقف المشروع أدي إلى تجميد الصفقة إلى أن ألغيت

الطائره المصريه – القاهره 300

الطراز مقاتلة اعتراضيه مع
إمكانيات قتال أرضى محدودة

المحرك…محرك توربوجيت طراز حلوان هـ – 300
اساسى الدفع 3402 كجم
بعد التسخين 4990 كجم

السرعة2124 كم \ ساعة على ارتفاع 12192 متر ضعف سرعة الصوت

1802كم \ ساعة على ارتفاع 12192 متر بتسليح صاروخين جـو جـو

ارتفاع أقصى…12000 متر

المدى…643 كيلومترا

التسليح مدفعين رشاشين هيسبانو عيار 30 ملم
أو مدافع رشاشة نوديلمان-سيرانوف ن س – 23 عيار 23 ملم من 2 الي 4 صواريخ (جو – جو) أشعة تحت الحمراء




HA-300 Helwan Aircraft Egypt, The Interceptor Aircraft that Egypt built in The 1960's

By Gp Capt Kapil Bhargava (Retd)




Prof Willy Messerschmitt

Professor Willy Messerschmitt was almost certainly the world's finest aircraft “constructor”. Before World War II began, he had manufactured more than 35,000 Me-109s at the rate of more than one each day. This many fighter aircraft of one type had never been made before nor will ever be seen in future.

After WW II, all German designers and technologists were prohibited by the Allies to undertake any research for defence purposes. Prof. Messerschmitt was even limited on his movements within Germany. He set up a new firm Hispano Aviacion in Spain and started designing an ultra-light fighter aircraft in 1951. Only a delta shaped plywood glider without a tail was built. Its first flight, being towed by a CASA C- 2.111 (the Spanish Heinkel He-111), was abandoned due to instability before getting fully airborne. Eventually the Egyptians took over the HA-300 project. A German design team moved to Helwan, south of Cairo. The shift of the project from Spain to Egypt resulted in the letters HA (originally Hispano Aviacion) referring to Helwan Aircraft, at least as far as the Egyptians were concerned. The HA-300 was a most ambitious development project. It was an ultra-light single seat delta shaped fighter aircraft with a separate tail plane. It was Professor Willy Messerschmitt’s last design and the only truly supersonic one. He was already famous for Me-109 and Me-262, etc. HA 300

The HA-300 was the smallest jet fighter aircraft ever designed and flown. Even the Gnat was bigger than it. Its delta wing was swept at 57.5° and its thickness/chord ratio was just 3%.  Prof. Messerschmitt was well ahead of his time in the concept of his first supersonic design. Unfortunately, he did not have an adequate industrial base from which to launch this daring design. If he could have done this work in a developed country, the HA-300 may well have been a success.

The wing design of HA-300 was also revolutionary. Its thickness to chord ratio was only 3%. This is still the thinnest duralumin aerofoil ever to be flown. Clearly, the HA-300 would have had amazing performance due to its lightness and very high thrust/weight ratio. These would have allowed it to go up almost vertically and reach 12,000 metres in only 2.5 minutes from brakes off. But, the thinness of its wing also meant that flutter was very likely. Its very small wingspan of just 5.84 metres meant that damping in roll at high altitude would have been low. This could result in inertia coupling at high rates of roll. The rudder was quite high above the centre line. The HA-300 was never tested for inertia coupling. But, it did show slight adverse bank on use of rudder.

The Indian Connection

The Indian participation in Egypt’s aircraft industry was the direct result of a close understanding between Pandit Nehru and President Gamal Abdul Nasser. Suffice it to say that I was deputed by the Indian Air Force to work as a test pilot in the Egyptian Aircraft Factory 36 at Helwan. The Egyptians had no qualified test pilots, and the project needed one. The German experts at Helwan had wanted a European test pilot, but none was available. When I arrived at Helwan in June 1963. I was escorted to Fritz Schaeffer who was the former test pilot of Heinkel and had flown the world's first jet fighter in 1941. As in-charge of the flight test group, he bluntly told me that I was not wanted and should not dream of flying the HA-300. I could keep myself amused with the HA-200 (Saeta) twin engine basic trainer aircraft, Messerschmitt’s last but one design, being produced under license at Helwan. Air Marshal M Sidky Mahmoud, Commander Egyptian Air Force (CAS), expressed his inability to force the Germans to use my services.

I pointed out that if the Egyptians had no use for me, I would prefer to return to India, as test pilots were not exactly in surplus there. The Air Marshal then suggested that, although I would normally be engaged in the production testing of the HA-200, I should simultaneously "keep an eye on the HA-300". The situation changed somewhat dramatically a few days later, however, when it was decided that the HA-300 would be taxied in front of President Gamal Abdul Nasser during the Egyptian Republic Day celebrations of July 1963. Since no other test pilot was available, the German staff conceded that I might be permitted to taxi their prototype fighter. In their opinion, I was unlikely to do much harm merely taxying the aircraft!

Two views of the HA-300. The aircraft ready for flight in the picture above

The performance of this "simple exercise" proved rather more complex than had been anticipated owing to a number of factors. The damping of the nose oleo leg was unsatisfactory and resulted in the aircraft pitching violently on encountering the slightest roughness in the runway surface. The self-centring action of the nose wheel was so powerful that the wheel tended to skid and jump sideways rather than turn. Tremendous effort was put into reaching a reasonably acceptable compromise between nose wheel shimmying and turning stiffness, and it was thus possible to demonstrate gentle taxying of the aircraft in front of the President.

This occasion was the only time that I met President Nasser in person. He was accompanied by Mr Anwar El Sadat, who later succeeded him as President. I explained to President Nasser the layout and the most interesting features of the HA-300 and was asked my personal opinion of the Helwan fighter. In my reply, I endeavoured to imply that left to the foreign staff alone, the HA-300 would make an interesting research project but would never be developed into an effective weapon system. He just smiled. I concluded that, despite any difficulties that might hinder the project, he had his reasons for persisting with it and that too under the control of foreigners. He obviously believed that a successful flight test would be sufficient to strengthen his hand in international negotiations.

When the Germans failed to hire any European test pilot, in October 1963, I was asked by the Egyptian Air Chief to do its maiden flight. I told him that the aircraft was a death trap and I was not willing to fly it. The next few messages between Prof. Messerschmitt and me were relayed by the Air Chief to each of us. On being told of my fears, Prof. Messerschmitt said that he had not wanted “a bloody Indian pilot”, as he was sure to be chicken. My response was that I was not just chicken - I was s…t scared. I said I would be very dead, if I tried to fly the aircraft until its deficiencies were removed. To settle the dispute we invited Wing Commander Suranjan Das from HAL to give his opinion on the aircraft’s hazardous design features. He took my list of dangerous features and completely confirmed my views. He sent six copies of my report with a covering letter informing all concerned authorities that no Indian test pilot should be permitted to fly the aircraft till its shortcomings were eliminated. I thus became the only pilot available for the HA-300 V-1’s first flight.

My most memorable encounter with Prof. Messerschmitt soon followed this conclusion. One day I was told that the Professor wanted me in his conference room. On entering it, I saw that it was laid out like a kangaroo court. At the head of some long tables was Prof. Messerschmitt with an interpreter beside him. Senior Germans were seated on one side, with their Egyptian counterparts opposite them. The bottom end had one seat for me, the accused. Prof. Messerschmitt asked me through his interpreter why I was so insistent on the modifications, which I had claimed were essential to ensure safety. By then I was quite angry and replied that I was not really interested in the mods. They were my conditions to fly the aircraft. Otherwise, another test pilot could be hired and I would happily go back home to India.

There were many German red faces on hearing this answer. The word ultimatum buzzed around between them. People did not issue an ultimatum to Prof. Messerschmitt. However, he calmed his team down and told me that while he might agree to make the changes, he wanted to know why I was so adamant to have them done. Still boiling mad, I said that a technical lecture was necessary and I would proceed to give it if he really wanted it. He quietly agreed to listen.

I reminded Prof. Messerschmitt that the contract for the aircraft specified the design to conform to the British Air Publication-970 requirements, which laid down the design criteria for military aircraft. The nineteen points listed by me were all in serious breach of the AP. A few of them were so obvious that it was a wonder that the design team did not anticipate them. For example, the integral fuel tanks had leaked and flexible rubber tanks were inserted in them. Some of these had also leaked. Yet, the only indication for fuel contents was a totaliser gauge showing the fuel entering the engine. The pilot would know that all fuel had leaked out only after his engine cut. The fuel system had apparently been designed with a preoccupation for unlimited inverted flying. Firstly, there was no requirement for such a facility and, secondly, the Orpheus engine’s oil system would, in any case, have limited the maximum duration of inverted flight to about 10 seconds. The direct supply tank to the engine was the smallest in the system and any failure of air transfer pressure would produce a flameout within two minutes. The tail plane trim was operated by a single-pole switch on the stick carrying the entire current of the large motor, without any protection against a trim run away. Rudder flutter was forecast at 0.56 M. Yet, its damper was powered by a single hydraulic system. Other design deficiencies, too many to list here, were also dangerous and unacceptable to me as a qualified test pilot.

Prof. Messerschmitt did not take long to realise that I was right in my concern for the aircraft’s safety. It takes a really great man to admit that he is wrong. The Professor got up from his chair and shook my hand. He said that he had not realised how far his team had fallen back in design expertise. He assured me that all required actions would be taken and he would instruct his staff to follow my directions. It took just six months after this meeting for me to declare the aircraft ready for flight.

first flight

The first flight on March 7, 1964 was as much routine as the maiden flight of a fighter aircraft of a revolutionary design can ever be. There was no trouble of any kind in its short duration of 12½ minutes. The excitement came after the flight. When we were sipping champagne, Prof. Messerschmitt shook my hand and held it for a while. He was trembling. I asked him what the matter was and why he was so tense. He replied, “When I think of what could have happened”. I told him that we had done all our worrying on the ground with every contingency planned for. The safety of the aircraft was the issue with which we had been struggling for six months. He said that while that was all very well, many of his prototypes had crashed on the first or an early flight. I lightly replied that he should have listened more to his test pilots and not threatened to send them off to the Russian Front if they disagreed with him. He just smiled.

The HA-300 in flight over the first pyramid of Saqqara, built by King Zoser of the second dynasty. The step pyramid was the first one ever built, well ahead of the famous Pyramids of Giza.

The photo was probably taken to capture two aspects of the Egyptian civlisation in one single frame -  the ancient and the most modern of Egyptian technologies of the time.

Our safety precautions allowed the two prototype aircraft (V-1 and V-2) to complete 135 flights without a single accident. The aircraft was very pleasant to fly - for me. Its control forces had been adjusted to meet my requests. The aircraft's response in rates of roll and stick force per G was exactly as I liked. I was able to take the V-2 (Second Prototype) to 1.13 M. During flutter testing Major Sobhy El Tawil trained by me as a test pilot encountered flutter when a thruster on the left wing was fired. He followed the briefing exactly and did not allow aerodynamic loads to increase. Instead, he throttled back and gently eased out of the dive. He returned safely with a cracked inner hinge of the left flap-cum-aileron. The German staff was very impressed with his airmanship. This was the only safety hazard seen on the aircraft during its entire history. The HA-300's maximum speed and ceiling were limited as all flying was done with the Orpheus 703 engine.

The foreign technical staff working on the HA-300 airframe and the E-300 engine wholeheartedly embraced proposals for collaboration with India in the venture. The principal motive of the Egyptians was presumably to get India to share the cost of developing the E-300 engine, which was offered as an option for India's own HF-24 Marut. For Dipl Ing Brandner and his team, Indian collaboration provided the opportunity to flight test the engine in a really suitable airframe. Four prototype E-300 engines had each completed 2,000 hours static running in test cells before the ninth prototype engine had begun flight trials beneath the wing of an An-12. This installation was proving somewhat less than satisfactory owing to the limited flight envelope possible.

India had built an HF-24 with reheated Orpheus engines and for this development HAL had enlarged the rear end of the aircraft. Consequently, it was a relatively simple job to adapt an HF-24 airframe powered by a pair of normal Orpheus engines but easily modified to replace one or both with E-300s. This aircraft, referred to as the IBX, was flight tested in India with normal Orpheus engines and again in Egypt after delivery and reassembly at Helwan. Shortly thereafter, an E-300 was installed in the starboard engine bay. A team from HAL supported the flight testing of this aircraft, despite the technical and logistical difficulties resulting from the distance between Bangalore and Helwan, well over a hundred flights being performed and the E-300 being declared ready for installation in the single-engine aircraft – the HA-300.

Apart from just over a dozen flights performed by me, all flight testing of the IBX was undertaken by Wg Cdr IM Chopra who later became Chief Test Pilot at Bangalore and finally retired as Chairman of HAL. The contribution to the development of the E-300 engine made by him and Gp Capt (later Air Marshal) CS Naik, a Cranfield graduate, was invaluable, especially since few of the local technical staff possessed much knowledge or experience of flight testing and analytical techniques.

Prof. Messerschmitt asked Prof. KW Tank, who had just finished his assignment with HAL, to stay in Helwan to help complete the development of the HA-300. Indian policy makers, including the CAS, were quite confused about collaboration with Egypt. According to them both countries would use the HF-24 fitted with the E-300 engine. The Indian authorities had not realised that the Egyptians were not interested in the HF-24. When this became clear, official Indian enthusiasm for the E-300 also disappeared. This was the death knell of the HA-300 project. Foreign experts working at Helwan began to drift away. The Egyptians also ran out of patience and money, and closed the project in May 1969. My attempts to fly the V-3 with the E-300 engine, designed specifically for the HA-300, did not succeed due to problems with the engine.

Prof. Messerschmitt and I parted as good friends and with high regard for each other. He along with Prof. Tank paid me a high compliment by asking me to join the Panavia flight test management group. This was obviously not possible for me, as I was still a serving Indian Air Force officer. The first flight of the HA-300 was the highlight of my sixteen-year long test-flying career.


The Restoration

In 1991, Daimler-Benz Aerospace AG (DASA) bought up the H-300 V-1 and airlifted it to Germany. Apprentices of MBB at Manching under proper supervision worked for five and a half years to restore it for exhibition at the Deutsches Museum.


The restored HA-300 seen in Germany


My article on the HA-300 published in 1980 in a UK aviation magazine enabled DASA and the Messerschmitt Stiftung (Foundation) to trace me in Bangalore. The Foundation then invited me to attend a ceremony on 26th March 1997 for DASA to hand over the aircraft to the Deutsches Museum. It was very well attended, with more than 300 guests including all the top hierarchy of aviation of Munich, Manching and environs. Many relatives of Prof. Messerschmitt were invited for the occasion. Two or three engineers who had worked in Helwan on the E-300 engine were also present. I was also asked by the Messerschmitt Stiftung to deliver a talk on my experience of flying the HA-300.

Mr Aloysius Rauen, Senior Vice President of the Military Aircraft Division of DASA, described the problems faced by German designers immediately after Word War II, including restrictions on the movements of Prof. Messerschmitt even in Germany. These lasted till 1948. He then traced the history of Prof. Messerschmitt's work in Spain from 1951 till the definition of the HA-300 to its final form. He concluded that due to various constraints, the HA-300 could not be produced as a fighter but its concept led to the emergence of the MiG-21 in USSR.

Professor Gero Madelung, who had worked with Prof. Messerschmitt in Spain, followed Mr Rauen. He showed the various aerodynamic designs and features considered for the HA-300 and how its final form had emerged. Mr W.L. Blasel, General Manager (Light Aircraft) at Flugzeug-Union Sud, described how he had negotiated with the Egyptians and brought the aircraft to Germany. Then, DASA's apprentices from Manching presented a record of their work on restoration of the aircraft. When they had received it, it was full of sand, bird nests and corrosion. After they finished with it, the aircraft looked better than it did for its first flight. It had taken them 20,000 hours of hard work to get the aircraft fit for the Museum to their satisfaction! The cockpit had been restored as far as possible and looked quite familiar to me.

The Author, Gp Capt Kapil Bhargava (Retd) in the cockpit of the HA-300   at the handing over of the restored HA-300 to the Deutsches Museum.

Another view of the event.

After these speakers, I spoke of my impressions of the project. Most of my speech is included in this article above. I also pointed out that I had the privilege of having flown the very last Messerschmitt design and his first supersonic aircraft. At the end of my talk, a short extract was played from my recording made in the Air Traffic Control of Helwan during the first flight of the HA-300. This gave a very good feel of the excitement of the safe landing of prototype HA-300 V-1 and was well received by the audience. I sat in the V-1 cockpit for a long time after my talk. This enabled interested persons to photograph me and to ask me technical and other questions about the HA-300. I was surprised by the number of people who asked for my autograph on the programme brochure of the ceremony.

Now the HA-300 is in Munich's Deutsches Museum at Schleissheim just north of Munich. Hopefully visitors will look at the HA-300 and be deeply impressed that there was real genius behind its concept. By coincidence, or by design, the aircraft just behind the HA-300 was the HF-24 Marut, as the last project of Prof. Kurt Tank, taken from HAL Bangalore to the Deutsches Museum

The HA-300 on display today at the Deutsches Museum north of Munich. Prof Kurt Tank's design is represented by the HAL HF-24 in the background - which was gifted by the Indian Air Force to the museum.

Even though my long stint in Egypt jeopardised my career opportunities in the IAF, I never regretted being deputed for this job. I shall forever cherish the memory of having handled the last design of an exceptional aeronautical designer and manufacturer and having earned due recognition from him. Prof. Messerschmitt’s one-hundredth birth anniversary was observed by DASA and the Foundation on 28th June 1998 with justifiable pride and nostalgia. A special hall at the Deutsches Museum now holds his famous aircraft types with other information to inspire visitors to follow his exceptional example in development of aeronautical art and science



Copyright © Gp Capt Kapil Bhargava (Retd) . All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Gp Capt Kapil Bhargava (Retd) is prohibited. 




Helwan HA-300


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Jump to: navigation, search

The Helwan HA-300 (Arabic: حلوان ٣٠٠‎) was a supersonic jet fighter aircraft developed in Egypt during the 1960s. It was designed by famous German aircraft engineer Willy Messerschmitt.

At various stages, Spain and India were also involved in the development program, where Spain accepted to finance the two projects HA-200 and HA-300, but it cancelled financing the HA-300 project before it had begun when it was just on paper, then Egypt financed it, and the program transformed to Egypt where every thig was built.

At a late stage India financed the Egyptian development of the Egyptian E-300 engine in order to use it on the Indian fighter jet HF-24 Marut.

The HA-300 was an ambitious project for Egypt, at the time seeking to expand both its airial civilian and defense industry.

There were three prototypes built before termination of the project in 1969 when the fighter jet was about to enter service.

The first prototype was restored in 1991 and is now located in the Deutsches Museum in Munich (Flugwerft Schleißheim).[1]



 HA 300






Design and development


After World War II, Willy Messerschmitt (as a German citizen) was prohibited from undertaking any research or development related to the German military, including the manufacture of aircraft, until 1955. He therefore moved to Spain where he joined Hispano Aviación and started designing an ultra light fighter aircraft in 1951.[2] The development was very slow and Messerschmitt was only able to build a delta shaped plywood glider without a tail. Towed by a He-111, the test flight for the glider wasn't completed due to instability and the airplane didn't even get airborne. Due to funding problems and the resultant long development time, the project was abandoned by the Spanish in 1960.[3]

The design was then acquired by Egypt and the design team, headed by Messerschmitt, moved to Helwan, Egypt, to continue their work on the HA-300, which now stood for Helwan Aircraft 300.[1] Ferdinand Brandner, an Austrian jet engine expert, was also invited to develop a turbojet for the new fighter. Egypt aimed to produce a lightweight supersonic, single-seat fighter which could join the Egyptian Air Force as an interceptor.[4]


Development of the Egyptian HA-300 started in the test facilities and workshops in Factory No. 36 in Helwan, southeast of Cairo, under the supervision of the Egyptian General Aero Organisation (EGAO), officially the program started in 1959.

The first prototype of the HA-300, powered by a 2,200 kgp Orpheus Mk 703-S-10, first flew on 7 March 1964,[5] and achieved Mach 1.13.[6] Egypt sent two Egyptian pilots to India in 1964 to prepare for the HA-300 flight development.[1] It was followed by a second Orpheus-powered prototype which first flew on 22 July 1965. The third and last prototype was fitted with the Egyptian E-300 engine, which it was hoped would make it capable of attaining 12,000 m and Mach 2.0 within 2.5 min of takeoff. This prototype was flight-tested at least one time when it acheaved speed 2.1 Mach with the Egyptian Brandner E-300 engine.

A total of 135 million Egyptian pounds was spent on the development, and the E-300 engine was given to the Indian government for use in the HF-24 Marut fighter.[3]

 E-300 Engine

The HA-300 was originally designed for the afterburning Orpheus BOR 12 turbojet, but the engine didnot achieve the minimum level of success Egypt required in the fighter jet, and president Nasser saw from the bigining a major threat to the national security in depending on British engine, because of the hostility that time between Egypt and Great Britain after the 1956 war suez crisis.

The fighter jet was then modified for the Egyptian Brandner E-300 engine, which would have an afterburning rating of 4,800 kgp, which ahcieved high level of performance.

India also helped in the funding of the Egyptian E-300 jet engine in exchange for a new powerplant for its HF-24 Marut.[1] The E-300 jet engine ran for the first time in July 1963 successflly.[3]


After the Six-Day War defeat, Egypt needed most of its military budget for acquiring new tanks, artillery, TU-16 heavy bombers, aircraft and air defenses and so, due to this and the Soviet pressure to stop the program to prevent the HA-300 to win the challenge against the Soviet Mig-21, the high availability of Russian fighters with soviet pilots, the special discounts for arms sales to Egypt, the Egyptian government terminated the project finally in May 1969.[2][4]


The first HA-300 prototype was bought by Daimler-Benz Aerospace AG (DASA) in 1991 and was airlifted to Germany for restoration at Manching. The process took MBB five and a half years to complete and today the HA-300 is in the Deutsches Museum Flugwerft Schleissheim at Oberschleißheim near Munich.[1]




 Specifications (HA-300)


General characteristics

  • Crew: 1 (pilot)
  • Length: 12.4 m (40 ft 8 in)
  • Wingspan: 5.84 m (19 ft 2 in)
  • Height: 3.15 m (10 ft 4 in)
  • Wing area: 16.7 m2 (180 sq ft)
  • Empty weight: 2,100 kg (4,630 lb)
  • Gross weight: 5,443 kg (12,000 lb)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Bristol Orpheus 703 or Brandner E-300 turbojet, 21.6 kN (4,900 lbf) thrust (Orpheus)




  • Maximum speed: Mach 2.1 with Brandner E-300 engine , 1.7 Bristol Orpheus engine.
  • Combat range: 1,400 km (870 mi; 756 nmi)
  • Service ceiling: 12,192 m (40,000 ft)
  • Rate of climb: 203 m/s (40,000 ft/min)


 See also

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era


Related lists


  1. ^ a b c d e Group Captain Kapil Bhargava. "Messerschmitt's HA-300 and its Indian Connection". MEMOIRS. Indian Air Force. Retrieved 2008-08-08. 

  2. ^ a b "Hispano Aviácion HA 300". EADS N.V.. 2008-07-20. Retrieved 2008-08-18. 

  3. ^ a b c Ace (2006-12-10). "The Egyptian Helwan HA - 300". Aviationfans. Retrieved 2008-08-08. 

  4. ^ a b Mohamed Bahaa (2007-11-28). "Helwan-300: The Egyptian Interceptor Project". Aviation Articles. Retrieved 2008-08-08. 

  5. ^ Group Captain Kapil Bhargava. "Eyewitness to the Six-Day War". THE SIXTIES. Indian Air Force. Retrieved 2008-08-09. 

  6. ^ "Helwan HA-300". FLUG REVUE. 1998-07-14. Retrieved 2008-08-09.


The Egyptian Helwan HA - 300


F18 Vs F35 Program Coverage


Subscribe to the Respected Defense Data Service For F18 Vs F35 News.



In the beginning of the sixties Egypt started an ambitious project to develop and produce a supersonic fighter with Spanish assistance. Willi Messerschmitt the famous German engineer was responsible for the project, he and his team designed a lightweight supersonic fighter designated as HA-300P. When Spain ended its support to the project the entire Messerschmitt team was moved to Egypt. The Austrian jet engine expert Ferdinand Brandner was invited to develop a new turbojet for the new fighter.

Test facilities and workshops for the new fighter and engine were built at Hulwan airbase southeast of Cairo. The newly built E-300 jet engine ran for the first time in July 1963, While the HA-300 first prototype made its first flight on 7 March 1964. India helped fund development of the E-300 engine in order to acquire a new power plant for its HF-24 Marut jet fighter.

2 Egyptian pilots were sent to India in 1964 and attended the Indian air force test pilot school to prepare for the HA-300 flight development, India also provided a Marut fighter for the E-300 project. After 1967 defeat continues Russian pressure was made to stop the project and due to financial problems and the availability of large amounts of Russian fighters the Egyptian government cancelled the project in 1969 when the third prototype with the E-300 had started taxi test already. The program coasted the Egyptian government more than 135 million Egyptian pounds. And the E-300 engine was used in the Indian HF-24 Marut fighter.

General characteristics

  • Type: Single-seat Point-defense interceptor with a limited ground-attack capability.
  • Crew: 1
  • Length: 12.40 m (40.7 ft).
  • Wingspan: 5.84 m (19.16 ft) .
  • Height: 3.15 m (10.33 ft).
  • Wing area: 16.70 m² (179.75 ft²).
  • Empty weight:2,100 kg (4,629 lb)
  • Loaded weight: 5,443 kg (12,000 lb).
  • Powerplant:
    • 1 x Bristol Orpheus 703 or
    • 1 x  Brandner E-300 turbojet (fitted to the third prototype) .
  • Thrust:
    • 21,6 kN (4850 lbs). (with Bristol Orpheus 703 engine).
    • (10540 lbs) (with Brandner E-300 turbojet engine afterburner)


  • Maximum speed:  1,146 knots (2,124 km/h) at 12,192 m and 973 Knots (1,802 km/h) with two air-to-air missiles.
  • Practical range : 755 nm (870 m, 1400 km).
  • Service ceiling: 39,370 ft (12,000 m).
  • Initial rate of climb: 203 m/s (4,593 ft/s).


  • Guns:
    • Two 30 mm Hispano or
    •  Four 23 mm Nudelmann-Suranov NS-23 cannon.
  •  Missiles: Four infra-red (IR) homing air-to-air missiles.



MIG 21: