LIGHTWEIGHT ADVENTURE

IN FOCUS

Helwan’s HA-300 was a short-lived but nonetheless meritorious attempt by Egypt to create a supersonic lightweight jet fighter. Malcolm V Lowe tells the story

HELWAN HA-300

Bearing the designation ‘HA P-300’ on its vertical tail, this Spanish-built experimental glider was unsuccessfully test-flown in towed configuration. It was the prelude to a much more successful development in Egypt.

Necessity is sometimes said to be the father of invention. A littleknown but potentially successful programme in Egypt to create a viable jet fighter, free from the danger of international politics and possible arms embargoes, led to the creation of an aesthetically attractive, delta-winged warplane named the Helwan HA-300. It owed much of its creation to the famous German aircraft designer Wilhelm ‘Willy’ Messerschmitt, and the whole HA-300 programme became something of an international aviation collaboration between nationals from several countries.

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