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Kurt Tank

Kurt Tank (24th February 1898-1983) was a resourceful aeronautical engineer and test pilot, heading the design department at Focke Wulf from 1931-45. He designed several important aircraft of World War II, including the Focke Wulf Fw 190 fighter aircraft.

Before Focke Wulf, Tank was employed by Albatros-Flugzeugwerke, which merged with Focke in 1931.

Tank then started work on the design of the Fw 44, Focke Wulf's first commercially successful design, launched in 1934. This led to burgeoning growth for the company as the country prepared for war. There were many government requirements for aeroplanes, and Tank could fulfil them.

The Fw 190 Würger (butcher-bird), produced from 1939 to 1945, was a mainstay Luftwaffe single-seat fighter during World War II.

During the war, Tank was honoured for his work. In January 1943, he was named honorary Professor with a chair at the technical school in Braunschweig, in recognition of his services to the development of flight.

At the end of the war, like many other German technicians, he continued his professional life in Latin America. The Argentine Government offered him a job at its aerotechnical institute, the Instituto Aerotécnico in Córdoba. He moved there, with many of his Focke-Wulf co-workers, in 1947.

The Instituto Aerotécnico later became Argentina's military aeroplane factory, the Fábrica Militar de Aviones. It employed the Focke Wulf men until President Juan Peron fell from power in 1955; then they dispersed, many to the United States.

Tank moved to India. There, he designed, for Hindustan Aeronautics, the HF-24 Marut fighter-bomber, the first military aircraft constructed in India. The first prototype flew in 1961; the HF-24 was retired from active service in 1985.

Tank returned to live in Berlin during the seventies, basing himself in Germany for the rest of his life.

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