The Focke-Wulf Ta 152 was designed as a high altitude fighter, which could engage American heavy bombers and their escorts on equal terms. Work on this aircraft began in 1943 and the design was referred to as Spezial Hoehenjager (special high altitude fighter). The RLM soon gave it the official designation Ta 152. Professor Kurt Tank procured three basic design variants: Normaljager (conventional fighter), Hoehenjager (high altitude fighter) and Schlachtflugzeug (attack aircraft). The conventional fighter was developed as Ta 152 C version, the high altitude fighter as Ta 152 H and the attack aircraft as Ta 152 B. The conventional fighter was tested with the use of four prototypes, powered by Daimler-Benz DB 603 E and EC engines, rated at 1,800 hp. Production aircraft were to be powered by DB 603 L engines rated at 2,000 hp. The prototypes were completed during 3 November 1944 - 15 January 1945. The high altitude version was given the highest priority, the first production version was the Ta 152 H-0 powered by Junkers Jumo 213 E engine rated at 1,750 hp on take-off, armed with one 30 mm MK 108 cannon and two 20 mm MG 151/20 cannons. The Ta 152 H-1 version had the fuel capacity enlarged by 400 liters and provision for GM 1 or MW 50 installations, temporarily boosting engine power at high altitudes. Production totaled 67 Focke-Wulf Ta 152 aircraft of all versions (mostly Ta 152 H) by the end of the war. Those few pilots, who had the opportunity to fly the Ta 152 H in combat emphasized its high speed, outstanding performance at high altitude and very short turn radius in horizontal maneuvers. Ofw. Josef Keil of JG 301 shot down five Allied aircraft flying a Ta 152 H, thus becoming the only Ta 152 ace.