The Messerschmitt Me-262 was the world’s first operational jet-powered fighter aircraft. and also the world’s first mass-produced jet fighter. The first successful flight of a jet Me-262 occurred on the 18th of July, 1942.
The aircraft had two nicknames:
Schwalbe (“Swallow”) for the fighter version, or Sturmvogel (“Storm Bird”) for the fighter-bomber version.
Design work started before World War II began, but engine problems, metallurgical problems and top-level interference kept the aircraft from operational status with the Luftwaffe until mid-1944.
The Me-262 was faster and more heavily-armed than any Allied fighter, including the British jet-powered Gloster Meteor.
Pilots of this aircraft claimed a total of 542 allied kills, though claims for the number are often higher than what was actually shot down.
Captured Me 262s were studied and flight tested by the major powers, and ultimately influenced the designs of a number of post-war aircraft such as the North American F-86 Sabre and Boeing B-47 Stratojet.
German Scout Messerschmitt Me-262 A-Ia/U3 “Lady Jess IV”, captured by the Americans. In the background is visible a part of another Messerschmitt ME-262 [ Via] Underground manufacture of Me 262s [Bundesarchiv, Bild 141-2738 / CC-BY-SA 3.0] Captured by the British, Messerschmitt Me-262 at the airfield in Lubeck. In the background, on the right – a German Junkers Ju-88 [ Via] Technicians inspect a German jet fighter Messerschmitt Me-262V7, serial number 130303 at the airport in Germany after the surrender of Germany [ Via] Damaged German fighter Messerschmitt Me-262, captured by US Army in Salzburg. The engine fighter is set with the German anti-tank mine Tellermine 42. Probably this machine was prepared for demolition. Rauchen Verboten means “no smoking” [ Via] A pair of Messerschmitt Me-262A-1a, 1st Squadron 51th Bomber Squadron (1.KG51) on the sidelines of the route Munich – Salzburg [ Via] Test pilot and an engineer, Lieutenant Colonel Andrei Kochetkov conduct test flights jet aircraft Me-262 [ Via] Photo of the same Me-262 as above during the start [ Via] Me-262 is ready to fly [ Via]
Jet fighter Messerschmitt Me-262A-1a (III / EJG 2) [ Via] Me-262 A, circa 1944 [Bundesarchiv, Bild 141-2497 / CC-BY-SA 3.0] Me-262B-1a/U1 night fighter, Wrknr. 110306, with Neptun radar antenna on the nose and second seat for a radar operator [ Via] Pilots of the 44th Fighter Division (Jagdverband 44) and jet fighters Messerschmitt Me-262A-1a [ Via] Cockpit of the Me-262 [ Via] German experimental fighter Messerschmitt Me-262 A-1a / U4 (serial number 170083), captured by US troops at the factory in Augsburg. This one was equipped with Rheinmetall Mauser BK5 50mm gun 940 rounds per minute, 22 projectile ammunition) [ Via] German fighter jets Messerschmitt Me-262B-1a/U1. The first two visible aircraft have installed “Neptun” radar antenna FuG 218. Photo taken after the surrender of Germany [ Via] This airframe, Wrknr. 111711, was the first Me-262 to come into Allied hands when its test pilot defected in March 1945. It was subsequently lost in August 1946, the US test pilot parachuting to safety [ Via] US Staff Sergeant inspects a crashed German fighter Me-262A-1a bearing the number “22 White” from the 44th Fighter Group (Jagdverband 44, JV 44). The group is a special fighter unit and manned by the best fighter pilots of the Luftwaffe during the last months of World War II [ Via] A Jumo 004 engine is being investigated by Aircraft Engine Research Laboratory engineers of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics in 1946 [NASA – GPN-2000-000369] Destroyed by Allied bombing, jet fighters Messerschmitt Me-262 [ Via] American officers and dismantled Messerschmitt Me-262 at the airfield near Frankfurt. Note the shells of MK-108 gun next to the aircraft [ Via] American bomber B-24 “Liberator” (serial number 44-50838) of the 448th Bombardment Group, shot down by R4M missiles of a Messerschmitt Me-262. Only one member of the crew survived, he landed on the enemy territory and was captured [ Via] Photo of Luftwaffe Me-262 being shot down by USAF P-51 Mustang of the 8th Air Force, as seen from the P-51’s gun camera [ Via] Orthographically projected diagram of the Messerschmitt Me 262 [ Via]
Length: 10.60 m (34 ft 9 in)
Wingspan: 12.60 m (41 ft 6 in)
Height: 3.50 m (11 ft 6 in)
Wing area: 21.7 m² (234 ft²)
Empty weight: 3,795 kg (8,366 lb)
Loaded weight: 6,473 kg (14,272 lb)
Max. takeoff weight: 7,130 kg (15,720 lb)
Powerplant: 2 × Junkers Jumo 004 B-1 turbojets, 8.8 kN (1,980 lbf) each
Aspect ratio: 7.32
Maximum speed: 900 km/h (559 mph)
Range: 1,050 km (652 mi)
Service ceiling: 11,450 m (37,565 ft)
Rate of climb: 1,200 m/min (At max weight of 7,130 kg) (3,900 ft/min)
Guns: 4 × 30 mm MK 108 cannon (A-2a: two cannon)
Rockets: 24 × 55 mm (2.2 in) R4M rockets
Bombs: 2 × 250 kg (550 lb) bombs or 2 × 500 kg (1,100 lb) bombs (A-2a variant)