The Messerschmitt Me 262 was the first operational fighter aircraft powered by jet in the world. It started to develop before the Second World War and first flew in April 1941. It was introduced in 1944, and was majorly used by the Luftwaffe and Czechoslovak Air Force and was retired in 1945 and 1951, respectively. A total of 1,430 aircraft were built.
The Me 262 was designed with higher speed and equipped with better armaments compared with other fighter aircraft of the Allied forces. It was one of the most innovative aviation concepts that were used in the Second World War and served as a light bomber, reconnaissance aircraft, and an experimental night fighter. On April 18, 1941, test flights started. It entered service in April 1944, and other than Germany, Czechoslovakia also operated a few Me 262. Several versions of the Me 262 were produced including a reconnaissance version designated as A-1a/U3, a bomber-destroyer version designated as A-1a/U4, a heavy jet fighter designated as A-1a/U5, and a few more.
The Messerschmitt 262 A-1A was the primary production variant intended as a fighter-interceptor and a fighter-bomber. It is a single-crew aircraft with an external length of 10.6 meters, an external height of 2.8 meters, and a fuselage diameter of 1.6 meters. It has a tail height of 3.8 meters and a wheelbase of 3.9 meters. The wingspan is 12.6 meters and the wing area is 21.7 square meters. It has an empty weight of 3,795 kg, a gross weight of 6,473 kg, and a maximum takeoff weight of 7,130 kg. The maximum payload is 1,000 kg and the fuel tank capacity is 635 US gal.
The aircraft is powered by two Junkers Jumo 004B-1 engines. It is a turbojet engine with an eight-stage axial compressor, six can-type combustors, and a single-stage turbine. Each engine produces a maximum takeoff thrust of 1,980 lbf. The Me 262 has a maximum speed of 490 knots and a travel range of 570 nautical miles. It can fly up to 37,570 feet and can climb at a rate of 3,900 feet per minute at a maximum weight of 7,130 kg. It could be armed with four 30 mm Mk 108 cannons, twenty-four 55 mm R4M rockets, and two 250 kg bombs or two 500 kg bombs in the A-2 version.