Although the Komet's rocket engine gave it a exceptional climb rate, range was severely limited by its high fuel … Flight testing of the first series of Me 163 B-0 preproduction aircraft proceeded through 1942 and demonstrated the dangers of the Me 163's unproven propulsion system. Learn how aviation and spaceflight transformed the world. Chantilly, VA 20151 In 1944, a modified Me 163 reportedly achieved 702 miles per hour in a dive, nearly shearing off its vertical stabilizer in the process. Their first design was a conversion of the earlier Lippisch Delta IV known as the DFS 39and used purely as a glider testbed of the airframe. The armament is 2 x Mk 108 30 mm cannon. Like the DFS 39, it was initially intended only to be a conventionally powered flying test bed for later rocket-powered designs. The unit made its first interception of Allied bombers on August 16, 1944 without success. As fuel passed through the Walter motor's pumps, areas of vacuum sometimes formed in the liquid. While development of the first turbojet engines began in the late 1920s, other designers were drawn by the potential of preexisting rocket technology. Despite a series of accidents and explosions involving the unreliable motor, on October 2, 1941, the Me 163 V1 set a new world speed record of 1,004.5 kph (623.8 mph). ... Another problem is that Messerschmitt dealt with the whole fuel issue in a very conventional aircraft fuel system way. Allied troops went onto capture many Me 163s intact and take them back home for testing—at least ten of which can be seen in museums in North America, Europe and Australia today. The success of the DFS 194 spurred development of the first prototype Me 163, designated the Me 163 V1, which was completed during early 1941. Because Messerschmitt had worked on an observation plane called the Bf 163 before switching to using “Me” aircraft designations, the designers figured using the Me 163 designation would trick Allied intelligence as to the rocket plane’s true nature. 703-572-4118, Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA, Transferred from the United States Air Force, 96 x 366 x 211.75 in. However, the Komet burned through its fuel in just seven minutes of flight—giving it an operational range of just twenty-five miles. The Me 163 story doesn’t end in Europe. Nazi Germany pursued numerous ambitious and impractical weapon programs over the course of World War II. Although the prototype Me 163A first flew in August 1941, it was not until February 1944 that production Me 163Bs entered service in any number, official disinterest playing a part in the slow progress of development. The Messerschmitt Me 163S “Habicht” or “Hawk,” was a two-seater trainer version of the Me 163. Early combat experiences demonstrated a number of problems that prevented the Me 163 from ever becoming an effective weapon. Image: A German Messerschmitt Me 163B Komet rocket-propelled fighter. He currently writes on security and military history for War Is Boring. Its design was revolutionary, and the Me 163 was capable of performance unrivaled at the time. (Baku13/Wikimedia) Not a Jets but very similar to the Jets play style in game 6. Powered by an HWK 109 liquid-fuel rocket engine, it proved phenomenally fast, setting a world speed record of 624 miles per hour in level flight on October 2, 1941. Nonetheless, some Me 163s did see action. The Messerschmitt Me 163 Komet, designed by Alexander Martin Lippisch, was a German rocket-powered fighter aircraft. This cavitation often caused a catastrophic explosion when the motor was started. The airframe was completed at the Messerschmitt works in Augsburg and shipped to Pennemünde West early in 1940 for installation of a Walter R I-203. Its landing gear remained similar to the earlier design, employing a wheeled trolley that was jettisoned after takeoff and an extendable skid for landing. Considering the conditions under which it was developed and deployed, however, the Me 163 can be rightly considered a significant technological accomplishment. Front-line fighters of the time rarely exceeded 350 miles per hour. The move to Messerschmitt brought a change in the program's designation to Me 163. It first flew in September 1941 and entered service in 1944. Please ensure your details are valid and try again. Japanese designers used the manual to create their own versions of the Me 163, the J8M Shushui (“Autumn Water”) for the Navy, as well as the Ki-200 for use by the Army Air Force. 163 `` Komet '' was perhaps the most unique frontline, operational-level fighter design of World War II moved! Dispersed facilities by the potential of preexisting rocket Technology an interceptor, their high fuel consumption or pilot! 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