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Me-262 A-1 Schwalbe

High-speed Interceptor

Messerschmitt

Me-262 A-1 Schwalbe

Turbojet fighter Me-262 was the most progressive airplane from all fighting machines. Total were built 1433 airplanes of different modifications.

The Me 262A-1 No. 110426 at the Soviet Scientific Research Institute. By late summer 1945, the Air Forces Scientific Research Institute managed to test a Jumo 004 turbine engine burning domestic low-octane gasoline and another BMW 003 turbojet engine burning tractor kerosene. For the first time, there was success in determining the thrust, fuel consumption, and optimal rpm of the most developed German engines.

Red Army soldiers had arrested Hitler's chief technical adviser and plenipotentiary on jet aircraft. General F. F. Kuznetsov, Chief of the Red Army General Staff Intelligence Directorate, informed A. I. Shakhurin of the following: "Prisoner E. Puruker is of great interest to You, since he is well informed on production of jet engines for aircraft in Germany. The prisoner is in Moscow and can be presented for special questioning by your representative".

Puruker described Hitler's decision in early 1945 to concentrate all aircraft industry efforts on producing the Me 262, the most developed aircraft compared to the He 162, Ar 234, and Me 163. Drawings of these aircraft and their engines, as well as serviceable examples, in his opinion, most probably were to be found in territory Soviet troop units occupied: in Ceske-Budejovice, Wiener-Neustadt, and Bergkristall east of Linz. The high-ranking engineer also said that about 60 machines had been concentrated near Prague. Interestingly enough, the most difficult thing the Germans had faced was the development of engine turbine blades, because thermal loads were very high. Only after special heatproof "Chromadur" and "Trinadur" steels were introduced were they able to ensure engine operability. The Germans had reached the peak in Me 262 production in March 1945 when they took delivery of 237 such machines.

Numerous pieces of information received from German pilots, engineers, and top aviation officials heightened Soviet interest in the jet Messerschmitt. The plan was to test Me 262A-1 No. 110426 that had been dismantled and brought to the Air Forces Scientific Research Institute from the town of Schweidemuehle on 30 March 1945. Evidently the aircraft had made a gear-up forced landing judging from the damage it sustained. It was reconditioned at the experimental plant in Chkalovskaya. Our pilots knew that more than once jet Messerschmitts had tucked-under and the Germans fliers crashed along with their machines. Therefore, special care was taken in selection of the test pilot.

On 15 August 1945, a memorable day in our aviation history, leading test pilot Engineer-Lieutenant Colonel A. G. Kochetkov took the machine into the air. But, on the very next day, testing had to be stopped for almost a month and a half, because the port engine malfunctioned and had to be replaced. During 12 sorties, Kochetkov managed to gather the main flight characteristics of the aircraft. Engineers V. A. Berezin, V. A. Ivanov, Yu. Z. Manyshev, and S. S. Fradkov led by a lead engineer I. G. Rabkin compiled a report on the Me 262 Schwalbe.

Those sorties did not come easily. The last was the most difficult for Kochetkov. At the cost of tremendous physical tension and self-control, he managed to pull the aircraft out of a dive at a high altitude. In a similar situation on 17 September 1947 while flying another Me 262, test pilot F. F. Demida was killed, thus becoming one of the first victims of jet technology. General P. M. Stefanovskiy also flew the Schwalbe.

Under the Schwalbe's influence, the first domestic jet fighter designs looked very much like Me 262, but, later on, our designers went their own way. From the very beginning, despite Stalin's orders, the People's Commissariat of the Aviation Industry (it later became a ministry) was in no hurry to fulfill the enactment on series production of the "Soviet Messerschmitts" and allowed it to become engulfed in red tape. Appearance of the new, naturally "better designed," Yak-15 and MiG-9 is the reason. Besides, German production technology clearly was oriented toward the capabilities of the "Thousand-Year Reich" in the final months of the war, which stipulated wide use of wood and steel. In 1947, there was no necessity for the USSR to copy the German solutions. A.S. Yakovlev rememred:

At one of Stalin's conferences addressing the efforts of the aviation industry, People's Commissar Shakhurin's suggestion concerning series production of the captured Me 262 jet fighter was considered. In the course of the discussion, Stalin asked whether I knew this aircraft and what my opinion of it was. I answered that I knew the Me 262 aircraft, but came out decisively against putting it into series production, because it was a bad airplane, unstable in flight, and difficult to handle. Quite a few of them had crashed in Germany. If it enters service in our country it would scare our pilots away from jet aviation. They would soon see that it was a dangerous aircraft and, in addition, it had bad takeoff and landing qualities.

I also noted that, if we copy the Messerschmitt, then all the attention and all resources would be mobilized for this machine and we would do a lot of harm to the work underway on domestic jet aircraft. 900 kgp / 1,980 lbf

Me 262A-1a Specification
Crew 1
Dimensions
Wing Span 12.5 m (41 ft 0 in)
Wing Area, 21.7 m2 (234 ft2)
Length, m 10.58 m (34 ft 9 in)
Height 3.83 m (12 ft 7 in)
Powerplant
2 X TJE Jumo-004B-1, B-2 ore B-3, thrust 900 kgp (1,980 lbf)
Weight
Empty weight 3800 kg (8,380 lb)
Loaded with 1800 l Fuel 6400 kg (14,110 lb)
Maximum takeoff weight with 2565 l fuel 7130 kg (15,720 lb)
Performance
Maximum speed at weight of 6475 kg (14,275 lb) at sea level 822.5 km/h (511 mph)
at altitude 850 / 865 / 815 km/h
(528 / 538 / 506 mph)
m (ft) 3,000 / 6,000 / 10,000 m
(9,824 / 19,685 /32,808 ft)
Rate of climb at sea level 20 m/s (66 ft/s)
at altitude 11/5.5 (36 / 18 ft/s)
m 6000/9000 m (19,685 / 29,527 ft)
Time to level 6,000/9,000 m (19,685 / 29,527 ft) 6.8/13.1 min
Service ceiling 11,450 m (37,600 ft)
Service range at altitude 9000m with 1800 l Fuel 1040 km (646 ml)
Armament
4X30-mm MK-108 cannon in a nose with shell, pcs. 2x100 and 2x80

References

  • "Aviation of Luftwaffe" /Viktor Shunkov/
  • "Encyclopedia of military engineering" /Aerospace Publising/

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