Messerschmitt Me-262 jet fighter made history at RIAT 2023

Me262 Air Tattoo RIAT
Messerschmitt Me-262 takes off from RAF Fairford to perform at RIAT 2023.

The Royal International Air Tattoo 2023 has confirmed its reputation as one of the most exciting airshows around the world. This year's highlights included the flying display of the Messerschmitt Me-262 which had not been seen in the UK skies since the 1940s.

The Messerschmitt Me 262 Swallow was the first jet fighter to ever reach operational service, it was also one of the most advanced jet aircraft to enter service before the end of the Second World War featuring partially swept wings. Entering service in April 1944, the Me-262 was developed as an interceptor however its use in this role was delayed by Adolf Hitler who wanted the type to be used as a fighter bomber. No allied aircraft, including the Gloster Meteor could match the types speed. Eventually 1,430 Me-262s were produced before the war ended and German pilots claimed 542 aircraft shot down.

In 1993, the Me 262 project was created in Texas to produce replica airworthy examples of the Me 262 based off a genuine two-seat Me 262B-1 borrowed from the US Navy. The project was to build five aircraft, one single seat Me 262A-1, a pair of Me 262B-1 two seat examples, and a final pair which were capable of being converted from A-1 to B-1 as required. These replicas differed from the original aircraft by having strengthened undercarriage plus the use of modern reliable General Electric CJ610 Turbojet engines, disguised to look like the original Junkers Jumo 004B engines.

Four of these replicas are airworthy and one of them took part in the RIAT 2023. This aircraft, registration D-IMTT is operated by Flugmuseum Messerschmitt and supported by the Airbus Heritage Flight. It has been based at Manching in Germany since its delivery in 2006.

Source, Image: RIAT

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