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Me.262A-1a

The Messerschmitt Me 262 was a German jet fighter, fast bomber and reconnaissance aircraft of the WWII era. It was the world's first mass-produced jet fighter and the first jet aircraft to see combat. The first serial variant, the Me 262 A-1a, unofficially known as 'Schwalbe', arrived for flight testing in Lechfeld in July 1944. The construction used generic alloys, was almost fully riveted and its weight was rather high, all for the sake of ease of mass production. The Jumo 004B-1 jet engine (later B-2 and B-3) also housed a 2-stroke Riedel motorcycle engine, used as a starter. Two small 17-litre fuel tanks were used to power the starter. The rest of the fuel was housed in the fuselage. Two main and two extra fuel tanks were used. Main tanks held 900 litres of fuel, the nose tank had 170 litres and the rear tank held 600 litres.


 
Radio equipment included the FuG 16ZY radio (later replaced with the FuG 15) and the FuG 25a IFF set. The 262 was armed with four 30mm MK 108 cannon with 100 rounds per gun for the top pair and 80 rounds per gun for the bottom pair. The pilot was protected by a 90mm armoured glass and 15mm armoured plating on the sides and back.

 
The Me 262 A-1 was easier to fly than the Bf 109G. Considering the great range of available airspeeds, the cockpit equipment was rather sparse. Although the turn radius for the jet fighter was significantly wider than that of a piston fighter, it could better retain high speeds in a turn. Its acceleration was much worse than that of a piston plane, but the Me 262 had an incredible dive rate, which could occasionally threaten going past Mach 1.
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