List of jet aircraft of World War II

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Right side view of aMesserschmitt 262 jet fighter captured by the United States Army Air Forces on the ground.
A captured Messerschmitt Me 262, the most numerous jet fighter of World War II

World War II was the first war in which jet aircraft participated in combat with examples being used on both sides of the conflict during the latter stages of the war. The first successful jet aircraft, the Heinkel He 178, flew only five days before the start of the war, on 1 September 1939.[1] By the end of the conflict on 2 September 1945[2] Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States had all used turbojet-powered fighter aircraft operationally while Japan had produced, but not used, motorjet-powered kamikaze aircraft, and had tested and ordered into production conventional jets. Italy and the Soviet Union had both tested motorjet aircraft which had turbines powered by piston engines and the latter had also equipped several types of conventional piston-powered fighter aircraft with auxiliary ramjet engines for testing purposes. Germany was the only country to use jet-powered bombers operationally during the war.[3]

This list includes only aircraft powered by turbine engines, either on their own or as part of mixed-power arrangements. The table is separated into sections for types that saw service during the conflict, types that flew before the end of the war but either did not enter service until after its conclusion or were never operationally used in the conflict, and types used only for testing. Rocket-powered aircraft are not included, nor are aircraft that only flew following the end of the war.[N 1] Aircraft which were designed but not constructed are also excluded. Production figures for aircraft used postwar include examples built after the war ended, of the same versions already flying during the war.

Aircraft[edit]

Aircraft Origin First flight Entered service Number built Notes
These types saw operational combat service at least once during the war.
Arado Ar 234 Germany June 1943 August 1944 250+ First operational jet-powered bomber; used primarily in the aerial reconnaissance role. Twin-engined, high-wing; four-engined variants trialled but not produced; night-fighter version tested operationally but achieved no kills.[5][6]
Gloster Meteor F.1 & F.3 UK March 1943 July 1944 250 First operational Allied jet fighter; twin-engined, low-wing; developed versions remained in service until the 1980s. First jet to shoot down another jet aircraft (a V-1 flying bomb).[7]
Heinkel He 162 Germany December 1944 February 1945 238+ Inexpensive interceptor (Volksjaeger) intended for mass production and use by semi-trained pilots. Single-engined, high-winged; only saw extremely limited operational service before the end of the war.[8]
Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star US January 1944 January 1945 361 First operational American jet fighter. Single-engined, low-winged; four deployed to Europe before the end of the war, two seeing limited service in the reconnaissance role in Italy, but no actual combat.[9]
Messerschmitt Me 262 Germany July 1942 June 1944 1,433 First operational jet fighter. Twin-engined, low-winged; served in both fighter and fighter-bomber roles, with night-fighter, bomber, and reconnaissance versions among many variants trialled. Continued in production post-war in Czechoslovakia as Avia S-92.[10]
These types entered full production and were accepted for service, but did not reach combat operations.
Bell P-59 Airacomet US October 1942 September 1944 66 First USAAF jet to fly; used for training purposes only.[11]
Fieseler Fi 103R Reichenberg Germany September 1944 October 1944 300 Manned variant of V-1 flying bomb ready for operations late 1944, not used.[12]
McDonnell TD2D Katydid US 1942 1942 Unknown US Navy pulsejet-powered target drone.[13]
Ryan FR Fireball US June 1944 March 1945 66 US Navy mixed power fighter, never saw combat.[14]
Yokosuka MXY7 Model 22 Japan June 1945 - 50 Motorjet-powered version of "Ohka" Suicide Attacker; not used operationally.[15]
These types flew before the end of the war and were ordered into full production, but did not reach service before the conflict ended.
de Havilland Vampire F.1 UK September 1943 March 1946 244 Only 12 produced before VE Day; no combat service.[16]
McDonnell FD Phantom US January 1945 July 1947 62 Postwar production, designation changed April 1946 to FH.[17][18]
Nakajima Kikka Japan August 1945 - 1[N 2] Jet ground-attack/kamikaze aircraft, inspired by Me 262.[20]
NAMU TD2N US June 1945 - 9 Target drone based on Gorgon III missile.[21]
These types flew during the war, but never entered production for operational service, being used solely as testbeds.
Bell XP-83 US February 1945 - 2 Cancelled long-range escort fighter.[22]
Caproni Campini N.1 Italy August 1940 - 2 First motorjet.[23]
Consolidated Vultee XP-81 US February 1945 - 2 Cancelled mixed-power fighter.[24]
Curtiss XF15C US February 1945 - 3 Cancelled mixed-power fighter.[25]
Douglas XBTD-2 Destroyer US May 1944 - 2 Cancelled mixed-power torpedo bomber[26][27]
Gloster E.28/39 UK April 1941 - 2 Engine testbed and first Allied jet to fly.[28]
Heinkel He 178 Germany August 1939 - 2 First jet aircraft to fly[29]
Heinkel He 280 Germany September 1940 - 9 First jet fighter to fly, cancelled.[1]
Horten Ho 229 Germany December 1944 - 3 Fighter/bomber, first jet powered flying wing.[30]
Junkers Ju 287 Germany August 1944 - 1 Testbed for multi-engine bomber design.[31]
Messerschmitt Me 328 Germany 1944 (early) - 9 Cancelled pulsejet fighter/bomber.[32]
Mikoyan-Gurevich I-250 USSR March 1945 - 28 Mixed-power motorjet fighter.[33]
Polikarpov I-153DM USSR September 1940 - 1 Experimental mixed power ramjet fighter biplane.[34]
Sukhoi Su-5 USSR April 1945 - 1 Cancelled mixed power motorjet fighter.[35]
Yakovlev Yak-7PVRD USSR 1944 (late) - 2 Mixed power ramjet fighter.[36]


See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ For instance, the first French jet aircraft, the Sud-Ouest Triton, was clandestinely designed during the German occupation of France, but was not constructed and flown until after the end of the war.[4]
  2. ^ 23 additional Kikkas were near completion when the end of the war ended production.[19]

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ a b Bishop, 2002, p.321
  2. ^ James, 1995, p.188
  3. ^ Zabecki, 1999, p.868
  4. ^ Caygill, 2006, p.136
  5. ^ Smith, 1984, pp.2, 8 & frontispiece
  6. ^ Nohara, 1996, p.72
  7. ^ Butler, 2006, pp.15, 23, 26, 48 & 105
  8. ^ Smith, 1986, pp.6, 12 & frontispiece
  9. ^ Francillon, 1987, pp.235–243
  10. ^ Baker, 1997, pp.7, 8, 31, 77, 111 & 128
  11. ^ Pelletier, 1992, pp.50–54
  12. ^ Myhra, 2007, pp.3, 6
  13. ^ Yenne 2006, p.25
  14. ^ Ginter, 1995, p.3 & 45
  15. ^ Nijboer, 2015, p.169
  16. ^ Harrison, 2000, pp.2, 8 & 14
  17. ^ Ginter, 1981, pp.2 & 19
  18. ^ Francillon, 1990, pp.65–67
  19. ^ Lee, 2016
  20. ^ Mikesh, 1979, pp.1 & 31
  21. ^ Leyes, 1999, p.42
  22. ^ Pelletier, 1992, pp.61–62
  23. ^ Smith, 1941, p.c
  24. ^ Ginter, 2007, pp.22–23.
  25. ^ Green, 1994, p.143-144
  26. ^ Kowalski, 1995, pp.42–43
  27. ^ Francillon, 1979, pp.356–360
  28. ^ Kershaw, 2004, pp.38, 54
  29. ^ Koehler, 1999, p.173
  30. ^ Daprowski, 1991, pp.5
  31. ^ Hitchcock, 1974
  32. ^ Ford, 2013, p. 224
  33. ^ Gunston, 1999, pp.40–43
  34. ^ Gunston, 2000, p.301
  35. ^ Antonov, 1996, pp.68–69
  36. ^ Gordon, 1992, p.35

Bibliography[edit]

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