Me 262

German WWII Fighter Jet Says 'Hallo' To New Home

The Messerschmitt Me 262 was used by the German Luftwaffe during the war.

Me 262

One of the most advanced fighter jets of the Second World War has moved into its new home at Royal Air Force Museum Cosford.

The Messerschmitt Me 262 was used by the German Luftwaffe until 1945, and the Czechoslovak Air Force until 1951.

It was the only jet fighter to see air-to-air combat in the Second World War, with its then-unusual appearance shocking the allied forces.

The 'Schwalbe' was a significantly more advanced design than its British counterparts and many of its aerodynamic secrets were eagerly incorporated in later post-war combat aircraft. 

The ME 262 A-2a was dismantled a week ago before making the 131-mile journey to Cosford.

The aircraft, nicknamed the 'Schwalbe', returns to the Shropshire base after 14 years on display at the RAF Museum in London.

Preliminary design work on what was to become the Me 262 began in 1938, however persistent problems with the turbojets intended for the aircraft delayed the project and the first flight by a Me 262 using jet power alone did not take place until July 1942.

Small numbers of Me 262 fighters and fighter bombers were used operationally by the Luftwaffe from mid-1944.

When it was built, it was one of the world's first jet-powered fighters, with its pilots claiming to have shot down more than 500 of its rival allied aircraft.

Ian Thirsk, Head of Collections at the RAF Museum said: "The first Messerschmitt Me 262’s entered service in the autumn of 1944.

"As the first turbojet fighter to do so it heralded a new era in aerial warfare and represented a step change in technology.

"Today very few original examples survive so we are delighted to present this significant aircraft to our visitors at Cosford."

During the next few weeks, the Schwalbe will be reassembled and put on display alongside other German fighters, the Me109, the FW190, and the Ju88.