Messerschmitt Me 163

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The Messerschmitt Me 163 Komet,[N 1] designed by Alexander Martin Lippisch, was a German rocket-powered fighter aircraft. As of 2010, it remains the only rocket-powered fighter aircraft to have ever been operational. Its design was revolutionary, and the Me 163 was capable of performance unrivaled at the time. Messerschmitt test pilot Rudy Opitz in 1944 reached 1,123 km/h (698 mph). Over 300 aircraft were built,[2] however the Komet proved ineffective as a fighter, having been responsible for the destruction of only about nine Allied aircraft[2] (16 air victories for 10 losses, according to other sources).[3]

Contents

Development

Work on the design started under the aegis of the Deutsche Forschungsanstalt für Segelflug (DFS) - the German Institute for the Study of sailplane flight. Their first design was a conversion of the earlier Lippisch Delta IV known as the DFS 39 and used purely as a glider testbed of the airframe.

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