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Arado Ar 234 Blitz — the first jet bomber

23 February 2011

Arado Ar 234 Blitz — the first jet bomber

Another leap ahead in aviation employed by the Luftwaffe in WW II was a still modern looking twin turbojet engined bomber. Crewed by a single person the aircraft looks fast and it was completely aerobatic. The pilot was ensconced in a streamlined fuselage which had no stepped cockpit window. Rearward provision was provided by a periscope and another advancement used were the RATO (rocket assisted take off) units that could be installed, one beneath each wing. After taking off the units would be jettisoned to return by parachute to the field.

Approximately 200 were built, not nearly enough to strategically impact the war’s trajectory. Only a single example remains and, fortunately, sits perfectly restored in the National Air & Space Museum Udvar-Hazy Center:

The Arado 234 Blitz — photo by Joe May

The left side of the Blitz — photo by Joe May

Side view showing the RATO unit (parachute is on the front) and fuselage mounted bomb — photo by Joe May

Cockpit of the Ar 234 (note the rearward viewing periscope fairing atop the canopy) — photo by Joe May

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. shortfinals permalink
    26 February 2011 19:19

    Ah! Another of my favourites…thank you for the great photographs.

    The initial production versions of the ‘Blitz’ had the same problem as the Me 163 Komet; main landing gear which consisted of sprung steel skids, which made the aircraft an utterly immobile ‘target’ on the destination airfield after landing, until a special tow vehicle could reach it! It wasn’t until the Ar234B series arrived that the ‘Blitz’ got wheels (the NASM example is a B-2).

  2. travelforaircraft permalink*
    26 February 2011 19:32

    Thanks for the added info. The ground crew who went out to get the aircraft sitting out on the field on their skids had to have been especially brave I would think — using vehicles with no armor.

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