The first generation of jet aircraft during World War II involved a nearly universal rush to produce a viable fast fighter aircraft. Germany’s Me 262, America’s P-59 — and more operationally suitable P-80 — and England’s Gloster Meteor all had the fighter mission as primary when they were designed.
After the war, purpose-built jet bombers were a logical step in the accelerating turbojet revolution.
But the world’s first jet bomber design was a 1944 German product from the Arado company, the Ar 234B. Some writers delight in using gutturally-pronounced German military names in articles describing wartime technological advances made in that country, and one of the Ar 234B bomber’s monikers sounds like something out of a movie script: Schnellbomber.
It means Fast Bomber, a promise the Ar 234B delivered. Otherwise, the Ar 234 was known as the Blitz or Lightning. [Read more…]