Unlike air-breathing turbojets, rocket motors rely operate solely on propellant, and can deliver greater thrust—with the limitation being that they burn through propellant really fast. He currently writes on security and military history for War Is Boring. Germany agreed to share Me 163 technology with Japan for twenty million reichsmarks—but both Japanese submarines carrying Komet parts back to Japan, as well as a German U-Boat, were sunk in transit in 1944 and 1945. A prototype version of the engine was used in the first powered flight of the Me-163B V2 (second prototype) aircraft in August 1943. Komet." The fuselage is constructed of aluminium. It had a top speed of nine hundred and thirty-nine kilometres per hour, and it was armed with two 30 mm cannons. Learn how aviation and spaceflight transformed the world. Unfortunately, the Me 163 was as dangerous to its own pilot as it was to Allied bomber formations. Although the aircraft's two MK 108 30mm cannons were capable of downing a four-engine bomber with only three or four hits, the Komet's high speed, coupled with the cannons' slow rate of fire and short range made effective gunnery nearly impossible against the slow moving bombers. Despite a series of accidents and explosions involving the unreliable motor, on October 2, 1941, the Me 163 V1 set a new world speed record of 1,004.5 kph (623.8 mph). The remaining aircraft were grounded until the fuel system could be fixed and the war ended before plans for full-scale production were realized. Oldgysgt, e-mail, 11.01.2016 00:22. Considering the conditions under which it was developed and deployed, however, the Me 163 can be rightly considered a significant technological accomplishment. As a public health precaution, the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center and the Museum in DC are temporarily closed. In most cases the Komet would get one pass at a bomber formation. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's, IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. This small tailless aircraft had impressive performance and excellent handling, but its rocket engine and fuel were extremely dangerous. With a length of only 5.79m, the Me 163 was powered by a liquid fuel rocket engine. On the ME 163, for example, it could only be fired for approximately 7 minutes. Recognize your favorite air or space enthusiast. However, only one of the three prototypes produced is believed to have flown. Difficulties arising from the division of work between DFS and Heinkel and the secrecy surrounding the project led Lippisch to request that he be allowed to leave DFS and join Messerschmitt AG. The Messerschmitt Me 163 Komet provided an interesting technology leap in World War Two but ultimately proved that rocket power was not the answer for interceptor aircraft. 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