Me-262: Future in light of engine development

This forum contains affiliate links to products on Amazon and eBay. More information in Terms and rules


Tech Sergeant
Mar 26, 2009
If the war, and German engine development, had continued, what would have become of the 2-engined Me-262?

Would the aircraft have had progressively more powerful engines installed, or would the design have given way to 1-engine designs?
Even while the Me262 was being developed, Willy Messerschmitt had the next generation on the drawing board: the HG series.

The delay in the HG series was the engines, which he had planned on being advanced sooner than what actually occurred. This was also the short-comings of the He280 program. Simply put, the agonizingly slow development of the engines stalled the aircraft advancement.

Me262 V9 (Wknmr 130004) was the first in the series of the HG program, though V9 had little changes, it did test several concepts like a low profile canopy, some slight design changes and "clean" surfaces.

HG II was designed to have a low profile canopy, 35° swept wings and a "V" tail. HG III was to have 45° swept wings, embedded engines in the wing-root and a more conventional tail assembly (although a "V" tail was also included in the designs).

Me262 HG II (shown with "V" tail):

Me262 HG III (shown with "V" tail):
Depends on how long the war goes on, 6 months, 1 year, 2 years, 3 years? More?

Germans cannot rush around retooling factories every time a new idea/trend comes along.

There may have been a limit to how far you could take the 262 but that limit had not been reached in the spring of 1945. Especially in regards to engine reliability/durability, and the ability to relight in case of flame out and in less restricted throttle handling. A bit better fuel consumption and even power for climb even if the airframe is mach limited wouldn't be amiss either.

An experimental Meteor set time to climb records of..... height of 9,843 ft was reached in 1 min 16 sec, 19,685 ft in 1 min 50 sec, 29,500 ft in 2 min 29 sec, and 39,370 ft in 3 min 7 sec. using a pair of AS Spaphire engines of about 4 times the thrust of the original engines. The Mach limit didn't change and the plane may have had to glide back down (just kidding) But there was lot that could have been done to improve the day to day operations of the 262 ( and to honest, just about every-bodies early jets).
Going to single engine planes may reduce drag a bit but doesn't solve may of the operational problems.
Single engine He-162C would have been as good or better day fighter at lower cost. If Me-262 remains in production during fall 1945 it would be as twin seat night fighter and perhaps as a recon aircraft.
The Me 262 was an interim model at best, pushed into operational service. The potential with the HG series was definitely there. The He 162 was an operational flop, and desperation was its genesis. There were other Luftwaffe jets coming into production in 1945 that were a generation ahead of both of them, and the rest of the world.
Germany was on the verge of second generation jet types, and one of those was the Me P.1101, which did have a single engine and a very modern design. The P.1101 was set for production and probably would have seen combat had the war drug on longer. Now, by saying it would have seen combat, keep in mind that Germany had next to no resources for large-scale production OR even enough fuel to get these in the air in any significant numbers to do any good.

Any weapon forced into combat while still undergoing initial development is bound to be an operational flop. There was nothing wrong with He-162 that couldn't be corrected with six months of additional development.
Any weapon forced into combat while still undergoing initial development is bound to be an operational flop.

You can't generalise like that. The 'Little Boy' bomb worked just fine on its one and only use over Hiroshima. Atomic bombs were very definitely still undergoing initial development.

Me 262, albeit very elegant, certainly much more than P 1101, was designed well before the "Area rule" was discovered and applied: not a lot of develpment possible, by my personal point of view.
Last edited:
The increased power engines for the Me 262 were definitely coming. More on that latter.

The future, as the Luftwaffe saw it, was single engine fighters. Though designs intended only for a short time may need to remain in production longer.

Despite Messerschmitt's numerous methodical studies for various swept wing improvements to the Me 262 I am not aware of any Luftwaffe funding to turn these into metal though one might be done so for purposes of testing after some more test bed work. Messerschmitt was clearly aiming at breaking the sound barrier with HG series.

The Emergency Lightweight fighter competition (not to be confused with the He 162 Volks Jaeger or peoples fighter) was awarded to both Blohm Voss as well as Focke-Wulf for its Ta 183 "Huckbein" and came with a small production order, a few wings and body parts had been built. Blohm and Voss also received an award for its BV 212.03 (6 prototypes). I believe the Blohm Voss was superior due to the use of slats and flight testing of piston pushers using the unorthodox configuration.

Messerschmitt was about to put their P.1101 variable sweep test bed fighter to the air (it inspired the Bell X5). It could easily have been turned into a fighter. The Emergency Lightweight fighter program envisaged an interim version (Ta 183, BV212.03 or P.1101) and a latter optimal version Messerschmitt P.1112. The program was not decided but target production was October 1945.

Focke-Wulf Ta 183 Luft '46 entry Prototypes and small production order partially built
Blohm Voss BV P.212 Luft '46 entry Prototypes partially built
Messerschmitt Me P.1101 Luft '46 Entry Test bed about to take to air, convertible to fighter.
Messerchmitt Me P.1112 Luft '46 entry Optimal/Long term

P.1101 was about to take to the air had wings which could easily be replaced on the ground and their sweep and dihedral varied. It was to test wings with a variety of sweeps, slats, plan forms and wing profiles. The P.1101 would feed data into the important P.1112 program and the Me 262.

In terms of the Me 262 the main improvements would be to the engines, systems and likely small aerodynamic mods to 'area rule'.

Engine Improvements
The Jumo 004B4 had just introduced hollow air-cooled turbine blades, leading to an increase in engine life.

First improvement was the addition of a fuel control device called the "accelerator control valve" which used pressure sensors that measured the air mass flow rate and adjusted the fuel flow rate so that it was a ratio of the air flow. Engine RPM was still controlled by pilots throttle acting on the governor but now the flow was adjustable only within a range determined by the compressor air flow rate.

The benefit of this more precise control was the elimination of burnout damage from overheating during engine acceleration and reduction of flameout risk during rapid throttling down.

The new valve was to reach operational service by April 1945, a similar device was successfully introdroduced on the BMW 003. (see Anthony Kay)

The follow on engines were the Jumo 004C and Jumo 004D.

Jumo 004B4 thrust 898kg/1980lbs in service since November 1944.
Jumo 004C thrust 1000kg/2200lbs some used in test aircraft.
Jumo 004D thrust 1030kg,2300lbs production starting as the war ended in 1945.

The Jumo 004D clearly would have improved climb rate, acceleration, reduced take-off run.

Besides the Jumo 004 the BMW 003 could also be used.

The BMW 003A2 could provide 800kg thrust and 900kg overload for 30 seconds. The follow on BMW 003C with 900kg thrust and BMW 003D with 1100kg thrust should be available in 1945 (for the C and possibly the D), smaller in diameter and length and more fuel efficient.

With these engines the aircraft would probably push itself to 1000kmh/600mph at its absolute Mach 0.86 limit at lower altitude (below 16000-20000 feet).

The smaller BMW 003C or D with similar or greater thrust might even raise Mach limit and would increase range about 10%.

A variant of the BMW 003A known as the BMW 003R had a rocket motor whose pumps were driven of the main engine shaft by clutch. With these engines an Me 262 was able to climb to 12000m in about 1.5 minutes. Clearly it could intercept 'instantly' any allied aircraft and bypass or evade any escort fighter. It used the same fuel as the jet engines but carried a belly pack of nitric acid oxidiser and some on board xylidine as a catalyst.

Beyond that was the Jumo 004H ,actually a scaled down Jumo 012, and included refinements such as blow of valves. Thrust was to be 1900kg, more than twice as much as the Jumo 004B. It had reached mock-up stage, photographs of the mockup are available and some parts had been made.

The Heinkel-Hirth HeS 011 engine, which is shown in graugeists HG-III was to have a thrust of 1300kg and was to be available for the Me 262. It used a 'diagonal flow' compressor that was basically a first stage centrifugal flow compressor that was faired so as to exist the air axially into a 3 stage axial flow compressor. Its low diameter and high resistance to turbulence lent it to installation in the wing near the wing root.

HeS 011A 1300kP / 2900lbs thrust. (Benching 1153kP in Jan 1945)
HeS 011B 1500kP / 3300lbs thrust.
HeS 011C 1700kP / 3800lbs thrust.

Should this engine become a success I would say HG-II would quickly be built. Note however the lightweight emergency fighter was dependant on this engine though prototypes would have flown with the Jumo 004.

Aerodynamic improvements.

Although Messerschmitt had investigated in wind tunnels Me 262 variants with swept wings I suspect they would wait until test bed data came in from P.1101.

The Germans were aware of the area rule and were starting to apply it, one proposal that was being investigated was the addition of small humps to area rule parts of the aircraft to reduce shock drag at high speed.

This would avoid the costly retooling needed for a new swept wing and an all new design might be better.

Yaw Damper.

Jets tend to have a high speed snaking. P-80, Meteor and Me 262 suffered to varying degrees.

A electronic yaw damper had been developed that took gyro rate information and used the derivative to kick opposite rudder. The Hs 129 yaw damper was developed by Dr. Karl Doetsch over the period 1942- 1944 at Berlin-Aldershot. Later "due to the bombing" he was transferred to Travemunde near Lubeck, where the Fighter Development Station was formed, and here he finished the work around January 1945, on what became the world's first series coupled yaw damper. Doetsch first thought of the idea after observing the effect of a misuse of the simple rudder course controIJers. If a heading change of more than 30° was dialled into these systems the demand limited and the system became just an angular rate control, giving a damping effect about the yaw axis. He first tested the concept himself in an Fw190 and later in an Me262. He was interviewed by British scientists, joined the RAE and a similar device was installed in the meteor.

Weapons System.

The EZ 42 gyro sight would be replaced by the similar EZ 45 and this would be linked to a radar ranging unit called FuG 248 "Eule" relieving the pilot of setting range. It would automatically calculate lead for the canon, R4M 55mm folding fin rockets and also R100 rockets (with either proximity warheads or timed shaped charges)

For the ground attack versions the ReVi site would be tied in with the TSA 2D toss bombing site. The pilot aimed at the target in a shallow dive as if strafing, the computer took in data from airspeed, radio or barometric altimeter, accelerometer. He pulled up and then the toss bombing site released the bombs at the correct point in the arc. Could also deliver cluster bombs and rockets. (Germans were already using cluster bombs with shaped charges.)


The Germans had experimented with a range of canon, choosing the powerful but short range MK 108 30mm canon over the longer ranged 20mm MG 151/20. However the MG 213 20mm revolver canon was becoming available and 4 such canon with their 50% greater firing rate over the MG 151/20, much longer range and reliability under G would become attractive. The EZ42 gyro sight showed itself able to snipe an enemy fighters canopy at 1000m at times. There was a 30mm version of this weapon known as MK 213C.

The R4M folding fin rocket had a proximity fuse that was shortly to be deployed (according to Adolf Galland). The much larger R100 had also been air fired 25 times. These could be accurately aimed because of the EZ42 Gyro site.

I do not hold out much advantage for the wire guided air to air missile the X4 but variants of it with terminal acoustic or infrared homing were practical. A non-rotating competitor of the X4 for the Henschel Hs 298 Could use a passive radar seeker known as MAX-P as well as an active radar version called MAX-A. It was built by blaupunkt and was working on the ground though its primary purpose was surface to air missiles.

Ejection Seat

Production Ejection seats were used on He 219, He 162 and Do 335 and would surely find their way into the Me 262. The pilot was valuable and could often be saved.
Last edited:
Any weapon forced into combat while still undergoing initial development is bound to be an operational flop. There was nothing wrong with He-162 that couldn't be corrected with six months of additional development.

Hmmmmm, perhaps the same could be said of the Meteor :)

Longer nacelles and Derwent V engines? MK IV prototype did 606mph in the Fall of 1945?

The Meteor did have some serious limitations and it is something of a wonder that it lasted as long as it did. But this idea that most German planes/weapons were only months away from perfection/production in the spring of 1945 takes an awful lot of something to wash it down.
The Luftwaffe might have seen the future being populated by single engine jet aircraft but that was not the case for piston engine aircraft. The Do 335 was expected to fulfil several roles into 1945/6 at the very least and at the expense of other piston engine types, both single and twin.

As pointed out above, the jets were still a long way away, at least in any meaningful combat role. Even the venerable Me 262 only saw combat in VERY limited numbers.


It was all over for the Luftwaffe bar the shouting by April anyway, and it was extremely unlikely that had the war dragged on for another few months that anything much would have eventuated. As Graugeist stated, no fuel, no supplies etc. It does not deter from the fact that advanced aircraft and weaponry were on the verge of being produced if the materials had been available. In the end, the better resourced side won, regardless of technological Luft 46 type potential. At least the aviation world benefitted from the research post war. As a side note, The Russians did experiment with the 262 briefly, designated the Sukhoi Su 9, although it was similar to the Japanese clone(the Kikka) in wing configuration. Nothing ever came of it as far as I know. There are urban myths regarding the Ta 183 being the springboard for the Mig 15, although no definite proof. As for the He 162, nobody appears to have seriously spent any time with it regarding post war development. I have read a number of times that development potential was there, and could have done this and that, but it never happened. It does make very interesting reading though....
Towards the end of the war, when Heinz Kammler was in charge of aircraft production, he was heading for a production plan that ivolved only jet aircraft. I think the last two piston aircraft left on the production plan were the Ju 388 and Do 335 probably only because they could operate at range, possibly heights not possible with the Me 262 or Ar 234C. Even the Ta 152 and Fw 190D13 seem to have fallen of production plans. The Me 262 was a good aircraft: fast, good handling and quite manoeuvrable. The Ar 234 had even better handling and actually better manoeuvrability, the two aircraft having been flown of against each other. There weakness was only a medium range (650 miles for Me 262 and 900 miles for Ar 234 with bombs.

Both aircraft had a production system set up with the Me 262 system getting into high gear.

I do not see the point of producing any piston aircraft for any lengthy period, they were lambs to the slaughter and murder for their pilots.

Changes to the engines in 1945 just as the war ended, better fuel control systems and duplex nozzles should have given the jets acceptable flyabillity and reliability and service ceiling.

The He 162 was potentially a good aircraft. It probably would however fail its mission of essentially being flown by 16 year old school children with some previous glider experience.

For engineering reasons and the desire to keep intake and exhaust ducts short, in clear air, away from runway debris the engine was placed in the dorsal position.

However to get good handling one must have the principle thrust and drag axis aligned and also to have the pitch moment (the pivot around which the aircraft pitches) aligned as close as reasonably possible with the drag and thrust axis. Otherwise thrust changes cause changes in stalling behaviour, pitch and angle of attack.

This alignment was not done on the He 162 so in my view it was a risky failure from the start. Its handling problems were exaggerated but it needed modification and it wasn't good enough for those teenagers. Lengthening the tail was a solution but was not to happen till latter He 162C or He 162D. In my view the Blohm and Voss proposals were by far the most solid as their technology had been so well tested.

Although obviously the Reich's manufacturing industry was collapsing and effectively finished with the subdivision of Germany in Feb 1945 there are scenarios the Reich could have lasted longer.

For instance in 1943 had a rewirable reflector for their enigma machine called UKW-D which if it had of been deployed as rapidly as possible to all 600,000 enigma machines (or at least the key ones i.e. not the Railways) would have sent Blecheley park blind. Then if the Reich had of mobilised its troops to the French coast 2 weeks earlier or if storms had of stopped allied supplies landing ashore (this actually happened for 2-3 days) they Normandy landing might have been repelled granting the Reich a few more months of life. Operation Eisenhammer might have then wrecked soviet hydroelectric production.

In that situation the Me 262 Ar 234 were perfectly adequate to protect the reich without piston fighters and provide air support for ground troops. Bombardment would be provided by the V1 and V2 with long range and guided versions nearly ready at the end of the war. The slight but critical advantage in speed and production would be significant enough to stay ahead of allied advances for 1945.

The fuel situation would be grim: the Me 262 carried nearly 650 gallons of fuel, though the fuel was easy and efficient to synthesis it was 4 times that of a piston aircraft. One reason for the He 162 was that its fuel requirements were similar to single engine piston fighter.


Shortround, the Meteor III with 2400lbs Derwent V that entered service shortly after WW2 was capable of 515 mph.

The Meteor III with clipped wings, faired over gun ports, polished etc did break 606mph in November 1945 with the new Derwent V engine. The Derwent V was an entirely new engine based on scaled down nene technology. It would seem then the Meteor might win the power to weight ratio war but one would have to assume that it wouldn't be before November 1945 for service even assuming a let up on work pace (it was still needed for thr war with japan). This engine didn't actually enter service till 1948 with the Meteor F4. I would assume that you would grant the German engines might have progressed somewhat by then as well.


Erratum, the phrase should have been

the Meteor III with 2400lbs Derwent II that entered service shortly after WW2 was capable of 515 mph.
Last edited:
Hi Koopernic

Shortround, the Meteor III with 2400lbs Derwent V that entered service shortly after WW2 was capable of 515 mph.

Where did you get this from?

Production delivery of the Meteor IV as of March 1946.

Gloster Meteor by Phil Butler and Tony Buttler.


Meteor IV brochure. Gloster Meteor -- Aeroengineer Aviation


  • WP_20141001_001.jpg
    277.4 KB · Views: 348
Last edited:
Thanks for the correction although perhaps March/April of 1946 is not too far after the war :)

Especially in light of all the Luft '46 time projections.

Some sources say it was an F.4 that set the speed record (606mph) in Sept of 1945 although prototypes are not service aircraft. Speed record set in 1946 (616mph) used Dewent engines rated at 4200lbs thrust for the record attempt instead of the service 3500lb rating.
Last edited:
Hello Neil,

I had meant to type "the Meteor III with 2400lbs Derwent II that entered service shortly after WW2 was capable of 515 mph." There was a Meteor III with a slightly derated Derwent in service during WW2 however, I believe restricted to 495mph or so.

As far as I understand it the Meteor F.4 which incorporated the 3500lbs thrust Derwent V didn't enter RAF service till 1948, maybe late 1947. My source was Anthony Kay's "Turbojet Volume 1" however as I can't find the book, probably having left it with my nephews, I can't confirm. Let me apologise in advanced if I have made a mistake, thought at this point I think my facts are OK.

The Meteor F4 also slightly raised Mach limit and overcame the issue of heavy ailerons which had been deliberately incorporated into Meteor III to prevent the pilot overstressing the airframe. Obviously as the "Speed Meteor" exceeded 600mph at near sea level around November 1945 the Derwent V was at an advanced stage and could have been incorporated in production aircraft around the same time, perhaps slightly derated from their 3500lbs initially. There certainly would have been potential need: the fastest versions of the V1 missile reached 515mph at low altitude, during tests in Feb and March 1945.

I understand that Britain's post war financial situation demotivated the Government from investing in the Meteor, the Soviet Union was regarded as such a friend the Derwent V was given to them and so they instead invested in research programs.

However the RAF was thus in possession of a very powerful jet engine, probably so powerfull the Meteor could be driven beyond its Mach limit.

Hence we should extrapolate what the Germans might have achieved.

The RLM (reich luftfahrts ministerium) program of Jet Engine Development was divided into stages. Stage I covered engines up to around 1000kg, Stage II from 1000 to 2000 and Stage III about 2000-4000 and Stage IV above this.

The first stage II engine, the 1300kg/2900lbs thrust Heinkel Hirth HeS 011A had run into problems with combustion, BMW was brought in by the RLM as a consultant as ithey had successfully built the similar and excellent annular combustion chamber of the BMW 003 and they declared the problem the result of mismatching of the turbine and compressor. I suspect they might have solved their problems by the end of 1945 if BMW's advice was right since the engine was benching 1153KP in Jan 1945. A thrust of 1300kg/2860 lbs wouldn't have been too bad against the 35000lbs Derwent V though it was clearly lagging. Messerschmitt had prepared drawings to simply incorporate this engine into the standard Me 262 airframe and wing.

Nevertheless they had taken a risk as all of their new aircraft ad been built around this engine and backups were running well behind. It had afterall a radical new compressor. The other stage II engine was the 1800kP Jumo 004H with a mockup and a few parts and the BMW 3007, a scaled up BMW 003 upon which work had commenced. More work had in fact been done on the Stage III engines, the Jumo 012 and BMW 018.

The BMW 003 had growth potential to 900kg/2000lbs in the form of the BMW 003C with a new compressor (which had been built) and as the BMW 003D 1100kP/2400lbs with a new compressor and new turbine, combustion chamber and new turbine all of which had also been built and tested but not assembled.

The Jumo 004D was supposedly good for 1030kg (2300lbs)

If the HeS 011 failed then German aircraft would only be restricted to these existing 1000kg class engine on the advanced swept wing versions of the He 162, swept wing versions of the Ar 234 and Me 262, perhaps with a moderate 30 degree sweep.
Last edited:

Users who are viewing this thread