The configuration of a high-speed, light-payload Schnellbomber ("fast bomber") was intended to penetrate enemy airspace during the expected Allied invasion of France.His edict resulted in the development of (and concentration on) the Sturmvogel variant.
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While German use of the aircraft ended with the close of World War II, a small number were operated by the Czechoslovak Air Force until 1951.
Captured Me 262s were studied and flight tested by the major powers, and ultimately influenced the designs of a number of post-war aircraft such as the North American F-86 Sabre and Boeing B-47 Stratojet.
Several years before World War II, the Germans foresaw the great potential for aircraft that used the jet engine constructed by Hans Joachim Pabst von Ohain in 1936.
After the successful test flights of the world's first jet aircraft—the Heinkel He 178—within a week of the Invasion of Poland to start the war, they adopted the jet engine for an advanced fighter aircraft.
The Messerschmitt Me 262, nicknamed Schwalbe (German: "Swallow") in fighter versions, or Sturmvogel (German: "Storm Bird") in fighter-bomber versions, was the world's first operational jet-powered fighter aircraft.
Design work started before World War II began, but problems with engines, metallurgy and top-level interference kept the aircraft from operational status with the Luftwaffe until mid-1944.The engine operating lifetime of 50 hours was severely decreased due to the shortages of strategic material especially in metals for ferritic heat-resistant steel with addition of silicon or aluminium, that could resist high temperature up to 1700° Celsius.However, with adequate maintenance between the major overhauls, a pilot could expect an engine life of 20–25 hours from the 004's.Test flights began on 18 April 1941, with the Me 262 V1 example, bearing its Stammkennzeichen radio code letters of PC UA, but since its intended BMW 003 turbojets were not ready for fitting, a conventional Junkers Jumo 210 engine was mounted in the V1 prototype's nose, driving a propeller, to test the Me 262 V1 airframe.The V1 through V4 prototype airframes all possessed what would become an uncharacteristic feature for most later jet aircraft designs, a fully retracting conventional gear setup with a retracting tailwheel—indeed, the very first prospective German "jet fighter" airframe design ever flown, the Heinkel He 280, used a retractable tricycle landing gear from its beginnings, and flying on jet power alone as early as the end of March 1941.Willy Messerschmitt, who desired to maintain mass production of the piston-powered, 1935-origin Bf 109 and the projected Me 209; and Major General Adolf Galland, who had initially supported Messerschmitt through the early development years, flying the Me 262 himself on 22 April 1943.