Aviation of World War II

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Jet Planes in World War II

Great Britain


Jet Aircraft of Germany


In the early 1940s, aircraft with piston engines and propellers approached the limit of their development. The further increase in the power-to-weight ratio and the improvement of aerodynamics were given more and more difficult and brought less and less effect. An increase in the power of power plants by hundreds of horsepower led to a very insignificant increase in flight data, since at the same time the weight and dimensions of the machine grew, and the efficiency of the propeller decreased at high speeds and altitudes. A way out of this impasse was promised by a radical change in the principle of creating thrust - the transition from screw power plants to jet ones.

At that time, several types of aircraft jet engines were already known - turbojet (turbojet), ramjet (ramjet), pulsating air-jet (PuVRD) and liquid-propellant rocket (LPRE). The most promising were considered turbojet engines (they are used by all modern jet aircraft), but they are also the most complex.

Ramjet and PuVRD, on the contrary, are very simple, but have a small range of thrust, relatively low efficiency, and most importantly, due to their design features, they need a strong air pressure to turn on. Therefore, an independent takeoff of an aircraft with such an engine is impossible; it needs either an external carrier or a starting accelerator.

The rocket engine is light, rather simple, it can provide very high thrust, so an aircraft with such an engine has exceptional speed and climb rate, but it also has a serious drawback - huge fuel consumption, due to which the flight time of rocket gliders is limited to literally a few minutes. In addition, the liquid-propellant rocket engine fuel is two-component - it consists of a fuel and an oxidizer, which is an extremely aggressive and poisonous liquid.

Nevertheless, on the eve of World War II, the leadership of the Soviet Air Force believed that there was a class of combat aircraft for which the disadvantages of liquid-propellant engines were not critical. This class is interceptor fighters. According to the plan of the military, when enemy bombers appeared in the sky, such a fighter should take off with lightning speed, gain altitude and make an attack, and then land with an inoperative engine, like a glider. Due to the great advantage in speed and rate of climb, its chances of catching up and destroying the enemy were estimated to be much higher than that of conventional piston interceptors. An additional argument in favor of liquid-propellant rocket engines was that by the end of the 1930s, several samples of such power plants were successfully tested in the USSR. The most suitable of them was considered the engine developed under the leadership of L.A. Dushkin under the designation D-1-A-1100.

The only Allied turbojet engine that took part in World War II, the Gloucester Meteor, designed by George Carter.