- "Developed in the early 1930's as a replacement for the Bf-109, the Me-262 is arguably best remembered as the first operational, combat-practical jet propelled fighter."
- —Me-262 plaque in the November City Aerospace Museum
The Me-262, nicknamed Schwalbe (Belkan: Swallow) was a fighter aircraft developed by the Belka nationalen Waffenfabrik (English: Belka National Weapons Factory) in the early-mid 1930's.
The aircraft, the first of its kind to feature jet engines, would pave the way for future aircraft developments, and change the face of air combat. Radical for its time, the Me-262 has since become overshadowed by increasingly advanced developments in aircraft technology.
Regardless, the Me-262 is recognized worldwide as being the first mass-produced jet fighter aircraft.
The Me-262, developed in the 1930's as a replacement for the Bf-109 and Fw-190 propeller fighters, is often regarded to be the world's first operational jet fighter. Though an antiquated design, the Me-262 survives in the ground-attack role as the A-62 Swift.
The Me-262's development began in 1931, shortly after the first flight of its progenitor, the Projeckt 1065 (P.1065), in 1929. The aircraft had been commissioned by the Belkan government as a proposal for a cost-effective, high-speed jet propelled interceptor and fighter. However, the aircraft was not very cost effective, with each Me-262 costing nearly triple that of a Bf-109.
The Me-262, despite being produced en-masse, only saw limited use during the 1930s and 1940s. However, it was supplied to two other countries besides Belka - The Kingdom of Erusea and Estovakia, who used it in large numbers. The most recognizable use of Belkan Me-262s was during the 1939-1941 Osea-Belka War, including a later dogfight in 1950 between a squadron of four Belkan Me-262s and six Osean Meteor F.4's. The Belkans, armed with the superior aircraft, won the battle, which as been recorded as the First Battle of the Round Table. The most famous modern usage of Schawlbes was when the pilots of the 7th Air Division, 22nd Tactical Fighter Squadron, having been accused of treason, were given three A-62 Swifts, ground-attack variants of the Me-262. With these aircraft, they were told to perform hit and run strikes on advancing Osean forces. However, this did not prevent them from being deceived. Two pilots of the 15th Attack and Aggressor Squadron "Rook" led Knight Squadron out over the vast expanse of the Dinsmark Mountains, where the rest of Rook Squadron opened fire, reporting to Belkan air command that Knight Squadron had gone AWOL.
Surprisingly, despite ushering in the age of the jet fighter, no pilot has been recorded as scoring five kills in one combat sortie in the Me-262, though many pilots who flew Me-262s and variants were already ace pilots.