ABOVE: Rebuilt Me262 D-IMTT is supported by the Airbus Heritage Flight 

A modern Messerschmitt Me262 will be joining the Royal International Air Tattoo for the type’s inaugural UK airshow debut, organisers of the show have confirmed.

The Me262 made its first jet-powered flight in July 1942 and was the first operational jet-powered fighter in use worldwide, serving with the German Luftwaffe from mid-1944. Featuring partially swept wings and powered by two Junkers Jumo 004 axial-flow turbojet engines, the Me262 was faster than any Allied fighter – including the first British jet-powered fighter, the Gloster Meteor. A total of 1430 Me262s were produced before the end of the war, comprising two variants: the fighter ‘Schwalbe’ (Swallow) and the fighter-bomber ‘Sturmvogel’ (Storm Bird).

In 1993, a Texas-based initiative was created to produce five airworthy replica Me262s, substituting the original unreliable powerplants for more modern General Electric CJ610 Turbojet engines. “Four of these replicas are airworthy and we are very pleased to confirm that one will be taking part in our flying display at RIAT 2023,” confirmed event organisers.

Me262-B1-A D-IMTT is operated by Flugmuseum Messerschmitt in Manching, Bavaria. After being remanufactured in Seattle, it made its first flight in August 2005 before being dismantled and shipped to Manching, where it first flew in April 2006. Its RIAT appearance – on Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 July – will mark the first time the type has flown in UK skies since the 1940s.

The CEO of Airbus Defence and Space, Michael Schöllhorn, noted: “The Messerschmitt Me262 has bever been displayed at a UK airshow before and we at Airbus Defence and Space, as the successor company of Messerschmitt, are honoured to bring it from its home in Manching, Bavaria to aviation enthusiasts and airshow attendees at RIAT this summer”.

“The Me262 as the first series production jet engine fighter plane represents a milestone in aeronautical technology. It is a privilege to welcome the legendary Me262 to the UK skies”, he concluded.