Luftwaffe - Arado Ar 234 B Blitz (Lightning) - Air and Space Smithsonian - Udvar Hazy Center - July 29th, 2009 858 RT CRP
This is the Luftwaffe jet bomber, the Arado Ar 234 Blitz. Note here, that the single pilot of the Ar 234 was surrounded by a clear view in almost every direction except to the rear of the aircraft. In order to remedy this, and help the Blitz's pilots to spot Allied fighters approaching from the rear, a periscope was fitted. Note the periscope mounted in the mast above the cockpit. While this aircraft is depicted with a bomb under the aircraft centerline, the two items outboard of the Ar 234's Jumo jet engines are not bombs, but reusable Walter RATO (Rocket Assisted Take Off) pods. These pods would be ignited at take-off and then released and parachuted to the ground one the aircraft achieved lift off.
The Arado Ar 234 B Blitz (Lightning) was the world's first operational jet bomber and reconnaissance aircraft. The first Ar 234 combat mission, a reconnaissance flight over the Allied beachhead in Normandy, took place August 2, 1944. With a maximum speed of 735 kilometers (459 miles) per hour, the Blitz easily eluded Allied piston engine fighters. While less famous than the Messerschmitt Me 262 jet fighters, the Ar 234s that reached Luftwaffe units provided excellent service, especially as reconnaissance aircraft.
This Ar 234 B-2 served with bomber unit KG 76 from December 1944 until May 1945, when British forces captured it in Norway. Turned over to the United States, it was brought to Wright Field, Ohio, in 1946 for flight testing. In 1949 it was transferred to the Smithsonian, which restored it in 1984-89. This Arado is the sole survivor of its type.