ARADO Ar 234

The Arado Ar 234 has a special place in aviation history as the world’s first operational jet-powered bomber and reconnaissance platform. Malcolm V Lowe sheds light on this groundbreaking World War Two combat aircraft

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Take-offs of the first eight Ar 234s with the unconventional jettison undercarriage were always spectacular. After early problems, the trolley was released soon after take-off rather than at higher level, and retarded with braking parachutes

When the twin-engined Arado Ar 234 entered service with Nazi Germany’s Luftwaffe during the latter half of 1944, it represented a significant leap forward in warplane capability and technology. It was one of just a handful of jet-powered warplanes that gave genuine frontline service during World War Two and was a contemporary of Britain’s Gloster Meteor and Germany’s Messerschmitt Me 262 fighters – although its day-to-day history was very different to those two well-known types.

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