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The Arado Ar 234 Blitz , The World's First Operational Jet-Powered Bomber And First Jet-Powered Reconnaissance Aircraft, Which First Saw Service In The German Luftwaffe During The Final Years Of World War II, As Seen Through Stunning Color And Black And White Archival Films From The Factory, Out In The Field And Up In The Second World War Skies! An Hour Of Historical Military Aviation High Adventure, Presented In The Highest DVD Quality MPG Video Format Of 9.1 MBPS As An MP4 Video Download Or Archival Quality All Regions Format DVD! (Color, 1993, 48 Minutes.)
The Arado Ar 234 Blitz (German: "Lightning"), the world's first operational jet bomber and first jet reconnaissance aircraft, was a turbojet-powered German aircraft designed and produced by the German aircraft manufacturer Arado which saw service during the final years of the Second World War. Development of the Ar 234 can be traced back to the latter half of 1940 and the request to tender from the Ministry of Aviation to produce a jet-powered high-speed reconnaissance aircraft. Arado was the only respondent with their E.370 design. While its range was beneath that of the Ministry's specification, an initial order for two prototypes was promptly issued to the company, designated Ar 234. While both of the prototypes had been mostly completed prior to the end of 1941, the Junkers Jumo 004 turbojet engines were not available prior to February 1943. Due to engine unreliability, the maiden flight of the Ar 234 V1 was delayed until 30 July 1943. In addition to the original reconnaissance-orientated Ar 234A, the fast bomber Ar 234B model was developed in response to a request by the Ministry of Aviation. Due to a lack of internal space in the relatively slender fuselage, bombloads of up to 1,500 kg (3,300 lb) had to be carried on external racks rather than in internal bomb bays. The Ar 234 was produced only in small numbers, despite plans for production of 500 per month in late 1945. This was partly due to a lack of available jet engines and other critical materials, for which the aircraft had to compete with other types, such as the Messerschmitt Me 262. Several models were proposed, with alternative engines, cockpit improvements, and adaptations for other roles, including as a night fighter. In late 1944, aerial reconnaissance missions over enemy territory commenced. The Ar 234 was almost entirely used to perform such reconnaissance missions and it was in this capacity that it became the last Luftwaffe aircraft to overfly the United Kingdom during the war, in April 1945. In its capacity as a bomber, the most prominent use of the Ar 234 was the repeated attempts to destroy the Ludendorff Bridge at Remagen between March 7 and 17, 1945. Many airframes were destroyed or captured on the ground due to a lack of serviceable engines or fuel.