In November 1944, the aircraft was again redesignated as the Me 263 to show its connection with the Me 163. The two projects also got names - the Ju 248 Flunder (Flounder) and the Me 263 Scholle (Plaice). In early 1945, Junkers proposed its own project, the EF 127 Walli rocket fighter, as a competitor to the Me 163C and Me 263. This was typical for the German war industry where companies still tried to outbid each other instead of focusing resources on a common project.
First unpowered flight of the Me 263 V1 was in February 1945. Several more unpowered flights took place that month. The biggest problem had to do with the center of gravity which was restored with the addition of counterweights. Eventually, the production aircraft would have repositioned the engine or the landing gear installation to solve this problem. The landing gear was still non-retractable. The results of those first flights was the aircraft gave a "ziemlich fertigen Eindruck", meaning that it seemed to be ready.
Test flights were later stopped because of fuel shortages for the Bf 110 towplanes. As the Me 263 was not a part of the Führernotprogramm (Führer's Emergency Programme), it was difficult to get the resources it needed. For the time being the plane was not expected to enter production but further development was allowed. The V2 and V3 were not yet ready. The V2 was to get the retractable landing gear and the V3 would have the armament built in. The next month both the V1 and the V2 had the two-chambered HWK 109-509C installed, correcting the center-of-gravity problems. They flew only as gliders.
In April, the Americans occupied the plant and captured the three prototypes and the mock-up. The V2 was destroyed but another prototype ended up in the USA. The rest was handed over to the Russians who then created their own Mikoyan-Gurevich I-270 interceptor.
- Crew: 1
- Length: 7.83 m (25 ft)
- Wingspan: 9.50 m (31 ft 2 in)
- Height: 3.17 m ()
- Wing area: 17.80 m² (191.59 ft²)
- Empty weight: 2,105 kg (4,640 lb)
- Max. takeoff weight: 5,150 kg (11,354 lb)
- Powerplant: 1 × Walter HWK 109-509C-3 rocket, 19.61 kN (4,410 lbf)
- Maximum speed: 880 km/h (550 mph) (14,000 m (45,000 ft))
- Service ceiling: 14,000 m (45,212 ft)
- Rate of climb: 150 m/s ()
- Endurance:15 minutes at 11,000 m (36,090 ft)
- (All performance figures estimated)
Edited by LALA85, 29 August 2012 - 06:04 AM.