Hobby 2000 72039 Arado Ar234b-2 First Jets Blitz Bomber Plastic Kit 1/72

MRP £21.95

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The Arado Ar 234 B Blitz (Lightning) was the world's first operational jet bomber and reconnaissance aircraft. Two Junkers Jumo 004 B turbojets powered this clean, graceful design. Speed made the Blitz virtually immune to attacks from piston-engined Allied fighters. The jet's maximum velocity topped 735 kph (456 mph). Although overshadowed by the more famous Messerschmitt Me 262 jet fighter, the relatively few Ar 234s that reached Luftwaffe units before the end of the German surrender provided excellent (if ultimately futile) service, particularly as reconnaissance aircraft.

The National Air and Space Museum's Blitz, an Arado Ar 234 B-2 bomber carrying Werk Nummer (manufacturer's serial number) 140312, was one of nine Ar 234s surrendered to British forces at Sola airfield near Stavanger, Norway. It is the sole surviving example of an Ar 234. The aircraft had been on strength with 9./KG 76 (Ninth Squadron/ bomber Wing 76) during the final weeks of the war, having served earlier with the unit's eighth squadron. It and three other Ar 234s were collected by the famous "Watson's Whizzers" group of the USAAF (United States Army Air Forces) for shipment to the United States. After flying from Sola to Cherbourg, France on June 24, 1945, the four Ar 234s joined thirty-four other advanced German aircraft aboard the British aircraft carrier HMS Reaper for shipment to the United States. The Reaper departed from Cherbourg on July 20, arriving at Newark, New Jersey eight days later. U. S. Army Air Forces personnel reassembled and flew two Ar 234s, including 140312, to Freeman Field, Indiana, for testing and evaluation. The USAAF assigned the foreign equipment number FE-1010 to this Ar 234 for inventory and tracking purposes.

After receiving new engines and replacement radio and oxygen equipment, FE-1010 was flown to Wright Field, Dayton, Ohio, in July 1946 and transferred to the Accelerated Service Test Maintenance Section (ASTMS) of the Flight Test Division. After flight-testing was completed on October 16, 1946, the aircraft remained at Wright field until 1947, when it was moved to Orchard Place Airport, Park Ridge, Illinois. On May 1, 1949, the USAF (United States Air Force after 1947) transferred the Ar 234 and other aircraft at Park Ridge to the Smithsonian Institution. During the early 1950s, the airplanes were finally moved to a new Smithsonian storage facility at Suitland, Maryland to await restoration.

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