This page no longer updated from 31 October 2001. Latest version can be found at Me-163

Family: Miscellany. Country: Germany.

The rocket-powered Messerschmitt Me-163 was the world's first and only operational pure rocket fighter and represented the culmination of Alexander Lippisch's years of research in rocketplanes, tail-less aircraft, and delta wings. As a weapon, the Me-163 had tremendous speed but very limited range. However the concepts developed by Lippisch contributed to the Space Shuttle and Buran orbiters of a quarter century later.

The Me-163 had the following characteristics:

Single-seat interceptor
Powerplant: one 1,700 kgf thrust Walter 109-509A-2 rocket motor
Max. Speed: 960 km/hr; cruise 800 km/hr; landing speed 80 m/s
Range: 80 km during a 7.5 minute flight time. 12 km altitude reached in 3.3 minutes
Dimensions: span 9.33 m; length 5.70 m
Takeoff mass: 3995 kg loaded with 2 x Mk 118 x 60 rockets


Payload: 250 kg. to a: 12 km trajectory. Liftoff Thrust: 1,700 kgf. Total Mass: 3,955 kg. Core Diameter: 2.8 m. Total Length: 5.9 m.

Me-163 Chronology

1928 Jun 11 -
1941 Sep 1 -
1943 Jun 1 -
1944 Aug 1 -


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Last update 12 March 2001.
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© Mark Wade, 2001 .