Throughout the Second World War both the Royal Air Force and the Luftwaffe attempted to produce an effective jet fighter. The Messerschmitt 262A made its first test flight on 18th July, 1942. It reached a speed of 540 mph (869 km) making it faster than any other aeroplane in the air during the Second World War. The aircraft was armed with four 30 mm cannons.
Hermann Goering believed that the aircraft had the potential to change the course of the war. However, production was delayed when Adolf Hitler insisted that they should be used as a bomber rather than a fighter aircraft. Underwing bomb-racks were fitted and the first of these planes were not delivered to the Luftwaffe until April 1944. Of the 1,430 produced only 220 were operational before the end of the war. Of these, 120 were shot down by Allied fighters.