This object is on display in the World War II German Aviation exhibition station at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center.
The Arado Ar 234 B Blitz (Lightning) was the world's first operational jet bomber and reconnaissance aircraft. The first Ar 234 combat mission, a reconnaissance flight over the Allied beachhead in Normandy, took place August 2, 1944. With a maximum speed of 735 kilometers (459 miles) per hour, the Blitz easily eluded Allied piston-engine fighters. While less famous than the Messerschmitt Me 262 jet fighters, the Ar 234s that reached Luftwaffe units provided excellent service, especially as reconnaissance aircraft.
This Ar 234 B-2 served with bomber unit KG 76 from December 1944 until May 1945, when British forces captured it in Norway. Turned over to the United States, it was brought to Wright Field, Ohio, in 1946 for flight testing. In 1949 it was transferred to the Smithsonian, which restored it in 1984-89. This Arado is the sole survivor of its type.
Transferred from the United States Air Force.
Country of Origin: Germany
Wingspan: 14.4 m (47 ft 4 in)
Length: 12.6 m (41 ft 6 in)
Height: 4.3 m (14 ft 2 in)
Weight, empty: 4,900 kg (10,800 lb)
Weight, gross: 10,010 kg (22,070 lb) with RATO (rocket-assisted takeoff) units
Top speed: 735 km/h (459 mph)
Materials: Overall: Aluminum
Physical Description:Single seat, twin engine jet bomber with RATO.
Inventory number: A19600312000