The XP-59A is the first American jet aircraft. It did not see combat, but it did give the U. S. Army Air Forces and the U. S. Navy valuable experience with jet aircraft technology and helped pave the way to more advanced designs. The United States was slow to enter the field of jet propulsion. Political and military leaders wisely chose to forego rushing jet airplanes into service and concentrated instead on mass-producing and fielding more conventional designs that could contribute more quickly to the war effort. Highlighted in this image is the handgrip on the Bell XP-59A Airacomet.