The Messerschmitt Me 263 was a rocket powered interceptor, designed during the final months of World War 2 to rectify the major faults in the Messerschmitt Me 163.
In retrospect the Me 163 need not have suffered from its most serious faults, and the 263 emerged on the Lippisch/Messerschmitt drawing boards in winter 1943-44 to rectify them. The new design had a larger and better-shaped body housing more propellants, a new engine with separate low-thrust cruise chamber for long endurance, and a proper landing gear. The 163D V1 was completed in spring 1944 but the RLM transferred the programme to Junkers to ease Messerschmitt's burdens. At Dessau, Prof Hertel improved the 263A-1 into the Ju 248, with automatic slats, bubble hood and cut-down rear fuselage, larger flaps and other changes. Two 30mm MK 108 were fitted in the wing roots. The RLM insisted on restoration of the Me 263A-1 designation, and hastened production, planning for the 5,511 lb (2500kg) BMW 708 nitric-acid motor when ready, but in the chaos of late 1944 tooling was never finished, though a single Dessau-built 263A-1 flew as a glider in August 1944. It was briefly developed further by the Russians.
- Origin: Messerschmitt AG; transferred to Junkers.
- Type: interceptor.
- Engine: Walter HWK ‘I09-509C-4 rocket with 3,750lb (1700kg) main chamber and 660lb (300kg) cruise chamber.
- Dimensions: Span 31ft 2in (9.50m); length 25ft 10 1/2 in (7.88m); height 8ft 10 1/4 in (2.70m).
- Weights: Empty 4,640lb (2105kg); loaded 11,354lb (515Okg).
- Performance: Maximum speed 62Omph (1000km/h) at height; time to 49,213 ft (15,000m) 3 min; max endurance, about 1hr including 15min under power.