The impact of the Second World War was felt around the world, and nowhere was this more apparent than in the aviation industry. During the six-year period between 1939 and the end of the war in 1945, aircraft technology improved significantly, resulting in faster, stealthier and more effective planes. From this innovation race came several record-breaking planes that made a lasting mark within the war. Take a look at our list below to learn about some of the fastest aircraft used in WWII.
The fastest aircraft to see any combat in WWII was the Messerschmitt Me 163, which set an airspeed record of 702 mph in 1944 (although this record was not recognized by the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale due to its secrecy during the war). The Komet saw limited combat for the Axis at the tail end of the war and went on to inspire American turbojet-powered planes like the Convair XF-92.
The Spitfire was one of the most-used Allied fighter planes in WWII, although its use extended before and after the war as well. The propeller plane’s elliptical wing helped it achieve higher speeds than its contemporaries and made it a fierce competitor in combat. The plane reached it’s record speed of 606 mph at a 45-degree dive in 1943; it was later estimated to have reached 690 mph in a dive following the war in 1952.
Another popular Allied propeller plane used during WWII was the P-51 Mustang. This fighter was capable of flying at around 400 mph, with its maximum speed clocked at about 440mph. The plane’s good maneuverability made it a top Allied fighter throughout WWII and into the Korean War.