The He 280 was a single-seat, twin-engine, turbojet-powered aircraft capable of speeds in excess of 550 miles per hour. Looking very much like the Me 262 that it would replace, the He 280 series mounted the twin HeS 8 turbojets under each low-mounted monoplane wing system. The tail system offered up a unique twin-fin/twin-rudder design in the tail section. The pilot sat just forward of the main wing roots with good visibility forward, above and to the sides. Standard armament was to become an array of 6 x MG 151 20mm cannons though only three such weapons ever armed one system. A powered-tricycle landing gear was one of the other notable design achievements.
A total of nine prototype examples would ever be fielded, each with varying powerplants as needed. The He 280 V1 became the first aircraft ever to feature a bail-out by ejection seat as the controls had frozen on the pilot, forcing his evacuation. The He 280 V4 saw the system fitted with 6 x pulsejets whilst the He 280 V5 and He 280 V6 would be the first aircraft in the series fitted with the 3 x 20mm cannon armament. The He 280 V7 prototype model would later become a glider for high-speed aerodynamic research and the He 280 V8 would be designed with a "V" type tail unit instead of the twin fin "T" setup.
Flying a full year and a half before the famed Gloster Meteor, the He 280 was to become a permanent fixture for the German Luftwaffe - a sort of reprisal for the continuous day and night bombing campaigns brought on by the Allies. If developmental issues had been ironed out and had the war lasted a few months longer, the He 280 perhaps might have provided the Luftwaffe with their first ever turbojet-powered bomber-hunter. Instead, the He 280 would have to see the Me 262 take to the skies in limited numbers, earning it the greater spot in the history of military aviation development.
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