In 1944, the German Luftwaffe revealed its rocket-powered interceptor, the Messerschmitt Me 163 "Komet", much to the surprise of Allied bomber crews. While an extremely fast specimen due to its raw rocket power, the aircraft suffered from having a small window from which to do its most damage - perhaps a few passes through a bomber formation with cannons blazing and nothing more. The aircraft was fueled by the dangerous "T-Stoff" / "C-Stoff" combination and lacked a conventional undercarriage, gliding - unpowered - back to the ground and landing on a crude belly skid.
From this the Reich Air Ministry envisioned an improved form of the same interceptor and charged the Junkers concern with development (as the "Ju 248"). In time, the product became officially designated as the "Me 263" but was only available as three largely incomplete prototypes when Allied forces took over the development facility. Studied at length, the Me263 provided useful information to both the Americans and the Soviets in the immediate post-war period. The Me 263 carried over the bubble canopy and swept-back wings of its predecessor (though the wooden wings introduced more fuel pockets) but was given a lengthened fuselage and fully-retracting tricycle undercarriage.
From this data, combined with work completed by the Soviets back in the mid-1930s on the Korolyov RP-318 rocket plane and the Bereznyak-Isayev BI-1 rocket plane of 1942, arose a new local design also intended as a rocket-powered, point defense interceptor - the Mikoyan-Gurevich "I-270".
The I-270 brought with it some of the design qualities of the earlier Me 263 but was wholly its own aircraft design before the end. The fuselage was rounded and held the single-seat cockpit at front aft of the short nosecone as well as fuel stores, the rocket motor and avionics suite. The wing mainplanes were mid-mounted along the fuselage sides but straight in their general shape (with clipped tips). A single vertical tailfin was in play (as in the Me 163/263) with the major change being a high-mounted horizontal stabilizer fitted to the fin to produce a "T-style" tail unit. A tricycle (fully-retractable) undercarriage was also installed.
Power was from a single Dushkin-Glushko RD-2 M3-V series rocket engine and this outputted at 3,190 lb of thrust. Maximum speed was rated at 580 miles per hour with a service ceiling reaching 55,760 feet. Rate-of-climb was a 16,240 feet per minute.
Proposed armament became 2 x 23mm Nudelman-Suranov NS-23 automatic cannons.
Just two I-270 rocket planes were built for the Mikoyan-Gurevich flight program. The airframe was trialed in glider form during late-1946 but it was not until early-1947 that a fully-equipped, powered version took to the skies for the first time. However, this prototype suffered heavy damage when landing and could not be repaired. The other prototype suffered a similar fate, a hard landing rendering the product wholly useless for further testing. As such, little more was had on the project and, by this time, Soviet authorities turned their attention to perfecting turbojet and missile technologies instead, leaving the I-270 as nothing more than a short-lived footnote in Soviet aviation history.
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
Ability to intercept inbound aerial threats by way of high-performance, typically speed and rate-of-climb.
✓X-Plane (Developmental, Prototype, Technology Demonstrator)
Aircraft developed for the role of prototyping, technology demonstration, or research / data collection.
29.3 ft (8.92 m)
25.4 ft (7.75 m)
10.1 ft (3.08 m)
3,406 lb (1,545 kg)
9,083 lb (4,120 kg)
+5,677 lb (+2,575 kg)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the base Mikoyan-Gurevich I-270 production variant)
1 x Dushkin-Glushko RD-2 M-3V rocket engine developing 3,190 lb of thrust.
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