Arado Ar 234 Bomber and Reconnaissance Units
When the revolutionary twin jet-powered Arado Ar 234 first appeared in the skies over north-west Europe in the summer of 1944, it represented the state-of-the-art in terms of aeronautical and technical development. The Ar 234 was a formidable aircraft - powered by Jumo 004Bs, the same engine used by the Me 262, and with a maximum speed of 735 km/h and range of 1600 km/h, it was very difficult for the Allies to ‘catch'. Here was a machine that with its superior speed could operate with impunity as both a bomber and in the reconnaissancerole.
As such, the aircraft became the world's first reconnaissance jet, undertaking secret, high-speed, high-altitude observation missions for the German High Command over the Allied beachheads in Normandy and other Allied strongholds. Astonishingly, in September 1944 and as late as 1945, lone Ar 234s conducted reconnaissance flights over British ports and theMediterranean. The aircraft was equally efficient as a jet bomber - although the Ar 234B-2 bomber variant carried no defensive gun armament, it was able to deliver 1000 kg of bombs at high-speed and at either low- or high-level with considerable and devastating accuracy.