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Published on Nov 12, 2009
The Messerschmitt Me 163 Komet, designed by Alexander Martin Lippisch, was a German rocket-powered fighter aircraft. As of 2009, it remains the only rocket-powered fighter aircraft to have ever been operational. Its design was revolutionary, and the plane was capable of performance unrivalled at the time. Messerschmitt test pilot Rudy Opitz in 1944 reached 1,123 km/h (698 mph). Over 300 planes were built,  however the Komet proved ineffective as a fighter, having been responsible for the destruction of only about nine Allied aircraft.