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List of rocket aircraft


List of rocket aircraft

This list of rocket planes is an incomplete listing, sorted by type of launch used, and date of aircraft that used rocket propulsion as a primary means of sustaining flight:


  • Conventional take-off 1
  • Mixed power 2
  • Air-launched 3
  • Vertically launched 4
  • Spaceplanes 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7

Conventional take-off

Messerschmitt Me 163 rocket powered interceptor

Rocket propelled aircraft that use a runway to takeoff.

Year Country of origin Name of Aircraft Notes
1928  Germany Lippisch Ente first rocket-powered aircraft
1929  Germany Opel RAK.1 first purpose-built rocket-powered aircraft
1939  Germany He 176 liquid-fuel rocket-powered testbed
1940  Soviet Union Korolyov RP-318 powered by Glushko and Dushkin engines, unmanned tests in 1938.
1940  Germany DFS 194 rocket-powered glider test plane
1942  Soviet Union Bereznyak-Isayev BI-1 short-range interceptor powered by Dushkin and Isaev engines
1944  Germany Me 163 tailless rocket-powered interceptor used in World War II
1944  Germany Me 263 also known as Ju 248, development of Me 163
1944  Germany He P.1077 Julia proposed rocket-powered interceptor, not built.
1944  Germany Focke-Wulf Volksjäger three units under construction at the time of the Surrender of Nazi Germany.[1]
1944  Germany Ju EF.127 Walli proposed rocket-powered interceptor, not built
1944  United States Northrop XP-79 Experimental point defense interceptor flying wing. Converted to jet engines before first and only flight.
1945  Japan Mitsubishi J8M was to have been a licensed Messerschmitt Me 163 but the plans were lost so was only similar.
1945  Japan Rikugun Ki-202 Improved version of the J8M/Ki-200 with the fuselage elongated for longer flight endurance.
1945  Japan Mizuno Shinryu II Second aircraft developed in Japan to use a canard design after the J7W1. The end of the war stopped further development with none being built.
1948  Soviet Union Bisnovat 5 Russian design based from earlier captured DFS 346, cancelled (never flew under power)
2001  United States EZ-Rocket experimental Rutan Long-EZ with rocket replacing piston engine
2006  United States Mark I X-racer Customized Velocity SE, prototype for Rocket Racing League.[2][3]
2010  United States Mark-III X-racer from Rocket Racing League[4]

Mixed power

SNCASO SO.9000 Trident with jet engines in wingtips and a rocket in the tail

Aircraft that used rockets as well as another type of powerplant (usually either jet engines or a piston engine). All are manned aircraft unless stated otherwise. Does not include aircraft temporarily fitted with external booster rockets (such as JATO, RATO or RATOG). All are conventionally launched.

Year Country of origin Name of Aircraft Notes
1937  Germany Heinkel He 112R flown with both Walther and von Braun rockets, piston engine used to achieve flight for test.
1944  Soviet Union Sukhoi Su-7 Sukhoi Su-6 with RD-1 kHz (chemical ignition RD-1) engine and piston engine.
1945  Soviet Union Yak-3RD Modified Yakovlev Yak-3 with Glushko RD-1 kHz engine and piston engine.
1945  Soviet Union Lavochkin La-7R Glushko RD-1 kHz engine and piston engine.
1949  United Kingdom Hawker P.1072 test bed with Armstrong Siddeley Snarler rocket booster mounted in the tail
1949  United States Republic XF-91 Thunderceptor rocket and jet engines
1953  France SNCASO Trident rocket mounted in tail and turbojet engines on wingtips
1956  France SNCASE SE-212 Durandal prototype interceptor
1956  United Kingdom Avro 720 mixed power cancelled before flight
1957  United Kingdom Saunders-Roe SR.53 prototype interceptor, first flew 1957, cancelled 1960.
1957  United Kingdom Saunders-Roe SR.177 development of SR.53, cancelled 1958
1963  United States Lockheed NF-104A rocket and jet engine powered spaceflight trainer


Bell X-1A

Aircraft that are dropped from a mothership, usually at altitude. All are manned unless noted otherwise.

Year Country of origin Name of Aircraft Notes
1944  Germany Sombold So 344 bomber box buster with a detachable explosive nose (Project only).
1944  Germany Fliegende Panzerfaust towed behind a Messerschmitt Me 109G
1944  Germany Zeppelin Rammer designed to use the aerial ramming technique against Allied bombers (Concept only.)
1944  Germany Arado E.381Kleinstjäger carried by an Arado Ar 234(Not built.)
1944  Germany Me P.1104 short-range interceptor (Not built.)
1945  Japan Ohka air-launched kamikaze aircraft
1947  United States Bell X-1 first aircraft to break the sound barrier in level flight (Also conventional take off on one occasion)
1953  United States Douglas D-588-II Skyrocket supersonic research aircraft
1955  United States Bell X-2 supersonic research aircraft
1959  United States North American X-15 hypersonic research aircraft
1969  United States Martin Marietta X-24A re-entry/lifting body research aircraft
1973  United States Martin Marietta X-24B re-entry/lifting body research aircraft

Vertically launched

Bachem Ba 349 Natter vertically launched rocket powered interceptor

Aircraft that are launched vertically as a rocket but which use conventional aerodynamic controls during flight.

Year Country of origin Name of Aircraft Notes
1945  Germany Bachem Ba 349 "Natter" Point defence interceptor. breaks apart in flight for pilot to parachute to land. Single launch resulted in fatality.
1963  United States ASSET unmanned atmospheric reentry test vehicle
1966  United States X-23 PRIME unmanned atmospheric reentry test vehicle
1982  Soviet Union BOR-4 unmanned atmospheric reentry test vehicle


X-15 about to be dropped from B-52 mothership

Spaceplanes are aircraft that are able of reaching the edge of space where conventional aerodynamic controls lose their effectiveness. Must use aerodynamic surfaces at some stage of flight and be manned.

Year Country of origin Name of Aircraft Notes
1944  Germany Silbervogel sub orbital bomber project, mock up and wind tunnel models only.
1959  United States X-15 carried to altitude by B-52, made numerous supersonic and hypersonic flights
1981  United States Space Shuttle rocket assisted vertical take-off/unpowered landing
1988  Soviet Union Buran Shuttle normally manned but fully automated. One unmanned flight made. Payload of Erergia rocket, Buran's own engines only used for final boost to orbit
2004  United States Scaled Composites SpaceShipOne first civilian-funded reusable spacecraft, lifted by White Knight to about 14 km
2008  United States XCOR Lynx suborbital horizontal takeoff and landing, rocket-powered spaceplane, unflown.
2010  United States Scaled Composites SpaceShipTwo prototype for Virgin Galactic commercial spaceplane in flight testing.

See also


  1. ^ VolksjägerLuft'46 - Focke-Wulf
  2. ^ X-Racers, Start Your Rockets! : The creators of the X prize offer a sensational vision of rocket-powered airplanes speeding through the sky. But can their new racing league steal a bit of Nascar's thunder?, Michael Belfiore, Popular Science (feature cover story), 2006-02-15, accessed 2010-09-02.
  3. ^ XCOR X-Racer, by Nancy Atkinson, Universe Today, 2009-08-06, accessed 2010-12-11.
  4. ^ Flying inside the groove: the latest rocket-powered test aircraft take just four seconds to get into the air from ignition. The brink of take-off for the RRL, Aerospace Testing International, June 2010, pp. 50-54, accessed 2010-09-06.
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