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Walter HWK 509A Rocket

The HWK 509A rocket engine was developed was developed to power the German Me 163 Komet fighter-interceptor, one of the most unique distinctive aircraft of World War II. The motor used two fuels -- hydrazine hydrate in methanol, plus concentrated hydrogen peroxide -- that ignited violently when combined with a catalyst.

Designer Hellmuth Walter's 374-pound prototype engine was used in the first powered flight of the Me 163B V2 aircraft in August 1943. The HWK 509A could deliver variable thrust from 330 to 3,750 pounds. At full throttle, it could drive the Komet to a maximum speed of 593 mph; however, the Komet carried only enough fuel for 7 1/2 minutes of powered flight.

The HWK 509A-1 and the nearly identical HWK 509A-2 were installed in production Me 163Bs, which entered combat in July 1944. The end of the war halted development of improved engines designed to extend the Komet's range and endurance.

The engine on display was donated by Mr. John P. Owen, Prototype Technician, Troy, Ohio, in July 1980.

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Messerschmitt Me 163B Komet