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    The concept of sweeping an aircraft's wings is to delay the drag rise caused by the formation of shock waves. The swept-wing concept had been appreciated by German aerodynamicists since the mid-1930s, and by 1942 a considerable amount of research had gone into it. However, in the United States and Great Britain, the concept of the swept wing remained virtually unknown until the end of the war. Due to the early research in this area, this allowed Germany to successfully introduce the swept wing in the Messerschmitt Me 262 as early as 1941. Although in the case of the Me 262, it was more for the purposes of altering the center of gravity due to a change in the selection of engines.

    Early British and American jet aircraft were conventional straight-wing designs with a high-speed performance that was consequently limited. Such aircraft included the Gloster Meteor, Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star and the Bell XP-59A Airacomet.

    After the war, German advanced aeronautical research data became available to the United States Army Air Force (USAAF) as well as Great Britain and the new technology was then incorporated into their aircraft designs. Some early jets that took advantage of this technology were the North American F-86 Sabre, the Hawker Hunter F.4 and the Supermarine Swift FR.5.

    Not to be outdone, the Soviet Union introduced the swept wing in the Mikoyan Mig-15 in 1947. This aircraft was the great rival of the F-86 during the Korean War.

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Created June 6, 2002. Updated June 1, 2015.