And raise the stakes dramatically.
By the end of World War II, it was becoming clear that the huge fleets of piston-engine propeller planes used in the conflict would soon be superseded by much faster jet aircraft. Nazi Germany and the United Kingdom had deployed jets in combat, and the United States and Japan were close to doing so when the war ended. Only the Soviet Union seemed to lag conspicuously behind.
However, the Red Army captured numerous scientists, research facilities and prototype technologies when it rolled into eastern Germany—including Jumo 004 and BMW 003 turbojets designed for the Nazi’s Me-262 and wooden He-162 jet fighters respectively. In 1945, the manufacturers Mikoyan-i-Gurevich and Yakovlev were instructed to develop the first Soviet jet fighters using the German engines.
By early 1946 they had developed the Jumo-powered Yak-15 and the faster BMW-powered MiG-9. However, the German turbojets had infamously short service lives and could not generate the necessary thrust, so for their next major jet fighter designs, Soviet engineers suggested acquiring British Rolls-Royce Nene centrifugal-flow compressor turbojets that could produce 5,000 pounds of thrust.