[Home]Fighter aircraft

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A fighter aircraft is a military aircraft designed primarily for attacking other aircraft. Compare with bomber. Fighters are comparatively small, fast, and highly manoeuverable, and have been fitted with increasingly sophisticated tracking and weapons systems to find and shoot down other aircraft. Fighters, sometimes with some modification, can also be used for attacking ground targets, but because of their smaller size cannot carry the heavy weapon loads of strategic bombers.

Alternative names are pursuit aircraft or interceptors, as they are often used to pursue or intercept incoming bombers and missiles. The P in P-51 comes from "pursuit". In naval use, sometimes the term "attack" aircraft is used.

Fighter aircraft developed during World War I, and by the time of World War II fighter aircraft were all-important, with the superior manoeuverability and flight characteristics of the Spitfire over the Messerschmitt? Me109 crucial in the [Battle Of Britain]?.

Messerschmitt? developed the first operational jet-engined planes late in World War II, but they were little used, partly due to german fuel shortages. In the 1950's, jet-engined fighter planes capable of supersonic? flight were developed, and throughout the 1960's these designed gradually became faster and more manoeuverable. Throughout the 1970's and 1980's, however, airframe development slowed down dramatically as most attention was paid to improved avionics and missile design. Current developments include reducing the radar visibility of fighters, as well as increased range at supersonic speeds and better manoeuverability.

Historical overview






Recently Introduced, Experimental and Proposed Future Designs


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Last edited December 21, 2001 3:34 am by The ansible (diff)