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With an NPC Pilot crew member, the player can control either the fighter or the ship while the Pilot fully controls the other craft. The player uses the Role Panel to give Attack and Movement orders to the Pilot to direct how the other craft will behave. The Pilot can dock the fighter with the ship while the ship is still moving as long as not moving so fast as to require boost. At the moment the only way to have more than one fighter deployed is to use multicrew and have at least one of them controlled by a player. The following limitations also apply;.

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Sign In Don't have an account? Start a Wiki. Contents [ show ]. A typical example is the Lavochkin La-9 'Fritz', which was an evolution of the successful wartime Lavochkin La-7 'Fin'. Working through a series of prototypes, the La, La and La, the Lavochkin design bureau sought to replace the La-7's wooden airframe with a metal one, as well as fit a laminar-flow wing to improve maneuver performance, and increased armament. The La-9 entered service in August and was produced until ; it also served as the basis for the development of a long-range escort fighter, the La 'Fang', of which nearly were produced — Over the course of the Korean War, however, it became obvious that the day of the piston-engined fighter was coming to a close and that the future would lie with the jet fighter.

This period also witnessed experimentation with jet-assisted piston engine aircraft. La-9 derivatives included examples fitted with two underwing auxiliary pulsejet engines the La-9RD and a similarly mounted pair of auxiliary ramjet engines the La ; however, neither of these entered service. One that did enter service — with the U. Navy in March — was the Ryan FR-1 Fireball ; production was halted with the war's end on VJ-Day , with only 66 having been delivered, and the type was withdrawn from service in The first rocket-powered aircraft was the Lippisch Ente , which made a successful maiden flight in March Only two were built.

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In the s, the British developed mixed-power jet designs employing both rocket and jet engines to cover the performance gap that existed in turbojet designs. The rocket was the main engine for delivering the speed and height required for high-speed interception of high-level bombers and the turbojet gave increased fuel economy in other parts of flight, most notably to ensure the aircraft was able to make a powered landing rather than risking an unpredictable gliding return. The Saunders-Roe SR. Furthermore, rapid advancements in jet engine technology rendered mixed-power aircraft designs like Saunders-Roe's SR.

The only operational implementation of mixed propulsion was Rocket-Assisted Take Off RATO , a system rarely used in fighters, such as with the zero-length launch , RATO-based takeoff scheme from special launch platforms , tested out by both the United States and the Soviet Union, and made obsolete with advancements in surface-to-air missile technology.

It has become common in the aviation community to classify jet fighters by "generations" for historical purposes. Different authors have packed jet fighters into different generations. For example, Richard P. The timeframes associated with each generation remain inexact and are only indicative of the period during which their design philosophies and technology employment enjoyed a prevailing influence on fighter design and development.

These timeframes also encompass the peak period of service entry for such aircraft. The first generation of jet fighters comprised the initial, subsonic jet-fighter designs introduced late in World War II — and in the early post-war period. They differed little from their piston-engined counterparts in appearance, and many employed unswept wings. Guns and cannon remained the principal armament. The need to obtain a decisive advantage in maximum speed pushed the development of turbojet-powered aircraft forward.

Top speeds for fighters rose steadily throughout World War II as more powerful piston engines developed, and they approached transonic flight-speeds where the efficiency of propellers drops off, making further speed increases nearly impossible. The first jets developed during World War II and saw combat in the last two years of the war. Messerschmitt developed the first operational jet fighter, the Me A, primarily serving with the Luftwaffe's JG 7 , the world's first jet-fighter wing.

It was considerably faster than contemporary piston-driven aircraft, and in the hands of a competent pilot, proved quite difficult for Allied pilots to defeat. The Luftwaffe never deployed the design in numbers sufficient to stop the Allied air campaign, and a combination of fuel shortages, pilot losses, and technical difficulties with the engines kept the number of sorties low. Nevertheless, the Me indicated the obsolescence of piston-driven aircraft.

Spurred by reports of the German jets, Britain's Gloster Meteor entered production soon after, and the two entered service around the same time in Meteors commonly served to intercept the V-1 flying bomb , as they were faster than available piston-engined fighters at the low altitudes used by the flying bombs. Nearer the end of World War II, the first military jet-powered light-fighter design, the Luftwaffe intended the Heinkel He A Spatz sparrow to serve as a simple jet fighter for German home defense, with a few examples seeing squadron service with JG 1 by April By the end of the war almost all work on piston-powered fighters had ended.

A few designs combining piston- and jet-engines for propulsion — such as the Ryan FR Fireball — saw brief use, but by the end of the s virtually all new fighters were jet-powered. Despite their advantages, the early jet-fighters were far from perfect. The operational lifespan of turbines were very short and engines were temperamental, while power could be adjusted only slowly and acceleration was poor even if top speed was higher compared to the final generation of piston fighters.

Many squadrons of piston-engined fighters remained in service until the early to mids, even in the air forces of the major powers though the types retained were the best of the World War II designs. Innovations including ejection seats , air brakes and all-moving tailplanes became widespread in this period.


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The British designed several new jets, including the distinctive single-engined twin boom de Havilland Vampire which Britain sold to the air forces of many nations. The British transferred the technology of the Rolls-Royce Nene jet-engine to the Soviets, who soon put it to use in their advanced Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG fighter, which used fully swept wings that allowed flying closer to the speed of sound than straight-winged designs such as the F Nevertheless, in the first jet-versus-jet dogfight, which occurred during the Korean War on 8 November , an F shot down two North Korean MiGs.

The Americans responded by rushing their own swept-wing fighter — the North American F Sabre — into battle against the MiGs, which had similar transsonic performance. The two aircraft had different strengths and weaknesses, but were similar enough that victory could go either way. While the Sabres focused primarily on downing MiGs and scored favorably against those flown by the poorly-trained North Koreans, the MiGs in turn decimated US bomber formations and forced the withdrawal of numerous American types from operational service. The world's navies also transitioned to jets during this period, despite the need for catapult-launching of the new aircraft.

Navy adopted the Grumman F9F Panther as their primary jet fighter in the Korean War period, and it was one of the first jet fighters to employ an afterburner. Technological breakthroughs, lessons learned from the aerial battles of the Korean War , and a focus on conducting operations in a nuclear warfare environment shaped the development of second-generation fighters.

Technological advances in aerodynamics , propulsion and aerospace building-materials primarily aluminum alloys permitted designers to experiment with aeronautical innovations such as swept wings , delta wings , and area-ruled fuselages.

Widespread use of afterburning turbojet engines made these the first production aircraft to break the sound barrier, and the ability to sustain supersonic speeds in level flight became a common capability amongst fighters of this generation. Fighter designs also took advantage of new electronics technologies that made effective radars small enough to carry aboard smaller aircraft. Onboard radars permitted detection of enemy aircraft beyond visual range, thereby improving the handoff of targets by longer-ranged ground-based warning- and tracking-radars.

Similarly, advances in guided-missile development allowed air-to-air missiles to begin supplementing the gun as the primary offensive weapon for the first time in fighter history.

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Radar-guided RF missiles were introduced [ by whom? These semi-active radar homing SARH missiles could track and intercept an enemy aircraft "painted" by the launching aircraft's onboard radar. Medium- and long-range RF air-to-air missiles promised to open up a new dimension of "beyond-visual-range" BVR combat, and much effort concentrated on further development of this technology.

The prospect of a potential third world war featuring large mechanized armies and nuclear-weapon strikes led to a degree of specialization along two design approaches: interceptors , such as the English Electric Lightning and Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG F; and fighter-bombers , such as the Republic F Thunderchief and the Sukhoi Su-7B. Dogfighting , per se , became de-emphasized in both cases. The interceptor was an outgrowth of the vision that guided missiles would completely replace guns and combat would take place at beyond-visual ranges.

As a result, strategists designed interceptors with a large missile-payload and a powerful radar, sacrificing agility in favor of high speed, altitude ceiling and rate of climb. With a primary air-defense role, emphasis was placed on the ability to intercept strategic bombers flying at high altitudes.

Specialized point-defense interceptors often had limited range and little, if any, ground-attack capabilities.

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Fighter-bombers could swing between air-superiority and ground-attack roles, and were often designed for a high-speed, low-altitude dash to deliver their ordnance. Television- and IR-guided air-to-surface missiles were introduced to augment traditional gravity bombs , and some were also equipped to deliver a nuclear bomb.

The third generation witnessed continued maturation of second-generation innovations, but it is most marked by renewed emphases on maneuverability and on traditional ground-attack capabilities. Over the course of the s, increasing combat experience with guided missiles demonstrated that combat would devolve into close-in dogfights. Analog avionics began to appear, replacing older "steam-gauge" cockpit instrumentation. Enhancements to the aerodynamic performance of third-generation fighters included flight control surfaces such as canards , powered slats , and blown flaps.

Growth in air-combat capability focused on the introduction of improved air-to-air missiles, radar systems, and other avionics. While guns remained standard equipment early models of F-4 being a notable exception , air-to-air missiles became the primary weapons for air-superiority fighters, which employed more sophisticated radars and medium-range RF AAMs to achieve greater "stand-off" ranges, however, kill probabilities proved unexpectedly low for RF missiles due to poor reliability and improved electronic countermeasures ECM for spoofing radar seekers.

Nevertheless, the low dogfight loss-exchange ratios experienced by American fighters in the skies over Vietnam led the U. This era also saw an expansion in ground-attack capabilities, principally in guided missiles, and witnessed the introduction of the first truly effective avionics for enhanced ground attack, including terrain-avoidance systems. Air-to-surface missiles ASM equipped with electro-optical E-O contrast seekers — such as the initial model of the widely used AGM Maverick — became standard weapons, and laser-guided bombs LGBs became widespread in an effort to improve precision-attack capabilities.

Guidance for such precision-guided munitions PGM was provided by externally-mounted targeting pods , which were introduced [ by whom?

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The third generation also led to the development of new automatic-fire weapons, primarily chain-guns that use an electric motor to drive the mechanism of a cannon. Powerplant reliability increased, and jet engines became "smokeless" to make it harder to sight aircraft at long distances. The ambitious project sought to create a versatile common fighter for many roles and services.

It would serve well as an all-weather bomber, but lacked the performance to defeat other fighters. The McDonnell F-4 Phantom was designed around radar and missiles as an all-weather interceptor , but emerged as a versatile strike-bomber nimble enough to prevail in air combat, adopted by the U. Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps. Despite numerous shortcomings that would be not be fully addressed until newer fighters, the Phantom claimed aerial kills more than any other U.

Fourth-generation fighters continued the trend towards multirole configurations, and were equipped with increasingly sophisticated avionics- and weapon-systems. Fighter designs were significantly influenced by the Energy-Maneuverability E-M theory developed by Colonel John Boyd and mathematician Thomas Christie, based upon Boyd's combat experience in the Korean War and as a fighter-tactics instructor during the s.

E-M theory emphasized the value of aircraft-specific energy maintenance as an advantage in fighter combat. Boyd perceived maneuverability as the primary means of getting "inside" an adversary's decision-making cycle, a process Boyd called the " OODA loop " for "Observation-Orientation-Decision-Action". This approach emphasized aircraft designs capable of performing "fast transients" — quick changes in speed, altitude, and direction — as opposed to relying chiefly on high speed alone.

E-M characteristics were first applied to the McDonnell Douglas F Eagle , but Boyd and his supporters believed these performance parameters called for a small, lightweight aircraft with a larger, higher-lift wing. The small size would minimize drag and increase the thrust-to-weight ratio , while the larger wing would minimize wing loading ; while the reduced wing loading tends to lower top speed and can cut range, it increases payload capacity and the range reduction can be compensated for by increased fuel in the larger wing. The F's maneuverability was further enhanced by its slight aerodynamic instability.