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This is a list of Fighter aircraft, sorted by the general design principles of the era that they were produced. It uses the concept of "generations" of jet fighter aircraft, a modern grouping that is largely based on claims of a "fifth generation" of fighter aircraft. The assignment of any given aircraft to a group is often contentious, and different sources may assign the same aircraft to different groupings.


World War I aircraft

Interwar period aircraft

World War II aircraft

Post-World War II piston-engine and hybrid propulsion fighters

First generation jet fighters

The early aircraft of this group entered production during the closing years of World War II with planform similar to their piston counterparts. Later transonic aircraft, such as the MiG-15, are sometimes referred to as a "second generation" and the end of this generation is very loose.

Second generation jet fighters

The beginning of this generation is blurry, but aircraft that were designed for missile armament and supersonic speed are generally considered to be at least second generation.

Third generation jet fighters

Third generation aircraft were based on the wrong assumption that air to air missiles would replace dogfighting, and many were initially built without internal gun armament.

Fourth generation jet fighters

Fourth generation fighters had a renewed focus on maneuverability and many were again designed with an internal gun armament.

4.5th generation jet fighters

This "half generation" is a term defined by the United States Government as fourth generation aircraft that have vastly improved avionics (digital fly-by-wire), sensors (Active Electronically Scanned Array radars), high speed data links and the ability to carry the latest weapons.[4] Some sources refer to some members of this group as fourth or 4++ generation aircraft instead.

In Development

Technology demonstrators

Fifth generation jet fighters

These aircraft are, as of 2010, the current state of the art. Many are still in the design stage and only the F-22 Raptor is currently in service.

In Service

Under Development

Technology demonstrators

See also


  1. ^ a b Chengdu Aircraft Corporation, famous for developing the fourth-generation J-10 fighter
  2. ^ P. Parameswaran, "U.S., Russia, China Vying To Sell Fighters in Asia", Defense News ( homepage), published 23 Mar 11:47 EDT (15:47 GMT), URL:, retrieved 05 November 2009. Quote from article: "Pakistan, for example, is co-developing a very low cost fourth-generation FC-1 fighter with China..."
  3. ^
  4. ^ CRS RL33543, Tactical Aircraft Modernization: Issues for Congress July 09, 2009
  6. ^ Some sources refer to Rafales fielded with all of these modifications as Rafale F4s, but the type has not been formally defined yet.
  7. ^ India declares indigenous combat jet a success
  8. ^ F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Lightning II
  9. ^ 凤凰军事网, 中国空军副司令首曝:国产第四代战机即将首飞 November 09, 2009 English translation using Google Translate:]
  10. ^ China may complete the realization and enter its fifth generation fighter stealth into service within the next 8-10 years.
  11. ^ "India starts to work on a new aircraft MCA"
  12. ^ "Poster in Aero-India 2009 Showing MCA's Features"
  13. ^ a b c "Russia draws back veil of secrecy with peek at future fighter". RIA Novosti. Retrieved 29 January 2010. 
  14. ^ Russia's fifth-generation fighter jets to start trials
  15. ^ India, Russia close to PACT on next generation fighter

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