Fighter Gallery

T-38 Talon, F-104 Starfighter, and F-18 Hornet in formation

The term "fighter" was once used to refer to aircraft engaging purely in air-to-air combat, first with guns and later with short- and long-range missiles. Today, the fighter has truly become the jack-of-all-trades in virtually all air forces. In addition to air defense and air superiority, fighters are often called upon to engage in close-in support of ground troops, anti-ship strikes, defense suppression, reconnaissance, and even nuclear attacks. In light of the ever-increasing demand for flexibility and survivability on the modern battlefield, it is not surprising that the cost and complexity of fighters is escalating to the point that most nations cannot afford to maintain large air forces.

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