US Fighter Numbering

The reason for your confusion is simple--there are no aircraft with the designations F-24 through F-34 in the US military. At least for the present time, all of the designations between the Northrop YF-23 Black Widow II and the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter have been skipped. More information on this subject was addressed in a previous question on why the JSF was named the F-35 as well as other misapplications of the Tri-Service System. In our opinion, the JSF should have been called the F-24 to conform with the Tri-Service System, but that was not the case.

X-35 research aircraft, forerunner of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter
X-35 research aircraft, forerunner of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter

We've also tried to look into the origins of the F-25 and F-26 sites you ran across, but neither one of these is a real plane, at least one operated by the US military. We could find nothing on the F-25 Strike Fighter Attack Aircraft, but this sounds like it could have been the title of a design study, perhaps done by students in a university design competition. We had more success with the Stavatti F-26. It appears to be a proposal for a low-cost, lightweight attack fighter in the same class as the F-16 or F-18. Stavatti is apparently a small company in Minnesota that is attempting to market its design for the F-26 STALMA (Short Takeoff Advanced Light Multi-role Aircraft) to foreign nations. F-26 is merely the company designation for the plane and has nothing to do with the US military fighter series. Our only warning would be that we have never heard of this company or any of its products before, so we're not entirely sure this is a realistic venture.
- answer by Joe Yoon, 12 October 2003

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