Second generation jet fighter aircraft

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The second generation jet fighters existed between the mid-1950s to the early 1960s. The development of second-generation fighters were shaped by technological breakthroughs, lessons learned from the aerial battles of the Korean War, and a focus on conducting operations in a nuclear warfare environment. 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 after-burning 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.

Second Generation Jet Fighter Aircraft:
Jet Fighter AircraftPictureSpesificationsCountryYear
Chengdu J-7

China1980
IAI Nesher

Israel1972
Dassault Mirage 5

France1967
Sukhoi Su-11

Soviet Union1964
Dassault √Čtendard IV

France1962
Dassault Mirage III

France1961
HAL HF-24 Marut

India1961
Shenyang J-6

China1961
Saab 35 Draken

Sweden1960
Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21

Soviet Union1959
Sukhoi Su-7

Soviet Union1959
Sukhoi Su-9

Soviet Union1959
de Havilland Sea Vixen

UK1959
English Electric Lightning

UK1959
Convair F-106 Delta Dart

US1959
Lockheed F-104 Starfighter

US1958
Republic F-105 Thunderchief

US1958
Supermarine Scimitar

UK1957
Vought F-8 Crusader

US1957
McDonnell F-101 Voodoo

US1957
Dassault Super Mystère

France1956
Gloster Javelin

UK1956
Hawker Hunter

UK1956
Convair F-102 Delta Dagger

US1956
Douglas F4D Skyray

US1956
Grumman F-11 Tiger

US1956
Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-19

Soviet Union1955
Saab 32 Lansen

Sweden1955
Supermarine Swift

UK1954
North American F-100 Super Sabre

US1954
North American FJ-4 Fury

US1954

The second generation jet fighters designs also took advantage of new electronics technologies that made effective radars small enough to be carried 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. During this period, passive-homing infrared-guided (IR) missiles became commonplace, but early IR missile sensors had poor sensitivity and a very narrow field of view (typically no more than 30°), which limited their effective use to only close-range, tail-chase engagements. Radar-guided (RF) missiles were introduced as well, but early examples proved unreliable. 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 was placed in 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 (like the English Electric Lightning and Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21F) and fighter-bombers (such as the Republic F-105 Thunderchief and the Sukhoi Su-7). Dogfighting, per se, was deemphasized 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, interceptors were designed with a large missile payload and a powerful radar, sacrificing agility in favour of high speed, altitude ceiling and rate of climb. With a primary air defence role, emphasis was placed on the ability to intercept strategic bombers flying at high altitudes. Specialized point-defence interceptors often had limited range and little, if any, ground-attack capabilities. 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.
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