Aviation Nation 2016: Fighter Aircraft Progression from the 1960’s to Today

How is this for a lineup of classic combat aircraft from the Cold War through to the latest technology of today? Side by side late on the first day of Aviation Nation 2016 we have a 1960’s era design in the USAF McDonnell Douglas QF-4 Phantom II manned aerial target sitting alongside 1990’s technology in the form of US Navy Boeing F/A-18E and F/A-18F Super Hornets (first entered service in 1999), then the latest fifth generation stealthy USAF Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor air dominance fighters that were introduced into service in 2005 and the newest kid on the block, the Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter officially introduced into USAF service in 2016. The rolling fuselage lines have long since given way to radar deflecting and absorbing sharp edges but the aircraft all still look great no matter what era they are from.

Aviation Nation 2016 QF-4 F/A-18E F/A-18F F-22 F-35 Nellis AFB Nevada
From the Phantom to the Lightning II
McDonnell Douglas QF-4 Phantom II Aviation Nation 2016
McDonnell Douglas QF-4 Phantom II – that’s a DC-10 fire bomber and a large number of F-22’s plus F-15 Eagles and Draken International adversary A-4 Skyhawk’s in the background
Boeing F/A-18E Super Hornet (single seat) and F/A-18F Super Hornet Aviation Nation 2016
Boeing F/A-18E Super Hornet (single seat) and F/A-18F Super Hornet
Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor air dominance fighters Aviation Nation 2016
Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor air dominance fighters
USAF Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters Aviation Nation 2016
USAF Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters
F-22 Raptor Aviation Nation 2016 Nellis AFB
The Present – The Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor was the first Fifth Generation combat aircraft to enter USAF service in 2005
The future - USAF Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter Nellis AFB Aviation Nation 2016
The future – USAF Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter
USAF F-35A & QF-4 Phantom II Aviation Nation 2016 Nellis AFB Nevada
The Past – The Phantom II was a legendary aircraft and the Lightning II has become the most expensive and controversial one – time will tell how things play out for the F-35

 

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2 thoughts on “Aviation Nation 2016: Fighter Aircraft Progression from the 1960’s to Today

  1. Isn’t it interesting that modern fighters are going the way of twin tails!

    The phantom is a real classic and has to go down as one of the world’s greatest aircraft – in my opinion anyway! That’s a great collection of hardware you have in one picture!

    Liked by 1 person

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