Specials

European Jet Fighters

March 2024
Timeline overview of EU build fighter jets

This timeline shows a chronological overview of European build fighter-jets, attack- and fighter-bomber jets. From the earliest designs born out of necessity during wartime to the current generation of supersonic fighter-interceptor jets like the Typhoon, designed and build in conjunction by multiple countries.

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After World War2, which saw the introduction of the Worlds first operational jet fighter (Me-262), the European jet fighter industry was dominated by the British, French and Sweden build jets. Well known designs like the Mirage and Saab Family and innovations like the Harrier jump jet were developed by European countries.

Austrian EF2000
2003
Eurofighter
Typhoon
DEITESUK
Active, 592 build. Also known as EF2000

Twin-engine, supersonic, canard delta wing, multirole / air-superiority fighter.

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French Air Force  Rafale C
2001
Dassault
Rafale
FR Carrier capablecarrier
Active, 259 build.

Twin-engine, canard delta wing, multirole fighter aircraft. Designed for both Air Force and Navy operations. (Rafale M is carrier capable)

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Czech Air Force JAS-39C
1996
Saab
JAS39 Gripen
SE
Active, around 300 build, first flight 1988.

Light single-engine supersonic multirole fighter aircraft . Still in development, latest version Gripen E was introduced in 2013.

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Sea Harrier FA2
1993
British Aerospace
Sea Harrier FA2
UK VSTOLswap-vertCarrier capablecarrier
retired. 98 build (including FRS versions)

Naval short take-off and vertical landing/vertical take-off and landing jet fighter, reconnaissance and attack aircraft. improved version of the initial Sea Harrier FRS1.

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Italian Air Force AMX
1989
AMX International
AMX
IT
Active, around 200 build.

Ground-attack strike fighter aircraft jointly developed by Brazil and Italy.

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1985
Panavia
Tornado ADV / F3
UK
Retired, 194 build.

Long-range, twin-engine swing-wing interceptor aircraft, derivative of the multirole Panavia Tornado.

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Mirage 2000D French Air Force
1984
Dassault
Mirage 2000
FR
active, over 600 build.

Multirole, single-engine, fourth-generation jet fighter. Also available as strike variant.

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1983
Soko
G-4 Super Galeb
Active, 85 build.

Yugoslav single-engine, advanced jet trainer and light ground-attack aircraft.

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Tornado ECR, German Air Force
1979
Panavia
Tornado
DEITUK
Active, 990 build (IDS, ADV and ECR versions)

Twin-engine, variable-sweep wing multi-role combat aircraft, jointly developed and manufactured by Italy, the United Kingdom and Germany. Available as strike fighter, fighter-bomber, air defence and electronic warfare versions.

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French Navy Super Etendard
1978
Dassault-Breguet
Super Étendard
FR Carrier capablecarrier
Retired 2016 French Navy, 85 build.

Carrier-borne strike fighter aircraft, created as replacement of the Etendard.

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British Aerospace
Sea Harrier FRS1
UK VSTOLswap-vertCarrier capablecarrier
retired, 57 build (later converted to FA2 standard)

Naval short take-off and vertical landing/vertical take-off and landing jet fighter, reconnaissance and attack aircraft.

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Serbia and Montenegro Air Force NJ-22
Soko
J-22 Orao
Active, 13 to be believed in service

Twin-engined, subsonic ground-attack and aerial reconnaissance aircraft, build in former Yugoslavia.

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1977
Dassault / Dornier
Alpha Jet
FRDE
Active, 480 build.

Two engine light attack jet and advanced jet trainer.

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1976
BAE Systems
Hawk
UK
Active, 100+ build

Single-engine, jet-powered advanced trainer aircraft. Some versions were also used in air defense role.

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Spanish Air Force F1M
1973
Dassault
Mirage F1
FR
In limited service, also in agressor role. 726 build.

Light single engine fighter and attack aircraft.

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SEPECAT
Jaguar
FRUK
Mostly retired (active with Indian Air Force), 573 build.

Two engine supersonic jet close air support / attack aircraft.

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1971
Saab
37 Viggen
SE
Retired, 329 build.

Single-engine multirole combat aircraft. AJ 37: Fighter bomber, SF 37: Photo reconnaissance, SH 37: Maritime patrol, JA 37: Strike fighter.

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1969
BAe
Harrier
UK VSTOLswap-vert
Retired (BAe version). US AV-8 still in operation.

Jet-powered attack aircraft capable of vertical/short takeoff and landing operations (V/STOL).

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1967
Dassault
Mirage 5
FR
Retired, 582 build.

Single engine, supersonic attack aircraft. Derived from the Mirage III.

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1962
Blackburn
Buccaneer
UK Carrier capablecarrier
Retired. 211 build.

twin engine carrier-capable attack aircraft

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Dassault
Étendard IV
FR Carrier capablecarrier
Retired. 90 build. Developed into Super Étendard

Transonic carrier-borne strike fighter aircraft

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1961
Dassault
Mirage III
FR
Retired, 1422 build.

Supersonic single/dual-seat, single-engine, fighter aircraft

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1960
Saab
35 Draken
SE
Retired (2005), 561 build.

Single engine fighter-interceptor.

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English Electric
Lightning
UK
Retired, 337 build.

Dual stacked engine, interceptor.

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1959
Folland
Gnat
UK
retired, 449 build (incl HAL Ajeet)

Compact swept-wing subsonic fighter aircraft, fighter, light tactical bomber and trainer.

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de Havilland
Sea Vixen
UK Carrier capablecarrier
retired, 151 build.

Twin-engine, twin boom-tailed, two-seat, carrier-based fleet air-defence fighter.

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1958
Fiat
G.91
IT
retired 1959!, 770 build.

Single engine, light jet fighter-bomber.

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Dassault
Super Mystère
FR
Retired, 180 build.

French build, single engine supersonic fighter-bomber.

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1957
Supermarine
Scimitar
UK Carrier capablecarrier
retired, 76 build.

Single-seat naval strike aircraft.

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1956
Saab
32 Lansen
SE
Retired, 450 build.

two-seat, transonic military fighter-, attack- and reconnaissance aircraft.

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Sud Aviation
Vautour
FR
Retired, 149 build.

Dual engine french jet-powered bomber, interceptor, and attack aircraft.

Gloster
Javelin
UK
Retired. 436 build.

Twin-engined all-weather interceptor aircraft

1954
Hawker
Hunter
UK
Retired (Although some active with air force of Zimbabwe), 1972 build.

Single turbo jet-powered swept-wing fighter aircraft. Still flying today as warbird or in the agressor role.

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Supermarine
Swift
UK
Retired, 197 build.

Swept wing single-seat jet fighter aircraft.

1953
Hawker
Sea Hawk
UK Carrier capablecarrier
Retired, 542 build.

Single-seat naval jet day fighter

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Dassault
MD.454 Mystère IV
FR
Retired, 411 build.

Single engine fighter-bomber aircraft. First transonic aircraft to enter service with the French Air Force.

1952
de Havilland
DH-112 Venom
UK Carrier capablecarrier
Retired, 1431 build (Incl Sea Venom)

Post-war single-engined jet aircraft using in fighter-bomber role. Also carrier based version, called Sea Venom.

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Dassault
MD.450 Ouragan
FR
Retired, 567 build.

Single jet-engine fighter-bomber. First jet-powered French-designed combat aircraft to enter production.

1951
Saab
29 Tunnan
SE
Retired, 661 build

First European swept-wing, jet-powered fighter aircraft.

1950
Saab
21R
SE
Retired, 64 build.

The R version was a jet-powered development of the piston-engined SAAB 21 and was the first jet aircraft to be produced by Saab. Light fighter and attack aircraft.

Supermarine
Attacker
UK Carrier capablecarrier
retired, 185 build.

Single-seat naval jet fighter

1946
de Havilland
Vampire
UK Carrier capablecarrier
Retired, 3268 build

Single engine, twin boom jet-powered fighter. Also carrier capable version called Sea Vampire.

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1945
Heikel
He 162
DE-WW2
Retired, around 320 build

Single-engine, jet-powered fighter aircraft.

1944
Gloster
Meteor
UK
Retired, 3947 build.

Single seat dual turbojet powered fighter. Only Allies jet that was engaged in combat during WW2.

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Messerschmitt
Me 262
DE-WW2
Retired, 1430 build.

Twin engine light fighter / ground-attack bomber jet. It was the world's first operational jet-powered fighter aircraft.

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