Specials

US Fighter Jets

January 2022
Operational timeline overview of post-war US jets.

In this timeline we will look into the operational history of US fighter jets since World War 2. From the P-80 in 1945 till the F-35C in 2019, the US Air Force, Navy and Marines operated 47 major types in the role of air superiority fighter / interceptor or multi role fighter aircraft.

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Dating back in time we show general information about the type and special characteristic, for instance if the aircraft is capable of carrier operations, operational status and links to related articles or search for related photo’s.

Beside this overview of US jet fighters, other timelines will show US attack aircraft & bombers. Also we look into European and Russian fighters.

F-35C, CF-03 / SD-73
2019
Lockheed Martin
F-35C Lightning II
US Carrier capablecarrier
Active, 276 planned for the USN.

Single-seat, single-engine, all-weather stealth multirole combat aircraft that is intended to perform both air superiority and strike missions. The F-35C variant is designed for catapult-assisted take-off but arrested recovery operations from aircraft carriers.

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F-35A, 15-5164/LF
2016
Lockheed Martin
F-35A Lightning II
US
Active, 1763 Planned for USAF.

Single-seat, single-engine, all-weather stealth multirole combat aircraft that is intended to perform both air superiority and strike missions.

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F-35B, 168727 / VM-19
2015
Lockheed Martin
F-35B Lightning II
US Carrier capablecarrierMarinesnavyVSTOLswap-vert
Active, 353 F-35Bs and 67 F-35Cs planned

Single-seat, single-engine, all-weather stealth multirole combat aircraft that is intended to perform both air superiority and strike missions. The F-35B is the short takeoff and vertical landing (STOVL) variant

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F-22, 09-4180 / FF
2005
Lockheed Martin
F-22 Raptor
US
Active,

Single-seat, twin-engine, all-weather stealth tactical fighter aircraft. Designed as an air superiority fighter, but also has ground attack, electronic warfare, and signals intelligence capabilities.

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F/A-18F, 168930
1999
McDonnell Douglas (Boeing)
F/A-18E/F Super Hornet
US Carrier capablecarrier
Active, 608+ Build

Twin-engine, carrier-capable, multirole fighter aircraft variants based on the McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet.

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F-14D, 164601 / AD-160
1991
Grumman
F-14D Super Tomcat
US Carrier capablecarrier
Retired, 712 build (all variants)

Carrier-capable supersonic, twin-engine, two-seat, twin-tail, variable-sweep wing fighter aircraft. The final variant fitted with General Electric F110-GE-400 engines and new avionics, radar and glass cockpit.

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F-15E, 90-0257 / WA
1988
McDonnell Douglas (Boeing)
F-15E Strike Eagle
US
Active, 513 build.

All-weather multirole strike fighter. Primary role ground attack.

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F/A-18C,  163746 / AB-307
1987
McDonnell Douglas
F/A-18C/D Hornet
US Carrier capablecarrierMarinesnavy
Active, 1480 build (incl. A/B models)

Twin-engine, supersonic, all-weather, carrier-capable, multirole combat jet. Able to act as fighter and attack aircraft.

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F-14B, 163410 / AC-104
Grumman
F-14B Tomcat
US Carrier capablecarrier
Retired, 38 newly build and 48 A models upgraded.

Carrier-capable supersonic, twin-engine, two-seat, twin-tail, variable-sweep wing fighter aircraft. Improvements included new GE F110-GE-400 engines and upgraded aviation package. Designated F-14A+ before being re-designated as F-14B.

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F-16C,  90-0700 / OH
1984
General Dynamics
F-16C/D Fighting Falcon
US
Active, 4604 build (all models)

Single-engine multirole all-weather fighter aircraft. The C/D model has improved cockpit avionics and radar which added all-weather beyond-visual-range capability.

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F/A-18A, NASA 161519
1983
McDonnell Douglas
F/A-18A/B Hornet
US Carrier capablecarrier
Retired, 1480 build (incl. C/D models)

Twin-engine, supersonic, all-weather, carrier-capable, multirole combat jet. Able to act as fighter and attack aircraft.

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F-15C, 78-0515 / WA
1979
McDonnell Douglas
F-15C/D Eagle
US
Active, 575 (C/D)

Twin-engine, all-weather tactical fighter aircraft. The C/D model featured improved avionics, introduced in 1979.

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F-16A, 82-0958
1978
General Dynamics
F-16A/B Fighting Falcon
US
Retired, 4604 build (all models)

Single-engine multirole all-weather fighter aircraft.

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F-15A, 76-0008 / ST
1976
McDonnell Douglas
F-15A/B Eagle
US
Retired, 445 build (A/B model)

Twin-engine, all-weather tactical fighter aircraft.

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F-14A, 162608 / AJ-100
1974
Grumman
F-14A Tomcat
US Carrier capablecarrier
Retired, 478 F-14As build

Carrier-capable supersonic, twin-engine, two-seat, twin-tail, variable-sweep wing fighter aircraft.

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F-5E,  741536 / AF-04
1973
Northrop
F-5E/F Tiger/II
US Marinesnavy
Active, 792 build (E), 146 (F)

Supersonic light fighter aircraft. E/F model were upgrades from the A/B model with new engines, lengthened fuselage and updated avionics.

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YF-4J, 151497
1972
McDonnell Douglas
F-4J/S/N Phantom II
US Carrier capablecarrierMarinesnavy
Retired, 522 build (J model) and 302 converted (S), 228 F-4Bs converted (N model)

Two-seat, twin-engine, all-weather, long-range supersonic jet interceptor and fighter-bomber, initially designed for the US Navy. The J model was an improved F-4B. The S model was an improved F-4J. The N model was a converted B model similar to the F-4S.

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F-4E, 68-0382
1967
McDonnell Douglas
F-4E Phantom II
US
Retired, 1370 E models build

Two-seat, twin-engine, all-weather, long-range supersonic jet interceptor and fighter-bomber. USAF version with a M61 Vulcan cannon under the nose, improved engines and avionics.

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F-4C, 63-7420
1963
McDonnell Douglas
F-4C/D Phantom II
US
Retired, 583 build (C model) 825 (D)

Two-seat, twin-engine, all-weather, long-range supersonic jet. Tactical fighter, ground-attack version for the USAF. F-4C with updated avionics and AN/APQ-109 radar.

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F-5B, 72-0441 / FM
1962
Northrop
F-5A/B/C Freedom Fighter
US
Retired, 847 build (A/B/C model)

Supersonic light fighter aircraft. The C model was evaluated during the Vietnam war. It had a non retractable air-refueling probe on the left side.

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F-4B, 152218 / NE-111
1960
McDonnell Douglas
F-4A/B Phantom II
US Carrier capablecarrierMarinesnavy
Retired, 45 build (A) and 649 (B model)

Two-seat, twin-engine, all-weather, long-range supersonic tactical fighter jet. Ground-attack capability was added for the B-model. Orginally known as F4H-1F (A model) and F4H-1 (B-model)

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QF-106A
1959
Convair
F-106 Delta Dart
US
Retired, 342 build (A and B model)

All-weather interceptor aircraft. It turned out to be the last true-purpose interceptor.

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F-104C, NASA N820NA
1958
Lockheed
F-104 Starfighter
US
Retired, 153 (A-model), 26 (B), 27 (C) and 21 (D)

Single-engine, supersonic interceptor-, fighter bomber aircraft. The C version also had an inflight refuelling capability.

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F-105D, 62-4383 / RM
Republic
F-105 Thunderchief
US
Retired, 71 build (B-model), 610 (D), 143 (F)

Supersonic fighter-bomber. The D model included all-weather capability. The F model was a two-seat trainer version of F-105D with lengthened forward fuselage.

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F-101B, 57-0412
1957
McDonnell
F-101 Voodoo
US
Retired, 807 build.

Designed as a penetration fighter (bomber escort), but also filled the role of nuclear fighter bomber and photo reconnaissance aircraft. The B model was developed as interceptor aircraft.

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DF-8, 144427 / GF-29
Vought
F-8 Crusader
US Carrier capablecarrierMarinesnavy
Retired, 1219 build (total).

Single-engine, supersonic, carrier-based air superiority jet aircraft[

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F-102A,  56-1413 / FC-413
1956
Convair
F-102 Delta Dagger
US
Retired, 1000 build.

Delta-wing supersonic interceptor aircraft. Its main purpose was to intercept invading Soviet strategic bombers line the Tu-95. The TF-102 trainer featured a side-by-side cockpit.

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F-11A, 141824 / Blue Angels 5
Grumman
F-11 (F11F) Tiger
US Carrier capablecarrier
Retired, 200 build.

Supersonic, single-seat carrier-based fighter.

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F4D-1, 134748
Douglas
F4D (F-6) Skyray
US Carrier capablecarrierMarinesnavy
Retired, 422 build

Carrier-based fighter/interceptor. The F4D, later redesigned F-6 was only in service for 8 years.

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F3H-2, 143492 / AK-104
McDonnell
F3H Demon
US Carrier capablecarrier
Retired, 519 build

Carrier-based subsonic swept-wing fighter aircraft. Lots of features from the F3H were later used in the F-4 design.

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FJ-4B, 139531 / 151
1955
North American
FJ-4 Fury
US Carrier capablecarrierMarinesnavy
Retired, 374 build.

Swept-wing carrier-capable fighter-bomber. Developed out of the FJ-3 the FJ-4 featured an entirely new wing design.

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F-100, Thunderbirds
1954
North American
F-100 Super Sabre
US
Retired, 2294 build.

Supersonic jet fighter aircraft. It stayed in service with the US ANG till 1979!. 209 D and F models were converted in to QF-100 unmanned target drones.

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FJ-3M, 136142 / D-111
North American
FJ-2 / -3 Fury
US Carrier capablecarrierMarinesnavy
Retired, 200 build (FJ-2), 538 build (FJ-3).

Swept-wing carrier-capable fighter. The FJ-2 was basically a naval version of the F-86. The FJ-3 featured a more powerful engine.

F-84F, 51-9433 / FS-433
Republic
F-84F Thunderstreak
US
Retired, 3428 build (total)

Turbojet fighter-bomber aircraft. The F model had a swept wing, instead of a normal wing on the F-84 Thunderjet.

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TF-9J, 143797 / 2N-517
1952
Grumman
F-9 Cougar
US Carrier capablecarrierMarinesnavy
Retired, 1988 build (total, including Argentine Navy).

Swept-wing carrier-based fighter aircraft.

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F7U-3, 129655
1951
Vought
F7U Cutlass
US Carrier capablecarrierMarinesnavy
Retired, 320 build.

Carrier-based jet fighter and fighter-bomber.

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F3D-2T, 127074 / WF-2 USS Intrepid
Douglas
F3D Skynight
US Carrier capablecarrierMarinesnavy
Retired, 265 build.

Twin-engined, mid-wing jet carrier-based all-weather fighter / night fighter aircraft.

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F-86D, 51-5976 / FU-976
North American
F-86D Sabre Dog
US
Retired, 2847 build (total)

All-weather interceptor, transonic jet fighter aircraft.

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(E)F-94A,  49-2500 / FA-500
1950
Lockheed
F-94 Starfire
US
Retired, 855 build.

First-generation jet powered all-weather, day/night interceptor.

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 F-89J, 52-1927 / FV-927
Northrop
F-89 Scorpion
US
Retired, 1050 build.

All-weather, twin-engined interceptor aircraft. The first fighter equipped with guided missile ability.

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F9F-8B, 141121 / 3H-386
1949
Grumman
F9F Panther
US Carrier capablecarrierMarinesnavy
retired, 1382 build.

Carrier-based jet fighter. The panther was extensively used during the Korean War.

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F-86F, 25012 / FU-012
North American
F-86 Sabre
US
Retired, 7800 build (US, Japan, Italy)

Swept-wing transonic jet fighter aircraft. The Sabre, well known from the Korean War, is the most-produced Western jet fighter with a total of 9860 build.

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F2H-2, 124988 / LC-4
1948
McDonnell
F2H Banshee
US Carrier capablecarrierMarinesnavy
Retired, 895 build.

Single-seat carrier-based jet fighter aircraft. It was developed from the FH Phantom.

 F-84C,  47-1433
1947
Republic
F-84 Thunderjet
US
Retired, 7524 build (total), also used by most European countries.

Turbojet fighter-bomber aircraft. it was later developed into the swept-wing F-84F Thunderstreak.

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No Photo
North American
FJ-1 Fury
US Carrier capablecarrier
Retired, 33 build.

First operation jet aircraft in US Navy service. VF-51 was the only unit operating the type. It was phased out in favour of the F9F Panther.

McDonnell
FH-1 Phantom
US Carrier capablecarrierMarinesnavy
Retired, 62 build.

Twinjet fighter aircraft.

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P-80B, 45-8490 / FT-490
1945
Lockheed
P-80 Shooting Star
US
Retired, 1715 build.

First US developed turbo jet fighter.

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