Essay On History of Fighter Aircraft, Development and use

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History of Fighter Aircraft, Development and use

It is important to understand that the newly invented airplane entered World War, I as an observer of the enemy activity. The importance of the information that was gathered by his new technological innovation was made evident to all the persons in the opening days of the world conflict. The French were the first when it came to the developing of an effective solution. On April the 1st 1915, a French pilot took to the air in an airplane and was armed with a machine gun that fired through its propeller. He was able to have propeller blades with steel armor plates that deflected any bullets that could have struck the spinning blades. It is critical to understand that this was a crude solution, but it was an important advancement.

Garros, the pilot, became a national hero and his total of five enemy kills became the benchmark of what was described as an air ‘ace’. Gaross was however captured, and he was forced to reveal his secrets to the Germans (Taylor, 1982). German engineers saw the folly of Gloss’ methods and decided that the best thing was to create a synchronization that assured that the bullets would be able to pass in an easy manner through the empty spaces that existed between the different propeller blades. The airplane changed, and it was no longer just an observer of war, but it became a fully-fledged participant in the carnage of the conflict that existed.

The fighter planes were initially used during the World War I, and they powered by piston engines. The piston engines mainly worked by moving back and forth in the cylinders, and the fuel entering the cylinders were ignited and the expansion of the different hot gases caused the crankshaft to turn, and consequently the propellers rotated moving the airplane forward. However, a jet engine works in a different manner (Taylor, 1982).. The Jet engines work by pulling the air through the fan that exists at the front.

The air is then compressed, and it is combined with fuel in order o create a spark. It is then the expanding gasses that are shot from the back of the engine that can thrust the aircraft in a forward motion (Taylor, 1982).. The invention of the jet planes were first patented in the year 1932 and with the advancement of piston engines reaching their peak, the invention of the jet engines would lead the way for different radical changes when it came to fighter jets as well as military battle strategies.

The first operational fighter jet showed up during World War II. The fighter jet was referred to as the Messerschmitt Me 262, and it was a German engineered craft and it featured swept back wings. It is critical to understand that the wings, as well as the jet engine, were able to make the jet fighter to be faster than any other planes that existed in the battlefield at the time. With time, it is critical to note that most countries abandoned the use of piston jets, and they were mostly in favor of the jet fighters (Taylor, 1982)..

In this day and age, most advanced jet fighters can be able to fight at supersonic speeds and they can further reach attitudes that are not imaginable by the early generations of fighter plane (Taylor, 1982). s. There is increased use of air maneuverability as well as the utilization of sensors, and electronic systems that have allowed for a different level of automation that was not previously felt by other pilots.

Albatros D.III

The Albatros D.III was an improvement of the Albatros D. I and Albatros D.II, the airplane had been to prove itself when it won back the air superiority of the Germans in early 1917. The Albatros.III was a capable fighter plane, and it was produced into the tune of around 1,866 aircrafts (Cooper, 1973). The Albatros was able to accomplish a new unstaggered wing layout that was able to spot a V section interplane strut as opposed to parallel types that were found in previous models. The plane was able to improve wind rigidity, and, therefore, it was able to take more in terms of maneuvering.

The engines also spotted several features that were not seen in other models, the engine had a high compression modification that improved a high altitude performance and it brought an increased output of around 170 horsepower (Cooper, 1973). There was the use of 7.92 mm machine guns that were synchronized to fire exactly through the spinning propeller blades. The use of a two-bladed wooden propeller that featured a big cone shaped spinner that added the aerodynamic function as well as the design flair and it enabled the airplane to outperform its competitors.

The power was provided by Mercedes Brand D.III series engine that was uprated from around 170 horsepower to around 175 during the production run. It is critical to understand that after several weeks of operational services, the radiator was shifted from the center and this was because the pilot at the time incurred serious burns if the radiator was punctured during combat (Cooper, 1973).


The Societe Pour l’Aviation et ses Derives (SPAD) was a French biplane fighter aircraft that fought in World I. The S.XIII was designed by Louis Bechereau, and this was also the case with S. VII. The SPAD S.XIII was a development from the earlier successful SPAD S.VII. It is critical to understand that the fighter was one of the most capable when it came to the war, and it was also one of the most produced, and there were around 8, 500 that were built and there were orders for around 10,000 that were cancelled during the Armistice (Cooper, 1973).

The plane features a single engine, a single seat and it had a 220 horsepower Hispano-Suiza. The plane had green, and it had brown camouflage finished upper surfaces. The SPAD XII had outstanding performance, and the different geared engines although proving to be reliable at the start, they suffered from poor vibration and lubrication (Cooper, 1973).

This, therefore, significantly reduced as well as severely affected the serviceability and it is critical to note that indeed the SPAD XIII. And it was incapable of giving dependable service. An official report that occurred in the year 1918 showed that around two-thirds of the 200 hp SPADS were out of use because of engine problems.

It is critical to note that in combat the SPAD S.XII was able to prove its worth, and the aircraft was able to out-fly the German D.VII types and it compared favorably to the Sopwith Carmel. In its structure, the S.XIII was able to be sound enough to withstand a good deal of punishment before the plane eventually decided to cave in.

The only major vulnerability that existed in the plane was the fact that it had reduced maneuverability when it came to lower speeds- this was a big danger when it came to the battlefield in combat and also when it came to bringing the plane to a landing (Cooper, 1973). The type served with several air forces across the globe even when it came to the post war years.

Messerschmitt Bf 109

In the years that were leading to the World War II, the Messerschmitt Bf 109 became the principal fighter for the Germans and upon its inception, it immediately became the most advanced as well as capable fighter in the world a and it rendered all the previous types that were largely biplane in terms of their design obsolete. With time, the BF 109 became what can be described as a symbol of pride for the recovering nation of Germany (Harvey, 2011).

The Bf 109 was produced in large quantities, and it was available in quantitative figures during the war. It was seen in combat actions during the Spanish civil war, the Battle of Britain, the invasion of Europe Proper, the North African Campaign as the battle on the East front and west front (Harvey, 2011). It is critical to understand that the type continued production for almost a decade after the end of 1945 and was the primary fighter when it came to the growing Israeli Air Force.

The Bf 109 design is often attributed to several German engineers. However, the principal ones that are often cited include Walter Rethel and Willy Messerschmitt. The German Air Ministry provides it Luftwaffe with German’s modern monoplane, and this replaced the outmoded as well as outgoing models (Harvey, 2011).

The plane had an all metal skin construction that included an enclosed cockpit, as well as monoplane cantilever wings. The goal of the engineers was to fit the most powerful engine that was available then into the smallest airframe in order to produce excellent performance when it came to handling as well as speed (Harvey, 2011). The plane was able to have a 610 horsepower.

P-51 Mustang

The Mustang is often considered as being one of the most known as well as the most effective fighters that were used by the U.S Army air forces during World War II. It is critical to understand that Possessing excellent range and maneuverability, the P-51 was able to operate as being primarily as one of the best long-range escort fighter, further, it was also used as a ground attack fighter-bomber (Harvey, 2011). The Mustang played a very crucial and critical role when it came to almost every combat zone during World War II. The Mustang was also used in the Korean War.

The origins of the North American P-51D Mustang occurred in the year 1940, and this was after the British decided to approach the North American Aviation to license build the Curtiss-P-40 Fighters for the Royal Air Force. The Aviation decided to create even a design that was better and in March 1942, the US Air Force accepted the first production of the Mustang fighters.

It is important to note that although the fighters were excellent at lower levels, the P-51 Allison engines were limited in performance when it came to high altitude. Therefore, most Mustangs in Great Britain, as well as the United States, were fitted with British Merlin engines. With the new engines, the planes were able to fly higher and in combat they were provided long range and high altitude escort for U.S bombing campaign (Colby, 1960).

The P-51D Mustang was able to incorporate several improvements, and one of the most important was the bubble top canopy that was able to improve greatly the pilot’s vision (Harvey, 2011). Although the Mustangs were able to continue in service within the United States as well as many other countries after World War II. The advent of more advanced jet fighters, unfortunately, relegated them to secondary status, Most of them were redesignated as F-51 and they were transferred to the Air National Guard as well as the reserves.

F-86 Sabre

The F-86 Sabre was produced by the North American Aviation Company in the U.S. The aircraft was extremely important in the Korean war, and it was able to win back air superiority for the NATO allies. The jet fighter had swept back wings and tail surfaces; the monoplane wings were low mounted with a slight dihedral on each side. It is, in fact, important to note that the wings that were used were placed forward in the design, and this gave the Sabre it's much noticeable silhouette.

The F-86 was delivered to the frontlines of the Korean War, and the first flight on the jet fighter was achieved on May 1948. The performance of the model included a top speed of around 685 miles per hour as well as a range of 1,200 miles and a combat ceiling of around 49,000 feet.

when it came to their ability to approach the speed of sound. However, based on German Research that had occurred during World War II, the swept wing came along, and it was presented a thinner wing to the air that almost flew through.

Therefore, it could be able to go faster without compressing air in front of the aircraft. This concept was taken up the F-86, and it was a revolutionary development. The fighter jet took into consideration the comfort of the pilot, and it had air condition systems that would produce ice. One was also able to adjust the heat that existed in the cockpit.


The Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15 was a jet fighter developed for the Soviet Union. The MiG-15 was able to achieve air superiority in the Korean War, and it was able to outclass the straight-winged fighters in almost all applications. It is critical to note that indeed the MiG-15 is often considered to be one of the most widely produced jet aircraft that have ever been made. The total production of the plane was over 18,000.The NATO code name for the aircraft was the Fagot. The new requirement specified an aircraft design that was able to fly over 630 miles per hour and that had a good rate of a climb with restricted landing and take-off distances. The New Design was used was able to take into consideration the ease of production and maintenance for it to be able to stay in flight.

As the engine, as well as the structural design, progressed of the MiG-15 progressed, more attention was paid to the issue of the ejection system, and this was an important factor given the speed that the pilots would be bailing out. The designers understood that the days of safely bailing out with the parachute had officially come to an end with the advent of the jet age. The design of the MiG-15 shocked the West in terms of capabilities. The Soviets were designed the aircraft as an urgent need for the high altitude day interceptor. The engines of the resulting Rolls Royce Nene, there was a powerful boost in the engine.

The MiG-featured the first production of the swept wing, ejection seat, and a pressurized cockpit, it is critical to understand that although the Russians were aware of the German turbojet and the swept wing work, this design was wholly Russian in exception of the engine.

F-4 Phantom II

The McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II commonly referred to as the F-4 Phantom II is a tandem two-seat Twin engine, and t has an all-weather, long-range supersonic jet interceptor. The Phantom is a large fighter that reaches a top speed of 1,604 (2581 kph), and the modifications that are incorporated into the jet fighter includes improvements to weapons, radars, avionics, and engines. The F-4 Phantom is equipped with modern cameras and surveillance gear that is important for aerial reconnaissance.

The armament often ranges from cannons to missiles. The f-4 first saw real combat in the Vietnam War, and it also played a huge part in Operation Desert Storm. It is of importance to understand that the fighter jet also served with the air forces of 11 countries also to the United States.

The f-4 phantom use in active military duty was discontinued in the United States in the year 1996. With almost four decades of service for the U.S military, the Phantom was able to perform every combat task that was thrown at it as well as almost every mission that was ever given. The twin-engine superiority was something new, and it instantly became a superior fighter.
When it came to air combat, the phantoms greatest advantage was its thrust as the jet fighter was able to permit a skilled pilot to engage as well as disengage the flight at will. The aircraft was designed in such a manner that it was able to fire radar-guided missiles beyond visual range. The aircraft is currently being used by several countries in Africa. However, it is critical to note that its major use in advanced nations has been continued.

F-15 Eagle

The F-15 Eagle can be described as an all-weather jet fighter that is extremely maneuverable, and it is designed to permit the Air Force to be able to gain as well as maintain supremacy on the field of war. It is critical to understand that the Eagle’s air superiority is often achieved through a delicate mixture of acceleration, range, maneuverability, avionics, and weapons.
The Eagle can with ease penetrate the defense of the enemy as well as outperform the enemy’s aircrafts. It is sophisticated, and it has electronic systems as well as weaponry that are hard to detect. This, therefore, makes it hard for the enemy to attack it.

The Superior maneuverability as well as the acceleration that comes with the fighter jet can be achieved through a high engine thrust to weight ratio and also because of a low wing loading. This, therefore, enables the plane to turn in tight angles without actually losing it top speed.

The F-15 Eagle has a top speed of 1.875 miles per hour and a range of 3,540 miles. The F-15 fighter has been the United States primary jet aircraft as well as intercept platform. The plane has a multimission avionics system that includes a heads up display, and advanced radar, as well as an internally mounted tactical electronic warfare system (Isby, 2013). Further, the plane is also fitted with the identification of the Friend or Foe system that is extremely important in ensuring that there is an avoidance of friendly fire.

It is critical to understand that the variety of the weaponry that can be carried in the F-15 often allows the plane to release weapons both safely and effectively. The weapons can be released using the head-up display as well as the weapons control (Isby, 2013). The arming can be done with several weapons such as the AIM Sparrow missiles, The AIM 120 AMRAAM advanced medium range air missiles as well as others. The current largest operator of the F-15 is the United States Air Force.

There are currently several important upgrades that are being performed on the F-15s, it is critical to understand that the F-15s will be able to remain in service because of several factors. Firstly, there is the model’s primary air to ground role as well as the lower number of flying hours that exist in the newer F-15s time frame.

F-22 Raptor

The F-22 Raptor can be described as the only fighter that can conduct air to air as well as air to ground combat missions with almost near impunity. The F-22 has been able to evolve from its original concept into a lethal, flexible and survivable multi-mission fighter (Isby, 2013). The F-22 has been able to take advantage of different and diverse emerging technologies and it has emerged as superior platforms for many missions including intelligence gathering, surveillance as well as electronic attacks (Center of Military History, 2009).

The aircraft entered formally into the service in December 2005 and currently the United States considers the F-22 as being a critical component when it comes to its tactical air power. It is critical to understand that the fighter is currently unmatched by any known fighter (Isby, 2013). The Raptor has a combination of aerodynamic capabilities, unprecedented air combat, and situation awareness that gives the fighter an upper hand in any combat mission.

The plane was manufactured by Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, and the Boeing Space & Security was crucial in the provision of important airframe component and training systems. Under Federal Law, the F-22s cannot be exported, and the customers for the U.S fighter are often told to acquire earlier designs of the F-15 eagle or the newer versions of the F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter, which almost contains the technology that exists in the F-22 rapture but it is cheaper and more flexible for export (Isby, 2013).
The need for the F-22s were hugely debated because of the rising cost, and the Obama administration called for the end of the F-22 production with the United States lacking relevant adversaries (Isby, 2013).

In conclusion, the plane fighter history is a long one and it starts with the French in World War I. It is important to understand that indeed German Design in World War II was extremely important in making the fighter aircraft as they exist (Isby, 2013). The F-22 rapture is an example of a modern jet fighter, and it is one of the few aircraft that can supercruise at supersonic flight and cannot be reached by normal crafts.

It has a high operating attitude, and the use of internal weapon bays allows modern fighters to main higher performance when they are in the air. Therefore, the industry has come a long way, and it is expected to go even further with emerging technologies.


Taylor, M. J. H. (1982). Jet fighters. Greenwich, Conn: Bison Books Ltd.
Isby, D. C. (2013). Fighter combat in the jet age. London: HarperCollins.
Colby, C. B. (1960). Fighter parade: Headliners in fighter plane history. New York: Coward-McCann.
Harvey, J. N. (2011). Sharks of the air: Willy Messerschmitt and how he built the world's first operational jet fighter. Havertown, Pa: Casemate.
Cooper, B., & Batchelor, J. H. (1973). Fighter: A history of fighter aircraft. New York: Scribner.
Center of Military History. (2009). History of strategic air and ballistic missile defense. Washington, D.C: Center of Military History, U.S. Army.