Fourth-generation jet fighter is a general classification of jet fighters in service from approximately 1980 to the present, and represent design concepts of the 1970s. Fourth- generation designs are heavily influenced by lessons learned from the previous generation of combat aircraft.
Fly-by-wire ( FBW) is a system that replaces the conventional manual flight controls of an aircraft with an electronic interface. The movements of flight controls are converted to electronic signals transmitted by wires (hence the fly-by-wire term), and flight control computers determine how to move the actuators at each control surface to provide the ordered response.
An air-to-air missile ( AAM) is a missile fired from an aircraft for the purpose of destroying another aircraft. AAMs are typically powered by one or more rocket motors, usually solid fueled but sometimes liquid fueled. Ramjet engines, as used on the Meteor (missile) are emerging as propulsion that will enable future medium-range missiles to maintain higher average speed across their engagement envelope.
The General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon is a single-engine supersonic multirole fighter aircraft originally developed by General Dynamics (now Lockheed Martin) for the United States Air Force (USAF). Designed as an air superiority day fighter, it evolved into a successful all-weather multirole aircraft. Over 4,500 aircraft have been built since production was approved in 1976.
The Mikoyan MiG-29 ( Russian: Микоян МиГ-29; NATO reporting name: Fulcrum) is a twin-engine jet fighter aircraft designed in the Soviet Union. Developed by the Mikoyan design bureau as an air superiority fighter during the 1970s, the MiG-29, along with the larger Sukhoi Su-27, was developed to counter new American fighters such as the McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle, and the General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon.
The Mikoyan MiG-35 ( Russian: Микоян МиГ-35; NATO reporting name: Fulcrum-F) is a Russian fighter aircraft that is a further development of the MiG-29M/M2 and MiG-29K/KUB fighters. It is classified as a 4++ generation jet fighter by Mikoyan. The first prototype was a modification of the aircraft that previously served as a MiG-29M2 model demonstrator.
The McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet is a twin-engine supersonic, all-weather carrier-capable multirole combat jet, designed as both a fighter and attack aircraft (hence the F/A designation). Designed by McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing) and Northrop, the F/A-18 was derived from the latter's YF-17 in the 1970s for use by the United States Navy and Marine Corps.
The Sukhoi Su-27 ( Russian: Сухой Су-27) ( NATO reporting name: Flanker) is a twin-engine supermaneuverable fighter aircraft designed by Sukhoi. It was intended as a direct competitor for the large United States fourth-generation fighters such as the Grumman F-14 Tomcat and F-15 Eagle, with 3,530-kilometre (1,910 nmi) range, heavy aircraft ordnance, sophisticated avionics and high maneuverability.
The Su-30 started out as an internal development project in the Sukhoi Su-27 family by Sukhoi. The design plan was revamped and the name was made official by the Russian Defense Ministry in 1996. Of the Flanker family, the Su-27, Su-30, Su-33, Su-34 and Su-35 have been ordered into limited or serial production by the Defense Ministry.
The Sukhoi Su-33 ( Russian: Сухой Су-33; NATO reporting name: Flanker-D) is an all-weather carrier-based twin-engine air superiority fighter designed by Sukhoi and manufactured by Komsomolsk-on-Amur Aircraft Production Association, derived from the Su-27 and initially known as the Su-27K. Compared with the Su-27, the Su-33 has a strengthened undercarriage and structure, folding wings and stabilators, all for carrier operations.
The Sukhoi Su-35 ( Russian: Сухой Су-35; NATO reporting name: Flanker-E) is a designation for two separate, heavily upgraded derivatives of the Su-27 aircraft. They are single-seat, twin-engine, supermaneuverable multirole fighters, designed by Sukhoi and built by Komsomolsk-on-Amur Aircraft Production Association (KnAAPO).
The McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle is an American twin-engine, all-weather tactical fighter aircraft designed by McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing) to gain and maintain air supremacy in aerial combat. Following reviews of proposals, the United States Air Force selected McDonnell Douglas' design in 1967 to meet the service's need for a dedicated air superiority fighter.
The Grumman F-14 Tomcat is an American supersonic, twin-engine, two-seat, variable-sweep wing fighter aircraft. The Tomcat was developed for the United States Navy's Naval Fighter Experimental (VFX) program after the collapse of the F-111B project. The F-14 was the first of the American teen-series fighters, which were designed incorporating air combat experience against MiG fighters during the Vietnam War.
The Dassault Mirage 2000 is a French multirole, single-engine fourth-generation jet fighter manufactured by Dassault Aviation. It was designed in the late 1970s as a lightweight fighter to replace the Mirage III for the French Air Force ( Armée de l'Air).
The Boeing F/A-18E and F/A-18F Super Hornet are twin-engine carrier-capable multirole fighter aircraft variants based on the McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet. The F/A-18E single-seat and F/A-18F tandem-seat variants are larger and more advanced derivatives of the F/A-18C and D Hornet. The Super Hornet has an internal 20 mm M61 rotary cannon and can carry air-to-air missiles and air-to-surface weapons.
The Eurofighter Typhoon is a twin-engine, canard- delta wing, multirole fighter. The Typhoon was designed and is manufactured by a consortium of Alenia Aermacchi ( Leonardo since 2017), Airbus Group, and BAE Systems that conducts the majority of the project through a joint holding company, Eurofighter Jagdflugzeug GmbH formed in 1986.
The Mikoyan MiG-31 ( Russian: Микоян МиГ-31; NATO reporting name: Foxhound) is a supersonic interceptor aircraft developed for use by the Soviet Air Forces. The aircraft was designed by the Mikoyan design bureau as a replacement for the earlier MiG-25 "Foxbat"; the MiG-31 is based on, and shares design elements with the MiG-25.
The Chengdu J-10 ( simplified Chinese: 歼-10; traditional Chinese: 殲-10, NATO Code: Firebird) is a lightweight multirole fighter aircraft capable of all-weather operation, configured with a delta wing and canard design, with fly-by-wire flight controls, and produced by the People's Republic of China's Chengdu Aircraft Corporation (CAC) for the People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF).
The Shenyang J-11 ( Chinese: 歼-11), with NATO reporting name Flanker B+, is a single-seat, twin-engine jet fighter, whose airframe is based on the Soviet-designed Sukhoi Su-27 air superiority fighter. It is currently manufactured by the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation. The People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) of China (PRC) is the sole operator of the aircraft.
The Shenyang J-15 ( Chinese: 歼-15), also known as Flying Shark ( Chinese: 飞鲨; pinyin: ), is a carrier-based fighter aircraft in development by the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation and the 601 Institute for the Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy's aircraft carriers.
The Saab JAS 39 Gripen (English: " griffin") is a light single-engine multirole fighter aircraft manufactured by the Swedish aerospace company Saab. It was designed to replace the Saab 35 Draken and 37 Viggen in the Swedish Air Force ( Flygvapnet). The Gripen has a delta wing and canard configuration with relaxed stability design and fly-by-wire flight controls.
The Xian JH-7 ( Jianjiji Hongzhaji - fighter-bomber); NATO reporting name Flounder, also known as the FBC-1 (Fighter/Bomber China-1) Flying Leopard, is a tandem two-seat, twin-engine fighter-bomber in service with the People's Liberation Army Naval Air Force (PLANAF), and the People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF).
The Panavia Tornado Air Defence Variant (ADV) was a long-range, twin-engine interceptor version of the swing-wing Panavia Tornado. The aircraft's first flight was on 27 October 1979, and it entered service with the Royal Air Force (RAF) in 1986. It was also previously operated by the Italian Air Force (AMI) and the Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF).
The Dassault Rafale ( French pronunciation: , literally meaning "gust of wind", and "burst of fire" in a more military sense) is a French twin-engine, canard delta wing, multirole fighter aircraft designed and built by Dassault Aviation.
The AIDC F-CK-1 Ching-kuo (經國號戰機), commonly known as the Indigenous Defense Fighter ( IDF), is a multirole combat aircraft named after Chiang Ching-kuo, the late President of the Republic of China (Taiwan). The aircraft made its first flight in 1989. It was delivered to Republic of China Air Force in January 1994 and entered service in 1997.
The Mitsubishi F-2 is a multirole fighter derived from the General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon, and manufactured by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Lockheed Martin for the Japan Air Self-Defense Force, with a 60/40 split in manufacturing between Japan and the United States. Production started in 1996 and the first aircraft entered service in 2000.