As sad or wrong as it may seem, we can’t deny the fact that war has been a catalyst to lots of inventions and innovations over the years. During the peak of this insanity, i.e. World War II, both the naval Army and Airforce were pivotal for the success of either side. But since then, evolution in air combat made a lot of naval ships obsolete.
The reason many gearheads can enjoy forced induction in our vehicles is because of aviation. Fighter Jets became faster and gained more powerful and deadly ammunition with every new Jet deployed in service. Or did they?
As it turns out, not all these jets were better than their previous counterparts. You see, aerial combat was a relatively newer sector of defense for the people. There were a lot of experimental designs. Sometimes, some of these aircraft even proved to be more dangerous for their pilots than the enemy.
The majority of national defense sectors were in a race to break the sound barrier. But flying at such high speeds brought new problems recently unheard of. There was little knowledge on how the planes’ engines and body panels would react to the air at that speed. Mistakes had to be made in the first place to learn from them. Nevertheless, here are 10 military fighter jets that their countries wished they had never deployed.
10 Vickers Gun Bus
Including one of the very first fighter planes in history might seem like a bold move, but it is too bad to not make the cut. It was the first operational dedicated fighter of the Royal Flying Corps during WWI.
Where do we start with this one? The tendency to go into unrecoverable spins and land on an empty fuel tank causing nose-landing hazards plagued its design. The gunner blocked the pilot’s view a lot, it was hard to steer, and the lateral stability was awful. No wonder it was a dead-end and was taken out of service very shortly.
9 Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-23
The MiG-23 aka the Flogger was the Russian-brought counterpart to the American powerhouses F-4 and F-111. The latter two planes were both powerful and agile enough to perform attack and interception roles. The Flogger was powerful, too. But the agility was nowhere near them.
The USA tasked “Red Eagle” pilots to figure out the capabilities of the MiG-23, and they ended up reporting that it was a disaster waiting to happen. It’s big, heavy, and has a negative record of Syrian, Iraqi, and Libyan service. Makes sense that it went out of service sooner than its predecessor, the iconic MiG-21.
8 Lavochkin-Gorbunov-Gudkov LaGG-3
During the German invasion in 1941, the LaGG-3 was the Soviet Air Force's premier fighter. It was such a disaster that pilots dubbed it "the varnished guaranteed coffin," a play on the fighter's name. It was introduced five years after the Bf-109. However, the LaGG-3 was virtually ineffective in combat against its counterpart.
Its disastrous combination of lightweight wood construction and an underpowered engine meant that it struggled to gain a tactical advantage against stronger German fighters while shattering when damaged. Factoring in the frantic Soviet pilot training techniques throughout the war, it's no surprise that German and Finnish aviators achieved such high totals against their Soviet opponents.
7 Royal B.E.2
The Royal B.E.2 was one of the first fighter planes put in proper industrial production. It remained in production for seven years, and it taught upcoming combat aircraft design makers what mistakes to avoid.
Poor visibility, poor reliability, slow speed, weak armament, the difficulty of even controlling it are all characteristics of this air fighter. It was a pioneer when it first came out, but during its last years of service, keeping it was a poor choice from the government.
6 Brewster Buffalo
The Buffalo was small and intimidated no one. But most importantly, it came out at the same time as the Mitsubishi A6M Zero and the Bf-109. These two aircraft were extremely superior to the Buffalo in both flying maneuvers and combat capabilities.
Marine Corps pilots nicknamed the Buffalo, a “Flying Coffin” after its performance in the Battle of Midway. To add insult to injury, the Buffalo underperformed in high temperatures like the tropics where it saw action. The U.S. quickly gave it the boot and replaced it with the Grumman F4F Wildcat.
5 Vought F7U Cutlass
If we can associate two words with this fighter jet, it would be ‘unreliable’ and ‘underpowered.’ Other nations had already deployed sleek and aerodynamic jets for higher speeds and agility. However, the F7U had a raised nose to make room for its complex and unreliable landing gear.
The landing gear had a tendency to collapse during carrier deck landings. Jammed control surfaces were a common problem and the sheer number of failures turned it into an embarrassing mess of an aircraft that was slow and didn’t scare the enemies.
4 McDonnell F3H Demon
The F3H Demon at least looked more traditional than the Cutlass mentioned above. But that’s about the only one-up it has got over the F7U. The F3H Demon is a single-engine carrier fighter. Such a plane needs a dependable engine, but that was not the case here.
When the unreliable engine goes haywire, the only option left for the pilot is the ejection seat and even that didn’t work sometimes. Now, that is a big red flag that we can’t ignore. The military retired the F3H Demon before the Vietnam War.
3 F-102 Delta Dagger
In the 1950s, the growth of the Soviet long-range bomber force prompted the creation of many fast jet interceptors. The F-102 Delta Dagger, aka the Deuce, was unable to achieve supersonic speed at first, prompting a major redesign effort. The Deuce also struggled at high altitude, which was an issue for an interceptor built to track down high-flying Soviet bombers.
Another redesign effort resulted in the F-106 Delta Dart, a significantly more capable aircraft. During Vietnam, the Air Force attempted but failed, to force the F-102 into a low-altitude bombing duty. The Deuce was quickly relegated to Air National Guard service, with the majority of the aircraft finally being used as target drones.
2 F-85 Goblin Parasite Fighter
Time for the wildcard entry. This is what we call a grand experiment gone terribly wrong. The Goblin was created to be carried by a bomber or an airship. It’s so small, a plane big enough can even carry it in its bomber bay!
And once the tiny fuel tank was empty, it was designed to hook itself to an aircraft and use it as Uber. But those hooks rarely worked. But the whole design gained notoriety, and it unintentionally inspired those Japanese Egg Planes. Remember those?
1 Lockheed F-104 Starfighter
The Lockheed F-104 Starfighter served in many different air forces starting from 1958. But it lacked the range and payload of a good reasonable interceptor. But for its time, it was still a decent fighter on its own. Then why is it here, you may ask. It’s because of the ridiculously high number of accidents.
That number was more than any other Century series fighters from that time. Canadian and German forces had it much worse though. While the accidents may occur due to an abundance of reasons, the small wing area was the most common culprit. A fighter jet that couldn’t guarantee its own pilot’s safety is no good, is it?