How could fighter jets take off vertically?

How long have fighter jets been able to land and take off vertically?

How long have fighter jets been able to land and take off vertically?

The Nazis experimented with fighter planes

Already in 1944, the Nazis in Germany experimented with airplanes that did not need a long run to get into the air. The need for vertical take-off grew as the Allies bombed more and more Nazi airfields.

However, the prototype was only found on the drawing board when the war ended. But after the war people became more interested in building a fighter plane that could, for example, be launched from smaller warships and thus protect important convoys.

The British built the first fighter jet

The British built the Hawker Siddeley Harrier in 1967 and it was the first VTOL fighter (Vertical Takeoff and Landing) that was so reliable that it could be mass produced.

A number of Harrier models were later added, and the aircraft took part in the 1982 Falkland Islands War with great success, protecting warships from air attack and bombing Argentine military installations on the islands.

However, production of the Harrier stopped in 2003, and now most countries have stopped using such aircraft.

The ability to take off vertically was simply not in demand anymore, but made the Harrier both complex to build and prone to failure.

The Harrier does not need an airfield for takeoff and landing. A flat field is fine.

Many test flights failed

1954: Lockheed XFV

The XFV was able to stay in the air once it had assisted takeoff. In the beginning, it rested on four fixed wings, but was never able to get off the ground under its own engine power. Only one prototype was built.

1959: Coleoptere

The French experimented with a jet engine enclosed in circular wings. The Coléoptére was able to take off vertically, but the only prototype crashed and was destroyed on the aircraft’s 9th attempt at vertical flight.

1963: EWR VJ 101 C

The jet engines were on the wings and could be turned vertically and thus lift the plane into the air. During a test flight, the VJ 101 was able to take off vertically and then fly horizontally. However, the plane later crashed – only two planes made it to the air before the project was shelved.

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