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That jet was the Northrop F Tigershark. The Tiger was a good plane, but arguably at a disadvantage against jets like the MiG Flogger.

American allies had a problem, though. Israel got lucky, and was able to buy the planes, but most other allies had to settle for something less capable. Northrop's privately-funded venture fit the bill.

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Why America’s two best fighter jets can’t talk to each other

Via Wikimedia Commons. It also had the ability to fire the AIM-7 Sparrow, a semi-active radar-guided missile. Three prototypes were built, and a fourth would have had more fuel capacity and the ability to use drop tanks.

Norwegian F-16, Finnish F-18, Swedish JAS 39, Finish NH90 in Action

The last chance for this plane's success came and went when the Air National Guard declined to replace F Delta Darts and F-4 Phantoms with it, opting instead for modified Fs. Learn more about this fighter-that-could-have-been below:. World globe An icon of the world globe, indicating different international options.


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Close icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. It indicates a way to close an interaction, or dismiss a notification. The technology sourced through Israel allowed China to advance significantly over the s era fighters they were fielding at the time.


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  • This would not be the last Chinese fighter to incorporate elements of the F, but it's the most direct. An updated version of the J entered into service last year with an advanced fire control radar array, an increased use of composite materials to reduce weight, and a number of other domestically developed updates that aim to keep the J capable for decades to come.

    As the Soviet Union neared collapse in , China seized the opportunity to secure the production line for the Sukhoi Su, an air superiority fighter developed to counter American jets like the T Tomcat. The Soviets, keen to sell China a new MiG design instead, were left with little choice in the face of looming economic ruin. China quickly set about producing their own Sus, and then improving upon the design to develop what would become the J Unlike other fighters China employed at the time, the Su brought advanced avionics systems and fly-by-wire technology that China was also able to incorporate into later platforms.

    When the Soviets refused to part with their Su design secrets, China purchased an Su prototype aircraft from Ukraine, dubbed the TK-3, and quickly set about reverse engineering it.

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    With a faster top speed, greater maximum G-load, and slightly higher operational ceiling, China has been happy to contend that a dog fight between the two jets would undoubtedly result in a Chinese victory;. But the J is severely hindered by its launch apparatus. The resemblance is striking but similarities are only skin deep. In the years since, that J-7 became the basis for a new joint venture with Pakistan that aimed to field a new fighter that could compete with a different MiG—the newer Soviet MiG This plane continues to fly today, and is by many accounts a fighter that can stand toe-to-toe with jets designed decades after it first flew.

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    The newest iterations of the JF now include air-to-air refueling capabilities, greater use of composite materials to reduce weight, and fly-by-wire technology first procured through a different Soviet purchase. Plans for the Lockheed Martin design were stolen by a Chinese national named Su Bin, who was sentenced to 46 months in federal prison for his crime. The repercussions of his efforts on behalf of the Chinese government will live on for decades. The U. China, on the other hand, will continue to produce Js in large quantities for years to come.

    This jet, still under development, possesses a greater operational range and larger payload capacity than the F it was based on.