Light fighter

A light fighter or lightweight fighter is a fighter aircraft towards the low end of the practical range of weight, cost, and complexity over which fighters are fielded.[1][2] The light or lightweight fighter retains carefully selected competitive features, in order to provide cost-effective design and performance.[3][4]

The General Dynamics YF-16 and Northrop YF-17 were competing designs in the US Lightweight Fighter program.

A well-designed lightweight fighter is able to match or better a heavier type plane-for-plane in many missions,[5][failed verification][6][7][8] and for lower cost.[9] The lightweight class can therefore be strategically valuable.[10]

In attempts to scale this efficiency to still lower cost, some manufacturers have in recent years adopted the term “light fighter” to also refer to light primarily air-to-ground attack aircraft, some of which are modified trainer designs.[11] These lower cost lightweight attack aircraft have become known as light combat aircraft (LCA's), and are sometimes considered to include some multirole light fighters.

From 1926 the light fighter concept has been a regular thread in the development of fighter aircraft, with some notable designs entering large-scale use.


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