NOTE: visit www.techenlife.com for more details regarding this blog and military aviation!!
The definition of fighter generations has long been subject to debate. However, most agree that the generations break down along these broad lines:
Generation 1: Jet propulsion (F-80, German Me 262).
Generation 2: Swept wings; range-only radar; infrared missiles (F-86, MiG-15).
Generation 3: Supersonic speed; pulse radar; able to shoot at targets beyond visual range (“Century Series” fighters such as F-105; F-4; MiG-17; MiG-21).
Generation 4: Pulse-doppler radar; high maneuverability; look-down, shoot-down missiles (F-15, F-16, Mirage 2000, MiG-29).
Generation 4+: High agility; sensor fusion; reduced signatures (Eurofighter Typhoon, Su-30, advanced versions of F-16 and F/A-18, Rafale).
Generation 4++: Active electronically scanned arrays; continued reduced signatures or some “active” (waveform canceling) stealth; some supercruise (Su-35, F-15SE).
Generation 5: All-aspect stealth with internal weapons, extreme agility, full-sensor fusion, integrated avionics, some or full supercruise (F-22, F-35).
Potential Generation 6: extreme stealth; efficient in all flight regimes (subsonic to multi-Mach); possible “morphing” capability; smart skins; highly networked; extremely sensitive sensors; optionally manned; directed energy weapons.