posted on Feb, 12 2007 @ 06:30 AM
Low cost combat aircraft are possible, just not wanted.
If you look at the history of these types you can see they have been attempted before, but remained unpopular.
I think porobably the last attempt to see production so far was the BAe Hawk 200. a single seat, fully functioning radar equipped all weather fighter
based on the Hawk trainer airframe. It flew successfully and performs its job admirably well (its 7,000lb payload compares well with other ex-trainers
for example, and yet it sold in pitifully small numbers.
Before that, an arguably better attempt was the Folland Gnat. This extremely small and cheap fighter boasted the same performance of the Hunter and
Sabre which equipped many of the worlds air forces at the time. Despite this, apart from license production in India, it also sold in very small
numbers with only Finland and Yugoslavia recieving about a dozen between them. The Gnat became more famous as the first mount of the Red Arrows from
There may well be a stigma attached to buying a fighter that is a converted trainer (the Gnat was actually the other way round, being a fighter
first). Even the most successful low cost fighter of them all, the F-5, was based on a pre existing trainer, the T-38.
The last US attempt to produce a low cost fighter, as an 'F-5 replacement' centred around the F-16/79, a cheap J-79 powered F-16, as its name
suggests, was completely ignored by absolutely everybody, whilst the 'successful' candidate, the really quite brilliant F-20, which was originally
called the F-5G, was equally snubbed by governments who simply asked why they should buy a fighter the USAF does not want, 'why can't we just buy
F-16's like you?' Which is what they did.
[edit on 12-2-2007 by waynos]