The National Interest magazine has compiled a list of the worst American fighters throughout the country’s history.
The Brewster F2A Buffalo is ranked in first place. The author, Robert Farley, says this plane was “at the wrong point of the technological cycle”.
“Hunting, being an aircraft with relatively high combat capabilities for the late 1930s, it was unable to reach the level of the developed aircraft that it had to deal with in the Pacific,” he said.
“These poorly armed, relatively slow, insufficiently powerful planes could not compete with the best Japanese pilots,” the author wrote, referring to World War II.
The second worst US aircraft on the Farley list is the F7U Cutlass fighter, which was considered “incredibly innovative” for its time, yet its developers tried to achieve too ambitious goals in a very short time.
“It was a wide but insufficiently powerful plane with a tail-like design, displeasing to its operators,” wrote the author of the article, noting that a quarter of all Cutlass airplanes eventually fell.
Another embedded fighter, the F3H Demon, was placed by Robert Farley in third position.
“A single-engine embedded fighter requires a safe, powerful engine that the Demon did not have: none of the engines installed on the aircraft worked properly,” he explained.
In addition, this aircraft had serious problems with the operation of the ejection seat, which failed very frequently.
The fourth “canned tin” is the F-102 Delta Dagger interceptor fighter, one of which was launched by the United States in the 1950s in response to Soviet advances in the creation of long-range bombers.
The plane hardly reached great heights, which represented a glaring problem for an aircraft destined to intercept Tu-95 bombers.
Twice the F-102 underwent modernization, resulting for the second time in the F-106, a more decent version.
Finally, the F-104 Starfighter closes the “list of shame”. According to the author of the story, this was a reasonably effective aircraft, used by different US air units since 1958.
“The Starfighter was distinguished by the number of accidents. During its use in the Air Force it created the record for the amount of accidents compared to any other representative of the Century series,” Farley recalled.
At the end of the story, the author pointed out that many critics are now ready to add to this list the new multi-purpose fifth-generation F-35 fighter, but it is still early to talk about it.