We've all come to understand how ridiculously fast technology changes from year to year. But nothing stands as a better testament to tech quite like the changes in our military aerospace over the years. Check out the amazing journey of transformation fighter jets have underwent in the past 70 years!
Lockheed P-80A Shooting Star (1945)
The Shooting Star was the first jet fighter to go into service with the United States.
Lockheed P-80A Shooting Star Cockpit
America's first true jet design took lessons learned from fighter planes in WW2 and incorporated them into a basic cockpit.
North American F-86A Sabre (1950)
The F-86A Sabre is considered one of the most important fighter aircraft during the Korean War.
North American F-86A Sabre Cockpit
Although it was outdated by the late '50s, the Sabre was the most-produced Western jet fighter, with a total production of 9,850 units.
North American F-100D Super Sabre (1956)
This second-generation jet fighter was primarily armed with guns.
North American F-100D Super Sabre Cockpit
It was one of the first fighters to be outfitted with air-to-air missiles, and was later upgraded with systems to give pilots notice when a missile was locked on.
Vought F-8 Crusader (1958)
The F-8 Crusader was the last American fighter built with guns as its primary armament.
Vought F-8 Crusader Cockpit
We begin to see third-generation characteristics incorporated in the design, including radar technology.
Convair F-106 Delta Dart (1959)
This futuristic, supersonic interceptor featured many pivotal technological ground-to-air assistance innovations for a fighter jet.
Convair F-106 Delta Dart Cockpit
There were new avionics available for the Delta Dart, such as ground-controlled autopilot and a Tactical Situation Display (TSD) map for the pilot.
McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II (1964)
This two-seated fighter was used by the Air Force, Navy, and Marines. The F-4 was designed to carry only missiles as its armament. After struggles in Vietnam however, later versions of the fighter featured guns.
McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II Cockpit
The F-4 is still in service with various countries around the world, and is one of the most produced fighter jets of all time.
Vought A-7D Corsair II (1973)
Based on the F-8 Crusader, the A-7D was one of the first combat aircraft to feature Heads up Display (HUD), Inertial Navigation System (INS), and a turbofan engine.
Vought A-7D Corsair II Cockpit
Note the addition of radar scopes and various avionics advances for the single-seat attack aircraft.
Grumman F-14A Tomcat (1974)
The F-14 served as one of the first fourth-generation fighter jets in service. T
Grumman F-14A Tomcat Cockpit
he F-14A was similar to the F-4, seeing as the rear pilot was the Radar Intercept Officer in charge of the plane's advanced radar system.
McDonnell Douglas F-15A Eagle (1976)
This fourth-gen fighter still primarily relied upon analog instruments, but still incorporated critical digital systems for the pilot.
McDonnell Douglas F-15A Eagle Cockpit
The radar system was quite advanced for the day, especially for a single-seat fighter jet.
General Dynamics F-16A Fighting Falcon (1982)
The F-16A Fighting Falcon was designed in the '70s, and incorporated many revolutionary features. The control stick was moved from the center to the right side of the cockpit. The seat was reclined 30 degrees to help the pilot sustain high g-forces.
General Dynamics F-16A Fighting Falcon Cockpit
Most notably, the cockpit begins to use the digital "glass" cockpit configuration, with analog instruments replaced with large multi-function screens.
McDonnell Douglas F-15C Eagle (1985)
Internal control and cockput upgrades to the F-15 resulted in the F-15C variant.
McDonnell Douglas F-15C Eagle Cockpit
Alongside advances in avionics technology, the planes continued their movement over to digital instrument displays.
McDonnell Douglas F/A-18C Hornet (1987)
The move to digital flight instruments was wholly decided with the F/A-18C Hornet.
McDonnell Douglas F/A-18C Hornet Cockpit
The multi-function displays (MFDs) allowed pilots to switch screens to access different systems in the plane.
McDonnell Douglas F-15E Strike Eagle (1988)
The difference in cockpits between the F-15E Strike Eagle and it's predecessors is amazing.
McDonnell Douglas F-15E Strike Eagle Cockpit
You can see the major push to switching to all digital instruments, and the noted similarities in digitalization to NASA space shuttles.
Grumman F-14D Super Tomcat (1991)
The Super Tomcat was designed to bring the F-14 Tomcat into the digital era.
Grumman F-14D Super Tomcat Cockpit
The F-14D included new digital MFDs for the pilot and RIO.
General Dynamics F-16C Fighting Falcon (1991)
The move towards glass cockpits is very apparent with the F-16C version of the Falcon.
General Dynamics F-16C Fighting Falcon Cockpit
The re-designed domed structure of the cockpit allowed pilots unprecedented viewing angles in combat.
Boeing F/A-18E Super Hornet (1999)
The Super Hornet uses its HUD as its primary flight instrument.
Boeing F/A-18E Super Hornet Cockpit
The other MFDs are in place to monitor and run the numerous features and weapons systems on the plane.
Lockheed Martin F-22A Raptor (2007)
Designed in the late '80s, the F-22A Raptor was the world's first and currently only operational fifth-generation fighter.
Lockheed Martin F-22A Raptor Cockpit
Digitalization clearly continues to advance with displays for incredibly detailed instrument reports for pilots.
Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II (2015)
The F-35A features the most revolutionary cockpit design yet. Notice the lack of a HUD; the pilot's helmet now projects the flight information, no matter which direction they look.
Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II Cockpit
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