Interceptor Aircraft - Area Defence

Area Defence

As capabilities continued to improve, especially through the widespread introduction of the jet engine, the time allowed between detection and interception dropped. Even the most advanced point defence interceptors combined with long-range radars were struggling to keep the reaction time down enough to be effective. Fixed times, like the time needed for the pilot to climb into the cockpit, became an increasing portion of the overall mission time. As there were few ways to reduce this, the need for longer-range designs with extended loiter times became the main design concept.

These area defense interceptors (or area defense fighters) were large designs intended to stay on lengthy patrol and protect a much larger area from attack, depending on great detection capabilities and high speed to reach targets. The design emphasis was on range, missile carrying capacity and radar quality rather than on acceleration and climb rate. They usually carried long-range or medium-range air-to-air missiles, and often had no bombing capability. They were first to introduce all-weather avionics, assuring successful operations during night, rain, snow, or fog. Countries that were strategically dependent on surface fleet, most notably US and UK, maintained also fleet defense fighters that acted very similarly to their non-naval counterparts.

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