No fighter designer wants his airplane to be called a truck, but aside from the gun, the fighter has nothing that can render an adversary’s weapon inoperative, except what is hanging off the wings or fuselage. This attribute is what makes fighters versatile—virtually everything can be, or has been, attacked by a fighter except a submarine—and it also makes them adaptable across time. During the long careers of the F-15, F-16 and F/A-18, they have all gone through several ...

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