In almost 200 archive photographs Leo Marriott traces the course of the development of British and American jet fighters during the first pioneering decade of their production. In many ways the period from 1944 to 1954 was one of the most exciting and innovative in the history of military aviation. Rare images show the first jet fighters flown by the RAF towards the end of the Second World War and takes the story forward to the most advanced designs that played a key role in the war in Korea.
The range of experimental and operational warplanes that were conceived and built during this short time was remarkable. The initial straight-wing jets began with the Gloster Meteor and Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star which were later superseded by the first operational swept-wing fighters such as the Hawker Hunter, North American F-86 Sabre and Grumman F9F-6 Cougar. Development of all these benefited greatly from German Second World War advances in aerodynamics that were exploited by the British and Americans when the war ended.
Progress was so swift that, by the mid-1950s, the prototypes of the next generation of truly supersonic fighters were starting to appear, and these are featured in Leo Marriott's fascinating selection of images. He even includes a variety of prototypes which for various reasons did not result in production orders, as well as several unusual concepts such as flying boat fighters and mixed-power designs. Early Jet Fighters: British and American 1944-1954 is a graphic and informative introduction to an extraordinary stage in the evolution of the modern warplane.