Which demilitarized duesen hunters can you buy
Can jet fighters be two or three times the size they are today?
I liked the answers given here. I wanted to add 2 specific examples not mentioned before, along with an analogy to complement what was posted.
As mentioned earlier, the design of a tactical military jet is a compromise between effectiveness and ineffectiveness for a given mission. A simple example is that of a light attack bomber. Precision bombs would dictate a stable platform, that is, low roll rates. The A7-E had a high wing mounted to increase stability in the bombing raid.
As a bomber, the A7-E was unsurpassed. In 1985 I was in a bomb derby with the newly deployed F-18s. The F-18 had an advanced delivery system, and yet I was able to customize their CEP bomb-by-bomb. But the A7-E wasn't a fighter. It didn't have the thrust-to-weight ratio a fighter had, so it was at a disadvantage in ACM with an opponent like the F-18.
The A7-E was also operated with shipping companies stationed at sea, which can make the design choice difficult. Bombers want long legs to reach inland targets with heavy bomb payloads. Hence, fuel efficiency is of particular importance. The A7-E delivered in this regard and consumed about 6-9 K fuel per hour at sea level and under military power. This got us to about 750 mph, which is just under Mach 1. However, long legs are not only required to reach inland destinations from the ship, they are also used to monitor the threats around the carrier in real time up to 200 miles.
When the A7-E was replaced by the F-18, which has the shorter legs of a fighter, the carrier lost the ability to monitor surface threats in real time up to 200 miles. So here you can see how the compromise affects the strategic concerns of the combat group.
My final comment concerns the design choices for the F-14, which was designed as a long-range interceptor. I knew some Tomcat drivers when they were stationed aboard the USS Nimitz and they told me about an interesting security issue that you may not have guessed. The F-14 interceptor has a variable range wing that seeks to soften the interceptor design to that of a fighter designed solely for air-to-air combat. But when the hangover was in a bend and G was applied, the wings swept forward, turning it into a barn door in the sky. Easier to see than the F-16. In air-to-air combat, there was a saying like, "The first to get eyesight wins the fight." So we see another choice here that sacrifices survivability for the interception role.
Finally, consider the evolution of the design of a 12-meter class sailboat. The design of the 12-meter boat must conform to the formula (America's Cup formula):
L is the length of the waterline, d is the difference between skin circumference and chain circumference, S is the sail area and F is the freeboard. The designers are free to choose these parameters as they wish, as long as they are reached in less than 12 meters by plugging into the formula. Make a sailboat good in all winds and then in high winds it will likely be hit by a boat built solely to win there.
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