At one point in military aviation history, the dedicated 'Night Fighter' ruled the night sky largely due to specially-trained crews, onboard radar and available weaponry.The Nightfighter was born during the fighting of World War 1 where night-time defenders were needed against marauding enemy warplanes. The type evolved considerably in World War 2 thanks to onboard radar where purpose-built aircraft emerged from drawing boards. For a brief period of time thereafter, the types became known as all-weather fighters / interceptors before their end arrived.
There are a total of 60 Nightfighter Aircraft in the Military Factory. Entries are listed below in alphanumeric order (1-to-Z). Flag images indicative of country of origin and not necessarily the primary operator. Base models converted to, or considered for, the nightfighter role are also included.
The twin-seat, twin-engine Aichi S1A Denko was intended as a successor to the Nakajima J1N1 Gekkou line in the night-fighter role for Japan during World War 2.
The ANF Les Mureaux formed the principle observation aircraft of French armed forces through the inter-war years leading up to World War 2.
Designed as an all-around situational performer, the Arado Ar 240 was doomed by its poor flight characteristics.
The proposed Arado Projeckt II of wartime Germany was to feature a crew of two in a pressurized cabin complete with ejection seats.
The success of the Arado 234 and Messerschmitt 262 ended the pursuit of the Arado Ar TEW 16/43-19 multirole series.
The Arado NJ-1 Nacht Jager was a proposed nightfighter design featuring a three-man crew in a pressurized cockpit as well as extensive cannon armament.
The proposed mixed-powerplant Bell D-36 all-weather fighter had a poor showing against rivals when presented to USAAF authorities.
The Boulton Paul Defiant became a useful defensive-minded night-fighter platform primarily over Britian during World War 2.
The Breguet Br.5 French biplane served as a principle night bomber from 1916 through 1917.
Amazingly, the first production-quality Bristol Beaufighter aircraft flew a mere twelve months after the prototype went airborne.
The British Bristol Blenheim lost more aircrews than any other RAF aircraft during World War 2 - yet it fulfilled roles clearly needed during the early war years.
The CONVAIR Skate was a radical American ocean-borne fighter proposal of the Cold War featuring a boat-like hull with fighter-type airborne qualities.
The end of the Curtiss XP-87 Blackhawk project signaled the end of Curtiss-Wright as an aircraft-maker.
The de Havilland Vampire series of fighter aircraft was the second jet-powered aircraft to be produced by Britain after World War 2.
The de Havilland DH.112 Venom served across dozens of RAF squadrons as well as in several foreign air powers.
The classic twin-engine British de Havilland DH.98 Mosquito night fighter found few challengers during World War 2.
The German Dornier Do 17 was initially an impressive medium bomber design of the late 1930s though it eventually lost any advantage to enemy fighters during the early-1940s.
The Dornier Do 215 was originally a German product intended for export - the arrival of the World War 2 officially changed that.
The Dornier Do 217 proved itself a sound weapons platform on the whole, though not excelling in any one role.
The Dornier P.254 project was a mixed-powerplant version of the Do 335 Arrow heavy fighter - it did not proceed beyond the paper stage.
The Dornier Project 256 jet-powered night-fighter held little to recommend itself when presented to the German Air Ministry in the latter stages of World War 2.
The multirole Douglas A-1 Douglas Skyraider proved its worth during a storied career over the skies of Vietnam during the Vietnam War.
The Douglas A-20 Havoc proved a suitable and adaptable light bomber and night-fighter for Allied forces of World War 2.
The Douglas F3D Skyknight became the world's first jet-powered, carrier-based dedicated night-fighter in service.
Lacking options in October of 1940, the USAAC adopted converted Douglas A-20 Havocs as P-70 night fighters.
The Fairey Fulmar served through 600 examples and these solely with the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm during the early part of World War 2.
The Focke-Wulf Ta 154 Mokito might have played a more prominent role had production issues not derailed the project.
The Gloster Gauntlet was the last RAF aircraft to sport an open-air cockpit in a biplane airframe.
The Goodyear GA-17 design was part of the proposals for the USAAF looking to fulfill a heavy all-weather fighter requirement.
The Gotha Project 60C jet-powered nightfighter was conceived of in the final months of World War 2.
Despite missing combat action in World War 2, the Grumman F7F Tigercat served with the USMC in the upcoming Korean War.
The Grumman TBF Avenger torpedo bomber saw nearly 10,000 produced during World War 2.
The Hawker P.1005 project faced an uphill battle during World War 2 - its prototypes and production order were eventually cancelled.
The Heinkel He 219 was an excellent German night-fighter for its time, limited in part by inherent complexity as well as internal dissension within the German ranks.
The Heinkel P.1078B project made up the second of three P.1078 jet-powered fighter projects for the Heinkel concern during World War 2.
Roughly 100 of the Junkers Ju 388 multi-role heavy fighters were produced before the end of World War 2 in 1945.
Like the Dornier Do 17 and the Heinkel He 111, the Junkers Ju 88 became a mainstay of the German Luftwaffe bombing campaigns throughout all of World War 2.
The Kawasaki Ki-102 was developed specifically to replace the Kawasaki Ki-45 Toryu series of heavy fighters.
The Kawasaki Ki-45 Toryu served as the Imperial Japanese Armys only night-fighter of the Second World war.
The jet-powered, all-cannon-armed McDonnell F2H Banshee immediately improved aviation capabilities of the United States Navy and saw considerable service in the Korean War.
The exceptional German Messerschmitt Bf 109 fighter was more than a handful for Allied fighter pilots and bomber crews alike during World War 2.
During World War 2, the German Messerschmitt Bf 110 twin-engine heavy fighter found periods of success - and failure.
The German Messerschmitt Me 262 Schwalbe of World War 2 became the first operational jet-powered fighter in military history.
The Messerschmitt P.262 HG III was an evolved projected offshoot of the original Me 262 jet-powered fighter.
The Mitsubishi Ki-46 began as a reconnaissance aircraft and was later developed into a heavy fighter intended to intercept Allied bombers.
The Nakajima J1N1 Gekko served several roles in the Imperial Japanese Navy of World War 2 including reconnaissance, night-fighter, and kamikaze strikes.
The North American F-82 Twin Mustang mated two P-51H Mustang fighter airframes into one potent night fighter and close-support platform used in the Korean War.
The Northrop P-61 Black Widow was the first American combat aircraft designed specifically for the night-fighting role.
The Petlyakov Pe-2 went on to become the best Soviet light tactical bomber of World War 2 with production netting 11,427 units.
The Petlyakov Pe-3 heavy fighter / night fighter variant developed from the successful Petlyakov Pe 2 line.
This Potez line of multirole aircraft took part in several of the major campaigns of World War 2 - including the failed defense of France in 1940.
Development and production of the Reggiane Re.2001 series proved slow, yielding just 237 examples in all.
Though introduced as early as 1912, the RAF B.E.2 still saw operational use throughout all of World War 1.
The Sopwith Strutter was the first British aircraft to feature synchronized firing machine guns.
The two-seat SPAD S.XI was dogged by issues which led to limited production during World War 1.
Captured German wartime technology allowed the Soviets to advance their jet fighter programs such as the Sukhoi Su-9 series.
The fast and powerful Vought F4U Corsair fighter was the first Allied aircraft capable of going toe-to-toe with the fabled Japanese Zero - it fought into the Korean War years and beyond.
The Soviet Yakovlev Yak-9 fighter was developed from an experimental version of the earlier Yak-7 product.
A late entry into World War 2 for the Japanese Navy, the Yokosuka P1Y failed to make much of an impact despite the 1,000 examples produced.