I came across an interesting speculation that basically wondered if it would be more cost effective to use cheaper jets as fighters in greater numbers. I thought it may be plausible, but I wonder if there is someone who knows for sure.

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    $\begingroup$ If this is about military strategy and economics, then this is off-topic. A specific question about the design differences of fighters vs. business jets could be a better fit here. $\endgroup$ – fooot Apr 10 '15 at 19:03
  • $\begingroup$ I would go even further: If you take the same budget and buy motor gliders, you could fill the sky with them. All the resulting collisions with them will wear down any enemy air force quickly. $\endgroup$ – Peter Kämpf Apr 11 '15 at 12:28
  • $\begingroup$ Can you put a price on a human life? $\endgroup$ – Keegan Apr 12 '15 at 2:51

These days, fighters don't fight so much against each other as they fight against surface anti-air defences.

And those Citations won't stand a chance against even simple AA gun battery. They don't have manoeuvrability to zigzag to make them harder targets, don't have manoeuvrability to fly at tree-top heights to minimize time in covered space and have huge radar cross-section, so the targeting radar will lock them from miles away.

Avoiding these threats is what makes the fighters expensive.


The short answer is no and frankly the article says it all in the first paragraph...

Now, I don't claim to have any expertise on aircraft design nor to have done any serious research on this subject,

Not to mention that a new citation X costs 22.5 million (according to wikipedia) and the Mustang comes in at a mere 3.28 Million not the 2.5 million he seems to think. But still a a bit cheaper than some fighters.

But lets discuss it for a minute. First off military jets are far more complex aircraft and are capable of maneuvers that civilian aircraft simply are not. The cost of the jets is related in part to the complexity of actually building one and the fact that they often use simply more expensive materials like Titanium in simply more places than a civilian aircraft.

The author goes on to make some egregious claims about strapping weapons to a Citation. While this may be possible it would most likely cost more than anticipated not to mention large airframe modifications. If you simply are asking "can you put some big guns on a citation" the answer is in a since yes. Could you successfully dog fight with a citation, I doubt it.

Lets look at his comparison with the Bede BD-5J, your limiting factor here is simply gross weight. In a plane that size you may be able to carry a 6-shooter (and if you have been dieting all week) 6 bullets for it. Not making it a very effective fighter. This will come into play with the Citation as well but I dont know the loads they can haul so Im sure how much you will limit it.

The argument here of masses with lesser technology holds little merit since in a dog fight situation the fighter is going to be simply faster and more maneuverable and even if you had 10000 Citations with guns the fighter can simply out run/maneuver them.

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    $\begingroup$ Add to that, I question how much dog fighting is an applied battlefield skill anymore, given over-the-horizon radars and long range smart-missiles. $\endgroup$ – abelenky Apr 10 '15 at 18:51
  • $\begingroup$ @abelenky maybe not applied that often but in a real conflict, it will come to that. $\endgroup$ – fooot Apr 10 '15 at 18:59
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    $\begingroup$ While I agree that little dog fighting may occur it was worth bringing up. $\endgroup$ – Dave Apr 10 '15 at 19:09
  • $\begingroup$ The little BD-5J may not carry much weight or have much range, but with a little work it can be made invisible to radar. That's why the US and NATO military has been using them as cruise missile surrogates for years now. freedomjet.com $\endgroup$ – Juan Jimenez Oct 21 '17 at 22:41

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