I heard that upper wing could increase stability, but why do fighters need it? Or are there some other reasons? Please specify.


One big reason is to make room for external stores such as fuel, weapons and electronics packs. A low-wing design must have longer and therefore heavier and bulkier undercarriage if ground access to the underwing hard points is to be adequate.

Also, the upper surface of a high wing is larger and cleaner, providing better lift over the fuselage and reducing the overall size of the wing.

Another trick which it allows is to create a waverider effect between the engines, providing supersonic lift with less drag.

The extra stability of the high wing position is unwelcome in a fighter and is typically countered by giving the wings a little anhedral, a slight downwards slope from root to tip.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I would not place ground clearance of external loads very high on this list, because use of external hardpoints totally destroys the stealthiness of these fighters. For delivery of large amounts of destructive payload there are far more cheaper and effective methods than 5th gen. fighters. It is kind of funny they are equipped with such capability. $\endgroup$ – Jpe61 Mar 26 '20 at 18:42
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Agreed, there are low-wing airplanes with internal weapons stores. The F-117 for example. $\endgroup$ – zymhan Mar 26 '20 at 18:54
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Jpe61, in case you haven't noticed, combat between modern forces is rather rare these days. An airplane that can drop a large load of unpleasantness on an opponent that's still equipped with WWII-vintage hardware is far more useful than one that can only be stored in a climate-controlled hangar on the off-chance that WWIII breaks out. $\endgroup$ – Mark Mar 26 '20 at 21:37
  • $\begingroup$ Your point is what @Mark ? Gen.4 fighters will be used for decades. They are the ones delivering the mass punch. Gen.5 has a whole different strategic role. $\endgroup$ – Jpe61 Mar 26 '20 at 22:45

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.