How Many Jet Fighters Can You Match to Their Nicknames?



By: Robin Tyler

7 Min Quiz

Image: Wiki Commons by Sgt. Pete Mobbs

About This Quiz

Go to any airshow anywhere in the world and you will find people patiently waiting for jet displays to happen, particularly those that are serving in the military. These sleek aircraft are not only beautiful to look at, but their performance is jaw-dropping! Watching an F-15 go into a vertical climb and soar about the earth, slowlybecoming but a speck in the sky, is undoubtedly a massive thrill. And when the pilot dives down again, the sheer speed at which the aircraft approaches the ground is breathtaking.

But to get to these thoroughly modern machines, jet aircraft had to start somewhere. Incredibly the first jet to fly, the Heinkel He 178, did so back in 1939. And although it performed well, it was still at a level of piston-engined aircraft at the time, so there was no real point in mass-producing it. By 1944, things had changed, and Germany had two aircraft, the Messerschmitt 163 and 262 that were faster than anything the Allied forces had. But by then, the war was won, and Germany could not produce them in numbers to have any real effect.

The first fighter jet on fighter jet action was reserved for the Korean War. Here, two of the most modern aircraft of the time came up against each other, the Mig-15 and the North American F-86. It remained a shootout, though, as there were no air-to-air missiles yet. When those were introduced, the game changed, and today, aircraft can destroy each other without any visual contact.

But let's get back to the quiz at hand. Here, we will test your knowledge of jet aircraft nicknames. Let's see how many you get!

A carrier-based fighter mainly, what is the McDonnell Douglas F-18 know as?

A carrier-based multirole fighter, the McDonnell Douglas F-18 Hornet first entered service in 1983 and serves in the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps. It has a top speed of Mach 1.8 and has served in combat theatres around the world. Newer versions of the jet are also known as Rhino.


The Grumman F-14 featured in the Hollywood blockbuster, "Top Gun." Do you know its nickname?

The Grumman F-14 Tomcat first entered service in 1974. Primarily a carrier-based swing-wing fighter, the Tomcat saw service until 2006. This much- loved plane was the star of the Hollywood blockbuster, "Top Gun." F-14s were also known as Bombcats during the intervention in Bosnia because of the laser-guided bombs that struck their targets.


This aircraft from McDonnell Douglas entered service with the U.S. forces in 1978. What is it called around the world?

The F-16 is a multirole aircraft first entered service with the U.S. Air Force in 1978. It remains in service today with more than 4,500 having been built. It was built with a number of unique features, including a control stick to the side of the pilot and fly-by-wire capabilities. It is also known by another nickname, VIper.


What is the nickname of the McDonnell F2H, a carrier-based fighter that entered service in 1948?

A carrier-based fighter, the McDonnell F2H Banshee served with both the US Navy and Marine Corps up until 1961 after it was introduced in 1948. Banshees saw extensive action during the Korean War. It was also known as the Banjo.


The Douglas A-4 played an important role in the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps air fleet during the Vietnam War. It was often called the _________.

First introduced in 1956, the Douglas A-4 Skyhawk was a carrier-based attack aircraft. It remained in operation with U.S. forces for close to 50 years, seeing extensive action in Vietnam. It also goes by several other nicknames, including the Scooter, Bantam Bomber, Heinemann's Hot Rod, Tinker Toy and Mighty Mite.


One of the fastest military planes in the world, what is the Lockheed SR-71 called?

Perhaps one of the most famous aircraft of the Cold War era, the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird has flown higher and faster than most other aircraft in history. A reconnaissance aircraft, the Blackbird is capable of Mach 3 flight and up to 85,000 feet. An armed variant was in development with the role of interceptor in mind, but the project was canceled.


The McDonnell Douglas F-4 is a fighter from the 1960s that saw much action in Vietnam. What nickname does it go by?

With its distinctive bent wings, the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom first entered service in 1960. Originally designed as a fighter-interceptor, it also went on to be a successful ground attack aircraft. The Phantom saw extensive service during the Vietnam War. It was also unofficially known as the Spectre.


Messerschmitt introduced a rocket-propelled fighter in 1944. What nickname was given to it?

One of the world's first jet fighters to see combat, the rocket-powered Messerschmitt Me 163 Komet was introduced into the Luftwaffe in 1944. Together with the Me 262, the Komet proved a formidable opponent for Allied fighters and bombers but its introduction came too late to aid Germany. It was also known as the Schwalbe or Sturmvogel, meaning swallow and storm bird, respectively, in German.


Do you know the name of America's latest front-line multirole aircraft?

The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II first entered service in 2015. It is a multirole fighter primarily but can be used in ground attack missions. It has stealth capability.


A Soviet fighter, the Mikoyan-Gurevich Mig-19 was called by a certain nickname in the West. What was it?

The Mikoyan-Gurevich Mig-19 Farmer was a second-generation fighter introduced into service by the U.S.S.R. in 1955. Built under license in China, it was also heavily involved with the North Vietnamese Air Force during the Vietnam War. The Mig-19 was the first Soviet aircraft capable of supersonic speeds in level flight.


What is the nickname of the Sukhoi Su-34?

Although it first flew in 1990, the Sukhoi Su 34 Fullback has only entered service recently with the Russian Air Force. It is primarily used in a ground attack/strike role but can be used in a fighter role as well. It's NATO name is Fullback. It is also nicknamed Duckling or Duckbill because of its flat nosecone.


In the mid-1990s, the Mikoyan-Gurevich Mig 29 wowed crowds at airshows across Europe. What nickname does it have in the West?

Entering service in 1982, the Mikoyan-Gurevich Mig 29 Fulcrum is a fourth-generation fighter jet. Over the years, it has assumed several multirole capabilities. It is one of only a handful of aircraft in the world capable of performing the Pugachev Cobra maneuver.


The Shenyang J-31 is China's latest contribution to fifth-generation fighter technology. Do you know its nickname?

A fifth-generation Chinese fighter, the Shenyang J-31 Falcon Hawk is expected to enter service in 2019. Currently, only two are known to exist and they are involved in flight testing. Its official published nickname is Gyrfalcon, and it has also been called the Falcon Hawk.


What is the nickname of the Sukhoi Su-15 , a Soviet fighter from the 1960s?

The Sukhoi Su-15 Flagon is a twin-engined jet interceptor that served in the Soviet Union from 1965. Its primary task was intercepting both NATO and United States bombers should the need arise. The jet also received the name "Boeing Killer" after two commercial jets — including Korean Airlines flight 007 — were shot out of the sky by Su-15s for having flown into Soviet airspace.


An American interceptor from the 1960s, by which nickname did the Convair F-106 go by?

In service from 1960 and into the 1980s, the Convair F-106 Delta Dart was an interceptor with the primary role of attacking enemy bombers. The Delta Dart was the last true interceptor to serve the United States.


This small ugly fighter, the McDonnell XF-85, has a nickname that suits it perfectly. What is it?

Only two examples of the McDonnell XF-85 Goblin fighter were ever produced. The idea of this small aircraft was a parasite fighter, to be carried in the bomb bay of large bombers and released when they were intercepted by enemy fighters. The Goblin would then dock with the bomber on return. The project, however, was canceled.


The Gloster F4 entered service in 1944. What nickname did the Allies give it?

The first Allied jet fighter of World War II, the Gloster Meteor entered service in 1944. Although it served in Europe during the Allies' push into Germany, it was mainly used for ground attack purposes and never met up with any jet fighters from Germany.


A Russian jet, Sukhoi Su-24 is still in service with the Russian air force. Do you know its nickname?

This swept-wing all-weather attack aircraft first entered Soviet service in 1974 and remains in service to this day. The Sukhoi Su-24 Fencer has seen action all over the world, including Afghanistan, in Africa and currently in Syria. Russian crews also nicknamed it Chemodan, which is Russian for suitcase.


Do you now the nickname of this jet, the first in full service to break the sound barrier in level flight?

The first American jet fighter capable of breaking the sound barrier while in level flight, the North American F-100 Super Sabre served with the United States Air Force from 1954 to 1971. It was also known as the Hun, short for 100.


Used by both the British and American armed forces, the BAe/MDD AV-8 can take off and land vertically. What is it called?

The first-ever vertical take-off and landing fighter, the BAE Harrier was a carrier-based fighter that served with the British Navy, British Air Force and the American Marine Corps. Thanks to its movable jet engine, it was particularly maneuverable and saw action during the Falklands War.


Pictured here is a U.S Air Force fifth-generation fighter, the Lockheed Martin F-22. What is it called?

The Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor is a fifth-generation tactical fighter with stealth capabilities. Together with the F-35 Raptor, it will form the backbone of U.S. Air Force fighter forces in the decades to come. It first entered service in 2005. It is also nicknamed Lightning II.


Although it first flew in 1948, this jet by Supermarine only entered service with the RAF in 1954. What was its nickname?

The Supermarine Swift, a fighter in service with the Royal Air Force first flew in 1948 but only entered service in 1954. With its swept-wing design, the Swift became the fastest aircraft in the world in 1953 when it reached 737.7 mph.


The Sukhoi Su-25 has a peculiar nickname given to it by NATO. Do you know what it is?

The Sukhoi Su 25 Frogfoot first entered service in 1981 and primarily acts as a close support aircraft for Russian forces. It has seen action in numerous conflicts and currently is used in action in Syria.


The backbone of U.S. Air Force fighter squadrons since 1976, what is the nickname of the McDonnell Douglas F-15?

The backbone of U.S. Air Force fighter squadrons since 1976, the McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle is an all-weather air superiority fighter tasked with taking on counterparts in enemy air forces. Even with fifth-generation fighters coming online in the U.S. Air Force, the eagle will remain in production until 2022.


America's first true jet fighter, the Lockheed P-80 is more commonly known as the _______ _______.

Introduced in 1945, the Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star was the United States' first entry into the jet age. It served at the beginning of the Korean War but was quickly outclassed by its opposition, the Mig-15, and was replaced by the F-86 Sabre. A variant, the T-33 Shooting Star was used at a training aircraft right until the 1980s. The prototype for the Lockheed P-80 was nicknamed Lulu-Belle.


Still serving in some air forces today, the Mikoyan-Gurevich Mig-21 is known as the ________.

The Mikoyan-Gurevich Mig -21 Fishbed is a fighter/interceptor that served in the Soviet Air Force, amongst others, from 1959. It is the most produced jet fighter in the world and still in service to this day. It also goes by the nickname of Fagot.


The Convair F-102 gets its nickname from the shape of its wings. What is it called?

An interceptor, the Convair F-102 Delta Dagger first entered service in the mid-1950s and served with the United States Air Force until 1976. This was the first delta wing aircraft in the U.S. Air Force capable of supersonic flight.


This is the Panavia GR4. What is it known as?

The Panavia Tornado entered service with a host of European air forces in 1979. This swept-wing jet is a multirole aircraft and functions as a fighter-bomber, interceptor and reconnaissance platform. The British nicknamed it the Tonka.


Introduced in 1967, by what nickname is the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-23 known?

Known as the Flogger, the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-23 first entered service in 1967. It featured a swept-wing design and over 5,000 were built, serving as both fighter and fighter-bombers. NATO dubbed this jet Faithless.


A German jet-fighter from the end of World War II, the Messerschmitt Me 262 was known as which of these options below?

The Messerschmitt Me 262 Schwalbe proved to be a fierce opponent for the Allies when introduced in 1944, although it had been in development since 1942. A dearth of experienced pilots, engine problems and a lack of fuel made it far less effective than it could have been.


A fast, high-performance fighter and recon aircraft, the Mikoyan-Gurevich Mig 25 is commonly called _________.

NATO code name Foxbat, the Mikoyan-Gurevich Mig 25 was used as both a fighter and reconnaissance aircraft by the U.S.S.R. It entered service in 1970 and is one of the fastest combat aircraft ever to see service. In India, it was nicknamed Garuda, after a mythical creature from Hindu and Buddhist mythology.


The nickname of the Mikoyan-Gurevich Mig 31 is _________.

A replacement for the Mig-25 Foxbat, the Mikoyan-Gurevich Mig 31 Foxhound was a very similar looking aircraft and it also had two very powerful engines which gave it incredible performance. It came into service with the Soviet air force in 1981 and will remain in service with them until 2030.


A legend of the Korean War, the North American F-86 is known as the _______.

The main U.S. fighter to serve in the Korean War, the North American F-86 Sabre was superior to the Mig-15 at the time. Over 9,000 were built during its operational history, the most of any jet belonging to NATO Air Forces.


Do you have any idea of the nickname of the Sukhoi Su-47, an experimental jet from the 1990s?

The Sukhoi Su-47 Firkin was an experimental jet fighter designed in the 1990s. It is noted for its wings, which seem to be on backward! This made it very agile at low speeds. The project, however, was canceled, but technology and ideas from it were used in later generations of Russian aircraft. Its official nickname was Berkut (Golden Eagle).


What is the nickname of the Sukhoi Su-57, Russia's latest fifth-generation fighter?

Russia's latest fifth-generation fighter, the Sukhoi Su-57 remains in final testing and has not yet entered service. The Su-57 is the first Russian aircraft to make use of stealth design and will form the backbone of the Russian air force for years to come. The aircraft is also known as the T-50.


What is the nickname of the McDonnell F-101?

The McDonnell F-101 Voodoo, introduced into service in the United States Air Force in 1957, was intended to be a long-range escort fighter. As with many modern designs, however, it eventually had a number of rolls with the USAF and the Canadian Air Force. It was also known as One-Oh-Wonder.


The English Electric F3 is known by what nickname?

The English Electic Lightning first entered service with the Royal Air Force in 1954 and served for over 30 years. An interceptor, the Lightning was tasked with quickly reaching any aircraft threatening British airspace. It was a high-performance aircraft, capable of speeds of Mach 2.0. It was also nicknamed the Tub because of its wide cockpit.


A high-subsonic fighter aircraft, the Mikoyan-Gurevich Mig 17 is known by what nickname in the West?

Following the Mig-15, the Mikoyan-Gurevich Mig 17 Fresco was introduced into service in 1952. It was a similar design to that of the Mig-15 and saw action during the Vietnam War. It was built under license in both China and Poland.


Do you know the nickname of the twin-tailed De Havilland DH 115?

A unique design, the De Havilland DH 115 Vampire entered service with the Royal Air Force in 1946, the second jet fighter to do so. Over 3,000 were produced with the last serving until 1979 with the Rhodesian Air Force.


A joint project between a number of European countries, by what name does the Eurofighter go?

The most modern fighter in service with a host of European air forces including the Royal Air Force and the Luftwaffe, the Eurofighter Typhoon was a joint development between a number of countries. This fifth-generation delta-wing multirole fighter first entered service in 2003.


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