Sunday, January 17, 2016

Book Review: Designed for the Kill

Mike Spick
Designed for the Kill: The Jet Fighter - Development and Experience
Shrewsbury, UK: Airlife Publishing Ltd, 1995
Category: Aviation History

Rating: 4-Stars

Designed for the Kill was in many ways a precurser to Mike Spick's later title, Modern Fighters.  The primary difference is that Designed for the Kill is focused squarely around the historical development and technology behind modern fighter aircraft, whereas Modern Fighters attempts to focus more of its attention on individual aircraft.  This earlier title also lacks many of the color illustrations that benefited its later counterpart.

Nonetheless, Designed for the Kill is in many ways the better of the two titles, emphasizing as it does an overview of the technological elements that have gone into the jet fighters that fly today rather than attempting to reproduce individual aircraft statistics that Jane's has already covered in far greater detail.  The individual chapters examine such important milestones as the development of fly-by-wire technology, the emergence of the canard generation of fighters, short take-off and vertical landing technology, and the eventual emergence of low-observable technologies.  As a technology overview, this title is perhaps best compared to Klaus Huenecke's Modern Combat Aircraft Design - coming in a close second to Huenecke's technical explanations, but offering a better historical context from which to understand the evolution of the technology and its application today.

All told, a worthy addition to a modern aviation library.

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