America Wanted Vertical Take-Off Fighters for a Nuclear WWIII

Nearly two decades before the Harrier jump jet would prove the efficacy of vertical take-off and landing platforms, the U.S. Navy considered taking another approach to fielding fighters without a runway.

In the years immediately following World War II, the United States found itself trying to adapt its newfound airpower to a world with nuclear weapons in it. America knew its monopoly on atomic bombs wouldn’t last forever, and by the mid-1940s, it seemed clear that the Soviet Union would eventually become the planet’s second nuclear power.

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