The Worst Fighter Aircraft of All Time
War Is Boring
2512

I think the B.E.2 is being slightly unfairly maligned here. It was never intended to be a fighter; indeed when it was designed that role didn’t exist. Aircraft were used for scouting and reconnaissance; to this end the Royal Aircraft Factory (not just Royal) drew on their pioneering research into aircraft stability to make the B.E.2 capable of being flown hands-off. Unfortunately the stability that made it a good reconnaissance platform made for a poor fighter in air-to-air combat, and once the 'Fokker scourge’ appeared the B.E.2 was mainly going to be a target. One of the reasons so many were built was because the Royal Aircraft Factory was one of the few aircraft manufacturers with a drawing office able to produce blueprints in any quantity for licence production; as a result B.E.2s were built by a variety of other companies. This fed into resentments about having to compete with a state aircraft factory, and in 1916 the whole matter came to a head and the Royal Aircraft Factory was turned into a pure R&D establishment. The B.E.2’s reputation has suffered partly because the aircraft was used as a scapegoat in this wider political argument.

Regarding the LaGG, it should be noted that once fitted with a better engine the design evolved into the LaGG-5 and LaGG-7, which were among the best Soviet fighters of the war.

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