XF-85 Goblin Parasite Fighter
XF-85 Goblin parasite fighter on runway with technician and pilot looking on

The McDonnell XF-85 Goblin, the smallest jet-propelled fighter ever built, was a "parasite" designed to be dropped from a bomber, perform its mission and return to the mother ship.

The Goblin was egg shaped and its wings -- swept back 37 degrees -- could fold upward. It had no landing gear, but was launched from the bomber and recovered using a hook and a retractable trapeze under the parent airplane. For emergencies, the Goblin had a steel skid under the fuselage and small runners on its wingtips.

The tiny fighter was stable, easy to fly and recovered well from spins. However, hooking the Goblin in flight to its bomber's trapeze was difficult. McDonnell built two prototype Goblins, and one joined the collection at the U.S. Air Force Museum at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.

First flight: Aug. 23, 1948
Wingspan: 21 feet
Length: 14 feet 10 inches
Height: 8 feet 4 inches
Weight: 5,600 pounds
Ceiling: 48,000 feet
Power plant: One J34 turbojet
Accommodation: 1 crew
Armament: Four .50-caliber machine guns