When the experimental X-302 was added to the United States Air Force fleet, it became officially known as the fighter craft, F-302. The hybrid craft is equipped with inertial dampeners and is capable of leaving the atmosphere and returning. A space-worthy fighter-interceptor aircraft reverse-engineered from Goa'uld technology but entirely human-built, the F-302 uses a multi-engine control system developed by Colson Industries, and requires a naquadria-powered hyperspace generator because of its small size. However, the craft has only been able to engage the hyperdrive engines in short controlled bursts due to continuing problems with the instability of naquadria.
Earth now commands a fleet of F-302s. The BC-303 and BC-304 ships such as the Prometheus and the Odyssey carry a squadron of the fighter craft, and their hangar bay uses a force field that allows the bay to remain pressurized as the F-302s enter and leave. The ships have been used in the defense of the planet, and they have also been stationed at off-world bases such as the Alpha Site on P4X-650 and the Gamma Site. F-302s can seat two pilots and are most often used in aerial combat situations, but they are also capable of transporting and deploying objects such as satellites into orbit. F-302 pilots have adopted the nickname "Snakeskinners," and their uniform patch shows an F-302 in flight over seven stars which represent the victims of the Columbia disaster on February 1, 2003.
Both Teal'c and Carter are experienced F-302 pilots, however O'Neill is considered to be the foremost expert F-302 pilot, and he has run briefings for pilot training missions, including Operation Blue Phoenix, a live-fire combat simulation against death gliders. During Operation Air Strike, O'Neill and Carter piloted the F-302 in the mission to disable Anubis's superweapon. The F-302 was disassembled and sent through the stargate to Vis Uban, where it was reassembled. A short controlled burst of the hyperdrive engines allowed the craft to enter hyperspace long enough to bypass the shields of Anubis's mothership, enabling O'Neill to target the ship's ventilation shaft and eliminate the weapon.
The Prometheus and a fleet of F-302s engaged Anubis's fleet in battle above Antarctica, allowing SG-1 time to complete their mission and to launch the Ancient defense weapon which saved the planet. Using the call sign "Blue Leader," Cameron Mitchell commanded the squadron of F-302s that targeted Anubis's fleet, and he was critically wounded in the dogfight above Antarctica before joining SG-1. Mitchell has developed a reputation as a premiere F-302 pilot, and he has frequently commanded the F-302 squadron in battle, including the battle against the Ori warships at the supergate and the attack against the Ori satellite weapon at Tegalus. The discovery that an F-302 gives off an E.M. pulse when it blows up, most likely due to the concussive force of the explosion interfering with the artificial gravity field generated by the inertial dampeners, allowed SG-1 to target the Ori satellite weapon by harvesting the inertial dampener from an F-302 and rigging it to a Caledonian missile to disable Rand's communication with the satellite.
Cross Reference: Anubis's Superweapon, Electromagnetic Pulse, Hyperspace, Naquadah, Naquadria, Odyssey, Prometheus, X-302
Episode Reference: Fallen, Fragile Balance, Lost City, Covenant, Gemini, Origin, Ethon, Flesh and Blood