The first rocket-powered aircraft was the Lippisch Ente, which made a successful maiden flight in March 1928. The only pure rocket aircraft ever mass-produced was the Messerschmitt Me 163B Komet in 1944, one of several German World War II projects aimed at developing rocket-powered, point-defense aircraft. Later variants of the Me 262 (C-1a and C-2b) were also fitted with “mixed-power” jet/rocket powerplants, while earlier models were fitted with rocket boosters, but were not mass-produced with these modifications.
The USSR experimented with a rocket-powered interceptor in the years immediately following World War II, the Mikoyan-Gurevich I-270. Only two were built.
In the 1950s, the British developed mixed-power jet designs employing both rocket and jet engines to cover the performance gap that existed in turbojet designs. The rocket was the main engine for delivering the speed and height required for high-speed interception of high-level bombers and the turbojet gave increased fuel economy in other parts of flight, most notably to ensure the aircraft was able to make a powered landing rather than risking an unpredictable gliding return. The Saunders-Roe SR.53 was a successful design, and was planned for production when economics forced the British to curtail most aircraft programs in the late 1950s. Furthermore, rapid advancements in jet engine technology rendered mixed-power aircraft designs like Saunders-Roe’s SR.53 (and the following SR.177) obsolete. The American Republic XF-91 Thunderceptor (the first U.S. fighter to exceed Mach 1 in level flight) met a similar fate for the same reason, and no hybrid rocket-and-jet-engine fighter design has ever been placed into service. The only operational implementation of mixed propulsion was Rocket-Assisted Take Off (RATO), a system rarely used in fighters, such as with the zero-length launch, RATO-based takeoff scheme from special launch platforms, tested out by both the United States and the Soviet Union, and made obsolete with advancements in surface-to-air missile technology.
It has become common in the aviation community to classify jet fighters by “generations” for historical purposes. There are no official definitions of these generations; rather, they represent the notion that there are stages in the development of fighter design approaches, performance capabilities, and technological evolution. Also other authors have packed the fighters into different generations. For example, Richard P. Hallion of the Secretary of the Air Force’s Action Group classified the F-16 as a sixth generation jet fighter.
The timeframes associated with each generation are inexact and are only indicative of the period during which their design philosophies and technology employment enjoyed a prevailing influence on fighter design and development. These timeframes also encompass the peak period of service entry for such aircraft.
Reference and Citation -Wikipedia