Reverse thrust is thrust projected in the opposite direction to normal and is used to decelerate an aircraft after landing, in the event of a rejected take off or, in some limited cases, in flight.
On many aircraft types, reverse thrust capability is installed to augment wheel brakes in decelerating the aircraft. This feature can significantly increase deceleration rates and reduce landing distance or, in the event of a rejected take off, reduce stopping distance. On some aircraft, reverse thrust can be used to enable the aircraft to back up under its own power. On a limited number of aircraft types, such as the C17 Globemaster, reverse thrust can be utilised in flight to significantly increase descent rate without a corresponding increase in airspeed.
Reverse thrust can be generated by a reversible pitch propeller or, on a jet engine, by a target reverser or a cascade reverser installation.