- Strike fighter
A strike fighter is a
fighter aircraftwhich is also capable of attacking surface targets, including ships. It differs from an attack aircraftin that the aircraft remains a capable fighter. Previously, an airstrikeon a ground target would usually involve bombers, defended by fighters. Strike-fighters can attack targets unaided, while remaining maneuverable and well-equipped enough to defend themselves.
The term "strike fighter" is almost synonymous with the term "
fighter-bomber", first seeing usage in the 1950s to describe a new generation of attack aircraft like the Blackburn Firebrand. The term can be considered more politically correct, as bomber aircraftcan be portrayed as dropping bombs indiscriminately over a target area. Precision attacks are commonly termed " surgical strikes", a term that implies extremely accurate modern weapons and intelligence.
A strike fighter is differentiated from a multirole fighter in that the multirole fighter can equally perform both
air combatand ground attack, while the strike fighter has an emphasis on ground attack with a minor role of air combat.
Panavia Tornadowas originally known as a fighter-bomber, and later became a strike fighter. The Tornado strike fighter is designated IDS, meaning ‘Interdiction/Strike’. IDS is the European equivalent of the US F/A designation. The term fighter-bomber remains in use when describing the Tornado, however, because it falls into an arbitrary class of older, slower, and less maneuverable strike fighters.
Xian JH-7is a Chinese strike fighter, although more of a fighter-bomber, in service with the PLA Air Force and Naval Air Force.
* Recently, the term has become blurred. The
F-117 Nighthawkis often referred to as a strike fighter, although it has no air-to-air capability and is therefore a pure attack aircraft. The F-22 Raptorwas designated a F/A-22 between 2003 and 2005, implying a "Fighter/Attack" role, though it has since been returned to a fighter designation.
* The latest generation of strike fighters are the
Russian Sukhoi Su-30, US Boeing F-15E Strike Eagle, F/A-18E/F Super Hornetand Eurofighter Typhoon, though current European parlance describes the Typhoon as a 'swing-role' aircraft. The F-35 Lightning IIprogram is designing a multirole fighter with ground attack capability.
Indiais in the initial stages of developing a 5th generation strike aircraft under the program name Medium Combat Aircraft.
"Strike Fighter" is also the name of a
Sega arcade gamesimulating an F/A-18 Hornet strike fighter, this game is a spiritual successor to the earlier " After Burner" series and its semi-sequel, "". In fact, "Strike Fighter" was ported as " After Burner III" on the Sega Mega-CD. A sequel, " Sega Strike Fighter" was released for the Sega Naomiarcade board, though this game plays more like the " Ace Combat" series.
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