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A definition of terms may be useful here. It may be simplest to class any aircraft expected to fill the "hi" spot in a "hi-lo" mix as a heavy fighter: the F-15, F-14, F-22, and Su-27. Other aircraft that fall in the same rough capability class outside of a traditional mix, such as the Eurofighter Typhoon, would also count. When classed as a fighter, the F/A-18E would also fall here, as it's weight and missile payload are far greater than either light or medium fighters would permit. The F-4E could be a heavy or medium fighter. Most, if not all, heavy fighters would have two fairly powerful engines. These days, virtually any fighter could also be a multirole in the same class, either though simple payload changes, or different, multirole oriented marks. The F-14A-D and F/A-18E are multirole in the same marks where they are fighters, while the F-15 and Su-27 generally have distinct fighter and multirole marks.
Next down the list would be medium fighters, which is a bit trickier. I'd call just about anything lighter than a heavy fighter, but designed, rather than adapted, to carry mid range missiles, a medium fighter. The F/A-18C, Rafale C and M, Mirage 2000. MiG-29, and Mitsubishi F-2 represent this class fairly well. The F-16C would be a medium fighter, while the F-16A would not, by virtue of it's intended payload. The Gripen E would certainly be a medium fighter, while the Gripen A-D could honestly go either way. The F-35 pushes the limit between heavy and medium fighters, but we can call it medium for it's relatively modest payload in stealth mode.
Light fighters are generally aircraft designed exclusively for dogfighting and attack, with very secondary mid range capabilities. The F-5E, F-20, F-16A, later models of the MiG-21, early models of the Gripen, the F-CK-1 Ching-kuo, new FA-50 Golden Eagle, members of the Hawk series with air to air capabilities, the Tejas, and the Sea Harriers would all fall in this class.
Interceptors represent a class of their own, with a grab bag of curious specializations for their work. The MiG-25 and MiG-31 clearly count, as do a host of similarly specialized Soviet aircraft. When loaded with AIM-54's, the Tomcat would certainly count as well, particularly if it were loaded with all 6, since this would severely compromise its capability to perform any other role. The Tornado F.3 is another largely in the class of the Tomcat, but with a substantially more modest payload.
I know this was a lot of answer for a fairly straightforward question, but as some squadrons are attempting to stand up, and others are seeking to redefine thier fleets, such a more detailed review of fighter classes may be in order.
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I was interested in that last part because I tend to fly around in an F-14 at 50,000ft just out of habit, either loaded with B500 or AMRAAMs. So I was interesting in this sort of tactic - flying high and getting people with AMRAAMs when they can't get you. However, AIMING at them tend to bring me down to 30,000 or even 10,000 ft. What's the best way to go about this?YSFHQ wrote:Going into too much detail on aircraft comparison in ysflight is tiring, and requires intimate knowledge of dats and the physics of ysflight. Few people know this, so instead here is a broad overview of general fighter types and their uses.
The lightweight fighter:
Think f-16. These are the lightweight, high-agility fighters where the tried and true method of pulling that stick into your gut while your fuel and weapons are low to get behind the other guy is king. These are the most forgiving, straightforward aircraft to fly in ys at middling and low altitudes, and are by far the most widespread on servers. Dogfighting lights with a dissimilar aircraft is difficult and requires a good deal of planning and thinking, whereas the person using a light needs to give the fight very little consideration; this is what their fighter was made for. They often under perform at higher altitudes, and due to their low weight (and thus lower momentum) tend to lose speed very quickly, but this also means that they have a small turn radius and are the most responsive of the fighters. Many also choose to give them lower "health" because they are often single engined, fragile birds. Weapons loads are often passable for skirmishes on a small to medium scale, though they have difficulty fitting enough weapons to do more than one role (a2a, a2g) while still maintaining their key agility advantages. Range also tends to be rather sub-optimal.
The multirole fighter
- Close up, short range dogfighting
- Airbase defense
- secondary strike
Think hornets. These are the step between. They are pretty decent at taking on roles that either the lightweights or the heavyweights would, without being truly masterful at them. They can certainly hold their own as fighters, having agility similar to the lightweights, but they often also have greater range and payload. If you aren't sure what awaits you, these are the fighters to send in. Equipped to handle any situation, a group of these can take on a bunch of ground targets then move on to air combat, or vice versa. Given the sandbox like nature of ys, these are essentially ideal, since you don't need to constantly resupply, and you don't need to worry about being caught too heavy to take on some fighters. However, if you stretch the limits of these, they can be a deathtrap. Going against a skilled pilot in a lightweight fighter while you're in one of these, with bunches of bombs on your jet, is just asking for trouble. Similarly, if you try to take on a high flying glory hog heavyweight in the upper reaches of the sky, you might find yourself eating quite a lot of lead. In summary, these are very good aircraft and can be a lot of fun, but you need to think ahead when approaching a situation, and decide how to take it on, and with what loadout. If you can do that really well, you'll never need to fly anything else.
The heavyweight fighter
- Taking on disadvantaged fighters
- finishing off target areas
- staying on patrol, ready to take out both ground enemies and airborne enemies
- supplementing specialized fighters with some extra capabilities, while not compromising their main mission
Think F-15. These are the planes that come in at mach 2, at 50 thousand feet, raining down mid range missiles, prodigious amounts of bombs and rockets and mock your shit for not being able to touch them. Now, that's hypothetical. Most pilots are mediocre in a heavyweight fighter because they don't know how to properly use it. But the fact of the matter is that the heavyweights have more range, more payload, more survivability, more speed and more options than any other fighter. A single highly skilled heavyweight pilot will ruin your entire squad's day. They tend to be fast and high, where other fighters can't catch them, and if you do get close enough to fire an amraam, they don't bleed much speed in turns and can easily outmaneuver your stalling lightweight at higher altitudes. The trick with these is to stay in control of the engagement. You're the one with the speed, which means you decide when and where you fight. A heavyweight can be fully loaded to do just about anything. However, preparation is a must in these. As with the multirole, planning your loadout, route, wingman configuration and your command/communication setup is paramount to surviving. If some jackass in a lightweight catches you with your pants off, you don't stand a ghost of a chance. This is the great paradox of heavyweights: they're technically the best, but unless you're brilliant with them they can easily seem like the worst. Practice makes perfect though, so keep flying these till you are.
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