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.
- 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.
- 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.
- First strike
- long range ops