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attack aircraft

n. a high-speed military or naval airplane designed to destroy enemy aircraft in the air [syn: fighter, fighter aircraft]

Attack aircraft

An attack aircraft, strike aircraft, or attack bomber, is a tactical military aircraft that has a primary role of carrying out airstrikes with greater precision than bombers, and is prepared to encounter strong low-level air defenses while pressing the attack. This class of aircraft is designed mostly for close air support and naval air-to-surface missions, overlapping the tactical bomber mission. Designs dedicated to non-naval roles are often known as ground-attack aircraft. Fighter aircraft often carry out the attack role although they would not be considered attack aircraft per se, although fighter-bomber conversions of those same aircraft would be considered part of the class. Strike fighters, which have effectively replaced the fighter-bomber and light bomber concepts, also differ little from the broad concept of an attack aircraft.

The dedicated attack aircraft as a separate class existed primarily during and after World War II. The precise implementation varied from country to country, and was handled by a wide variety of designs. In the US and UK, attack aircraft were generally based on light bombers, sometimes carrying heavier forward-firing weapons like the B-25G and Mosquito Tsetse. In Germany and USSR, where they were known as schlachtflugzeug ("battle aircraft") or shturmovik ("storm trooper"), this role was carried out by aircraft such as the Henschel Hs 129 and Ilyushin Il-2, purpose-designed and heavily armored. The Germans and Soviets also used light bombers in this role, cannon armed versions of the Ju 87 greatly outnumbered the Hs 129, while the Pe-2 was used for this role in spite of not being specifically designed for it.

In the late-war era, the fighter-bomber began to take over many attack roles, a change that continued in the post-war era. Jet powered examples were relatively rare, but not unknown, like the Blackburn Buccaneer. The US Navy continued to introduce new aircraft in their A-series, but these were purely light bombers. The need for this design category was greatly diminished by the introduction of precision-guided munitions, which allowed almost any aircraft to carry out this role while remaining safe at high altitude, while the attack helicopter took over many of the remaining roles that could only be carried out at lower altitudes. Since the 1960s, only two dedicated attack aircraft designs have been widely introduced, the US A-10 Thunderbolt II and Soviet Sukhoi Su-25 Frogfoot. One oddity belonging to this class is the AC-130, which features as its primary armament high-caliber artillery guns adapted for aircraft use, including the 105 mm M102 howitzer.

A variety of light attack aircraft exist, usually based on adapted trainers or other light fixed-wing aircraft.

Usage examples of "attack aircraft".

On the rolling decks of the nuclear-powered flat-top were sixty attack aircraft, including twenty-four F-4B Phantoms capable of Mach 2 speed.

Almost all of the SU-35s, half of the SU-37s and most importantly, a full 75% of the J-10 fighters were also shot down, along with several tankers, three AWACS and almost one hundred of the attack aircraft.

And, while the Japanese aircraft were able to inflict heavy losses on the Chinese fighter cover, they were not able to muster enough aircraft to break through the Chinese fighter cover to the attack aircraft as they returned to the mainland.

Over two hundred attack aircraft continued relentlessly towards Incirlik.

We've had two of their attack aircraft make runs at our perimeter, but those appeared to be probes sent in to test us rather than serious assaults.

You were a lieutenant piloting an F-111 attack aircraft out of Lakenheath Airbase, call sign Elton thirty-eight.

Four attack aircraft, four fighters, all dead on course for the carrier.

The MiG commander saw the American attack aircraft next, and with them, his chance.

The Indian fleet was over a hundred fifty miles away, and though that was spitting distance for jet attack aircraft, the Indians were looking to their south, not the north, and it further appeared that Admiral Chandraskatta didn't relish night-flight operations and the risks they entailed for his limited collection of Harriers.

Instead, as Commander Air Group, he 'owned' two Tomcat squadrons, two more of F/A-i8 Hornets, one of A-6E Intruder medium-attack aircraft, another of 8-3 submarine hunters, and finally the less glamorous tankers, electronic-warfare Prowlers, and rescue/ASW helicopters.

We've been monitoring Turkey's air traffic control network, and there's no sign of any attack aircraft launching from there.

Yet you did not think it necessary to notify me or your field commanders of information of an impending attack on the aircraft carrier battle group or on Chah Bahar Naval Base--an attack that was conducted by an attack aircraft owned by the Emir of Dubai himself, flown by UAE commandos in the employ of the Emir of Dubai?

Baghdad still retains an inventory of more than 100 Su-17/20/22 attack aircraft, but these planes lack the range and avionics to pose more than a marginal threat.

I felt we had the right strategy for victory, although I did argue for stepping up the intensity of the campaign and introducing additional dedicated ground attack aircraft such as the A-10 Thunderbolt--which the Pentagon announced it was doing soon afterward.

I felt we had the right strategy for victory, although I did argue for stepping up the intensity of the campaign and introducing additional dedicated ground attack aircraft such as the A-10 Thunderbolt—.