Air superiority fighter

aircraft class designed specifically for air-to-air warfare

An air superiority fighter is a fighter airplane, which is designed for close combat in the air against enemy fighters. This type of aircraft is very expensive and it is produced in smaller numbers than other types of fighters.

An F-14A Tomcat from the USS Nimitz (CVN-68) during the Operation Southern Watch in 1997.

During World War II and the Korean War, fighters were divided by their roles: heavy fighter, interceptor, escort fighter, night fighter, and so on. When guided missiles were made in the 1950s, fighters were designed and made in two different kinds:

  • Fighters designed for fighting beyond visual range of pilot. This kind of fighters are called interceptors. They have no forward gun and do not have good maneuverability, because the are not expected to get in a dogfight with the enemy fighters. This kind of fighter has long range air-to-air missiles and a very strong radar to find the enemy.
  • Fighters designed for fighting within visual range. This kind of fighters are called air superiority fighters. This kind of fighter has weapons like guns and short range missiles for close combat. This kind of fighter has a very good maneuverability.

Examples of air superiority fightersEdit

Country of originEdit



United States


  1. History Channel Website article. During the 1960s, the Mirage III was the basic air superiority fighter of the Israeli air force.
  2. "Making the Best of the Fighter Force". Archived from the original on 2008-09-15. Retrieved 2013-06-05.