18 Facts About 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.

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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.

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The need for a separate attack aircraft 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.

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Attack aircraft helicopters have overtaken many remaining roles that could only be carried out at lower altitudes.

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Variety of light attack aircraft has been introduced in the post-World War II era, usually based on adapted trainers or other light fixed-wing aircraft.

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US attack aircraft are currently identified by the prefix A-, as in "A-6 Intruder" and "A-10 Thunderbolt II".

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Attack aircraft mission means, in turn, specifically tactical air-to-ground action—in other words, neither air-to-air action nor strategic bombing is considered an attack mission.

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Attack aircraft missions are principally divided into two categories: air interdiction and close air support.

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Imperial Japanese Navy designation use "B" to designate carrier attack bomber such as the Nakajima B5N Type-97 bomber although these aircraft are mostly used for torpedo attack and level bombing.

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Such missions required flying where light anti-Attack aircraft fire was expected and operating at low altitudes to precisely identify targets.

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Nevertheless, during the 1920s, the US military, in particular, procured specialized "Attack" aircraft and formed dedicated units, that were trained primarily for that role.

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Nevertheless, such Attack aircraft, including the A-2's replacement, the Curtiss A-12 Shrike, were unarmored and highly vulnerable to AA fire.

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British concept of a light Attack aircraft mixing all the roles that required extensive communication with land forces: reconnaissance, liaison, artillery spotting, aerial supply, and, last but not least, occasional strikes on the battlefield.

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The concept was similar to front-line Attack aircraft used in the World War I, which was called the CL class in the German Empire.

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Bristol Beaufighter, based on an obsolescent RAF bomber, became a versatile twin-engine attack aircraft and served in almost every theatre of the war, in the maritime strike and ground attack roles as well as that of night fighter.

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Ultimate development of the cannon-armed light attack aircraft was the small production run in 1944 of the Henschel Hs 129B-3, armed with a modified PAK 40 75 mm anti-tank gun.

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Jet attack aircraft were designed and employed during the Cold War era, such as the carrier-based nuclear strike Douglas A-3 Skywarrior and North American A-5 Vigilante, while the Grumman A-6 Intruder, F-105 Thunderchief, F-111, F-117 Nighthawk, LTV A-7 Corsair II, Sukhoi Su-25, A-10 Thunderbolt, Panavia Tornado, AMX, Dassault Etendard, Super Etendard and others were designed specifically for ground-attack, strike, close support and anti-armor work, with little or no air-to-air capability.

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Such counter-insurgency aircraft are popular with air forces which cannot afford to purchase more expensive multirole aircraft, or don't wish to risk the few such aircraft they have on light ground attack missions.

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