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A bomber is a military aircraft designed to attack ground and sea targets, by dropping bombs on them, or - in recent years - by launching cruise missiles at them.


Classifications of bombers

Strategic bombers are primarily designed for long-range strike missions with bombs against strategic targets such as supply bases, bridges, factories, shipyards, and cities themselves, in order to damage an enemy's war effort. Examples include the: Avro Lancaster, Heinkel He-111, Junkers Ju 88, B-17 Flying Fortress, B-24 Liberator, B-29 Superfortress, B-36 Peacemaker, B-47 Stratojet, B-52 Stratofortress, General Dynamics F-111, Tupolev Tu-16 'Badger', Tupolev Tu-160 'Blackjack', Tupolev Tu-95 'Bear', and Gotha G.

Tactical bombers are smaller aircraft that operate at shorter range, typically along with troops on the ground. This role is filled by many designs, including those listed below. In modern terms, any combat aircraft that is not a purpose-designed strategic bomber falls into this category. Ground attack aircraft or "close air support" aircraft are designed to loiter over a battlefield and attack tactical targets, such as tanks, troop concentrations, etc. Examples: Junkers Ju 87 Stuka, Ilyushin Il-2 Shturmovik, A-10 Thunderbolt II, and Sukhoi Su-25 'Frogfoot'.

Fighter-bombers (also called tactical fighters, strike fighters, and attack fighters) are multi-role combat aircraft which can (at least theoretically) be equipped for either air-to-air combat or air-to-ground combat. Many fighter bombers were also designed to engage in aerial combat immediately after attacking ground targets. Modern multi-role combat aircraft are designed to fulfill multiple roles due to budget restrictions as often as they are for versatility. Examples: Chengdu J-10, Xian JH-7, F-4 Phantom II, F-15E "Strike Eagle", F-16 Fighting Falcon, F/A-18 Hornet, Sukhoi Su-34 'Fullback', Dassault-Breguet Mirage 2000, and the Panavia Tornado.

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