Fighter bomber

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A fighter-bomber is a fighter aircraft that is used to combat ground, sea and air targets. The abbreviation Jabo is often used.



Hunting machines were already used in the First World War for ground attacks in order to attack troops in the trenches . The machines flew behind the enemy lines and dropped arrows , small bombs or grenades with a low hit rate (mostly by hand) .

Fighter-bomber in World War II

The first fighter aircraft of the Second World War to be converted into fighter bombers were Bf 109s , which carried a 250 kg bomb to bomb ground targets in the Battle of Britain . On the Eastern Front , Fw 190 Fs were increasingly used as fighter-bombers in the last years of the war . The German name for machines for tactical battlefield support was attack aircraft . However, this also included ground attack aircraft such as the Henschel Hs 129 , which were actually not fighter-bombers.

After the Western Allies had fought for air superiority on the Western Front from 1944 , the fighter-bombers played a decisive role in the Allied advance since the landing in Normandy . In large numbers, they fought the ground troops of the Wehrmacht from the air and almost completely stopped marching movements and supply traffic during the day. In the last two years of the war, the Allied fighter-bombers used the airspace over France and Germany almost at will. Their targets were trains, road convoys , infrastructure (e.g. airfields, railway junctions ), and activities (e.g. troop concentrations) behind the enemy's front lines. Classic fighters such as the Supermarine Spitfire and the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt or types especially suitable for the operational role such as the Hawker Typhoon and Hawker Tempest were used .

At the limit of the role of the fighter-bomber and the medium-sized bomber, there were a number of missions in which the planes penetrated enemy territory at high speed in low-level flight in order to attack command centers. These included missions flown by the De Havilland DH.98 Mosquito against the Gestapo headquarters in Amiens , The Hague and Copenhagen, and US bomber operations against Japanese ports in the South Pacific.

Cold War nuclear weapons carriers

Two-seat version Jaguar T.1 of the RAF

In the years after the Second World War, the range of use of fighter-bombers changed due to the introduction of jet engines and the further development of nuclear weapons .

The British Canberra was one of the first light bombers to be jet propelled and equipped to carry out missions like a De Havilland DH98 Mosquito of the jet age. The North American B-45 Tornado and Republic F-84 Thunderstreak were designed for tactical nuclear missions. In the event of war, they should use atomic ammunition in the rear against the enemy's command centers and communication links. In the Korean War and later in the Vietnam War , the fighter-bombers took on the role of flying artillery, which attacked enemy formations at the request of the ground troops.

The Soviet attack aircraft at that time included u. a. the multi-purpose fighter Yakovlev Jak-25 .

Due to the rapid technological advances in engine construction and control electronics, these aircraft were quickly outdated and replaced. In the 1950s, aircraft development continued at an undiminished pace. By the end of that decade, Mach 2 fighter-bombers, such as the Republic F-105 Thunderchief , were operational.

Low-level capabilities to fly under enemy radar detection were seen as the key to successfully overcoming enemy defenses in the 1960s.

The British have invested millions in the development of the BAC TSR-2 -Bombers, the heavy bomb load, using advanced navigation systems and a terrain-following radar at supersonic speeds in low-level flight should transport. The then ruling Labor Party canceled the program less than five months after the first flight due to the high costs.

The American General Dynamics F-111 swing-wing bomber was equally revolutionary . Although this tactical fighter-bomber suffered from initial difficulties due to the insufficient thrust and the failure-prone electronics, it remained one of the most advanced fighter-bombers in the world during its almost 30 years of service.

The French Dassault Mirage IV was a supersonic fighter-bomber that first flew in 1960. Although designed for nuclear strike, it could also carry conventional weapons.

Aircraft such as the Panavia Tornado , General Dynamics F-111, F-15E Strike Eagle, and Sukhoi Su-24 Fencer can operate at high speeds with large bomb loads regardless of the time of day and weather conditions.

The Dassault Mirage 2000 , the SEPECAT Jaguar , the General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon and the Mikojan-Gurewitsch MiG-27 are hardly less powerful and can carry out hunting missions as well as their usual tasks on the battlefield.


Individual evidence

  1. Colonel i. R. Kurt Gärtner: “Multi-Role Combat Aircraft” In: TRUPPENDIENST - Issue 1/2007; Online version on the homepage of the Austrian Armed Forces; accessed on January 16, 2010