Air superiority fighters:

An air superiority fighter is a type of fighter aircraft intended to enter and seize control of enemy airspace. Air superiority fighters have long range and have BVR (Beyond Visual Range) capabilities. They generally take more scramble time(i.e they generally take more time to be mission ready). The maintainable cost is also high.

Air superiority fighters are usually expensive aircraft, and generally procured in lesser numbers. The payload configuration also differs from multirole aircraft where more emphasis is given on the BVR capabilities. (i.e they have more number of radar guided missiles than heat seeking missiles but number of bombs depend upon the mission)

Examples:

F-15
F-22
Su-30MKI
Eurofighter

Multirole fighters:
A multirole (or multi-role) combat aircraft is an aircraft that can be used as both a fighter aircraft and a ground attack aircraft. They are lighter and less powerful than air superiority fighters. They are generally easy to maintain and cost effective. They are usually built large in number. And they have fast scramble time. They are used to defend a base or territory from enemy threat effectively. They have payload more emphasized on heat seaking missiles.

Example:

F-16
F-18
F-35
Mig-29/35
Rafale

Air superiority fighter or not?
Well, there has been some arguments on if Rafale, Euro Fighter, Mig-35 and Gripen (yes even gripen) are considered Air superiority fighters or not. Well we must understand that Air superiority fighters are sometimes used as multirole fighters but multirole fighters cannot not used as a air superiority fighters mainly because of their range. Some analysts say that a country’s advanced fighter is it’s air superiority fighter.

Examples of controversial Air superiority fighters:

Eurofighter
Mig-35
Rafale
Gripen

I would love to hear what you think about these concepts and if possible provide links. Please do leave a comment.

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