A fighter aircraft is a military aircraft designed primarily for air-to-air combat with other aircraft, as opposed to a bomber, which is designed primarily to attack ground targets. The hallmarks of a fighter are its small size relative to contemporary types, speed and maneuverability.
Many fighters have secondary ground-attack capabilities, and some are dual-roled as fighter-bombers. It is not unusual for aircraft that do not fulfill the standard definition to be labelled or described as fighters. This may be for politicial or national security reasons, for advertising purposes or other reasons.Fighters are the means by which armed forces gain air superiority over their opponents in battle. Since World War I, achieving and maintaining air superiority has been essential for victory in conventional warfare. Alternatively Guerrilla warfare attempts to find victory without air superiority but may only do so at a great cost in lives. The initial purchase price represents only small part of the total cost so that maintaining a viable fighter fleet consumes a substantial proportion of the defense budgets of modern armed forces.