A Multi-Role combat aircraft is a military aircraft intended to perform different roles in combat. A Multi-Role fighter is a Multi-Role combat aircraft which is, at the same time, also a fighter aircraft; in other words, an aircraft whose various roles include, among others, the role of air-to-air combat.
However, their flexibility is payed with a price, they lack excellence in neither abilities and are generally expensive.
The first use of the term was by the multinational European project named Multi-Role Combat Aircraft, which was formed in 1968 to produce an aircraft capable of tactical strike, air reconnaissance, air defense, and maritime roles. The design was aimed to replace a multitude of different types in the cooperating air forces. The project produced the Panavia Tornado, which used the same basic design to undertake a variety of roles, the Tornado IDS (Interdictor/Strike) variant and later the Panavia Tornado ADV (Air Defence Variant) variant.
Although the term "multirole aircraft" may be relatively novel, certain airframes in history have proven versatile to multiple roles. In particular the Ju 88 was renowned in Germany for being a "jack-of-all-trades", capable of performing as a bomber, dive bomber, fighter, night fighter, and so on, much as the British de Havilland Mosquito did as a fast bomber/strike aircraft, reconnaissance, and night fighter.
In Wargame a Multi Role fighter is one that is a mixture of both the Air Superiority Fighter and the Ground Attack Aircraft. It's purpose is to give flexibilty to commanders to choose an Aircraft that can attack ground targets and engage other fighters. The Multi-Role Fighter can in numbers kill almost any enemy plane including interceptors but may have trouble when dealing with Air Superiority Fighters especially if the Air Superiority is microed well, it's Air to Air armament generally consists of:
- A cannon
- some form of ground attack munition
- Short Ranged Infra-Red Missiles. It should always be noted that due to their nature Multi-Role Fighters can never substitute an Air Superiority Fighter or Strike Fighter in their respective roles.