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An aircraft is a machine that is able to fly by gaining support from the air. It counters the force of gravity by using either static lift or by using the dynamic lift of an airfoil, or in a few cases the downward thrust from jet engines. Common examples of aircraft include airplanes, helicopters, airships (including blimps), gliders and hot air balloons.

Crewed aircraft are flown by an onboard pilot, but unmanned aerial vehicles may be remotely controlled or self-controlled by onboard computers.

Military aircraft can be either combat or non-combat:

  • Combat aircraft: Aircraft designed to destroy enemy equipment using its own armament. Combat aircraft divide broadly into fighters and bombers, with several in-between types such as fighter-bombers and ground-attack aircraft (including attack helicopters).
  • Non-combat aircraft: Not designed for combat as their primary function, but may carry weapons for self-defense. Non-combat roles include search and rescue, reconnaissance, observation, transport, training and aerial refueling.

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