Aerospace fighters are spacecraft used by the Commonwealth Aerospace Defense Forces, launched from assault carriers and used to provide a forward screen against enemy spacecraft. They are similar to conventional fighter aircraft, but are capable of operating both in atmosphere and in space, which makes them far more versatile. They use fast-pumping dual-chambered fusion engines, instead of the jet or turbine engines usually employed by conventional fighters, which makes them immune to engine stalling. They are also significantly larger and heavier than most conventional fighters (reaching 60-70 meters of length), which overall make them more durable and provides comparatively more space for their loadouts. However, they are much more expensive and perform worse in-atmosphere than conventional fighters, and as a result jet fighters remain in use with groundside units.
Aerospace Fighters use special control gloves and a specialized "neurohelmet" that detects neural impulses to allow for much quicker and more efficient maneuvers compared to traditional control sticks. The neurohelmet also provides a virtual reality display covering the entire cockpit, allowing for a greater amount of information to be displayed. Pilots also wear special suits to protect against the side-effects of high-G maneuvers. Aerospace Fighters normally carry a crew of at least two (pilot and co-pilot/navigator), though the Viper class of ASFs had three crewmembers (pilot, co-pilot/navigator, and gunnery officer).
When tasked with screening against enemy spacecraft, Aerospace Fighters typically carry a loadout of four nuclear-tipped anti-ship missiles in addition to their battery of forward-firing PPCs.