by Richard Sheffield
Each type of enemy plane is programmed with different capabilities, as is each type of air-to-air missile. But the airplane and missile attributes don't have as large an effect on the dog-fighting capability as the quality of the enemy pilot. Green pilots will generally fly cautiously, keeping their planes flat and attempting few aerobatics. Average pilots will be somewhat more aggressive. Veteran pilots will use a variety of vertical maneuvers you won't be able to duplicate. Engaging a Veteran enemy pilot in a dogfight isn't advised. Even the folks at MicroProse have a hard time with them. You'd be better off dealing with them at long range and then using stealth to escape.
The good news about enemy fighters is they can use only missiles against you. They aren't programmed for cannon attacks.
Also, it's to your advantage that enemy fighters are vectored to your last known position instead of on an intercept course with your heading. They can be "faked out" if you let yourself be seen a distance from your target area. Once you're seen, the fighters will head for your current position. If you're not there when they arrive and you haven't been sighted elsewhere, they'll hang around for a few minutes and then go home. So if you can get a low stealth profile, you can fly on toward your target without problems from enemy fighters.