hearts of iron 4 best plane design featured image
Game: Hearts of Iron IV
Content Type: Gaming Guides


Dominating the air is vital to winning the war on land in Hearts of Iron IV. Air superiority and close air support provide numerous direct benefits to troops on the ground, while strategic bombers can cripple enemy industry. By Blood Alone drastically reshaped the old air meta with the addition of the plane designer, introducing more complexity than ever to air combat.

The absolute best option for aerial combat in Hearts of Iron IV are heavy fighters. While agility and speed are supposed to give major bonuses in combat, it is not enough to beat the huge air attack and defense values heavy fighters have. Although you can produce about 3.2 light fighters for the price of 1 heavy fighter, heavies still reign supreme when outnumbered

In a battle with 640 improved small fighters versus 200 improved heavy fighters, the heavy fighters absolutely wiped the floor with the small fighters. As seen below, over the course of a year 77 heavy fighters were lost while 477 light fighters were lost.

battle testing results

Without further ado, here are the best heavy fighter designs on basic, improved, and advanced airframes.

hearts of iron 4 best basic heavy fighter
Part Type
Part
Airframe
Basic Medium Airframe
Weapons
2 2x Cannon I, 2 4x Heavy Machine Gun
Engine
4x Engine II
Special Features
Armor Plates, Self Sealing Fuel Tanks
hearts of iron 4 best improved heavy fighter
Part Type
Part
Airframe
Improved Medium Airframe
Weapons
4 2x Cannon I
Engine
4x Engine III
Special Features
Self Sealing Fuel Tanks, 4x Armor Plates
hearts of iron 4 best endgame heavy fighter
Part Type
Part
Airframe
Advanced Medium Airframe
Weapons
5 2x Cannon II
Engine
4x Engine IV
Special Features
Self Sealing Fuel Tanks, 4x Armor Plates

If you just need planes to improve your air superiority in a region, you’ll want to use normal planes. While heavy fighters have a higher multiplier for air superiority of 1.25, normal fighters are substantially cheaper while having a multiplier of 1. This means you get substantially more air superiority per production cost by using small fighters.

Note – The drop tanks on these designs are entirely optional and can be removed/replaced depending on your preferences.

hearts of iron 4 basic small fighter
Part Type
Part
Airframe
Basic Small Airframe
Weapons
2 4x Heavy Machine Gun
Engine
1x Engine II
Special Features
Drop Tank, Self Sealing Fuel Tanks
hearts of iron 4 best improved small fighter
Part Type
Part
Airframe
Improved Small Airframe
Weapons
3 4x Heavy Machine Gun
Engine
1x Engine III
Special Features
Drop Tank, Armor Plates, Self Sealing Fuel Tank
hearts of iron 4 advanced small fighter
Part Type
Part
Airframe
Advanced Small Airframe
Weapons
3 4x Heavy Machine Gun
Engine
1x Engine IV
Special Features
Drop Tank, Armor Plates, Self Sealing Fuel Tank

Close Air Support is vital to ensure your invasion plans on the ground proceed as planned. CAS planes are vulnerable to interception by fighters, so be sure to defend them when they are deployed on missions. That said, each of the designs below have defensive turrets to increase their effectiveness, but if you are adequately protecting them these can be removed.

hearts of iron 4 basic cas design
Part Type
Part
Airframe
Basic Small Airframe
Weapons
2 Small Bomb Bay
Engine
1x Engine II
Special Features
Light MG Defense Turret 2x
hearts of iron 4 improved cas design
Part Type
Part
Airframe
Improved Small Airframe
Weapons
2 Small Bomb Bay, Anti-Tank Cannon I
Engine
1x Engine III
Special Features
Heavy MG Defense Turret 2x
hearts of iron 4 advanced cas design
Part Type
Part
Airframe
Advanced Small Airframe
Weapons
2 Small Bomb Bay, 2 Anti-Tank Cannon I
Engine
1x Engine IV
Special Features
Heavy MG Defense Turret 2x

Strategic bombers are designed to devastate your opponents infrastructure, but they require protection from fighters to succeed.

hearts of iron 4 basic strategic bomber design
Part Type
Part
Airframe
Basic Large Airframe
Weapons
Large Bomb Bay
Engine
4x Engine II
Special Features
Self Sealing Fuel Tanks, Radio Navigation I, Bomb Sights I
hearts of iron 4 improved strategic bomber design
Part Type
Part
Airframe
Improved Large Airframe
Weapons
2 Large Bomb Bay
Engine
4x Engine III
Special Features
Self Sealing Fuel Tanks, Radio Navigation I, Bomb Sights I, Armor Plates
hearts of iron 4 advanced strategic bomber design
Part Type
Part
Airframe
Advanced Large Airframe
Weapons
2 Large Bomb Bay
Engine
4x Engine IV
Special Features
Self Sealing Fuel Tanks, Radio Navigation II, Air-Ground Radar II, Bomb Sights I, 2 Armor Plates

Keep in mind that these designs can still be modified to suit your individual needs, like adding more range or reducing fuel costs. These plane designs should help you control the skies from the beginning of your campaign to the end.

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