A top-down scrolling ShootEmUp series by Video System, known as ''Sonic Wings'' in Japan (and sometimes in the rest of the world) (not to be confused with Franchise/SonicTheHedgehog). Known for having a variety of characters, ranging from stock nationality clichés to [[HeroicDolphin a dolphin]] and an infant.

The series spans six games, the first being on dedicated arcade hardware and the latter two being on the UsefulNotes/NeoGeo arcade platform. ''Aero Fighters 1'' and ''2'' utilize modern fighter jets, but ''3'' has the cast using UsefulNotes/WorldWarII-era planes instead. The next game, ''Sonic Wings Limited'' stayed exclusive to the Zinc arcade board, while ''Sonic Wings Special'' was released for the UsefulNotes/SegaSaturn and the Playstation. The last installment, ''Aero Fighters Assault'', was exclusive to the UsefulNotes/Nintendo64 and [[OddballInTheSeries strayed from the formula]], being a halfway realistic 3D flight simulation (developed by Creator/ParadigmEntertainment) instead of a vertical shoot'em up.

The squared-off font used in the logo was famously [[IReadThatAs misread]] by Creator/JohnGreen as [[FanCommunityNickname Nerd Fighters]].

!!The ''Aero Fighters'' / ''Sonic Wings'' series provides examples of:
* AllJustADream: Mao(-Mao)'s ending in the first Aero-Fighters, in which she seems to have [[FallingIntoTheCockpit Accidentally gotten stuck]] in her fighter which is fighting on it's own.
* AmbiguousGender: Angela, full bore. For starters, the character's called ''Steve'' in Aero Fighters 2. Everywhere else (Sonic Wings 2 included), they're called Angela. All you have to do is figure out why the translators felt justified in that. Making matters more difficult is that different ending pictures depict them as male ''or'' female. ''And'', in Sonic Wings, Angela uses [[{{Bokukko}} male pronouns]]. The best example of the situation is to compare their endings with Hien and Ellen. Pay close attention to how [[GodivaHair their hair is falling in each one]]...
** In Keaton's ending with Angela, the latter was shown wearing a corset undergarment with a clearly feminine figure.
* BattleshipRaid: A number of bosses follow this trope, being either true battleships or massive land-based moving fortresses.
* BossGame: The third game as well as ''Assault''.
* BlindIdiotTranslation: If it weren't for this and the zany cast of characters, most people would be dismissing this game as yet another generic vertical shooter.
* DeathFromAbove: Among others the bomb of the Harrier (AV-8) in ''Aero Fighters 1'', that causes several Vulcan bombers to carpet-down the sceen.
* DeathIsASlapOnTheWrist: Crashing your plane in ''Aerofighters Assault'' will only subtract a bit of your health.
* DifficultyByRegion: For some reason, ''Aero Fighters 3'' is a lot more difficult with the European BIOS than either the American mode or the Japanese original. Enemies are a lot more aggressive early on and bullets are faster.
* EarlyInstallmentWeirdness: The first game was a little more serious compared to the later games, despite having moments of comedy.
* EverythingsBetterWithMonkeys: The joke final boss in the first game was a monkey, which has since appeared in other games combined or attacking with the last stage's mid boss.
* {{Expy}}: ''Assault'' has a few levels where you encounter a group of four enemy pilots that have the same powers as you and your wingmen. Each one will antagonize either you or one of your wingmen, forcing you to rescue them periodically. If you've played ''Starfox 64'', this probably sounds very familiar.
* EverythingsBetterWithPenguins: [[spoiler:There's a secret ending in Aero Fighters 2 and 3 where a special final boss shows up. Regardless of whether or not you beat it, you get an ending with a penguin saying "Heh heh!"]]
* FlatCharacter: William Sid Pride in the first game.
* FlyingCar: The guest character from ''[[http://www.arcadeflyers.com/flyers_video/vsystem/151480201.jpg Turbo Force]]'' is a jet-propelled sport car.
* GiantSpaceFleaFromNowhere: The alternate final bosses: Gorgonzola the KillerSpaceMonkey in 1, Tenukie the BedsheetGhost in 2, and Soh-Takeko the Mahjongg-Tile girl in 3.
* GoodBadTranslation: [[http://zanyvgquotes.com/aerofighters/index.html Lots]] [[http://zanyvgquotes.com/aerofighters2/index.html of]] [[http://zanyvgquotes.com/aerofighters3/index.html them]].
* GuestFighter: Ships from ''VideoGame/RabioLepus'' and ''Turbo Force'' appear as secret characters in several games. And in ''Aero Fighters Special'', it gives up a few more such as some of heroes from ''Karate Blazer ending up flying a plane with its owner, whom they're introduced to after beating the first level.
* HeroicDolphin: There is a dolphin ''fighter jet pilot'' able to communicate in human languages.
* MultipleEndings: All pilots have them, regardless of whether you're flying solo or with someone else, and whether or not you successfully defeat the final boss. In the rest of the series except for ''Assault'', there's even endings for each possible pair of characters.
%%* NintendoHard
* RedOniBlueOni: Chaika and Pooshika, the Russian twins in the third game of the series. Chaika is the blue one.
** Mao-Mao and Hien can also fit, with Mao-Mao being young and enthusiastic while Hien is much more stoic and reserved.
* SapientCetaceans: Spanky is a dolphin who pilots a frickin' [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northrop_YF-23 YF-23 fighter jet]]. He [[MemeticMutation fries over jungles]].
* ShoutOut:
** The first boss of ''Aero Fighters 2'' is heavily based on the gigantic spider tank from ''{{Raiden}} 2'', down to the way it explodes.
** The BonusBoss of ''Sonic Wings 3''[='=]s final stage is preceded with a black ball that displays the following text:
** In ''Assault'', Volk says "[[Film/{{Scarface 1983}} Say hello to my little friend!]]" when using his special.
** The final level of ''Assault'' bears a ''very'' strong resemblance to the Venom 2 level of ''Starfox 64''. You even fight four enemy planes with abilities mirroring those of you and your wingmen before the final level, just like the final showdown with the Star Wolf Team in Venom 2. Throughout the rest of the game you have three wingmen that you ''frequently'' have to save from danger.
*** ''Assault'' only came out four months after ''Starfox 64''. It's possible the similarities are coincidental, but the two games have ''a lot'' of similarities for it to be a coincidence.
** In ''Aero Fighters 1'', when playing as Hien (FSX):
--> [[Film/UnderSiege BOMB THE TERRORISTS' BATTLESHIP]][[note]]US stage[[/note]]
--> STOP THE TAKEOVER CAUSED BY THE MILITARY[[note]]Russian stage. Very likely a reference to the [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1991_Soviet_coup_d'etat_attempt 1991 August Coup][[/note]]
* SpiritualSuccessor: The first Sonic Wings was one to ''Turbo Force''.
** ''Samurai Aces'' and ''Gunbird'' are this to the first game. Both are made by a different company (Creator/{{Psikyo}} instead of Video System) but share a very similar engine and have the same director (Shin Nakamura).
* TimeStandsStill: Mao-Mao's bomb.
* VideoGame3DLeap: ''Assault''.
* TheWallsHaveEyes: Lar is a giant, disembodied, floating eye.
* WeaponizedLandmark: Running out of time on Mission 1 of ''Aerofighters Assault'' will not result in a game over. Instead, the Tokyo Towers will turn into a pair of laser cannons that will instantly destroy the boss [[BreatherLevel and let you go to the next mission]].
* WidgetSeries: Mainly because of the huge contrast. The characters and some of the final bosses are wacky, but the rest of the game looks like any other generic military shoot'em up.