Extremely fast, well-armed, and with a long engagement range, the Thunder's strength lies in enabling a carrier to rapidly project force at the desired location. Not as damaging as a bomber or as tough as a heavy fighter, it will falter if forced into a prolonged engagement.
The Thunder is a fast, medium-sized multirole fighter that is very cheap to deploy. They also have a much longer engagement range than most fighter wings.
Due to an AI bug in 0.65.2a, Thunders immediately return to a carrier upon firing their Harpoons, severely limiting their usefulness. The following description was written prior to the bug being introduced.
As the fastest fighter in the game (besting even the Talon), Thunders are ideal for capturing objectives at the start of the battle. Against anything larger than themselves, their lack of firepower generally relegates them to a support role, where their Ion Cannons can quickly disable the weapons of ships caught with their shields down or facing the wrong way.