The Middle East has been a place of a fierce struggle between countries since the Cold War and sometimes requires combat aviation to resolve disputes. Below is an overview of the five most dangerous fighter jets that are in service with countries in the region. It does not include aircraft from other nations stationed at local bases and not yet delivered, although ordered, according to the American edition of Military Watch.
The first place is occupied by the Egyptian Air Force’s multipurpose super maneuverable Su-35s. Cairo ordered these fighters generation “4 + +” from Moscow in 2018 and is trying to close with them 40 years of neglect of its aviation, revolutionizing the process of re-equipment. There is no doubt that the Su-35 is worthy to take the top line of the rating. It is the most combat-ready fighter in the Middle East and Africa. It boasts a number of advanced features. It has air engines with a variable thrust vector and a very powerful Irbis-E radar. The airplane is literally surrounded by good and diverse weapons. It can carry up to 14 missiles.
The Egyptian Air Force has ordered more than 20 Su-35s and some of them have already received it. There is almost no doubt that Cairo will not stop there and will ask for the same amount by scrapping badly armed and outdated F-16s.
Second place went to the Saudi Air Force’s Boeing F-15SA heavy attack fighter. The F-15SA absorbed all the technological achievements available in the F-15K and F-15SG designs created for South Korea and Singapore respectively. The deal between Riyadh and Washington became the largest in world history. Saudis already have 70 new such aircraft, but even more, have been ordered. In addition, 81 units of outdated F-15C/D will be upgraded to the F-15SA version.
The fighter has a new computer architecture, is capable of reaching Mach 2.5 speed, and can maneuver excellently at high speeds and operate at extreme altitudes far exceeding those of any other Western fighter available for export. Thanks to the powerful AESA radar, it boasts excellent situational awareness, but it is not armed with such air-to-air missiles as the American AIM-120D (up to 180 km) or European MBDA Meteor (over 100 km). It can carry up to 12 missiles.
The third place is occupied by F-35A of the Israeli Air Force. It is the only fighter of the fifth generation in the Middle East. It is a relatively light single-engine equivalent of F-22, capable of waging a network-centric war. F-35A is still far from full combat readiness and can not yet participate in conflicts, even of medium intensity. It has serious technical problems, which should be eliminated by 2025.
The fourth line is occupied by F-14A of the Iranian Air Force. They are the heaviest fighters in the Middle East and the most expensive in their time. Tehran was their only buyer in the 70s. F-14A turned out to be very formidable in combat and shot down more than 160 fighters of the Iraqi Air Force. To date, the Iranian Air Force has carried out a major upgrade of the F-14A. Besides that, they got into service an excellent Fakour 90 missile.
The five Eurofighter Typhoon Tranche 2 of the Saudi Air Force is closing. Their delivery was carried out in 2009-2014. This is a lighter and cheaper analog of the F-15 Eagle. But it is much inferior in its characteristics to the new Eurofighter Typhoon Tranche 3. Recently Tranche 3 was ordered by Kuwait. Tranche 2 has no AESA radars and Meteor missiles, which makes their capabilities at long distances mediocre.