Facebook-community AirPower has calculated how many combat aircraft are operated in the world. And how they are distributed across countries. There is nothing particularly sensational in the top ten. Is that, some advantage of China in relation to Russia. As well as the absence of a rather militarized Israel in the top 10.
The peculiarity of the rating is that it does not take into account all aircraft operated in the armies. Only those that are capable of striking air, ground and underwater targets with missile and bomb weapons have been included in the lists. That is fighter jets, bombers, stormtroopers, interceptors, anti-submarine aircraft. The rating does not take into account fuel tankers, reconnaissance, DDR, transporters, training aircraft.
It’s not news to anyone that the United States is leading. And lead by a wide margin. In the Air Force, Navy, Navy, and SV – 2,826 combat aircraft. The peculiarity of American military aviation, unlike those of other countries, is that almost 40% of combat vehicles are operated “at sea”, that is, in the Navy and Navy – on aircraft carriers, universal amphibious ships and on coastal airfields. Actually, there is nothing surprising in this, because the “mission” of the United States is to “restore order” in all corners of the world.
In the second place, having made a leap, which turned out to be more productive than the “big leap”, is China. This country has 1,624 aircraft. And the intensive build-up of their number continues. However, it should be said that despite equipping the Air Force with fifth-generation fighter jets of its own design, China has a high percentage of obsolete aircraft. Some of them were made under license for Soviet third-generation fighter jets, some without a license under the motto of modernization of their aircraft. Russia, previously followed by the United States, dropped to the third position – 1591 aircraft. In quality, of course, we are ahead of China. If we talk about the United States, we should admit that the Russian fleet of combat aircraft is younger. The main strike force of the U.S. Air Force is various modifications of F-15 and F-16 fighter jets, which began to be operated in the 1970s. Periodic upgrades, of course, improve their combat capabilities, but the concept of aircraft laid down by designers in the late 60s cannot be radically changed.
Of course, there is a very good fifth-generation F-22 fighter in the number of 195 vehicles. But he is not young, being the same age as our Su-30 fighter-bomber. We have a very new, just adopted, Su-34 and Su-35, the number of which is constantly growing. There is also a brand new F-35 in the United States. But nothing definite about its combat capabilities can be said now because this bomber has been trying for several years to bring to the level of full combat readiness.
Behind Russia with a significant lag is India – 694 aircraft. And here we can say that if the Russian United Aircraft Corporation had not sold India a huge number of aircraft, both for land-based and decked MiG-29K and MiG-29KUB, Russia would be much closer to the United States in the size of military Fleet.
The statistics are impressive: in India 205 Su-30MKI (and this is despite the fact that Russia operates a little more than a hundred aircraft of this family), 60 MiG-29 and 200 MiG-21 (this is Soviet deliveries).
Fifth place will be a big surprise for fans of anecdotes about North Korea. The Kim clan accumulated 572 aircraft. But, of course, for the most part, these are museum machines purchased from the Soviet Union, it is unknown on what terms. The first Il-28 jet bomber. Su-7B fighter-bomber. Copies of MiG-17, MiG-19, MiG-21 fighter jets. However, there are still aircraft operating in Russia, for example, Su-25 attack aircraft.
The sixth position provides us with an interesting comparison. Because in sixth place is South Korea – 466 aircraft. It must be said that the United States treated the arming of one of its main regional partners not in good faith. Half of the aircraft of the fighter aircraft of the Republic of Kazakhstan are relics of the Vietnam War – F-4 “Phantom” and F-5 “Tiger”. However, the other half is quite modern and capable, it is an F-16 fighter and an F-15 fighter-bomber.
The seats are then distributed as follows:
7. Pakistan – 438.
8. Egypt – 341.
9. Saudi Arabia – 325.
10. Japan – 279
For some strange reason, Japan was ahead of Israel, which has 319 aircraft. And all these are quite serious F-15 and F-16 vehicles of various modifications, as well as 9 fighter-bombers conditionally fifth-generation F-35. With Israel, it’s all over. For example, it is considered that it does not have nuclear weapons while it has them.
The Internet community has compiled the second rating – the number of specific aircraft operating in the world. The undisputed leader here is the General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon. There are currently 2,280 of these light fighters in the world’s 25 armies. It is the most massive fourth-generation aircraft, with 4.6 thousand aircraft produced from 1975 to the present. Attacking falcons.
The aircraft is still manufactured in the United States and in a number of countries under Lockheed Martin license. But it is built exclusively for external customers, the last receipts to the U.S. Air Force were in 2005. Of course, the F-16 is being upgraded periodically. Foreign customers are attracted to this machine’s excellent value for money. For only 35 million. dollars can be bought a good and modernized by updating the avionics combat vehicle, which has confirmed its quality in all the armed conflicts of the last 45 years.
In second place is the F/A-18 deck fighter jet – 1090 aircraft. In fact, this index is supported by two aircraft that are significantly different: the McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet and the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet. The first appeared in the early 80s, the second – almost 20 years later, becoming, in fact, not a modernization of the Hornet, but largely a new aircraft. A number of its characteristics are almost twice as high as the characteristics of the McDonnell Douglas aircraft. The ratio of old and new aircraft operating is about 45% to 55%.
The “Super Hornet” has a good payload of 8 tons for the deck aircraft. The full-capacity combat radius is 750 km, and the radius of the limited-weapons fighter is 1,150 km.
The third place for the Soviet-Russian family Su-27/30 – 1066 aircraft. However, the family on the Su-30 does not end, it includes another fighter-bomber Su-34 and a brand new multirole fighter Su-35S. And that’s another 200 planes, including those sold to China.
Unique flight properties, laid by the designers of the Sukhoi Design Bureau in the Su-27 glider, allowed to continue this line of aircraft, consistently creating machines with excellent combat qualities. For example, the Su-34, despite its strike purpose, is able to fight on an equal footing with clean F-16 and F-15 fighters. At the same time, its combat radius reaches 1500 km. Well, the Su-35S is a fighter of the generation of the 4- q, not inferior in air combat to the best American fighter F-22.
Then there are three current fighter jets. The fourth place in the ranking is occupied by the heavy American McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle (924 cars). The fifth is the Soviet MiG-29, the modernization of which continues (829 vehicles). It must be said that most of these aircraft are operated in the armies of 28 countries. In Russia, the Air Force and Navy are in service with about two hundred of these vehicles. In sixth place is the Eurofighter Typhoon, which, like our MiG-35, is not carried in the Indian tender for the purchase of fighter jets – 490. Next, are the deep veterans:
Soviet Su-25 attack aircraft, which are going to be replaced by the Su-34, – 485;
Chinese J-7, which is a copy of the Soviet MiG-21 – 418;
American relic F-5 – 396;
Soviet front-line bomber Su-24.
And finally, it is necessary to say about the F-35, with which the Americans are worn as with a written Torba or as a chicken with an egg. The grandiose project involves the construction of more than 3,000. such aircraft. And that means he has to shift the F-16 from the top spot. But there is a suspicion that independent experts of the AirPower community do not take it seriously. Lockheed Martin reported that more than 420 of these aircraft were built. And he should take 8th place in the ranking. However, experts have a different opinion on this matter.