We live in the world of borders and walls, where each country would do anything to protect its own, with the best that’s possible. Therefore, every country wants its hands on the best weaponry in order to safeguard them from enemies. One of the biggest technological advances in the field of military aircraft over the years has been seen for Fighter jets and so, countries who possess them or manufacture them or both certainly are ranked higher in order of their military positions than those who don’t.
These dynamic air-to-air combatting aircraft with fast speeds and maneuverability are also used as bombers. Acting as dual weapons, both on the ground and in the air, fighter jets are the Ultimate Warriors on battlefields. History suggests that fighter jets were first introduced to the world during the First World War, advancing from Pistone Engine fighters to Rocket-powered fighters and later on to turbo-jet fighters at the end of World War 2 and advancing further till date showcasing varied innovations in Aerodynamics.
Fighter jets count, amongst the most expensive military capital investments, eating up a huge part of defense budget for any country. So, let’s take a look at the top 15 of these combatting beauties in the world.
15. Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II
Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II was so ugly when in its early days that the crew working on it nicknamed it A-10 Warthog/Hog. but don’t just go by the looks of it, because this fighter jet is capable of massive ground destructions. Deployed onto duty with the United States Air Force(USAF) is a single-seat, twin turbofan engine, Straight wing jet aircraft alongside superior maneuverability at low speeds and altitude because of its large wing area, high wing aspect ratio, and large ailerons.
14. Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit
The B-2 spirit is a specialized strategic stealth bomber owned by the United States Armed Force (USAF). It is capable of all-altitude attack missions up to 50,000 feet (15,000 m), with a range of more than 6,000 nautical miles, and is jampacked with the deadliest bombs such as B61 and B83 nuclear bombs and the AGM-129 ACM cruise missile meant for deep-penetrating nuclear missions alongside Mark 82 and 84 bombs, CBU-87 combined effects Munitions and the CBU-97 sensor fuzed Weapon.
13. Sukhoi Su-27
A product of the Sukhoi and part of the Russian Air Force, had come into place to compete with the United States fourth-generation fighters such as the Grumman F-14 Tomcat and F-15 Eagle, and well, it did prove to be a tough competitor, with features of being able to cover upto 3,530-kilometre of range, heavy aircraft oddnance, sophisticated avionics and high maneuverability. It is also an escort to the Soviet heavy bombers such as the ‘Bear’, Tu-22M ‘Backfire’ and Tu-160 ‘Blackjack’.
12. Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-35.
A supremly advanced 4++ generation aircraft by Mikoyan is the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-35, that shines bright in the russian air force. MiG-35’s first international apperance was none other than India’s Air show for 2007. This fighter jet comes with vastly improved avionics and weapon systems, notable ones among its features include the new AESA radar and the uniquely designed Optical Locator System (OLS), that relieves the aircraft from relying on ground-controlled interception (GCI) systems and thus, enables it to conduct independent multi-role missions.
11. Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon.
One of the most high-powered and strong Fighter jet has to be The General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon, that is capable of being a multirole player in the game, is the world’s most popular aircraft. This aircraft though manufactured in America By Lockheed Martin, serving as part of United States Air Force, Air Force Reserve Command and Air National Guards is also procured by Air Force’s of 28 other nations with the latest inclusion being that of Iraq. This supersonic single-engine aircraft, is built-in with special innovations such as the frameless Bubble Canopy that serves clearer visibility, side-mounted control stick for easier maneuverability, thrust-to-weight ratio that is greater than 1 enabling the aircraft to accelerate vertically faster.
10. Mcdonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle.
This US fighter was once considered to be ruling the skies before F-22 Raptor came into the picture but nevertheless it still fares amongst one of the best fighter jets in the current scenario as well, which is clear by the numbers that register 100 victories and none air combat losses in the name of Mcdonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle. The latest upgraded version of this model is the F-15E Silent Eagle that comes advanced with a the APG-63(v)3 AESA radar, a long-range infrared search and track (IRST) sensor, and BAE Systems Eagle Passive/Active Warning Survivability System (EPAWSS) systems, allowing them to be even more fierce and explosive in nature.
9. Sukhoi Su-35.
Sukhoi Su-27, the supermaneuverable Russian fighter aircraft is known to be competting with some of best US fighter aircrafts. Its called supermaneuverable as it demonstrated a Cobra (Pugachev’s Cobra) or dynamic deceleration ( i.e briefly sustained level flight at a 120° angle of attack) at various airshows showcasing its immense control at high angles of attack. Remarkable capabilities that encompass this aircraft are a thrust-to-weight ratio above one that can make it reach Mach 2.35, carrying capacity of 8 Air-to-Air missiles. countries that imported this Flanker also includes India in the list along with Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Vietnam and China.
8. Sukhoi PAK FA
I could’nt help but add this one to the list, since the Sukhoi PAK FA would see its official launch only in the year 2018, as it has already trembled the fighter jet world, only with a prototype of it called ‘T-50’. It is highly believed that this 5th generation fighter aircraft would give immense competetion to the topmost ranking fighter jets of today. The best part of it, for us (Indians) is that this multirole fighter is planned to have supercruise, stealth, supermaneuverability, and advanced avionics would be a part of the Indian Air Force since it is being co-developed by Sukhoi and Hindustan Aeronautics limited (HAL).
7. Saab JAS 39 Gripen.
Saab JAS 39 Gripen is one amongst the most deadly fighter planes as it is said to have high-end jet fighters like that of Lockheed-martin and Eurofighter Typhoon. Designed by the Swedish aerospace company ‘Saab’ and used by the Swedish Air Force, Gripen is a relatively lower cost alternative in comparison to the top end fighter jets on the list, but still never fails to amaze with its light single-engine, canard configuration with relaxed stability design, powered by the Volvo RM12 and has a phenomenal top speed of Mach 2.
6. Dassault Rafale.
6th on the list we have the french fighter called ‘Dassault Rafale’ meaning ‘gust of wind’ or ‘Burst of Fire’, so the name speaks for itself and is truely justified by the features and capabilities of this jet and the same being reflected in its performance. Some of the special mentions consisting its structure and designing include a twin-engine operated system, an advanced digital Fly-By-Wire flight control system, Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) RBE2 radar, Canard Delta wing along with multisensor data fusion and many others. loaded with advanced weapons such as SCALP long-range stand-off missile, MICA air-to-air Beyond Visual Range self-defence missiles, AM39 EXOCET anti-ship missile, Laser-guided bombs all of which are enough to scare off your enemies.
5. Eurofighter Typhoon.
The Eurofighter Typhoon is one masterpiece whose entitlement of design and manufacture is held by a consortium of Leonardo, Airbus Group and BAE systems as a joint stock holding company. What distinguishes this fighter from others are its twin Eurojet Engines that encompass within them the high performing EJ200 power plants, each providing 90kN of thrust with the help of its light weight engine capable of delievering 1,000 flying hours. Built in Infrared Search and Track (IRST) for Air-to-Air target detection and with the best-in-class radar technology is truely unmatched. The best of Eurofighter Typhoon lies in the aircraft’s Swing-role capacity.
4. Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet
F-18 Super hornet has recently been in news when US president Donald Trump tweeted that “Based on the tremendous cost and cost overruns of the Lockheed Martin F-35, I have asked Boeing to price-out a comparable F-18 Super Hornet!”, and it soon created a controversy on whether F-18 Super Hornet was even capable enough to replace F-35, and these 2 are certainly are comparable in terms of price, availability, and capability. also, one must give credit to F-18’s advanced electronic warfare (EW) pod, advanced cockpit system with a new 19 inch display, conformal fuel tanks, which would allow the Super Hornet to carry 1,600 kg of additional fuel.
3. Chengdu J-20
The only fighter jet in the 5th generation category from a country other than USA is that from China known as ‘Chengdu J-20’. This Aircraft is the jewel in the crown for the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) and is designed by Chengdu Aerospace corporation. This twinjet fighter aircraft is said to give a tough fight to the leading 5th gen aircraft that is the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor.
2. Lockheed Martin F 35 Lightning II:
Yet another best from the home of Lockheed Martin Aeronautics is The F35 Lightning II. The origin of this sleath multirole fighter was from ‘X-35’, and moreover has been in news, for controversies whereby critics claim that this manufacturing delays and cost-overruns has made it the world’s most expensive military weapons system in history. nevertheless, this multirole, multivariant fighter jet, has supreme demand because of its Advanced electronic warfare (EW) capabilities, integrated avionics, sensor fusion and superior logistics support along with the most powerful and comprehensive integrated sensor package of any fighter aircraft in history.
1. Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor.
Behold, here is the deadliest of them all and what country other than The United States Of America could have the best of what we would call the most advanced Fighter jet that belongs with the United States Air force (USAF), officially known as ‘Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor’. It is the Fifth-generation fighter aircraft, with built in Stealth or LO(Low Observable) technology that is meant to enable the aircraft to be untracable by an radar, infrared or solar detection methods (Basically making it Invisible in the air). The idea of having such a technology was floating since the Cold War when The Soviet Union tried it, but were unfortunately unsuccessful then.
Since, neither is technological advancement going on a hold, nor is war between countries. So, the world is gonna see more of such advanced fighter jets, maybe something even beyond our imaginations. Keep a Lookout!!