Often we receive many questions which is the best fighter aircraft in the world. Which is the greatest modern fighter and why. Our Top 10 analysis is based on the combined score of stealthiness, armament, speed, range, maneuverability and technology. We also considered pilot opinion on capabilities of various warplanes during dog-fight training. All of these aircraft mentioned here are incredibly powerful and devastating, however none of them have seen combat against each other during military operations yet. Our analysis is based on specifications, available data and technical comparison. Pilot training is also important, as performance of the actual aircraft depends from the pilot performance. This list do not contains aircraft that are currently under development of at the prototype stage. It includes only operational warplanes.
Currently top 10 fighter aircraft in the world are these:
The F-22 Raptor air superiority fighter is almost invisible to radars. This aircraft carries a powerful array of weaponry. It is the most advanced and most expensive production fighter aircraft to date. Many of sensors and avionics of this plane remain classified.
Engines of the raptor allow the aircraft to supercruise over long ranges, while thrust-vectoring nozzles, combined with a triplex fly-by-wire flight control system, make it exceptionally maneuverable.
The F-22 started life as a straightforward air superiority fighter. However since its introduction this aircraft lacks a formidable air threat from other countries fighters. Later it evolved towards the multi-role fighter, as strike capability was added.
This advanced aircraft was never offered for export customers, even other allies and NATO countries. Currently it is the best fighter aircraft ever built.
The Super Hornet is the most capable US Navy multi-role fighter. It is based on the aircraft carriers can attack both air and surface targets. The Super Hornet is also in service with Australia as the main fighter aircraft.
The F/A-18E/F is a larger and more capable derivative of the F/A-18C/D Hornet. The Super Hornet is fitted with new engines. It has additional hardpoints and can carry more missiles. This aircraft has extended range due to larger internal storage of fuel. The Super Hornet also has improved avionics. Some measures were taken to reduce radar cross section of this aircraft.
In 1986 the Eurofighter consortium was formed by Germany, Italy, the UK and, later, Spain, to develop a new multi-role combat aircraft, optimized as a beyond visual range interceptor with a secondary ground-attack capability. This aircraft carries advanced European-designed missiles. it is fitted with a very modern and comprehensive avionics package.
It is claimed that Typhoon is half as combat effective as the American F-22 Raptor. It is an approximate estimate, however it seems that Typhoon is superior to the F-15F, French Rafale, evolved Russian Su-27 variants and many other aircraft.
The Eurofighter Typhoon will form the cornerstone of European air power until well into the 21st century.
The Rafale is in service both with the French Air Force and Navy. This multi-role fighter features some of the very latest avionics systems. Also some measures were taken to reduce radar cross section of this aircraft. This aircraft is very maneuverable. The Rafale can track 40 targets and fire at four targets simultaneously.
This aircraft can hold its own against the latest versions of the American F-16. The Dassault Rafale will form the cornerstone of French air power until well into the 21st century.
The Su-27 was developed primarily for Soviet air-defense interceptor forces. The requirement was for a highly maneuverable fighter with very long range, heavy armament and modern sensors, capable of meeting the F-15 on equal terms. The result was a very successful series of aircraft. It was the top of Soviet technology at the time.
Its heavy armament of up to 10 air-to-air missiles gives excellent combat persistence; outstanding maneuverability, coupled with a helmet sight to cue agile short-range missiles also make it a potent close combat fighter, and its large internal fuel capacity confers a very long range.
Despite its age there are a number of modern and improved versions of the Su-27, including the Su-30, Su-35 and many other. The Su-35 is being offered as the Su-27 replacement. It poses great threat to modern Western aircraft.
Recently a new Sukhoi PAK FA stealthy air superiority fighter is being developed in Russia. It willreplace the ageing MiG-29 Fulcrums and Su-27 Flankers.
The F-15 Eagle is a purpose-built air superiority fighter designed to penetrate enemy defense.Although now in service for over 30 years, it remains a formidable warplane. This aircraft scored more than 100 air kills and is considered among the most successful Cold War era fighters.
The F-15 is equipped with weaponry and electronics, enabling it to detect, acquire, track and attack enemy aircraft, while operating in enemy-controlled airspace. This fighter carries a wide range of air-to-air missiles and is extremely maneuverable. Also it has strong high-speed maneuverability. Through modifications and upgrades the F-15 has been constantly improved.
The F-15 Eagle is still in service with the US Air Force and is expected to remain operational at least until 2025. This aircraft has been exported to Israel, Japan and Saudi Arabia.
The MiG-31 (NATO designation Foxhound-A) was developed as part of an overall programme to provide the Soviet air defenses with the ability to meet the threat posed by NATO low-level strike aircraft and cruise missiles.
This interceptor has a high speed, altitude and rate of climb, however it sacrifices maneuverability in order to achieve these capabilities. The MiG-31 is among the fastest production aircraft. It uses missiles to shot-down enemy aircraft at long distances.
The latest version is the MiG-31BM; this is billed as a true multi-role Foxhound, able to undertake long-range interception, precision strike and defense suppression tasks. Both cockpits feature advanced displays allowing the crew to deploy precision-guided munitions. A project to upgrade Russian interceptors to the MiG-31BM standard was begun in 2010. This interceptor continue to form the back bone of Russia's air defenses.
The F-16 was lighter, less expensive alternative to the F-15 Eagle. Unlike the F-15, which is purely an air superiority fighter, the F-16 is a multi-role aircraft, capable of attacking air and ground targets.
The F-16 has been produced in large numbers and participated in numerous conflicts. Over 4 500 aircraft have been built. It has been widely exported and is currently operational with 26 countries around the world. The F-16 is battle proven.
This aircraft is small, but highly maneuverable. The F-16 has a bubble single-piece canopy for excellent pilot visibility, which becomes during close combat.
The F-16 is still in service with the US Air Force and will remain operational until 2025. In the future it will be replaced by the new F-35 Lightning II.
Developed by Saab the Gripen (griffin) is a fourth-generation lightweight multi-role combat aircraft. This fighter uses the latest technologies can perform various missions, such as air defense, interception, and ground attack and reconnaissance.
This fighter is very agile for close combat due to its advanced aerodynamic layout. The Gripen can take of from and land on short-strip airfields. A number of components of this aircraft are US-supplied.
It is claimed that the Gripen achieves the lowest operating costs of any fighter, currently in operational service. It is reliable and easy to maintain. This aircraft will form the core of Swedish air power well into the 21st century. It also received some export success. The Gripen has been exported to Czech Republic, Hungary, South Africa, Thailand and the United Kingdom.
The J-10 multi-role fighter is the first Chinese-developed combat aircraft that approaches Western fighters in terms of performance and capabilities. It was intended to counter threat posed by the Soviet forth-generation fighters - the MiG-29 and Su-27. The J-10 was initially planned as an air-superiority fighter, however collapse of the Soviet Union and changing requirements shifted the development towards a multi-role fighter.
The J-10 bears some resemblance with contemporary Western multi-role fighters. Also this plane incorporates significant Western technology and expertise.