Fighter jets are becoming an essential part of almost all militaries in the world. These jet helps a country to maintain deterrence in their enemy. With fighter jets, a country can easily secure its aerial space.
Today in this article, we will discuss about the Top 5 most widely used fighter jets, i.e. most active fighter jets in the world in terms of numbers, which are currently in service of various Air Forces…………………let’s………….. start………….
Note: Data used in this article is based on approximates. All data is compiled from various sources including Wikipedia. Data may be subject to change on other places. All data used in this article is upto year 2020.
At number 5, we have Soviet origin, developed by the Mikoyan design bureau MiG-29. It is a twin-engine, single seat, medium weight fighter aircraft. The MiG-29 entered service with the Soviet Air Forces in 1982.
Around 817, MiG-29 are in service worldwide. More than 30 countries are currently operating this jet. 255 MiG-29 are in service of Russia. India also operates around 65 of MiG-29. Its naval variant MiG-29K is operated by India and Russia.
The fighter is also in service with the air forces of Algeria, Bangladesh, Belarus, Bulgaria, Cuba, Eritrea, Germany, Hungary, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Myanmar, North Korea, Peru, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Serbia, Syria, Sudan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, and Yemen.
At number 4 we have the American F/A-18 Hornet, a twin-engine, supersonic, all-weather, carrier-capable, multirole combat jet, designed by McDonnell Douglas (now part of Boeing). It is the US Navy’s primary combat aircraft for its aircraft carrier-based operations. The F-18 is also used by the air forces of several other nations as fighters.
F-18 is available in two variants namely, F-18 Hornet and F-18 Super Hornet.
Currently, around 884, Hornet or Super Hornet are in service worldwide. US Navy operates 532 Super Hornet variants of F-18 and US Marine Corps operates around 100 Hornet variants of F-18. Other users include Air Forces of Australia (78), Finland (62), Spain (85), Kuwait (40), and Switzerland (30).
At number 3, we have American, twin-engine, all-weather tactical fighter aircraft designed by McDonnell Douglas (now part of Boeing). The Eagle first flew in July 1972 and entered in service of the US in 1976.
It is among the most successful modern fighters, with over 100 victories and no losses in aerial combat, with the majority of the kills by the Israeli Air Force.
Its two variants are available namely, F-15 Eagle and F-15 Strike Eagle.
Around 956, of both variants of F-15 are currently in service. 429 F-15 are in service of US Air Force.
Other countries which operate F-15 are Israel (66), Japan (155), Saudi Arabia (207), South Korea (59) and Singapore (40).
#2. Su-27 and its Family
At number 2 we have, Sukhoi Su-27, a Soviet-origin, twin-engine, heavyweight, supermaneuverable fighter aircraft designed by Sukhoi. It is with 3,530-kilometre (1,910 nmi) range, heavier missiles, sophisticated avionics, and high maneuverability.
Su-27 is the first aircraft in family of its series. Its others members are:-
- Su-30MKI (For India)
- Su-30MKK (For China)
- Shenyang J-11 (Chinese licence built of Su-27)
- Shenyang J-16 (Chinese copy of Su-27)
- Su-33 (carrier based variant of Su-27)
With around 1,300 fighter jets, it is second most active fighter jets in the world, currently in service.
Its variant Su-30MKI forms the backbone of the Indian Air Force. India operates 272 such jets. Considering all its variants Russia operates 342 jets, China operates 315 jets of the Su-27 family. Its other users are Algeria, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Ukraine.
#1. F-16 Fighting Falcon
The American lightweight, single-seat ( however, newer versions are double seater), single-engine, 4th Generation, F-16 Fighting Falcon is the undisputed leader in our list in terms of the most active fighter jet in the world, currently in service in terms of numbers. Yes, it is the same F-16, which was shot down by Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman of IAF. In 2019, when Pakistan’s F-16 was trying to enter our territory, it was shot down by Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman from his MiG-21.
It is the most valuable 4th Generation aircraft ever built. It is one of the world’s most favorite fighter jets, having lower operating and maintenance costs.
Around 2,267 F-16 are currently in service of various Air Forces. It is the backbone of many Air Forces in the world. More than 25 countries operate F-16. 789 F-16 are still in service of the US Air Force. After the US, Israel is the 2nd largest operator of F-16, operating around 175 of such jets.
F-16 is also the backbone or primary fighters of the Air Forces of countries like Egypt (168), Greece (114), South Korea (118), Taiwan (113), and Turkey (158).