To win a modern war, one should have the best fighters. In this post, we’ll talk about the best of the best that’s currently taking to the skies in 2024:
10. Su-35 (Russia)
Russia suffered a confirmed three losses of Su-35s in the current war and believes all were because of ground-based air defenses. However, it was also used in an air combat role against the fleet of old Soviet jets in Ukraine.
Russia claims that this is a fourth-generation jet with fifth-generation technology. While the jet is widely regarded as a significant threat to any fourth-generation aircraft, Russia’s claim of 4.5-generation technology fell as flat as its attempt to topple Ukraine in three days. While the plane is highly maneuverable, it’s let down by dated missiles with a restrictive 60-degree off-foresight targeting capability versus its 90-degree counterparts.
9. F-16 (USA)
Perhaps known to be the greatest aviation success story in history, this fighter jet was designed to win a war that never came.
By 2010, 4,500 F-16s had been delivered to 27 countries. Because of constant upgrades, this plane has remained relevant, even on the modern battlefield. The US has even tested its ability to fly the plane remotely or turn it entirely to AI. Lockheed Martin expects that F-16s will continue to be produced well into 2070.
8. Eurofighter Typhoon (Europe)
The Typhoon is a product of cooperation between the UK, Germany, Italy, and Spain. It was meant to solve the logistics challenges of having a multinational fleet defending Europe.
The jet was renowned for its maneuverability and agility, having shot down American F-35s and F-22s in mock combat. Without a doubt, it would end up as the most lethal 4th generation threat in the world.
7. F-18 Super Hornet (USA)
The Super Hornet is considered one of the best combat jets in the world. The plane is designed for both air superiority and ground attack and can even do electronic warfare missions. It’s a flexible, and proven design that has cut its teeth in conflicts around the world.
6. Dassault Rafale (France)
The Rafale features a multirole platform that can conduct air supremacy, interdiction, reconnaissance, ground attack, in-depth strike, anti-ship, and nuclear deterrence missions.
It’s the jack of all trades that might not be best at every role, but pretty close to it. It’s also the only non-American plane that can operate from US carriers. Theoretically, it can ride to any fight aboard their American ally’s nuclear-powered carriers.
5. F-15 EX Strike Eagle (USA)
The F-15 EX builds on the F-15’s strengths to feature an even bigger payload with two extra weapon stations. It can also fly faster and for longer with more powerful engines that are even more reliable than the ones it’s replacing.
With 12 air-to-air missiles, it’s been called a bomb truck. However, improved avionics and everything else made it more deadly than ever especially for an opponent not flying a 5th generation design.
4. Su-57 (Russia)
This plane is billed as the F-35 killer. It’s extremely maneuverable, based on flight demos Russia has put on. What it hasn’t demonstrated, however, is its ability to detect, track, target, and destroy targets at a long range and the US basically is all about that.
3. J-20 (China)
The Chinese government hasn’t shared many details about this plane but estimates that this aircraft can reach a range between 1,000 to 2,000 miles with a top speed of Mach 2.
2. F-35 (USA)
The F-25 uses advanced stealth and superior sensors to spot and track enemy threats from long range and engage them with a first look, first shoot capability.
Its all aspect stealth allows it to penetrate enemy air defenses and engage them directly.
1. F-22 (USA)
The F-22 was the world’s fifth-generation fighter and still remains the deadliest aircraft to ever take the skies. The US adapted it for ground strike missions and has proven to be adept in delivering precision strokes against terrorist and insurgent targets.
While it’s deadly, it’s also aging rapidly and in a few years will no longer hold the top spot of this list.