A fighter Jets is a military aircraft designed primarily for air-to-air combat against other aircraft, as opposed to bombers and attack aircraft, whose main mission is to attack ground targets.
The hallmarks of fighter jets are its speed, manoeuvrability, and small size relative to other combat aircraft, such as B-2 Stealth Bombers and C-130 Military Transport aircraft. The Air Force’s of the World has a different kind of plane for every task, but its fighter jets are often its most visible and valuable aircraft, carrying out a variety of missions over any kind of terrain.
In modern warfare, air dominance from day one is a must, so that air-to-ground and air-to-sea operations can be conducted safely and efficiently, and this can only be achieved through an advanced fighter jet that can engage and destroy targets in a high threat environment.
Below, you can find the list of Top 10 Best Fighter Jets in the World that are widely considered to be the best fighter jets ever made:
10. SAAB Gripen E, Sweden
The Saab JAS 39 Gripen E (latest variant) is a light single-engine multirole fighter aircraft manufactured by the Swedish aerospace company Saab. It was designed to replace the Saab 35 Draken and 37 Viggen in the Swedish Air Force.
Gripen E combines advanced technology and operational effectiveness in an affordable package that no other fighter aircraft can even hope to match. It is capable of performing an extensive range of air-to-air, air-to-surface and reconnaissance missions employing the most modern range of weapons.
Gripen is designed to meet the demands of current and future threats and to ensure outstanding combat agility. Gripen features a delta-canard configuration with relaxed aerodynamic stability. The delta wing and canards, along with the digital Fly-By-Wire Flight Control System, give the fighter an optimum combination of manoeuvrability, acceleration, top speed and short-field performance.
9. Mikoyan MiG-35 Fulcrum-F, Russia
The Mikoyan MiG-35 is a Russian multirole fighter that is a further development of the MiG-29M/M2 and MiG-29K/KUB fighters. It is classified as a 4++ generation jet fighter by Mikoyan.
The fighter plane has the thrust vectoring of the MiG-29OVT as an additional option. Improved avionics and weapon systems, notably the new AESA radar and the uniquely designed optical locator system (OLS), make the aircraft less dependent on ground-controlled interception systems.
MiG-35 will be the first Russian MiG series aircraft to be fitted with active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar. It is believed to offer a 160km (85nm) air target detection radius and 300km for surface ships.
The final version of MiG-35 was displayed for the first time at Aero India 2007. The prototype of the MiG-35 had been shown to the public in 2005 at air shows in Russia and the UK.
MiG-35 is a contender to the Eurofighter Typhoon, F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, Dassault Rafale, JAS 39 Gripen and F-16 Falcon for the bid of more than 126 multirole combat aircraft worth $10bn to be procured by the Indian Air Force in Indian MRCA competition.
8. Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, United States
The Boeing F/A-18E (single-seat variant) and F/A-18F (two-seat variant) Super Hornet are twin-engine carrier-capable multirole fighter aircraft variants based on the McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet.
Designed and initially produced by McDonnell Douglas, the Super Hornet first flew in 1995. Low-rate production began in early 1997 with full-rate production starting in September 1997, after the merger of McDonnell Douglas and Boeing the previous month.
The Super Hornet is equipped with 11 Hardpoints capable of carrying BVR Air-to-air missiles AIM-9 Sidewinder or AIM-120 AMRAAM, air-to-surface missiles AGM-65 Maverick, AGM-154 Joint Standoff Weapon and Anti-ship missile AGM-84 Harpoon with several other types of precision-guided munition (JDAM) bombs.
The specially designed F/A-18 G (Electronic warfare) variant of the F/A-18F is used by U.S. Navy as a carrier-based electronic warfare aircraft, and include AGM-88 HARM (high-speed anti-radiation missile) air-to-surface anti-radiation missile designed to home in on electronic transmissions coming from surface-to-air radar systems.
A newer and more advanced variant of the F/A-18F Super Hornet is under development with Conformal Fuel Tanks (CFT) and a reduced radar cross section (RCS), with the option of a stealthy enclosed weapons pod and built-in IRST21 sensor system.
7. Boeing F-15E Strike Eagle, United States
The F-15E Strike Eagle is an all-weather, highly manoeuvrable tactical fighter designed to gain and maintain air superiority over the battlefield. It first became operational in 1989 and has been the Air Force’s primary fighter jet and intercept platform for decades. The F-15E Strike Eagle is a two-seat variant of the F-15 Eagle. It is a dual-role fighter designed for air-to-air and air-to-ground missions.
The F-15E superior manoeuvrability and acceleration are achieved through high engine thrust-to-weight ratio and low wing loading, or the ratio of aircraft weight to its wing area. The F-15’s Eagle multimission avionics system integrated with the pilot’s head-up display (HUD), which projects all essential flight information gathered by the integrated avionics system onto the windscreen and can operate day or night, at low altitude, and in all weather conditions.
Its proven design is undefeated in air-to-air combat, with more than 100 aerial combat victories. Its two engines provide 58,000 pounds of thrust, which enable the F-15 to exceed speeds of Mach 2.5. Boeing has built more than 1,600 of the aircraft for six countries around the world providing unparalleled interoperability.
6. Sukhoi Su-35 Flanker-E, Russia
The Sukhoi Su-35 Flanker-E is the top Russian air-superiority fighter in service today and represents the pinnacle of fourth-generation jet fighter design. It will remain so until Russia succeeds in bringing its fifth-generation PAK-FA stealth fighter into production. Su-35, took the world market by storm when it proved able to challenge and defeat any aircraft in the East (and West) except for absolute top-of-the-line fighters such as the F-22 Raptor.
The direct derivative of the Super Flanker, aptly designated the Sukhoi Su-37 Terminator, was only intended as a technology demonstrator but is one of the most manoeuvrable aircraft ever built.
In 2003, Sukhoi embarked on a second modernization of the Su-27 to serve as an interim aircraft awaiting the development of the Sukhoi PAK FA (Su-57) program. Later known as Su-35, this derivative has a redesigned cockpit and weapons-control system compared to the Su-27M and features thrust-vectoring engines in place of the omitted canards, new Irbis-E PESA radar, and upgraded OLS-35 infra-red search and track system.
Distinguished by its unrivalled manoeuvrability, most of the Su-35’s electronics and weapons capabilities have caught up with those of Western equivalents, like the F-15 Eagle. It will remain so until Russia succeeds in bringing its fifth-generation PAK-FA stealth fighter into full-production.
5. Dassault Rafale F3-R, France
The Dassault Rafale is a French twin-engine, canard-delta wing, multirole fighter aircraft designed and built by Dassault Aviation. The Rafale, with its “Omnirole” capabilities, is the right answer to the capability approach selected by an increasing number of governments.
The Rafale entered service with the French Navy in 2004 and with the French Air Force in 2006. Originally scheduled to enter service in 1996, the Rafale suffered significant delays due to post-Cold War budget cuts and changes in priorities.
Equipped with a wide range of weapons, the Rafale is intended to perform air supremacy, interdiction, aerial reconnaissance, ground support, in-depth strike, anti-ship strike and nuclear deterrence missions.
The aircraft is available in three main variants: Rafale C single-seat land-based version, Rafale B twin-seat land-based version, and Rafale M single-seat carrier-based version.
It has proven its worth in combat in Afghanistan, Libya, Mali, Iraq, and Syria. In 2015, Egypt and Qatar have each ordered 24 Rafale. In 2016, India has ordered 36 Rafale. On 30 June 2017, 158 Rafale aircraft had been delivered.
Several upgrades to the weapons and avionics of the Rafale are planned to be introduced by 2018 known as the Rafale “F3 R” standard.
4. Lockheed Martin F-16V Fighting Falcon, United States
The F-16 Fighting Falcon, the first of the US Air Force multi-role fighter aircraft, is the world’s most prolific fighter with more than 2,000 in service with the USAF and 2,500 operational with 28 other countries. The F-16 Falcon entered service in 1979.
The combat-proven F-16 has proven itself as the world’s most capable 4th generation multi-role fighter, serving as the workhorse of the fighter fleet for 28 countries. The F-16V, the latest F-16 configuration, includes numerous enhancements designed to keep the F-16 at the forefront of international security. It has the all-weather operating capability and better manoeuvrability and combat radius against potential adversaries.
The core of the F-16V configuration is an Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar, a modern commercial off-the-shelf (COTS)-based avionics subsystem, a large-format, high-resolution display; and a high-volume, high-speed data bus.
With more than 4,550 F-16s delivered to date, the F-16V is a natural step in the evolution of the world’s most successful 4th Generation fighter.
3. Eurofighter Typhoon, (UK, Germany, Spain, and Italy)
Eurofighter Typhoon is the world’s most advanced multi-role combat aircraft offering agile performance, interoperability and unrivalled flexibility. It is in service with 7 customers and has been ordered by two more. The Typhoon has demonstrated and continues to demonstrate, high reliability across the globe in all climates. It has been combat-proven during operations in Libya, Iraq and Syria.
The aircraft is designed to be upgraded and extended in order to provide decades of effective use. Combining a proven, agile airframe built from stealth materials with the latest sensor, control and weapons systems delivers optimum combat capability – both beyond visual range (BVR) and in close combat. Eurofighter Typhoon delivers an enviable level of flexibility and efficiency.
Eurofighter Typhoon possesses both adequate weapon availability (up to 6 bombs whilst also carrying six missiles, a cannon and a targeting pod) and sufficient processing power to simultaneously support missile in-flight updates and bomb in-flight targeting. The weapons systems, navigation technologies and control infrastructure are all designed to be upgraded, to continue to enhance the overall performance of the aircraft.
2. Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II, United States
The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II is a family of single-seat, single-engine, all-weather stealth multirole fighters. The fifth-generation combat aircraft is designed to perform a ground attack and air superiority missions.
The F-35 descends from the X-35, the winning design of the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program. Its main features include durable, low-maintenance stealth technology, using structural fibre mat instead of the high-maintenance coatings of legacy stealth platforms.
Integrated with advanced avionics and sensor fusion that combines information from off- and onboard sensors to increase the pilot’s situational awareness and improve target identification and weapon delivery and its innovative (F-35B’s) thrust vectoring nozzle and lift fan.
F-35 avionics are designed to control and coordinate multiple unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs). Using its onboard sensors and communications equipment, a single F-35 fighter could orchestrate an attack made by up to 20 armed UCAVs.
The F-35 does not need to be physically pointing at its target for weapons to be successful. Onboard electronic sensors identify targets and Pilot VSI Helmet-mounted display system can track and target a nearby aircraft from any orientation, provide the information to the pilot, and provide the seeker-head of a missile with sufficient information.
In terms of cutting-edge technology and design, F-35 is the technological marvel of aeronautical engineering, however, in terms of development cost the F-35 program is the most expensive military weapons system in history and has been much criticized inside and outside government, in the U.S. and in allied countries.
By 2014, the program was $163 billion over budget and seven years behind schedule.
1. Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor, United States
The Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor defines air dominance. F-22’s unique combination of stealth, speed, agility, and situational awareness, combined with lethal long-range air-to-air and air-to-ground weaponry, makes it the best air dominance fighter in the world.
The F-22 is a fifth-generation, single-seat, twin-engine, all-weather stealth tactical fighter aircraft developed for the United States Air Force.
The result of the USAF’s Advanced Tactical Fighter program, the aircraft was designed primarily as an air superiority fighter, but also has a ground attack, electronic warfare, and signal intelligence capabilities.
It is the first operational aircraft to combine supercruise, super manoeuvrability, stealth, and sensor fusion on a single weapons platform.
The Raptor’s high operating altitude is also a significant tactical advantage over prior fighters. The use of internal weapons bays permits the aircraft to maintain comparatively higher performance over most other combat-configured fighters due to a lack of aerodynamic drag from external stores.
However, due to the high cost of the aircraft, a final procurement tally of 187 operational production aircraft was established in 2009, and the last F-22 was delivered to the USAF in 2012.