Top 10 Best Fighter Jets In The World (2022)

From maneuverability to weapon systems and stealth, the 4th and 5th generation fighter jets remain the best in operation today. It ushered in a new era of aerial combat, one that has since evolved through several stages, with aircraft growing more advanced and deadly at each level.

There is a silent competition to come up with the best fighter jets in the world among the developed countries regarded as the powerhouse, the constant drive to build the most technologically advanced fighting jets that would be superior to others in case of confrontations.

What Are Fighter Jets?

Fighter jets are military planes that specialize in air-to-air combat. The role of fighter aircraft in armed conflict is to establish air superiority over the battlespace. Fighter jets help bombers and attack planes to bomb enemy targets tactically and strategically after gaining control of the airspace.

A fighter jet’s main performance characteristics include not only its firepower but also its fast speed and maneuverability with the target aircraft.

Top 10 Best Fighter Jets In The World Today

1. Lock Heed Martin F-35 Lightning II

The F-35 Lightning II is a single-seat, single-engine fighter jet that can perform a wide range of tasks, including air superiority, electronic warfare, and reconnaissance. The Israeli Air Force initially deployed the F-35 Lightning II in combat, and it is now in service with countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia having them in their military bases.

While the F-35 Lightning II was delayed for years with billions of dollars spent, the developer, Lockheed Martin, was able to deliver a combat fighter jet that is undoubtedly one of the most advanced in the modern era.

Its development was majorly supported by the US, with additional financing coming from NATO program partner countries and close US allies such as the UK, Australia, Canada, Italy, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Turkey.

The construction initially got a lot of attention and criticism because of its unparalleled size, complexity, spiraling costs, and long delays in delivery, with major technological problems. Continuous amendment of the aircraft during development and testing stages resulted in costly design alterations and retrofits as a result of the purchase strategy.

F-35 Lightning II sits at the top of the list as the best fighter jet in the world today. It has the clear distinction of being the only international fifth-generation multirole fighter jet in the world. The plane comes with enhanced maneuverability and agility as well as stealth features. 

Furthermore, the plane comes with an integrated sensor package that works to detect threats that also have modern stealth ability. The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II has modern weaponry which makes it a multipurpose plane: it can perform stealth reconnaissance missions, as well as perform air to air or air to ground combat missions, as well as carrying out stealth bombing raids, and so on. The F-35 has a clear tactical edge over all other fighter aircraft. 

The F-35 is a single-seat fighter jet, and has some of the following weapons: Sidewinder and Storm Shadow, as well as Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAMs), for coordinated attacks. 

The F-35 has three variants; including the conventional take-off and landing (CTOL), a short take-off / vertical landing (STOVL), and carrier variant (CV). 

  • Some features of this marvel include;
    • The maximum speed of Mach 1.2 when it is at low altitude and Mach 2+ at high altitude.
    • The combat radius is placed at 550 kilometers when it is embarking on a high-low-high mission saddled with a bomb load of 450kg.
    • The service ceiling of this aircraft is 60,000+ feet and the rate of climb is 254m/s.
    • It has a thrust of 1.095 and a wing loading of 430 kilograms per meter square.

2. Sukhoi Su-57

In 2021, Russia’s unveiled a prototype of the Sukhoi Checkmate as an answer to the American F-35. It is a potent twin-engine aircraft that will prove a tough match for most aerial opponents.

It is the first Russian fighter jet to incorporate stealth into its design and is advanced enough to engage multiple targets at once, even while flying at the fastest speed.

A fifth-generation, single-seat, twin-engine fighter aircraft which is classified as a multi-role fighter, manufactured by Sukhoi, which is a subsidiary of Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation. 

The aircraft is designed to perform air superiority missions, meaning that it is designed to take on fighter jets in combat, and conquer them.  It carried out attack missions primarily for the Russian Air Force and the Russian Navy. It can defend and or destroy all types of ground, air, and surface targets, as well as monitor the airspace at longer ranges.

The jet is built for power and has a combat weight of 10 tons when loaded with its baggage of missiles including short-range air-to-air missiles, and air-to-surface missiles. The Warplane also has short and medium-range pinpoint accurate guided missiles, as well as unguided weapons. 

3. Chengdu J-20

Following the F-22 Raptor and the F-35 Lightning II, the Chengdu J-20 is officially recognized as the third fifth-generation fighter jet to enter active service. It’s also known as the Mighty Dragon.

Weapon bays on the plane can be loaded with a variety of long and short-range missiles. It also has external hardpoints for extra guns when needed. 

Chengdu J-20 is China’s flagship fighter jet. It is a fifth-generation, single-seat, twin-engine stealth fighter jet manufactured by the Chengdu Aircraft Industry Group. This plane, among the best fighter jets in the world, is known to carry out aerial combat operations for the People’s Liberation Army Air Force, where it is primarily used.

The aircraft has an internal weapons bay that can hold a mix of long and short, pinpoint accurate missiles, which include long-range PL-12C/D and PL-21 air-to-air missiles. These systems are conveniently packed within the plane, so when the weapons bay opens the intention is clear. The jet fighter is also armed with air-to-surface missiles and laser-guided bombs which are used for stealth air to ground bombing raids. 

4. Boeing F-15 Fighting Eagle

The F-15 Eagle may not be the most recent fighter aircraft, but it is unquestionably one of the most popular on this list. It’s hard to believe it was first presented in 1976, nearly four decades ago. Since then, other variations have been developed for use by various American military branches as well as other countries.

The United States Air Force owns the largest F-15s. On November 13, 1974, the first Eagle, an F-15B designated for a combat unit, was delivered to the US Air Force.

The Boeing is the F-15E Strike Eagle which is a superior next-generation multirole strike fighter and one of the best fighter jets in the world. This warplane is based on the structure of the earlier F-15A/D aircraft. The Boeing F-15E is the most common warplane in the US Air Force (USAF) today.

The Boeing F-15E has the muscle to carry up to 23,000lb of payload, including the Joint Direct Attack Munition. It can carry air to air combat weapons, air to ground missiles, and a variety of bombs. The Boeing F-15E can fly at more than twice the speed of sound.

The Boeing F-15E has been used in several combat missions in several war engagements, especially in the Middle East. 

  • Some of the features of this aircraft include;
    • A maximum speed of Mach 2.5+ when it is at high altitude and also Mach 1.2 when it is at low altitude.
    • It has a ferry range of 5,550 kilometers.
    • The combat radius of this aircraft is placed at 1,967 kilometers for interdiction operations.
    • The service ceiling is about 65,000 feet with a thrust of 1.30.
    • The wing loading is about 358 kilograms per square meter.
    • The top speed of this aircraft is 1650mph and the rate of climb is 254 m/s.

5. Eurofighter Typhoon

The Eurofighter Typhoon was developed as a consequence of intensive collaboration between the UK, Germany, Italy, and Spain. The aircraft’s distinctive design was created to be aerodynamically unstable in flight, making it exceptionally agile in dogfights.

Eurofighter Typhoon is the premier fighter jet for the West Europe area at the moment. It is a recent generation aircraft that is described as a multirole fighter jet. It is no doubt one of the best in the world. The plane has all the modern avionics and sensors to make it an elite war plane: stealth capability, as well as Defensive Aids Sub System (DASS) and fearsome weapons such as Mauser BK-27 27mm cannon, air-to-air, as well as air-to-surface missiles, and even anti-ship missiles. Some of the weapons are pinpoint accurate precision-guided munitions.

Eurofighter Typhoon is one of Europe’s biggest success stories as far as a collaboration between different countries and their military development agencies. It was built by Nato Eurofighter and Tornado Management Agency (NETMA).

  • Some of the features of this amazing fighter jet are;
    • The maximum speed of Mach 2+ can be translated to 2,494 kilometers per hour when it is at altitude and Mach 1.2 which is 1,470 kilometers per hour when it is at low altitude and finally, Mach 1.1 when it is at supercruise.
    • The combat radius is 601km for low-low-low ground attack and for the high-lo-high ground attack, it is 1,389km.
    • The range of this fighter jet is 2,900 kilometers while the ferry range is 3,790km.
    • The fighter jet’s rate of climb stands at 62,000 feet per minute which is 315 m/s.
    • It has a service ceiling of 65,000 feet and the wing loading of this aircraft is 307 kilograms per square meter.

6. Dassault Rafale

This single-engine multirole aircraft was designed by Dassault Aviation for the French Navy and Air Force, but it has subsequently been marketed to countries such as Egypt and Qatar, who were pleased by the aircraft’s aerial capabilities.

The Rafale originally entered service in 2001, and only a year later, during Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, it was used in combat. One of its capabilities is its capacity to track up to 40 targets at once and launch missiles at four of them at the same time.

The fighter jet is capable of performing air to air attack maneuvers, deep strike missions, reconnaissance, and airborne nuclear deterrent duties.

The jet is built to dominate the skies with its 30mm cannon, air-to-air and air-to-surface missiles, nuclear and anti-ship missiles, as well as pinpoint accurate of laser-guided bombs and ground-attack munitions.

7. Sukhoi Su-35 Flanker-E

This Russian air superiority fighter represents the apex of 4th-generation fighter jet design and technology. It is frequently recognized as one of the most capable aircraft for close-range aerial combat.

The Su-35 is a significant advance over the already formidable Su-27 fighter aircraft, and it is capable of aerial combat or air-to-ground strikes thanks to its extensive arsenal. Its maximum speed of Mach 2.25 puts it on par with the F-22 Raptor, but ahead of the F-35 Lightning II and F-15 Eagle.

The Su-35 just falls short of making the list of fifth-generation fighter jets; it employs technologies of the fifth-generation. The Su-27 is also above the fourth generation; it carries the latest technologies that make it superior to all other fourth-generation fighters that you can find anywhere in the world. 

The Su-35 is primarily a bomber: it carries long and short-range air-to-air missiles, and precision and unguided air-to-ground weapons as well. The Su 35 is loaded with missiles, bombs, and rockets, attached to 14 hardpoints of the aircraft, and weighing a maximum of 8 tons.

  • Some features include;
    • The maximum speed of Mach 2.25 when it is at altitude.
    • A ferry range of 4,500km and a range of 3,600km or when it is at low altitude, 1,580km.
    • It has a service ceiling of 59,100ft and wing loading of 84.9lb/ft
    • The rate of climb of this aircraft is 55,100ft per minute and the thrust is 1.14.

8. F-16 Fighting Falcon

The F-16 Fighting Falcon is another popular fighter aircraft that has been in service for nearly four decades, similar to the F-15 Eagle. Brazil, Turkey, Israel, Pakistan, and India are among the countries that have used it.

The F-16 was originally designed for aerial combat tasks, but it has since been upgraded to include other duties, making it a capable multirole combat aircraft. Depending on the mission, the F-16 can be armed with a variety of missiles, rockets, bombs, and electronic countermeasures.

9. F-22 Raptor

The F-22 Raptor is the first of the fifth-generation aircraft, a stealth-focused aerial combat platform. The aircraft was designed to breach enemy defenses and successfully attack the targets it was given.

The aircraft’s low radar cross-section and strong weapons loadout are its main features. Within the US military, many of its avionics are still classified. The F-22 is one of the most costly fighter planes ever made, costing roughly $344 million each, including research and development.

10. Saab JAS 39 Gripen

Saab AB, a Swedish aerospace firm, produces the Gripen, a single-engine multirole fighter aircraft. It has huge delta wings and canards that sweep backward beneath the canopy, making it easy to spot.

The little aircraft, according to reports, has the lowest operational cost of any modern fighter, yet it still delivers a punch. It’s one of the reasons Sweden has been able to export the planes to at least seven different countries, where they operate in varied capacities.

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Closing

In modern warfare, a country with the most advanced weapons has an advantage. Any other sort of destructive weapon, including nuclear submarines and modern naval aircraft carriers, cannot match the speed of a fighter jet. A fighter aircraft, also known as a fighter jet, is a fixed-wing aircraft designed for air-to-air combat. It is one of the most widely used weapons by any government. By dominating the battlefield with a fighter jet, it is possible to gain control of the war. 

A fighter jet can perform a variety of tasks, including the bomber, heavy interceptor, interceptor, reconnaissance aircraft, and night fighter. All preceding generations of fighter planes are outperformed by today’s fifth-generation fighter planes.

With the rate at which these fighter jets are being developed, it is reasonable to say that some of these fighter jets will soon become obsolete. New ones are being developed even as you read this, and governments across the world are showing even more commitment to spend billions more so as to develop more sophisticated fighter jets, shooting greater armaments with even greater accuracy. 

A fighter aircraft can simply be described in simple terms as an aircraft used by the military to engage in air-to-air fights against other fighter aircraft or aircraft in general. It should not be mistaken with the bomber and the attack aircraft which exist primarily for the purpose of at6ttacking targets on the ground.

The major attributes of a fighter jet are speed, small size when compared to other combat aircraft, and its maneuverability as well. There are some fighter aircraft that can carry out the ground attack as well and some are designed to act as dual-purpose fighter-bombers, however, they are usually called just “Fighters” for various reasons which may be political, relating to national security or just because of advertising.

This type of aircraft exists with the sole mission of establishing air superiority over the battlefield during battle. In conventional warfare, having air superiority is considered one of the essential aspects to guarantee victory and this has been the mindset since World War I. Achieving this so-called air superiority depends heavily on the pilots manning the fighter aircraft, how tactically sound the doctrine based on which fighters are deployed and finally, the number of fighters as well as their performance.