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. Before delving into the details of the most awesome fighter jets, it would be great to have an insight on the genesis.
Somewhere between 2000 and 4000 years ago, something appeared that changed the balance of power on the earth. It was the chariot, which was drawn by horses, and which sometimes carried 2 or 3 mounted warriors who were armed with swords, spears, and arrows. With their fearsomeness, speed, and power, chariots rewrote history and turned kingdoms into empires. Since then, man has not relented in his efforts to create better weapons with which to kill and destroy.
Fast forward to the year 2020 and behold the terrible winged killing-machines called fighter jets. These are the chariots of the day; having them can make a country invincible. They are increasingly being tweaked to offer greater maneuverability, more speed, and to fire missiles with greater accuracy. In this article, we want to show you the deadliest fighter jets on the planet, and tell you a little about them.
Top 10 Best Fighter Jets In The World Today 2020
1. Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II
The US Air-force’ F-35 Lightning II sits at the top of the list as the best fighter jets 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). This is the nominated fighter jet to replace all others in the fleets of the US Air Force, the F/A-18 of the US Navy, and AV-8B Harrier of the US Marine Corps.
- 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. Lockheed Martin / Boeing F-22 Raptor
The F-22 Raptor which was also developed by Lockheed Martin, this time in conjunction with Boeing is a single-seat, twin-engine fifth-generation tactical fighter jet. This plane has highly advanced systems that give it stealth, speed, control, and balance. The F-22 is a super-maneuverable fighter.
The Raptor was the jet fighter developed directly before the F-35; it made its first flight in September 1997. After continued testing and improvement it was delivered to Nellis Air Force Base in January 2003. The plane then formally entered USAF’s service in December 2005 as an air-superiority fighter. The F-22 evolved into multi-mission fighter aircraft because it can be used for stealth missions quite successfully.
The F-22 Raptor comes with highly sophisticated air-to-air as well as air-to-ground missiles. It has a wide array of missions, which include surveillance, reconnaissance, attack, electronic warfare, and signals intelligence.
- Some of the features of this fighter aircraft include;
- The maximum speed of Mach 2.25 which is about 2,410 kilometers per hour when it is at altitude and a speed of Mach 1.82 which is about 1,963 kilometers per hour when it is at supercruise.
- The combat radius of this fighter jet is 759 kilometers.
- It has a service ceiling of 65,000 ft and a ferry range of 3,219 kilometers.
- This jet’s wing loading is 375kilograms per square meter and it has a thrust of 1.08.
3. Chengdu J-20
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.
The aircraft made its first flight in January 2011 but was not officially unveiled until 2016. It then entered China’s PLAAF’s service as an air-superiority fighter in March 2017.
4. Sukhoi Su-57
The Su-57 is Russia’s flagship Fighter jet, which is a fifth-generation, single-seat, twin-engine fighter aircraft which is classified as a multi-role fighter jet which was 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.
The aircraft made its maiden flight in January 2010 but was only introduced formerly into the Russian Air Force in 2019.
5. Eurofighter Typhoon
Eurofighter Typhoon is the premier fighter jet for the West Europe area at the moment. It is a new generation aircraft which 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).
Eurofighter Typhoon undertook its first combat mission in 2011 for reconnaissance and ground strike missions in Libya. The mission was carried out by the Royal Air Force (RAF) and the Italian Air Force.
- Some of the features of this amazing fighter jet are;
- The maximum speed of Mach 2+ which 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. Sukhoi Su-35
Sukhoi Su-35 is the second warplane from Russia to make the list of the best fighter jet. Its design and structure relies on that of the Su-27 fighter which is an older model that was quite effective in its day. 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 hard-points of the aircraft, and weighing a maximum of 8 tons.
The first Su-35 prototype was built in 2007 and successfully undertook its maiden flight in February 2008.
- 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.
7. Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet
Boeing is a world-renowned aircraft maker. It would be a crying shame if they did not have something in the jet fighter division. Well, say hello to the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet which is a combat-proven strike fighter which is classified as a multirole fighter jet. Boeing took the design from its previously successful F/A-18C/D Hornet, only making it bigger and better. The Super Hornet is in service with the US Navy as well as the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).
The F/A-18F Super Hornet was inducted into the US Navy service in 1999, thus replacing the Navy’s fleet of Grumman F-14 Tomcats. However, it was not until 2010 that it made its official appearance in Australia’s RAAF.
The Super Hornet’ has stealth operation capabilities, and has is a capable air warfare fighter jet, as well as doing well on air to ground strikes. It can defend ground targets as well and also perform air support for ground troops.
The super Hornet proved its capabilities in Iraq, during Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Southern Watch, and also the War in Afghanistan.
8. Dassault Rafale
The Dassault Rafale is the flagship fighter jet of France. It is described as an ‘Omnirole’ fighter by its manufacturer Dassault Aviation. The Dassault Rafale is a twin-engine, multirole fighter jet that 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.
The fighter jet first tasted action in 2002 during Operation Enduring Freedom. Since then it has been a valuable asset when deployed in combat missions in Afghanistan, Libya, and Mali (Operation Serval).
9. Boeing F-15E Strike Eagle
Another entrant from the American Aeronautics company 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.
10. Su-30MKI (Flanker-H)
Once again we bring up the Russian name Sukhoi, in the form of the Sukhoi Su-30MKI (Flanker-H) which is described as a two-seat, long-range multirole fighter. This particular warplane is in service with the Indian Air Force (IAF).
The plane has the muscle to carry a range of air-to-air as well as air-to-surface missiles. The armament also includes a 30mm cannon, as well as a variety of bombs.
The plane is built in Russia, but designed in India, and the design rights are held by the Indians.
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Closing On The Best Fighter Jets In The World
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.
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