Military

The 31 Warplanes of the Russian Air Force

my_public_domain_photos / Flickr

One of the key elements of Russian military power is its air force. The Red Army boasts an extensive fleet of diverse aircraft designed to be some of the most technologically advanced in the world. Despite the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the Russian Air Force has maintained its operational effectiveness as one of the strongest fleets in the world. Here, 24/7 Wall St. is taking a closer look at the aircraft within this impressive force.

To identify all of the planes in active service in the Russian Air Force, 24/7 Wall St. referenced the 2024 World Air Forces report from FlightGlobal, an aviation and aerospace industry website. We ranked aircraft by the number of units in active service. Supplemental data regarding the type of aircraft, how many are in active service, and how many are on order came from FlightGlobal. Data on each aircraft’s first flight came from various military and historical sources.

The Russian Air Force is known for its offensive capabilities and strategic vision. It is home to a series of MiG and Sukhoi fighter jets that are easily some of the fastest and most technologically advanced in the world. They primarily act as air superiority fighters, but also retain the capacity for strike missions and various other operations. (These countries have the most Sukhoi fighter jets.)

Outside of fighter and attack aircraft, the fleet features a series of Ilyushin transport and tanker aircraft, which are intended to rival the American C-130 Hercules.

Overall the Russian air force boasts a diverse array of active aircraft and is known as one of the strongest in the world by sheer numbers, capable of maintaining strategic balance domestically and abroad. (These are all warship and submarine classes in the Russian Navy.)

Here is a closer look at the warplanes in Russia’s Air Force:

Why Are We Covering This?

Source: Laski Collection / Getty Images

Understanding Russia’s air force gives context to their modernization effort and geopolitical standing. Knowing which specific aircraft Russia employs also helps to understand their operational capacity when using these jets.

31. Be-200 Altair

Source: public domain / wikimedia commons
  • Type: Special mission
  • Active in Russian Air Force: 2
  • On order for the Russian Air Force: 0
  • First flight: September 24, 1998

30. An-12 Antei

  • Type: Transport
  • Active in Russian Air Force: 3
  • On order for the Russian Air Force: 0
  • First flight: February 27, 1965

29. IL-80 Maxdome

  • Type: Special mission
  • Active in Russian Air Force: 3
  • On order for the Russian Air Force: 0
  • First flight: March 5, 1987

28. IL-18 Coot

  • Type: Transport
  • Active in Russian Air Force: 4
  • On order for the Russian Air Force: 0
  • First flight: July 4, 1957

27. Tu-154 Careless

  • Type: Transport, special mission
  • Active in Russian Air Force: 4
  • On order for the Russian Air Force: 0
  • First flight: October 4, 1968

26. Tupolev Tu-214

  • Type: Special mission
  • Active in Russian Air Force: 4
  • On order for the Russian Air Force: 0
  • First flight: January 2, 1989

25. An-124 Ruslan Condor

  • Type: Transport
  • Active in Russian Air Force: 5
  • On order for the Russian Air Force: 0
  • First flight: December 24, 1982

24. Tu-134 Crusty

  • Type: Transport, special mission
  • Active in Russian Air Force: 6
  • On order for the Russian Air Force: 0
  • First flight: July 29, 1963

23. Be-12 Chayka

  • Type: Special mission
  • Active in Russian Air Force: 7
  • On order for the Russian Air Force: 0
  • First flight: October 18, 1960

22. Antonov An-140

Source: Konstantin von Wedelstaedt / Wikimedia Commons
  • Type: Transport, special mission
  • Active in Russian Air Force: 8
  • On order for the Russian Air Force: 0
  • First flight: September 17, 1997

21. Su-57 Felon

Source: Dmitry Potashkin / iStock Editorial via Getty Images
  • Type: Combat aircraft
  • Active in Russian Air Force: 14
  • On order for the Russian Air Force: 62
  • First flight: January 29, 2010

20. Antonov An-148

  • Type: Transport
  • Active in Russian Air Force: 15
  • On order for the Russian Air Force: 0
  • First flight: December 17, 2004

19. Tu-160 Blackjack

  • Type: Combat aircraft
  • Active in Russian Air Force: 15
  • On order for the Russian Air Force: 50
  • First flight: December 18, 1981

18. An-30 Clank

Source: sdasmarchives / Flickr
  • Type: Special mission
  • Active in Russian Air Force: 16
  • On order for the Russian Air Force: 0
  • First flight: August 21, 1967

17. IL-78 Midas

Source: Oleg Elkov / iStock Editorial via Getty Images
  • Type: Tanker
  • Active in Russian Air Force: 19
  • On order for the Russian Air Force: 31
  • First flight: June 26, 1983

16. Il-38 Dolphin

Source: Public domain / wikimedia commons
  • Type: Special mission
  • Active in Russian Air Force: 21
  • On order for the Russian Air Force: 0
  • First flight: September 28, 1961

15. IL-20 Coot-A

  • Type: Special mission
  • Active in Russian Air Force: 31
  • On order for the Russian Air Force: 0
  • First flight: July 4, 1957

14. Tu-142 Bear

Source: sdasmarchives / Flickr
  • Type: Special mission
  • Active in Russian Air Force: 32
  • On order for the Russian Air Force: 0
  • First flight: June 18, 1968

13. An-72 Coaler

  • Type: Transport
  • Active in Russian Air Force: 35
  • On order for the Russian Air Force: 0
  • First flight: August 31, 1977

12. Tu-95 Bear

Source: andDraw / iStock via Getty Images
  • Type: Combat aircraft
  • Active in Russian Air Force: 47
  • On order for the Russian Air Force: 0
  • First flight: November 1, 1952

11. Let L-410 Turbolet

  • Type: Transport
  • Active in Russian Air Force: 53
  • On order for the Russian Air Force: 2
  • First flight: April 16, 1969

10. Tu-22M Backfire

  • Type: Combat aircraft
  • Active in Russian Air Force: 58
  • On order for the Russian Air Force: 0
  • First flight: August 30, 1969

9. An-12 Cub

  • Type: Transport, special mission
  • Active in Russian Air Force: 64
  • On order for the Russian Air Force: 0
  • First flight: December 16, 1957

8. MiG-31 Foxhound

  • Type: Combat aircraft
  • Active in Russian Air Force: 128
  • On order for the Russian Air Force: 0
  • First flight: September 16, 1975

7. Su-34 Fullback

Source: my_public_domain_photos / Flickr
  • Type: Combat aircraft
  • Active in Russian Air Force: 134
  • On order for the Russian Air Force: 4
  • First flight: April 13, 1990

6. An-26 Curl

  • Type: Transport, special mission
  • Active in Russian Air Force: 139
  • On order for the Russian Air Force: 0
  • First flight: May 21, 1969

5. IL-76 Candid

Source: my_public_domain_photos / Flickr
  • Type: Transport, special mission
  • Active in Russian Air Force: 143
  • On order for the Russian Air Force: 11
  • First flight: March 25, 1971

4. Su-25 Grach Frogfoot

Source: my_public_domain_photos / Flickr
  • Type: Combat aircraft
  • Active in Russian Air Force: 176
  • On order for the Russian Air Force: 0
  • First flight: February 22, 1975

3. Mig-29 Fulcrum

Source: my_public_domain_photos / Flickr
  • Type: Combat aircraft
  • Active in Russian Air Force: 258
  • On order for the Russian Air Force: 31
  • First flight: October 6, 1977

2. Su-24 Fencer

Source: Kharkhan_Oleg / iStock Editorial via Getty Images
  • Type: Combat aircraft
  • Active in Russian Air Force: 300
  • On order for the Russian Air Force: 0
  • First flight: July 2, 1967

1. Su-27 Flanker

Source: Jozsef Soos / iStock Editorial via Getty Images
  • Type: Combat aircraft
  • Active in Russian Air Force: 409
  • On order for the Russian Air Force: 44
  • First flight: May 20, 1977

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