Military

These Are the Biggest and Smallest Modern Fighter Jets

bbevren / iStock via Getty Images

Ukraine recently announced that it successfully hit the latest generation of Russian fighter jet, the Sukhoi Su-57 Felon. These are fifth-generation fighter jets equipped with some of the world’s best stealth and avionics technology, so hitting them is fairly hard to do despite their size. (These are the most widely used fighter jets on Earth.)

Out of all the fighter jets in the world, the Su-57 Felon is actually one of the biggest, even though it has one of the smallest radar cross-sections as a result of its stealth technology. A few other Sukhoi fighter jets are fairly large as well, compared to their western counterparts. Here, 24/7 Wall St. is taking a closer look at biggest and smallest modern fighter jets.

To determine the biggest and smallest modern fighter jets, 24/7 Wall St. referenced Military Factory, an online database of military vehicles, aircraft, arms, and more. Aircraft were ranked by their empty weight. Supplemental data regarding manufacturer, speed, and more also came from Military Factory.

Most modern fighter jets are designed with specific tactical roles in mind, and to a degree this influences their dimensions. While some are built for stealth and agility, others are intended to carry a much larger payload. Size can affect performance, and then suitability for certain missions as well. (These are the oldest and newest fighter jets in modern air forces.)

Here is a look at the biggest and smallest modern fighter jets:

Why Are We Covering This?

Source: bfk92 / E+ via Getty Images

Understanding fighter jets and their size provides insight into global military capabilities and defense strategies. Also knowing these aircraft helps in threat assessment and the development of effective countermeasures.

42. MiG-21 (Fishbed)

Source: VanderWolf-Images / iStock Editorial via Getty Images
  • Empty weight: 11,464 lbs
  • Type: Single-seat supersonic fighter aircraft
  • Year introduced: 1959
  • Manufacturer: Mikoyan-Gurevich
  • Top speed: 1,386 mph

41. AV-8B Harrier II

Source: Robert Sullivan / Public Domain / Flickr
  • Empty weight: 13,977 lbs
  • Type: Short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) strike aircraft
  • Year introduced: 1985
  • Manufacturer: McDonnell Douglas / Boeing / BAe Systems
  • Top speed: 665 mph

40. F-CK-1 (Ching-Kuo)

  • Empty weight: 14,330 lbs
  • Type: Lightweight multirole fighter aircraft
  • Year introduced: 1994
  • Manufacturer: Aerospace Industrial Development Corporation
  • Top speed: 1,379 mph

39. HAL Tejas LCA

  • Empty weight: 14,440 lbs
  • Type: Lightweight multirole fighter aircraft
  • Year introduced: 2015
  • Manufacturer: Hindustan Aeronautics Limited
  • Top speed: 1,227 mph

38. Mirage III

Source: edurivero / Getty Images
  • Empty weight: 14,495 lbs
  • Type: Interceptor aircraft / Strike fighter
  • Year introduced: 1961
  • Manufacturer: Dassault Aviation
  • Top speed: 1,312 mph

37. PAC JF-17 Thunder

Source: Public Domain via my_public_domain_photos / Flickr
  • Empty weight: 14,517 lbs
  • Type: Lightweight multi-role fighter aircraft
  • Year introduced: 2007
  • Manufacturer: Pakistan Aeronautical Complex
  • Top speed: 1,218 mph

36. JAS 39 Gripen (Griffin)

Slovakia+military+aircraft | JAS-39 Gripen Czechia
Source: slezo / Flickr
  • Empty weight: 14,991 lbs
  • Type: Lightweight multi-role fighter aircraft
  • Year introduced: 1997
  • Manufacturer: Saab AB
  • Top speed: 1,370 mph

35. IAI Kfir (Lion Cub)

  • Empty weight: 16,061 lbs
  • Type: Multi-role combat aircraft
  • Year introduced: 1976
  • Manufacturer: Israel Aircraft Industries
  • Top speed: 1,516 mph

34. Mirage F1

Source: Maltaguy1 / iStock Editorial via Getty Images
  • Empty weight: 16,314 lbs
  • Type: Interceptor aircraft
  • Year introduced: 1973
  • Manufacturer: Dassault Aviation
  • Top speed: 1,453 mph

33. Mirage 2000 (M2000)

  • Empty weight: 16,535 lbs
  • Type: Strike fighter aircraft
  • Year introduced: 1979
  • Manufacturer: Dassault Aviation
  • Top speed: 1,453 mph

32. KAI KF-16 Fighting Falcon

Source: Public Domain / Defense Visual Information Distribution Service
  • Empty weight: 18,739 lbs
  • Type: Multi-role fighter aircraft
  • Year introduced: 1991
  • Manufacturer: Korean Aerospace Industries
  • Top speed: 870 mph

31. F-16 Fighting Falcon

Source: my_public_domain_photos / Flickr
  • Empty weight: 18,960 lbs
  • Type: Lightweight multi-role fighter aircraft
  • Year introduced: 1978
  • Manufacturer: General Dynamics / Lockheed Martin
  • Top speed: 1,317 mph

30. Mitsubishi F-2

Source: my_public_domain_photos / Flickr
  • Empty weight: 20,944 lbs
  • Type: Multi-role fighter aircraft
  • Year introduced: 2000
  • Manufacturer: Mitsubishi / Lockheed Martin
  • Top speed: 1,553 mph

29. MiG-23 (Flogger)

  • Empty weight: 21,164 lbs
  • Type: Swing-wing fighter-interceptor aircraft
  • Year introduced: 1970
  • Manufacturer: Mikoyan-Gurevich
  • Top speed: 1,553 mph

28. Chengdu J-10 (Vicious Dragon)

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
  • Empty weight: 21,451 lbs
  • Type: Fighter-bomber aircraft
  • Year introduced: 2005
  • Manufacturer: Chengdu Aircraft Industry Corporation (CAIC) / Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC)
  • Top speed: 1,452 mph

27. Shenyang J-8 / J-8 II (Finback)

Source: allenthepostman / Flickr
  • Empty weight: 21,649 lbs
  • Type: Fighter-bomber aircraft
  • Year introduced: 1980
  • Manufacturer: Aviation Industry Corporation of China
  • Top speed: 1,453 mph

26. F-16V (Viper)

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
  • Empty weight: 22,046 lbs
  • Type: Multi-role fighter aircraft
  • Year introduced: 2017
  • Manufacturer: Lockheed Martin / Hellenic Aerospace Industry
  • Top speed: 917 mph

25. Dassault Rafale

Source: 39955793@N07 / Flickr
  • Empty weight: 22,708 lbs
  • Type: Fighter-bomber aircraft
  • Year introduced: 2001
  • Manufacturer: Dassault Aviation
  • Top speed: 1,383 mph

24. F/A-18 Hornet

  • Empty weight: 22,928 lbs
  • Type: Carrier-based strike fighter aircraft
  • Year introduced: 1983
  • Manufacturer: McDonnell Douglas / Boeing / Northrop
  • Top speed: 1,190 mph

23. MiG-29 (Fulcrum)

Source: my_public_domain_photos / Flickr
  • Empty weight: 24,028 lbs
  • Type: Lightweight multi-role fighter aircraft
  • Year introduced: 1984
  • Manufacturer: Mikoyan OKB / United Aircraft Corporation
  • Top speed: 1,519 mph

22. MiG-35 (Fulcrum-F)

Source: my_public_domain_photos / Flickr
  • Empty weight: 24,251 lbs
  • Type: Multi-role fighter aircraft
  • Year introduced: 2020
  • Manufacturer: Russian Aircraft Corporation MIG
  • Top speed: 1,491 mph

21. Eurofighter Typhoon (EF2000)

  • Empty weight: 24,251 lbs
  • Type: Fighter-bomber aircraft
  • Year introduced: 2003
  • Manufacturer: BAe Systems / Eurofighter GmbH
  • Top speed: 1,550 mph

20. Sukhoi Su-17 / Su-20 / Su-22 (Fitter)

NATO Airfield | Two Polish Air Force Su-22 fighter-bombers at a NATO exercise.
Source: Timm Ziegenthaler/Stocktrek Images / Stocktrek Images via Getty Images
  • Empty weight: 26,808 lbs
  • Type: Strike fighter aircraft
  • Year introduced: 1970
  • Manufacturer: Sukhoi
  • Top speed: 718 mph

19. F-15 Eagle

Source: usairforce / Flickr
  • Empty weight: 27,000 lbs
  • Type: Air superiority fighter aircraft
  • Year introduced: 1976
  • Manufacturer: McDonnell Douglas / Boeing
  • Top speed: 1,875 mph

18. F-35 Lightning II

Source: Robert Sullivan / Public Domain / Flickr
  • Empty weight: 29,002 lbs
  • Type: Advanced multi-role strike fighter aircraft
  • Year introduced: 2016
  • Manufacturer: Lockheed Martin / Northrop Grumman / BAe Systems
  • Top speed: 1,199 mph

17. F-4 Phantom II

Source: VanderWolf-Images / iStock Editorial via Getty Images
  • Empty weight: 30,329 lbs
  • Type: Carrier-based strike fighter aircraft
  • Year introduced: 1960
  • Manufacturer: McDonnell Douglas
  • Top speed: 1,473 mph

16. F/A-18 Super Hornet

Source: public domain / flickr
  • Empty weight: 30,565 lbs
  • Type: Carrier-based strike fighter aircraft
  • Year introduced: 1999
  • Manufacturer: McDonnell Douglas / Boeing
  • Top speed: 1,187 mph

15. Panavia Tornado ECR

  • Empty weight: 30,644 lbs
  • Type: Suppression of Enemy Air Defense (SEAD) Aircraft
  • Year introduced: 1990
  • Manufacturer: Panavia Aircraft GmbH / British Aviation Systems / MBB
  • Top speed: 1,491 mph

14. Panavia Tornado IDS

Source: my_public_domain_photos / Flickr
  • Empty weight: 30,644 lbs
  • Type: Low-level strike aircraft
  • Year introduced: 1979
  • Manufacturer: Panavia Aircraft GmbH / British Aviation Systems
  • Top speed: 1,491 mph

13. F-15E Strike Eagle

  • Empty weight: 31,526 lbs
  • Type: Strike fighter aircraft
  • Year introduced: 1988
  • Manufacturer: McDonnell Douglas / Boeing
  • Top speed: 1,653 mph

12. Xian JH-7 (Flounder) / FBC-1 (Flying Leopard)

Source: Alert5 / Wikimedia Commons
  • Empty weight: 31,967 lbs
  • Type: Fighter-bomber aircraft
  • Year introduced: 1992
  • Manufacturer: Xian Aircraft Industry Corporation
  • Top speed: 1,118 mph

11. F-22 Raptor

  • Empty weight: 31,998 lbs
  • Type: Air dominance fighter aircraft
  • Year introduced: 2005
  • Manufacturer: Boeing / Lockheed Martin
  • Top speed: 1,599 mph

10. Sukhoi Su-33 (Flanker-D)

  • Empty weight: 36,110 lbs
  • Type: Carrier-based air defense fighter aircraft
  • Year introduced: 1994
  • Manufacturer: Sukhoi OKB
  • Top speed: 1,553 mph

9. Sukhoi Su-27 (Flanker)

Source: Jozsef Soos / iStock Editorial via Getty Images
  • Empty weight: 36,112 lbs
  • Type: Multi-role air superiority fighter
  • Year introduced: 1985
  • Manufacturer: Sukhoi OKB / United Aircraft Corporation
  • Top speed: 1,553 mph

8. Shenyang J-11 (Flanker B+)

  • Empty weight: 37,192 lbs
  • Type: Multi-role air superiority fighter
  • Year introduced: 1998
  • Manufacturer: Shenyang Aircraft Corporation / Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC)
  • Top speed: 1,553 mph

7. Sukhoi Su-35 (Flanker-E / Super Flanker)

Source: my_public_domain_photos / Flickr
  • Empty weight: 37,920 lbs
  • Type: Multi-role heavy combat fighter aircraft
  • Year introduced: 2014
  • Manufacturer: Sukhoi OKB
  • Top speed: 1,491 mph

6. Chengdu J-20 (Black Eagle)

  • Empty weight: 38,801 lbs
  • Type: Multi-role fighter aircraft
  • Year introduced: 2017
  • Manufacturer: Chengdu Aircraft Industry Corporation (CAIC) / Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC)
  • Top speed: 1,305 mph

5. Shenyang J-15 (Flying Shark)

Source: 日本防衛省・統合幕僚監部 / Wikimedia Commons
  • Empty weight: 39,022 lbs
  • Type: Carrier-based multi-role fighter aircraft
  • Year introduced: 2013
  • Manufacturer: Shenyang Aircraft Corporation / Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC)
  • Top speed: 1,305 mph

4. Sukhoi Su-30 (Flanker-C)

Source: scaliger / iStock Editorial via Getty Images
  • Empty weight: 39,022 lbs
  • Type: Twin-engine air superiority strike fighter aircraft
  • Year introduced: 1996
  • Manufacturer: Sukhoi Design Bureau
  • Top speed: 1,317 mph

3. Sukhoi Su-57 (Felon)

Source: Dmitry Potashkin / iStock Editorial via Getty Images
  • Empty weight: 40,786 lbs
  • Type: Multi-role stealth aircraft
  • Year introduced: 2019
  • Manufacturer: Sukhoi OKB / United Aircraft Corporation
  • Top speed: 1,616 mph

2. Grumman F-14 Tomcat

Source: Willard / iStock via Getty Images
  • Empty weight: 43,740 lbs
  • Type: Swing-wing, carrier-based fleet defense fighter
  • Year introduced: 1974
  • Manufacturer: Grumman Aircraft
  • Top speed: 1,544 mph

1. Mig-31 (Foxhound)

  • Empty weight: 48,116 lbs
  • Type: Supersonic interceptor aircraft
  • Year introduced: 1979
  • Manufacturer: Mikoyan OKB / United Aircraft Corporation
  • Top speed: 1,864 mph

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