This summer, one of the most successful fighter jets ever built celebrated the 50th anniversary of its first flight.
Nicknamed the “MiG Killer” for its domination against Russian MiG-17s during the Vietnam War, the American F-15 fighter jet has racked up an impressive record of air-to-air kills. In fact, it was so impressive that more than 400 modern variants of the F-15 (the Eagle and Strike Eagle) are in service in the U.S. arsenal. (This is every plane in Russia’s air force.)
The F-15 may be legendary, but the lighter and less powerful F-16 is the No. 1 most common aircraft in the U.S. warplane arsenal thanks to its lower maintenance needs and better maneuverability. The U.S. Navy also maintains more than 100 F/A-18E/F Super Hornets, the warplane featured in the 2022 blockbuster “Tom Gun: Maverick.”
To compile a list of every plane in the U.S. military, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data from the World Directory of Modern Military Aircraft on the different types of aircraft in service as of June 2022 in the American Air Force, Army, Marine Corps, and Navy. Aircraft are ordered by total count. Helicopters were excluded from this list, as are planes that are on order, but not yet delivered. All data is from the WDMMA.
In cases where the WDMMA didn’t provide a year of first flight, we used other online resources, including the websites of Boeing and Lockheed Martin and aviation-related websites like Aerospaceweb.org. In most cases, the year of the first flight indicates the first flight of the earliest version of the aircraft. In some cases, we use the first flight year of a modernized variant. For example, the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet was first flown in 1995, but the F-18 that it’s based on first took to the sky in 1978.
Altogether, the U.S. has in service more than 2,300 fighter jets with the F-prefix, or nearly 35% of the U.S. arsenal of military planes This includes nearly 500 highly advanced and stealthy F-35 Lightning IIs and F-22 Raptors. (These are the largest air forces in the world.)
The U.S. Air Force has 4,453 planes, or about 61% of the 7,250 planes flown by all branches. Some of the planes are only the domain of the USAF, like all the bombers, while some, like the F-16 Fighting Falcon, are used by other branches as well. In total, the U.S. Army has 353 planes, the Marine Corps. 497 aircraft, and the Navy flies 1,947 planes. It is important to note that some branches rely more on helicopters, which are excluded from this list.
Fighters and trainers make up the largest portion of the American warplane arsenal, totaling nearly 4,400 planes or 61%. About 300 planes are fighters involved in close air support of ground forces, like the Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II, known as the Warthog, and the Lockheed AC-130, the heavily armed version of the C-130 Hercules transport aircraft.
The rest of the planes include nearly 622 aerial refuelers and nearly 939 transporters. The U.S. also has about 150 strategic bombers, led by the classic Boeing B-52, the nuclear-bomber famously featured in the 1964 film “Dr. Strangelove,” and 824 special missions aircraft.
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