Special Report

Every Plane in the US Military

my_public_domain_photos / Flickr

The release of Top Gun: Maverick, this past summer inspired new interest in aerial combat and the U.S. military’s fighter jets, new and old. The main fighter jet used in the movie is the F/A-18F Super Hornet, part of the U.S. Navy’s fleet of carrier-borne warplanes. The E and F are the latest iteration of a jet that has been around for decades, and even the Super Hornet is more than 20 years old. But it is far from the newest or oldest plane, and arguably the most iconic, in the U.S. military’s substantial fleet of jets and bombers. 

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 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.

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.

Here is every plane in the U.S. military.

Source: Boeing746 / iStock via Getty Images

68. Saab 340
> Total planes: 1 (Tied)
> First flown: 1983
> Category: Trainers
> Role: Flight Trainer
> Military branch: US Navy

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Source: lilly3 / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

67. de Havilland Canada DHC-3 Otter
> Total planes: 1 (Tied)
> First flown: 1951
> Category: Trainers
> Role: Flight Trainer
> Military branch: US Navy

66. de Havilland Canada DHC-7 Otter
> Total planes: 1 (Tied)
> First flown: 1975
> Category: Trainers
> Role: Flight Trainer
> Military branch: US Army

Source: Kristian1108 / iStock Unreleased via Getty Images

65. de Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver
> Total planes: 2 (Tied)
> First flown: 1947
> Category: Trainers
> Role: Flight Trainer
> Military branch: US Navy

Source: dylan33 / Flickr

64. Gulfstream G100
> Total planes: 2 (Tied)
> First flown: 1984
> Category: Transports
> Role: VIP
> Military branch: US Navy

Source: dylan33 / Flickr

63. Dassault Falcon 20
> Total planes: 2 (Tied)
> First flown: 1976
> Category: Special-Mission
> Role: Reconnaissance
> Military branch: US Air Force

62. Beechcraft 1900
> Total planes: 3 (Tied)
> First flown: *
> Category: Transports
> Role: Utility
> Military branch: US Army

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Source: nuttapong / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

61. Cessna 208
> Total planes: 3 (Tied)
> First flown: 1982
> Category: Special-Mission, Transports
> Role: Reconnaissance, Utility
> Military branch: US Air Force, Army

Source: DanKingImages / Getty Images

60. Bombardier Global Express
> Total planes: 3 (Tied)
> First flown: 1996
> Category: Special-Mission
> Role: Communications
> Military branch: US Air Force

Source: dylan33 / Flickr

59. Boeing C-32
> Total planes: 4 (Tied)
> First flown: 1988
> Category: Special-Mission
> Role: Reconnaissance
> Military branch: US Air Force

58. Boeing E-4 Nightwatch
> Total planes: 4 (Tied)
> First flown: 1973
> Category: Special-Mission
> Role: Communications
> Military branch: US Air Force

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Source: fotoglee / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

57. CASA C-212 Aviocar
> Total planes: 5 (Tied)
> First flown: 1971
> Category: Transports
> Role: Utility
> Military branch: US Army

Source: nuttapong / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

56. Airbus (EADS CASA) CN-235
> Total planes: 5 (Tied)
> First flown: 1983
> Category: Special-Mission
> Role: Reconnaissance
> Military branch: US Air Force

55. PZL M28 Skytruck
> Total planes: 5 (Tied)
> First flown: 1984
> Category: Transports
> Role: Tactical
> Military branch: US Air Force

54. Gulfstream IV
> Total planes: 6 (Tied)
> First flown: 1985
> Category: Transports
> Role: VIP/Utility
> Military branch: US Navy, Army, Air Force, Marine Corps

53. de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter
> Total planes: 6 (Tied)
> First flown: 1965
> Category: Transports
> Role: Utility
> Military branch: US Army, Air Force

52. Embraer EMB-314 (Super Tucano)
> Total planes: 6 (Tied)
> First flown: 1999
> Category: Trainers
> Role: Basic Trainer
> Military branch: US Air Force

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Source: ncristian / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

51. Alenia C-27 J Spartan
> Total planes: 7
> First flown: 1999
> Category: Transports
> Role: Tactical
> Military branch: US Army

Source: DimaBerkut / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

50. Grob G120
> Total planes: 11 (Tied)
> First flown: 1999
> Category: Trainers
> Role: Flight Trainer
> Military branch: US Army, Air Force

49. Beechcraft King Air
> Total planes: 11 (Tied)
> First flown: 1963
> Category: Trainers
> Role: Flight Trainer
> Military branch: US Army

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

48. Lockheed EP-3 Orion / ARIES / ARIES II
> Total planes: 12
> First flown: 1958
> Category: Special-Mission
> Role: Electronic intelligence
> Military branch: US Navy

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Source: Lukas Wunderlich / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

47. Boeing 737
> Total planes: 15
> First flown: 1967
> Category: Transports
> Role: Transport
> Military branch: US Navy

Source: AllenJMSmith / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

46. Boeing E-6 Mercury
> Total planes: 16
> First flown: 1987
> Category: Special-Mission
> Role: Communications
> Military branch: US Navy

45. Northrop Grumman E-8 Joint STARS
> Total planes: 17
> First flown: 1991
> Category: Special-Mission, Trainers
> Role: Reconnaissance, Reconnaissance Trainer
> Military branch: US Air Force

44. Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit
> Total planes: 19
> First flown: 1985
> Category: Bombers
> Role: Strategic
> Military branch: US Air Force

43. C-21 (Learjet 35)
> Total planes: 20 (Tied)
> First flown: 1973
> Category: Special-Mission, Transports
> Role: Reconnaissance, Utility
> Military branch: US Navy, Air Force

42. Fairchild Swearingen Metroliner
> Total planes: 20 (Tied)
> First flown: 1969
> Category: Special-Mission, Transports, Trainers
> Role: Reconnaissance, Fighter Trainer, Utility
> Military branch: US Navy, Army

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41. Dornier Do 328
> Total planes: 20 (Tied)
> First flown: 1991
> Category: Transports
> Role: Airliner
> Military branch: US Air Force

40. de Havilland Canada Dash 8
> Total planes: 21
> First flown: 1983
> Category: Special-Mission
> Role: Reconnaissance
> Military branch: US Army, Air Force

39. Cirrus SR20
> Total planes: 25
> First flown: 1995
> Category: Trainers
> Role: Flight Trainer
> Military branch: US Air Force

38. Grumman C-2 Greyhound
> Total planes: 27 (Tied)
> First flown: 1964
> Category: Transports
> Role: Tactical
> Military branch: US Navy

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Source: sdasmarchives / Flickr

37. Boeing C-135 Stratolifter
> Total planes: 27 (Tied)
> First flown: 1961
> Category: Special-Mission
> Role: Observation, ELINT, Crew Trainer
> Military branch: US Air Force

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

36. Lockheed AC-130
> Total planes: 27 (Tied)
> First flown: 1966
> Category: Close-Air Support
> Role: Close-Air Support
> Military branch: US Air Force

Source: my_public_domain_photos / Flickr

35. Lockheed U-2 (Dragon Lady)
> Total planes: 30
> First flown: 1955
> Category: Special-Mission, Trainers
> Role: Reconnaissance, Special Mission
> Military branch: US Air Force

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

34. Boeing E-3 Sentry
> Total planes: 31
> First flown: 1972
> Category: Special-Mission
> Role: Airborne Early Warning
> Military branch: US Air Force

33. Pilatus PC-12
> Total planes: 36 (Tied)
> First flown: 1991
> Category: Transports, Special-Mission
> Role: Utility
> Military branch: US Navy, Air Force

Source: my_public_domain_photos / Flickr

32. Boeing KC-46 Pegasus
> Total planes: 36 (Tied)
> First flown: 2015
> Category: Aerial Tankers / Refuelers
> Role: Aerial Refueling
> Military branch: US Air Force

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Source: vandervliet93 / Getty Images

31. Cessna Citation
> Total planes: 40
> First flown: 1972
> Category: Transports
> Role: Utility
> Military branch: US Marine Corps, Army

Source: my_public_domain_photos / Flickr

30. Northrop F-5 Tiger II
> Total planes: 42
> First flown: 1959
> Category: Trainers
> Role: OPFOR Trainer
> Military branch: US Navy, Marine Corps

Source: my_public_domain_photos / Flickr

29. Lockheed P-3 Orion
> Total planes: 52 (Tied)
> First flown: 1959
> Category: Special-Mission
> Role: Reconnaissance, Maritime Patrol
> Military branch: US Navy

28. Diamond DA20 Katana
> Total planes: 52 (Tied)
> First flown: 1991
> Category: Trainers
> Role: Flight Trainer
> Military branch: US Air Force

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Source: PJSFOTOMEDIA / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

27. Lockheed C-5 Galaxy
> Total planes: 52 (Tied)
> First flown: 1968
> Category: Transports
> Role: Strategic
> Military branch: US Air Force

Source: Clive Wells / iStock via Getty Images

26. McDonnell Douglas KC-10 Extender
> Total planes: 58
> First flown: 1980
> Category: Aerial Tankers / Refuelers
> Role: Aerial Refueling
> Military branch: US Air Force

25. Rockwell B-1 Lancer
> Total planes: 59
> First flown: 1974
> Category: Bombers
> Role: Strategic
> Military branch: US Air Force

24. Lockheed KC-130 Hercules
> Total planes: 67
> First flown: 1954
> Category: Aerial Tankers / Refuelers
> Role: Aerial Refueling
> Military branch: US Navy, Marine Corps

Source: Endrudphotography / iStock via Getty Images

23. Boeing B-52 Stratofortress
> Total planes: 74
> First flown: 1952
> Category: Bombers
> Role: Strategic
> Military branch: US Air Force

Source: Ryan Fletcher / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

22. Beechcraft T-34 Mentor
> Total planes: 78
> First flown: 1948
> Category: Trainers
> Role: Basic Trainer
> Military branch: US Navy, Marine Corps

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21. Boeing P-8 Poseidon
> Total planes: 81
> First flown: 2009
> Category: Special-Mission
> Role: Maritime Patrol
> Military branch: US Navy

20. Northrop Grumman E-2 Hawkeye
> Total planes: 84
> First flown: 1960
> Category: Special-Mission, Trainers
> Role: Airborne Early Warning, Crew/Systems Trainer
> Military branch: US Navy

19. McDonnell Douglas AV-8B Harrier II
> Total planes: 118
> First flown: 1978
> Category: Trainers, Fighters
> Role: Strike, Strike Trainer
> Military branch: US Marine Corps

Source: my_public_domain_photos / Flickr

18. Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet
> Total planes: 133
> First flown: 1995
> Category: Trainers
> Role: Fighter Trainer, Multirole
> Military branch: US Navy

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Source: WhitcombeRD / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

17. Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules
> Total planes: 150 (Tied)
> First flown: 1996
> Category: Transports
> Role: Tactical
> Military branch: US Navy, Air Force

16. Raytheon T-1 Jayhawk
> Total planes: 150 (Tied)
> First flown: 1991
> Category: Trainers
> Role: Fighter Trainer
> Military branch: US Air Force

Source: my_public_domain_photos / Flickr

15. Boeing EA-18G Growler
> Total planes: 153
> First flown: 2006
> Category: Special-Mission
> Role: Electronic Warfare
> Military branch: US Navy

Source: my_public_domain_photos / Flickr

14. Lockheed F-22 Raptor
> Total planes: 178
> First flown: 1997
> Category: Fighters
> Role: Air Superiority
> Military branch: US Air Force

Source: Robert Sullivan / Public Domain / Flickr

13. McDonnell Douglas T-45 Goshawk
> Total planes: 194
> First flown: 1988
> Category: Trainers
> Role: Advanced Jet Trainer
> Military branch: US Navy

Source: my_public_domain_photos / Flickr

12. Boeing F-15E Strike Eagle
> Total planes: 218
> First flown: 1986
> Category: Fighters
> Role: Multirole/Strike
> Military branch: US Air Force

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11. Boeing C-17 Globemaster III
> Total planes: 222
> First flown: 1991
> Category: Transports
> Role: Strategic/Tactical
> Military branch: US Air Force

Source: my_public_domain_photos / Flickr

10. Boeing F-15 Eagle
> Total planes: 236
> First flown: 1972
> Category: Trainers
> Role: Fighter Trainer, Fighter
> Military branch: US Air Force

9. Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II
> Total planes: 286
> First flown: 1972
> Category: Close-Air Support
> Role: Close-Air Support
> Military branch: US Air Force

Source: gsmudger / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

8. Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules
> Total planes: 309
> First flown: 1954
> Category: Special-Mission, Transports, Aerial Tankers / Refuelers
> Role: Electronic Warfare, Search & Rescue, Aerial Refueling, Tactical
> Military branch: US Air Force

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7. Lockheed F-35 Lightning II
> Total planes: 317
> First flown: 2006
> Category: Trainers, Fighters
> Role: Strike Trainer, Strike
> Military branch: US Navy, Marine Corps

6. Beechcraft Super King Air
> Total planes: 330
> First flown: 1972
> Category: Trainers, Transports, Special-Mission
> Role: Flight Trainer, Reconnaissance, Utility
> Military branch: US Navy, Air Force, Army, Marine Corps

5. Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker
> Total planes: 396
> First flown: 1956
> Category: Aerial Tankers / Refuelers
> Role: Aerial Refueling
> Military branch: US Air Force

4. McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet
> Total planes: 448
> First flown: 1978
> Category: Trainers, Fighters
> Role: Fighter Trainer, Multirole
> Military branch: US Navy, Marine Corps

3. Northrop T-38 Talon
> Total planes: 455
> First flown: 1959
> Category: Trainers
> Role: Advanced Jet Trainer, Basic Trainer
> Military branch: US Navy, Air Force

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2. Raytheon T-6 Texan II
> Total planes: 474
> First flown: 1998
> Category: Trainers
> Role: Basic Trainer, Advanced Jet Trainer
> Military branch: US Navy, Army, Air Force

Source: my_public_domain_photos / Flickr

1. Lockheed F-16 Fighting Falcon
> Total planes: 803
> First flown: 1974
> Category: Fighters, Trainers
> Role: OPFOR (opposing force) Trainer, Multrole
> Military branch: US Navy, Air Force

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