Special Report

Every US Combat Aircraft Currently in Service

usairforce / Flickr

Since World War II, combat aircraft have played an integral role in practically all major conflicts, owing to the military doctrine of air supremacy. Simply put, this means opposing forces are incapable of effective interference in the skies. Combat aircraft like interceptors, fighter jets, and strike aircraft are largely responsible for gaining air supremacy, and the United States has one of the largest and most advanced fleets of these combat aircraft. (These are the most widely flown military aircraft on Earth.)

Adversarial nations like Russia and China have competitive air forces but the U.S. Air Force is widely considered the strongest. Additionally, the U.S. Navy has a host of combat aircraft that it is capable of deploying from its carriers that span the globe, and the U.S. Marine Corps employs a handful of combat aircraft as well.

To identify every combat aircraft of the U.S. military, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the 2024 World Air Forces report from FlightGlobal, an aviation and aerospace industry publication. We ordered these aircraft by how many are currently in service and we excluded combat helicopters. We also included supplemental data on how many of these aircraft are on order and which military branch they fall under.

The F-35 Lightning II is one of the newest aircraft to join the ranks of the U.S. Armed Forces. It was manufactured by Lockheed Martin and introduced to service in 2016. Allies of the United States also employ this fighter jet in their air forces as well, and there are well over 1,000 of these aircraft on order worldwide.

Although not currently in service, the B-21 Raider is worth mentioning as it has already achieved test flight status for the U.S. Air Force. It will replace the B-2 Spirit in its role as a stealth bomber. Northrop Grumman is expecting to produce 100 of these stealth aircraft for the U.S. Air Force over the coming years. (These are the future combat aircraft of world air forces.)

Here is a look at every U.S. combat aircraft:

14. AT-802U

  • Active aircraft: 0
  • Aircraft on order: 75
  • Military branch: United States Air Force

13. B-21

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
  • Active aircraft: 0
  • Aircraft on order: 100
  • Military branch: United States Air Force

12. AC-130W

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
  • Active aircraft: 3
  • Aircraft on order:
  • Military branch: United States Air Force

11. B-2

  • Active aircraft: 17
  • Aircraft on order:
  • Military branch: United States Air Force

10. AC-130J

Source: ajw1970 / Flickr
  • Active aircraft: 29
  • Aircraft on order:
  • Military branch: United States Air Force

9. B-1B

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
  • Active aircraft: 42
  • Aircraft on order:
  • Military branch: United States Air Force

8. B-52H

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
  • Active aircraft: 72
  • Aircraft on order:
  • Military branch: United States Air Force

7. AV-8B/+

Source: my_public_domain_photos / Flickr
  • Active aircraft: 87
  • Aircraft on order:
  • Military branch: United States Marine Corps

6. F-22

Source: tomasdelcoro / Flickr
  • Active aircraft: 178
  • Aircraft on order:
  • Military branch: United States Air Force

5. A-10C

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
  • Active aircraft: 270
  • Aircraft on order:
  • Military branch: United States Air Force

4. F-35 A/B/C

Source: usairforce / Flickr
  • Active aircraft: 376
  • Aircraft on order: 1855
  • Military branch: United States Air Force, United States Marine Corps, United States Navy

3. F-15 C/E/EX

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
  • Active aircraft: 377
  • Aircraft on order: 102
  • Military branch: United States Air Force

2. F/A-18 A/C/D/E/F

  • Active aircraft: 561
  • Aircraft on order: 76
  • Military branch: United States Marine Corps, United States Navy

1. F-16C

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
  • Active aircraft: 738
  • Aircraft on order:
  • Military branch: United States Air Force

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