As technology continues to advance, the world is in awe of what can be accomplished. However, the military is always styling up their weaponry and taking it to the next level.
We’ve seen how fighter jets have progressed into some of the most advanced machines to ever hit the skies, but how far can they go? How advanced will fighter jets become in the future?
Let’s take a look at some of the top contenders.
1. Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II
The Lockheed Martin F-35 (nicknamed “Lightning II”) is a family of single-seat, single-engine, stealth multirole fighters deployed in 2015 after intensive testing. It is the most advanced fighter jet in the world.
The fifth-generation fighter aircraft is designed to perform ground strike missions and air defense missions. It is also highly maneuverable and can sustain high G loads in combat situations.
The F-35 has three main models: the F-35A conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) variant, the F-35B short take-off and vertical-landing (STOVL) variant, and the F-35C carrier-based catapult assisted take-off, but arrested recovery (CATOBAR) variant used my marine corps.
Designed to be a superior fighter, it is equipped with the most advanced weapons systems and packs a serious punch with a 25mm Gatling Gun.
The US Air Force sees the F-35 as a breakthrough platform that will allow them to maintain its overmatch against any future formidable air threat. The United States is expected to be the leading operator of the F-35, with projected procurement of over 2,400 aircraft.
2. Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor
The Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor is an American twin-engine, all-weather, single-seat, stealth, and fifth-generation fighter jet. The aircraft began development in the 1980s and entered active service in 2005, with the prototype was unveiled in 1989.
Lockheed Martin developed it for the United States Air Force (USAF) result of the USAF Advanced Tactical Fighter program.
The F-22 can reach speeds of up to Mach 2 without an afterburner and can supercruise without an afterburner. Primarily, the F-22 serves as a straightforward air superiority fighter but has additional capabilities, including ground attack, electronic warfare, and signals intelligence roles.
The aircraft was designed to be minimally susceptible to detection by radar and other sensors, employ advanced avionics and communications devices, and be highly maneuverable.
Although several tons heavier than today’s fighters without pilot armor in service, the F-22 has proven capable of special air missions and is expected to remain operational up to 2050.
Costing about $100 million each, it carries armaments such as a Sidewinder, AMRAAM missiles, and a 20 mm M61 Vulcan cannon.
3. Sukhoi Su-57
The Sukhoi Su-57 is a single-seat, twin-engine supermaneuverable multirole fighter aircraft designed for air superiority and ground attack. Sukhoi designed and developed the jet, and the Russian Air Force uses it.
The Su-57 is intended to replace the Mikoyan MiG-29, but this has been restructured since late 2015 to extend the service of the MiG-29s and allow the Su-57 to undergo further testing and development of the aircraft features.
The Su-57 can support a variety of roles, including air supremacy, interdiction, aerial reconnaissance, and airborne assault. Its maneuverability and speed rival that of even the fiercest of fighters. It has state-of-the-art weaponry that includes air-to-air missiles and air-to-surface missiles.
Its intended primary role is as a stealth air superiority fighter. It can carry an array of weaponry, including air-to-air missiles (R-77 or R-74M2), anti-ship missiles (Kh-31A or the Kh-35UE), and guided bombs (KAB-500Kr or the KAB-1500Kr), and even nuclear weapons.
The estimated unit cost is between $30 million and USD 35 million.
4. Chengdu J-20
The Chengdu J-20 is a Chinese single-seat, twin-engine, fifth-generation stealthy aircraft. The Chengdu Aerospace Corporation designed it for the Chinese Air Force. The J-20 made its first flight on 11 January 2011 and entered the initial operational capability phase in March 2017.
Developed as an air superiority fighter with precision strike capability, the J-20 is designed to counter the United States’ next-generation F-22 Raptor stealth fighter and augment China’s manned air combat force. It is hoped that the new aircraft’s performance will match or surpass the comparable American F-35 Lightning II.
The J-20 has a large internal weapons bay that can fit long-range missiles and other weapons. It is primarily tasked with destroying enemy air defenses, tanks, artillery, and ships—all of which happen to be the types of targets the US military is likely to deploy in a conflict with China.
Each J-20 would cost between $110 million and $130 million if bought by a foreign country.
5. Dassault Rafale
The Dassault Rafale is a multi-role fighter aircraft introduced in 2001 by Dassault Aviation of France.
The Rafale can be tailor-made to suit the needs of each country it is sold to. The French Air Force and Navy rely on this aircraft for all three of their front-line missions: air superiority, ground support, and nuclear deterrence.
The Rafale fighter jet has a top speed of Mach 1.8 (2,222 km/h) with a thrust-to-weight ratio greater than 1.
It can carry a wide range of weapons, including the Meteor beyond visual range air-to-air missile with over 100km and Scalp cruise missiles capable of striking targets at distances over 300km away with pinpoint accuracy. It also carries laser-guided bombs, air-to-ground precision munitions, and short-range air-to-air missiles.
The Dassault Rafale is described as being “agile” and “powerful”, having demonstrated its multiple capabilities during operations over Afghanistan.
Dassault Rafale costs about $94 million for each unit.
6. Boeing F-15EX Eagle II
The F-15 EX Eagle is the world’s most modern fighter aircraft and the only one to feature a fully digital cockpit. It is America’s ultimate weapon which has been proven in several aerial battles. Its design is based on the original F-15 Eagle, first introduced in 1972, but it has much more powerful engines and can carry much more weaponry.
It has the distinction of being the world’s most successful modern-day fighter jet, with over 100 aerial combat victories and no losses in dogfights. The Israeli Air Force performed the majority of the air victories.
The aircraft is equipped with a 20mm Vulcan cannon and can carry up to 22,000 pounds (10,000 kg) of weapons, including AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles and AIM-120 AMRAAM air-to-air missiles on nine external hardpoints as well as internally in its lower bays.
With speed, precision, and payload capacity like that of the F-15 Advanced Eagle, there’s no wonder so many countries have turned to this cutting-edge vehicle to bolster their air superiority and bombing tactics.
The F-15 Advanced Eagle costs around $35 million per unit.
7. Eurofighter Typhoon
The Eurofighter Typhoon is a 4.5 generation multi-role fighter jet with three variants: the single-seat, the two-seat Trainer, and the Tornado ADV reconnaissance and strike aircraft.
It was developed by a consortium of three companies: Alenia Aeronautica, BAE Systems, and EADS. It is a highly agile aircraft that combines supercruise, stealth, advanced avionics, and sensor fusion.
The Eurofighter Typhoon has outstanding performance and features. It can reach Mach 1.5 at high altitude with 2D thrust vectoring nozzles on EJ200 engines. The warplane is equipped with advanced avionics. The airframe is designed to minimize the plane’s Radar Cross Section (RCS).
The primary role of the Eurofighter Typhoon is air superiority and air defense. It has the capability to conduct ground attacks and reconnaissance missions as well. The fighter aircraft has many weapons used during battles, such as CIRIT laser-guided 70 mm rockets, AIM-132 ASRAAM missiles, AIM-120 AMRAAM missiles, ALARM anti-radiation missiles, 1000 lb bombs with Paveway guidance kits.
Eurofighter’s estimated price within the European Union and other allied nations is USD 50 million. In 2018, the Indian Air Force purchased the Typhoon at the cost of USD 138, according to Airbus reports.
8. Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet
The F/A-18E/F Super Hornet is a twin-engine fighter aircraft designed as both a fighter and attack aircraft (hence the “E” and “F” designation). It is larger than the original F/A-18 Hornet.
The Super Hornet can take supersonic flights without an afterburner. It can perform its roles of fighter escort, fleet air defense, suppression of enemy air defenses, interdiction, close air support, and day/night strike missions with significant efficiency.
It also has advanced avionics, weaponry systems, stealth capabilities, and electronic countermeasures in high-threat environments such as combat zones. The Super Hornet has an internal 20mm M61A1 cannon and 11 weapons stations that hold air-to-air missiles, air-to-ground missiles, guided bombs, and other munitions.
Its weapons include AIM-9 Sidewinder short-range infrared homing missiles, AIM-7 Sparrow semi-active radar homing missiles, and AGM-65 Maverick missiles for all-weather attacks. It can also mount AGM-88 HARM anti-radiation missiles for targeting hostile radar sites. The aircraft is armed with a 20mm M61 rotary cannon that carries 578 rounds internally.
The cost per aircraft unit is roughly USD 57 million.
9. Sukhoi Su-35
The Sukhoi Su-35 is a fourth-generation interceptor aircraft formerly developed by the Russian Air Force.
The Su-35 has 11 hardpoints for weapons—five on each wing and one under the fuselage—and it can carry up to 18,000 pounds worth of missiles, bombs, rockets, and other kinds of ammunition. It is designed to intercept other planes and engage in combat with enemy aircraft.
The Su-35’s maiden flight was in 1997. It has an active electronically scanned array radar that allows all-weather day and night flight, maintains contact with the ground and airborne targets, and gives superior high-angle attack capability. Its high maneuverability and thrust-vectoring engines provide increased agility. It also has a built-in laser range finder (LIDAR), IRST, and Active countermeasures against guided weapons with multi-target tracking on incoming missiles.
The estimated price of Su-35 is USD 85 million.
10. Saab JAS 39E Gripen
The Saab JAS 39 is a lightweight single-engine multirole fighter aircraft manufactured by Saab AB, designed to replace the Saab 35 Draken and 37 Viggen in the Swedish Air Force. The Gripen is one of the world’s advanced aircraft, with light-attack, aerial surveillance, and additional roles such as air defense, maritime strike/attack, and close air support.
The Gripen is a multi-role fighter aircraft built to handle any mission, whether it will be beyond-visual-range combat or precision strikes. It offers a seamless blend of speed and power, carrying enough armaments to strike ten targets simultaneously.
Gripen E multirole fighter is coming of age. This next-generation combat aircraft was designed for Australia’s needs and is fully interoperable with NATO standards. Unparalleled versatility allows the Gripen to fly in all weathers at high speeds and low levels for long-range missions, with no difficulty penetrating enemy airspace and performing multiple roles simultaneously.
Which is the No. 1 fighter aircraft in the world?
That’s a question many people want to know the answer to. Who has the best fighter jets besides American-made jets?
The Rafale was built in France and is considered one of the best fighter jets on earth. The Typhoon was built in Great Britain and is almost as fast as a US Air Force F-22 Raptor. It just doesn’t have as much range or payload. Finally, you have the Mirage from France and the Typhoon from Great Britain. Both are powerful aircraft but still can’t match up with American F-22 Raptors or the Eurofighter.
The Raptor’s combination of stealth technology, supercruise (supersonic cruise), and advanced avionics make it the world’s greatest fighter ever.
Which country has the best fighter jet in the world?
Arguably, it has to be the United States of America. The American airpower has the best fighter aircraft globally, but it also has the best military technology. Their military aircraft are unmatched for their speed, maneuverability, and ability to sneak up on enemies stealthily.
The F-22A Raptor is among the fastest and most advanced fighter jets. It’s also one of the few planes that can be used to stop other planes from using their radar to detect it—the F-22A Raptor can literally turn itself invisible!
Is the F-35 air superiority fighter jet?
Yes! The F35 stealthy fighter is the best and most powerful fighter jet. The F-35 is a well-rounded, versatile fighter jet that can out-perform its competitors in air-to-air combat and air-to-surface attacks.
It’s got an excellent combat radius and has the longest range of any US fighter jet to date, making it ideal for power projection worldwide. Its stealth capabilities are also highly advanced, allowing it to evade detection for longer periods than other jets.
Want to read more like this?
Enter your email and get curated content straight to your inbox!
Thank your for your subscription.
You are already subscribed to this newsletter.
A team of professionals with a deep passion for the aviation industry bringing you the newest and the most striking industry-related news and content.
Air Traffic Controller Stress
Guides · 6 min read
Becoming an air traffic controller can be an interesting career path in the aviation industry for several reasons. On one side, it is a challenging yet rewarding career since the air traffic controller is in charge of guiding flights through the most appropriate flight paths in order to ensure their safety.
Aug 05, 2022
Cargo Security: Protection of the Global Supply Chain
Guides · 5 min read
Though the world has modernized all ways of living, but the risk of theft still exists as a significant problem in every society. According to an estimate presented by the European Union; cargo theft comprises of approximately 8.2 billion Euros per year which increases the importance of cargo security.
Aug 05, 2022
How Important Is Cybersecurity in Aviation?
Guides · 5 min read
As the airlines, one of the main stakeholders in the aviation industry, strive to keep safer skies, offer passengers more convenience in service provision, and remain competitive, so do their systems become vulnerable to cyber risks and threats.