Right from the day when the Wright brothers showed the way by which humans can fly, researchers have remained fascinated with the technology and are continuously developing new and advanced means to conquer the skies. The fastest and the most advanced flying machines rest with the armed forces of a country. Most of the war analysts and even soldiers are of the opinion that the fate of a war rests on the capability of a country's air force. This wing of the armed forces has seen the most technological advancements in the recent years. Right from the German Fokker E1, which many analysts rate as the first true fighter monoplane with synchronized forward firing machine guns, fighter planes have ruled the enemy skies with their ability to have a bird's eye view of the enemy territory. Here I have compiled a list of the best jet fighter's present on the planet. To choose one over the other would be sheer injustice and frankly, each one has enough arsenal to send shivers down any enemy's nerves.
1. F/A-22 Raptor
The F/A-22 Raptor is a fifth generation stealth fighter aircraft, which entered the United States Air Force as the F-22A. Manufacturer: Lockheed Martin Aeronautics and Boeing Integrated Defense Systems Engine Specifications: Two Pratt & Whitney F-119-PW-100 Turbofan engines with afterburners and two-dimensional thrust-vectoring nozzles. Each Engine is in the 35,000-lb-thrust class. Maximum Speed: Mach 2.42 at high altitude Cruise Speed: Mach 1.72. More details: This pilot only aircraft can carry six radar-guided AIM-120C advanced medium-range A2A missiles in its main weapon bay, two heat-seeking AIM-9 Sidewinder short-range A2A missiles in side weapons bay, one M61A2 20 mm multi-barrel cannon. With this much onboard, the plane still manages to carry four external stations with additional arsenal.
2. B2 Spirit
The B2 Spirit is a multi-role stealth bomber which is capable to drop conventional and nuclear weapons. The development of this aircraft can be seen as a milestone in the bomber modernization program of the U.S. Department of Defense. Manufacturer: Northrop Corporation and Northrop Grumman. Engine Specifications: Four General Electric F118-GE-100 non-afterburning turbofans each providing it with 19,000 lb thrust. Maximum Speed: Mach 0.92. More Details: The B-2 provides the versatility inherent in manned bombers. The aircraft comes with unique 'stealth' characteristics that give it the ability to hide itself from enemy's most sophisticated defenses enabling it to attack right from the enemy's prime locations. The B-2 can carry a crew of 2-3 soldiers along with up to 80,000 lb payload including 16 B61/b83 nuclear bombs, 80 Mk82 1,000 lb bombs or 16 Mk84 2,000 lb bombs, 36 M117 750 lb fire bombs, 36 cluster bombs, or 80 Mk36 1,000 lb sea mines.
The Sukhoi Su-47 was also called as S-37 and S-32 during initial development. The aircraft has been fully developed but till now it has not entered service. Manufacturer: SukhoiEngine Specifications: Two Aviadvigatel D-30F6 afterburning turbofans. The company plans to incorporate two Saturn / Lyulka AL-37FU afterburning Turbofans in it. Maximum Speed: Mach 2.09 at high altitude Maximum Cruise Speed: Mach 1.17. More Details: This pilot only aircraft can carry one 30mm GSh-30 cannon, R-27/AA-10 Alamo A2A missile, and R-73/AA-11 Archer A2A missile.
The Milkoyan MiG-35 is a mature development of MiG-29M. The aircraft has also been fully developed and is on offer; however it still has not entered service. Manufacturer: MilkoyanEngine Specifications: Two Lyulka AL-41F vectored-thrust afterburning turbofans, 39,340 lb thrust each. Maximum Speed at high altitude: Mach 2.05 Maximum Cruise Speed: Mach 1.02. More Details: One 30 mm GSh-30-1 cannon with 150 rounds, eight weapons pylons for R-27, R-60, R-73, R-77, TV and Laser-Guided Air to Ground missiles and bombs. In addition, the aircraft can also carry up to 2,000 lb of bombs.
5. F-117A Nighthawk
The F-117A Nighthawk is the world's first operational aircraft designed to exploit low-observable stealth technology. Manufacturer: Lockheed Martin Engine Specifications: Two General Electric F404-F1D2 turbofans which offer 10,600 lbf each. Maximum Speed: Mach 0.92. More Details: The single-seat F-117A provides exceptional combat capabilities. It is designed to carry 2 internal weapons bays with one hardpoint each, which can further carry BLU-109 hardened penetrator bombs, GBU-10 Paveway II, GBU-12 Paveway II and GBU-27 Paveway III laser-guided bombs and JDAM inertially aided munition. Image Credit
6. F-35 Lightning II
The F-35 Lightning II is a single-seat, single-engine military strike fighter. Its multi-role capabilities enable it to perform close air support, tactical bombings and air-to-air combat. Manufacturer: Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, Northrop Grumman, BAE Systems. Engine Specifications: One Pratt & Whitney F135 afterburning turbofan that offers 28,000 lbf as dry thrust and 43,000 lbf with afterburner support. Maximum Speed: Mach 1.8. More Details: The F-35 Lightning II is designed to carry 1 GAU-12/U 25 mm cannon, up to four AIM-120 AMRAAM, AIM-9X Sidewinder or AIM-132 ASRAAM internally or two air-to-air and two air-to-ground weapons. The aircraft is detectable by Radar so it can also carry many more missiles, bombs and even fuel tanks. Image Credit
7. F-16 Fighting Falcon
This is a multirole jet fighter designed for the United States Air Force. The aircraft was also successful in the export market and is serving 24 countries. Manufacturer: General Dynamics and Lockheed Martin Engine Specifications: One Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-220 afterburning turbofan which offers 14,590 lbf as dry thrust and 23,770 lbf with afterburner support. Maximum Speed: Mach 2. More Details: This single-seat aircraft can carry one 20 mm M61 Vulcan gatling gun with 511 rounds, 2.75-inch rockets, six AIM-9 Sidewinder or six AIM-120 AMRAAM or six Python-4 air-to-air missiles, six AGM-65 Maverick or four AGM-88 HARM air-to-ground missiles, four AGM-119 Penguin anti-ship missiles. Apart from this it can carry a huge arsenal of bombs that include B61 nuclear bomb. Image Credit
8. Eurofighter 2000 Typhoon
The Eurofighter 2000 Typhoon is a single-seat, twin-engine, agile combat aircraft which will be used in the air-to-air, air-to-ground and tactical reconnaissance roles. Manufacturer:Eurofighter GmbH Engine Specifications: Two Eurojet EJ200 afterburning turbofans with offer 13,500 lbf as dry thrust and 20,250 lbf with afterburner support. Maximum speed at high altitude: Mach 2.25 Maximum cruise speed: Mach 1.2. More Details: This jet fighter is designed to carry one 27 mm Mauser BK-27 cannon, AIM-9 Sidewinder, AIM-132 ASRAAM, AIM-120 AMRAAM and IRIS-T air-to-air missiles, AGM-84 Harpoon, AGM-88 HARM, ALARMs, Storm Shadow, Brimstone, Taurus and Penguin air-to-ground missiles, bombs and LITENING pod laser designator. Image Credit
9. JF-17 Thunder
The Joint Fighter-17 Thunder is also called as Fighter China-1 Fierce DragonIIII in China. It is a single-seat multirole fighter aircraft co-developed by Pakistan and China. Manufacturer:Chengdu Aircraft Industry Corporation and Pakistan Aeronautical Complex. Engine Specifications: One Russian-made RD-93 turbofan that offers 18,277 lbf. Maximum Speed: Mach 1.8. More Details: The JF-17 Thunder carries one internal GSh-23-2 twin-barrel 23 mm cannon, Short (PL-9C/AIM-9M/Magic 2) and beyond-visual-range missiles (SD-10/Aspide), laser guided bombs, other guided munitions and targeting pod can also be carried for precision strike missions. Image Credit
10. Su-37 Terminator
The Su-37 is Russia's reply to today's advanced jet fighters. The Su-37 can be considered as the best air dominance fighter in the Eastern hemisphere. The Su-37 is a single-seat, all-weather fighter and ground attack aircraft. Manufacturer: Sukhoi Engine Specifications: Two Lyulka AL-37FU turbofans each delivering 32,000 lbf. Maximum Speed: Mach 2.09. More Details: The Sukhoi Su-37 can carry one 30 mm GSh-30 cannon with 150 rounds and twelve wing and fuselage stations for up to 18,080 lb of ordnance. Image Credit