The release of Top Gun: Maverick, last year 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.
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