The United States Marine Corps are often the first boots on the ground, embracing the “First to Fight” slogan. Part of being able to strike first in any fight requires training and an arsenal, including versatile aircraft that allow it to carry out a wide range of missions. Here is a look at all of the aircraft currently in active service in the U.S. Marines.
To identify these aircraft, 24/7 Wall St. referenced the 2023 report, World Air Forces, from FlightGlobal, an aviation and aerospace industry website. We ranked aircraft by the number of units in active service in the Marine Corps. Supplemental data regarding the type of aircraft, how many are in active service, and how many are on order came from FlightGlobal. Data on each aircraft’s first flight came from Military Factory, an online database of military vehicles, aircraft, arms, and more.
The AV-8B Harrier II is a key attack aircraft in the Marine Corps, primarily designed for ground attack missions. Its short takeoff and vertical landing technology enhances operational flexibility and allows it to operate in practically any environment. The AV-8B Harrier II is primarily used as a combat aircraft but also as a trainer. There are 99 such planes in active service in the Marine Corps. (Also see, every plane in the U.S. military.)
The Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey aircraft serves as both a medium-lift and long-range assault platform. Its tilt-rotor technology allows it to function like a helicopter for takeoff and landing while also providing the high-speed cruise capability of a turboprop plane. The UH-1Y Venom is another utility helicopter designed for versatile roles, including troop transport, medivac, and search and rescue. These combat helicopters rank very high on this list, with 289 and 129 units, respectively, as there are many operational roles that each fills for the Marines.
For heavy-lift operations, the Marine Corps uses the CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter, capable of transporting heavy equipment and large numbers of troops. However, the newer CH-53K King Stallion is slated to replace the Super Stallion in the coming years, providing increased range, lifting capabilities, and advanced technologies.
The current aircraft fleet of the Marine Corps plays a number of roles, including attack, utility, transport, and training aircraft that contribute to its ability to execute a variety of successful operations all around the world. (Here are 17 of America’s most elite special forces.)
Here is a look at the aircraft in active service in the U.S. Marines.
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