Often we receive many questions which is the best fighter aircraft in the world. Which is the greatest modern fighter and why. Our Top 5 analysis is based on the combined score of stealthiness, armament, speed, range, maneuverability and technology. We also considered pilot opinion on capabilities of various warplanes during dog-fight training. All of these aircraft mentioned here are incredibly powerful and devastating, however none of them have seen combat against each other during military operations yet. Our analysis is based on specifications, available data and technical comparison. Pilot training is also important, as performance of the actual aircraft depends from the pilot performance. This list do not contains aircraft that are currently under development of at the prototype stage. It includes only operational warplanes.
The F-22 Raptor air superiority fighter is almost invisible to radars. This aircraft carries a powerful array of weaponry. It is the most advanced and most expensive production fighter aircraft to date. Many of sensors and avionics of this plane remain classified.
Engines of the raptor allow the aircraft to supercruise over long ranges, while thrust-vectoring nozzles, combined with a triplex fly-by-wire flight control system, make it exceptionally maneuverable.
The F-22 started life as a straightforward air superiority fighter. However since its introduction this aircraft lacks a formidable air threat from other countries fighters. Later it evolved towards the multi-role fighter, as strike capability was added.
This advanced aircraft was never offered for export customers, even other allies and NATO countries. Currently it is the best fighter aircraft ever built.
2- Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet (USA)
The Super Hornet is the most capable US Navy multi-role fighter. It is based on the aircraft carriers can attack both air and surface targets. The Super Hornet is also in service with Australia as the main fighter aircraft.
The F/A-18E/F is a larger and more capable derivative of the F/A-18C/D Hornet. The Super Hornet is fitted with new engines. It has additional hardpoints and can carry more missiles. This aircraft has extended range due to larger internal storage of fuel. The Super Hornet also has improved avionics. Some measures were taken to reduce radar cross section of this aircraft.
3-Nr.3 Eurofighter Typhoon (European Union)
In 1986 the Eurofighter consortium was formed by Germany, Italy, the UK and, later, Spain, to develop a new multi-role combat aircraft, optimized as a beyond visual range interceptor with a secondary ground-attack capability. This aircraft carries advanced European-designed missiles. it is fitted with a very modern and comprehensive avionics package.
It is claimed that Typhoon is half as combat effective as the American F-22 Raptor. It is an approximate estimate, however it seems that Typhoon is superior to the F-15F, French Rafale, evolved Russian Su-27 variants and many other aircraft.
4-Nr.5 Sukhoi Su-35 (Russia)
The Su-35 multi-role fighter is a significantly developed version of the Su-27. It is being offered for export as a replacement for the Su-27 and MiG-29 fighters. In 2012 it has been adopted by the Russian Air Force.
Developers refer the Su-35 as 4++ generation fighter. It is a very fast and highly maneuverable fighter with very long range, high altitude capability and heavy armament. It poses great threat to Western 4+ generation fighters
The Su-35 is primarily an air superiority fighter. However it has secondary air-to-ground capability. This aircraft can carry enormous amount of weapons. It has 12 wing and fuselage hardpoints and can carry ordnance with a maximum weight of up to 8 000 kg.
Its large and powerful engines give it ability to supercruise for a long time. Also its engines allow to reach supersonic speeds without using an afterburner. Engines have a three-dimensional thrust vectoring and make this aircraft very maneuverable.
However Russia still lags behind in the development, acquisition and employment of some of the latest technologies.
Recently a new Sukhoi PAK FA stealthy air superiority fighter is being developed in Russia.
5- F-16 Fighting Falcon (USA)
The F-16 was lighter, less expensive alternative to the F-15 Eagle. Unlike the F-15, which is purely an air superiority fighter, the F-16 is a multi-role aircraft, capable of attacking air and ground targets.
The F-16 has been produced in large numbers and participated in numerous conflicts. Over 4 500 aircraft have been built. It has been widely exported and is currently operational with 26 countries around the world. The F-16 is battle proven.
This aircraft is small, but highly maneuverable. The F-16 has a bubble single-piece canopy for excellent pilot visibility, which becomes during close combat.
The F-16 is still in service with the US Air Force and will remain operational until 2025. In the future it will be replaced by the new F-35 Lightning II.