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10 Highly Powerful Air Forces in the World (2018)

This latest ranking of Top 10 Powerful Air Force comes up with “Infographic” for giving you complete insight of this list in very short time.

Air Force – also called air army or aerospace force – is a new armed force branch in military. And most powerful and capable warfare branch as well. Air force was introduced in 1910 by French Air Force. The very first bombing, carried out against Turkey by Italy on 1911-1912 during Italy-Turkish war.

Don’t miss out to discover best top 30 Militaries of 2018.

Air Force core objects are to conducting aerial warfare, gaining air control, conducting strategic bombing missions, supporting land and naval units, and transporting troops and artillery during wartime.

Air Force is the set of attack and fighter aircrafts, helicopters, transport aircrafts, and bombers. The more sophisticated the more capable. At present, most militaries allocate lion share of their military budget to air force in order to gain air superiority. This air superiority race ends up by deciding who’s powerful and most capable in the world.

In today’s post, we compile a list by keeping quality and quantity of air craft into account – the more and modern, the better.

So, here is 10 most powerful air force in the world. Let’s check them out.

1) United States

United States Air Force is most powerful Air Force in the WorldTotal Aircraft Strength: 13,762

Total Helicopter Strength: 6,065

United States Air Force (USAR) once called United States Army Air Force (USAAR). Moreover in 1947, during the presidency of Harry S Truman, it was declared as an independent department of US. USAR has more aircrafts than China, Russia, India, UK, Germany, and France combined. At present, US has world’s most sophisticated and powerful air force. Its larger fleet of fighter aircrafts lies on F-16: fourth-generation-fighter, which are 947 in number. However, when it comes to fifth-generation-fighter no one on the earth comes closer to US. In total US has more than 266 multirole-fifth-generation-fighter – far more than its counterpart China and Russia.

[Fact: 1] US has 800 military basses on foreign soils, more than any other nation.

2: Russia

Russian Air ForceTotal Aircraft Strength: 3,794

Total Helicopter Strength: 1,389

Russian Air Force (RAF) was formed in 1992, or I say changed name from Soviet Air Force. However, RAF can find its traces back to 1912 when it was called Imperial Russian Air Service. Recent merger of RAF with Russian Aerospace Defense Force is said to be an optimal option to counter Russia’s rival NATO. While taking about its capability, RAF has sizeable numbers of multirole-fighter, transport aircraft, attack helicopter, and bombers – all build within the Russian borders. Speaking about some modern machines in air: fifth-generation-fighter, RAF’s Sukhoi Su-57 stealth multi-role fighter is at its finishing stage, planned to introduce in 2019. It also seeking to upgrade Su-57 to sixth generation.

[Fact: 2] Russian Air Force is most the oldest air force in Asia.

3: China

Chinese Air ForceTotal Aircraft Strength: 2,955

Total Helicopter Strength: 912

People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) – was formed in 1947, few years before the formation of People’s Republic China. However, PLAAF is aerial warfare brach of People’s Liberation Army.After revolutionary win against Republic of China (now Taiwan), PLAAF has gone through remarkable changes and proved to be one of the most powerful air force on the earth. At present, China is second nation – after U.S. – to possess fifth-generation-fighter in its air fleet. Currently, PLAAF has cutting-edge aircrafts and helicopter – all made in China – like J-10, J-11, J-16, and J-20. In attack helicopter fleet it has modernistic Z-10 and Z-18. Additionally, China possess some Russian aircrafts as well, like Su-30 and Su-35.

[Fact: 3] People’s Liberation Army Air Force is largest in Asia.

4: India

Indian Air ForceTotal Aircraft Strength: 2,102

Total Helicopter Strength: 666

Royal Indian Air Force was established in 1932 during British ruling in India, later changed in Indian Air Force (IAF). IAF has been engaged with 5 wars with neighboring countries, Pakistan (4 times) and China (1 time). IAF’s most air assets came from foreign soils like, Russia, France, USA, and UK. India’s bilateral relations with Russia, since the time of USSR, make its military strong and up-to-date. Most of Indian Air Force fleet consists made-in-russia aircraft like, Su-30 and MiG-29. In 2004, 70% Indian Military’s hardware came from Russia. However, U.S. recognize India as a major-defense-partner, by this, in near future, IAF will has US made multirole-fighter in its fleet as well.

[Fact: 4] IAF has built homemade fourth-generation-fighter – HAL Tejas. India is building fifth-generation-fighter Sukhoi PAK FA in collaboration with Russia.

5: United Kingdom

Total Aircraft Strength: 856

Total Helicopter Strength: 347

United Kingdom formed its air force – Royal Air Force (RAF) – right after the end of World War 1. At that time, RAF was largest air army in the world. RAF’s remarkable role in WW2 helps UK to overcome Nazi Germany. At present, RAF has operational fleet of various types of aircrafts, helicopter, and transport aircrafts, which leads RAF as one of the powerful air force in the world.

[Fact: 5] RAF is oldest independent air force in the world.

6: Israel

Israeli Air Force numbers of aircraftsTotal Aircraft Strength: 654

Total Helicopter Strength: 143

Israeli Air Force is the part of Israel Defense Forces formed in 1948, right after the Israeli Declaration of Independence. Since its formation, it has been engaged in 8 recognized wars with Arab nations. It has also done bundle of operations against Arab guerillas and Palestine. Most of IAF aircrafts are from american soil, among them are F-4 Phantom II, F-15, F-16, and F-35 lightning II. Almost 90% of its fleet consists of U.S. made air machines.

[Fact: 6] IAF pilot Giora Epstein holds the world record of taking down most enemy’s airplanes – 17 in total.

7: France

French Air ForceTotal Aircraft Strength: 1,305

Total Helicopter Strength: 610

French Air Force – Armée de l’air – was formed in 1909. In 1934, it was made an independent military arm. After WW2, France started domestic aircraft industry: Dassault Aviation. After many year, Dassault is now a leading manufacturer of fighter jets in Europe. Its fourth-generation-fighter Dassault Rafale is equipped with leading edge technology. However, Dassault Rafale is also increasing in demand in international markers. Additionally, to meet the demand of Rafale from India, France is now considering to set a manufacturing plant in India. This show the supremacy of air force – to sell its jet to other nations, which France is doing really well.

[Fact: 7] French Air Force is the oldest air army in the world.

8: Turkey

Turkish Air Force statisticsTotal Aircraft Strength: 1,018

Total Helicopter Strength: 455

Turkish Air Force was formed in 1911 by Ottaman Empire. However, today’s known Turkish Air Force come into existence after the creation of Republic of Turkey. Turkey is now heading towards the manufacturing of fifth-generation-fighter – TAI TFX – by 2023. Additionally, allocated $160 billion for its air force modernization program. Currently, in its air fleet Turkey has considerable number of F-16. After collapse of Ottaman Empire, Turkey emerged as one of the world’s leading power in the sector of economy, military, and democracy.

[Fact: 8] Turkey is only Muslim country to fall in top 10 of three main branches of military: Army, Naval, and Air Force. Hence, Turkey is most powerful air force Muslim state.

9: Egypt

EgyptTotal Aircraft Strength: 1,132

Total Helicopter Strength: 257

Egyptian Air Force (EAF) was formed in 1932, after 5 years it was declared as independent air force. Its core objectives are, to protect aerial territory, to carry strikes, and to support army operations. At present, EAF has large air arsenal, consisting of French, American, and Chinese aircrafts. Egypt was the first international customer to buy 24 French Dassault Rafale. Additionally, EAF operates 220 F-16s as well.

[Fact: 9] Egypt is leading military power in African continent.

10: Germany

GermanyTotal Aircraft Strength: 698

Total Helicopter Strength: 375

Germany is well known for its role in both World Wars. After defeating from allied powers in World Wars, Germany went (being a country) bankrupt and faced economic apocalypse. After many years, today, Germany emerged as 3rd leading power in Europe; in the terms of military. German Air Force – Luftwaffe – was formed in 1956 during the era of Cold War and after reunification of West and East Germany. Currently, Luftwaffe has relatively few aircrafts than Egypt. Luftwaffe operates only two types of fighter jets (both domestically made): 125 Eurofighter Typhoon, and 65 Panavia Tornado.

So this is what world consider as “Top 10 Most Powerful Air Force in the World”.

Share your thoughts about this compilation of air power by commenting below. If you have any query, it will be answered asap!

Ali Attar

Ali Raza Attar is founder of ListoGraphic. Currently, he is a student in COMSATS Islamabad along with full-time webmaster. Passionate about content and online marketing. Ali started his blogging carrer back in 2011 and has been learning SEO since then. Ali lives in Paksitan, Islamabad, basically from Sindh.


  • I don’t Agree. The Indian Air Force is better than China’s. China, despite operating more aircraft, has most of its fleet consisting of outdated F-7’s. However, India’s main aircraft, the SU-30 MKI, can actively target 20 jets at once. They also have better AEWACS systems.

    • Thanks for commenting. China is only Asian nation to posses 5th generation aircraft while India is still working with Russia to create one. There is no deny that India is one of the best AirForce in the world but while looking at number and technology China is better than India. China Also posses 80 SU-30, despite this China has it’s own build 450+ 4th generation AirCrafts like J-10 and J-8, which is far more than India’s HAL Tejas. And yes I forget about SU-35 that China has and India still can’t posses such cutting edge technology aircraft. Hope you get your answer.

  • Hey, you forgot Japanese Air Force which is one of the highly advanced Air Force in the world. They’ve upgraded those air crafts they had purchased from the U.S. by themselves using their high technology. I’m sure that they will be in top 10 most powerful Air Force in the world too. They’ve been intercepting many air crafts from China as well.

  • Dear Ali,
    Pakistan airforce possesses 951 jets with 301 for combat roles. It should be above german airforce.
    And pakistan aircarft F-16 and Jf-17 is best fighter air carft F-16 mostly beat Eurofighter Typhoon in dog fight…………

  • If you will look at the quality of the fighter combat and the extra qualities that Israel have vs other countries you will rank Israel in 2 to 3 place