Russia continues to rank second in the world by the number of its operational military aircraft, according to the World Air Forces 2020 review published by the Flight International leading global aerospace magazine on Wednesday.
As of December 2019, Russia operates 4,163 military aircraft and helicopters of various designation or 8% of the global military fleet and is second only to the United States by this indicator (13,266 fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft or 25% of the total figure). China ranks third with 3,210 military aircraft and helicopters or 6% of the global military fleet, the research shows.
Compared to the previous World Air Forces research released in December 2018, Russia’s active military fleet grew inconsiderably — by 85 aircraft. Over the same period, the US Air Force downsized its fleet by 132 aircraft and helicopters while China beefed up its military aviation by 23 aircraft.
The Flight International experts also noted that Russia and CIS countries demonstrated the highest rates of growth in the number of operational military aircraft. Specifically, the number of active combat aircraft and helicopters in that region grew by 4% while this number actually remained unchanged in the Asia-Pacific region and declined by 1% in North America.
As the research shows, the global military fleet operates 1,067 Su-27 and Su-30 fighters as of December 2019 (or 7% of the total number of active combat aircraft in the world). The first place belongs to US F-16 fighter jets (2,280 units or 16% of the total number). F-15 fighters rank third (949 aircraft or 7% of the total number of combat planes in active service with militaries around the globe).
The list of the world’s top ten active aircraft types also includes Russian MiG-29 fighters, which hold the fifth place in the ranking (791 aircraft or 5% of total active combat planes around the globe), Su-25 attack aircraft (the sixth place, 487 combat planes or 3% of the total number) and Su-24 frontline bombers (the ninth place, 391 units or 3% of the total number of military planes in the world).
In the combat aircraft category, Russia ranks second with 1,616 units (11% of the global operational fleet). The first place belongs to the United States with 2,657 aircraft or 18% of the total number while China ranks third with 1,603 planes or 11%, the research shows.