Top 10 Best Air Forces in the World 2021

Top 10 best air forces in the world - 2021:

A strong air force is very important for any nation to keep its defense powerful and impenetrable. Here is the list of the Top 10 best air forces in the world.

Best air force in the world

Air Force plays a very vital role in the defense of any country as it can dominate air, ground, and water as well. A country which is having modern and advanced jets and aircraft in its fleet can have a higher edge to win or dominate the war.

Every nation wants its defense to be powerful and to make it powerful, advanced aircraft should be added to the fleet.

Because the fifth-generation fighter jets are much advanced and capable than the previous generation jets. And the nations containing fifth-generation jets can dominate any situation.

The below list of the top 10 best air forces in the world is classified based on the overall strength of an air force.

An only large number of aircraft is not important but the modernity, attack, and defense capabilities are equally important.

So, let's start the countdown of the top 10 best air forces in the world:

10. Italian Air Force:

Italian Air Force - top 10 best air force in the world
Country: Italy 
Founded on: 28 March 1923 
Chief: Lieutenant: General Alberto Rosso 
No. of Aircraft: 506 Active inventory 
Major Fighter Jet: Eurofighter Typhoon

The Italian Air Force was formed on 28 March 1923 as an independent air force to serve the Kingdom of Italy by King Victor Emmanuel III.

It is the largest air force within the European nations followed by the French Air Force and the German Air Force.

The Eurofighter Typhoon (multirole fighter) is developed by the UK, Germany, Italy, and Spain combined. It is one of the deadliest fighters.

The US, France, and Germany are the main suppliers of aircraft for the Italian air force.

It has about 43,000 personals and there are 506 aircraft in the service, out of which 185 are fighter jets, 55 are helicopters, 40 are transport air-crafts, and 8 are aerial tankers (Refuelers).

In the fighters, the Italian Air Force consists of 79 Eurofighter Typhoons, 53 Tornado IDSs, 35 AMX Internationals, and 9 F-35A/B fighter jets.

The force has ordered the F-35A, the M-345, and the Eurofighter Typhoon fighters. It has also ordered helicopters and other training aircraft which will join its fleet in the coming years.

Considering the count of advanced jets, helicopters, tankers, and personals the Italian Air Force is one of the strongest air forces in the world.

9. Republic of Korean Air Force:

Republic of Korean Air Force - top 10 air forces
Country: South Korea 
Founded on: 1 October 1949 
Chief: General Lee Seong-Yong 
No. of Aircraft: 890 Active inventory 
Major Fighter Jet: F-5E fighter jet

The Republic of Korean Air Force known as the ROK Air Force was formed on 1 October 1949.

ROKAF consists of many advanced and capable fighter jets. They have replaced their aging fleet with the new modern aircraft that makes the air force stronger than before.

The suppliers of ROKAF are the US, the UK, France, and Sweden.

There are about 65,000 personals and 890 aircraft in the service.

About 75 helicopters, 34 transporters, 301 training aircraft, and 14 dedicated mission aircraft are present.

It includes 466 fighters namely F-5E, KF-16, F-4E, FA-50, and the F-15K.

The fighter jets are advanced, agile, and capable to carry heavy weapons and it can strike air and ground targets.

The ROKAF has ordered 36 F-35A multirole stealth fighter jets and 4 A330 MRTT air refueling aircraft.

The F-35A multirole fighter jet is the deadliest fighter jet after the F-22 Raptor which will make the ROKAF more powerful in the coming years.

8. Royal Air Force:

Royal Air Force - top 10 best air forces in the world
Country: United Kingdom 
Founded on: 1 April 1918 
Chief: Air Chief Marshal Mike Wigston 
No. of Aircraft: 475 Active inventory 
Major Fighter Jet: Eurofighter Typhoon

The Royal Air Force was formed at the decline of the First World War on 1 April 1918. It is the world's oldest independent national air force.

The RAF was the largest air force at that time combined with the allies. And played a significant role in World War II.

The RAF comprises technically advanced fighters and aircraft. The US, France, and Italy are the primary suppliers of the aircraft.

The RAF currently has 475 aircraft with 32,940 personals in service.

There are 118 Eurofighter Typhoons in its fleet, which was made with the allies by the UK. There are also fifteen F-35B multirole strike fighter jets in service.

The RAF also includes 81 helicopters, 41 transport aircraft, 180 trainer aircraft, and 9 aerial Tankers.

RAF is adding 153 aircraft to its fleet which will be delivered in the coming years.

Out of 153, 120 are the F-35B multirole fighter jets made by the US, which is the most advanced fighter jet in the air to date. That will strengthen the RAF eventually.

7. Armee de lAir:

Armee de IAir - top 10 best air forces in the world
Country: France 
Founded on: 2 July 1934 
Chief: Général d'armée aérienne Philippe Lavigne 
No. of Aircraft: 658 Active inventory 
Major Fighter Jet: Dassault Rafale

The French Air and Space Force also known as Armee de IAir was initially founded in 1909 and became an independent service on 2 July 1934.

During World War I, France had 148 airplanes that supported the ground troops during the war. France was also one of the first states to build aircraft.

Dassault Rafale is built by France independently after the disagreement of France with Spain, Italy, Germany, and the UK on the project of Eurofighter Typhoon.

The United States, Germany, and Spain are the primary suppliers of France.

The Armee de lAir consists of 658 aircraft and 41,160 personals. Out of 658, there are 232 fighter jets.

Out of 232 fighters, 101 are the Rafale, 71 are the M2000D, 32 are the M2000C, and 28 are the M2000-5F.

There are 84 helicopters, 99 transport aircraft, 220 training aircraft, 17 Refuelers, and 6 Special-Mission aircraft in the fleet.

France has ordered 87 aircraft in its unit. Out of which 36 are the A400M tactical aircraft and 27 are the Dassault Rafales.

Dassault Rafale is on the most advanced and lethal fighter jet in the world which will make the Armee de lAir more superior.

Also Read: Top 10 Best Fighter Jets in the World - 2021.

6. Israeli Air Force:

Israeli Air Force - top 10 best air forces in the world
Country: Israel 
Founded on: 28 May 1948 
Chief: Aluf Amikam Norkin 
No. of Aircraft: 581 Active inventory 
Major Fighter Jet: F-16I Multirole Fighter

The Israeli Air Force was formed on 28 May 1948, shortly after Israel became independent.

The Israeli Air Force has carried out many operations in Syria and Egypt in the past.

Most of the aircraft in the service of Israel is US manufactured. Hence, the US is the primary, and France, Germany, and Italy are the secondary suppliers.

The Israeli Air Force has 581 aircraft in its fleet and about 34,000 active personals. Out of 581, the fighters count is 251.

In the fighters section, 102 are the F-16I, 73 are the F-16C, 25 are the F-15I, 18 are the F-35I, 17 are the F-15C, and 16 are the F-15A.

The Israeli Air Force also includes 128 helicopters, 15 transporters, 154 training aircraft, and 10 Refueler aircraft.

In the future, Israel will include 50 aircraft in its fleet, of which 32 will be the F-35I Multirole Fighter Jets along with the other aircraft.

A large number of advanced jets, aircraft, and the personals make the Israeli Air Force the sixth-best air force in the world.

5. Japan Air Self-Defense Force:

Japan Air Self-Defense Force - top 10 best air force
Country: Japan 
Founded on: 1 July 1954 
Chief: General Yoshinari Marumo 
No. of Aircraft: 779 Active inventory 
Major Fighter Jet: F-15J Multirole Fighter

The Japan Air Self-Defense Force was established on 1 July 1954 to serve Japanese air defense.

Before and during World War II Japan did not have an independent air force. The operations were carried out by the Japanese Army and Navy forces.

Currently, JAF is having a large number of modern aircraft and huge active personals in the service.

The US and the UK are the primary suppliers for the JAF.

JAF consists of a total of 779 aircraft in its fleet with 50,334 personals.

Out of the 779, there are 279 fighters of which, 155 are the F-15J, 62 are the F-2A, 50 are the EF/RF-4EJ, and 12 are the F-35A.

The fleet also includes 67 helicopters, 42 transporters, 335 training aircraft, and 6 aerial tankers.

The JAF has ordered 189 aircraft in the service, of which 134 are the highly advanced multirole F-35A fighter jets.

The supply of F-35A will increase the strength of the JAF in the coming years. Currently, considering the overall strength of JAF it stands in the fifth position in the top 10 best air forces in the world list.

4. People's Liberation Army Air Force:

People's Liberation Army Air Force - top 10 best air force
Country: China 
Founded on: 11 November 1949 
Chief: Air Force General Ding Laihang 
No. of Aircraft: 2,040 Active inventory 
Major Fighter Jet: J-7 Multirole Fighter

The PLAAF is a branch of the People's Liberation Army, was established on 11 November 1949. The PLAAF is composed of five departments.

The PLAAF has updated its fleet time-to-time by adding advanced aircraft.

Russia, France, and the United States are the primary suppliers for the PLAAF.

PLAAF is the largest air force in Asia with 398,000 personals and 2,010 aircraft in the service.

There are 1,335 fighter jets, 120 bombers, 66 helicopters, 182 transport aircraft, 270 training aircraft, and 3 aerial tankers in the fleet.

Out of the 1,335 fighters, 388 are the J-7, 235 are the J-10, 205 are the J-11, 118 are the Q-5, 96 are the J-8, 76 are the Su-30MKK, 56 are the Su-27K, 50 are the J-16, 24 are the Su-35BM, and 15 are the J-20.

The PLAAF has ordered 10 Su-35BM Multirole fighter jets that will increase its strength. Currently, it ranks in 4th position in our top 10 best air forces list.

3. Indian Air Force:

Indian Air Force - best air forces in the world
Country: India 
Founded on: 8 October 1932 
Chief: President Ram Nath Kovind 
No. of Aircraft: 1,645+ Active inventory 
Major Fighter Jet: Su-30MKI Multirole fighter

The Indian Air Force was established on 8th October 1932 and is a branch of the Indian Armed Forces, which ensures the air safety of the nation.

The IAF participated in World War II with the name of Royal Indian Air Force under the United Kingdom rule.

However, after India became an independent republic nation the 'Royal' was dropped from the name, and it was officially recognized as the 'Indian Air Force.'

The IAF has participated in four wars since 1950, one with Pakistan and one with the Peoples' Republic of China.

The IAF has carried out operations like Operation Cactus, Operation Meghdoot, Operation Poomalai, and Operation Vijay.

The UK, US, France, and Russia are the primary suppliers of the IAF. The IAF currently has more than 1,645 aircraft and 140,000 active personals.

There are 632 fighter jets in the fleet. Of which, 242 are the Su-30MKI, 132 are the MiG-21, 130 are the Jaguar, 66 are the MiG-29UPG, 45 are the M2000H/I, 16 are the Tejas Mk.1, and one Rafale.

Along with jets, there are 438 helicopters, 250 transporters, 304 training aircraft, and 7 aerial tankers.

The IAF has ordered 689 aircraft in which there will be Su-57 (144), Tejas Mk.1 (99), Rafale (35), Su-30MKI (8), and other helicopters and aircraft.

Considering the number of advanced aircraft with large personal strength and the future fleet of IAF, it is one of the most powerful and best air forces in the world.

2. Russian Air Force:

Russian Air Force - top 10 best air force in the world
Country: Russia 
Founded on: 7 May 1992 
Chief: Sergey Dronov
No. of Aircraft: 3,829 Active inventory 
Major Fighter Jet: Su-24M2/MR Strike fighter

The Russian Air Force was established on 7th May 1992, and it is a part of the Russian Aerospace Forces.

The Soviet Air Force was equal to the United States Air Force during the cold war, however, after the decline of the Soviet Union, it resulted in the decline of the RAF.

Currently, it is the second-largest air force after the United States Air Force.

France, Czechoslovakia, and Austria are the suppliers of aircraft for the RAF.

The RAF consists of more than 3,829 aircraft in its fleet and about 148,000 personals.

It has a total of 1,188 fighters, of which 274 are the Su-24M2/MR, 251 are the MiG-29/35, 207 are the Su-27, 132 are the MiG-31, 123 are the Su-30, 123 are the Su-34 and 78 are the Su-35S.

It also includes 125 bombers, 194 Close-Air support aircraft, 1,364 helicopters, 387 transporters, 485 trainers, and 19 aerial tankers.

The RAF also uses strategic bomber aircraft like the Royal Air Force and the USAF.

The RAF has ordered 820 aircraft which will be added in the coming years. The 820 includes 54 Su-35 and 78 Su-57 along with other aircraft.

The Su-57 is the latest generation multirole fighter which will be the first stealth fighter jet used in the RAF.

The RAF is having advanced aircraft with a huge number of personals which makes it a stronger air force in the world.

1. The United States Air Force:

The United States Air Force - best air force in the world
Country: United States 
Founded on: 18 September 1947 
Chief: Barbara Barrett 
No. of Aircraft: 5,091 Active inventory 
Major Fighter Jet: F-16C Multirole fighter

The United States Air Force is the best air force in the world with the strength of 5,091 aircraft and 320,812 personals. It is also the largest air force in the world.

The USAF was established on 1 August 1907 as a part of the United States Army. Later, on 18 September 1947, it became an independent service.

The United States Air Force had participated in both world wars. It has also carried out many successful operations to date.

The USAF contains a large number of fifth-generation fighter jets along with the other aircraft.

It has 1,442 fighter jets, of which 790 are the F-16C, 218 are the F-15E, 210 are the F-15C, 178 are the F-22A and 46 are the F-35A.

There are also 152 bombers, 314 close-air support aircraft, 209 helicopters, 684 transporters, 1,531 training aircraft, and 522 aerial tankers.

The F-22 Raptor fighter is used only by the USAF as its export is banned by the law to protect its advanced technology and stealth capabilities.

The F-22 Raptor is the deadliest fighter in the air to date.

The USAF has ordered 836 aircraft in its fleet. 18 F-35A fighters will be added to the fleet along with other aircraft.

The number of advanced aircraft, a large number of personals, and the most advanced fighter jets make the USAF the best air force in the world.


10.Italian Air Force - Italy
9.Republic of Korean Air Force - South Korea
8.Royal Air Force - United Kingdom
7.Armee de lAir - France
6.Israeli Air Force - Israel
5.Japan Air Self-Defense Force - Japan
4.People's Liberation Army Air Force - China
3.Indian Air Force - India
2.Russian Air Force - Russia
1.The United States Air Force - United States