World’s top 10 Air Forces

A strong military force is very important for a country to deter its enemy nation and maintain the balance of power in its geographical area.

by Vikash Kumawat
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A strong military force is very important for a country to deter its enemy nation and maintain the balance of power in its geographical area. Air force is also a part of a country’s military power that is very different from a country’s army, navy or marine corps. Each sector of the military plays a different important role in the security of a nation. A strong air force can support army and naval forces by securing air control and providing timely vital resources for tactical and strategic bombing. The Air Force includes not only fighter aircraft but also helicopters, bombers, transport aircraft and other aircraft. Here is the list of top 10 air forces in the world which are most powerful.

1. United States Air Force (USAF)

US Airforce

It is the largest and best technologically advanced Air Force in the world and was created on 18 September 1947. The Motto of the US airforce is “Fly Fight Win”. Its headquarter is at Pentagon, Virginia has the world’s largest number of warplanes. There are five core missions of this airforce, i.e., Air Superiority, Global Integrated ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance), Global Strike, Rapid Global Mobility, and Command & Control. There are over 5800 aircraft, 3,50,000 personnel on active duty, 69,056 personnel are reserved, 406 ICBMs (intercontinental ballistic missiles), 1,10,000 personnel of Air National Guard, 63 satellites on a budget of $140 billion. It has been successfully involved in many air operations missions and wars.

2. Russian Aerospace Forces (Russian Air Force)

Russian Air Force

It can trace its lineage from Russian Federation back to Imperial Air Services and Soviet Air Forces of 1918-1991. The modern form of the Russian Air Force was established on 7 May 1992 after the disintegration of the USSR. Its headquarters is in Moscow. In 2015 The Russian Air Force and Russian Aerospace Defence Forces were merged to form Russian Aerospace Forces. The size of the airforce is quite big, and it has 1,90,000 personnel as of 2021 and about 4509 jet aircraft. It has about 3000 strategic bombers, 3400 attack aircraft that include SU-24 Fencer, SU-17 Fitter, and SU-25 Frogfoot. It also has a large number of Sukhoi and Mig aircraft.

3. Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF)

Chinese Airforce

Chinese airforce is also known as PLAAF, i.e., People’s Liberation Army Airforce or People’s Liberation Air Force. It was established on 11 November 1949. Its motto is “Serve the People,” and its headquarters is in Beijing. Chinese airforce is composed of 5 branches that are Airborne Corps, Aviation, Surface to Air Missiles, Anti Craft Artillery, and Radar. Chinese Airforce is Asia’s largest airforce and has 4,00,000 personnel and over 3370 aircraft. It has H-6 and JH-7 bombers, Harbin Z-19 attacker Helicopter, SU-27, Su-35S, Shenyang, etc. Russia is the biggest arms supplier for the Chinese airforce.

4. Royal Air Force (RAF) – United Kingdom

UK Airforce

The United Kingdom’s Airforce is known as Royal Air Force. It is the world’s first independent Air Force formed on April 1, 1918, towards the end of World War I by merging the Royal Flying Corps and Royal Naval Air Service. It is part of the British Armed Force. Its headquarters is in Whitehall, London, and its motto is “Through Adversity to the Stars”. RAF has 33,200 personnel on active duty, 3300 personnel in reserve, and the 1940 Royal Auxiliary Air Force. It has 832 aircraft that are operational and include Eurofighter Typhoon FGR4, Lockheed Martin F35 B Lightning, Multirole Helicopters like Bell Griffin HAR 2, Westland Puma HC2, etc. It was the largest airforce when it was part of the European Union and the second largest in NATO after The USA and has played an important role in World Word II, Gulf War, and War with Iraq.

5. Indian Air Force (IAF)

Indian Airforce

The Indian Airforce was established on 8 October 1932, and it is the fourth most powerful and largest airforce in the world. Its headquarters is in Delhi, and its motto is “Touch The Sky With Glory”. The Commander-in-Chief of the airforce is the Indian President. The size of the Indian airforce is quite big that includes 1,39,576 personnel that are on active duty, 1,40,000 personnel are reserved, and more than 1850+ aircraft that consists of multi-role fighter aircraft like Rafael, Sukhoi, HAL Tejas, SEPECAT Jaguar and also have Land-based missiles system like surface to air missile and Ballistic Missiles, etc. IAF has been involved in many operations like Operation Vijay, Operation Cactus, and four major wars with Pakistan.

6. French Air and Space Force (Armée de l’Air et de l’Espace) – France

French Airforce

The France Air Force is known as the French Air and Space Force, and its current name was assumed on 10 September 2020. It was established in 1909 and was made an independent military wing in 1934. The France Air Force has 40,500 personnel on active duty, and 5,187 operational personnel are reserved. This airforce has 1057 aircraft, out of which about 300 are combat aircraft, with 158 Dassault Mirage 2000, 102 Dassault Rafael forming the majority. Post World War Second, France has made a successful domestic industry of aircraft, which has proven its worth in many wars and situations of conflicts.

7. Israeli Air Force (IAF)

Israeli Airforce

Israel Airforce, which is also known as Air Corps (Kheil HaAvir), is the Air and Space Arm and was established on 28 May 1948. It is small in size but technically advanced. Its headquarters is in HaKirya, Tel Aviv, Israel. It has 34000 personnel on active duty and 55000 personnel in reserve and 648 aircraft that include Fighter aircraft like F-16 Fighting Falcon, Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II, attack aircraft Boeing F-15l Ra’am, etc. This airforce has played an important role in Operation Kadesh, Suez Crisis and Six-Day War, etc.

8. Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF)

Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF)

The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), established in 1921, is the aerial branch of the Australian Defence Force. It serves a vital role in safeguarding Australia’s security and interests. The RAAF’s mission includes air defense, surveillance, reconnaissance, transport, and humanitarian assistance, among others. It operates a diverse fleet of aircraft, including fighter jets like the F/A-18 Hornet, C-130J Hercules transport planes, and state-of-the-art platforms like the F-35A Lightning II.

The RAAF has a rich history of international involvement, contributing to major conflicts like World War II and modern-day peacekeeping missions. It emphasizes rigorous training, maintaining a high standard of professionalism among its permanent and reserve personnel. The RAAF’s ongoing modernization efforts ensure it remains technologically advanced and capable of responding to evolving security challenges both within Australia and globally.

9. Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF)

Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF)

Japanese airforce is known as Japan Air Self Defence Force and was established on 1 July 1954. It is the Air and Space Wing of the Japan Self Defence Force. Its headquarters is in Ichigaya, Shinjuku, Tokyo, and its motto is “Key to Defence Ready Anytime”. The airforce of Japan maintains an air early warning radar system and takes combat air patrol around the country. It also has an aerobatic team named Blue Impulse that has played a role in many UN peacekeeping missions. It has around 50,324 personnel on active duties and has 745 aircraft, out of which 330 are fighter aircraft like F-15J/DJ, F-2A/B, F-35A/B, etc. Japan airforce will be renamed as Japan Air and Space Self Defence Force in 2023 to recognize the importance of space.

10. Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF)

Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF)

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.South Korean Air Force is known as the Republic of Korea Air Force and was established on 1 October 1949. Its headquarters is in Gueryong, and its motto is “The Highest Power Defending Korea”. This airforce has 65000 personnel on duty, and there are 740 aircraft that include fighter aircraft like F-5E, F-4E, FA-50, etc. It also has an attack helicopter MD 500 Defender and Dassault Falcon 2000, etc. It has been engaged in many wars like Vietnam War, Persian Gulf War, etc.

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