Top Fighter Aircraft of All Time
Aviation / Aerospace
Very few fighter aircraft designs earn the right to be considered among the best of their kind.
The following showcase covers the MilitaryFactory.com selections for best military fighters of all time. In our review, the fighters were chosen based on production numbers, combat performance, and a general assessment of their effect during their particular period in aviation history. As such, our list leaves out entries like the largely untested Lockheed F-22 'Raptor' and late-World War 2 German Messerschmitt Me 262 jet fighters - these aircraft appearing with some puzzling regularity on other online Top Ten Fighter lists. Still other lists go so far as to include the Lockheed F-117 Nighthawk 'stealth fighter' which is not even a fighter by any measure!
Our list seeks out only those aircraft with the historical numbers and stellar histories to reinforce their respective legacies. Many are born from war as war has a habit of bringing out the best (and worst) in any weapon design and helps to separate excellent ones from mediocre ones. The consensus achieved by this list centers on an airframe capable of surviving the rigors of combat, particularly in wartime. A fighter must provide maximum protection for the pilot, useful fuel stores for operational ranges, and feature proven critical internal systems (avionics as well as weaponry) while presenting exceptional performance and combat handling.
What all this amounts to is a skillful combination of engineering, construction, and pilot training / experience (because a fighter is truly only as exceptional as its pilot). These attributes are not wholly available to every fighter design and we firmly believe that the examples found below represent all of the aforementioned qualities rather completely.
NOTES: The aircraft below are presented by service year ascending. The Boeing F-15 Eagle has been added as an honorable mention due to its exceptional combat history.
2021 Military Pay Scale
Air Force Ranks
The "Military Factory" name and MilitaryFactory.com logo are registered ® U.S. trademarks protected by all applicable domestic and international intellectual property laws. All written content, illustrations, and photography are unique to this website (unless where indicated) and not for reuse/reproduction in any form. Material presented throughout this website is for historical and entertainment value only and should not to be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation. We do not sell any of the items showcased on this site. Please direct all other inquiries to militaryfactory AT gmail.com.
Part of a network of sites that includes , a data-driven property used in ranking the top military powers of the world and , the World Directory of Modern Military Aircraft.
www.MilitaryFactory.com • All Rights Reserved • Content ©2003-