What would you want to go to war with?
What to say about the F-15 Eagle? When it came into service in 1976, it was immediately recognized as the best fighter in the world. Today, it is arguably still the best all-around, cost-adjusted fighter, even if the Su-27 and F-22 have surpassed it in some ways. If one fighter in American history could take the name of the national symbol of the United States, how could it be anything other than the F-15?
So what are the best and worst fighter aircraft of all time? What plane would you pick for a war in the sky?
On the surface, the questions seem easy to answer. One might look at which planes performed the best in combat as opposed to fighters that did not. Or, one could look at which planes had the best technology, took advantage of historical circumstances, or utilized a combination of the two.
Does America dominate the field of best fighters? What about Russia? Does China get any mentions? Does any one nation have more negative mentions? All good questions.
Robert Farley, one of the world’s best security experts, gives us his breakdown. Over two articles, combined for your reading pleasure written several years ago, provides a strong look at the contenders for best fighters, but also, the worst of the worst.
Over the last century of military aviation, several fighters have earned the nickname “flying coffin.” Military aviation inherently pushes up against the limits of technology and human endurance, particularly where fighter and pursuit aviation is concerned. Flying a fighter is remarkably dangerous, even when no one is trying to shoot you down.