Aircraft Rankings - Modern

 

      Year TOT AVG RCS RAD BVR WVR ECM DOG
1 F-22 2004 100.00 9.2 10.0 10.0 7.0 7.0 9.0 9.0
2 F-35 2015 20.19 7.6 8.0 8.0 7.0 7.0 10.0 4.0
3 Rafale C/M 2001 4.98 6.2 2.0 7.0 9.0 8.0 10.0 8.0
4 JAS-39E 2017 4.50 6.1 2.0 7.0 10.0 10.0 8.0 6.0
5 Typhoon 2008 3.69 5.9 2.0 6.0 10.0 8.0 9.0 8.0
6 J-20 2018 2.47 5.5 4.0 6.0 8.0 5.0 6.0 6.0
7 Su-35S 2014 2.02 5.3 1.0 5.0 6.0 9.0 10.0 10.0
8 JAS-39C 1997 1.83 5.2 2.0 4.0 10.0 10.0 8.0 6.0
9 F-15C (AESA) 2010 1.66 5.1 1.0 7.0 7.0 7.0 6.0 7.0
10 Su-30SM 2012 1.58 5.1 1.0 4.5 6.0 9.0 10.0 9.0
11 F/A-18E 2000 1.50 5.0 2.0 6.0 7.0 7.0 6.0 6.0
12 F-2A 2000 1.29 4.9 1.5 6.0 9.0 6.0 5.0 6.0
13 Su-27SM 2004 0.91 4.5 1.0 4.0 6.0 9.0 6.0 9.0
14 F-15C 1985 0.91 4.5 1.0 5.0 7.0 7.0 6.0 7.0
15 F-16E/F 2004 0.87 4.5 1.5 5.0 7.0 7.0 6.0 5.0
16 F-16I 2004 0.78 4.4 1.5 4.0 6.0 10.0 6.0 5.0
17 J-10C 2016 0.64 4.2 1.5 4.0 7.0 7.0 5.0 6.0
18 F-16CJ 1991 0.71 4.3 1.5 5.0 8.0 5.0 4.0 6.0
19 MiG-29SMT 2010 0.58 4.1 1.5 3.0 6.0 9.0 4.0 8.0
20 F-16AM 1991 0.58 4.1 1.5 3.0 7.0 10.0 4.0 6.0
21 Mirage 2000-5Mk2 2000 0.52 4.0 1.5 4.0 4.0 8.0 5.0 6.0
22 Su-27 1984 0.52 4.0 1.0 3.5 4.0 9.0 4.0 9.0
23 J-11B 1998 0.50 3.9 1.0 4.0 6.0 9.0 4.0 5.0
24 F-14A 1974 0.52 4.0 2.0 3.5 5.0 5.0 4.0 9.0
25 F-16C 1984 0.43 3.8 1.5 3.0 7.0 7.0 4.0 6.0
26 F/A-18C 1987 0.39 3.7 1.5 3.0 7.0 7.0 4.0 5.0
27 MiG-31BM 2011 0.33 3.5 1.0 5.0 7.0 2.0 6.0 2.0
28 Mirage 2000C 1983 0.26 3.3 1.5 3.0 4.0 5.0 4.0 6.0
29 MiG-29A/S 1983 0.24 3.2 1.5 1.0 4.0 9.0 2.0 9.0
30 J-10A 2005 0.24 3.2 1.5 3.0 5.0 5.0 3.0 5.0
31 F-CK-1C 2009 0.19 3.0 1.5 2.0 5.0 4.0 4.0 6.0
32 F-16A 1979 0.14 2.7 1.5 2.0 3.0 5.0 2.0 6.0
33 Mirage F.1C 1971 0.10 2.3 1.5 1.0 4.0 5.0 2.0 4.0
34 F-4EJ Kai 1989 0.09 2.2 1.0 2.0 3.0 5.0 3.0 2.0
35 JH-17 2007 0.08 2.1 1.5 2.0 5.0 1.0 1.0 3.0
36 F-4E 1968 0.06 1.8 1.0 1.0 3.0 5.0 2.0 2.0
37 J-7MP 1997 0.04 1.4 1.5 0.5 0.0 4.0 1.0 3.0
38 F-5E 1972 0.04 1.5 1.5 0.25 0.0 5.0 0.5 4.0
39 MiG-23ML 1978 0.04 1.3 1.5 0.5 2.0 2.0 1.0 2.0
40 MiG-21MF 1970 0.03 1.1 1.5 0.25 0.0 2.0 0.5 3.0
41 J-7E 1987 0.03 1.2 1.5 0.25 0.0 3.0 0.5 3.0
42 J-8F 2003 0.03 1.2 1.5 0.5 0.0 3.0 0.5 2.0

Notes:

These rankings are an attempt to create a robust, credible measurement of the combat capabilities of all major aircraft currently in service around the world. Because air combat is exceedingly rare today and much of the information on modern avionics and weapons is classifed, it is nearly impossible to create a ranking that is truly accurate and therefore this ranking does not presume to have a definitive say on the matter. Furthermore, pilot quality and other combat conditions can also affect which aircraft is more likely to have an edge over another in the actual battlefield. This ranking takes into account six indicators that are described below, which are then wieghed and average to produce an average (AVG) score. Nevertheless, because technology gives an exponential edge to modern weapons systems, an exponent of the AVG score is then used to produce a definitive total score (TOT).

RCS - This scores an aircraft's radar cross-section. Given that actual radar cross-section data is not easy to find, for simplification purposes all large tactical aircraft (F-15, Su-27) are given the lowest score of 1.0, followed by smaller fighters (F-16/MiG-29) with a score of 1.5. 4.5 generation aircraft typically incorporate some stealth elements and these score a 2.0. The highest score of 10.0 is given to the F-22, widely considered the stealthiest aircraft flying today, with lower scores given to the less stealthy F-35 as well as the J-20, the latter which is only stealthy from a frontal angle.

RAD - This scores the aircraft's radar based on its presumed range and sophistication, information which is also not widely available (much of it is classified) and is therefore assumed. Newer AESA radars are scored between 5.0-10.0 wherease older phased array radars score up to a 6.0. The top scoring radar is currently the F-22's AN/APG-77 with a 10.0. Assuming similar levels of technology, larger radars are invariably better.

BVR - This scores the aircraft's beyond visual range capability, as measured by the quality of the best medium- or long-range missile available for it. The top scoring missile is currently the ramjet-powered European Meteor which is currently in service on the JAS-39 Gripen, Rafale, and Eurofighter Tyhoon. It scores a 10.0 except on the Rafale which lacks a two-way data-link and thus scores a 9.0.

WVR - This scores the aicraft's within visual range missle capability, measured by the best short-range missile availabl for it. The top scoring missile is currently the European IRIS-T (10.0) and Israeli Python 5 (10.0) followed closely by the Russian R-73, the world's first missile with off-boresight capability (9.0).

ECM - This scores the aircraft's electronic warfare capabilities. Most modern aircraft carry a very sophisticated suite of electronic warfare avionics such as jammers and passive radar recievers. Again, the full capabilities of these systems are classified and are therefore assumed, with modern Russian aircraft (Su-30/35) and the Rafale's SPECTRE system believed to be among the most sophisticated in the world today.

DOG - This represents the aircraft's general maneuverability for close-in combat. Aircraft with thrust-vectoring and large wing-loadings like the Su-27/35 are among the most capable dogfighters in the world. Aircraft that are not built for dogfighting, like interceptors (MiG-31) will score quite low despite their otherwise formidable BVR capabilities.

AVG - This is the average of six indicators weighed as 30% for RCS and RAD, and 10% for BVR, WVR, ECM, and DOG (see below).

TOT - This is an exponentional representation of the AVG. Modern weapons systems are more exponential than linear in their increased capabilities over their predecessors. For example, the F-15's kill ratio of 104-to-1 is representative of how a 4th generation aircraft could easily wipe the floor against the 3rd and 2nd generation aircraft that it has mostly encountered. Likewise, evidence from exercises suggests that 5th generation aircraft are likely to have similar if not greater advantages over their predecessors. As such, the fact that the top scoring stealth aircraft like the F-22 and F-35 score so much higher than their predecessors is a more accurate reflection of their relative advantages than if a linear measurement was used. The best way to interpret the TOT score is to divide them between the two aircraft you wish to compare. The F-22's score of 100 is about 5 times that of the F-35's 20.19 score and so it can be assumed that it has a 5 times greater probability of killing a F-35 than being killed by it.

Last modified: 2 January 2019