best fighter jets in the world
General Military Questions

10 Best Fighter Jets In The World In 2022

What is the best fighter jet in the world?

Fighter jets are fixed wing aircraft that are designed for air-to-air combat.

As such, every military force in the world invests heavily in a rival air force.

Therefore, fighters are among the most powerful and sophisticated aircraft in the skies.

The United States, Russia, China, and other nations compete for aerial dominance.

But what country has the best fighter jet in the world?

Discover the 10 Best Fighter Jets in the World, below.

Related Article17 Types Of Navy Aircraft / Fighter Jets

10 Best Fighter Jets In The World

Fighter jets are undoubtedly the most important aircraft.

Every advanced nation on the globe depends on a competing air force.

Accordingly, it’s very important to have the fastest and stealthiest fighter.

Modern fighter jets incorporate the latest technology including advanced avionics and stealth capabilities.

Furthermore, the most recent 5th generation fighters are capable of evading enemy radar as well as delivering electronic warfare.

As a result, most modern fighters need to have the ability to attack the enemy (strike) and defend airspace (air superiority).

For this reason, we’ve examined the top 4th and 5th generation aircraft revealing the 10 Best Fighter Jets in the World.

The selections were made based on several factors, including A) reputation, B) performance, C) stealth and avionics, D) armament, and E) reliability.

So, what is the best fighter jet in the world?

Here are our selections for the 10 Best Fighter Jets in the World:

  • Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor
  • Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II
  • Sukhoi Su-57 Felon
  • Chengdu J-20 Mighty Dragon
  • General Dynamics F-15EX Eagle
  • Dassault Rafale
  • McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet
  • Eurofighter Typhoon
  • General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon
  • Sukhoi Su-35

Please note this article was published prior to the release of other 5th generation fighters, like thee Sukhoi Checkmate and TAI TF-X.

Moreover, 6th generation fighter jets are already in development and may arrive in the next decade.

Regardless, these aircraft rival each other for best fighter jet in the world:

#1. F-22 Raptor

the f-22 raptor is considered the best fighter jet in the world
Image: Wikimedia.org
  • First Flight: 1997
  • Country: United States
  • Type: Stealth Air Superiority Fighter
  • Performance: Mach 2.25

The Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor is arguably the best fighter jet in the world.

For starters, the 5th generation fighter is nearly impossible to catch in the open skies.

It’s remarkably fast for a single-seat, twin-engine fighter jet.

The all-weather stealth fighter first went into development in the 1980s yet did not enter service until 2005.

However, the wait was well worth it as many consider the F-22 Raptor untouchable.

The lethal aircraft features additional capabilities such as ground attack, signals intelligence, and electronic warfare.

It’s very difficult to detect on radar even if the bulky jet is heavier than most modern fighters.

Furthermore, the integrated avionics systems and super-maneuverability are the best among any aircraft.

The United States is serious about keeping the engineering of the F-22 confidential as the fighter is not for sale to foreign countries, unlike most U.S. fighter jets.

As such, the F-22 Raptor remains in service and is expected to stay operation until 2050.

#2. F-35 Lightning II

F-35 lightning fighter jet
Image: Wikipedia.org
  • First Flight: 2006
  • Country: United States
  • Type: Multi-Role Stealth Fighter
  • Performance: Mach 1.6

The F-35 Lightning II is often compared to the F-22 Raptor, and for good reason.

Both modern fighters are produced by Lockheed Martin and rank among the top fighters in the world.

The single-seat, single-engine F-35 is surprisingly not that fast for a 5th generation fighter.

However, what it lacks in punch is certainly compensated for the advanced avionics and stealth capabilities.

Additionally, the F-35 Lightning II excels at ground strike missions and air defense missions.

The F-35 is nearly undetectable by radar as well as extremely maneuverable in the event the pilot finds trouble in the skies.

Impressively, the F-35 fighter may sustain high G-loads even in combat situations.

Moreover, the U.S. Air Force, Marine Corps, and Navy all utilize some variant of the F-35 aircraft.

The air superiority fighter is often considered the best fighter jet in the world for stealth.

It also features some impressive weapons systems along with situation awareness and other advanced optics for pilots.

The F-35 is comparable to the F-22 Raptor in many regards, just smaller and with only a single engine.

Thus, the F-22 is faster yet the F-35 is more impressive at stealth (RCS is the size of a golf ball).

The F-35 is the most expensive fighter program in U.S. history yet many experts consider the investment worth it.

As a result, you may love or hate it, but the F-35 ranks among the top fighters in the world.

#3. Sukhoi Su-57 Felon

Sukhoi Su-57 Felon is the premier fighter jet in the Russian air force
Image: Wikipedia.org
  • First Flight: 2010
  • Country: Russia
  • Type: 5th Generation Multi-Role Fighter
  • Performance: Mach 2

Okay, so the U.S. military may not want to admit it, but the Sukhoi Su-57 Felon rivals advanced fighters like the F-22 and F-35.

In fact, it’s often compared to the F-35 since both fighters are the latest offerings from each world power.

The Sukhoi Su-57 is specifically designed to contend with U.S. aircraft.

The single-seat, twin-engine fighter is very maneuverable and performs multiple roles.

For example, the Sukhoi Su-57 is fully capable in air superiority and ground attack missions.

However, it’s also been plagued by production issues and lacks experience in the skies.

Nonetheless, Russia plans to replace the Mikoyan MiG-29 with the Su-57.

There are many veterans that will recall how the MiG-29 fighter (which makes our honorable mention list) competed with the F-15 and F-16, in the past.

The Su-57 is the first Russian stealth fighter as the country attempts to catch up to highly sophisticated American technology.

It’s new air-to-air missiles and air-to-surface missiles are considered among the most sophisticated armament found on fighter jets.

Still, Russia has delayed the release of the Su-57 aircraft which only recently entered service in 2020.

The fighter costs significantly less to produce compared to the F-35 ($30-$35 million vs. $90-$105 million).

#4. Chengdu J-20

the Chengdu J-20 is the best fighter jet in the Chinese air force
Image: Wikipedia.org
  • First Flight: 2011
  • Country: China
  • Type: Stealth Air Superiority Fighter
  • Performance: Mach 2+

Then, there are the Chinese to consider.

Currently, the most advanced fighter the nation has to offer is the Chengdu J-20, which is quite impressive in its own regard.

The single-seat, twin-engine 5th generation fighter reportedly reaches speeds of Mach 2 and higher.

It’s designed as an air superiority fighter which features precision strike capabilities.

As such, the 5th generation fighter is specifically built to rival the F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning II.

Moreover, it can also compete with the Russian Su-57 in terms of speed and performance.

The J-20 fighter – also known as the “Mighty Dragon” – incorporates cutting-edge stealth technology with other advanced features.

It features a large internal weapons bay fitted with long-range missiles that can destroy air defenses, tanks, and ships.

Unfortunately, we do not know many exact details about the aircraft since the communist government keeps much of that information secret.

Notwithstanding, some consider the J-20 the best fighter jet in the world.

It does come with a hefty price tag, however, as the Chengdu J-20 reportedly costs between $110 – $130 million.

Be that as it may, the J-20 is a worthy adversary considering it has only been in service for a short amount of time (2017).

In fact, it’s the 2nd 5th generation fighter to enter service (only behind the F-22 Raptor).

#5. F-15 Eagle

the f-15 eagle is easily considered one of the best fighter jets in the world
Image: Wikipedia.org
  • First Flight: 1972
  • Country: United States
  • Type: Air Superiority Fighter
  • Performance: Mach 2.5

The F-15 Eagle has the most impressive legacy of any fighter.

It continues to rival far more modern, 5th generation fighters in terms of performance.

The F-15 Eagle, including its most recent variant (the F-15EX), remains among the most powerful fighter jets reaching speeds over Mach 2.

Additionally, the F-15 has never lost in combat with over 100 aerial battles and zero defeats.

The lethal aircraft has been widely distributed around the world to partner nations and remains a personal favorite.

In fact, many hate to say goodbye to the F-15 Eagle as the F-35 is destined to replace it.

Still, the most recent version – the F-15EX Eagle – factors to remain in service as a killing machine.

[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JpWqgGiCZZw]

The F-15EX is the first 5th generation fighter to feature a fully digital cockpit.

It’s just the beginning of the advanced features you’ll find on the F-15EX fighter.

The original F-15 Eagle was introduced in 1972 and continues to make an imprint a half-century later.

Since then, the F-15 has witnessed numerous upgrades which has enabled the sleek, powerful fighter to contest with modern aircraft.

Thus, it remains relevant in the 21st century thanks to unparalleled speed, precision, and payload capacity.

What’s more, the F-15 Eagle costs a fraction of other modern fighters like the F-35 ($35 million compared to $90 million).

However, the F-15EX variant is much more on par with current production costs (approximately $90 – $110 million).

Related ArticleF15 Vs. F22: Top 10 Differences Between The Eagle & Raptor

#6. Dassault Rafale

the Dassault Rafale is france's best fighter jet
Image: Wikipedia.org
  • First Flight: 1986
  • Country: France
  • Type: 4th Generation Multi-Role Fighter
  • Performance: Mach 1.8

The Dassault Rafale is another 4th generation fighter that withstands the test of time.

The multi-role aircraft first began development in the late-80s, however, didn’t officially enter service until 2001.

For France, the wait was well worth it considering the features of the Dassault Rafale.

First, the Rafale fighter is very customizable allowing each unit to suit to individual needs.

The versatility has also made the Dassault Rafale popular with foreign investors.

Accordingly, many other countries around the globe use some type of Rafale fighter.

The French Air Force and Navy rely on the aircraft for all front-line support.

Consequently, the Rafale is flexible enough to handle air superiority, ground support, or nuclear deterrence.

Furthermore, the top speed of the Rafale is impressive for a slightly older fighter.

The Dassault Rafale supports a variety of weapons, including laser-guided bombs and air-to-ground precision munitions.

Meanwhile, the short-range air-to-air missiles are also deadly.

Often, you’ll find the terms “agile” and “powerful” to describe the Dassault Rafale.

It’s a fitting description since many in Europe rank the aircraft as the best fighter in the world.

The United States and Russia may not agree, but there is no question that the Rafale aircraft puts up a tremendous fight.

In fact, the Dassault Rafale was deployed during 2002 Operation Enduring Freedom and assisted troops on the ground in Afghanistan.

France does pay a price for developing the Rafale which is among the most expensive fighters in the world.

#7. F/A-18E/F Super Hornet

the FA-18E-F Super Hornet is one of the best fighter jets in the world
Image: Wikipedia.org
  • First Flight: 1995
  • Country: United States
  • Type: Carrier-Based Multi-Role Fighter
  • Performance: Mach 1.8

The Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet is another iconic U.S. fighter.

The twin-engine fighter is designed to land on aircraft carriers.

For this reason, the aircraft is utilized as both a fighter (F/A-18E) and attack fighter (F/A-18F).

As such, the Super Hornet manages supersonic flights without the need of an afterburner.

The variant is larger than the original F/A-18 Hornet design from the 1970s.

It was originally slated to replace the Grumman F-14 Tomcat and costs less to produce compared to other modern fighters.

The fighter may perform day and night strike missions along with numerous other roles.

It’s advanced avionics and armaments make it highly coveted.

The aircraft is more than capable of holding its own in a combat zone with an internal 20mm M61A1 cannon and 11 weapons stations.

The weapons stations support air-to-air missiles, air-to-ground missiles, guided bombs, as well as other munitions.

Furthermore, the F-18 Super Hornet is battle-proven (like the F-15 Eagle) and used heavily the U.S. Navy.

Meanwhile, the Royal Australian Air Force prefers its own version of the Super Hornet (RAAF).

The fighter jet (like the Dassault Rafale) was crucial during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.

Related ArticleF-16 Vs. F-18: Top 10 Differences Between The Viper & Super Hornet

#8. Eurofighter Typhoon

Eurofighter Typhoon is the premier fighter jet in Europe
Image: Wikipedia.org
  • First Flight: 1994
  • Country: Germany
  • Type: Air Superiority Multi-Role Fighter
  • Performance: Mach 2+

Surprisingly, the Germans are not known for creating advanced fighters even if engineering runs in their genes.

However, the Eurofighter Typhoon is the one exception.

The aircraft was originally developed to serve as a multi-role fighter for partner nations of Europe.

Accordingly, the Typhoon fighter offers 3 different variants:

  • Single-Seat Eurofighter Typhoon
  • Two-Seat Eurofighter Trainer
  • Eurofighter Tornado ADV Strike & Reconnaissance Aircraft

For this reason, the Eurofighter is designed and produced by multiple companies.

Nonetheless, the assembly comes together, creating an extremely agile aircraft.

The Eurofighter Typhoon combines super-cruise, stealth, sensor fusion, and advanced avionics.

It contributes to outstanding performance in the air with speeds that reach Mach 1.5 at high altitudes.

The airframe minimizes Radar Cross Section (RCS) much like the low profile of the F-35 Lightning II.

In general, military air forces use the Eurofighter Typhoon for air superiority and air defense.

Notwithstanding, it can also stand in for ground attacks as well as reconnaissance missions.

There are several toys in terms of weapons, including 70mm laser-guided rockets and AIM-132 ASRAAM missiles.

Today, the Eurofighter is utilized by Germany, Spain, Italy, and the United Kingdom.

The Indian Air Force also recently acquired several Typhoon aircraft for nearly $140 million each.

Europe considers it the most sophisticated fighter jet they have to offer in 2022.

#9. F-16 Fighting Falcon

the f-16 is one of the best fighter jets in the world
Image: Wikipedia.org
  • First Flight: 1974
  • Country: United States
  • Type: Air Superiority Multi-Role Fighter
  • Performance: Mach 2

The F-16 Fighting Falcon is another legendary aircraft designed by the United States.

Thus, like the F-15 Eagle (which the F-16 is frequently compared to in terms of performance) it’s not something enemy aircraft wants to stumble into thin air.

The reputation of the F-16 fighter is terrific.

The single-engine, multi-role aircraft has evolved from an air superiority day fighter to one that can fight in all conditions, and at any time of the day.

As a result, the F-16 fighter has transitioned into one of the best multi-role aircraft even if it’s older.

General Dynamics once again delivers with an impressive list of specifications, including speeds that reach Mach 2.

The fighter jet is incredibly maneuverable as well as the first to incorporate fly-by-wire flight control.

It consistently ranks among the most agile fighters and is quite deadly with 11 weapons stations.

Moreover, the internal M61 Vulcan cannon is capable of producing damage on its own.

The Fighting Falcon aircraft is also sometimes referred to pilots and crew members as “Viper”.

The fighter does take on the resemblance along with being extremely potent and deadly.

It’s a regular in the U.S. Air Force as well as featured in the Thunderbirds aerial demonstration.

#10. Sukhoi Su-35

Sukhoi Su-35 is one of the best fighter jets in the russian air force
Image: Wikipedia.org
  • First Flight: 2008
  • Country: Russia
  • Type: Air Superiority Multi-Role Fighter
  • Performance: Mach 2.25

Finally, the Russians like to suggest the Sukhoi Su-35 is the best fighter jet in the world.

While true, the Su-35 has garnered more of a reputation than the Su-57 Felon (which recently arrived in 2020), it’s still merely a 4th generation interceptor.

The Su-35 is undoubtedly fast (reaches speeds of Mach 2.25).

It also provides an impressive weapons capacity (up to 18,000 lbs. worth of missiles, bombs, rockets, etc.) along with 11 hardpoint locations.

The aircraft is designed to intercept other planes before they engage in combat.

It was among the most advanced aircraft when the Su-35 first made its debut in 2008.

The active radar supports all-weather day and night flight as well as maintains contact with ground and airborne targets.

It presents the Russian Su-35 fighter with high-angle attacks that make it difficult to take down.

The Russian fighter is very maneuverable with thrust-vectoring engines that further increase agility.

Still, there are few that agree that the Su-37 can compete with American aircraft like the F-18 Super Hornet and F-22 Raptor.

Honorable Mentions

If you didn’t agree with our picks, perhaps one of the aircraft just missed out in our honorable mention selections:

  • Saab JAS 39E Gripen
  • Shenyang FC-31
  • Mikoyan MiG-35
  • JF-17 Thunder / HAL Tejas
  • Su-30MKI (Flanker-H)

The next wave of fighter jets (6th generation aircraft) will certainly feature even more impressive capabilities.

For now, we can simply enjoy the raw power and impressive performance of 4th and 5th generation fighters.

Conclusion

What is the best fighter jet in the world?

It’s not an easy score to settle.

For starters, United States is often considered supreme in terms of producing highly sophisticated aircraft, like fighter jets.

The F-15 Eagle, F-16 Fighting Falcon, F-18 Super Hornet, and F-22 Raptor are just a few examples of top fighters.

Then, there is the F-35 Lightning II which is arguably the stealthiest fighter in the world.

However, foreign adversaries like Russia and China also compete with the Sukhoi Su-57 and Chengdu J-20.

Meanwhile, allied nations like France and the European Union support ground forces with the Dassault Rafale and Eurofighter Typhoon.

In the end, how can one argue with the unprecedented history and reputation of U.S. military aviation?

Therefore, we consider the F-22 Raptor the best fighter jet in the world followed closely behind by another American invention – the F-35 Lightning II.

Rob V.
Best Fighter Jet

Best Fighter Jet

4.5 out of 5 (29 Ratings)

What is the best fighter jet in the world? The United States, Russia, and China all compete for the best 5th generation fighter. Who wins?
Affiliate Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. If you click and purchase, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only recommend products I have personally vetted. Learn more.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *