The films “Top Gun: Maverick” and “Top Gun” captured the hearts and minds of audiences across the U.S. with their gripping tale of Tom Cruise playing a Navy fighter pilot. The story of an elite unit of fighter pilots showcases the bravery, dedication, and camaraderie that many have come to expect among soldiers of the U.S. armed forces. Though the tale is fictional, it is based on the remarkable historical performance of U.S. Navy aviators in conflicts across the globe.
The United States Navy has maintained dominance of the seas since World War II, owing in large part to its carrier-based fleet of warplanes. Navy warships expand the U.S. military’s footprint across the globe, and the Navy’s warplanes extend this reach even further. Here is a look at all the active planes in the U.S. Navy. (Also see, the world’s 20 fastest warplanes.)
To identify all of the planes in active service in the U.S. Navy, 24/7 Wall St. referenced the 2023 report World Air Forces from FlightGlobal, an aviation and aerospace industry website. We ranked aircrafts by the number of units in active service. Supplemental data regarding the type of aircraft, how many are in active service, and how many are on order came from FlightGlobal. Data on each aircraft’s first flight came from various military and historical sources.
The F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and its predecessor, the F/A-18 Hornet, are the backbone of the Navy’s combat aviation fleet. These fighter jets are designed for air superiority, strike missions, and aerial reconnaissance. Equipped with sophisticated avionics and weapon systems, F/A-18s have proven to be indispensable combat aircraft in various engagements worldwide.
Additionally, the F-35C Lightning II, a multi-role stealth fighter, is part of the next generation and addition to the fleet. Developed by Lockheed Martin, this aircraft incorporates the latest technologies, making it among the most advanced fighters on the planet. (These are the most expensive planes made for the U.S. Navy.)
Another essential part of the Navy’s aerial arsenal is the EA-18G Growler, an advanced electronic warfare aircraft. Generally tasked with jamming enemy radar and communication systems, the Growler is an essential aircraft for ensuring air superiority in contested environments. These aircraft feature advanced radar and onboard electronic systems that offer capabilities beyond just targeting.
Outside of the combat-specific aircraft, the Boeing P-8 Poseidon serves as a key component of the Navy’s patrol and strike capabilities. These aircraft play a role in tracking and targeting submarines and surface ships.
The U.S. Navy’s current warplanes serve a number of roles, ranging from air supremacy to maritime control. The combination combat fighter jets, reconnaissance aircraft, and even electronic warfare planes create an incredible adversary for any enemy. Here’s a look at all the planes in active service in the U.S. Navy.
Click here to see all the planes in the U.S. Navy.
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