Top 10 Strongest Airforce of the World | Check Global Air Power Ranking 2024

Top 10 Strongest Airforce of the World

The United States Air Force (USAF) is the most powerful airforce in the world. Indian Air Force(IAR) holds the third position. It is an honour that India holds the third position in the world. It is a remarkable achievement to safeguard the country. Every Air Force has their strengths and weaknesses. Today, let’s talk about the top 10 most powerful airforces in the world.

List of 10 Most Powerful Airforce in the World

Rank Air Force Established Personnel Aircraft Budget (Est.) Key Roles Modernization Efforts
1 United States Air Force (USAF) 1947 689,000+ 5,217 $188.1 billion Air superiority, global strike, mobility, ISR, command & control B-21 Raider, F-35A, F-15EX, KC-46A
2 Russian Air Force 1992 148,000+ 3,800+ $44 billion Air superiority, ground attack, strategic bombing, transport, recon Su-57, Su-35, Tu-160M, S-400 missiles
3 Indian Air Force (IAF) 1932 140,000+ 1,800+ $21.5 billion Air superiority, strike missions, airlift, recon Rafale, Tejas Mk1A, S-400 missiles, HAL AMCA
4 People’s Liberation Army Air Force (China) 1949 400,000+ 3,000+ $70 billion Air superiority, ground attack, airlift, recon J-20, J-16, Y-20, KJ-500 AEW&C
5 Japan Air Self-Defense Force 1954 50,000+ 750+ $6.7 billion Air defense, recon, search & rescue, disaster relief F-35A, E-2D Hawkeye, F-X fighter program
6 Israeli Air Force (IAF) 1948 34,000+ 600+ Part of $24 billion defense budget Air superiority, precision strikes, recon, air defense F-35I Adir, F-15/F-16 upgrades, UAV development
7 French Air and Space Force 1909 41,000+ 1,000+ $12.5 billion Air superiority, ground support, recon, nuclear deterrence Rafale, A400M Atlas, Mirage 2000 upgrades, FCAS
8 British Royal Air Force (RAF) 1918 33,000+ 800+ $12.3 billion Air defense, airlift, ISR, nuclear deterrence F-35B, Eurofighter Typhoon, A400M Atlas, Protector UAV
9 Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) 1949 65,000+ 740+ $8.6 billion Air defense, ground attack, recon, airlift F-35A, KF-21 Boramae, missile defense upgrades
10 Pakistan Air Force (PAF) 1947 70,000+ 900+ $3.5 billion Air defense, strike missions, recon, airlift JF-17 Thunder, F-16 upgrades, J-10C fighters




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1. United States Air Force (USAF):

United States Air Force (USAF)- Airforce


The United States, which boasts the world’s number one military power has the strongest air and aviation power. The Air Force the Navy and Marine Corps have aircraft that rival the air forces of other countries.

  • Established: 1947
  • Personnel: Over 689,000 (active duty, guard, reserve, civilian)
  • Aircraft: Approximately 5,217
  • Budget: $188.1 billion (FY 2025)
  • Key Roles: Air superiority, global strike, rapid global mobility, ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance), and command and control.
  • Modernization Efforts: B-21 Raider, F-35A, F-15EX, KC-46A, T-7A, advanced munitions like JASSM-ER, LRASM, and AARGM-ER.

2. Russian Air Force:

Russian AirForce

Russian Air Force has diminished compared to its former Soviet Air Force counterpart. It is continuously improving its air defence aircraft and holds the second position. 

  • Established: 1992 (post-Soviet Union)
  • Personnel: Approximately 148,000
  • Aircraft: Over 3,800
  • Budget: Estimated $44 billion
  • Key Roles: Air superiority, ground attack, strategic bombing, transport, and reconnaissance.
  • Modernization Efforts: Su-57 stealth fighter, Su-35, Tu-160M strategic bomber, S-400 missile systems.

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3. Indian Air Force (IAF):

Indian Air Force (IAF)

The Indian Air Force is a successor to the Royal Air Force, its pilots have been highly trained since the war, and it has long been the most powerful air force in the Indian Ocean. The current most advanced fighter jet is the Su-30MKI, a licensed production of the Su-30. Although India used to rely exclusively on Russia, in recent years it has purchased from a variety of sources

  • Established: 1932
  • Personnel: Approximately 140,000
  • Aircraft: Over 1,800
  • Budget: $21.5 billion
  • Key Roles: Air superiority, strike missions, strategic and tactical airlift, reconnaissance.
  • Modernization Efforts: Rafale jets, Tejas Mk1A, S-400 missile systems, HAL AMCA project.

4. People’s Liberation Army AirForce (China):

China has made remarkable progress and now has the strongest airforce and aviation capabilities in Asia. It has constructed two aircraft carriers and an artificial island and runway in the East China Sea, dramatically increasing its deployment capabilities. Until now, China has mostly produced its aircraft by copying Soviet aircraft or purchasing them from Russia

  • Established: 1949
  • Personnel: Approximately 400,000
  • Aircraft: Over 3,000
  • Budget: Estimated $70 billion
  • Key Roles: Air superiority, ground attack, strategic and tactical airlift, reconnaissance.
  • Modernization Efforts: J-20 stealth fighter, J-16, Y-20 transport aircraft, KJ-500 AEW&C.

5. Japan Air Self-Defense Force:

Japan’s land area is not particularly large, its territorial waters and exclusive economic zone are the sixth largest in the world. The basic aircraft configuration will be the same as that of the US military, an ally of the country, and will be purchased from America or produced under license, although some aircraft, such as C-2 transports and training aircraft, will be domestically produced.

  • Established: 1954
  • Personnel: Approximately 50,000
  • Aircraft: Over 750
  • Budget: $6.7 billion
  • Key Roles: Air defence, reconnaissance, search and rescue, disaster relief.
  • Modernization Efforts: F-35A, E-2D Hawkeye, future indigenous fighter program (F-X).

6. Israeli Air Force (IAF):

The Israeli Air Force is known for its large and modern aircraft. It is also known as the “Air and Space Arm” or “Air Corps,”. They are also progressing and purchasing aircraft from the US. Israeli Air Force is also known for training the world’s best pilots.

  • Established: 1948
  • Personnel: Approximately 34,000
  • Aircraft: Over 600
  • Budget: Part of the overall defence budget of $24 billion
  • Key Roles: Air superiority, precision strikes, reconnaissance, air defence.
  • Modernization Efforts: F-35I Adir, upgrading F-15 and F-16 fleets, UAV development.

7. French Air and Space Force:

France was the first country in the world to establish an airforce (airforce). It boasts the largest air force in Western Europe and is second only to the United States in NATO. Many of its aircraft are domestically produced, and its fighter jets are developed by the domestic company Dassault.

  • Established: 1909 (as French Air Service)
  • Personnel: Approximately 41,000
  • Aircraft: Over 1,000
  • Budget: $12.5 billion
  • Key Roles: Air superiority, ground support, reconnaissance, nuclear deterrence.
  • Modernization Efforts: Rafale jets, A400M Atlas, modernization of Mirage 2000, upcoming FCAS (Future Combat Air System).

8. British Royal Air Force (RAF):

The British Royal Air Force is the world’s oldest air force. It was established after the Royal Naval Air Service and the Royal Flying Corps were merged. They maintained modern and high-tech aircraft. This airforce is an important component of the United Kingdom’s defence architecture.

  • Established: 1918
  • Personnel: Approximately 33,000
  • Aircraft: Over 800
  • Budget: $12.3 billion
  • Key Roles: Air defence, strategic and tactical airlift, ISR, nuclear deterrence.
  • Modernization Efforts: F-35B, Eurofighter Typhoon, A400M Atlas, Protector RG Mk1 UAV.

9. The Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF):

The Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) is old and continues to progress comparable to China’s advancements. In addition, they replaced their old aircraft with the new. Many of the aircraft will be the same as those used by the US military, which is its ally. It is also known as The South Korean Air Force.

  • Established: 1949
  • Personnel: Approximately 65,000
  • Aircraft: Over 740
  • Budget: $8.6 billion
  • Key Roles: Air defence, ground attack, reconnaissance, airlift.
  • Modernization Efforts: F-35A, KF-21 Boramae, enhancing missile defence systems.

10. Pakistan Air Force (PAF):

Pakistan became an ally of the United States and in the 1980s, it possessed many of the latest F16A/B fighter jets at the time, but the supply of weapons stopped in the 1980s and 1990s as it developed nuclear weapons. Now, they are in good relations with China for good development.

  • Established: 1947
  • Personnel: Approximately 70,000
  • Aircraft: Over 900
  • Budget: $3.5 billion
  • Key Roles: Air defence, strike missions, reconnaissance, strategic airlift.
  • Modernization Efforts: JF-17 Thunder, F-16 upgrades, acquiring Chinese J-10C.

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