Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Top 10 Air Forces of the World

10. Japan Air Self-Defense Force (Japan):

The aviation branch of Japan Self-Defense Force, JASDF is one of the sharpest tool, made for the defense-oriented policy of Japan. After World War II, JASDF was planted in 1954, as an unified form of Imperial Japanese Army Air Service and Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service. Aviation operations were carried out by the Imperial Japanese Army Air Service and the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service. Following World War II the Imperial Japanese Army and Navy were dissolved and replaced by the JSDF with the passing of the 1954 Self-Defense Forces Law with the JASDF as the aviation branch.

With an impeccable array of ultramodern radar systems and combat air patrols, JASDF is better known for its assaulter squadrons. The JASDF carries out combat air patrols around Japan, while also maintaining an extensive network of ground and air early warning radar systems. The branch also has an aerobatic team known as Blue Impulse and has recently been involved in providing air transport in several UN peacekeeping missions.

The JASDF maintains an integrated network of radar installations and air defense direction centers throughout the country known as the Basic Air Defense Ground Environment. In the late 1980s, the system was modernized and augmented with E-2C Hawkeye airborne early warning aircraft.

The nation relies on fighter-interceptor aircraft and surface-to-air missiles to intercept hostile aircraft. Both of these systems were improved from the beginning of the late 1980s. Outmoded aircraft were replaced in the early 1990s with more sophisticated models, and Nike-J missiles have been replaced with the modern Patriot PAC-2 system.

The JASDF also provides air support for ground and sea operations of the JGSDF and the JMSDF and air defense for bases of all the forces. Although support fighter squadrons started being modernized in 1989, they lacked precision-guided weapons for support of ground operations and attacks on hostile ships, and JASDF pilots receive little flight training over oceans to prepare for maritime operations. Base defenses were upgraded in the late 1980s with new surface-to-air missiles, modern antiaircraft artillery and new fixed and mobile aircraft shelters.

The JASDF is not allowed to have strategic bombers for that would go against the self defense–only policy.

The JASDF has an estimated 45,000 personnel in 2005. As of 2010, the JASDF operates 805 aircraft, 374 of them being fighter aircraft.

9. Royal Australian Air Force (Australia):

Comparatively small but tremendously deadly, RAAF was established on March 31, 1921, and till the date it has majorly participated in some of the deadliest conflicts of 20th century, including both World Wars, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. More recently the RAAF participated in the 2003 invasion of Iraq and is still involved with the War in Afghanistan (2001–present). The motto on the RAAF's coat of arms is the Latin phrase Per ardua ad astra, which means "Through Struggle to the Stars". Comprising a powerful fighter fleet along with sophisticated technology, RAAF is credited for immediately implementing the kinetic and non-kinetic air effects.

The RAAF traces its history back to the Imperial Conference held in London in 1911, where it was decided aviation should be developed within the armed forces of the British Empire. Australia implemented this decision, the only country to do so, by approving the establishment of the Central Flying School at Point Cook, Victoria on 22 October 1912. The RAAF was the second air force to be officially formed.

As of June 2011, the RAAF has 14,573 permanent full-time personnel and 2,800 part-time active reserve personnel.

8. Luftwaffe (Germany):

One of the most striking air force with the trail of top-notch pilots,, Luftwaffe is a generic German term for an air force. It is also the official name for two of the four historic German air forces, the Wehrmacht air arm founded in 1935 and disbanded in 1946; and the current Bundeswehr air arm founded in 1956. During the World War II, this air force overshadowed the skies of Europe and defeated its foreign counterparts with much more advancements. Most of the pilots of Luftwaffe are trained either in United States or in Canada. The tactical training centers of this air force are located at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico and Canadian Forces Air Command base at Goose Bay.

On 13 January 2004, the Defence Minister Peter Struck announced major changes to the German armed forces. A major part of this announcement was a plan to cut the German fighter fleet from 426 aircraft in early 2004 to 265 by 2015. Assuming the full German order for 180 Eurofighter Typhoons is fulfilled, this will see the Tornado force reduced to 85. The German Navy's air wing (Marineflieger) received 112 Tornado IDSs. In late 2004 the last Tornado unit was disbanded. The maritime combat role has been assumed by the Luftwaffe, a unit of which has had its Tornados upgraded to carry the Kormoran II and AGM-88 HARM missiles

7. Indian Air Force:

Considered as one of the best equipped air force across the world along with professional standards, the IAF was founded on October 8, 1932, and since then it has been in the limelight of mainstream media for its logical expansion and modernization. Since independence, the IAF has been involved in four wars with neighbouring Pakistan and one with the People's Republic of China. Other major operations undertaken by the IAF include Operation Vijay - the invasion of Goa, Operation Meghdoot, Operation Cactus and Operation Poomalai. Apart from conflicts, the IAF has been an active participant in United Nations peacekeeping missions.

It is also the fourth largest air force in the world with approximately 127,000 active personnel and operated around 1,380 aircraft. However, various reliable sources provided notably divergent estimates of its strength over the years.

6. Armée de l’Air (France):

Literally Army of the Air is the air force of the French Armed Forces, founded in 1909 as the Service Aéronautique, a service arm of the French Army, hen was made an independent military arm in 1933. Armée de l’Air is considered as the world’s first professional air force. Buff of technological developments, methodical defensive strategies and straightforward doctrine of ruling skies, this air force is better known for comprising new generation multirole combat airplanes. In current scenario, France possesses an impressive status in international aircraft industry. It is well known for inventing the Mirage series of Jet Fighters, one of the most admired aircraft in the history of military aviation.

The French Air Force operates 635 aircraft, making it the fourth largest air force in terms of aircraft in NATO, and the second largest in the EU after the Royal Air Force.

5. People’s Liberation Army Air Force (China):

With a long list of more than 330,000 personnel and 2,500+ aircrafts, of which 1,617 were combat aircraft; the PLAAF is the largest air force in Asia and the third largest in the world behind the United States Air Force and the Russian Air Force. This does not include PLA Naval Aviation which had 26,000 personnel and 570 aircraft (290 combat aircraft). The PLAAF is better known for comprising some of the deadliest self-reliance combat aircrafts. Officially founded on November 11, 1949, the Chinese air force consists qualitative edge with lethal approach in the modern arena of air striking.

The PLAAF fought the Korean War in Soviet-built MiG-15, known as the J-2 in Chinese service, with training from Soviet instructors. The war also brought Soviet assistance for the indigenous aircraft industry. The Shenyang Aircraft Factory built the two-seat MiG-15UTI trainer as the JJ-2, and during the war manufactured various components to maintain the Soviet-built fighters. This prepared them to mass produce derivatives of Soviet aircraft under license, starting with the J-5 (MiG-17) in 1956, then the J-6 (MiG-19) in 1959, and then the J-7 (MiG-21) in 1967.

4. Royal Air Force (United Kingdom):

The kingpin of British Military history and the decision maker of world’s greatest conflicts, RAF is the oldest air force of the world which is renowned for its strategic bombing. RAF was founded during the World war I, on April 1, 1918, by the unification of the Royal Naval Air Services and Royal Flying Corps, and has taken a significant role in British military history, playing a large part in the Second World War and in more recent conflicts.

The RAF is one of the most capable and technologically sophisticated air forces in the world, and As of January 2012, operates around 1004 aircraft, making it the largest air force in Europe and the second largest in NATO (after the USAF). The majority of the RAF's aircraft and personnel are based in the UK with many others serving on operations (principally Afghanistan and the Middle East) or at long-established overseas bases (Ascension Island, Canada, Cyprus, Diego Garcia, Gibraltar, the Falkland Islands and Germany).

The RAF's mission is to support the objectives of the British Ministry of Defence (MoD), which are to "provide the capabilities needed: to ensure the security and defence of the United Kingdom and overseas territories, including against terrorism; to support the Government’s foreign policy objectives particularly in promoting international peace and security.

3. Israeli Air Force (Israel):

The Israeli Air Force was founded on May 28, 1948, shortly after the Israeli Declaration of Independence. Beginning with a small collection of light aircraft, the force soon transformed into a comprehensive fighting force. It has since participated in several wars and numerous engagements, becoming what has been described as "The mightiest air force in the Middle East".

The IAF fought In 1956, Operation “Kadesh”, at the initial stages of the “Six Day War” (1967), the "War of Attrition" (1969-1971), The “Yom Kippur” War (1973) In July 1976, Operation “Entebbe” led to the safe return of Israeli hostagesfrom Uganda. In 1978. Operation “Litani”. In June 1981, IAF jets destroyed the nuclear reactor in Iraq. In 1982, the first Lebanon war, engaged in aerial battles, taking down around 100 Syrian planes... and the list is still long.

The Israeli Air Force is one of the Air Forces which has the most successful air to air combat experience in the world.

Don’t mess with Israel. The great granddaddy of combat with defensive set of mind, this deadliest air force constitutes the crew of atrocious pilots with unparalleled equipment resources. Shuffle through the history and you’ll realize that this air force has repeatedly exhibited its superordinate ability to whack down the opponents.

These statistics will give you the idea of the quality of the Israeli Air Force:

From Janes, May 2001:
According to one source, US Marine Corps F/A-18 Hornets from the Balkans theater recently engaged in mock combat with Israeli Air Force fighters. The Hornets were armed with AIM-9s, and the Israeli fighters carried Python 3 and Python 4 missiles and Elbit DASH helmet sights. IDR's source describes the results as "more than ugly", the Israelis prevailing in 220 out of 240 engagements.

"Is the US Navy Overrated?" a study from Kightsbridge Univ:
The Israeli Air Force, perhaps the best-trained and most experienced in the world, has outshined the US Navy, and they have done so more than once. A joint USN-IAF air combat exercise in 1999 underlines and highlights the thesis that the US Navy is overrated. On September 14, 1999, The Jerusalem Post announced that the Israelis soundly dispatched the air wing from the USS Theodore Roosevelt (which, incidentally, was the same carrier the Dutch destroyed in 1999). Israeli F-16s squared off against American F-14s and F-18s. The final results were astonishing. The Israelis shot down a whopping 220 US aircraft while losing only 20 themselves. The 10:1 kill ratio was so embarrassing that the results were not “officially published ‘to save the reputations of the US Navy pilots. The magazine article on which the article was based, however, reported the kill ratio to be about 20:1.

This incident was not the first time the US Navy has found itself running behind the Israelis in air combat. Back in 1983, significant qualitative differences between the Israeli Air Force and US naval aviation became obvious when the US Navy botched a raid over Lebanon to suppress Syrian forces there. Aircrews from the USS John F. Kennedy were not properly briefed, launched with the wrong weapons, used outdated tactics, lost twenty percent of their aircraft, and in return, did very little damage to the Syrian positions. - The Israelis, conversely, had enjoyed great success during hundreds of missions over the Bekaa Valley with negligible losses. Yes, the Israelis had far more experience flying over the region, and thus a major advantage, but even Secretary Lehman, himself a Naval Reserve aviator, granted that the Israelis were simply more organized, more creative, and had far better planning and tactics than the Americans did.

From World Daily Net, 2005:
WorldNetDaily (WND) reported February 14 that the Israeli air force had trounced a U.S. fighter force from the USS Theodore Roosevelt in a mock battle. During this training exercise in the Negev desert between Israeli air force F-16 pilots and U.S. Navy pilots from the USS Theodore Roosevelt, Israeli air force pilots, according to the Jerusalem Post, "shot down" 220 Navy F-14s and F-18s while only "losing" 20 F-16s. In one exercise, the paper said, the reported kill ratio was 40:1 in the Israelis' favor, an outcome so stunning, according to an Israeli officer quoted by the Post, the results weren't made public to "save the reputations of U.S. Navy pilots."

So why the Israeli Air Force is not number one on this list?
Because it has lack of man's power and the number of the air crafts, jet fighters, etc, as well as not a single bomber plane.

But with no doubt, in air to air battle, the Israeli Air Force is indeed the best air force in the world.

2. Russian Air Force (Russia):

The Russian Air Force was formed from parts of the former Soviet Air Forces after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991–92. The characteristics of Russian air power is still undetermined. With amazingly effective doctrine and mechanized defense, the Russian Air Force possesses the ability to maneuver in any kind of terrain. Notable for implementing beyond-the-limit strategy with weirdest technologies, this air force founded after the disintegration of the Soviet Union in 1991-92.

As of 2010, the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) estimated that the Russian Air Force numbered 160,000 personnel, this figure is to be reduced to 148,000 in the coming years. In addition, the IISS estimated that the Russian Air Force had a strength of 4,000+ aircraft in active service.

1. United States Air Force (America):

The United States Army, the USAF was formed as a separate branch of the military on 18 September 1947 under the National Security Act of 1947, with the motto No One Comes Close. It is the most recent branch of the U.S. military to be formed, and is the most technologically advanced air force in the world. Ruler of the technology horizon along with conceptions apparently picked from the futuristic script of a Hollywood flick.

As of 2009 the USAF operates 5,573 manned aircraft in service (3,990 USAF; 1,213 Air National Guard; and 370 Air Force Reserve); approximately 180 unmanned combat air vehicles, 2,130 air-launched cruise missiles, and 450 intercontinental ballistic missiles. The USAF has 330,159 personnel on active duty, 68,872 in the Selected and Individual Ready Reserves, and 94,753 in the Air National Guard as of September 2008. In addition, the USAF employs 151,360 civilian personnel, and has over 60,000 auxiliary members in the Civil Air Patrol, making it the largest air force in the world.

The undisputed magnet of air, space and cyberspace in the current scenario, this air force owns the largest number of warplanes in the world which almost equals to the rest of the world put together.

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