It can be difficult to grasp the scope of US air superiority compared to everyone else.
To put the US advantage into perspective, Reddit user whiplashoo21, who runs the map-creation website Map Chart, made the following map depicting the total number of military aircraft in every country. In absolute numbers, the US is far and away the world’s dominant aerial power.
The US boasts approximately 13,000 military aircraft. Comparatively, China and Russia, the world’s next-largest aerial powers, only have a total of 2,000 to 3,000 military aircraft each.
But this map is only a quantitative measurement of air power, and there are several additional factors beyond total aircraft that need to be taken into account when measuring countries’ air forces against one another.
For instance, the map does not display the presence of various countries’ air-force bases. Overseas bases are critical for US force projection, as they allow America to station its various military aircraft in locations all throughout the world.
The map also does not differentiate between the various makes, models, and ages of the military aircraft each country has on hand. This means that an ageing Soviet-era MiG in North Korea is given the same weight as a US fifth-generation fighter such as the F-22 or the F-35.
Those issues aside, the map still provides a fascinating glimpse into the pure power and size of the US Air Force as a whole, even compared to its closest competitors.
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