The fighter aircraft is the principle mount of any modern air arm. Long evolved from its basic origins in World War 1, the fighter of today is a multi-role design capable of engaging both air and land targets with equal precision. Missiles and advanced scanning allow for beyond-visual-range engagements while rotary cannon finish off opponents at close-range. The Fifth Generation Fighter is currently embodied by the Lockheed F-22 "Raptor" with competitors arising in both Russia and China. Fourth Generation Fighters remain a capable - and cost-effective - battlefield component.
Total Fighter strength data through 2015.
Sources: CIA.gov, CIA World Factbook, wikipedia.com, public domain print and media sources and user contributions. Some values may be estimated when official sources are lacking.