Despite all other technological and doctrinal advances made on the modern battlefield, air superiority is still a major component in achieving total victory.
The aircraft received its baptism of fire during World War 1 when fabric-over-wood monoplanes, biplanes and triplanes first took to the skies in combat. Since then, the warplane has evolved considerably, now relying on advanced stealth features and electronics, supercruise technology, and precision-guided / fire-and-forget munitions. All of the major defense players of the world field some sort of air service and, within this inventory, there has to be a versatile stable of aircraft types to accomplish various over-battlefield roles such as transport, Close-Air Support, air defense and the like.
For the purposes of the GFP ranking, both fixed-wing and rotary-wing (helicopters) aircraft types are factored as are active aircraft from all branches of service (be they from the air force, army, navy, or marines, etc...). All aircraft types are considered including basic / advanced trainers, transports, fighters, bombers, special missions platforms and so forth. Aircraft currently on order (heading into the upcoming year) are NOT taken into account nor are those designed that remain under development.