Best War Planes Ever

The best plane ever used by the Armed forces of any country.
The Top Ten
1 Spitfire

The Spitfire was actually of all metal monocoque construction and was designed as a point defense fighter. This was a role which it accomplished with ease. I have looked at the comments made for the Mustang and some of them are fundamentally untrue. The Spitfire was more maneuverable, had a much better rate of climb and a much tighter turn. All round it was a much better dogfighter. The Mustang (and lets not forget it was originally built for our friends across the pond)had radically different design criteria and was pretty much the world's first MRCA. It was a fantastic airplane but not an out and out fighter.

Yes, we all know the Spitfire drill (beautiful on the ground or in flight, a pilots dream, etc.). Yes, everyone says is was such a great aircraft. Then WHY, prior to and during the Battle of Britian, did Great Britian purchase the P-40 Warhawk (called the Tohahawk by the RAF) in such large numbers?

Well, it was actually very sturdy. Secondly, it was available in large numbers. Now, newer fighters, including the P-38, P-47, and P-51 did overshadowed it. Yes, its faults (and it had some--all aircraft do) were exaggerated to the point that it seemed impossible for the P-40 to succeed against any enemy aircraft. Although it couldn't out maneuver the Zero (the Warhawk's main foe in the Pacific Theater), neither could the Spitfire, Hurricane, Lighting, Thunderbolt, Mustang, Wildcat, or Corsair, but that is never mentioned.

It was a rugged, formidable fighter in the right hands. Better than the Spit, no. Greater than the Spit, yes.

The Spitfire is a purebred fighter. The Mustang was a multi-role aircraft. As William Dunn says in his book "Fighter Pilot - The First American Air Ace", in a dogfight between the two, the Spitfire would win ninety nine times out of a hundred. He was an American that flew both types in WW2 (as well as other types). Compare speed, roll rate climb etc. The Mustang had range over the Spit and arguably was a sturdier airframe (heavier of course) but that's all.

The Spitfire is a thoroughbred fighter and was designed as such. The P51 wasn't! It was a multi role aircraft (that to be fair was good at what it did but had compromises in its design to ensure it could perform many roles). The Spit was much lighter, generally faster than the equivalent marrque of Mustang, had a huge rate of climb advantantage over virtually every other plane in the sky, and could outturn and outroll most planes as well. A true dogfighter/point defense fighter.

2 P-51 Mustang

Hmm.. best war planes of all time? Definitely the mustang over the ship fire. Why don't we look at facts, the p51 has been in serious much longer than the spitfire, has much more variants, has greater range, is much faster, could dive better, could climb better, was much more durable (but it wasn't extremely durable). Overall, the P-51 was much better in combat, yet you people think that the spicier is better just because of maneuverability? Laugh out loud, I am not saying that the s pitfire is a bad plane because it was great. But it was definitely not as good as the mustang.

The Mustang had a greater range than the Spitfire and was a very stable platform but some of your comments are plain wrong. The Spitfire could outclimb a Mustang and it wasn't even close. The Spit wasn't as stable as the P51 but this had the advantage of making it more agile. As far a speed is concerned, as developments were made, they kept up with each other. By the end of WW2, the Spit was faster because the Brits stopped using the Merlin and went onto the more powerful Griffon (2050hp). From the Mk14 onwards the Spits were faster.

My dad was in World War 2. He often interrogated German prisoners. One of the number one things they feared and respected was the P51 Mustang. They didn't like allied artillery either, they thought it was automatic. It wasn't. The allies had so much artillery it just seemed that way. The final thing the Germans mentioned as not wanting to face was the 50 caliber machine gun.

The P-51 was designed as a fighter aircraft 5 years after the spitfire. The evolution of the Mustang from its ho-hum origins to the bubble canopied, long range, high altitude German killer is one of the great stories of the war. On the other hand the Spit was originally designed as a racing plane in the late 1930's.

3 F 14 Tomcat

The f-14 Tomcat with TF-30 was tested at about Mach 2.44-2.46. The f-15 eagle has rarely gone that fast, and is limited to mach 2.3 due to safety concerns with the wings and airframe. The tomcat, because of it's variable geometry wings, even with the older tf-30 engines is theoretically capable of the same top speed as the F-111, Mach 2.5+, due to it's variable geometry wings, but about 10,000 pounds lighter weight than the F-111.

With the new GE-F110 engines that provided the tomcat with 30% increase in thrust certainly surpassed it's theoretical limit of Mach 2.4, but due to lack of funding for testing and other upgrades that were planned for the simplification of maintenance, no one knows the top speed of the F-14B and F-14D tomcats. I would imagine Mach 2.65?

I worked on Tomcats in the 80s and, at that time, they were unmatched as a FLEET DEFENSE FIGHTER/INTERCEPTOR. They are still my favorite plane and, I think, certainly among the best fighters every made in overall capabilities. But you do have to sacrifice something to get something, so the Tomcat was good at everything, but not great in a couple of critical areas. In "Red Flag" exercises, only when limited in certain scenarios, could the f-15 or f-16 defeat her consistently. But there were flaws, especially against the Eagle. Original "A" models didn't have the acceleration of the Eagle or the tight mid-speed (below 500 knots but above 300) turning ability. The Tomcat could hold it's own in an extended dogfight, but that lack of acceleration, climb and turn ability hurt when the Tomcat was "jumped", whereas the Eagle could hit the burners, bank hard and get the hell out! Some of that was rectified in the "D".

F-14 Tomcat, best fighter ever made. This aircraft tested enough during Iran-Iraq war and proved it that is the best fighter jet ever.

The F-14 tomcat is my favorite fighter plane ever, I wish they were still in service.

4 SR-71 Blackbird

An engineering marvel. Everything but the engines was built from scratch. Also, they never lost a plane or a crew member on a mission. No other aircraft can claim that.

Sorry guys, but it's not a fighter. It was a reconnaissance plane.

Fastest fighter ever and stealth technolagy make it the best.

It is fastest jet, have long range and never lost a plane or crew member make it best

5 F-22 Raptor

F-22 was in simulated actual maneuvers against a ratio of six to one The F-22 took all others out some without even knowing the Raptor was there. This plane is cutting edge and will most likely be the last fighter jet to be manned as it can fly past what a human can endure in G forces. Its capability and stealth and ability's are way above what any other country has or can produce in numbers

Downfall to a very great plane-price. 150 million dollars per unit. F15s are only 35 million. Yeah they are stealth, but the f-15 is faster and cheaper. If your plane is fast enough you don't even need stealth. Sorry Lockheed-Martin but Boing did a better job.

For those who say the F15 is faster... You're obviously uneducated on your jets. This is the fastest jet, and most maneuverable. It is worth the cost.

How is this number 4? I understand that the SR-71 is awesome, but it's not even a fighter jet anyway

6 Lancaster Bomber

Could carry the heaviest load of any bomber.

Doom with wings

7 Mitsubishi A6M Zero

Stanley Winfield "Swede" Vejtasa shot down Zeros by dogfighting them in a Dauntless dive bomber! He could out turn the Zeros because anything over a six G turn would rip Zeros' wings off. So would a high speed dive. See the Dogfights episode "Long Odds" on YouTube for Swede's dogfight.

Zeros sucked at everything except rolling fights because of their high roll rate. Stay in high G turns and they'd lose.

When this was built it was far ahead of any other fighter around, it could outmaneuver anything it went up against even at the end of WWII, it achieved an amazing kill ratio of 12 - 1 over China, and it was the first ideal superiority fighter, the Mitsubishi A6M Reisen should most definitely be in the top ten.

The A6M was a great fighter, but there is a reason it was often referred to as a "Kite". Could climb like a rocket, was very delicate, could turn on a dime, couldn't dive well. Once American Pilots figured out the weaknesses, even the 1930s era P-40 became a formidable opponent for the Zero.

The Japanese plane that bombed Pearl Harbor. Very cool. Just kidding, I actually like it!

8 F-15 Eagle

Different eras spurred different favorites. I was surprised there was no love for the P-38 here at all. All in all, the record speaks across all eras: never shot down is an amazing stat! And must be acknowledged. That is what superiority is all about!

Yes the other guy's have stealth, super maneuverability, all the best gadgets and gizmos, but when it comes down to getting in a knife fight with the other guy, the Eagle will always come out on top, it's record speaks for its self.

The best figter jet ever. Never lost in air to air combat, has the ability to fly with only one wing after an accident (I'm not kidding, it actually can fly and land after that), and looks really really great.

I love WW2 war planes too, but no fighter has a record to challenge the F 15 Eagle. No air to air losses and introduced in 1976. that's
Incredible! Hands down the greatest ever!

9 A-10 Thunderbolt II

Without a doubt the greatest feared by many countries in Afghanistan they call it the "Death Machine" and they say "When you see it, don't bother running away or else you'll die tired." This plane is also "The most survivable plane ever built" It's beautiful and tanks are more scared of this weapon of destruction than anything else. This thing did phenomenal in the first gulf war. Go on Google and search "23 tanks destroyed in one day" and guess which plane did that, oh the A-10 Thunderbolt II and it was just one of them not multiple cause everyone knows it would take multiple F 22 Raptors to destroy that much. If this plane was designed for shooting other jets it would be the number one on this list. This jet is the best additional 30 mm cannon too so yeah NUMBER 1!

My favorite attacker plane. My favorite interceptor is the MIG-31 Foxhound, my favorite jet fighter is the f-18 Super Hornet, my favorite bomber is the B2 Stealth Bomber, My Favorite propeller is the P-51 Mustang or Spitfire and my Favorite propeller bomber is the B-17 Flying Fortress.

Best plane ever with its pilot bathtub protection great engines and its ability for slow low flying to protect troops and take out tanks. Whom ever designed this aircraft should be given the highest praise. I love this plane!

The real tank killer, still has not been replaced nor will be for a very long time. Best air to ground airplane ever.

10 Harrier II

Gravity defying multi purpose aircraft, with the ability to take off from anywhere.

It can hover making it one of the most manoeuvrable planes ever.

The Contenders
11 Fokker Dr.I

This was the plane that the Red Baron flew!

My hero, the Red Baron's plane.

12 Messerschmitt Bf 109

IL2 STURMOVIK experience
ME 109 G2 - The best climb rate (except probably Spitfire - 9). The incredibly low stall speed (the best ever). The low speed turning. The canon was good against Bombers and in the hand of an expert it was good against fighters too, but I would like the wing mounted machine guns with no canon against fighters. Its high speed performance seems to be bad although later models corrected this to some extent but not incorporated in G2 ( I can always turn G6 as good as P51 above 500 km speed but not with G2). That was an easy fix and could have been incorporated in G2. In IL2 Sturmovik, I (ME 109 G2) outclimbed and outstalled P51B at 12 km Altitude, what is more to say. G2s redline was also lower than the later models.

How you rank this plane depends on when in the war you are talking about. The 109 was generally a loser against the Spitfire or Hurricane in the "Battle of Britain", but held its own very well. In the early days of the war it was almost unmatched and was even a tough customer in 1943-44. Many forget that it was, largely, replaced on the top German fighter list at the end of the war by the FW-190 and the Me-262. At the same time the Spitfire and Hurricane were taking a back seat to the P-51.

The plane that shot down more enemy fighters than a spitfire or mustang.

When Germany had enough skilled pilots and was not confronted with a numerous disadvantage at the end of the war the ME109 was the plane to fly.

13 Avro Vulcan

A beautiful soaring bird. The noise those engines make is amazing.

British nuclear bomber used as a deterrant against the USSR in the cold war.

14 Sukhoi Su-30MKI

Su30 mki is best
The fling birds have most skilled pilots in world. Ie Indian pilots

15 P-40 Warhawk

This warrior stood up to the Axis powers when later fighters were still on the drawing board and not in combat. The P-40 is thought to have been obsolescent from its inception. Its naval contemporary, the F4F Wildcat (which is described as being a better opponent for the Zero by World War II magazine) was based on a biplane design! Of course, few authorities mention that. The P-36 airframe wasn't obsolete, merely proven successful. It was actually very sturdy. Secondly, newer fighters, including the P-38, P-47, and P-51 overshadowed it. Finally, its faults (and it had some--all aircraft do) were exaggerated to the point that it seemed impossible for the P-40 to succeed against any enemy aircraft. Although it couldn't out maneuver the Zero (the Warhawk's main foe in the Pacific Theater), neither could the Spitfire, Hurricane, Lighting, Thunderbolt, Mustang, Wildcat. It had an excellent kill ratio. Enough said about its effectiveness.

It is a travesty of justice that it is ranked ...more

The P-40 was solid and tough, but under-powered and comparatively lightly armed. Both of these faults were fixed when the plane went from two.50 cal and two.30 cal. guns to six.50 cal guns and the British Rolls-Royce engines with superchargers were installed. While never a great pure fighter, it became a consistent performer as a fighter and attack/close air support plane.

16 F-117 Nighthawk Stealth Fighter
17 Sopwith Camel
18 F-16 Fighting Falcon

If I was in a close sir dogfight, that's the plane I want to be in.

The Tomcat at #2? It doesn't have near the record of the F-15, or near the capabilities. It's the oldest fighter in service and the most expensive to keep flying. (It'll be retired next year)

The P-40 Warhawk at #8? That plane was crap and was barely used once the P-51, P-47 and Corsair entered the war.

The Harrier at #9? Other than the Falkland Islands, it's never done anything and is going to be surpassed by the F-35 soon.

The Blackbird wasn't a "war plane. " It was a reconnisense airplane. It was a camera that could fly at Mach 3. 5.

The A-10, the F-15 Eagle, the BF-109, the Camel, F117 and the F-22 should all replace the Blackbird, P-47, Vulcan, Harrier, Tomcat and Fokker in the top ten.
The Spitfire was a great plane. Would have been greater if it wasn't made of wood...

Potential and Kinetic energy of this bad boy is tough to beat, especially at lower altitudes in the Viper.

The Spitfire was NOT made of wood, it was all metal construction. The Hurricane was made of wood.

Nice one its great

19 Republic P-47D Thunderbolt

The "Jug" did more damage and had more kills than any other planes in WWII combined. (Air and ground targets combined)
It had 8-12. 7 wing mounted machine guns.
It carried up to 2500lbs of mounted bombs, rockets and other ordinance.
It had a massive 2535HP radial engine and top speed of 433 MPH. (fast for its size) And great range at 1900 miles.
Most of all, it could take a lot of damage and bring the pilot home. If I had to chose, I would pass on the Spitfire (made of wood) and the P-51D Mustang and take the Thunderbolt.

I can't believe it's not on the list. But it is now!

The Spitfire was all-metal, the Hurricane was made of wood and fabric.

20 B-17 Flying Fortress

All the people hating on this for it being outdated just stop. People don't like this because of the bomb load or the speed. They like it because of the name. It's name is what makes it iconic. Have you ever heard a name like the Flying Fortress? I don't think so. Like take the mosquito for instance. Mosquito is the most irritating bug of all time and they named a plane after it. Flying Fortress sounds big and grand like an indestructible (It was rather durable) plane. That's why people like it.

The most well built and strongest plane of all time. You can cry all you want that the Avro lancaster is better (the bomb load was better) but the B17 had 13.50 BMGs all over in all directions and and an undying armor. I think it should find work as a gunship even in modern days.

This plane was almost out of date by the time the war started. It had a pathetically small bombload and is highly overrated.

Cobblers! Mosquito carried more bombs nearly twice as fast didn't need nurse maiding with fighters, and while we are at it Lancaster could carry 22,000lb Grand Slam, strongest plane of all time, grow up

21 Mikojan-Gurewitsch MiG-21

You spelled it wrong

Tough, fast, reliable

22 PAC JF-17 Thunder
23 Stuka
24 B-22
25 de Havilland DH.98 Mosquito

As Herman ze German said, "In 1940 I could at least fly as far as Glasgow in most of my aircraft, but not now! It makes me furious when I see the Mosquito. I turn green and yellow with envy. The British, who can afford aluminium better than we can, knock together a beautiful wooden aircraft that every piano factory over there is building, and they give it a speed which they have now increased yet again. What do you make of that? There is nothing the British do not have. They have the geniuses and we have the nincompoops. After the war is over I'm going to buy a British radio set - then at least I'll own something that has always worked."

An astonishingly original and unique plane, cleverly designed to win by flying higher and faster than anything that could be flung into battle against it. And not only that: it could perform as a fighter, a bomber, in a ground attack role and as a reconnaisance plane and pathfinder. That it could combine this operational performance and versatility with a cunning plan to circumvent shortages of aluminium by being made in WOOD (! ) is the finishing touch that makes this the most amazing warplane ever to take to the skies.

The most versatile plane platform ever made bomber, fighter, recon, pathfinder, fighter bomber, night fighter... Excelled at precision bombing and as a night fighter. She could outfly most Me-109 and FW-190 verions.
To make things better, Mosquito counted as TWO victories for German fighter pilots, no other plane has had such honor in ww2 history.

No other aircraft has been as versatile as well as being a high performance one.
Calling it the wooden wonder was a bit of an understatement.

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