Dominating Aerospace – U.S. Military Fleet

Six jets flying through blue skys with chem trails behind them


Despite its enormous fleet number; have you ever wondered what aircraft are the ones making the U.S. Military the largest fleet in the world?

With upwards of 13,000 aircraft currently in service, it is home to some of the most elite platforms in the world. They are currently tasked with missions opposing terror overseas, surveilling potential threats, and much more. Whether tasking the agility of the F-22 Raptor, the stealth of the B-2 Spirit bomber, or the intelligence of the RC-135 Rivet Joint, the U.S. military can meet the demands of aerospace and defense. Superior technology, speed, and power are interests that the U.S. continually pursues. These aircraft are located strategically around the globe and are ready to respond to the nation’s call at a moment’s notice. Below, we introduce you to the U.S. Military fleet:

Fighter Jets

Fighter jets are primarily intended to engage in air-to-air combat but are commonly tasked with bombing and reconnaissance missions as well. The U.S. military’s various fighters are optimized for distinct tasks and possess differing strengths, depending on the needs of the mission. For example, the F-22 Raptor reigns supreme in the standard of agility and regularly wins simulated dog fights. However, engineers suggest that the technological advantages of the F-35 Lightning II give it an edge that abolishes the need for agility. While these two fighters are focused on aerial combat, the A-10 Thunderbolt II flies directly towards tanks on the ground, eradicating threats with its GAU-8 minigun. Whatever the mission calls for, fighters are capable of doing it.

F-35 fighter jet on aircraft carrier deck

F-35 Fighter Jet / Image Courtesy:


There are currently three types of strategic bombers in the U.S. military and the Department of Defense is confident that they can fulfill their duties adeptly. The B-1 Lancer, B-2 Spirit and B-52 Stratofortress are capable of delivering huge payloads at long distances. These bombers were designed for specific tasks and contribute greatly to the U.S. arsenal. The B-1 flies at supersonic speeds and was the nation’s speedy response to a potential nuclear threat during the Cold War. The B-2 Spirit was also designed as a thermonuclear deterrent during the Cold War but utilizes its stealth to remain undetected while penetrating enemy defenses. The eldest of these two aircraft is the B-52 Stratofortress. It has been used in several wars since 1955 and continues to fly with its peers in support of counter-terrorism efforts in Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR).

B-1 Bomber flying high above the world

US Air Force B-1 Bomber / Photo Courtesy: CNN


Helicopters are traditionally designed for transport but have been modified to fulfill a variety of roles in the military. They are used for transport, medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) and search and rescue missions. Countermeasures and weapons are often equipped to the aircraft to protect its passengers from enemy fire in combat scenarios. The HH-60 Pavehawk is equipped with different combinations of miniguns and .50 cal machine guns to protect the crew on rescue missions. Additional weapons can be found on helicopters like the AH-64 Apache for attacking purposes, rather than defensive. These helicopters can be found moving cargo and personnel around the world.

US military soldiers awaiting landing Chinook helicopter

Boeing CH-47 Chinook / Photo Courtesy:

Cargo Aircraft

Cargo aircraft are used to transport personnel and cargo around the world and often fill additional roles. The U.S. military’s aircraft fly under the harshest environments like the frozen tundra of Antarctica and directly into furious hurricanes in the open seas. The C-5 Galaxy is capable of transporting large cargo, like tanks and even other aircraft. Its nose is retractable and can fit the fuselage of a C-130 Hercules inside. The C-130 is the smaller aircraft of the two but can accomplish many missions the C-5 cannot. This cargo aircraft can transport cargo, but also be modified to analyze weather in hurricanes, provide close air support (CAS) with heavy weaponry, disrupt the electromagnetic spectrum with electronic attacks, and more. These aircraft are capable of completing an array of tasks that other airframes could not otherwise handle.

C-5M super galaxy cargo plane taxing down the flight line

C-5M Super Galaxy – The Largest Plane in the US Air Force / Photo Courtesy: Business Insider

Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition, and Reconnaissance (ISTAR)

The U.S. military’s fleet of ISTAR platforms is a critical element of airpower than many people may not be aware of. These aircraft are responsible for acquiring valuable insight into the battlefield so that the U.S. military can have a better understanding of its adversaries. These aircraft answer the questions regarding “who, what, when, where, and why” about potential threats. Aircraft like the RC-135 Rivet Joint collect, analyze, and geolocate signals transmitted in the electromagnetic spectrum. This information is used for strategic planning, in the event of conflict. While the Rivet Joint Collects, the E-8 JSTAR manages the battle. JSTARs use sensors and operators on the ground to track the flow of battle and manage events that take place on the ground, from the sky. These aircraft typically prefer to remain low-key.

Large Rivet Joint Plane above the earth

RC-135 V/W Rivet Joint Plane / Photo Courtesy: US Air Force

Air Electro Serving U.S. Forces Since 1952

Air Electro has been a proud supplier of electrical connectors to the U.S. military since 1952. We have over 50,000 combinations of mil-spec connectors stocked to build and offer 48h assembly on our value-added supplier lines. Our knowledgeable technical sales team will assist you in every step of your connector and contact sourcing journey. Here are some of our mil-spec offerings – please click on the links below to access the information regarding your connector series:

MIL-DTL-38999 Series I, II, III

MIL-DTL-26482 Series I, II

MIL-DTL-5015 Series II, III

MIL-DTL-83513 (Micro-D)

MIL-DTL-24308 (D-Sub)


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