What Are the Different Types of Military Aircraft?

What Are the Different Types of Military Aircraft?

Technically, any aircraft that is operated by an armed force could be classified as military aircraft. However, some are more common than others. In general, military aircraft are broken down into two categories: combat aircraft and non-combat aircraft.

Combat Aircraft

Combat aircraft are also called warplanes. These vessels are often stealthy and agile, though, depending upon the mission, they may not be. Within the combat aircraft category are the following:

  • Fighters—light and fast, built for dogfights

  • Bombers—heavier and larger to carry large payloads

  • Multirole combat—agile and able to carry out many types of missions

  • Electronic warfare—equipped with systems to attack enemy electronic systems

  • Maritime patrol—designed to operate over long durations across coastlines and water territory to identify maritime attacks

  • Fighter aircraft—designed for a life of 20 years or more

Non-Combat Aircraft

While combat aircraft are designed to carry out different types of attacks, non-combat military aircraft can be used for many types of military functions. Common non-combat military aircraft include:

  • Military transport—fixed- or rotary-wing aircraft for transferring military personnel and cargo

  • Airborne early warning and control—airborne platforms that have radar and electronic intelligence to monitor communication and detect enemy aircraft and weapons

  • Other non-combat military aircraft—can be used for experimental aircraft, training, reconnaissance and surveillance, and search and rescue, among other functions

Military missions often involve the coordination of a wide variety of operations, many of which are supported both directly and indirectly by military aircraft. For that reason, these different types of aircraft are essential to the military’s operations.

What are the Different Types of Military Aircraft?

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