The USA prides itself on its military, and it’s easy to understand why.
The government is always investing in its national defense and so the navy and the air force boast some of the best technology in the world.
But which has more planes? And why?
We’ve gathered everything you need to know about how many planes are in each and the reasons behind it.
How Big Is The Us Military?
The US Military is the world’s largest employer with over two million employees.
That makes the US Military the third-largest employer in America after Walmart and McDonald’s.
The United States Navy (USN) is one of three branches of the U.S. Armed Forces responsible for naval warfare.
It also plays a major role in coastal security and worldwide peacekeeping operations.
The USN traces its origins to 1775 when the Continental Congress created the first American Naval Force.
In 1815, during the War of 1812 with Great Britain, the U.S. Navy was born after President James Madison signed into law a bill authorizing the construction of six frigates for service against the British Royal Navy.
The U.S. Navy played an important part in every U.S. war from the Revolution through World War II.
During the Cold War, the U.S. Navy maintained a powerful blue-water fleet that kept Soviet forces at bay.
Today, the U.S.’s primary mission is maritime security, although it continues to play a supporting role in regional stability efforts around the globe.
In terms of total aircraft, the U.S. Air Force leads the way with over 1,000 combat aircraft.
The next closest branch is the Marine Corps with approximately 500 fixed-wing aircraft.
The Navy comes in third place with just under 400 fixed-wing aircraft.
However, there are several hundred more helicopters in the Navy’s inventory.
That makes the Navy the largest helicopter service in the world.
What Is The Air Force?
The United States Air Force (USAF) is the aerial warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces.
The USAF was originally formed as First Aero Squadron on 23 June 1917 by then-Lieutenant Albert D. Lippert.
After America entered World War I, the Army Air Service was established on 18 August 1918 and became operational on 3 September 1919.
On 19 July 1947, the two services were consolidated into the newly formed United States Air Force.
The USAF currently consists of four numbered air forces: Strategic Air Command (SAC), headquartered at Offutt AFB, Nebraska; Tactical Air Command (TAC), headquartered at Langley AFB, Virginia; Pacific Air Forces (PACAF), headquartered at Hickam AFB, Hawaii; and Air Combat Command (ACC), headquartered at Seymour Johnson AFB, North Carolina.
How Many Planes Does The Air Force Have?
The United States Air Force (USAF) is the aerial warfare branch of the U.S. Armed Forces.
The USAF maintains a strong global presence by conducting a range of missions including armed conflict, disaster relief, strategic deterrence, and most notably, providing close support to ground troops during combat.
The USAF has been involved in numerous conflicts since its inception in 1947. Currently, the USAF operates approximately 1,000 aircraft.
Of these, only about half are currently active-duty personnel.
The remainder is assigned to Air National Guard units throughout the country.
Why Do They Have More Planes Than The Other Branches?
It all boils down to money. The U.S. spends more on its military than any country on Earth.
They spend nearly $700 billion per year on their armed forces.
This includes the cost of maintaining bases, training new recruits, buying equipment, paying for research and development, and much more.
So the U.S. can afford to buy more planes than anyone else.
Why Do We Need So Many Planes?
The U.S. Navy needs all kinds of planes to accomplish its missions. The most common aircraft include:
Fighter jets – These can be used for close air support or long-range escort duties. They’re also used as fighter bombers.
Attack/bombers – These can carry missiles or bombs up to a distance of 2,500 miles.
Maritime patrol and reconnaissance craft – These can perform surveillance and anti-submarine warfare roles.
Helicopters – These provide transport services within the battlefield and for special operations teams.
Why Do We Have More Planes Than The Air Force?
It’s not because the Navy spends more money on its aircraft program. Instead, the reason for this disparity is simple.
The Navy focuses primarily on surface ships while the Air Force concentrates on airplanes.
As a result, the Navy has a larger number of smaller aircraft while the Air Force has fewer but much bigger planes.
The Navy uses a variety of different types of aircraft depending upon what type of mission it’s performing.
Some of the most common aircraft include destroyers, cruisers, frigates, amphibious assault vehicles, submarines, cargo ships, and helicopters.
Which One Is Better?
That depends on your point of view.
While the Air Force may have more planes overall, the Navy tends to focus on aircraft that are specifically designed for naval purposes.
For example, the F-14 Tomcat is an excellent dogfighter but isn’t very good at transporting large numbers of people or supplies over great distances.
In contrast, the C-2 Greyhound is perfect for those jobs.
It’s large enough to hold dozens of soldiers and heavy equipment yet small enough to land on short runways.
Where Do We Get Our Planes From?
In addition to having more planes than the other services, the Navy also gets its aircraft from a wide variety of sources.
Most of them come from the United States. However, some of the Navy’s aircraft are built by foreign companies.
The most common ones include:
Boeing – The Navy buys about half of its aircraft from Boeing. The company builds everything from fighters to cargo carriers.
Lockheed Martin – The Navy also buys a lot of its aircraft from Lockheed Martin. They build everything from attack/bombers to helicopters.
General Dynamics – General Dynamics provides almost 30% of the Navy’s combat vessels including aircraft carriers, destroyers, and landing ships.
Northrop Grumman – Northrop Grumman builds many of the Navy’s minesweepers and coastal defense ships.
Foster Wheeler – Foster Wheeler builds several specialized ships like oil rigs and tankers for the Navy.
BAE Systems – BAE Systems builds warships, submarines, and military aircraft.
Airbus Group – Airbus Group builds commercial passenger jets for airlines all around the world.
In conclusion, the air force has way more planes than the navy, but the technology in the navy’s planes is far more advanced because they are being used for naval purposes and have to withstand all kinds of conditions.