Combat aircraft, a powerful component of military strength, define the battle space today. In the last five decades, world combat aircraft inventory, after peaking in 1988, gradually declined owing to changes in the geopolitical landscape, altering character of war, evolving technology and emerging alternatives. Today, there are 106 countries in the world that own and operate around 80 types of approximately 18,000 combat aircraft. But, there are only 19 countries that have more than 200 combat aircraft in their inventories. In this book, the available data of the world’s combat aircraft inventory is analysed for the trends and probable reasons for changes in the holdings, before predicting the future trajectory of manned combat aircraft. Additionally, the role of combat aircraft and their interplay with various tenets of Indian air power capability and the likely future is discussed.
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