AirForce Vs. Navy


I have this friend who claims that the US Navy has more airplanes than the US Airforce.
I skeptically offered a possible compromise postition that the Navy might have more fighter planes, but no way did it have more planes in general.

He rejected this possibility, so we are scrambling to find out the facts.
So how about it GQ Dopers, who is right?

Not much of a rant there Freedom.

I can’t believe I posted this in the Pit.
Crap, my first wrong forum post.

Mods, my apologies. Either toss this one over there or shut it down. If I see this one locked I will post the question over there.


Well, according to The Navy, there are currently 4,108 operational aircraft.

I couldn’t find how many aircraft the air force has.

I’ll move it to GQ, you bastard. :wink:

You might also broaden the envelope a little mor to “The Department of the Navy” In wich case you would also have to include all the aircraft belonging to the USMC.

Ok Freedom, I’m gonna try to make up for my smart @ss reply. :slight_smile:
According to The Air Force web site,
The Air Force has 38 different aircraft types, and listed inventory of 3379 active, and 1041 Air National Guard and reserve. However, they did not list the inventory of F-16’s (which I imagine there are alot of) or C-5’s.
So the Air Force has at least 4420 aircraft. Estimating F16’s and C-5’s I would say the number is closer to 5000.
And yes, that is my final answer.
Hope it helps.

[list][li]Does the Navy figure include helicopters? []Does the AF figure include them? (do they have any?)[/li][]The Air National Guard has some planes. Is there a Navy National Guard?

Helicopters are not included on either side. With apologies to all offended parties in advance, we are considering Marines to be part of the Navy.

My friend just started bitching about including the Air Force Nat’l Guard if we don’t include the Coast Guard.

I think the Air Guard should be included and the Coast Guard shouldn’t.

I guess if the Navy doesn’t have an independent Guard branch, then we have to include the Coast Guard. Otherwise… toss them out of the equation.

WAG: The Navy has more planes, both in type and in number for the following reasons:

  1. The Marine Corps is technically part of the Navy. All of their planes would fall under the Navy’s column.

  2. The Navy/Marines have a much more more varied range of activities that they engage in.

IMHO, I’ve always thougt of the Air Force in the same group as the Coast Guard. They have no international mandate and rely on other branches to get to the action. Never forget that the Air Force is nothing more than the Army Air Corp with bad uniforms. :wink:

And just so you all know the Coast Guard is a separate branch of the military. Well, sorta. During times of peace they report to the Dept of Transportation, but during times of war to the Sec. of Defense. But IIRC they are also the oldest branch of the military.

The Coast Guard is not part of the Navy. They report to the Dept of Transportation. During wartime, they can be militarized, but there hasn’t been a War Time since WWII.

If we count helicopters, and include reserve components (the Naval Reserve and USMC Reserve are part of the Department of the Navy, the USCG is not), I wonder how the Army fares in this count. The US Army has far more helicopters than the USAF, Navy and USMC combined. The Army also operates a variety of small utility, recon, and transport fixed-wing aircraft. I couldn’t find anything on the Army’s website about specific numbers, but from what I’ve seen in the past, there are probably more aircraft at Fort Hood, Texas than at any single USAF or Navy installation.

Actually, USCG sent boats and crews to fight in Viet Nam.

To settle this once and for all, members of the Army Reserve and National Guard wear patches that say “U.S. Army” over the left breast of the utility uniform (BDU). Air Force and Air National Guard uniforms have a patch that says “U.S. Air Force”, Marine Reservists have “USMC” and Naval Reservists “U.S. Navy” stenciled on the breast pocket, along with the appropriate service emblem. IIRC, Coast Guard have “USCG” and the USCG emblem on their utility uniforms. The Coast Guard is a seperate service and should not be counted as part of the Navy.

After hearing about the B-52’s that flew missions against Iraq in 1990 from Barksdale AFB in Louisiana, I’d say that the USAF doesn’t need much help from other services getting into action. With in-flight refueling, USAF combat aircraft have a global range limited mainly by pilot fatigue.

The Air Guard’s planes belong to the Air Force, as of course, do the AF Reserve planes. The AF can reassign the Guard’s planes however they see fit, even give them to an active duty unit.

The states may own some older (certainly not something like an F-15) planes that its Guard units fly. The state of Washington owned a refurbished C-119 when I was in the Air Guard there and probably still does. But it wouldn’t be in the inventory of active AF planes.

I agree that the Air Guard planes should be counted, especially if you are counting Marine planes as part of the Navy. The Coast Guard is right out, unless they claim to be part of the Navy as well (which they don’t).

And no, there is no such thing as a Navy Guard, although there is a Navy Reserve (whose planes should also be counted).

One other thing. The Air National Guard is not independent of the Air Force. For the most part, the AF treats the Air Guard about the same as it does the AF Reserve.

On behalf of the Navy: THTHTHPFPFPTT!!! Pilot fatigue? I guess the role of the Air Force should be measured by coffee and sandwiches? Jeesh!! Tough life, soldier.

Everyone else got a ride from the Navy.

Hey, bottom line we all we’re all playing for the same team. It’s just that some of us look better doin’ it!! :wink:

Ok folks, lets try to answer the original question here. Who has more airplanes? I’m gonna try hard to come up with a number for the USAF here. Someone else can look for the USN numbers. The numbers I posted above include the ANG and reserve, because these are USFA aircraft.
Total 4420 not counting F-16’s and C-5’s
Lets back out the helicopters, seeing how those offend some people, :slight_smile:
UH-1N 63
MH53J/M 38
HH60 105

Total 206 Helo’s


4214 USAF Airplanes

Now, I just found on the Lockheed Martin web site that there are 126 C-5’s that the USAF has, so…


4340 USAF Airplanes

Also, you’ll find on Lockheed Martins site that they have produced 4285 F-16’s for some 19 different countries, but they don’t specify who ordered how many. So my WAG is that 500 are in USAF inventory. (I hope some one can come up with an actual number)



4714 USAF Airplanes

Now, for all you picky shits out there, if you don’t wanna count the RQ-1 unmanned craft, take 5 off that number.

Ok, now I hope someone can come up with some simular data on USN aircraft. I would like to see an answer to this question, but I don’t want to see counting of dimpled and hanging chads. It’s a USN airplane, under the direct control of the USN, or it isn’t.

(side note, and I could be full of it, but I seem to recall that in times of emergency the USAF can commander civilian aircraft, so if we suddenly entered war time, how many USAF airplanes would that be?)
For our next assignment, who has more boats, The USN or the Army ? :slight_smile:

Actually, the Navy now only allows embroidery, not stencilling.