The Top 10 Most Popular Military Aircraft -- That Aren't Fighter Jets


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American defense contractors build three of the top 10 -- and three of the top 3 -- military transports in the world.

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The Top 10 Most Popular Military Aircraft -- That Aren't Fighter Jets

  1. 1. The 10 Most Popular Military Aircraft – That Aren’t Fighter Jets Lockheed Martin’s C-130 is cleaning up in the military transport market, Source: Wikimedia Commons
  2. 2. Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules The most popular military transport on the planet, Lockheed’s C-130 commands a 21% global market share. Globally, there are 900 of them in service. Photo: Wikimedia Commons, Data source: Flightglobal Insight World Air Forces 2014
  3. 3. Beechcraft King Air A distant second in this race, Beechcraft’s King Air is the world's most popular small turboprop. 270 are in service, giving King Air a 6% market share. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
  4. 4. Boeing C-17 Globemaster III The most expensive military transport on the market at $200 million, Boeing's C-17 must be giving customers their money's worth. How else could it claim the No. 3 slot? 257 Globemasters are in service – 11 more than last year, and enough to give this plane a 6% market share. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
  5. 5. Airbus CN-235 Airbus calls its CN- 235 the world’s "lowest cost tactical airlifter." 20 militaries use it -- including the U.S. Coast Guard. 231 units in service give this plane a 6% market share. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
  6. 6. Antonov An-26 Nearly as popular as the C-130 in its heyday, An-24 and An-26 transports are fading fast. Built by Ukraine's Antonov design bureau, only 180 units remain in service today – 41 fewer than last year. Market share: 4%. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
  7. 7. Ilyushin Il-76 The workhorse of the mid-1970s Red Army, the Il-76 has been upgraded several times over the past 40 years, and retains some popularity globally. 172 units are now in use, giving the aircraft a 4% global market share. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
  8. 8. Antonov An-32 Derived from the popular An-26, Antonov's An-32 is valued for its ability to lift off in tropical and high-altitude environments. 134 are in use around the world today, commanding a respectable 3% market share. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
  9. 9. Transall Allianz C-160 Popular in Germany and France (which built it in the 1960s) -- the Transall C-160 still has 123 units in service. On the list of the most popular military transports, that puts it in 8th place with a 3% share. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
  10. 10. Cessna 208 Caravan Textron’s Cessna has built more than 1,700 Caravans since introducing the plane in 1985. 120 military variants are still in use today, giving Cessna a 3% global market share. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
  11. 11. Shaanxi Y-8 Making its debut on the list this year is China’s Shaanxi Y-8. A clone of the Antonov An-12, it’s built by China’s Shaanxi Aircraft Company. 101 units are in service around the globe, which works out to a 2% share. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
  12. 12. In transports as in fighter jets, America – and American planemakers – continue to dominate the market. Owning the top three brands on the market, U.S. planemakers Lockheed Martin, Textron, and Boeing build one out of every three transport planes in use anywhere on the globe today.
  13. 13. They build planes for every purpose, from passenger and cargo transport to aerial refueling, and at every price range... ...from a mere $2 million for the Cessna 208, to well over $200 million for a fully-loaded Boeing C-17.
  14. 14. Of the three, Lockheed Martin is easily the most profitable planebuilder. For every dollar it collects in revenues, Lockheed Martin earns $0.07 in profits – a 7% net profit margin. That beats Boeing’s 5% net, and leaves Textron’s sub-4% profit margin in the dust.
  15. 15. And that’s not all. Lockheed Martin sells the world’s most popular military transport (the C-130). Lockheed also sells the most popular fighter jet on the planet – the F-16 Falcon.
  16. 16. Lockheed Martin The best-selling fighter jet and the best selling non-fighter jet? If you were wondering why Lockheed Martin shares are up more than 50% over the past year, while Textron is up only 45%, and Boeing less than 30%...
  17. 17. Now you know.
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