Along with conducting independent air operations, the U.S. Air Force provides air support for land and naval forces and aids in the recovery of troops in the field. As of 2017, the service operates more than 5,369 military aircraft and 406 ICBMs. It has a $156.3 billion budget and is the second largest service branch, with 320,812 active duty airmen, 145,789 civilian personnel, 69,200 reserve airmen, and 105,700 Air National Guard airmen.
Combat aircraft, or “Warplanes”, are divided broadly into multi-role, fighters, bombers, attackers, and electronic warfare support.
Military transport aircraft or military cargo aircraft are used to airlift troops, weapons and other military equipment to support military operations. Transport aircraft can be used for both strategic and tactical missions, and are often diverted to civil emergency relief missions.
An airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) system is an airborne radar picket system designed to detect aircraft, ships and vehicles at long ranges and perform command and control of the battlespace in an air engagement by directing fighter and attack aircraft strikes. AEW&C units are also used to carry out surveillance.
Special Electronic, the purpose of electronic warfare is to deny the opponent an advantage in the EMS and ensure friendly, unimpeded access to the EM spectrum portion of the information environment.
Aerial refueling is the process of transferring aviation fuel from one military aircraft (the tanker) to another (the receiver) during flight. The two main refueling systems are probe-and-drogue, which is simpler to adapt to existing aircraft.
A reconnaissance aircraft (colloquially, a spy plane) is a military aircraft designed or adapted to perform aerial reconnaissance with roles including collection of imagery intelligence (including using photography), signals intelligence, as well as measurement and signature intelligence.
A trainer is a class of aircraft designed specifically to facilitate flight training of pilots and aircrews.
An air-to-air missile (AAM) is a missile fired from an aircraft for the purpose of destroying another aircraft
An air-to-surface missile (ASM) or air-to-ground missile (AGM) is a missile designed to be launched from military aircraft at targets on land.
A general-purpose bomb is an air-dropped bomb intended as a compromise between blast damage, penetration, and fragmentation in explosive effect. They are designed to be effective against enemy troops, vehicles, and buildings.