WASHINGTON — Air forces around the globe are looking to balance quality and quantity. Range and speed are the major focus of next-generation aircraft and weapons, driven by the United States’ increased focus on the Indo-Pacific region, according to the 2022 “Military Balance” report by the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

“The geography of the region favours longer-range combat aircraft, given the likely mission radius required for operations there. Extended-range weapons will allow for greater stand-off, while increased speed will reduce the time from launch to target,” the report stated.

But capability isn’t everything. Air forces are also seeking to bolster their fleet numbers amid “the reemergence of the risk of peer or near-peer state-on-state warfare, and the associated consequence of high attrition rates,” IISS found. In response, countries are turning to manned-unmanned teaming and the proliferation of drones to bolster fleets and control attrition rates. This, in turn, is driving innovations in counter-drone technology, the London-based think tank added.

The following information on the air forces of select Asian nations comes from IISS’s Military Balance+ database:

Data as of November 2021. Photo credits: grynold/getty Images; Vladyslava Yakovenko/Getty Images

Chris Martin is the managing editor for Defense News. His interests include Sino-U.S. affairs, cybersecurity, foreign policy and his yorkie Willow.

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