Craig Hoyle, who compiled the Top 10, notes that the ten planes and helicopters in the list account for nearly a third of the 52,000 combat, special mission, tanker and transport aircraft, helicopters and trainers in use by 160 countries around the world.
The Mil Mi-8/17 transport helicopter tops the list of Russian aircraft in the list, coming in at number three. The helicopter, codenamed 'Hip' by NATO, has been in production since the early 1960s, and has seen several modernizations over its lifetime, with more than 17,000 craft produced to date. Flightglobal notes that 78 nations presently operate at least one variant of the legendary helicopter, with a total of 2,469 helicopters in use. The Russian military accounts for 518 of the helicopters, or just over 20 percent of the total global fleet. The helicopter's reliability continues to make it an extremely popular design despite its age, proving the idea that the latest does not necessarily mean the greatest. The Mi-8/17, delivered to US forces in Afghanistan, is also favored by the armed forces of China and India, the latter planning to produce the helicopter on license at the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited plant.
Coming in at number eight on the list is the Mil Mi-24/35, another design by the Mil Helicopters design bureau. Operating as an "assault helicopter", the craft simultaneously serves as both an armored helicopter gunship and a troop transport, thus having no direct NATO counterpart. 897 machines are listed operating around the world, 310 of them by the Russian armed forces. Several dozen variants of the gunship have been developed by the Soviet and Russian army since the design's introduction in the early 1970s, and by armed forces of countries around the world, from Belarus to Brazil.
Finally, at number ten in the list is the Sukhoi Su-27/30. Codenamed Flanker by NATO, the plane introduced into service in the mid-1980s is one of the three combat aircraft to make the list, aimed as a fourth-generation air superiority fighter meant to challenge US designs. 874 planes presently operate in 15 countries, with the Russian air force and navy forces accounting for 326 of them. Sukhoi is currently working on the development of a fifth generation fighter aircraft to replace the Su-27, which has a confirmed order backlog of another 159 planes.
1. Sikorsky S-70/UH-60 Helicopter – 3,600 in service, 2,645 of them by the US Army and Navy.
2. Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighter – 2,691 in service. The most popular fighter aircraft among the countries of NATO and its allies.
3. Mil Mi-18/17 Helicopter – 2,469 in service, 518 of them in Russia's military.
4. Bell UH-1/212/412 Helicopter – 1,845 in service. Nicknamed the "Huey". Flown by 36 countries.
5. Boeing F-18 Fighter — 1,575 in service. Has seen several modernizations over its production lifespan.
6. Lockheed Martin C-130/L-100 Transport Aircraft – 1,143 in service. Workhorse military transport first introduced to the US military in the 1950s. 549 in use by the US military. Flown by 64 other nations around the globe.
7. Boeing AH-64 Helicopter – 1,083 in service. The famous Apache attack helicopter has seen several modernizations since its introduction in the mid-1980s. The US Army operates 756 helicopters, with 11 other nations operating the craft.
8. Mil Mi-24/35 Transport Helicopter – 897 units in service, 310 in Russia.
9. Boeing CH-47 Transport Helicopter – 882 in service, 534 of them by the US army, many of the rest by NATO countries.
10. The Sukhoi Su-27/30 Fighter Aircraft — 874 in service, 326 in the Russian air force and navy.
Flightglobal's complete list can be found here.