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Authoritarianism and Air Forces

Asian and Middle-Eastern fleets by aircraft maker and domestic levels of authoritarianism

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About the visualization

Fighter jets are some of the most coveted weapons of a modern military in the 21st century. I researched the air forces of 34 Asian and Middle-Eastern countries to find out where their fighter jets, bombers, and close air support aircraft are made. The overwhelming majority of the aircraft are supplied by five countries – China, France, Russia, the Soviet Union, and the United States. Based on The Economist Intelligence Unit's 2020 Democracy Index, I ordered the Asian and Middle-Eastern countries by levels of authoritarianism. While many democracies have fleets filled with American aircraft, the most authoritarian countries in the sample still operate mostly using Soviet-era jets. However, what's most fascinating is that Iran, Saudi Arabia, and several other countries with abysmal human rights records have somehow acquired many planes from the United States. According to the data source, Saudi Arabia even has 25 American jets on order.

About the visualization

Fighter jets are some of the most coveted weapons of a modern military in the 21st century. I researched the air forces of 34 Asian and Middle-Eastern countries to find out where their fighter jets, bombers, and close air support aircraft are made. The overwhelming majority of the aircraft are supplied by five countries – China, France, Russia, the Soviet Union, and the United States. Based on The Economist Intelligence Unit's 2020 Democracy Index, I ordered the Asian and Middle-Eastern countries by levels of authoritarianism. While many democracies have fleets filled with American aircraft, the most authoritarian countries in the sample still operate mostly using Soviet-era jets. However, what's most fascinating is that Iran, Saudi Arabia, and several other countries with abysmal human rights records have somehow acquired many planes from the United States. According to the data source, Saudi Arabia even has 25 American jets on order.

About the visualization

Fighter jets are some of the most coveted weapons of a modern military in the 21st century. I researched the air forces of 34 Asian and Middle-Eastern countries to find out where their fighter jets, bombers, and close air support aircraft are made. The overwhelming majority of the aircraft are supplied by five countries – China, France, Russia, the Soviet Union, and the United States. Based on The Economist Intelligence Unit's 2020 Democracy Index, I ordered the Asian and Middle-Eastern countries by levels of authoritarianism. While many democracies have fleets filled with American aircraft, the most authoritarian countries in the sample still operate mostly using Soviet-era jets. However, what's most fascinating is that Iran, Saudi Arabia, and several other countries with abysmal human rights records have somehow acquired many planes from the United States. According to the data source, Saudi Arabia even has 25 American jets on order.

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