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What Is The Best Fighter The US Ever Had.  
User currently offline747400sp From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 3736 posts, RR: 2
Posted (9 years 8 months 3 weeks 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 11409 times:

I was wondering what is the best fighter the US ever had. F-14, F-15, F-16, F/A-18, F-22 and the F-4 come to mind. I personally feel it's the F-14 and F-22. What is your thoughts.

60 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlinePhilsquares From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (9 years 8 months 3 weeks 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 11406 times:

After flying the F-4, F-15 and F-16, I'd say the F-15 hands down. The F-22 still isn't operational yet, so I didn't consider that.

User currently offlineGarnetpalmetto From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 5423 posts, RR: 52
Reply 2, posted (9 years 8 months 3 weeks 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 11391 times:

I'd say the F-14. Deadly at almost all ranges, powerful engines (in the -B and -D models), the variable-sweep wings made it both an effective interceptor and a deadly dogfighter, and in its latter years, we saw it was an effective fighter-bomber as well. As the Tomcat patches advertised...."Anytime, baby!"


South Carolina - too small to be its own country, too big to be a mental asylum.
User currently offlineCRJ200Mechanic From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 204 posts, RR: 2
Reply 3, posted (9 years 8 months 3 weeks 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 11372 times:

I would have to agree with everything Garnetpalmetto said. F-14 all the way


Always remember the responsibilies you hold with an A&P license
User currently offlineANCFlyer From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (9 years 8 months 3 weeks 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 11337 times:

P-51 Mustang back in the day . . . .

Now, the F-14 Tomcat, without a doubt.

I hope the F22 can hold a candle to it . . . .

You know the old saying - the more the overcheck the plumbing, the easier it is to stop up the drain.


User currently offlineArniepie From Belgium, joined Aug 2005, 1265 posts, RR: 1
Reply 5, posted (9 years 8 months 3 weeks 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 11191 times:

If you look at the role the F86 Sabre played in Korea I would put it also up their with the best.

my personal however is the F15, this is how a fighter should look like.



[edit post]
User currently offlinePhilSquares From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (9 years 8 months 3 weeks 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 11188 times:

The F-14 wasn't much of a close in dog fighter, especially with the F-15. There are/were sever limitations on the throttle movement at very high altitude. With the F-15 and AARAAM the F-15 was very difficult to beat. I have flown sever DACT sorties with the F-14 and the F-15 can normally come out on top.

The F-15 at high altitude has no throttle limits and you can go from idle to full A/B at virtually any altitude. For close in the F-15 has a higher thrust/weight ratio. Generally, the F15 will not lose energy anywhere near what the F-14 does.


User currently offlineCURLYHEADBOY From Italy, joined Feb 2005, 940 posts, RR: 2
Reply 7, posted (9 years 8 months 3 weeks 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 11176 times:

The F-15 has a record of hundreds of air-to-air wins with not a single combat loss (USAF and IAF), this puts it on the top of my list.


If God had wanted men to fly he would have given them more money...
User currently offlineGhostbase From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2004, 354 posts, RR: 3
Reply 8, posted (9 years 8 months 3 weeks 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 11171 times:

Asking what is the best fighter the US ever had is a rather open ended question. If you look at every ten years or so since 1945 one particular fighter type has really stood out. I think the missing gap from the types mentioned so far would be roughly 1955 to 1965 and I would nominate the North American F-100 Super Sabre. The first true supersonic jet fighter (albeit with a lot of teething problems), she later became a very dependable and rugged attack fighter in Vietnam and served widely with the Air National Guards until the late 70's.

 ghost 



"I chase my dreams but I never seem to arrive"
User currently offlineHaveBlue From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 2121 posts, RR: 1
Reply 9, posted (9 years 8 months 3 weeks 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 11081 times:

I must say the Grumman F-14 Tomcat is my favorite fighter of all time. I just love the plane.

Realistically and objectively though, I've always known the F-15 is a better dogfighter. So in my opinion the F-15 is the air superiority fighter to date (not counting the F-22). But I like the 14 better.

That being said, if BVR engagements were a reality, the F-14 would take the cake. With a radar capable of tracking 24 targets simultaneously from a range of about 180 miles and firing 6 Phoenix missiles at 6 seperate targets simultaneously from a range of about 120 miles, the F-14 wouldn't have to worry about dogfighting a whole lot.

But the problem with BVR engagements is that no matter how far out we can track them and kill them, our policy requires that you visually identify the target to make sure it is enemy... IFF notwithstanding. And if your going to be visual, the dogfighting scenario is going to be more important.



Here Here for Severe Clear!
User currently offlineKukkudrill From Malta, joined Dec 2004, 1123 posts, RR: 4
Reply 10, posted (9 years 8 months 3 weeks 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 10884 times:

Is it true that an F-14 returning with 6 Phoenixes would be over its carrier weight landing limit? Would kind of limit the practical value of this aircraft/missile combination.


Make the most of the available light ... a lesson of photography that applies to life
User currently offlineL-188 From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 29813 posts, RR: 58
Reply 11, posted (9 years 8 months 3 weeks 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 10791 times:

It really depends on the Era we are talking about. Also are we counting ground attack aircraft in here? The New Zealanders for example used the A-4 as a fighter and it did dogfight in the Falklands? I think the Skyraider got a couple of kills in Korea and maybe Nam also. The F5A was a better ground attack airplane then a fighter.

Well anyway my nominiees by ERA


1940's-50's


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1960's-70's


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1980's on.


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Ok, my pick.


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It was not designed as a fighter, but it routinely has kicked purpose designed fighter in training for years. The Argentines made good use of theirs in the Falklands as did the Kuwaities in the 1990's. New Zealand never used hers for combat but they where arguably the equal to many more modern fighters.


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Honorably mention should go to the F-100D. Designed as a fighter, but really made its mark as a mud mover.



OBAMA-WORST PRESIDENT EVER....Even SKOORB would be better.
User currently offlineANCFlyer From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (9 years 8 months 3 weeks 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 10753 times:

Quoting L-188 (Reply 11):
I think the Skyraider got a couple of kills in Korea and maybe Nam also.


OK, the Skyraider skipped my mind entirely as a close air suppor taircraft in 'Nam it couldn't be beat. The F4s were too damn fast.

I see you put the Corsair up next to the Mustang. . . . interesting comparison - and I'd say they were pretty evenly matched. Still, I like the Mustang.


User currently offlineDL021 From United States of America, joined May 2004, 11447 posts, RR: 75
Reply 13, posted (9 years 8 months 3 weeks 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 10733 times:

Having spoken with an F-14 pilot recently, who recently moved to Rhinos (F/A-18F) and has combat time in both, I'll defer to his judgement that the best US fighter aircraft is the F-15C with the new radar. He said that the problem with the TOmcat was that it invariably lost systems on the way to the target and could not turn with other fighters. It could outrun anything but the F-15 and the fastest MiG-25/31 (which it would never really face) so thats how it dealt with close combat. The Phoenix gave it the reach edge over most other aircraft, but it has been out of use for a few years, and its servicability rate was not excellent for the last 10 years making it necessary to target at least two per target to ensure a kill.

To go by era for the best fighter.

WWI Spad. No contest. It had speed and durability over the Nieuports and Fokkers, and was best in maneuverability only by the triple decked Sopwiths and Fokkers. The only aircraft of the war that bested it with any frequency was the Albatros.

Between wars. The best US Fighter of the 20's was the Boeing P-26. It was the first low wing all metal aircraft, with excellent speed and maneuverability.

WWII. It was a tie for second place between the P-38, P-47D, F-4U, and the F-6F. Each of these aircraft were the best in the sky for their roles and the equal at their secondary missions until the appearance of the D model P-51 Mustang. It had the speed, range, strength, firepower (huge throw weight) and ability to absorb punishment that put every other aircraft in the sky at a disadvantage.

Korea. The F-86 Sabre was the best US fighter in the sky, even though it was inferior in certain ways to the MiG-15. Our pilots training and tactics gave us the advantage and allowed us to amass a serious kill ratio in our favor.

Vietnam. The best air-air fighter in the skies over Vietnam for us was the F-8 Crusader. It was known as the MiG Killer and had the edge in maneuverability and acceleration. It only carried 2 sidewinders in addition to the cannons, but it was the last of the US gunfighters. The F-4 had the tech edge, but give a pilot in the region a choice and he would have chosen the F-8.

70's, 80's, 90's The F-15 Eagle. In the A/B models then the C models.

21st century... The Eagle is still our premier aircraft until the F/A-22 wing at Langley is stood up. Right now the aircraft is operational at Tyndall and Nellis, but those are test and evaluation squadrons, albeit deployable in an emergency. I'll hold off on calling the airplane in service until the USAF rolls the 1st Langley AFB squadron. The F/A-22 will hold the same advantages over the F-35 as the Eagle does over the Viper.



Is my Pan Am ticket to the moon still good?
User currently offlineSlamClick From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 10062 posts, RR: 68
Reply 14, posted (9 years 8 months 3 weeks 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 10727 times:

Not my favorite but still the answer to the title question:

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Photo © Terry Wall


If we are talking about fighters and not attack, then the job of a fighter is to shoot down enemy planes. Here is the unquestioned champ.



Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
User currently offlineL-188 From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 29813 posts, RR: 58
Reply 15, posted (9 years 8 months 3 weeks 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 10708 times:

Quoting ANCFlyer (Reply 12):
I see you put the Corsair up next to the Mustang. . . . interesting comparison - and I'd say they were pretty evenly matched. Still, I like the Mustang.



Actually they did face off against each other in Central American during some of the Honduran and Nicaraguan wars in the 1960s's.

Unfortunately I don't remember how they did.



OBAMA-WORST PRESIDENT EVER....Even SKOORB would be better.
User currently offlineDL021 From United States of America, joined May 2004, 11447 posts, RR: 75
Reply 16, posted (9 years 8 months 3 weeks 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 10698 times:

L-188 The Honduran Corsairs got the better of the encounters primarily due to training. The Salvadorans were putting men up in Mustangs, both the new mods from Piper and OnMark as well as older Warbirds from the US, they just got with little training.

Slammer... I know what the statistics say, but take out the Great Marianas Turkey shoot and the fact that the F6-F (and the FM-2 Wildcat development) was designed to beat the Zero, and the Japanese were unable to replace their well trained pilots after Midway and the running battles up the slot, while we had developed new tactics, trained new men, and brought new equipment into the fight. I submit that if you put the Hellcat up against the Mustang the 'Stang, with pilots of equal caliber, the P-51 would have several speed and turning advantages. The armoring was pretty much equal, and the Stang had longer legs.



Is my Pan Am ticket to the moon still good?
User currently offlineL-188 From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 29813 posts, RR: 58
Reply 17, posted (9 years 8 months 3 weeks 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 10692 times:

THe other thing is that when the Canadians where fielding the Magnificent back in the 1950's they where looking for fighters. The US offered to sell them surplus Hellcats for 8 grand a pop. In the end they went for Sea Fury's at 80 grand a pop.

Part of the reason was due to a "Buy British" policy that Canada had at the time. Part of the reason would be the Fury was a more modern fighter.



OBAMA-WORST PRESIDENT EVER....Even SKOORB would be better.
User currently offlineSlamClick From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 10062 posts, RR: 68
Reply 18, posted (9 years 8 months 3 weeks 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 10680 times:

Quoting L-188 (Reply 17):
The US offered to sell them surplus Hellcats for 8 grand a pop.


I'll take twenty of them!


Quoting DL021 (Reply 16):
I submit that if you put the Hellcat up against the Mustang the 'Stang, with pilots of equal caliber, the P-51 would have several speed and turning advantages. The armoring was pretty much equal, and the Stang had longer legs.


I agree. The Hellcat just stands out as one of the best-ever examples of the tool for the job.


Quoting DL021 (Reply 16):
The Honduran Corsairs got the better of the encounters primarily due to training. The Salvadorans were putting men up in Mustangs, both the new mods from Piper and OnMark as well as older Warbirds from the US, they just got with little training.


Sounds about right. (There is a rumor that some Americans, possibly Korean War vets did some of the fighting for Honduras. You have heard of a couple of them.) After the first few days of the Soccer War I was located right across the Tegucigalpa runway from the Corsairs. I'd have to say that spare parts or lack of them won the air war. The Corsairs were all spotted out on the ramp, canopy open, pilot relaxing next to his plane like the Battle of Britain. In between the planes were sandbag revetments and .50 caliber machineguns. They were ready to scramble! Well, except for the huge puddle of oil under each plane.

After the first four or five days I'd be surprised if they could have gotten four planes in the air. Still it was cool to see the Corsairs do their formation landing downhill on that runway at Tegucigalpa.

One day El Salvador flew across the field with a C-47, rolling bombs out the door - one about every quarter mile! I don't recall the fighters scrambling then.



Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
User currently offlineDL021 From United States of America, joined May 2004, 11447 posts, RR: 75
Reply 19, posted (9 years 8 months 3 weeks 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 10672 times:

Slam Wow, you were at Tegucijalpa right then? I was still learning to get thru the night dry at the time. My Dad told me about the controversy stirred up here when the warbird guys were selling their planes to no really good end.

I was there and at La Palmerola (now called Soto Cano I think) in the 80's and it was probably exactly the way you remembered it.

I believe that the Salvadorans actually ended up selling their C-47's to Honduras as well as Colombia when the Aravas turned out to not be enough.

I think I know of one of the pilots to whom you refer, and I'll let it stay nameless as he is still alive.

The Salvadorans had at least on known warbird collector not only ferry his airplane down there but the guy evidently operated it for them as well. Salvadoran bombing missions from the Goonies did not ever really amount to much, and the Hondurans "won" the conflict in as much as they bloodied the Salvadoran noses and forced them to return home with their tails tucked.

I met a couple of company pilots in Hondo who were operating Dragonflies and Puffs for the Hondurans and Salvadorans. They were experts in maintenance as well as flying and kept their ancient mounts operating at rather high tempos.

Next time your in ATL let me know and we'll swap stories about the place.

Ian



Is my Pan Am ticket to the moon still good?
User currently offlineL-188 From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 29813 posts, RR: 58
Reply 20, posted (9 years 8 months 3 weeks 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 10659 times:



Quoting SlamClick (Reply 18):
Well, except for the huge puddle of oil under each plane.

Hey that is normal for a radial. If it ain't leaking it is out of oil.

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 18):
Quoting DL021 (Reply 16):
I submit that if you put the Hellcat up against the Mustang the 'Stang, with pilots of equal caliber, the P-51 would have several speed and turning advantages. The armoring was pretty much equal, and the Stang had longer legs.


I agree. The Hellcat just stands out as one of the best-ever examples of the tool for the job.

Pretty much agree, but I have read some stories that some Korea vets wrote that said the Stangs where not the right tool for the job in Korea.

Usually these where guys that came from ANG Thunderbolt squadrons or flew Bolts during the war. They felt that the cooling system on the Stag was too exposed to ground fire. The Jug with that round motor didn't have that issue.



OBAMA-WORST PRESIDENT EVER....Even SKOORB would be better.
User currently offlineDL021 From United States of America, joined May 2004, 11447 posts, RR: 75
Reply 21, posted (9 years 8 months 3 weeks 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 10658 times:

Well, you're right there. The Mustang, while it got kills over jets in Korea, was badly outclassed up against jets. It still had it's use in ground attack, but the airframes were getting worn out, as they were all WWII vets. The Corsair performed sterling service as a ground attack bird off the carriers as well. I don't know much about the P-47 in combat in Korea. I'll look that up, I didn't know they served there.

The Hellcat was a complete Zero, Zeke, Tony, and every other name killer in the Pacific. It was easy to fly off the deck, especially when compared to the Corsair, and was tougher than anything that flew off any boat anywhere. The only naval fighter that compared was the FM-2 Wildcat that was used on the Jeep carriers, and the F-8F Bearcat that came too late to see any meaningful service in the war.



Is my Pan Am ticket to the moon still good?
User currently offlinePronto From Canada, joined Mar 2000, 328 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (9 years 8 months 2 weeks 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 10515 times:

It all depends if you're talking kill ratio, performance, or capabilities. Also time frame is an issue. Basically, all the aircraft above deserve mention.
WWII - Mustang at altitude would have to be the ultimate, with the P-47 being able to cope at all levels. The Hellcat obviously owned the "Water War"
Korea - The Sabre - 'nuf said
Vietnam - many aircraft shared the limelight, but none like the Phantom
Present day - Eagle's kill/loss ratio says it all - even though some may say it's not a fair comparison - afterall, it's had the bulk of the action, but in U.S. hands the Tomcat drew first blood - at close range, not the projected long range it was made for...


User currently offlineSlamClick From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 10062 posts, RR: 68
Reply 23, posted (9 years 8 months 2 weeks 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 10503 times:

Surprised no one has mentioned the Genie missile.

Can't think of anything better for taking on whole formations at once.



Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
User currently offlineDL021 From United States of America, joined May 2004, 11447 posts, RR: 75
Reply 24, posted (9 years 8 months 2 weeks 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 10494 times:

The problem with that was the same one as with the SADMs and MADMs....it would take out the user as well as the enemy.


Is my Pan Am ticket to the moon still good?
25 LMP737 : This can be said of the A version of the Tomcat but not the F-14B/D. With the GE F110 engines the B/D had power to spare.
26 PhilSquares : LMP37, I agree, however the number of "super Tomcats" was quite small when compared to the total number of Tomcats. When I first checked out in the F-
27 LMP737 : For a good part of it's service life this was true. It's only towards the end of it's service life that there are more B/D's than A's. It's unfortuna
28 Post contains links Dl757md : Hey SlamClick. Found this site. Bring back any memories? My vote goes to the P-51. Not my favorite but the best and probably the most historically sig
29 KC135TopBoom : It has to be the P-51 overall. In today's world is the F-15C. The F-14A was and is an interceptor(like the F-106), not really a fighter. Yes, the TOMC
30 Arrow : "BTW, the best overall bomber is the B-17 and the Lancaster was a very close second!" These two aircraft are in completely different leagues. The Lanc
31 Kukkudrill : Arrow I don't think it's true to say that the Lancaster was bigger than the B-17, though you're right about its performance and load-carrying ability.
32 L-188 : No I think I can agree with Arrow. However it is worthwhile to note that there was a kit for installation of two hardpoints on the wings between the i
33 Arrow : You know what -- I just checked the dimensions and Kukkudrill is right -- they are physically almost identical in size. Funny, because the Lanc looks
34 L-188 : Well I would agree with you about the bits, that is why they switched to nighttime bombing, that and their aircraft lacked any meaningful ventral gun
35 Post contains images Keesje : The multirole F16 probably. Value for money. A dazling step forwards when it appeared and with an experienced pilot still a feared opponent for every
36 DL021 : The idea of the undefended bomber formations executing daylight raids unmolested due to the "Wall of Metal" coming from the 10 .50's times however man
37 Citjet : Well, in my opinion, the F-86 was quite advanced for its time. If the USAF had done their home work, the F-86 should have been equiped with 20mm canno
38 Post contains images Duce50boom : Citjet, I've read about that one somewhere. The story goes that after it happened the IAF contacted McD and asked if it were possible to fly the Rodan
39 DL021 : They did equip the F-86 with 20mm cannon, 4 of them, but found that the 6x.50 cals did better with reliability and ammunition capacity. It put a like
40 HaveBlue : Citijet and Duceboom I have a picture of that Isreali F-15 you both are speaking about. Just got home from work and will try to get it uploaded and li
41 DL021 : One thing pointed out in a recent article is that there is only one airplane out there with a 100:0 kill ratio. The F-15 is unbeaten and has been in c
42 Keesje : In a serious large scale airbattle F15 would be shot down. However there haven´t been much during the last 25 years. Unless you count intercepting so
43 DL021 : Says who? In an airbattle with which aircraft? Are you certain the MiGs were fleeing? These airplane continue to win DACT battles and for a good reas
44 Citjet : Well, the F-86H's were equiped with the 20mm single barreled cannon. I know that the reliability of the 50cals was predominant in the choice of guns,
45 Areopagus : On the sideshow about B-17 vs. Lancaster: The Lanc had that nice big long bomb bay that could hold the monster bombs. Its Merlins certainly were super
46 L-188 : Yes, and no. The Lanc had a nice long bomb bay, but the British still had to build some with a buldged bay to accomodate some of the larger ordinance
47 Kukkudrill : Wasn't it only the B-17G that had the ball turret? Does the B-17F, say, come out any better by comparison with the Lanc?
48 Post contains links DL021 : All the B-17s from the E model onward had machine gun turrets instead of the "bathtub" blisters in the A-D models. Originally made by Bendix as a remo
49 B741 : Judging by the above posts, it looks like a toss-up between the F-14 and F-15. Personally, I like the F-104 Starfighter "Century" series for its looks
50 Moe777 : didn't iranain tomcats face iraqi mig-25s during the iran-iraq war, and come out best.
51 L-188 : Correct. My understanding was that the Bendix was this funky periscope arrangement, which only made the operator airsick. The British tried a simular
52 DL021 : That was the hole that British paras dropped through when making jumps. I shit you not.
53 L-188 : Para-jumping out of Lancs???? Ok. I have heard of Sterlings ending their lives are target tugs.
54 ATCT : Id have to say the P-47 THunderbolt. In its time, it was an outstanding fighter with the durability. It was also more noteworthy as a ground attack ai
55 Post contains images DAL7e7 : The best WWII fighter has got to be the F-4U Corsair. The huge prop and engine, combined with handling...whew-ie! Now, It's probably a tie between the
56 WhalePilot : Without a doubt it was the Brewster F2A Buffalo.
57 Srbmod : Got to go with the F-4 Phantom. One of the most flexible fighter platforms ever.
58 TedTAce : I'd like to see a break down based on the following: What fighter was the cheapest cost/for kill. What Fighter type had the most kills? Why can a figh
59 RayChuang : I think the plane that was probably the most famous to assert air superiority on the American side was the P-51 Mustang. The early P-51A models were a
60 Kukkudrill : You sure about the date? I thought the D model was already in service by 1944.
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