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F-16 Vs F/A-18: Who Wins?  
User currently offlineJawed From United States of America, joined Sep 2006, 482 posts, RR: 0
Posted (6 years 10 months 1 week 21 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Does anyone know how an F-16 vs. an F/A-18 would match up in a combat situation? In other words, who would win? Assume similar rockets are mounted, but take into account the different flight capabilities and targeting systems, etc.

35 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineXT6Wagon From United States of America, joined Feb 2007, 3432 posts, RR: 4
Reply 1, posted (6 years 10 months 1 week 20 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

F16 better as a dogfighter
F18 better as everything else.

Well ok, the older models of the F16 were also better at clogging up tarmac and pissing the crew chief off with horrid reliablity.


User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12181 posts, RR: 51
Reply 2, posted (6 years 10 months 1 week 16 hours ago) and read 32767 times:



Quoting XT6Wagon (Reply 1):
F16 better as a dogfighter
F18 better as everything else.

Well ok, the older models of the F16 were also better at clogging up tarmac and pissing the crew chief off with horrid reliablity.

No, I believe the F/A-18 is slightly better at clogging up ramps, and CVN deck space.

The F-16 is better at air to air, and air to ground.

The F/A-18 is better at everything else.


User currently offlineF27Friendship From Netherlands, joined Jul 2007, 1125 posts, RR: 5
Reply 3, posted (6 years 10 months 1 week 11 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

in terms of maneuverability, across the entire flight envelope, there is only a very small area where the F-18 could out-maneuvre the F-16 and that is somewhere, if I remember correctly) between 0.3M and 0.5M.

about 95% if the flight envelope the F-16 will always outmanoeuvre the F-18


User currently offlineZuluLima From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 338 posts, RR: 3
Reply 4, posted (6 years 10 months 1 week 6 hours ago) and read 32767 times:



Quoting F27Friendship (Reply 3):
about 95% if the flight envelope the F-16 will always outmanoeuvre the F-18

...but if you've gotten yourself into a maneuverability situation, you've already screwed up. The best way to win is with a beyond visual range kill, waaaay before a dogfight. I'm not sure of the F-18's radar & missile package (which version are you talking about anyway, the E/F models are completely different than A-D), but if it were the F-15 vs. the F-16, the Eagle would be the champ because the F-16 would be toast before it got near the F-15. The whole "who would win" question depends mostly on the scenario in which the jets engaged one another. Are we assuming both have E-3 radar assistance, or neither? Who has enough fuel and top speed to avoid a disadvantaged engagement? Did they both have opportunity to use radar detection at max. radius or did they first see each other visually? The most important factor for such closely matched fighters is really who is in the cockpit and best able to use their plane's advantages most successfully. Just like the old F-86/Mig 15 dogfights, the F-86 had much higher kill-to-loss ratio because of better trained pilots.



I didn't get a 'Harumph' outta that guy!
User currently offlineF27Friendship From Netherlands, joined Jul 2007, 1125 posts, RR: 5
Reply 5, posted (6 years 10 months 1 week 6 hours ago) and read 32767 times:



Quoting ZuluLima (Reply 4):
...but if you've gotten yourself into a maneuverability situation, you've already screwed up. The best way to win is with a beyond visual range kill, waaaay before a dogfight. I'm not sure of the F-18's radar & missile package (which version are you talking about anyway, the E/F models are completely different than A-D), but if it were the F-15 vs. the F-16, the Eagle would be the champ because the F-16 would be toast before it got near the F-15. The whole "who would win" question depends mostly on the scenario in which the jets engaged one another. Are we assuming both have E-3 radar assistance, or neither? Who has enough fuel and top speed to avoid a disadvantaged engagement? Did they both have opportunity to use radar detection at max. radius or did they first see each other visually? The most important factor for such closely matched fighters is really who is in the cockpit and best able to use their plane's advantages most successfully. Just like the old F-86/Mig 15 dogfights, the F-86 had much higher kill-to-loss ratio because of better trained pilots.

I"m not sure, but from a point of sensors and weapons I think both more or less level out (the bigger superhornets might have an advantage that they carry A LOT of missiles). Bit in a one vs one engagement, I'd put my money on the F-16 any day.


User currently offlineDalb777 From United States of America, joined May 2005, 2192 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (6 years 10 months 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Sorry to slightly deviate from the topic, but where would an F-15 fit in here?


Geaux Tigers! Geaux Hornets! Geaux Saints! WHO DAT!!!
User currently offlineF27Friendship From Netherlands, joined Jul 2007, 1125 posts, RR: 5
Reply 7, posted (6 years 10 months 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 32767 times:



Quoting Dalb777 (Reply 6):
Sorry to slightly deviate from the topic, but where would an F-15 fit in here?

I'm just speculating now (don't have any hard data on the F-15 unfortunately) but I reckon that the F-15 has the advantage in the BVR and close to visual range. Since it can bolster more energy to fire away a missile at high energy, turn away and repeat it. In this way, playing with an F-16 and F-18. It can do this for a longer time.

In a "knife" fight the F-16 will probably hold it's own pretty good


User currently offlineA320ajm From United Kingdom, joined May 2006, 550 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (6 years 10 months 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Another aircraft that would be interesting to see in this situation is the F-14 Tomcat.
I could see it beating all of them - a true legend!  Wink
Any thoughts?
A320ajm



If the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, 'This was their finest hour.'
User currently offlineF27Friendship From Netherlands, joined Jul 2007, 1125 posts, RR: 5
Reply 9, posted (6 years 10 months 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 32767 times:



Quoting A320ajm (Reply 8):
Another aircraft that would be interesting to see in this situation is the F-14 Tomcat.
I could see it beating all of them - a true legend!
Any thoughts?

sure, in far away BVR conditions it's phoenix missiles are unmatched


User currently offline474218 From United States of America, joined Oct 2005, 6340 posts, RR: 9
Reply 10, posted (6 years 10 months 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 32767 times:

Since the F-16 won the fly off with the F-17 and the F-18 is a derivative of the F-17 one would assume the F-16 is superior to the F-18.

User currently offlineN1641 From United States of America, joined May 2000, 220 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (6 years 10 months 6 days ago) and read 32767 times:

ya the F-16 won the contract already

User currently offline9VSIO From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2006, 727 posts, RR: 2
Reply 12, posted (6 years 10 months 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 32767 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!



Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 2):
The F-16 is better at air to air, and air to ground.

The F/A-18 is better at everything else.

Erm, what other forms of air combat are there? :P



Me: (Lining up on final) I shall now select an aiming point. || Instructor: Well, I hope it's the runway...
User currently offlineHighlander0 From United Kingdom, joined Sep 2007, 165 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (6 years 10 months 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 32767 times:



Quoting 474218 (Reply 10):
Since the F-16 won the fly off with the F-17 and the F-18 is a derivative of the F-17 one would assume the F-16 is superior to the F-18.

It did, but the YF-17 was the development prototype. I can't remember what the percentages were but from here, there appears to be quite a bit of change.



This has already been a topic on this before. Search is thy friend


User currently offlineZuluLima From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 338 posts, RR: 3
Reply 14, posted (6 years 10 months 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 32767 times:



Quoting 474218 (Reply 10):
Since the F-16 won the fly off with the F-17 and the F-18 is a derivative of the F-17 one would assume the F-16 is superior to the F-18.

A superior economic choice, that is. The Navy took the F-18 over the F-16, so it must have been superior to them. The Air Force chose the F-16 in large part because they were looking for a cheap dogfighter to compliment the BVR dominance of the expensive F-15. One engine is cheaper than two, both for production and maintenance. The Navy however, likes twin engines for overwater reliability and thus took the Hornet.



I didn't get a 'Harumph' outta that guy!
User currently offlineHalls120 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 15, posted (6 years 10 months 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 32767 times:



Quoting F27Friendship (Reply 7):
Quoting Dalb777 (Reply 6):
Sorry to slightly deviate from the topic, but where would an F-15 fit in here?

I'm just speculating now (don't have any hard data on the F-15 unfortunately) but I reckon that the F-15 has the advantage in the BVR and close to visual range. Since it can bolster more energy to fire away a missile at high energy, turn away and repeat it. In this way, playing with an F-16 and F-18. It can do this for a longer time.

Many years ago, I watched my brother - then an f-18 pilot - dogfight an F-15 in the NAS Lemoore simulator. He got waxed every time, and he's a pretty fair pilot.


User currently offlineSprout5199 From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 1855 posts, RR: 2
Reply 16, posted (6 years 10 months 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

If out to sea the F-18 would win everytime. All he has to do is draw the F-16 into the AEGIS kill bubble and then hope his IFF is working.

Dan in Jupiter


User currently offlineF27Friendship From Netherlands, joined Jul 2007, 1125 posts, RR: 5
Reply 17, posted (6 years 10 months 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 32767 times:



Quoting 9VSIO (Reply 12):
Erm, what other forms of air combat are there? :P

I'm not a native speaker, but I guess he was being sarcastic

Quoting ZuluLima (Reply 14):
to compliment the BVR dominance of the expensive F-15.

the F-15 is newer than the F-16


User currently offlineHalls120 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 18, posted (6 years 10 months 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Quoting F27Friendship (Reply 17):
Quoting ZuluLima (Reply 14):
to compliment the BVR dominance of the expensive F-15.

the F-15 is newer than the F-16

The F-15 first flew in July 1972. The lightweight fighter program that both General Dynamics and Northrop participated in didn't produce prototypes until 1974, and the Air Force didn't select the F-16 until January 1975.

[Edited 2008-02-25 05:17:10]

User currently offlineF27Friendship From Netherlands, joined Jul 2007, 1125 posts, RR: 5
Reply 19, posted (6 years 10 months 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 32767 times:



Quoting Halls120 (Reply 18):
The F-15 first flew in July 1972. The lightweight fighter program that both General Dynamics and Northrop participated in didn't produce prototypes until 1974, and the Air Force didn't select the F-16 until January 1975.

you are right, thanks for correcting me


User currently offlineMjstormtrooper From United States of America, joined May 2008, 11 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (6 years 7 months 2 weeks 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

The F-18 would win because it looks better!!!!!!

User currently offlineL-188 From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 29840 posts, RR: 58
Reply 21, posted (6 years 7 months 2 weeks 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 32767 times:



Quoting F27Friendship (Reply 3):
in terms of maneuverability, across the entire flight envelope, there is only a very small area where the F-18 could out-maneuvre the F-16 and that is somewhere, if I remember correctly) between 0.3M and 0.5M.

Exactly, and that is because the F-18 needed the low end in order to fly the approach pattern for carriers.

One could argue that is just one of the sacrifices that the F-18 needed to fly off carriers.

The F16 didn't have to make so many sacrifices to performance.



OBAMA-WORST PRESIDENT EVER....Even SKOORB would be better.
User currently offlineThorny From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 22, posted (6 years 7 months 2 weeks 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 32767 times:



Quoting ZuluLima (Reply 14):
A superior economic choice, that is. The Navy took the F-18 over the F-16, so it must have been superior to them.

In 1974, Congress killed the Navy's new fighter development program and basically ordered the Navy to choose its new fighter from between the two Air Force LWF/ACF contenders. It was clear from that moment on that they preferred the YF-17. That's because they wanted two engines. GD and Vought teamed to offer a navalized F-16, but it was clear the Navy wanted two engines and the F-17 (F-18) was their only real choice. When the YF-16 was declared the winner of the ACF in early 1975, it was already being reported that the Navy would likely buy the YF-17.


User currently offlineWingnut767 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 23, posted (6 years 7 months 2 weeks 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 32767 times:



Quoting ZuluLima (Reply 4):
The whole "who would win" question depends mostly on the scenario in which the jets engaged one another.

 checkmark 

And also who is flying them. You can argue about which one is the better aircraft all you want but I would say the odds are with whoever is the best better Pilot.


User currently offlineHaveBlue From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 2124 posts, RR: 1
Reply 24, posted (6 years 7 months 2 weeks 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Quoting ZuluLima (Reply 14):
A superior economic choice, that is. The Navy took the F-18 over the F-16, so it must have been superior to them. The Air Force chose the F-16 in large part because they were looking for a cheap dogfighter to compliment the BVR dominance of the expensive F-15.

Correct. The Air Force could not afford all the F-15's it wanted/needed, so it used the Hi/Lo mix concept. A smaller number of F-15 (Hi) complimented by more squadrons of the cheaper, simpler (Lo) F-16. Putting it more bluntly, if the Air Force could afford all the F-15's it wanted, the need for the F-16 wouldn't have been there. I'm not slamming the F-16 as I truly love the airplane. The same could be said somewhat for the Navy with the F-14 and F-18, a Hi/Lo mix as well though the F-18 was replacing attack planes too so it still had a role.

It could also be said the AF is doing that with the F-22/F-35 to some extent.

And as far as the original question, I would put my money on the very nimble F-16 in a 'everythings equal' dogfight.

[Edited 2008-05-11 14:00:42]


Here Here for Severe Clear!
25 Thorny : Yes it would have, the Lightweight Fighter program was aimed almost as much at the export market as it was at the USAF. The YF-17, afterall, has dire
26 Alien : Maybe the Navy has their heads up their asses. Perhaps we should just sink those carriers and turn them into reefs. WTF Those bugs are useless right?
27 Jabs : Take a look at this. F-18 vs F-16 - A Navy Test Pilot's Perspective As a Navy test pilot on an Air Force exchange tour, I have the best job in the wor
28 JakeOrion : The Navy chose the F-18 over the F-16 because they did not want to fly single engined fixed wing aircraft anymore. Its not the only reason, but it is
29 Par13del : Thank the stars they won't be getting the F-35 as it has only one engine. The Navy used that excuse to get the F-18 because they did not want to get
30 PGNCS : Thank you Wingnut for stating what should be the obvious.
31 EBJ1248650 : General Dynamics studied a carrier based variant of the F-16 and the added weight so diminished its performance they dropped the idea. You build a ca
32 F27Friendship : right, I have dug op those doghouse plots we used at university, here are the results: up until to a certain lower Machnumber the F/A-18 can achieve h
33 Thorny : Of course, the F-18 was not a ground-up design, it was a reworking (albeit major reworking) of the Air Force's YF-17 with McDonnell-Douglas taking ov
34 JakeOrion : I completely forgot about the F-35, thanks for setting me straight. So it was more of a pride issue.
35 Trex8 : the issue of an F16 vs F18 in air-air situations has been answered several hundred times in training missions in the last decade. Block 20 F16s flying
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