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kitplane01
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Best all around fighter, July 1 1997

Sat Jul 02, 2022 5:12 am

What was the best all around fighter available 25 years ago today?

Economics matter somewhat.

F-14D
F-15C
F-16C block 42
F-18C
Tornado ADV varient
Mirage 2000-5C
Mig-29 (first generation)
 
petertenthije
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Re: Best all around fighter, July 1 1997

Sat Jul 02, 2022 6:33 am

There are so many variables that there is no simple definitive answer to that. Especially if economics play a part. So I’ll just say the best fighter is Chuck Norris.
 
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bikerthai
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Re: Best all around fighter, July 1 1997

Sat Jul 02, 2022 10:56 am

petertenthije wrote:
Chuck Norris.


Chuck Norris was so '80s.

I looked up 1990s MMA fighters and Tito Ortiz was a name I recognized. And I'm not an MMA fan.

I say the F-18 because it functioned both as a land based and carrier based fighter and attack roles.

And I do have a bias against delta wings :duck:

bt
 
RJMAZ
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Re: Best all around fighter, July 1 1997

Sat Jul 02, 2022 11:42 am

Best all round fighter? F-15E hands down.

Excellent agility, best range, best sensors, best weapons and two seats.

In hindsite a back seater proved very useful in the 1990's. They provides great situational awareness and helped operate the sensors. The APG-70 and LANTIRN pod are both are hard to beat. Also 16,000 flight hour service life is double of any of the aircraft listed.

The F/A-18C single seat has a high workload for the pilot at night. The F/A-18D lacks range. The APG-73 at approx 700mm diameter is worse than the 950mm APG-70 radar in the F-15E despite having a slightly better processor. The LANTIRN pod was better than LITENING pod in this year.

F-16C block 42 has a tiny radar, short range. The F-16N was pushed hard and the bulkheads were cracked and they were retired after 10 years.

Without conformal tanks on the Strike Eagle it has better range than all of the other options listed. So if it was for mainly air superiority I would remove the conformals.
 
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kitplane01
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Re: Best all around fighter, July 1 1997

Sun Jul 03, 2022 7:14 am

petertenthije wrote:
There are so many variables that there is no simple definitive answer to that. Especially if economics play a part. So I’ll just say the best fighter is Chuck Norris.


That's fine. But real air forces did have to make this decision, even though they could not know the future such as who they would be fighting and in what sort of mission set.
 
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kitplane01
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Re: Best all around fighter, July 1 1997

Sun Jul 03, 2022 7:15 am

RJMAZ wrote:
Best all round fighter? F-15E hands down.

Excellent agility, best range, best sensors, best weapons and two seats.

In hindsite a back seater proved very useful in the 1990's. They provides great situational awareness and helped operate the sensors. The APG-70 and LANTIRN pod are both are hard to beat. Also 16,000 flight hour service life is double of any of the aircraft listed.

The F/A-18C single seat has a high workload for the pilot at night. The F/A-18D lacks range. The APG-73 at approx 700mm diameter is worse than the 950mm APG-70 radar in the F-15E despite having a slightly better processor. The LANTIRN pod was better than LITENING pod in this year.

F-16C block 42 has a tiny radar, short range. The F-16N was pushed hard and the bulkheads were cracked and they were retired after 10 years.

Without conformal tanks on the Strike Eagle it has better range than all of the other options listed. So if it was for mainly air superiority I would remove the conformals.


Would you take two F-15Es over three F-16Cs?
 
petertenthije
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Re: Best all around fighter, July 1 1997

Sun Jul 03, 2022 8:52 am

kitplane01 wrote:
petertenthije wrote:
There are so many variables that there is no simple definitive answer to that. Especially if economics play a part. So I’ll just say the best fighter is Chuck Norris.


That's fine. But real air forces did have to make this decision, even though they could not know the future such as who they would be fighting and in what sort of mission set.

Thanks for proving my point.

Had everyone bought the same fighter, then you could easily point to that one being the best. But most fighters you mentioned had some export succes.

Only the F-14D and Tornado ADV had no exports. However, the F-14A was exported to Iran and the Tornado IDS was bought by the Saudis.
 
RJMAZ
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Re: Best all around fighter, July 1 1997

Sun Jul 03, 2022 9:37 am

kitplane01 wrote:
Would you take two F-15Es over three F-16Cs?

Definitely. There would easily be a 10:1 kill ratio in favour of the two Eagles.

A small advantage usually turns into a massive kill ratio. First look first shot first kill.

The APG-70, LANTIRN, Link 16, AN/ALQ-135D ECM system all run by the Weapon System Officer in the back seat.

Link 16 was developed for the F-15 computer system shared by the F-15C and F-15E. It took another 15 years for the F-16 to get link 16.

the Link 16 ‘information advantage’ enabled them to “dominate opponents by exchange ratios of four-to-one or better”.


https://www.af.mil/News/Article-Display ... m-link-16/

It wasn't until a decade past 1997 that the F-16 got link 16.
The F-16 block 42 had the inferior APG-68(V2) with LANTIRN
The F-16 block 52 had the APG-68(V3) but no LANTIRN capability

Then in terms of kinematics the Eagle can fly faster and higher. A much higher thrust to weight ratio and lower wing loading. The AMRAAM missiles could get a 30-40% range boost by being launched 10,000 feet higher and 200 knots faster. The Eagle has better agility across 90+% of the flight envelope.

The F-15E is better at air to air than the F-15C. The F-15E crew trained primarily for complex strike missions and the F-15C pilots trained only in air to air. It is only the training difference that make the F-15C superior in air to air. Had the F-15E crew trained only in air to air they would domolish the F-15C.

Tornado ADV variant only had sparrow missiles in 1997.
 
RJMAZ
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Re: Best all around fighter, July 1 1997

Sun Jul 03, 2022 10:23 am

In terms of pure agility the F-15I is definitely in first place and was delivered to Israel in 1996. It has a higher thrust to weight ratio than the F-22 and is probably one of the highest thrust to weight ratio of any aircraft in history.

The F-15I has the F100-PW-229 with 29,160lb of thrust. This has a higher thrust to ratio of the F-15C and F-15E that use the Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-220 with only 23,770lb of thrust.

The F-15I had a few avionics systems removed compared to the F-15E. No radar warning receiver or LANTIRN. The F-15E still clearly gets first place due to its superior beyond visual range performance.

Thrust to weight ratios
F-15I 58,320lb thrust 31,700 lb empty = 1.84
F-15C 47,540lb thrust 28,000 lb empty = 1.7
F-15E 47,540lb thrust 31,700 lb empty = 1.5
F-16C 29,560 thrust 18,900 lb empty = 1.55
F/A-18C 35,500lb thrust 23,000 lb empty = 1.54
SU-27 55,200lb thrust 36,112 lb empty = 1.52
Mig-29 36,630lb thrust 24,251 lb empty = 1.51
F-14D 56,400lb thrust 43,735 lb empty = 1.29
Tornado ADV 33,000lb thrust 31,967 lb empty = 1.03 :lol:

Note both the F-15E and F-15I empty weights include the conformal tanks. With these removed the F-15E is third place and the F-15I extends its advantage.

All wikipedia data.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sukhoi_Su-27
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grumman_F-14_Tomcat
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/McDonne ... -18_Hornet
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/General ... ing_Falcon
Last edited by RJMAZ on Sun Jul 03, 2022 10:44 am, edited 4 times in total.
 
steman
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Re: Best all around fighter, July 1 1997

Sun Jul 03, 2022 10:35 am

petertenthije wrote:
kitplane01 wrote:
petertenthije wrote:
There are so many variables that there is no simple definitive answer to that. Especially if economics play a part. So I’ll just say the best fighter is Chuck Norris.


That's fine. But real air forces did have to make this decision, even though they could not know the future such as who they would be fighting and in what sort of mission set.

Thanks for proving my point.

Had everyone bought the same fighter, then you could easily point to that one being the best. But most fighters you mentioned had some export succes.

Only the F-14D and Tornado ADV had no exports. However, the F-14A was exported to Iran and the Tornado IDS was bought by the Saudis.


The Saudi also bought the Tornado ADV and the Italian Air Force leased 24 from the RAF for about 10 years.
I think the models mentioned by the OP don´t really belong to the same category. F-14D and Tornado ADV were excellent long range interceptors. Mig-29, F-16, F-18 and Mirage 2000 (by the way there´s not such thing as a Mirage 2000-5C)were light to medium weight multi role fighter with very good maneuverability for dog fights, the Mig and the Mirage being mostly used for air defense whereas the American models where already heavily used as fighter bombers. F-15C was a pure air defense fighter, probably the best out there.
What about the SU-27 Flanker? It was operative in 1997
 
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bikerthai
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Re: Best all around fighter, July 1 1997

Sun Jul 03, 2022 11:19 am

petertenthije wrote:
Had everyone bought the same fighter, then you could easily point to that one being the best. But most fighters you mentioned had some export succes.


I'd say this is a very good approach.

The F-15 if money is not an issue. The F-18 if carrier operation cones in to play. The F-16 by shear number of countries flying them.

bt
 
CX747
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Re: Best all around fighter, July 1 1997

Sun Jul 03, 2022 6:57 pm

1- Backseaters continue to play an integral part of any fighter aircraft. While that knowledge may be downplayed for economical reasons, those considerations fall flat at 0323 in the morning, out of the stack and attempting to put a warhead on people.

The F-14D and F-15E run neck and neck. In 97, the Tomcat was bringing onboard the Lantirn. It's setup for the RIO actually had a bigger and better screen than the Mudhen. The Tomcat community was also far more aggressive and willing to push the envelope. Putting that all together, the Tomcat gets my nod. IF it had been updated & funded appropriately, it would still have a place on the carrier deck today.

Note- Sept 11, 2001 was a little over 4+ years away. The first fighters to be hauling iron North and ghosting jihadists were F-14As......with Hornets trying to keep up.
 
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kitplane01
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Re: Best all around fighter, July 1 1997

Sun Jul 03, 2022 11:31 pm

CX747 wrote:
1- Backseaters continue to play an integral part of any fighter aircraft. While that knowledge may be downplayed for economical reasons, those considerations fall flat at 0323 in the morning, out of the stack and attempting to put a warhead on people.

The F-14D and F-15E run neck and neck. In 97, the Tomcat was bringing onboard the Lantirn. It's setup for the RIO actually had a bigger and better screen than the Mudhen. The Tomcat community was also far more aggressive and willing to push the envelope. Putting that all together, the Tomcat gets my nod. IF it had been updated & funded appropriately, it would still have a place on the carrier deck today.

Note- Sept 11, 2001 was a little over 4+ years away. The first fighters to be hauling iron North and ghosting jihadists were F-14As......with Hornets trying to keep up.


I notice you don't mention the Phoenix missile at all. It seems the F-14s biggest single advantage. Even if it cannot hit a manuevering target from extreme range (???), it can still hit an unaware target, or a large lumbering target.
 
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Re: Best all around fighter, July 1 1997

Mon Jul 04, 2022 12:05 am

CX747 wrote:
1- Backseaters continue to play an integral part of any fighter aircraft. While that knowledge may be downplayed for economical reasons, those considerations fall flat at 0323 in the morning, out of the stack and attempting to put a warhead on people.

Definitely agree. Two seats made a massive difference until we reached the F-35 sensor fusion. For a daytime point defense fighter a single seat was fine but at night in adverse weather with electronic warfare aircraft operating in the area the sensor workload was massive for a single pilot.

CX747 wrote:
The F-14D and F-15E run neck and neck. In 97, the Tomcat was bringing onboard the Lantirn. It's setup for the RIO actually had a bigger and better screen than the Mudhen.

I don't think a single F-14D was operational with the AMRAAM in 1997. Only the Hornet had AIM-120B in 1997.

https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/GAO ... %20F%2D14s.

The AIM-54C seeker was a decade older than the AIM-120C on the eagle. The Phoenix missile is a mysterious missile but I highly doubt it could even hit a maneuvering F-15E in a combat situation with their state of the art ECM pods running and chaff deployed.

The AIM-120C was rolled out to the fleet USAF eagles in 1996. Brand spanking new. So the Eagles would be unbeatable in 1997.

Missile tech was leap frogging eachother. If the year was changed to 1987 the F-14 had the AIM-54C while the Eagles had the Sparrow then the F-14 would have a big missile advantage but inferior engines.
 
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Spacepope
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Re: Best all around fighter, July 1 1997

Mon Jul 04, 2022 3:13 pm

RJMAZ wrote:
In terms of pure agility the F-15I is definitely in first place and was delivered to Israel in 1996. It has a higher thrust to weight ratio than the F-22 and is probably one of the highest thrust to weight ratio of any aircraft in history.

The F-15I has the F100-PW-229 with 29,160lb of thrust. This has a higher thrust to ratio of the F-15C and F-15E that use the Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-220 with only 23,770lb of thrust.

The F-15I had a few avionics systems removed compared to the F-15E. No radar warning receiver or LANTIRN. The F-15E still clearly gets first place due to its superior beyond visual range performance.

Thrust to weight ratios
F-15I 58,320lb thrust 31,700 lb empty = 1.84
F-15C 47,540lb thrust 28,000 lb empty = 1.7
F-15E 47,540lb thrust 31,700 lb empty = 1.5
F-16C 29,560 thrust 18,900 lb empty = 1.55
F/A-18C 35,500lb thrust 23,000 lb empty = 1.54
SU-27 55,200lb thrust 36,112 lb empty = 1.52
Mig-29 36,630lb thrust 24,251 lb empty = 1.51
F-14D 56,400lb thrust 43,735 lb empty = 1.29
Tornado ADV 33,000lb thrust 31,967 lb empty = 1.03 :lol:

Note both the F-15E and F-15I empty weights include the conformal tanks. With these removed the F-15E is third place and the F-15I extends its advantage.

All wikipedia data.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sukhoi_Su-27
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grumman_F-14_Tomcat
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/McDonne ... -18_Hornet
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/General ... ing_Falcon


Um, the F-15I didn't exist in 1997.

If you're looking for the best all around dogfighter from that stable at that time, I'd have to go to AMRAAM-equipped F-15Cs. Not a pound for air-to-ground. And no backseat driver weighing you down.
 
r6russian
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Re: Best all around fighter, July 1 1997

Mon Jul 04, 2022 4:56 pm

su 27, like theres any other comparison
 
744SPX
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Re: Best all around fighter, July 1 1997

Mon Jul 04, 2022 7:49 pm

Spacepope wrote:

If you're looking for the best all around dogfighter from that stable at that time, I'd have to go to AMRAAM-equipped F-15Cs. Not a pound for air-to-ground. And no backseat driver weighing you down.


Exactly.

The F-15E is almost 4000 lbs heavier than the C and has a draggier canopy plus higher wing loading. The E's CFT's can't be ejected either so you have that drag as well.

The best kinematically though would be the (only one built) F-15A equipped with PW1128's. 28,000 lbs thrust with no weight increase over the F100-PW-100.
 
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kitplane01
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Re: Best all around fighter, July 1 1997

Mon Jul 04, 2022 8:34 pm

Spacepope wrote:
RJMAZ wrote:
In terms of pure agility the F-15I is definitely in first place and was delivered to Israel in 1996. It has a higher thrust to weight ratio than the F-22 and is probably one of the highest thrust to weight ratio of any aircraft in history.

The F-15I has the F100-PW-229 with 29,160lb of thrust. This has a higher thrust to ratio of the F-15C and F-15E that use the Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-220 with only 23,770lb of thrust.

The F-15I had a few avionics systems removed compared to the F-15E. No radar warning receiver or LANTIRN. The F-15E still clearly gets first place due to its superior beyond visual range performance.

Thrust to weight ratios
F-15I 58,320lb thrust 31,700 lb empty = 1.84
F-15C 47,540lb thrust 28,000 lb empty = 1.7
F-15E 47,540lb thrust 31,700 lb empty = 1.5
F-16C 29,560 thrust 18,900 lb empty = 1.55
F/A-18C 35,500lb thrust 23,000 lb empty = 1.54
SU-27 55,200lb thrust 36,112 lb empty = 1.52
Mig-29 36,630lb thrust 24,251 lb empty = 1.51
F-14D 56,400lb thrust 43,735 lb empty = 1.29
Tornado ADV 33,000lb thrust 31,967 lb empty = 1.03 :lol:

Note both the F-15E and F-15I empty weights include the conformal tanks. With these removed the F-15E is third place and the F-15I extends its advantage.

All wikipedia data.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sukhoi_Su-27
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grumman_F-14_Tomcat
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/McDonne ... -18_Hornet
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/General ... ing_Falcon


Um, the F-15I didn't exist in 1997.

If you're looking for the best all around dogfighter from that stable at that time, I'd have to go to AMRAAM-equipped F-15Cs. Not a pound for air-to-ground. And no backseat driver weighing you down.


Sure, but I'm *NOT* looking for the best all around dogfighter. Even in 1997, if you let the enemy get within visual range you missed several chances to shoot him down further away. And for some reason (yes, I know there might be some) he also let you get close.

I don't think the way to dominate the sky in 1997 is dogfighting.
 
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kitplane01
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Re: Best all around fighter, July 1 1997

Mon Jul 04, 2022 8:34 pm

r6russian wrote:
su 27, like theres any other comparison



OK. tell us why its the best.
 
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Spacepope
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Re: Best all around fighter, July 1 1997

Mon Jul 04, 2022 8:35 pm

kitplane01 wrote:
Spacepope wrote:
RJMAZ wrote:
In terms of pure agility the F-15I is definitely in first place and was delivered to Israel in 1996. It has a higher thrust to weight ratio than the F-22 and is probably one of the highest thrust to weight ratio of any aircraft in history.

The F-15I has the F100-PW-229 with 29,160lb of thrust. This has a higher thrust to ratio of the F-15C and F-15E that use the Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-220 with only 23,770lb of thrust.

The F-15I had a few avionics systems removed compared to the F-15E. No radar warning receiver or LANTIRN. The F-15E still clearly gets first place due to its superior beyond visual range performance.

Thrust to weight ratios
F-15I 58,320lb thrust 31,700 lb empty = 1.84
F-15C 47,540lb thrust 28,000 lb empty = 1.7
F-15E 47,540lb thrust 31,700 lb empty = 1.5
F-16C 29,560 thrust 18,900 lb empty = 1.55
F/A-18C 35,500lb thrust 23,000 lb empty = 1.54
SU-27 55,200lb thrust 36,112 lb empty = 1.52
Mig-29 36,630lb thrust 24,251 lb empty = 1.51
F-14D 56,400lb thrust 43,735 lb empty = 1.29
Tornado ADV 33,000lb thrust 31,967 lb empty = 1.03 :lol:

Note both the F-15E and F-15I empty weights include the conformal tanks. With these removed the F-15E is third place and the F-15I extends its advantage.

All wikipedia data.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sukhoi_Su-27
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grumman_F-14_Tomcat
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/McDonne ... -18_Hornet
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/General ... ing_Falcon


Um, the F-15I didn't exist in 1997.

If you're looking for the best all around dogfighter from that stable at that time, I'd have to go to AMRAAM-equipped F-15Cs. Not a pound for air-to-ground. And no backseat driver weighing you down.


Sure, but I'm *NOT* looking for the best all around dogfighter. Even in 1997, if you let the enemy get within visual range you missed several chances to shoot him down further away. And for some reason (yes, I know there might be some) he also let you get close.

I don't think the way to dominate the sky in 1997 is dogfighting.

Cool, so 4 AMRAAMS should do nicely.
 
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kitplane01
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Re: Best all around fighter, July 1 1997

Mon Jul 04, 2022 8:46 pm

Spacepope wrote:
kitplane01 wrote:
Spacepope wrote:

Um, the F-15I didn't exist in 1997.

If you're looking for the best all around dogfighter from that stable at that time, I'd have to go to AMRAAM-equipped F-15Cs. Not a pound for air-to-ground. And no backseat driver weighing you down.


Sure, but I'm *NOT* looking for the best all around dogfighter. Even in 1997, if you let the enemy get within visual range you missed several chances to shoot him down further away. And for some reason (yes, I know there might be some) he also let you get close.

I don't think the way to dominate the sky in 1997 is dogfighting.

Cool, so 4 AMRAAMS should do nicely.


I dont know the answer.

How would a ADV Tornado stack up? BVR with significant loiter ability is exactly its designed mission!
 
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LyleLanley
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Re: Best all around fighter, July 1 1997

Mon Jul 04, 2022 10:53 pm

I think we all know who the best all-around fighter was in July 1997: Evander Holyfield! After the Tyson rematch where he bit Holyfield's ears and was disqualified, Evander was the undisputed champion!

Case closed.
 
ThePointblank
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Re: Best all around fighter, July 1 1997

Tue Jul 05, 2022 1:15 am

A late 1996 production F-16CJ Block 50/52D, with the colour multifunction displays, a three-channel video tape recorder, and the modular mission computer developed for the MLU update for the European partner air forces.

Why a F-16CJ? Because it can perform the Wild Weasel mission set to the full potential of the HARM missile and associated targeting systems for hunting down enemy SAM's.
 
RJMAZ
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Re: Best all around fighter, July 1 1997

Tue Jul 05, 2022 2:31 am

Spacepope wrote:
Um, the F-15I didn't exist in 1997.

https://www.militaryfactory.com/aircraf ... ft_id=2192

Israel ordered the F-15I in 1994 and they were delivered between 1996 and 1998.

These were the first F-15's to be fitted with the 29,000lb thrust class engines. Despite the conformal tanks and added structural weight they could easily out climb and out accelerate the F-15C with the 23,000lb thrust class engines. We are talking more than 25% additional thrust. If dogfighting is what you want then simply remove the conformal tanks from the F-15I and nothing could come close to it.

The USAF F-15E despite having the lower thrust engines is still hands down the best fighter in 1997. 5th gen is all about sensors and getting the data processed into information for the pilot. The F-15E had the best sensors in 1997 and the back seater did the processing for the pilot.

744SPX wrote:
The F-15E is almost 4000 lbs heavier than the C and has a draggier canopy plus higher wing loading. The E's CFT's can't be ejected either so you have that drag as well.

Beyond visual range that is all irrelevant. The CFT and Weapon Systems Officer more than makes up for any minor reduction at slow speed dogfighting.

Air to air engagement are extremely fuel limited. F-15E holds a huge advantage over the F-15C in this regard. Let's say you had dummy air to air mission profile. If both aircraft flew the profile the F-15E will land with significantly more fuel remaining. That fuel could be used to fly the mission profile faster than the F-15C.

Translating that extra fuel to a real world intercept. The F-15E could allocate 1,000lb of gas to accelerate and loft AMRAAM missiles at Mach 1.4 and 50,000ft. The F-15C pilots while looking at their fuel gauges will instead approach at Mach 0.9 and 40,000ft. The key difference is this allows the F-15E to launch its missiles from much further away. The AMRAAMs will also have more energy remaining to hit the target.
 
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cjg225
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Re: Best all around fighter, July 1 1997

Tue Jul 05, 2022 11:40 am

LyleLanley wrote:
I think we all know who the best all-around fighter was in July 1997: Evander Holyfield! After the Tyson rematch where he bit Holyfield's ears and was disqualified, Evander was the undisputed champion!

Case closed.

Which immediately makes me think of Chris Farley yelling I WANT HOLYFIELD.
 
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Re: Best all around fighter, July 1 1997

Tue Jul 05, 2022 12:07 pm

steman wrote:
petertenthije wrote:
kitplane01 wrote:

That's fine. But real air forces did have to make this decision, even though they could not know the future such as who they would be fighting and in what sort of mission set.

Thanks for proving my point.

Had everyone bought the same fighter, then you could easily point to that one being the best. But most fighters you mentioned had some export succes.

Only the F-14D and Tornado ADV had no exports. However, the F-14A was exported to Iran and the Tornado IDS was bought by the Saudis.


The Saudi also bought the Tornado ADV and the Italian Air Force leased 24 from the RAF for about 10 years.
I think the models mentioned by the OP don´t really belong to the same category. F-14D and Tornado ADV were excellent long range interceptors. Mig-29, F-16, F-18 and Mirage 2000 (by the way there´s not such thing as a Mirage 2000-5C)were light to medium weight multi role fighter with very good maneuverability for dog fights, the Mig and the Mirage being mostly used for air defense whereas the American models where already heavily used as fighter bombers. F-15C was a pure air defense fighter, probably the best out there.
What about the SU-27 Flanker? It was operative in 1997


That's right, the ADV was designed to protect the UK/Eastern Atlantic airspace, in an all weather, heavy ECM environment, the ideal airframe? Maybe not but being related to the 220 plus IDS version in RAF service, they could be brought in decent numbers. It was not designed to be a dogfighter and only a fool would think it was, don't recall TU-16's, My-4's, TU-22's, TU-22M's, TU-95's being agile types to tangle with.
Because guess what? Real world decisions based on economic, military and political factors always weigh in, not a silly game of aircraft Top Trumps devoid of all context as to when and how aircraft types were developed and deployed.

Though the Saudis got ADV's since at the time, the Israeli lobby in the US were agitating against further F-15's to Saudi Arabia, helped by the eventual 96 IDS they operated.
 
744SPX
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Re: Best all around fighter, July 1 1997

Tue Jul 05, 2022 5:57 pm

GDB wrote:
It was not designed to be a dogfighter and only a fool would think it was, don't recall TU-16's, My-4's, TU-22's, TU-22M's, TU-95's being agile types to tangle with.


Rather underpowered for the dogfighting role.
 
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kitplane01
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Re: Best all around fighter, July 1 1997

Tue Jul 05, 2022 6:10 pm

GDB wrote:
steman wrote:
petertenthije wrote:
Thanks for proving my point.

Had everyone bought the same fighter, then you could easily point to that one being the best. But most fighters you mentioned had some export succes.

Only the F-14D and Tornado ADV had no exports. However, the F-14A was exported to Iran and the Tornado IDS was bought by the Saudis.


The Saudi also bought the Tornado ADV and the Italian Air Force leased 24 from the RAF for about 10 years.
I think the models mentioned by the OP don´t really belong to the same category. F-14D and Tornado ADV were excellent long range interceptors. Mig-29, F-16, F-18 and Mirage 2000 (by the way there´s not such thing as a Mirage 2000-5C)were light to medium weight multi role fighter with very good maneuverability for dog fights, the Mig and the Mirage being mostly used for air defense whereas the American models where already heavily used as fighter bombers. F-15C was a pure air defense fighter, probably the best out there.
What about the SU-27 Flanker? It was operative in 1997


That's right, the ADV was designed to protect the UK/Eastern Atlantic airspace, in an all weather, heavy ECM environment, the ideal airframe? Maybe not but being related to the 220 plus IDS version in RAF service, they could be brought in decent numbers. It was not designed to be a dogfighter and only a fool would think it was, don't recall TU-16's, My-4's, TU-22's, TU-22M's, TU-95's being agile types to tangle with.
Because guess what? Real world decisions based on economic, military and political factors always weigh in, not a silly game of aircraft Top Trumps devoid of all context as to when and how aircraft types were developed and deployed.

Though the Saudis got ADV's since at the time, the Israeli lobby in the US were agitating against further F-15's to Saudi Arabia, helped by the eventual 96 IDS they operated.


So, if your mission is bvr air-air, would you rather have a 1997 F-15, or a Tornado ADV?
 
GDB
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Re: Best all around fighter, July 1 1997

Tue Jul 05, 2022 6:30 pm

kitplane01 wrote:
GDB wrote:
steman wrote:

The Saudi also bought the Tornado ADV and the Italian Air Force leased 24 from the RAF for about 10 years.
I think the models mentioned by the OP don´t really belong to the same category. F-14D and Tornado ADV were excellent long range interceptors. Mig-29, F-16, F-18 and Mirage 2000 (by the way there´s not such thing as a Mirage 2000-5C)were light to medium weight multi role fighter with very good maneuverability for dog fights, the Mig and the Mirage being mostly used for air defense whereas the American models where already heavily used as fighter bombers. F-15C was a pure air defense fighter, probably the best out there.
What about the SU-27 Flanker? It was operative in 1997


That's right, the ADV was designed to protect the UK/Eastern Atlantic airspace, in an all weather, heavy ECM environment, the ideal airframe? Maybe not but being related to the 220 plus IDS version in RAF service, they could be brought in decent numbers. It was not designed to be a dogfighter and only a fool would think it was, don't recall TU-16's, My-4's, TU-22's, TU-22M's, TU-95's being agile types to tangle with.
Because guess what? Real world decisions based on economic, military and political factors always weigh in, not a silly game of aircraft Top Trumps devoid of all context as to when and how aircraft types were developed and deployed.

Though the Saudis got ADV's since at the time, the Israeli lobby in the US were agitating against further F-15's to Saudi Arabia, helped by the eventual 96 IDS they operated.


So, if your mission is bvr air-air, would you rather have a 1997 F-15, or a Tornado ADV?


I seem to have written my last post in a strange language?
Can I make it any clearer? Designed for the air defence of the (large) areas of UK and Eastern Atlantic airspace, against the threat, the ACTUAL threat not something on a sim game.
This required a two person crew, optimized weapon system for the all weather, mostly over water, heavy ECM environment, with good loiter capabilities too.

An F-16 might look pretty and fun at airshows, in the 1980's pretty poor at the task above.
It wasn't 'agile', wasn't meant to be, the actual requirements for more agile or just fighters not optimized for the above, back then, amounted to 19 and 92 Squadrons RAF, just two 14 aircraft units in RAF Germany, that was it.
So they retained F-4's as would two Home based units to bolster the Tornado F.3 fleet, before the F-4's being replaced by the then planned European Fighter Aircraft.

The RAF selected a version of the Tornado for Air Defence in 1976, two years after the first IDS prototype flew, after evaluating all other western designs available then and/or the 1980's.

The Cold War ending did make the F.3 mission less important, in 1997 the only likely roles it would undertake aside from policing UK airspace would be things like no fly zones, RAF F.3's were rushed to the Gulf in 1990 before most US assets arrived, after the invasion of Kuwait.
How would they have fared? The Iraqi AF never had much of a taste for mixing it with Western air forces, regardless of the types they would be facing.
 
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kitplane01
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Re: Best all around fighter, July 1 1997

Tue Jul 05, 2022 9:12 pm

GDB wrote:
kitplane01 wrote:
GDB wrote:

That's right, the ADV was designed to protect the UK/Eastern Atlantic airspace, in an all weather, heavy ECM environment, the ideal airframe? Maybe not but being related to the 220 plus IDS version in RAF service, they could be brought in decent numbers. It was not designed to be a dogfighter and only a fool would think it was, don't recall TU-16's, My-4's, TU-22's, TU-22M's, TU-95's being agile types to tangle with.
Because guess what? Real world decisions based on economic, military and political factors always weigh in, not a silly game of aircraft Top Trumps devoid of all context as to when and how aircraft types were developed and deployed.

Though the Saudis got ADV's since at the time, the Israeli lobby in the US were agitating against further F-15's to Saudi Arabia, helped by the eventual 96 IDS they operated.


So, if your mission is bvr air-air, would you rather have a 1997 F-15, or a Tornado ADV?


I seem to have written my last post in a strange language?
Can I make it any clearer? Designed for the air defence of the (large) areas of UK and Eastern Atlantic airspace, against the threat, the ACTUAL threat not something on a sim game.
This required a two person crew, optimized weapon system for the all weather, mostly over water, heavy ECM environment, with good loiter capabilities too.

An F-16 might look pretty and fun at airshows, in the 1980's pretty poor at the task above.
It wasn't 'agile', wasn't meant to be, the actual requirements for more agile or just fighters not optimized for the above, back then, amounted to 19 and 92 Squadrons RAF, just two 14 aircraft units in RAF Germany, that was it.
So they retained F-4's as would two Home based units to bolster the Tornado F.3 fleet, before the F-4's being replaced by the then planned European Fighter Aircraft.

The RAF selected a version of the Tornado for Air Defence in 1976, two years after the first IDS prototype flew, after evaluating all other western designs available then and/or the 1980's.

The Cold War ending did make the F.3 mission less important, in 1997 the only likely roles it would undertake aside from policing UK airspace would be things like no fly zones, RAF F.3's were rushed to the Gulf in 1990 before most US assets arrived, after the invasion of Kuwait.
How would they have fared? The Iraqi AF never had much of a taste for mixing it with Western air forces, regardless of the types they would be facing.


I also seem to have written my question in a strange langauge. I asked " if your mission is bvr air-air, would you rather have a 1997 F-15, or a Tornado ADV?" Could I have made it any clearer?

I already knew the designed mission for the Tornado ADV. I already knew the F-16 was designed for something else. I was hoping you were going to compare the 1997 Tornado ADV and the F-15 for the BVR interceptor mission. No biggie; we're here just for fun, and to learn.

-Peace
 
RJMAZ
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Re: Best all around fighter, July 1 1997

Tue Jul 05, 2022 10:21 pm

kitplane01 wrote:
I also seem to have written my question in a strange langauge. I asked " if your mission is bvr air-air, would you rather have a 1997 F-15, or a Tornado ADV?" Could I have made it any clearer?

Skyflash/sparrow versus AMRAAM that is a very clear cut. The Tornado F3 got AMRAAM quite a few years after 1997. Maybe 100:1 kill ratio in favour of the Eagles.

Also BVR air-air against bombers the F-14D would be best. A bomber with a large RCS would be detected from 100+ miles away so the Phoenix missile can be used. Against fighters the detection ranges would be closer to 50 miles so the AIM-120C is perfect.

If you said the targets were 25% bombers and 75% fighter then the F-14D is back up.
 
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LyleLanley
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Re: Best all around fighter, July 1 1997

Tue Jul 05, 2022 10:23 pm

cjg225 wrote:
Which immediately makes me think of Chris Farley yelling I WANT HOLYFIELD.


IT'S THE WAR ON THE SHORE!!! Great skit!

Since the budgetary axe was the prime threat against western fighters in the 1990s, I'd say the F-14 was the best fighter. It survived a couple of axe swings and even became better, until finally succumbing to parts and the incessant buzzing of Hornets in 2006. The F-18 was never at risk. Neither was the F-15.
 
ThePointblank
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Re: Best all around fighter, July 1 1997

Wed Jul 06, 2022 1:09 am

RJMAZ wrote:
kitplane01 wrote:
I also seem to have written my question in a strange langauge. I asked " if your mission is bvr air-air, would you rather have a 1997 F-15, or a Tornado ADV?" Could I have made it any clearer?

Skyflash/sparrow versus AMRAAM that is a very clear cut. The Tornado F3 got AMRAAM quite a few years after 1997. Maybe 100:1 kill ratio in favour of the Eagles.

Also BVR air-air against bombers the F-14D would be best. A bomber with a large RCS would be detected from 100+ miles away so the Phoenix missile can be used. Against fighters the detection ranges would be closer to 50 miles so the AIM-120C is perfect.

If you said the targets were 25% bombers and 75% fighter then the F-14D is back up.

It depends; some dissimilar air training between gave some clues that indicate that the person in the cockpit was more important than aircraft performance.

For example, one exercise in 1990 in Cyprus between RAF Tornado ADV and BAe Hawk's against USN F-14's and F/A-18's gave the USN a very nasty surprise during some impromptu dissimilar air combat training (DACT) exercises, according to one pilot there:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eM-1gBW4Ng0

Good tactics can mitigate weaknesses in the platform, and amplify strengths.
 
CX747
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Re: Best all around fighter, July 1 1997

Wed Jul 06, 2022 1:15 am

LyleLanley wrote:
cjg225 wrote:
Which immediately makes me think of Chris Farley yelling I WANT HOLYFIELD.


IT'S THE WAR ON THE SHORE!!! Great skit!

Since the budgetary axe was the prime threat against western fighters in the 1990s, I'd say the F-14 was the best fighter. It survived a couple of axe swings and even became better, until finally succumbing to parts and the incessant buzzing of Hornets in 2006. The F-18 was never at risk. Neither was the F-15.


Indeed. The Navy had its hands forced in certain areas and made horrendous decisions in others. It is a shame that we never went down the path of the Tomcat 21. Alas, it has been the light fighter maxed out Rhino since 06 onwards.

As a side note on RIOs, WSOs or just GIB. Even today, we see the added value in F-35 employment and F/A-18F employment of having two crew members attack a problem set.
 
744SPX
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Re: Best all around fighter, July 1 1997

Wed Jul 06, 2022 4:39 am

Cheney cancelled the F-14D and capped Seawolf at 2 boats, he was overridden for the third.
 
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LyleLanley
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Re: Best all around fighter, July 1 1997

Wed Jul 06, 2022 4:12 pm

CX747 wrote:
As a side note on RIOs, WSOs or just GIB. Even today, we see the added value in F-35 employment and F/A-18F employment of having two crew members attack a problem set.


Yep! It's rare to find a fighter pilot humble enough to admit that two people can accomplish more complex tasks more effectively than them alone, but they're out there.
 
RJMAZ
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Re: Best all around fighter, July 1 1997

Thu Jul 07, 2022 12:25 am

744SPX wrote:
Cheney cancelled the F-14D and capped Seawolf at 2 boats, he was overridden for the third.

Both great decisions. The Soviet threat had gone and the Chinese threat was decades away. The same decision process was used to justify F-22 production being capped at 187 in 2009.

Persisting with cheap to operate Hornets, F-16's and A-10 was a brilliant move with no near peer conflict on the horizon. Lots of time to mature the F-35 and jump straight to 6th gen for the next near peer conflict.
 
744SPX
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Re: Best all around fighter, July 1 1997

Thu Jul 07, 2022 2:36 am

RJMAZ wrote:
744SPX wrote:
Cheney cancelled the F-14D and capped Seawolf at 2 boats, he was overridden for the third.

Both great decisions. The Soviet threat had gone and the Chinese threat was decades away. The same decision process was used to justify F-22 production being capped at 187 in 2009.

Persisting with cheap to operate Hornets, F-16's and A-10 was a brilliant move with no near peer conflict on the horizon. Lots of time to mature the F-35 and jump straight to 6th gen for the next near peer conflict.



The Hornet is great, you'll get no argument from me there, but I think its debatable whether the SH was a wise choice. If the Hornet redesign had been different or implemented differently, who knows, but they turned it into a pig. They should have just stayed with the F-18C and given it conformal tanks and upgraded engines and gone with the A7F as the main bomb truck. Then they would have had more money for JSF/NGAD

Cancelling Seawolf was not necessarily a bad decision, but its "cost effective" replacement was incredibly short-sighted. NSSN/Virginia was/is a giant step backwards in terms "back of the boat" technology, something we were already decades behind the Russians in. The blame for which can be placed squarely on the Navy's then-obsession with littoral warfare. There were real, build-able designs proposed in 1990-91 that reveal the Virginia's design as the outdated relic it is, and that was 30+ years ago.
 
RJMAZ
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Re: Best all around fighter, July 1 1997

Thu Jul 07, 2022 3:06 am

744SPX wrote:
If the Hornet redesign had been different or implemented differently, who knows, but they turned it into a pig. They should have just stayed with the F-18C and given it conformal tanks and upgraded engines and gone with the A7F as the main bomb truck. Then they would have had more money for JSF/NGAD

Do you mean A-6F? Five prototypes of the A-6F were made using non afterburner F404 engines from the F/A-18C. The A-6F would have made an excellent long range attack aircraft. It would have done very well over Iraq and Afghanistan with excellent endurance. However the A-6F wouldn't be that much cheaper than a Super Hornet.

I do agree that fitting the APG-79 to the smaller F/A-18C frame would have been better and cheaper.

The Super Hornet is 39% heavier than the Hornet. Yet it only has 35% more fuel, 24% more engine thrust and 22% more wing area. Add the fact the Super Hornet has its wing pylons canted outwards due to weapon separation issues has caused it be fairly slow and draggy when used as a bomb truck.

I even wonder if the Navy could have gotten away with just improved F/A-18C's. Enough money saved to keep a dedicated tanker aircraft on the carrier.
 
stratable
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Re: Best all around fighter, July 1 1997

Thu Jul 07, 2022 3:52 am

RJMAZ wrote:
744SPX wrote:
If the Hornet redesign had been different or implemented differently, who knows, but they turned it into a pig. They should have just stayed with the F-18C and given it conformal tanks and upgraded engines and gone with the A7F as the main bomb truck. Then they would have had more money for JSF/NGAD

Do you mean A-6F? Five prototypes of the A-6F were made using non afterburner F404 engines from the F/A-18C. The A-6F would have made an excellent long range attack aircraft. It would have done very well over Iraq and Afghanistan with excellent endurance. However the A-6F wouldn't be that much cheaper than a Super Hornet.

I do agree that fitting the APG-79 to the smaller F/A-18C frame would have been better and cheaper.

The Super Hornet is 39% heavier than the Hornet. Yet it only has 35% more fuel, 24% more engine thrust and 22% more wing area. Add the fact the Super Hornet has its wing pylons canted outwards due to weapon separation issues has caused it be fairly slow and draggy when used as a bomb truck.

I even wonder if the Navy could have gotten away with just improved F/A-18C's. Enough money saved to keep a dedicated tanker aircraft on the carrier.


Always liked the F/A-18C.
Maybe they could have gone for an updated design of a F-15N Sea Eagle instead of building Super Hornet? The Super Hornet seems to be roughly the same size as an F-15. Tried finding some info on the decision making at the time but didn't come across anything. Anyone have an educated guess?
 
RJMAZ
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Re: Best all around fighter, July 1 1997

Thu Jul 07, 2022 4:59 am

The US Navy accepting a USAF fighter that is already 20 years old would be a difficult pill to swallow. The Super Hornet was effectively a brand new aircraft pretending to be an upgrade. It probably would have been cheaper and better to make a Sea Eagle.

The initial studies said 3,000lb weight gain. So we are looking at a 16,000kg Strike Eagle. With the 29,000lb Engines that were available from 1996 onwards that would have similar thrust to weight ratio of the lighter F-15C with the lower powered engines.

The Navy wouldn't even be looking into a drone tanker if they had Naval Versions of the F-15E. The combat radius would be double that of a Super Hornet.

But everything is different in hindsight. Considering there was no risk of near peer conflict over the last 30 years the US Navy could have operated A-4 Skyhawks. So based on that the cheapest option would have just to replace everything with F/A-18C's.
 
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Re: Best all around fighter, July 1 1997

Thu Jul 07, 2022 11:04 am

744SPX wrote:
NSSN/Virginia was/is a giant step backwards in terms "back of the boat" technology, something we were already decades behind the Russians in.

What does that mean?
 
st21
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Re: Best all around fighter, July 1 1997

Thu Jul 07, 2022 7:27 pm

The F-14D has my vote.

Unparalleled air-to-air capabilities with the APG-71 radar (which was the most powerful radar fitted on any US fighter until the APG-77's F-22 introduction in 2005) and the AIM-54C+ Phoenix missile. Only US fighter at the time equipped with a passive IRST sensor. In the air-to-ground role, the F-14D excelled after the integration of the LANTIRN pod in the mid-90s which gave it remarkable precision strike capabilities. All F-14Ds were also wired to carry the TARPS reconnaissance pod. Air superiority, fleet air defense, precision strike, reconnaissance, CAS, FAC-A... The Tomcat could do it all.

I concede that the F-15E is probably more capable in the air-to-ground mission because it has more range and can carry more but the F-14D is overall more versatile and had some unique capabilities.
 
744SPX
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Re: Best all around fighter, July 1 1997

Fri Jul 08, 2022 1:43 am

RJMAZ wrote:
744SPX wrote:
If the Hornet redesign had been different or implemented differently, who knows, but they turned it into a pig. They should have just stayed with the F-18C and given it conformal tanks and upgraded engines and gone with the A7F as the main bomb truck. Then they would have had more money for JSF/NGAD

Do you mean A-6F? Five prototypes of the A-6F were made using non afterburner F404 engines from the F/A-18C. The A-6F would have made an excellent long range attack aircraft. It would have done very well over Iraq and Afghanistan with excellent endurance. However the A-6F wouldn't be that much cheaper than a Super Hornet.

I do agree that fitting the APG-79 to the smaller F/A-18C frame would have been better and cheaper.

The Super Hornet is 39% heavier than the Hornet. Yet it only has 35% more fuel, 24% more engine thrust and 22% more wing area. Add the fact the Super Hornet has its wing pylons canted outwards due to weapon separation issues has caused it be fairly slow and draggy when used as a bomb truck.

I even wonder if the Navy could have gotten away with just improved F/A-18C's. Enough money saved to keep a dedicated tanker aircraft on the carrier.



Actually the A-6F was a good bet too, but I was referring to the A-7F with the tail extension and F-100 engine with afterburner. It had pretty amazing specifications in terms of load carrying and could do supersonic dash at mach 1.25 even with that same blunt A-7 nose.
 
744SPX
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Re: Best all around fighter, July 1 1997

Fri Jul 08, 2022 2:03 am

st21 wrote:
The F-14D has my vote.

Unparalleled air-to-air capabilities with the APG-71 radar (which was the most powerful radar fitted on any US fighter until the APG-77's F-22 introduction in 2005) and the AIM-54C+ Phoenix missile. Only US fighter at the time equipped with a passive IRST sensor. In the air-to-ground role, the F-14D excelled after the integration of the LANTIRN pod in the mid-90s which gave it remarkable precision strike capabilities. All F-14Ds were also wired to carry the TARPS reconnaissance pod. Air superiority, fleet air defense, precision strike, reconnaissance, CAS, FAC-A... The Tomcat could do it all.

I concede that the F-15E is probably more capable in the air-to-ground mission because it has more range and can carry more but the F-14D is overall more versatile and had some unique capabilities.



It would have been much better had they given it the F401 back in the 70's. It was purpose built for the Tomcat which was always intended to have 8-10,000 more lbs of thrust than the F-15. Had the F401 been chosen and kept in line with F100 improvements, you would have had a Tomcat with 36,000 lb thrust engines. Its got a bigger fan than the F110-GE-400 but weighed 1000 lbs less. You couldn't fit a F401 in an F-15.

My point is the F-15(E) ended up with more thrust than even the F-14D which is exactly opposite of what was intended.
The F110-GE-400 gave 26,900 lbs x2 for the F-14D which weighed 43,500 lbs empty in the late 80's
The F401-PW-400 gave 28,100 lbs x2 for the original 1973 F-14B which weighed 38,500 lbs empty thanks to the lighter engines. By 1976 the F401 was already rated over 30,000 lbs (PW-29C variant)
 
lxman1
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Re: Best all around fighter, July 1 1997

Tue Aug 16, 2022 1:27 am

The Tomcat followed by the F15 gets my vote.
 
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kitplane01
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Re: Best all around fighter, July 1 1997

Tue Aug 16, 2022 6:14 pm

lxman1 wrote:
The Tomcat followed by the F15 gets my vote.


OK. But it would be much more informative if you said why.
 
CDNlaxdad
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Re: Best all around fighter, July 1 1997

Tue Aug 16, 2022 7:19 pm

That's easy ... in Venezuela it was the CF5. Switzerland too. Still up until today.

A very pretty bird.

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