F-35: What The Pilots Say

Discuss the F-35 Lightning II
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zero-one

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Unread post26 Mar 2019, 09:54

For the life of me I can't find the article I read where the F-14 was referred to as a 3rd gen. Personally I was also surprised by that and I don't agree with it either. So lets scratch that. Whats the best performance fighter of the 3rd generation era?
F-4M, Mig-23 MLD, EE Lightning maybe?

some 4th gens would offer only marginal improvements over those top end 3rd gens. (i.e. Mirage 2000, Gripen, F-14A). so saying that the F-35 is can only match those...well its a bit insulting.

white_lightning35 wrote:Why is it that, out of all the great information in the article, the least important part is what warrants mention?

I just thought it was interesting.
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hornetfinn

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Unread post26 Mar 2019, 12:20

I think real problem is that flight performance issues get pretty complex, especially when different loadouts, capabilities and mission profiles are taken into account. Also like others have said, there are huge differences in flight performance within every fighter generation.

My take is that F-35 has about equal flight performances to best 4th gen jets when all are clean. However I don't think there are many 4th gen jets that have equal flight performance to F-35 even when they are clean. To my eye it seems like EF Typhoon has roughly similar (and probably sometimes better) acceleration, ITR/STR and climb performance, but doesn't have nearly similar slow speed and high-AoA capabilities. Same thing with Dassault Rafale and F-16. Hornet and Super Hornet are the opposite of that. Maybe Su-35 has about similar all-around flight performance as F-35, although it doesn't seem as crisp and controlled when it's maneuvering (IMO). Of course some 4th gen jets are quite a bit faster (top speed) than F-35 when they are totally clean.

F-35 really shines when all jets go to combat in realistic configurations. Anything other than light to medium air-to-air loadout and I don't think there exists a 4th gen jet that can keep up with F-35. Naturally the best possible loadout for F-35 (in comparison to other jets) is the full internal load of 2 JDAMs/8 SDBs and 2 AMRAAMs. Other jets would carry those externally along with 2-3 EFTs and targeting pod. Then F-35 has significantly superior flight performance to pretty much all 4th gen fighters.

But naturally the pilots can't go into these kinds of details and need to describe things in simple terms for public consumption. It's also that F-35 might well feel like 4th gen jet when flying, even though it had better performance than any one of them in general. Maybe F-22 feels different...
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f-16adf

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Unread post26 Mar 2019, 12:32

"The F-14 was a transitional aircraft, a third generation airframe with third generation avionics and engines."
pg 88 from "F-15 Eagle Engaged", Col. Dildy USAF, Davies.

I recall another book, referring to Tomcat as "3.5 gen." don't remember the title though.

However, I'd bet Tomcat pilots would disagree with these statements.
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mixelflick

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Unread post26 Mar 2019, 12:49

Tomcat is 4th gen through and through, there's just no other way to describe it. And I'd echo the sentiments that it's the first 4th gen. Much, much more advanced airframe than the Phantom. Much more sophisticated radar/weapons. Talk about first look, first shot, first kill! For its day it could reach out and touch someone better than anything flying.

And it was no slouch WVR. It was bigger, went further, carried more, had more powerful engines and conveyed an advantage that was unheard of up until that time. For all these reasons and more, the F-14 is/was a 4th gen fighter..
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sferrin

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Unread post26 Mar 2019, 13:56

f-16adf wrote:"The F-14 was a transitional aircraft, a third generation airframe with third generation avionics and engines."
pg 88 from "F-15 Eagle Engaged", Col. Dildy USAF, Davies.

I recall another book, referring to Tomcat as "3.5 gen." don't remember the title though.

However, I'd bet Tomcat pilots would disagree with these statements.


Well he was an Eagle pilot. :wink: I don't know how he thinks the AWG-9/Phoenix was a generation behind the APG-63. And, if it weren't for P&W not getting the F401 working, the two aircraft would have used variants of the same engine.
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weasel1962

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Unread post26 Mar 2019, 14:13

For one, the awg-9 was analog using an 8-bit microprocessor.
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sferrin

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Unread post26 Mar 2019, 15:21

weasel1962 wrote:For one, the awg-9 was analog using an 8-bit microprocessor.


That's hardly enough to justify moving the entire aircraft to a previous generation. The F-15 could only guide one missile at a time for instance. Maybe IT should be considered the 3rd gen aircraft? :wink:
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ricnunes

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Unread post26 Mar 2019, 15:53

mixelflick wrote:Tomcat is 4th gen through and through, there's just no other way to describe it. And I'd echo the sentiments that it's the first 4th gen. Much, much more advanced airframe than the Phantom. Much more sophisticated radar/weapons. Talk about first look, first shot, first kill! For its day it could reach out and touch someone better than anything flying.

And it was no slouch WVR. It was bigger, went further, carried more, had more powerful engines and conveyed an advantage that was unheard of up until that time. For all these reasons and more, the F-14 is/was a 4th gen fighter..


sferrin wrote:
weasel1962 wrote:For one, the awg-9 was analog using an 8-bit microprocessor.


That's hardly enough to justify moving the entire aircraft to a previous generation. The F-15 could only guide one missile at a time for instance. Maybe IT should be considered the 3rd gen aircraft? :wink:


Yes, I fully agree with the above.
“Active stealth” is what the ignorant nay sayers call ECM and pretend like it’s new.
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marsavian

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Unread post26 Mar 2019, 16:23

Not only the first 4th gen but in its final F-14D form still the overall best IMO not including all the +/++/.5 sub-classifications that followed.
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zero-one

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Unread post27 Mar 2019, 07:27

sferrin wrote:
weasel1962 wrote:For one, the awg-9 was analog using an 8-bit microprocessor.


That's hardly enough to justify moving the entire aircraft to a previous generation. The F-15 could only guide one missile at a time for instance. Maybe IT should be considered the 3rd gen aircraft? :wink:


This is an interesting discussion but we're getting off topic. Its the reason why I started a thread here:
viewtopic.php?f=36&t=55175&p=415268#p415268

The generation definition taken from an article of the Airforce magazine in 2009 are as follows
Generation 1: Jet propulsion

Generation 2: Swept wings; range-only radar; infrared missiles

Generation 3: Supersonic speed; pulse radar; able to shoot at targets beyond visual range.

Generation 4: Pulse-doppler radar; high maneuverability; look-down, shoot-down missiles.

Generation 4+: High agility; sensor fusion; reduced signatures.

Generation 4++: Active electronically scanned arrays; continued reduced signatures or some “active” (waveform canceling) stealth; some supercruise.

Generation 5: All-aspect stealth with internal weapons, extreme agility, full-sensor fusion, integrated avionics, some or full supercruise.


So the F-15 cannot be relegated to 3rd gen because it has high maneuverability.
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marsavian

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Unread post27 Mar 2019, 07:37

There are third generation fighters like the Mig-21 that are highly maneuverable. Also updates could take a 3rd gen fighter into a 4th gen fighter e.g Mig-21Bis/Bison. The third and fourth generations probably consist of one broad spectrum in which the same fighter can jump to a different position on it depending on updates. There's probably only three broad generations in reality ; subsonic, supersonic and stealth which are fundamentally defined by the airframe in each case.
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zero-one

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Unread post27 Mar 2019, 09:07

marsavian wrote:There are third generation fighters like the Mig-21 that are highly maneuverable. Also updates could take a 3rd gen fighter into a 4th gen fighter e.g Mig-21Bis/Bison. The third and fourth generations probably consist of one broad spectrum in which the same fighter can jump to a different position on it depending on updates. There's probably only three broad generations in reality ; subsonic, supersonic and stealth which are fundamentally defined by the airframe in each case.


You're right, the definitions are really just guide lines and not really hard facts set in stone.
Personally I look at it this way. If the air frame was built from the onset with combat agility in mind then its more or less a 4th gen onwards. Theres a big difference between an aircraft that is able to dogfight (i.e. F-4, Mig-21) and one that was built to dogfight (F-15, F-16)

However this changed in 5th gen. The F-35 was not "built to dogfight" it was just built to able to dogfight if needed. But because the maneuverability and performance needed to be able to dogfight in this day and age is so high, the F-35 turns out being better than purpose built dogfighters in the 70s and 80s.
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Unread post27 Mar 2019, 09:33

Yep - here we go again. DOGfight. Time for the thread to end. 'Hitler' has been mentioned in absentia. Leave it out cheef.
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Unread post27 Mar 2019, 09:53

:lmao:
I'm sorry Spaz...
no matter what thread we go to we end up in this topic. At this point I don't think we can have a fighter jet thread without talking about speed and pulling Gs at some point, they seem to go hand in hand :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

On the bright side, AEWACs and Cargo plane threads are free of this non sense
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marsavian

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Unread post27 Mar 2019, 10:41

'Dogfighting' is an irrelevant metric as every fighter generation since the early biplanes could pull at least 20 degrees/sec turn rates and 6-7g. It was only the first supersonic fighters that were the historical anomaly as they basically were built for low drag high speed rather than any serious turning. The latest fighters have just returned to the historical norm in dogfight performance.
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