F-16 versus air superiority fighters

Agreed, it will never be a fair fight but how would the F-16 match up against the ... ?
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thunderbolt

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Unread post12 Sep 2003, 14:40

Hi,

I would like to know what are the possibilities of an F-16 against air superiority fighters such as Rafale, Eurofighter, F-22, Su-35, Su-37 or even Mig-29 in terms of kill ratio. I know comparing an F-16 with an F-22 doesn´t make much sense and that comparing fighters of different classes isn´t correct but I think this information would provide a clear idea of the f-16´s air-to-air capabilities.

Does anyone have any info related with simulations conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of different fighters in air combat where the F-16 was involved? When I say f-16 I mean the most modern: F-16 C/D Block 50/52 or F-16 MLU.

Thanks in advance 8)


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Normsta3

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Unread post12 Sep 2003, 15:53

A topic I've been waiting to discuss. Just how good is F-16 in the air superiority role? Hmm, let me see. GREAT, would be my first guess. Why, because finally it has been given a decent medium - range missile (AMRAAM), and its short - range missile is getting better & better (Sidewinder), not to mention that the F-16 is easily one of the most agile fighters in the world. However, against the latest generation of fighters, unless the F-16 is given some serious equipment, HOUSTON, WE HAVE A PROBLEM. Let me break it down by the fighters.

<b>Rafale</b> - Currently a thread running on this match - up. There is even an account given by one of the posters in which he says that 4 F-16s went up against 2 Rafales, in which 2 F-16s & 1 Rafale were "lost", i.e. taken out of the engagement. Very tough call to make, particularly since the 2 aircraft are very much alike. They're pretty much even.

<b>Eurofighter 2000</b> - Comparable to the Rafale, hence I'd say that this would also be a very tough match to call as well.

<b>MIG-29</b> - I hate to say it, but the MIG-29 is more agile. There is no way to get around it; I don't know what Russia does to their fighters to make them so ridiculously manueverable, but the MIG-29 definitely has an edge over the F-16 in terms of agility. Of course, if you look at a list of F-16 kills, I think that an F-16 shot down a MIG-29 once with an AMRAAM missile. I'm not sure, but I think that did happen. Can someone confirm? Either way, it is pretty much accepted that the F-16 just isn't as agile as the MIG-29, just ask around at various forums or ask the experts.

<b>Su-35</b> - A MIG-29 on steriods, :wink: All around even faster and more agile than the MIG-29. Needless to say, the F-16 doesn't really stand a snowflake's chance in hell in a turning fight.

<b>Su-37</b> - Just when you thought that the Su-35 couldn't get much better, how about we give it a pair of thrust - vectoring engines and some more changes. Now you have the Su-37. Hmm, could the Falcon win? I doubt it.

<b>F-22</b> - NO. Just no. Why, because the thing is freakin' invisible. Okay, not invisible, but pretty dang close, especially for a fighter. There is a reason that the makers of it ocassionally referred to the thing as "Alien". Why, because like the Aliens, it strikes quickly and with deadly force. Close to visual range, thrust - vectoring would probably win the day for the F-22.

Now, I know you wanted some stats on actual simulations, but I just don't have them. All I know is what I've heard or read from various books or forums. Against the latest European fighters, the F-16 at least stands a chance. Against Russian fighters, not likely. Even with a thrust - vectoring engine, I still doubt it, particularly in the case of the Su-35 & Su-37. Why, well need I remind you that it takes an F-16 with a thrust - vectoring engine to pull of the cobra manuever, while a Su-27 can pull it off WITHOUT THRUST - VECTORING ENGINES. So if the Su-35 and Su-37 are improvements over the Su-27 (especially the Su-37, with thrust - vectoring engines), then I seriously doubt that an F-16 could tread water against those Russian fighters, :cry: With the F-22, well, it's the F-22, enough said. I seriously doubt that Congress would be willing to spend billions of dollar on an air - superiority fighter that couldn't even stand up to a multi - role fighter in an engagement, don't you? And I know that I concentrated more on the agility aspect of it all, but remember this important fact as well: most of the fighters mentioned above possess a helmet - mounted sight with some deadly missiles to boot as well. Especially the MIG-29, Su-35, & Su-37, with their Archer missiles, probably the deadliest short - range missiles in the world. The F-16, on the other hand, is in the process of getting those helmet - mounted sights. But until it does, it's in trouble. Oh, and a side note: One thing those European planes also have is stealth, like the F-22. Not on par with the F-22, but the Rafale & Eurofighter are stealthly nonetheless and stand out far less than the F-16.

In short, though the F-16 is a fabulous air - superiority fighter, against the latest generation of fighters, it needs some serious equipment just to stand up to the other planes. Without a helmet - mounted sight, better short - range missiles, and a thrust - vectoring engine, the F-16 would probably either lose or manage to take the other plane with it. Or it could just be a matter of who has the better pilot, :wink: Hope that helps a little.
Last edited by Normsta3 on 27 Sep 2003, 18:51, edited 2 times in total.
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Unread post12 Sep 2003, 16:34

http://www.codeonemagazine.com/archives ... 2a_95.html

Link to a Code One article about F-16s and MiG-29s (and F-4Fs) going head to head in ACM training. Good read.
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Unread post12 Sep 2003, 17:30

I think below 550 knots the Mig-29 has an edge over the VIPER, but using its superior turn rate and acceleration over that speed , the Viper can beat the MIG. VIPER pilots are trained to get the best out of their machines,so they would definitely know how to use it against a Mig-29.

As far as the SU-27 series is concerned, they are definitely superior . Both in BVR and close in dogfighting. It would take a hell lotta upgrades to both the F-16s anf F-15s to counter these beasts.
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Unread post12 Sep 2003, 17:42

Wow, that's was a great article. Apparently I significantly over - estimated just how maneuverable the MIG-29 was. The F-16 appears to be more than a match for it in many ways. Of course, it all depends on speed, doesn't it? At lower speeds, the MIG-29 performs better, but at higher speeds, the Falcon has the edge all the way.

I still wonder though, mainly cuz I got the idea from the article that Germany didn't really try to use the MIG-29 as a dogfighter, but as an interceptor. I wonder how different the results would be if Russia was participating instead of Germany. I also wonder how the F-16 would fare against the significantly more advanced Su-35 and Su-37. Anyone have any ideas?
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Unread post13 Sep 2003, 08:03

I think the Luftwaffe pilots are better then Russian pilots, who hardly get any time in the air any more, so the F-16 would have come out on top any way.

As far as the Sukhois are concerned, it's accepted that even Su-27, is more manoeuvrable, obviously has more thrust, has a more powerful radar and longer ranged missiles than the F-16. Now if we add canard foreplanes, thrust vectoring engines and more thrust still, we have got ourselves a flying monster.

Heres an interesting link on the Eurofighter website:

http://www.eurofighter.com/Typhoon/SwingRole/

When you get there, click mission effectiveness.
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ysslah

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Unread post13 Sep 2003, 16:54

I agree with you Adeel. I believe Luftwaffe pilots are better than Russian pilots, because they have more oppertunity to fly. Anyway...

I think I've heard Vipers kicking Fulcrum's butt... but...hmm... against Flanker.... it will be a tough one without AMRAAM..... and 22s... they are just freakin' UFOs man.... if your intel says they are around your CAP area, just run away!! Or make sure you are ready to eject!

Pat

Unread post14 Sep 2003, 11:16

I'm sure if the USAF had spend all the development money towards the f-16 in air-to-air capabilities instead of air-to-ground, it would be more than a match to any of the latest generation fighters. Thrust-vectoring was tested with excellent results, and was pretty affordable to retrofit.

PROBABLY never adapted since in the eyes of the USAF, F-16 is an air-to-ground machine and doesn't like to rely on visual engagement.

Pat
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Unread post14 Sep 2003, 16:28

And what about the F-16 C/D Block 40/42 and 50/52 upgraded by the Common Configuration Implementation Program (CCIP) ?

Can the systems incorporated in the Falcon by this upgrade program (Link 16 Multifunctional Information Distribution System (MIDS), Joint Helmet-Mounted Cueing System (JHMCS), commercial expanded programmable display generator, color multifunction display set, modular mission computer, mux loadable data entry display set and an electronic horizontal situation display) make any difference in the Falcon´s air combat performance against the same fighters?

Is it true that the F-16 MLU is as modern as the F-16 C/D upgraded by the CCIP?

Thanks a lot :)
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Unread post14 Sep 2003, 17:59

Well, the MIDS could give the Viper driver a hell of a chance of getting on the bandit's six and nail him away with cannon or fire a missile. I mean think about it, the Viper driver would fly low (and I mean real low, less than 300 ft.) with his radar and jammer turned off, checking his MIDS to try and stay out of the bandit's radar sweeping area, then once he's behind the bandit, the Viper driver could just kick in the burners and start blasting away. This MIDS would also avoid any radio transmissions between the Falcon and the AWACS or ground controllers, thus not alerting the other side that something isn't right (sure the latest radios are supposed to be encrypted, really hard to intercept and all that, but if a listening crew on the ground stumbles upon the pile of radio transmissions necessary to direct a fighter to his bandit's six, then they would probably alert their boys that something isn't right).

Of course, this will only work if there are no enemy AWACS or radars in the area to let the bandit know what's coming. The Raptor should change that though.
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habu2

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Unread post14 Sep 2003, 21:49

MLU, Block 20 and CCIP all incorporate the MMC and CMFDS (along with a lot of other stuff)

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Pat

Unread post15 Sep 2003, 02:12

As long as we are on the topic...

http://www.afa.org/magazine/feb1996/0296grayt.asp ("No US fighter except the F-22 will hold a definite edge on next-generation European fighters.")

Pat
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Unread post15 Sep 2003, 15:43

Okay, okay, that was indeed a good article, though it failed to take several important aspects into account when talking about the F-16.

First off, the F-16s mentioned / being compared with were Block 40s. Yes, those are some reasonably current models, but by no means the latest. Pounds of thrust, thrust - to - weight ratio, range, all that stuff was taken by an older model F-16. Now, put a Block 52+ or 60 in there and you have a very different plane, not only in the areas mentioned above, but also avionics.

Stealthiness, okay, they have us on that one, but all you really have to do is incorporate a LOAN nozzle and you'll reduce a great deal of the RCS of the F-16.

Finally, and most importantly, especially in this topic, IN THE MINDS OF THE AIR FORCE, THE F-16 ISN'T MEANT FOR AIR - AIR COMBAT. All they want to use the F-16 for are air - ground missions. This means that they haven't ever considered optimizing an F-16 for air - air combat. And yet, the F-16 is still one kick - sss of a dogfighter, especially with the AMRAAM and Sidewinder missiles. That, in & of itself says a whole lot.

I don't know, granted that the latest generation of European superfighters are great and all, but I seriously doubt that they have THAT much superiority over the F-16. But hey, that's just my opinion. What does everyone else think?
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Unread post15 Sep 2003, 15:54

I think the European fighters have a defnite edge as far as stealthines is concerned maybe even BVR capabilities. OK, why don't we forget about stealth and BVR, and consider following fighters in terms of best maneuverability: F-16, Mig 29, F-22,Su-27, Rafale, Eurofighter, Gripen and the Hornet? Could any one put them in order and explain why they think one is better then the rest?
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Unread post15 Sep 2003, 16:04

You have to remember that, while stealth is a definite factor, we (US or NATO) are not going to have a plane (any plane) out there by himself so to speak. That is the point of all the JTIDS MIDS AWACS etc.

In the Gulf War(s) all the intercepts were directed from AWACS - "there he is, go get him". So yes stealth and avionics and pilot skill are all important but it is the team or system (fighter plus AWACS) that makes it effective.

In the Gulf War the Iraqi planes that were shot down were pretty much out there on their own and were sitting ducks for the US fighters and AWACS teams.
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