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Unread postPosted: 29 Oct 2004, 22:54
by gc66
I know this is a little off subject, but how do you think the F-20 Tigershark would've matched up against a Gripen or an F-16 for that matter, had it gone into production. If I recall, the F-20 was an F-5 fitted with an F-16 engine (or similar to it). If it incorporated current avionics and what not, would it be able to hang with new generation fighters such as the Gripen in a dogfight? I know F-5s are (or were) used as aggressors and trainers as well, so I'm wondering if that engine modification would've boosted its performance.


Unread postPosted: 01 Nov 2004, 21:10
by habu2
gc66 wrote:If I recall, the F-20 was an F-5 fitted with an F-16 engine (or similar to it).

More like a single engine from an F/A-18, an F404-GE-100 rated at 17,000 lbs thrust class engine.

Unread postPosted: 01 Nov 2004, 23:22
by TC
The Viper's engine options are both more powerful than the GE F404, however, the F-20 is much lighter than the Viper, and the Hornet. The Tiger II had great performance with two J85s, but with the F404, the Tigershark's performance was outstanding. Chuck Yeager, who was involved with the Tigershark's flight test program went as far as to call the F-20 "The Finest Fighter." This, coming from the man who had flown all of the Tigershark's contemporaries (the Eagle, Viper, and Hornet). Against a Viper, the Tigershark could most likely outturn it, but it wouldn't be able to outclimb or accelerate faster than the Viper. Maybe outaccelerate one of the older block Vipers, with the P&W F100-100, but the newer block Vipers with the GE F110 would outrun it. As for avionics, you're now dealing with antiquated technology. In its day, the avionics were on par probably with a later A model or early C model Viper. The Grippen would have much better avionics, more on par with a modern Viper. Result? The Viper was a better buy then, and still would be today as a combat aircraft. Although less expensive, the F-20 lacked the performance of the Viper, and I think would have been better suited as an aggressor aircraft than a combat aircraft. Much the same niche that was found for the F-5. It was pretty good as a combat plane, but outstanding in the aggressor role.

Beers and MiGs were made to be pounded!

Unread postPosted: 02 Nov 2004, 01:37
by diamond1
TC wrote:Maybe outaccelerate one of the older block Vipers, with the P&W F100-100, but the newer block Vipers with the GE F110 would outrun it.

You mean F100-200 (-100 was for F-15 only, -200 was for F-16).

They were most likely equal in max speed. MACH 2 or so. The canopy limit of the Viper may have been below that of the Tigershark (It had a frame) so that may have been the edge in speed. A clean -200 Viper would reach VMAX, even if not as quickly as a newer engine. As far as power/drag/weight goes, the Tigershark would most likely pull away from an early Viper in a drag race.

The newer F100 PWs would outrun the F110 GEs, due to thier higher exhaust gas velocity, but again the canopy would fail prior to reaching that point. (Game over.........) :shock:

Unread postPosted: 02 Nov 2004, 02:22
by Roscoe
1) Yeager was on the Northrop payroll when he said that
2) While the F-20 has plenty of thrusties it -20 was not rated to 9g so I suspect it could not hang as tight a sustained turn rate as the Viper
3) Given the relative wing shapes, I doubt the F-20 could pull any more instantaneous g's than the Viper (did it have any leading edge lift enhancers?)
4) Less payload; less range

Unread postPosted: 02 Nov 2004, 03:09
by diamond1
I must admit though, that if the trade restrictions on the Viper weren't lifted, the Tigershark would have been the "best" fighter available to the export market at that time.

Much better than a J79 Viper......... :?

Unread postPosted: 02 Nov 2004, 05:33
by TC
Oops! Yes, I stand corrected on my engine flub there. The Tigershark did have a great thrust to weight ratio. I'd suspect it was even better than the Hornet. The F-20 could carry a fairly diverse armament, including A2A missiles, Mavericks, and iron bombs. I would suspect that had it entered production, it would have best served in air defense (think 5 min. alert) role. The U.S. said basically from the word GO that it had no interest in the Tigershark, so had it been built, it could have served in that air defense role for several allied nations. I mean, really, F-20 v. MiG-21 or MiG-23? No contest. The Tigershark probably would have even held its own against the Foxbat and Foxhound. MiG-29? Little more tricky. Hard to say. However, in honor of the "Plane that Nobody Wanted" (as named by Air&Space Magazine) I will close with my familiar...

Beers and MiGs were made to be pounded!

F-16 versus F-20 observations

Unread postPosted: 11 Dec 2004, 19:29
by maximillian
Roscoe wrote:1) Yeager was on the Northrop payroll when he said that
2) While the F-20 has plenty of thrusties it -20 was not rated to 9g so I suspect it could not hang as tight a sustained turn rate as the Viper
3) Given the relative wing shapes, I doubt the F-20 could pull any more instantaneous g's than the Viper (did it have any leading edge lift enhancers?)
4) Less payload; less range

Forgive me, and I recognise I'm in an F-16 partisan enviroment here,
but this smacks very much of pretty standard GD retoric.

No personel offense or deliberate critisism intended, and let me say first, that I understand, and appreciate where you're coming from. The F-20 didn't get built, and that's that, and we all understand the plenatude of reasons and explanations why, and there's no scence whinning about it.

OK Fine,
However, all that dosn't make it right, and as somewhat as an admitted idealist and pureist, I don't believe it 's entirely fair. A couple of points, must be recognised in fairness, and honesty about all this.

One point overlooked in realtion to the performance of the F-20 was it's "instantanious turn rate," or if you prefer, the ability to slew it's frontal aspect, or "point and shoot."

Any student of the teachings and theories of John Boyd can appreicate the importance of the ability to inflict and react to change in a dynamic and fluid enviroment, particularly a 1v1 clear airmass visual domain dogfight.

This is where the F-20 IMO still remains unequaled and unsurpassed, in consideration of it dimunitve size, and overall manuvering capability.

Nobody had really appreciated or fully understood the phenomina of instantanious G lock, before the loss of the 2 F-20 protoypes in rapid succession.

We're not talking about the gradual tunnel vision, greyout, and eventual blackout, that can be fairly predicitably, and almost routinely experienced by F-14 through F-18 pilots pulling sustained Gs.

Instantainous G lock as produced so quite readily, as such, and for the first time dramaticaly and tragically demonstrated by the F-20. Is more readily compaired to a knock out punch from a prize fighter.
This was a new catagory of high G manuvering hazard.

The bottom line is, and my impression, of the F-20 is, that it could change direction so fast, and impart so much G force, so rapidly, that it was litterally a hazard to fly. Be as it was, at that stage, without specific governance and limitations incorporated into the flight control system, for that specific attribute.

This issue could have been better recognised, and dealt with further development.

I don't believe that many designers, pilots, and planners, onboard, or rivals, at the time, really recognised or understood the phenomina, or moreover fully appreicated what they had on their hands at the time, with the F-20.

We could debate and argue the merits of close-in dog fighting in the current context, including the Su series, F-22 et al, and some will say it's an obsolite concept entirely, and that today, BVR is where its at.

Fair enough, although I don't persoenly subscibe, or believe in, the F-22, on the contrary, I feel "we're being taken for a ride" big time, on the whole deal.

However, and having declared all this, to sum it up, IMO 1 v1 close in, the F-20 was something truely unique, and remarkable, and along the lines of the original YF-16 protypes, remained the truest of all, to the concept of a simple, but unbeatable, clear airmass, true LWF, as envisoned by Boyd, Riconni, and the others, in the original LWF mafia.


Unread postPosted: 11 Dec 2004, 22:51
by Gums

Having connect problems and lost my first response.

As Habu and TC and ELP know, I have flown the F-20 sim at Northrop for 50+ hours and came within a few hours of flying the thing at Edwards.

I'll send more when connections improve.

For now, I can tell you that the F-20 would have ruled the Third World if just one country had bought a few.

It had the best pilot-vehicle-interface I have ever seen, and learning to work all the gadgets was a breeze.


Unread postPosted: 12 Dec 2004, 04:31
by Gums

First, the F-20 prolly had a better instantaneous turn rate than the Viper. One crash was g-loc (troop headed to the Paris Airshow in 1985). It wasn't pure FBW like the Viper - more like the F-18.

Second, it could prolly equal the Viper in the vertical, but wouldn't maintain turns as well in the horizontal. Good nose-pointing, but not so good sustaining the rate.

Short range, limited pig iron capability, but super interceptor. Was made to order for th Third World countries. However, all the rich Emirs and drug lords wanted an F-15 for their birthday fly-by.

Best thing I saw was the ease of using the avionics. Damned near intuitive. Was way ahead of the F-16 at the time (1985). A neat feature for the radio was to hit the 'radio' button, then enter some numbers on the up-front entry panel. Two digits and the sucker would go to the preset number. Three or more digits and it would put the decimal point in for ya.

First time I ever saw pull-down menus on the scope, too. The Mac was just coming out, and I hadn't seen one yet. 'course, the Hornet already had a similar feature for their radar, but..........

Radar was best for Air-to-air, and had a full-up track while scan mode, as well as several others. Groundmap about like the F-16 and F-18.

Vis was not nearly as good as the Viper.

Conventional stick between your legs and lottsa movement. FLCS was computer-assisted conventional, not full FBW like F-16. Other fatality was a departure (Korea). So the limiters weren't as effective as in the Viper.

A really good HUD, with minimal bazonga clutter.

Steam gauges were easy to use when not using the HUD.

Roomy cockpit compared to the Viper. So taking a box lunch or six-pac was no big deal.

Laser-gyro inertial allowed for a very quick scramble launch. Nav display was easy to figure out and to use. No projected map like the Hornet or SLUF, though.

Wish the lawyers would have let us fly the thing, as we had gone thru the blindfold cockpit check in the real deal the day before, and had 50+ hours in the sim already.


Unread postPosted: 16 Dec 2004, 02:27
by kc10fish
Hey Gums well said. I have to back you up on the scramble launch stuff. It was way quicker from everything i have read. Another Northrop product of superior performance not ordered due to politics... YF-23 being the other one.

Unread postPosted: 25 Apr 2005, 05:05
by Prince_Noah
Can F-18's outrun MIG's?

Unread postPosted: 25 Apr 2005, 19:22
From what I've read (quite a bit), everyone who got to play in the F-20 LOVED it, for all the reasons Gums mentioned and more. It was designed, built, and 100% financed by the company as an alternative to the YF-16, which was nothing like the F-16 of today (as most people here know). The original F-16 was built to the same specs as the F-20: lightweight, cheap, easy-produced clear weather 'daytime' fighter. Alot of what I've read says the F-20's outperformed the first Vipers by a good margin, and were perfect for the role mentioned above.

Pilots loved the layout of the cockpit, the performance, the handling, everything. It wasn't built to carry bombs and a/g missles, or BVR a/a missles, nor did it have a powerfull super-duper long range a/a radar. But when you look at the specs, the YF-16 didn't have all that stuff either. From what I've found, that is why the front end of the production F-16 is bigger than the YF-16- the specs got changed, so they had to stick in a bigger, better radar, and it wouldn't fit in the original radome.

In the end, when they were developed, the F-20 seemed a better fighter for the day, but I don't think it would have held up to the multi-mission taskings that have been taken on by the F-16, or at least not have done them as well. It definatly would have been top dog as an agressor though, or as a front-liner for the smaller air forces out there. Plus, I think the damn things just look soooo cool!!!!

Unread postPosted: 25 Apr 2005, 19:49
by agilefalcon16
VPRGUY wrote: Alot of what I've read says the F-20's outperformed the first Vipers by a good margin, and were perfect for the role mentioned above.

:shock: Are you sure about that? Where did you read this from?

Also, did the F-20 use the Fly-by-wire flight control system? I'm wondering just out of curiosity.

MiG.-29 Versus The F/A-18C

Unread postPosted: 30 Oct 2005, 07:42
by avon1944
Prince_Noah wrote:Can F-18's outrun MIG's?

Yes, the MiG.-29 has a higher top speed than the F-16 and F/A-18.

In October of 1996, part of two US Navy squadrons (8 F/A-18C's & 2 F/A-18D's) from the US Naval Air Base Oceana, flew to Laage, Germany to work with the 73rd Fighter Squadron of the German Air Force, working as an aggressor squadron for two weeks!! While Mig.29s have participated at Red Flag, this is the first time a US Navy has worked exclusively with another squadron that fly the Mig.-29 as their primary aircraft! The aggressor squadron provides a syllabus or, course on how to best fight the Soviet/Russian air warfare system!
The exercise between the F/A-18C and the MiG.-29 indicated;
A) The AMRAAM missile has a far more usable range than does the Adder!
B) In performance the two aircraft are very similar but, if there is an edge, it MUST go to the Mig.-29!
C) The Mig.-29 has a thrust to weight and wingloading that is in between the F-16 and F/A-18.
D) There are tactics the F/A-18s can use that equalize the advantage the Mig.-29 has over them in the F/A-18s WVR fight! (There is counter moves against the Archer Missile / HMDS!) There are tactics the Mig.-29 that equalize the advantage the F/A-18 has in the BVR fight!
In a casual session the pilots discussed the merits of each of their aircraft! The Mig.-29 is better in performance than the F/A-18C in the following areas;
1) The Mig.-29 has a better thrust to weight ratio.
2) The Mig.-29 is better at high speed maneuvering, slightly.
3) The Mig.-29 is the most highly exported threat in the world.
4) The Mig.-29 is more difficult to fly.
5) The initial purchase price of the Mig.-29 is "HALF" that of the F/A-18C! Far less costly avionics.
6) The MiG.-29 is more capable of disengaging from a dogfight than the F/A-18's. This was something the MiG.-21 could NOT do at all!
7) The Mig.-29s accumulate more information on how best to defeat Western air combat systems!! Then the Westerners can then adjust to make themselves less vulnerable.
8) In this two week training syllabus the Mig.-29 was restricted in "some" of its performance, in some exercises! This exercise is to teach not to judge which aircraft is more capable.

The F/A-18C is better in performance than the Mig.-29 in the following areas;
1) The F/A-18C is slightly inferior to the Mig.-29 in most of the important specifications. Reality is different!
2) The F/A-18C has a much better radar than the Mig.-29. Despite the Soviets claim that the MiG.-29's radar has a faster clock speed. The through put of data shows the F/A-18's radar has a more efficient "circuit logic" design and therefore, is able to calculate faster than the MiG.-29's radar.
3) The F/A-18C/radar using the AMRAAM has much better range and capability than does the Mig.-29/radar with the Adder. Giving the F/A-18C a distinct edge to the F/A-18C in the BVR combat arena. Dis-guarding the usage of tactics. (The Slammer [AMRAAM] Missile has a far larger no escape zone.)
4) The F/A-18C has better pitch control and high AOA at low speed. Despite the fact the F/A-18 must land on an aircraft carrier, the advantage the F/A-18 has over the Mig.-29 is so slight, that for practical purposes it doesn't exist!
5) The "gun symbology" for the F/A-18C is far easier to use than the Mig.-29's HUD. This provides the pilot with a far better situational awareness than what the MiG pilot would have. During a dogfight the MiG.-29 pilot would have to work harder to accomplish the same result of the F/A-18 and its pilot.
6) The Soviet concept of HOTAS is "less complete" than it is in the West. Soviet pilots with aircraft that have HOTAS still must look down to set switches and gather information of which is presented on the HUD in Western fighters.