Hornet v Viper - Pilot gives his opinions

Agreed, it will never be a fair fight but how would the F-16 match up against the ... ?
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basher54321

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Unread post01 Jun 2015, 15:04

4 part series of opinions by a guy who has flown both:

http://fightersweep.com/1494/hornet-vs-viper-part-one/

http://fightersweep.com/1539/hornet-vs-viper-part-two/

http://fightersweep.com/1904/hornet-vs-viper-part-three/

http://fightersweep.com/2378/hornet-vs-viper-part-four/


I will post this bit though :P

Given a choice head to head, I would probably choose the F-16. Although I really love fighting in the Hornet against other Hornets, there is no worse feeling than being bled down on energy and out of options. I fought several F/A-18Cs, F/A-18E/Fs, and CF-18s when I flew the F-16, and I never lost. Aside from the F-22, I really don’t think there’s a better dogfighting aircraft out there. A lot of thrust is good, more is better. A clean F-16 is just a rocket ship. That’s just personal preference, of course. Others who have flown both may have vastly differing opinions.

Well, that concludes my comparison of the Hornet vs Viper. Hope you’ve enjoyed it. Take my opinions for what they’re worth – just one fighter pilot’s opinion of two very similar jets. The F-16 was my first love, so I’m obviously a bit biased, but I think they’re both great aircraft. I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to fly them both.
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neurotech

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Unread post02 Jun 2015, 00:13

basher54321 wrote:4 part series of opinions by a guy who has flown both:

http://fightersweep.com/1494/hornet-vs-viper-part-one/

http://fightersweep.com/1539/hornet-vs-viper-part-two/

http://fightersweep.com/1904/hornet-vs-viper-part-three/

http://fightersweep.com/2378/hornet-vs-viper-part-four/


I will post this bit though :P

Given a choice head to head, I would probably choose the F-16. Although I really love fighting in the Hornet against other Hornets, there is no worse feeling than being bled down on energy and out of options. I fought several F/A-18Cs, F/A-18E/Fs, and CF-18s when I flew the F-16, and I never lost. Aside from the F-22, I really don’t think there’s a better dogfighting aircraft out there. A lot of thrust is good, more is better. A clean F-16 is just a rocket ship. That’s just personal preference, of course. Others who have flown both may have vastly differing opinions.

Well, that concludes my comparison of the Hornet vs Viper. Hope you’ve enjoyed it. Take my opinions for what they’re worth – just one fighter pilot’s opinion of two very similar jets. The F-16 was my first love, so I’m obviously a bit biased, but I think they’re both great aircraft. I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to fly them both.

During Rhino flight testing, more than a few felt that the jet needed more thrust to really come to its own. This was true even with clean wings, only AIM-9s on the wingtips. There were ways to get that (FADEC SW changes) at the expense of TBO. The Navy wouldn't go for it, even after further development of the engine, they still wanted enhanced durability.
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35_aoa

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Unread post02 Jun 2015, 02:44

Oldie but goodie. Two very different, but remarkably similar airplanes when the gear and flaps are up. There are a lot of pros and cons to both aircraft, mainly pros.......they are both remarkable performers, even 30-40 years later. If you could give me the visibility of a Viper cockpit along with its T/W and mix that with the Hornet's 2 engines and superior flight controls/FCS/FLCS, that would potentially be the best fighter in the world.

edit: disregard, not an "oldie", I was thinking the combat aircraft (or whatever magazine) piece from a number of years ago. Good stuff
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Unread post02 Jun 2015, 14:37

having fought many hornets in a viper i would break this up into 2 pieces. If i was gun only, i would want a viper. If i had at least 2 Aim-9xs, i would want a hornet. Hornets can pretty much point their nose anywhere once, then they are out of energy. This is pure BFM here....not BVR. I also would maybe stick with a viper anyway so i wouldnt have to be on a small boat with a bunch of dudes for 9 months.
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35_aoa

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Unread post03 Jun 2015, 03:18

deadseal wrote:having fought many hornets in a viper i would break this up into 2 pieces. If i was gun only, i would want a viper. If i had at least 2 Aim-9xs, i would want a hornet. Hornets can pretty much point their nose anywhere once, then they are out of energy. This is pure BFM here....not BVR. I also would maybe stick with a viper anyway so i wouldnt have to be on a small boat with a bunch of dudes for 9 months.


while not untrue at all (a lot of less experienced Hornet guys will do this), that isn't how you want to fight a Hornet, especially against a Viper. If done correctly, you can hang with a Viper pretty well in a Hornet. But like you saw, not every guy is that savvy.
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Unread post03 Jun 2015, 04:11

35_aoa wrote:
deadseal wrote:having fought many hornets in a viper i would break this up into 2 pieces. If i was gun only, i would want a viper. If i had at least 2 Aim-9xs, i would want a hornet. Hornets can pretty much point their nose anywhere once, then they are out of energy. This is pure BFM here....not BVR. I also would maybe stick with a viper anyway so i wouldnt have to be on a small boat with a bunch of dudes for 9 months.


while not untrue at all (a lot of less experienced Hornet guys will do this), that isn't how you want to fight a Hornet, especially against a Viper. If done correctly, you can hang with a Viper pretty well in a Hornet. But like you saw, not every guy is that savvy.


this does bring into question what we would actually do......if you had 2 aim 9xs would you pull for all you're worth and get a wez? or would you try and fight as if you are gun only and take shots of opportunity like the USAF teaches. BFT vs BFM. I think i would pull rate and get my 9x off the rail first and maybe fight a one circle after that. i dont want to sit there in AB doing loops to music while i runout of gas over bad guy land. Do i have gas? do i have missles? do i have a wingman? am i dfending something? it all depends i guess. To bring this back to the original comment and your reply 35 AOA...i think hornets can definatly out "point" a viper in the initial move (AOA limiting and all), thus if i was a "savvy" hornet driver and i had some missles to spare...I would most likely take this option if my back was to the wall.
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Unread post03 Jun 2015, 05:03

haha I wish this were the club and we had beers in hand. So many interesting topics to talk about, so much unclass on this medium :)
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Unread post03 Jun 2015, 06:01

It was a very good read. I particularly loved the way he pointed out that although the Viper could turn tighter, climb faster and accelerate like mad, the Hornet was the more maneuverable aircraft of the 2. Which means that there are more maneuvers possible with the Hornet airframe.

By the way, I didn't quite catch what type of which he was flying? Was it a Block 50 Viper and a Rhino? Anyone recall?

He also mentioned that the Hornet was " severely under powered", well just how bad is it anyway? Simple calculations of T/W ratio won't get you the answer as they seem pretty close.

I'm guessing the high asspect ratio and low wing sweep design of the F/A-18 makes it pretty much a flying speed break.

Anyone here with any valid opinions on just how good or bad the Rhino is at maintaining it's E?

http://hushkit.net/2012/07/13/hushkit-e ... inal-word/

In this interview, Hornet pilot Dave Buonerba, said that the Rhino feels a little heavier than the legacy but at the same time, accelerates better down at the deck, and points its nose better than the Charlie.

How does this translate in BFM? Does this mean it can't turn quite as fast but at the same time can regain energy better?
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Unread post03 Jun 2015, 06:08

35_aoa wrote:. If you could give me the visibility of a Viper cockpit along with its T/W and mix that with the Hornet's 2 engines and superior flight controls/FCS/FLCS, that would potentially be the best fighter in the world.


They've done that and more. It's called the F-22.

It would be interesting to know how F-16 and F/A-18 jocks would view the F-35 though.

Since it's basically a combination of both.

I expect Hornet pilots to love it since it has all of the F/A-18's maneuverability but brings a lot of power with it.

Although, Hornet drivers will mostly be transitioning to the B and C variants. I wonder how they will view it?
I saw an interview with an F-35C test pilot and he said that it pretty much flies like a Clean Rhino.

He said it was very "slick"
Would a clean superbug do well against the likes of an air-air configured Viper at high speed? Or would he need to stick to Super bug tactics and fight slow and low?
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Unread post03 Jun 2015, 10:32

Spoke to a Strike Eagle driver who flies a F-15E with -229 engines. He says he stood no chance against USMC F-18s during an exercise due to the hornets nose pointing abilities. When equipped with the JHMCS/AIM-9X, the hornets are in a class of its own in WVR combat.
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Unread post03 Jun 2015, 11:47

zero-one wrote:He also mentioned that the Hornet was " severely under powered", well just how bad is it anyway? Simple calculations of T/W ratio won't get you the answer as they seem pretty close.


I also wonder how bad it's supposed to be? I think that the late C/D models with F404-GE-402 EPE engine the Hornet has very nice T/W ratio, comparable with best F-16 variants. With the older F404-GE-400 engines the T/W ratio is of course significantly lower and might be the reason for having reputation for being under powered. Of course like you said, there are more to it than simple T/W ratios.
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popcorn

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Unread post03 Jun 2015, 11:57

gc wrote:Spoke to a Strike Eagle driver who flies a F-15E with -229 engines. He says he stood no chance against USMC F-18s during an exercise due to the hornets nose pointing abilities. When equipped with the JHMCS/AIM-9X, the hornets are in a class of its own in WVR combat.

I'd be curious to know if a F15-C driver would have a similar opinion.
"When a fifth-generation fighter meets a fourth-generation fighter—the [latter] dies,”
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Unread post03 Jun 2015, 16:42

Asked a Raptor pilot boss of mine once what was the one aircraft that put up the best fight WVR that he's had the chance to fight against. Without hesitation he said legacy hornet.
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Unread post05 Jun 2015, 06:41

hornetfinn wrote:
I also wonder how bad it's supposed to be? I think that the late C/D models with F404-GE-402 EPE engine the Hornet has very nice T/W ratio, comparable with best F-16 variants. With the older F404-GE-400 engines the T/W ratio is of course significantly lower and might be the reason for having reputation for being under powered. Of course like you said, there are more to it than simple T/W ratios.


Well i'll try to take a shot at how I think the Hornet and Superhornet performs based on what I hear about the plane when compared to other American 4th Gen fighters.

F-14D: the Rio on the last F-14 demo said that with their GE-F110 powerd Cats they can out climb the Hornet and was the prefered tactic used by Tomcat crews when engaged against Hornets in DACT BFM. I'm assuming with that kind of power, the D model Tomcats can also out accelerate Hornets as well especially at altitude.

F-15C: I always viewd the F-15's performance as a budget version of the F-16. They have the same strength, high speed, high G, fast acceleration, climb rates and tight turns. However the Viper seems to do it just a bit better than the Eagle. So in this regard, I would have to say that the Eagle is better than the Hornet in a high speed, High G fight. However in their respective corner speeds I believe the Hornet can still sustain a tighter turn albeit at slower speed than the Eagle.

F-16C: this to me is the F/A-18's polar opposite, high speed turns is where the Viper excels, maintaining energy throughout those maneuvers is what it was designed to do. IIRC the Viper is the best American 4th gen in terms of acceleration, maintaining energy, reaching high G and maintaining high G. It also has the highest sustained turn rate of any American 4th gen, as well as the fastest climb rate, it also regains energy faster than all of them.

So by this I would have to conclude that the F/A-18 has probably the lowest acceleration rate of all American 4th gens as well as the lowest climb rate and worst energy bleed rate (or you can look at it as best deceleration rate which is also useful in a knife fight)

However where the Hornet trujely shines is in sheer maneuverability. The high AOA and nose pointing ability of the Hornet allows it's pilot to execute maneuvers that no other American 4th gen can do. I've seen hornets stand on their tails, do an almost flat spin, executive a very high AOA break stop (like a Cobra but jot reaching 90*). The Hornet also has the highest pitch rate of any 4th gen, Ive heared figures like 40 degrees/second and that pilots have been known to experience a "gray out" when pitching the hornet's nose up violently. Thus it may also have the highest instantainious turn rate.

The Hornet also has the most forgiving FCS, which means it's pretty hard to depart in it.

With these attributes, it looks like the Hornet is pretty hard to defeat in a knife fight. If you out climb it or out turn it, Hornet jocks can still point their nose at you and launch a 9X.

Please feel free to post any corrections if necessary. All the Hornet attributes I listed also apply to the Superhornet and perhaps to some extent the F-35C.
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Unread post06 Jun 2015, 18:12

zero-one wrote:
The Hornet also has the highest pitch rate of any 4th gen, Ive heared figures like 40 degrees/second and that pilots have been known to experience a "gray out" when pitching the hornet's nose up violently. Thus it may also have the highest instantainious turn rate.



Not really a Hornet thing - also depends on the pilot as well:
http://fightersweep.com/1411/agsm/#ixzz3X0epXGSc
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