F-16 vs F/A-18

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

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Unread post20 Jan 2018, 14:41

With math and tables you can prove anything, anywhere, anytime.

The F-35, F-18, and F-16 are 3 different birds for 3 different missions.

You can "corner" one of them on any tech spec, and prove and declare it "the winner".

The F-16's initial concept was A2A. And that is where it is good at.
The F-18 was fleet defense, and that is where it is good at in a navy environment.

The F-35 was "born" as multirole with ALL around all aspect situational awareness. AND it has the fuel to do so for a long time.

3 different birds, for 3 different missions, and NO math or table required.
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35_aoa

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Unread post20 Jan 2018, 15:02

vilters wrote:The F-18 was fleet defense, and that is where it is good at in a navy environment.


I'd submit that it originally was built to fill the light/medium attack mission, replacing the A-7. Obviously program management issues down the road (A-12 cancellation, A-6 and F-14 sundowns) caused it's role to expand significantly.
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Unread post20 Jan 2018, 15:06

And to replace the multi role capability lost when the F-4 was replaced by the F-14. I have some old promotional material comparing the F-4 to the F/A-18.
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Unread post20 Jan 2018, 15:14

Search Gums old post (and others who flew the F-16). What did they say?

According to Gums: he said that on the ACM range in the Viper "he flew the other teen series out of gas."



And what does this Naval Aviator who also authored this article have to say, sound similar?
According to CDR Nawrocki:

"I have time in the F-14 (2 cruises in VF-114, Enterprise) and the F-16N (VF-126). We would fight the F-14's until they were out of gas and then we would typically fight each other, guns only until we were bingo. When we were in A-4's we would also fight each other, guns only as it was spectacular training for us...and fun! We most definitely trained to fight the F-16 as an F-16. We also provided adversary support to the fleet (F-14's and F-18's mostly...occasionally supporting F-15's) as all sorts of aircraft, including full up F-16's when they wanted to see what it could do. And it could do a lot. It had the most aft CG of the F-16's, no hard points, no Aux tanks, never carried anything but a TACTS pod and a captive AIM-9. Big GE motor... It was a rocket ship!"

CDR Nawrocki also authored this:

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=53704



So I think that a Naval Aviator who flew the F-14A, F-16N, F-8, A-4 should know what he is talking about.


He also added:

"The A model had a slightly different leading edge slat program (also, as I recall...it was 30 years ago!) that resulted in slightly reduced bleed rates. The F-14A was a 6.5 G airplane (as was the "D" model, as I recall - I never flew it, but fought it once), so when you talk about "corner velocity" it is at that max G. The F-16N was a 9.3 G airplane so the corner velocity was at that G loading. The corner velocity of an F-14A at it's designed 6.5 G limit was 325 KIAS. The corner velocity of the F-16N at it's 9.3 G limit was 408 KIAS. All corner velocity is, is the lowest speed at which you can generate your designed maximum load limit. If you look at an energy diagram, the turn radius remains surprisingly constant as the speed degrades below corner and your available G load also degrades. As you go above corner, your turn radius suffers. So, in a one circle fight, where you are both following a single circle, being at or below corner is better. Issues such as the lowest speed at which you can generate a pure vertical maneuver and bleed rates at corner come into play. Below vertical speeds, roll rates come into play with bleed rates as the fight usually degenerates into a rolling scissors. In a slick F-14A, you were generally about 20 degrees nose low at corner and max G to maintain your airspeed. By virtue of your loss of altitude, your total energy state (kinetic or airspeed + potential or altitude) was reduced. The same could be said if you maintained altitude and bled airspeed. In a fight, energy state is critical. It's that energy differential, altitude or airspeed, which facilitates gaining a positional advantage, nose on, with weapons separation which is your goal. It is a complicated chess match. If you go into a 2 circle fight (think both of you making a left turn at the merge), the important consideration becomes turn RATE. A higher G-rated fighter will always have a rate advantage (as opposed to a radius advantage) in a 2 circle fight. Energy loss is still an issue, though and the critical speed is corner velocity. In the radius fight, you can get slow and still be close to min radius, in a rate fight if you go above OR below corner, you lose turn rate. Higher turn rates get you nose on first. In the F-16N, at 408 KIAS and 9.3 G's you were about 8-10 degrees nose low as compared to the F-14A at 20 degrees nose low. Obviously, you lost energy faster in the 14A. The main advantage to the A+ (B) or D was that the bigger GE engines reduced bleed rates. Rate, radius and bleed rates are hugely important, but an understanding of the 3 dimensional geometry involved is something that is more art than science. When I fought the 9G F-15 (when it was slick), I found it to be very close in performance to the F-16N. The big mouth on the C was an improvement as speed increased, as it allowed greater power...sort of like bigger intakes on a muscle car. I'm not sure if that sheds any light on your questions or not. Let me know if there's anything else."
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Unread post21 Jan 2018, 06:15

I'd submit that most of these comparison articles are written by USN folks, like myself, who only flew the F-16N, or in my case, the A/B a number of years later, in a very limited sense, compared to the multitude of mission sets the CAF flies them in.......and obviously neither the -N, nor the block 15 is/was representative of the block 50/52's that are currently on the front lines. We flew them exclusively as red air/adversary aircraft, and in roughly equal parts, dedicated BFM sorties. So while there is a lot of anecdotal info on how the Viper compares to the Hornet/Super in a dogfight (spoiler alert: the Viper is at an advantage if flown properly), I wouldn't say there is a lot out there about how the two compare, in current operational configurations, in the mission sets that are most relevant to a combat scenario. Granted, such a true comparison would be well beyond the scope of an unclassified internet discussion or open source article, so this is hardly surprising.
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Unread post22 Jan 2018, 16:54

So we always hear that a Hornet pilot fighting an energy fighter like a Viper, an Eagle or a Fulcrum should force the fight into a slow speed, high AOA fight. Vise versa for Viper who should force the fight into a high speed, high G maneuvers.

So if its not classified I'd like to ask?

1. How do you force someone to go fast? I mean I can see how the Hornet could force someone to go slow by forcing the other guy to overshoot. But how does someone force another to stay fast or go faster.



2. What happens when you go on a neutral merge with a super maneuverable plane (i.e Raptor, Flanker) that can fight both fast and slow? Do you wait for him to move first?
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Unread post24 Jan 2018, 15:24

35_aoa wrote:
vilters wrote:The F-18 was fleet defense, and that is where it is good at in a navy environment.


I'd submit that it originally was built to fill the light/medium attack mission, replacing the A-7. Obviously program management issues down the road (A-12 cancellation, A-6 and F-14 sundowns) caused it's role to expand significantly.


Correct. F-14 was fleet defense. The F/A-18 was conceived to replace both the A-7 and F-4. If memory serves, there were to be dedicated attack (A-18) and fighter (F-18) models. That was later consolidated and the designation F/A-18 given. And in that role, I think it made a lot of sense. It was only when they went to an all Hornet Navy that things got sideways IMO.

Be that as it may, I've heard from more than 1 F-16 driver it's pretty easy beating a legacy Hornet by fighting in the vertical, whereas the Super Hornet is a different beast. Much more capable though still not up to the Viper's sustained turn radius/super energy retention..
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Unread post25 Jan 2018, 07:04

mixelflick wrote:
35_aoa wrote:
vilters wrote:The F-18 was fleet defense, and that is where it is good at in a navy environment.


I'd submit that it originally was built to fill the light/medium attack mission, replacing the A-7. Obviously program management issues down the road (A-12 cancellation, A-6 and F-14 sundowns) caused it's role to expand significantly.


Correct. F-14 was fleet defense. The F/A-18 was conceived to replace both the A-7 and F-4. If memory serves, there were to be dedicated attack (A-18) and fighter (F-18) models. That was later consolidated and the designation F/A-18 given. And in that role, I think it made a lot of sense. It was only when they went to an all Hornet Navy that things got sideways IMO.

Be that as it may, I've heard from more than 1 F-16 driver it's pretty easy beating a legacy Hornet by fighting in the vertical, whereas the Super Hornet is a different beast. Much more capable though still not up to the Viper's sustained turn radius/super energy retention..


The Hornet i.e. F/A-18 was a Multi-Role Strike Fighter from the start. Which, means that it would perform both Fighter and/or Strike Missions. Hence replacing both the A-7 Corsair II and F-4 Phantom....

There was never a dedicated attack version. Yet, Northrop was suppose to build and market a land based variant called the F-18L. Which, never happen as McDonnell Douglas (now part of Boeing) just sold Naval F/A-18 to land based Air Forces directly. (i.e. Australia, Finland, Kuwait, etc.) This of course pissed off Northrop and they did file a lawsuit.....(and lost)
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Unread post25 Jan 2018, 10:10

mixelflick wrote:Be that as it may, I've heard from more than 1 F-16 driver it's pretty easy beating a legacy Hornet by fighting in the vertical, whereas the Super Hornet is a different beast. Much more capable though still not up to the Viper's sustained turn radius/super energy retention..


I think F-16 vs. F/A-18A-D also depends on respective versions used. Later F/A-18C with -402 engines has pretty good T/W ratio, very comparable to most F-16 versions. Of course there are F-16 versions with better T/W ratio and it probably still has better STR.
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Unread post25 Jan 2018, 12:36

I'm seeing that as well, that a -402 powered Hornet is in many ways comparable to a Blk50 Viper. A -400 powered Hornet can barely get out of its own way once loaded.
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Unread post25 Jan 2018, 17:12

Corsair1963 wrote:
mixelflick wrote:Correct. F-14 was fleet defense. The F/A-18 was conceived to replace both the A-7 and F-4. If memory serves, there were to be dedicated attack (A-18) and fighter (F-18) models. That was later consolidated and the designation F/A-18 given. And in that role, I think it made a lot of sense. It was only when they went to an all Hornet Navy that things got sideways IMO.

Be that as it may, I've heard from more than 1 F-16 driver it's pretty easy beating a legacy Hornet by fighting in the vertical, whereas the Super Hornet is a different beast. Much more capable though still not up to the Viper's sustained turn radius/super energy retention..


The Hornet i.e. F/A-18 was a Multi-Role Strike Fighter from the start. Which, means that it would perform both Fighter and/or Strike Missions. Hence replacing both the A-7 Corsair II and F-4 Phantom....

There was never a dedicated attack version.


You're right that the US Navy Naval Fighter Attack Experimental program which culminated on the F/A-18 Hornet was Multi-Role in nature - You can also add the A-4 Skyhawk to the A-7 and F-4 to the list of aircraft meant to be replaced by this program.
However mixelflick is also right, when the Hornet (which was based on the YF-17 Cobra) was selected as the winner of the US Navy Naval Fighter Attack Experimental program, the initial plan was to have two variants of the aircraft, the F-18 which was a dedicated air-to-air fighter to complement the F-14 Tomcat and the A-18 which was a dedicated air-to-ground aircraft. Both the F-18 and the A-18 were based on the same airframe, however avionics and sensors were to be different. In the meanwhile there were big advances in electronics during that time period which lead to big/huge advances in avionics and sensors which meant that at that time it was already possible to put the avionics and sensors required for the air-to-air missions and the ones required for the air-to-ground missions in the same aircraft, which resulted in the F/A-18 name due to this reason :wink:


mixelflick wrote:Be that as it may, I've heard from more than 1 F-16 driver it's pretty easy beating a legacy Hornet by fighting in the vertical, whereas the Super Hornet is a different beast. Much more capable though still not up to the Viper's sustained turn radius/super energy retention..


Yes, the F-16 has the advantage in terms of energy maneuvering over the Hornet but saying that it's pretty easy for a F-16 to beat a Hornet is IMO a bold overstatement!
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Unread post26 Jan 2018, 18:23

I thought I was right about the dedicated A-18/F-18 versions. If memory serves, Testors had an A-18 model I even built way back when. Whatever the case, it was a wise move to consolidate the two into the F/A-18. Cheaper to buy 1 testors model vs. 2 :)

Yes, I'll agree its a bold over-statement to say the F-16 can "easily" defeat any Hornet. Perhaps the pilots I ran into fought against inexperienced F-18 aircrews, I don't know. I've also heard where an F-16 pilot described "easily" beating 2 F-18's, albeit he quickly followed that up with "they were just 2 kids.."
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Unread post27 Jan 2018, 02:07

I never had a problem "beating" hornets. Legacy hornets just didn't have the "umph" to keep up with the 16 especially after bleeding energy after hard maneuvering. Better engines and the super solved allot of issues, but the advantage still went to the 16. There are some great articles written out there from some naval aviators stating how they owned the skies still flyin the 16 Nancy.
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Unread post31 Jan 2018, 08:11

tailgate wrote:I never had a problem "beating" hornets. Legacy hornets just didn't have the "umph" to keep up with the 16 especially after bleeding energy after hard maneuvering. Better engines and the super solved allot of issues, but the advantage still went to the 16. There are some great articles written out there from some naval aviators stating how they owned the skies still flyin the 16 Nancy.


Greetings Tailgate, just want to ask, did you go up against big motor (GE 404-402) Hornets? Because here's an interesting article from a Hornet/Rhino pilot. He says the big motor legacy is the best 18 for phonebooth scenarios.

In summary, if I had to choose which aircraft to dogfight in, I’d pick a “big motor” legacy Hornet, with it’s crisper maneuverability and enhanced thrust. However, both aircraft utilize the AIM-9X Sidewinder and Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System (JHMCS), so as I usually say, it comes down to the “man in the box.”


https://fightersweep.com/5334/ask-fight ... er-hornet/
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Unread post31 Jan 2018, 13:33

From what I remember about readings covering development of the F/A-18, the difference was configurations and pilot training. However, it was the same aircraft. It was always multirole, whereas planes like F-4 were multipurpose. During the development phase the syllabi overlapping between the F-18 and A-18 made separate training moot.
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