Top BVR fighters

Military aircraft - Post cold war aircraft, including for example B-2, Gripen, F-18E/F Super Hornet, Rafale, and Typhoon.
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zero-one

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Unread post24 Nov 2018, 08:55

Just a bit of background. Whenever the topic gets into performance and it's relevance in the traditional ACM environment, someone would always step up and ask why we are even discussing it in the first place. Most air-air combat will not involve that anymore if everything turns out as what think. And I agree, WVR is possible but unlikely.

However the reason I think WVR gets more attention is because there really isn't much to discuss in BVR. The F-22 and F-35 are so far ahead of the competition that it's not even a relevant topic. And you could argue that the next top 3 to 6 spots are dominated by Nato aircraft.
(Arguably)
3. Typhoon w/Meteor
4. F-15 variants w/AESA
5. F/A-18E

and then maybe the Su-35 but the Rafale would disagree to that, specially when Meteor gets integrated.

But is it still this way? the J-20 and Su-57 could arguably have stolen the top 3 or 4 spots, some may say the J-20 could even possibly be at 2 or even 1 now.

BVR is largely a systems fight and a lot will depend on how much support the aircraft is getting. a Gripen could kill a Typhoon if properly supported despite having inferior sensors. So we'll keep support to a minimum or none at all.

I'd like to know what are your Top BVR fighters today. Feel free to elaborate why. Heres mine:
1. F-22
2. J-20
3. F-35
4. Su-57
5. Typhoon.
6. F-15
7. F/A-18E
8. Su-35
9. Rafale
10. Gripen
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zero-one

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Unread post24 Nov 2018, 09:06

A lot of you are gona ask why I put the J-20 in front of the F-35. Let me start by saying, I don't think it will win against an F-35 if they went head to head.

But as a BVR platform, I think the J-20 is more versatile.
1. It carries more "types" of BVR weapons including the supper long range PL-15 and AESA guided, Ramjet powered PL-21
2. It has a bigger AESA rivaling that of the Raptor's APG-77
3. Unlike the Raptor the J-20 has EOTS

On paper the J-20 seems like a better BVR fighter than the F-35. (although from the demo, I have no doubt an F-35 would absolutely crush it in WVR, the J-20 was heavy looked more like a B-1)

In BVR, I think the F-35 has a smaller RCS and better ECM suite and I'm not sure how reliable those Chinese sensors are.
However the reason why I put it ahead is because, if they were both tasked to intercept 4th gens. I think the J-20 could kill them from further away. It can also kill AWACS and tankers from further distances.
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garrya

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Unread post24 Nov 2018, 11:05

1) F-35
2) J-31
3) J-20
4) PAK-FA
5) F-22
6) Rafale
7) Typhoon
8 ) Gripen-NG
9) F-15
10) F-18E/F

F-22 So low on the list because it has no IRST, not a good idea if enemy has stealth airline.
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Unread post24 Nov 2018, 11:20

garrya wrote:F-22 So low on the list because it has no IRST, not a good idea if enemy has stealth airline.


Hold on, it has the biggest AESA of the bunch and it lobs AMRAAM Ds from 60,000 feet at supersonic speeds. No other plane can do that. It's piratically untouchable at that speed and altitude.
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garrya

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Unread post24 Nov 2018, 11:44

zero-one wrote:Hold on, it has the biggest AESA of the bunch and it lobs AMRAAM Ds from 60,000 feet at supersonic speeds. No other plane can do that. It's piratically untouchable at that speed and altitude.

F-22 radar is smaller than F-15 radar, and it is very unlikely that F-22 radar is bigger than J-20 radar, either way, no fighter radar can compete with AEW&C or ground based radars, and stealth aircraft can hide from those, so against another stealth aircraft, i would say the strength of your fighter radar is quite irrelevant.
Furthermore, logically, Su-57 should be to fly higher than F-22 thanks to its variable inlet.
F-22 speed and altitude is impressive but still far cry from a Mig-31, Mig-25 or SR-71 and these aircraft aren't invulnerable.
Last but not least, F-22 lack both ramjet missiles and missiles with AESA seeker, while Su-57, J-20,J-31,F-35 all have their own version.
For F-35 it the JNAAM
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Unread post24 Nov 2018, 12:15

F-15 radar bigger than F-22s? Thats certainly news to me. I always thought the F-22's AESA was the largest ever fitted on a fighter. Some estimates peg the T/R count to be 2,000. the J-20's is estimated at 1,800+

We're going with no support for the fighters and assume that only on board sensors are usable. as far as I know, IRST requires data linked info from at least 2 aircraft to calculate range isn't that right? So that counts as external support from another fighter.

Well here we get into an argument as to what is more useful when Stealth on Stealth?
Radar or IRST? The primary means of long range detection for any fighter is Radar not IRST. Now you might say that changes when you're fighting VLO platforms. However VLO isn't just stealth against radio waves. They are also stealthy in the IR spectrum.

Tailgate did confirm that even against Aim-9X equipped adversaries, the advanced IR sensors have a lot of difficulty locking up on them. So I wouldn't say the F-22 is suddenly detectable with IRST.

With the Su-57, even Sukhoi claimed that their fighter is tailored more for maneuverability while the F-22 seems to be more for speed. So I doubt super crusie and top speeds would match the F-22's

as for weapons I agree with you. the AMRAAM D is impressive but seems to be at the loosing end when it comes to AESA equiped Ram jet powered munitions. But I think the Raptor's otherworldly kinematics make up for this.

I think we'll agree that the F-22 and F-35 have the best VLO in the list.
The F-22 in my opinion has the best radar in the list and probably tied with the F-35 in best Passive EW receiver. The F-22 will be launching from the highest altitude and fastest speed. Something that the F-35 can't match. So thats why I think the F-22 deserves it's top spot in the BVR pyramid.

And unlike the Mig-31, Mig-25 and SR-71 the F-22 is Stealth as stealthy or maybe even more stealthy than the F-35
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Unread post24 Nov 2018, 12:37

zero-one wrote:F-15 radar bigger than F-22s? Thats certainly news to me. I always thought the F-22's AESA was the largest ever fitted on a fighter. Some estimates peg the T/R count to be 2,000. the J-20's is estimated at 1,800+

I have seen estimate of 2200-2300 T/R modules for J-20,but that not important, fighter radar are very small and weak compared to the main threats of stealth fighter


zero-one wrote:We're going with no support for the fighters and assume that only on board sensors are usable. as far as I know, IRST requires data linked info from at least 2 aircraft to calculate range isn't that right?

No, that isn't right. You can also use laser range finder or motion analysis.
ols-35.png

passive-ranging12121.png


zero-one wrote:However VLO isn't just stealth against radio waves. They are also stealthy in the IR spectrum.

Yes but not to the same extent that they will be against radar

zero-one wrote:Tailgate did confirm that even against Aim-9X equipped adversaries, the advanced IR sensors have a lot of difficulty locking up on them. So I wouldn't say the F-22 is suddenly detectable with IRST.

Can you give me the link, i wasn't in that conversation

zero-one wrote:The F-22 in my opinion has the best radar in the list and probably tied with the F-35 in best Passive EW receiver. The F-22 will be launching from the highest altitude and fastest speed. Something that the F-35 can't match.

But F-35 has better weapon: Ramjet and AESA seeker
F-35 also has IRST
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Unread post24 Nov 2018, 13:43

1. F-22: Gen Bogdan said he needs and implied that it is the best A2A platform there is in his arsenal
2. F-35: It can be even stealthier than the F-22 in certain situations (per Bogdan) and has EODAS which the F-22 lacks but it is outclassed by the F-22 in terms of kinematics.
3. J-20: the Chinese can’t yet build a decent jet engine so it’s highly unlikely that they have reached anywhere near parity with the US in stealth tech, sensors, sensor fusion, avionics etc. However the Chinese do have plenty of resources and managed to steal some F-23 and F-35 tech through hacking. If this really was an F-22 killer why would the Chinese still be buying Su-35s?
4. J-31: this is basically an inferior copy of the F-35. There were rumors that this jet would be for export only and that implies that it’s not good enough for the PLAAF.
5. PAK FA: its stealth is dubious at best according to Indian reports and one can find detailed discussions on this board about its weak stealth shaping in many aspects. The Russians are extremely resource poor compared to the USA and China. That Russia is so far buying only a minuscule batch of this jet while still ordering Su-35s speaks volumes. It’s doubtful that it gets built in significant numbers.
6. Typhoon: has the Meteor and outclasses the Rafale kinematically but there are reports that the Rafale is harder to engage at range thanks to its SPECTRA (see exercises in the UAE some years ago). But with AESA radar, it should have the edge.
7. Rafale: doesn’t match the Tiffy’s kinematics and has only 1-way datalink with Meteor.
8. Super Hornet: roughly on par with Typhoon and Rafale but has inferior kinematics.
9. Golden Eagle variants: their biggest disadvantage is a lack of any major RCS reduction measures but it does have a big and powerful radar and good BVR missiles.
10. Su-35: it has inferior radar/avionics tech to the F-15, similarly huge RCS and Russian BVR missile tech is unproven. This isn’t that much better than the Su-30MKI and India chose to buy the much more expensive Rafale, which indicates that its tech level is probably inferior to the above Eurocanards.
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Unread post24 Nov 2018, 14:45

garrya wrote:
zero-one wrote:Tailgate did confirm that even against Aim-9X equipped adversaries, the advanced IR sensors have a lot of difficulty locking up on them. So I wouldn't say the F-22 is suddenly detectable with IRST.

Can you give me the link, i wasn't in that conversation


Tailgate has more than a hundred posts when I searched but heres one
viewtopic.php?f=30&t=27709&p=388798#p388798
I cannot go into some maneuvers.....oh well......but the energy fight is key here. I’m going bvr no doubt. But if it came to wvr, high energy fighting is the word here, high. I’ve got loads to burn here and the advantage goes to me. The inability to target is also key, but don’t bet on that card ver...


I am sure he did have a post which confirmed they couldn't be targeted with the 9X for a significant period. Its like if the 9X typically takes less than 5 seconds to lock on a bandit, against an F-22 it takes longer, it gives them time to maneuver away.

here is another quote to that
https://fightersweep.com/2526/helmet-mo ... -the-f-22/

eight F-15Cs from the 65 AGRS, all equipped with AIM-9X and JHMCS. The engagement started beyond visual range and finished within visual range, with the Raptor killing all eight of its opponents before any were able to even get a shot off. “I can’t see the [expletive deleted] thing,” said RAAF Squadron Leader Stephen Chappell, exchange F-15 pilot in the 65th Aggressor Squadron at the time. “It won’t let me put a weapons system on it, even when I can see it visually through the canopy. [Flying against the F-22] annoys the hell out of me.”


Lets compare the aircraft as they are right now.
We can't use the Meteor for the Rafale yet cause its not integrated.
We also can't use the JNAAM as well. Thats still being developed. Right now the F-35 is a plane that carries 4 AMRAAMs.
We can't use the block 4 loadout of 6 yet.

I also don't think its good to under estimate Chinese sensors too much just because their engine technology is not up to speed yet.

Trust me, I have a personal dislike for the PLAAF and would like to put the J-20 on the bottom of this list, but objectively, it looks pretty formidable, specially if those new weapons like the PL-15 and PL-21 work as advertised.

https://www.globalsecurity.org/military ... /pl-15.htm
In his 2015 interview with Flight Global magazine Head of the Air Force's Air Combat Command Gen. Herbert Carlisle stressed that he regarded outmatching the Chinese PL-15 air-to-air missile as "exceedingly high priority" for the US. "The PL-15 and the range of that missile, we've got to be able to out-stick that missile," Carlisle underscored.


The general seems genuinely concerned.
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Unread post24 Nov 2018, 14:48

1. F-22 (head and shoulders)
2. F-35 (no escape zone will be absurdly high, given F-35's stealth/ Classified capabilities with respect to E/W/jamming are really something - if certain people are to be believed)
3. J-20 (ramjet AAM's, stealth - though not on the level of 1. and 2. This assumes it gets new engines for high/fast BVR shots)
4. Typhoon (given kinematics, reduced signature and meteor)
5. Rafale (signature reduction, excellent E/W suite, excellent BVR weapon. India paying more for less Rafale's vs. Flankers says much)
6. F-15 (killer radar, paired with AIM-120D let down only by its RCS)
7. Gripen (with Meteor) Low signature but falls down in weapons load, range and service ceiling)
8. SU-35 (Big RCS, abysmal BVR weapons, powerful radar but... you'll see it a LONG way away because of that)
9. F-18E (Good radar, some signature reduction but lousy kinematics which won't allow high/fast AIM-120D shots)
10. SU-57 (marginal stealth, somewhat limited weapons load.... ZERO in service. Tough to fight BVR with no operational units)
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Unread post24 Nov 2018, 16:51

zero-one wrote:
I cannot go into some maneuvers.....oh well......but the energy fight is key here. I’m going bvr no doubt. But if it came to wvr, high energy fighting is the word here, high. I’ve got loads to burn here and the advantage goes to me. The inability to target is also key, but don’t bet on that card ver...


I am sure he did have a post which confirmed they couldn't be targeted with the 9X for a significant period. Its like if the 9X typically takes less than 5 seconds to lock on a bandit, against an F-22 it takes longer, it gives them time to maneuver away.

here is another quote to that
https://fightersweep.com/2526/helmet-mo ... -the-f-22/
eight F-15Cs from the 65 AGRS, all equipped with AIM-9X and JHMCS. The engagement started beyond visual range and finished within visual range, with the Raptor killing all eight of its opponents before any were able to even get a shot off. “I can’t see the [expletive deleted] thing,” said RAAF Squadron Leader Stephen Chappell, exchange F-15 pilot in the 65th Aggressor Squadron at the time. “It won’t let me put a weapons system on it, even when I can see it visually through the canopy. [Flying against the F-22] annoys the hell out of me.”

I think both of that just refer to the fact that their radar can't lock on to F-22, due to its stealth characteristics.
I meant you can't make an airplane invisible in infrared range, and we have seen infrared photos of F-22.
20fs0pf.jpg

zero-one wrote:Lets compare the aircraft as they are right now.
We can't use the Meteor for the Rafale yet cause its not integrated.
We also can't use the JNAAM as well. Thats still being developed. Right now the F-35 is a plane that carries 4 AMRAAMs.
We can't use the block 4 loadout of 6 yet.

I also don't think its good to under estimate Chinese sensors too much just because their engine technology is not up to speed yet.

Trust me, I have a personal dislike for the PLAAF and would like to put the J-20 on the bottom of this list, but objectively, it looks pretty formidable, specially if those new weapons like the PL-15 and PL-21 work as advertise.

As they are right now:
J-20,J-31,Su-57 are utterly useless, their radar, RWR haven't work properly yet, probably not finished development yet.
There flight envelope haven't been fully certified, and i don't think they have finished testing with air to air missiles either. Nevermind that we have like 3-4 Su-57 prototype at the moment, 2 have ESM equipment and probably one has RAM. J-20 and J-31 situations aren't much better.
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Unread post24 Nov 2018, 16:55

I guess most of us would agree that the F-22/35 are at the top one and 2 spots respectively. Number 3 is debatable between the J-20, Typhoon and Su-57.

I wouldn't poo poo on the Su-57 just yet. She may have the highest RCS of all 5th gens but certainly lower than any 4th gen, specially in combat config.

Kinematics may be close to the Raptor's which means we're talking extreme high altitude and high supersonic launch capabilities, in other words, better than what the F-35 and J-20 can do. R-77-PD is Ramjet powered

On paper the Su-57 should be better than the Typhoon
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Unread post24 Nov 2018, 17:11

garrya wrote:I think both of that just refer to the fact that their radar can't lock on to F-22, due to its stealth characteristics.
I meant you can't make an airplane invisible in infrared range, and we have seen infrared photos of F-22.


Tailgate was clear, in WVR the fact that he can't be targeted also helps. Are we to assume that they don't train against IR guided weapons when in WVR.

Plus Squadron leader Steven Chappell was also clear
“It won’t let me put a weapons system on it, even when I can see it visually through the canopy. [Flying against the F-22] annoys the hell out of me.”


he had Aim-9X and JHMCS. but even when he can see it visually through the canopy, his Aim-9X won't lock.

Its not invisible in the IR spectrum, the photos of F-22's in airshows prove that the Raptor can be seen in IR, of course we need to understand that it is also in max AB A LOT when doing airshows.

However, Tailgate's impression was that the IR signature of the F-22 is considerably lower than the average 4th gen, that in a WVR fight it gives them that extra few seconds they need to maneuver out of the way.

I remember watching Robin Olds in his dogfights over Vietnam, the old Aim-9s would take some time to lock on to orange glowing tail pipe at full AB. They needed to keep the seeker pointed at that tail pipe for a long time before a lock was achieved.

Granted today's Aim-9X is a world away from that, but what if the F-22's IR signature reductions give the pilot the advantage that those early Migs had. Instead of the standard 2 - 3 seconds before lock an F-22 would require you to look at it for 6 - 8 seconds.

I asked Tailgate about this. This became a heated debate in the past already with most guys saying that maybe the F-15 wasn't flying with 9X and was actually equipped with older 9M models, or maybe he meant he couldn't "see the F-22" with his radar All kinds of excuses were being brought up just to save the 9X.

But he did confirm that even against the 9X, the F-22 was difficult to lock on to
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Unread post24 Nov 2018, 18:49

zero-one wrote:Tailgate was clear, in WVR the fact that he can't be targeted also helps. Are we to assume that they don't train against IR guided weapons when in WVR.

If F-22 can't be targeted by F-15 radar, neither the canon or missile of F-15 will be able to"lead" target,which could be helpful.

zero-one wrote:Plus Squadron leader Steven Chappell was also clear
“It won’t let me put a weapons system on it, even when I can see it visually through the canopy. [Flying against the F-22] annoys the hell out of me.”


he had Aim-9X and JHMCS. but even when he can see it visually through the canopy, his Aim-9X won't lock.

What Steven Chappell said is pretty much referring to his radar, he can't get a radar track, and therefore can't put his weapons towards the F-22.
The details about JHMCS and AIM-9X wasn't in the original articles AFAIK. Also the 1 vs 8 wasn't mentioned there either. So it seem a bit sketchy to say the least
http://www.acc.af.mil/News/Features/Dis ... -flag.aspx

zero-one wrote:Its not invisible in the IR spectrum, the photos of F-22's in airshows prove that the Raptor can be seen in IR, of course we need to understand that it is also in max AB A LOT when doing airshows.
However, Tailgate's impression was that the IR signature of the F-22 is considerably lower than the average 4th gen, that in a WVR fight it gives them that extra few seconds they need to maneuver out of the way.

This F-22 isn't in AB and it can still be seen
image_236511.jpg

Either way, i don't think it is possible to make a super sonic F-22 invisible to IIR sensor to the point that it can get within visual range against another stealth airplane undetected.
Nevermind that FLIR/IRST often have secondary visual channel and i really can't imagine F-22 being invisible to naked eye or against SWIR sensor
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Unread post24 Nov 2018, 23:43

In BVR, I think the F-35 has a smaller RCS and better ECM suite and I'm not sure how reliable those Chinese sensors are. However the reason why I put it ahead is because, if they were both tasked to intercept 4th gens. I think the J-20 could kill them from further away. It can also kill AWACS and tankers from further distances.


Perhaps then you should have distinguished between BVR fighter and BVR interceptor as the latter should definitely then include the Mig-31 in the list. It seems like all the lists are hybrids of fighter and interceptor as a result of this ambiguity. J-31 shouldn't really be in the list as it's just a prototype at the moment, at least the J-20 is in service albeit in an unfinished state. The best BVR fighter is probably the F-35 with its IR sensors giving it the edge over the F-22 which is probably the best BVR interceptor due to its stealth, supercruise, 8 internal missiles and range with tanks. These two are the only ones truly VLO with J-20/Su-57/Euro-Canards/Super Hornet varying degrees of LO.
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