F-16 versus Saab 37 Viggen

Agreed, it will never be a fair fight but how would the F-16 match up against the ... ?
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MGB78

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Unread post11 May 2006, 03:55

So what does anyone think about the F-16 vs. the Saab 37 Viggen?
The Saab seems like a tough aircraft to beat, but so's the F-16...
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Corous

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Unread post11 May 2006, 04:29

I always thought of the Viggen as being a generation older than the viper. Maybe I was wrong. But anyway, it's a good thing you brought this up, cuz I always thought of the Viggen as having no AMRAAM-carrying capability, but I was wrong, the newest upgrade EDIT 34 in 1997 gave it that capability. Oh, and I always remembered it as being ugly, took another look at it, yeah, the vertical stabilizer is still disproportionally small when compared to the wings; and yeah, the canards aren't real canards, but it's kinda cute in an odd way, just like the girl I met last week, ain't too bad after 5 shots and with the lights off.

So thank you on that :)

Back to the topic, IMO even the lastest Viggen would lose in an engagement against a block 40 or better viper, simply because the viper is a newer design, with better avionics, (probably) radar, and interface. There's little about the Viggen's radar on the web, but some sources said that it's capable of simultaneously TRACKING 2 targets, not ENGAGING but TRACKING, which sounds to me like either a mechanical type or an early early passive phased array. The viper can also carry more BVRAAMs, 6 v. 4 on the Viggen.
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Unread post11 May 2006, 06:49

The thing with the Viggen, was the technology on board was way ahead of anything in the world when it first entered service with Sweden in 1972. The technology, especially in the cockpit, was not to be seen again until the F-18A went operational in 1983.

If you look at what it was designed to do, it was a majorly potent aircraft....
- capable of supersonic speeds at tree-top height.
- true STOL capability
- for its size, this thing could turn quite tight, definately tighter than a Phantom, and the earlier Mirage family including the F-1.

I have been lucky enough to see a few put through their paces and they are seriously powerful beasts. They are the ONLY fast jet with afterburner that can go backwards on the ground!

On that 2 target tracking... this was in the days of SARH, in particular, Sky Flash a more advanced and reliable British development of the Sparrow... the Viggen had the capability to fire and guide two of these simultaneously at two different targets!

Later versions of the F-16 can sure as hell kick the **** of the Viggen however earlier versions pre-Amraam would have a hard time in the BVR against it, with its double SARH guidance mode, even an F-15 would have a hard time pre-Amraam.

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Unread post14 May 2006, 12:49

The JA37D would be much superior to even the latest F-16 versions in BVR. It could give the Gripen a good run for its money as well. The D version differs externally from the unmodified JA37 by some new antennaes. Internally, there are major modifications. For example, radar detection range was doubled with the D mod. The fighter link was greatly improved, and inside the cockpit a new MFD was fitted. Some systems were more advanced than those on the Gripen.

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In WVR, the F-16 would be the superior fighter. The Viggen can sustain 6G's, whereas the F-16 can sustain 9G's. The F-16 also has a better T/W ratio. Take off and landing performance is much better for the Viggen, as it requires only a 500m roadstrip. In the fighter role it can carry 4 AMRAAM's and 2 Sidewinders. It'd be interesting to see how the Viggen would perform, had it been built unstable. :)
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Unread post23 Apr 2007, 09:45

Viggen vs. Viper, you guys need to set up the fight in a little more detail before throwing blanket statements around. The Viggen is a bit older in the tooth then the 16, but you are setting up a fight between a heavy weight and a light weight. Unless you are going to do the flying, a pilot trained in either plane will avoid playing into the others strong points.
If the 16 is full of gas and carrying tanks or any ordinance, and the 37 is lean on gas and clean they will turn about the same. But the Swedes did not learn to fight like that. They are taught to engage at a distance fire their weapons and run get more, the Viggen was a home land fighter so they scramble in waves, Sweden in the days of the Viggen did not have force projection in their doctrine, so are we fighting over Sweden (BAD IDEA for the Viper) …am I making my point?
Forget 9 Gs! (the statement that sucked me in) the pilot needs to remain conscious to dogfight. You can not sight someone up looking through a soda straw, and that’s what you are asking the pilot to do sustaining much over 4 or 5 G’s. We used to call high G’s going reptile, because your brain function gets a bit impaired…some things get hard to do, like remembering your own name! The only person willing to pull crazy G’s is the pilot in front of someone’s gun. Pulling the control stick to your chest is a defensive response....Warner Voss said” no one wants to kill you as bad as you do not want to die!” He was taking about pushing….the real way to get some one off your 6, but the idea is the same. The big delta has a fine instantaneous rate/radius of turn but being a delta, it does bleed energy. The 16 excels in sustained turns but the much faster Viggen would have to let you close…big planes with bigger engines/gas tanks/burner time dictate the engagement distance. The 37 was equipped with an automated gun solution autopilot, and the big 30mm Oerlikon would make for a nasty head-on, I hear the autopilot in gun mode was a wild ride and sent even the hardcore pilots reaching for the barf-bag. But it also has the reputation of big very accurate.
Are these combatants flying alone?
In my 20 years of tactical flying ( f4-f16) …if I was alone, and had a solo boggy on the radar, I would be to suspicious to close…I would not want to engage with out a wingman, and would be afraid that if I got the 37 into a lubber fight, his wingman would show up and blind side me! At a distance the big planes have the advantage of more missiles, and usually bigger radar. The Tomcat is a fine example; he can see and shoot you before you know you’re in a fight. Or does the 16 have some kind of external controller? Does the Viggen have control as well? ... Choosing this fighter or that is a subjective contest based on personal preferences … ACM is a whole different beast, where Eagles get bounced by Jaguars (it happen at William Tell), and the results are in the details, Yeager “it’s not the machine, it the man!” the 16 is the newer plane and the one i would choose to fight in, but before i bet my life insurance on the results i would want to know more details!
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Unread post24 Apr 2007, 06:20

I'll wager I'm the only one on the board that has flown both... :thumb:

I had a long reply but the page crumped before I could submit it. Short version follows:

The Viggen was very impressive, and didn't bleed energy as fast as suggested. The big foreplanes (canards) were positively loaded and therefore took a lot of lift off the main wing, thus reducing induced drag significantly.

That said, only way it beats the Viper is at long range with a big stick. At knife range, all else being equal, not a chance.
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stamatisg2002

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Unread post25 Apr 2007, 00:30

The JA-37 is also AMRAAM-capable....
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Unread post25 Apr 2007, 22:12

Roscoe wrote:I'll wager I'm the only one on the board that has flown both... :thumb:

I had a long reply but the page crumped before I could submit it.

You're a rare fellow and I hope that perhaps some other day you will find time to type out your detailed reply! It would be very interesting to read.



For the OP:
Keep in mind that these two aircraft were built for completely different purposes, aren't in the same weight class (not talking about the latest F-16 blocks), and have quite a few years between them. I'm not sure a "vs" comparison is very fair considering the Viggen was built for point intercepting Soviet bombers/strike aircraft.
It's no secret that the F-16 is a considerably better dogfighter.
Until the Flanker came along, no Soviet fighter had the legs to escort something like a Fencer into Swedish territory, so dogfighting wasn't an issue for the Swedes. (Soviet aircraft always being very defensively minded, and the Flanker's long legs has mainly to do with being built for bomber interception for their long, long and barren northern/eastern/southern borders, not projection into Western Europe, although a handful were stationed towards that flank.)

What did concern them, among other things, were climb rates and STOL capability. The airframe is very strong which allowed for landings to be done with no flare - this was actually the standard landing procedure for SweAF pilots, from the info I've seen. Here is a clean Viggen doing just that at an airshow. Also a U-turn with the thrust reverser and subsequent take-off.


Basic data for the poster who wished to know some:
The first production model Viggens got off the production line in 1969 - first the AJ 37 anti-shipping/CAS/nuke version, roughly 26'000lb empty weight, had the RM8A (JT8D militarized and built by Volvo) with roughly 14'750/26'000lb thrust, dry/reheat.
It's not enough just giving thrust numbers when it's more important to consider inlets, aerodynamics, flight control systems, but I don't have that knowledge so this will suffice for a "quick" look at a fighter.
The F-14D max speed being reduced to ~M1.9 when the inlets were fixed, is an indication at what I mean.

Anyway, this version was mainly a platform for bottling up the Soviet Baltic fleet, anti-tank work with AGM-65, and to provide a nuclear deterrent as it could reach St.Petersburg/Leningrad and Murmansk with a light nuke from deep Swedish bases. It had Sidewinders and radar air ranging modes so it could perform bomber interceptions in a pinch.

The BVR air defense JA 37 version began production in 1979, these carried Sidewinders, Skyflash and dumb munitions. Empty weight roughly 26'900lb, RM8B engine with 28'950lb thrust in reheat. The BVR capability partially a response to the Soviets beginning to field the MiG-23 which had BVR missiles and could have performed CAP over a Soviet Baltic fleet with an amphibious component aimed at assaulting Stockholm.

You can get more info (and more accurate, as I'm typing off the top of my head) from Greg Goebel's site: http://www.vectorsite.net/avvig.html
The datalink system and the way it was integrated with ground controllers was very advanced - this is of course driven by geography and how most of Sweden was exposed to Soviet Fencers.

Of course, if Vought's F-16 Naval had been selected for the USN, the Viper would have had Sparrows since 1980. If the USAF hadn't been worried that congress would cancel F-15 if the F-16s had Sparrows, that would also have given them Sparrows, perhaps from the get go. This is one of the reasons I don't think like looking at weapons options when comparing fighters; weapon integration is so very tied to air force requirements and sometimes/often politics, while it doesn't necessarily give a good indication at the merits of the aircraft.
In the same vein, the Viggen would have had Skyflash in 1970 if there had been a need, but at the time the intercept tasks were adequately covered by the 600 or so J 35 which were only a decade old - remember they had only bombers to worry about back then, and they needed to replace the older A 32 anti-shipping subsonics.
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Unread post15 Jun 2007, 20:08

how would viggen compare to mig-23 in BVR before the amraam?
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Unread post16 Jun 2007, 06:27

MiG-23 was not a dogfighter. A smart pilot would blow through the fight and extend. Get it in a turn and it dies. Period.
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Unread post16 Jun 2007, 17:34

mig 23 agility is close to f-4 phantom. and from 1978 the viggen vould face the mig-23 ML and from 1982 MLD models.
my question was about the abilty of Viggen to do his job in BVR.
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