F-16 versus Tornado F.3

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

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Unread post05 Jan 2006, 19:54

On paper, the Tornado ADV can't compete with the Viper, but when you get down to it, the Tornado has a higher top speed, a greater range, and more high-lift devices than any Mach 2 fighter. This allows the Tornado to be more maneuverable than it appears.

(if anyone knows about Sonic the Hegdehog, you'll get the joke below)
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boff180

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Unread post05 Jan 2006, 20:21

The Tornado ADV manouveurability wise; is a bit of a pig... especially at higher levels... lower down its a good deal better being able to hold its own against a 15 or 16 long enough to get in its asraam envelope.

It was quite a useless a2a combat aircraft until quite recently; it used to have an armament of Sky Flash and Aim-9L... sky flash being SARH. These are still in use till the end of this year as they don't believe Amraam is actually required to take down an airliner (plus it has a bigger warhead).

The only advantage the F3 had over anything was speed which it used to punch through defence lines to reach high value targets (it was famous at red flags for being able to get to the blue air AWACS before the defenders had a chance to shoot it down). It was designed to take on strategic bombers and not fighters in all reality.

However this has all changed recently... the avionics have all been upgraded and they are all packing JTIDS; this is the RAF's version of Link16.

Also, the weaponary has improved the top weapons now are AMRAAM and ASRAAM.

AMRAAM - they have full AMRAAM capability... this includes multiple target engagement; remote targetting by another F3 (so firing aircraft does not need to use its radar); and remote firing by E-3D AWACs thanks to the JTIDs system.

ASRAAM - because the F3 doesn't have a helmet sighting system like the Typhoon or Jaguar; it cannot take full use of this missiles unparalleled LOAL launch envelope. The F3 must bring the aircraft within a radar lock or a lock on via the ASRAAMs IR sensor which has an excellent area of detection aswell.

So in short... in BVR I do believe the F-16 in its current guise would find it difficult to defeat the Tornado F3 especially if there was more than one F3 and/or AWACs support even for both sides.

In WVR... it depends.. if the F-16 is carrying Aim-9X and JHMCS then it may well be an advantage to the F-16 aslong as it can keep in the rear hemisphere of the F3 away from a sensor lock by the ASRAAM. If it enters the front hemisphere... then its whoever gets the shot off first. Older F-16s or ones not armed with Aim-9X would be disadvataged against a current upgraded F3 with its latest weapons. This has been proven against F-15C and E's from the 48th FW... the F3's are regularly beating them in WVR dogfights... the number of victories has decreased to around 50:50 since the C's at Lakenheath have received 9X and JHMCS.

So in summary... its quite even... and it depends on what technology/age the F-16 taking on the F3 has on board.

An interesting note is that the Swiss F-18C's and Belgian F-16 MLU's got beaten quite badly by the upgraded F-3's during the last NOMAD exercise to be held.

Andy
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Dolby

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Unread post08 Jan 2006, 02:25

Well..

The F3 is not manouverable compared to an F-16, even low down and with all the stuff hanging out.
Chances are the F-16 will be link-16 equipped as well and carrying HMCS. In the near future AIM-9X or IRIS-T.

BVR war is not only sensor capabilities. Kinematics is as important if you are fighting an adversary equipped with the same weapon. Who flies higher and faster will throw the AMRAAM longer. The F-16 easily outclimbs an F3 when commiting. The outcome will be that the F-16 fires first and will be able to leave the active missile to do its job sooner than the F3. The F3 may be able to shoot before the F-16 turns away, but will probably get killed while closing for its shot. A kill on the F3 or a mutual kill could be the outcome.

When it comes to visual fighting, the outcome will depend mostly on how the merge occurs. If both parts are tally and the geometry is neutral, a mutual kill can occur (the AMRAAM is not restricted to long range shots only), assuming both parts are able to shoot at the first merge. If the merge happens without shots coming off the rails, the F-16 will probably win. Even though the ASRAAM is a good missile, the lack of an off-bore cueing system means the F3 will probably never again achieve a firing solution, unless the F-16 loses sight of his opponent.

Where do you have the info from about the F-15s, F-16s and the Hornets being regularly beaten in BFM by the F3? The klaims sound unrealistic to me and do not coincide with my experience. The power available and the turning performance of the F3 means it can not survive a BFM encounter with a platform like the F-15 or F-16, unless the latter doesn't know the F3 is there. Basically, the F3 turns too slowly (not at all) and can not use the vertical. The F-16 pilot can choose to either turn inside the F3s turn circle or make exclusive use of the vertical. The F-16 pilot can choose to employ missiles or close for a guns kill after a fairly short engagement.

I don't mean to sound pessimistic, but F3 is a low level bomber that is put in a role it doesn't fill.

Dolby
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boff180

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Unread post08 Jan 2006, 12:42

Claims of the F-15 defeats actually come from an F-3 WSO who is also registered on here. The F-16 and F-18 reports came from official press releases following the NOMAD exercises; as part of the reports the F-3s involved (a flight of 2 in the example in the release) during the entire engagement only had to make 3 radio calls between themselves with the rest ofthe communication being performed through Link-16. The kill ratio I believe was 6:1. A feat recently emulated at a Red/Maple flag but details on that are sketchy.

It seems alot of people comdemn an aircraft for what it initially started out as... Since the F-3 has been updated it has become a very potent combatant; its not going to win every time as it wasn't designed for BFM fullstop. However it certainly isn't as bad as you portray.... the ASRAAMs off boresight capability without HMS is 90 degrees therefore covering the entire front hemisphere!

The F-3 is also faster than the F-16 which helps cancel out "oh he'll just climb higher to get a lob shot" as once he's climbed he's still got to accellerate to increase the launch range.

Andy
Andy Evans Aviation Photography
www.evansaviography.co.uk
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Dolby

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Unread post08 Jan 2006, 21:12

Ok. The statistics don't match any of my experiences with the F3.

I think you are wrong regarding the off bore capabilities of the ASRAAM without HMCS. Since the F3 doesn't carry a TGP, the only way of getting an off-bore lock without the HMCS is by slewing the ASRAAM to the FCR. The F3 FCR gimbals prior to 90 degrees. It may be true that a lock taken using the HUD or the FCR may be maintained out to 90 degrees. If the F3 could slingshot an ASRAAM out to 90 degrees using a HMCS lock it would greatly improve its ability to kill in a turning fight. But it can't.

However, the avionics upgrades are not that important when comparing the two platforms in a turning fight. Pure physics put the F3 at a disadvantage in a turning fight. Because the F-16 has a higher instantaneous and sustained turn rate, more Gs available, more control authority (especially at slow speed) and more power - allowing it to maintain and regain energy more quickly - an F-16 pilot can choose any gameplan and win.

In a BVR scenario, the most important factor is that both are employing the same active missile. In this battle, being higher up in the thin air is more important for employment range than being fast. The F3 can fly fast but the speed advantage will not compensate its inability to climb.

I do not condemn the F3, I merely observe the facts. The F3 was built to kill Backfires, something it would probably do well, but it is not comparable to platforms like the F-16 or the F-15.

Dolby
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Unread post09 Jan 2006, 01:28

One of the ASRAAMs features is its ability for the sensor to actively scan and acquire targets off boresight while still on the rail... similar to sidewinder "growl" acquisition (don't know what they call that without radar slewing).... a symbol on the HUD indicates the direction of the target the sensor has locked on to with the ASRAAM to help avoid firing on a friendly aircraft in a multiple aircraft engagement.... sort of like a poor mans IRST.

Therefore with the ASRAAM, on the F3... if the missiles sensor can see it, it can shoot it giving it full front hemisphere engagement capability without a Helmet Sight. If they were to give the F3 a helmet sight (highly unlikely, Typhoon has already began QRA duty in Italy) then it would be able to fully utilist the frontal hemisphere envelope removing the risk of "locking up" a friendly aircraft. At the same time; making it possible to use the LOAL capability to engage any target around the aircraft.

A good paper to read on the ASRAAM can be found here; including the "expendable IRST" as it puts it :).
http://www.ausairpower.net/asraam.pdf

Andy
Andy Evans Aviation Photography
www.evansaviography.co.uk
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The_Mastiff

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Unread post09 Jan 2006, 14:24

Claims of the F-15 defeats actually come from an F-3 WSO who is also registered on here


Do you know of this guy from elsewhere? IIRC there was some disbelief as to his statements. He never responded back in that thread when asked to explain about how he had been "spanking" F15's IIRC. I believe it was his only post up untill then. JL Raleigh NC
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Unread post09 Jan 2006, 14:46

Yes I do know him; I invited him here to reply to that post as it seems whenever anyone says anything against the F-15/16 they get laughed at on here in all honesty (no offence to anyone)... he is a WSO with 25sqn. I don't think he came back to post again..he sent me a PM after the original post with his "thoughts" on a certain poster in that thread ;) ; that and he vanished for a month... he reappeared a few weeks ago saying he'd been on Falklands duty.

He is definately an F-3 WSO... infact some photos he took on a sortie are available on the RAF website... including a self portrait...
http://www.raf.mod.uk/news/archive/2005 ... 05_12.html

Andy

p.s. You have to register for this website but its his usual hangout... link below is of his photos from his Falklands duty.
http://users.boardnation.com/~warplane/index.php?board=22;action=display;threadid=6412
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Unread post10 Jan 2006, 04:28

He's a pretty talented photographer judging by those photos. They're excellent. It's too bad he had a bad experience here as he'd probably have a lot of worthwhile information to pass on. As you know this place, like all the others has had it's share of pretenders and unfortunately that causes some to feel the need to check the persons knowledge. I doubt anyone would show disrespect to him just because of his views on american aircraft, without catching some hell themselves. Most of us here pretty much like aviation in general and don't like to see people that could contribute being driven away.I'm pretty sure the mods wouldn't tolerate it either. I think it's more of a desire for some other source for verification if the person isn't well known than a situation where people think american aircraft are unbeatable. There are pilots here that will tell of their defeats to other aircraft so one would have to be pretty thick to think Eagles and Vipers are unbeatable. On the other hand if someone came here claiming to be a pilot that defeats eagles and raptors every time their story should be checked out too. Nobody wins every time eh?

Give our regards to Frodo. If he came back and introduced himself people would likely have more questions about his experiences in the RAF flying/crewing in fast jets than he has time to answer. Regards. JL raleigh NC
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Unread post10 Jan 2006, 13:17

boff180 wrote:One of the ASRAAMs features is its ability for the sensor to actively scan and acquire targets off boresight while still on the rail... similar to sidewinder "growl" acquisition (don't know what they call that without radar slewing).... a symbol on the HUD indicates the direction of the target the sensor has locked on to with the ASRAAM to help avoid firing on a friendly aircraft in a multiple aircraft engagement.... sort of like a poor mans IRST.

Therefore with the ASRAAM, on the F3... if the missiles sensor can see it, it can shoot it giving it full front hemisphere engagement capability without a Helmet Sight. If they were to give the F3 a helmet sight (highly unlikely, Typhoon has already began QRA duty in Italy) then it would be able to fully utilist the frontal hemisphere envelope removing the risk of "locking up" a friendly aircraft. At the same time; making it possible to use the LOAL capability to engage any target around the aircraft.

A good paper to read on the ASRAAM can be found here; including the "expendable IRST" as it puts it :).
http://www.ausairpower.net/asraam.pdf

Andy


Ok.
Considere these points.

What is the ASRAAM seeker field of view? The seeker will need to do an extensive scan to cover the enitre front hemisphere, and will not have an instantaneous lock on a new target.

How will the pilot know he has acquired the correct target. Specially in an environment with several hostile and friendly aircraft, just having a HUD cue in the "direction of the target" doesn't seem tactically sound to me. Also, considering the seekers' extended acquisition range, how does the pilot know he has not lokced on to a target beyond his own eyesight in the same direction, which the seeker still sees?

Dolby
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Unread post16 Feb 2006, 22:34

VigilanteAgumon wrote:the Tornado ADV can't compete with the Viper, but when you get down to it, the Tornado has a higher top speed, a greater range, and more high-lift devices than any Mach 2 fighter.

I had a 'late' friend Art, who was among the first F-14A Tomcat pilots who did not transition from the F-4 Phantom.
He once told me that the F.3 did not have the maneuverability of the F-14 but, the pilots and tacticians had worked out a very good set of tactics which allowed to compete with any fighter it would face.
Because so many fighters could out-maneuver it in WVR, the F.3 must maintain its ability to fight in the BVR. Even with the Sidewinder-9X or ASRAAM, the F.3 is still at a disadvantage in WVR.

Adrian

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