a reply to: SmilingROB
I am aware and I did this deliberately.
Every aircraft is typically designed for a different mission, therefore they will have a different internal fuel capacity and payload. The quoted
loaded weight will always have a different payload between aircraft. This means that when comparing thrust-to-weight ratios, the results can be
misleading because it's an apples to oranges comparison. Perhaps this can be useful, if for example you were attempting to compare how a heavily laden
strike fighter with a payload of A2G munitions would fare against a clean point-defense fighter, or other specific situations.
For an apples-to-apples comparison, then all aircraft should have a similar loadout or it should be specifically mentioned that each aircraft in the
comparison has a wildly different payload. Alternatively, you can start with the empty weight, which in my opinion should be the starting point for
such comparisons, then simply state what can be added to each aircraft.
As it stands:
- The F-35A is a 29,098 lb aircraft with an internal fuel capacity of 18,498 lb. 43,000 lb of thrust. Maximum takeoff weight: 70,000 lb.
- The F/A-18 E/F is a 32,081 lb aircraft with an internal fuel capacity of 13,550 lb or 14,400 lb. 44,000 lb of thrust. Maximum takeoff weight: 66,000
- The F/A-18C is a 23,000 lb aircraft with an internal fuel capacity of 10,860 lb. 35,500 lb of thrust. Maximum takeoff weight of 51,900 lb.
- The F-16C is a 18,900 lb aircraft with an internal fuel capacity of 7,000 lb. ~29,000 lb of thrust. Maximum takeoff weight: 42,300 lb.
- The F-15E is a 31,700 lb aircraft with an internal fuel capacity of 23,280 lb (including conformal fuel tanks). ~58,000 lb of thrust. Maximum
takeoff weight: 81,000 lb.
Note 1: Those are empty weights unless otherwise stated.
Note 2: Figures obtained via Wikipedia, or high placing Google searches.
Generally I would place overall energy maneuverability in the following order for a strike mission: F-15E > F-35A > F/A-18 E/F > F/A-18 A/B/C/D >
F-16C. The above specifications should make it obvious why.
The design point of the F-35A is usually internal fuel only, with 2x 2000 lb munitions and two AMRAAM. If you take the payload and range of the F-35A
in this condition and try to apply it to the F/A-18 (any version), F-16 (any version), Gripen (any version), then they will have external stores,
additional external fuel tanks, and external sensors. These add weight and drag, hell even the pylons without anything on them add weight and drag. On
the Super Hornet the pylons are toed outward by several degrees, which increases drag. The F-35A will outperform them very significantly.
On the other hand, a F-15E will likely significantly exceed the F-35A. As will the Eurofighter, maybe Rafale, and definitely the F-22 (2,000 lb
munitions excluded), at the design payload & range of the F-35A. A F-35A will also be handily outperformed by a F-16A at the original design point of
the F-16A (short range air-to-air fighter). The 4th generation fighters also can drop external stores to become cleaner.
So I think we either need to accept that t/w ratio figures are often an apples-to-oranges comparison. Or compare the aircraft with matching payloads
for a specific mission or range of missions.
On another note: F-35C in my opinion is a bit of a dog though...
edit on 1/3/17 by C0bzz because: (no reason given)