Greatest Fighter Aircraft - Ever?

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posted on Jul, 13 2005 @ 02:09 AM
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F-16 have much better score in fights from F/A-18. And what about F-15. Where the hack is he. If that channel was American channel why they didn't put the best operating fighter they have?




posted on Jul, 13 2005 @ 02:44 AM
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Originally posted by GrOuNd_ZeRo
Personally I like the F/A-18E Super Hornet, very versitile...Best looks will probably go to the MiG-29, IMO one of the most beautiful aircraft ever.


Pfffft.



Okay, now that we've gotten that straight, and while we're talking about F-4's, I'm gonna vote for the F-15(E). The F-15 is a damn workhorse. It's capable. It's accomplished. 1972-present. I'd have to include the F/A-18 in a top ten list, I'd put the Spitfire above the Mustang, and replace the F-117 with the F-22. I don't know what I'd knock off the list to make room for the F-15... Probably the Triplane.

I'm really tempted to put the F-16 in there, but I'd be satisfied with the F-15 in a top 10.

Zip



posted on Jul, 13 2005 @ 02:51 AM
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F-16 Desert Falcons. VERY cool design. I'd love to see the USAF pick em up, but I doubt they will. I think 50 of them built for the UAE. Talk about some cool mods.



posted on Jul, 13 2005 @ 04:48 AM
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The harrier is a fantastic aircraft, in the falklands war argentinian pilots in faster, better and more heavily armed crafts where shot down by harriers.

Also why would anyone want to hover for more than 90 seconds?



posted on Jul, 13 2005 @ 06:41 AM
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Originally posted by tomcat ha
Again a wrong list. The P51 never totally outclassed the Fw190. It didnt even totally outclass the Bf109G.


But it was pretty handy at downing Me 262s, just ask the red-tailed devils from Tuskegee.

Besides all of that, SHAR (or Sea Harrier) is the jet that shot down the Argentines, not Harrier GR3, that's a mudthumper with almost no radar, how can it make the list of "fighter" aircraft.

Finally, I see somebody made the correction re Spit vs Hurricane victories.

Sopwith Camel definitely rates over Fokker.

Spit is definitely better than Hurricane.

Wildcat could kill Zero, that ends that one.

Me 262 was NOT the first jet-powered aircraft.

Just 'cause they built more MiG 21s doesn't make it one of the best aircraft ever. They built a hell of a lot of Wartburgs in East Germany, too.

Me 109 shouldn't be anywhere near the top ten. It's cannon were no good, it's wings couldn't be up-gunned, it's ammo feed was a liability, it's glasshouse gave crap visibility, Willi Messersmchit couldn't design an undercarriage to save his life and it could be beaten by a Hurricane.

Where's Heinemann's Hot Rod? Or a Dassault design? Or a Saab?

Stuka? STUKA? Stuka a fighter? In which parallel bizarro universe is that? Ask the RAF how easy it was to shoot down the Stuka. Stuka was a tactical bomber and a very limited one at that. After the fall of France the only success it had was busting tanks on the eastern front and the Henschel Hs 29 was better at it.

[edit on 13-7-2005 by HowlrunnerIV]



posted on Jul, 13 2005 @ 07:32 AM
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Too many of these are 'fame based' airframes where the looks or the (hollywood) history overwrites the real capabilities and pilot preferences for type.

The F-117 is a cripple which is only now being integrated with JDAM because it cannot fly or fight (IRADS) above the weather. It is a jet which, _as the manual states_ must never be operated in daylight or without jam support because the facets system is a like a mirror which flashes in given aspects and because the EO trackers fitted to most of (even) the earliest SAMs are low-light capable if they know you're there.

If you want a decent multirole/high speed bomber type to 'pretend' is a qualifier in the fighter arena, you need only look at the Mosquito, Ju-88, Pe-2 and B-26. Any of which did far more, in far more roles and theater conditions, than the Flying Picasso ever will.

_Controllable_ speed is life in both dynamic and steady state flight and as such, both the SEA-5a and the D.VII/E.VIII airframes were superior in BnZ performance to Fokker's triplane. Drag kills you and quirkiness of behavior as a gun platform all made the Dr.1 an exotic oddity whose 'number' was soon taken in everything that matters.

The A6M was a 1950's (Bearcat, F4U-4, Sea Fury) climb rate machine with purely elegant handling in the 100-200mph range but it had /many/ controllability problems, even beyond the 'pull the wings off' myth even in the heart of it's envelope. It wanted to pull into a starboard turn and if not flown with perfect coordination, it would micro-stall /jerk/, ruining it as both an evasive and guns-tracking ACM platform, right from the start. It's 20mm cannon were slow, prone to jamming and had too little ammo. OTOH, the 7mm cowl guns were worthless from the start and never really got better. At the medium/high altitudes, it's power dropped off and the critical stall/VnE got closer together so that it's wingloading didn't matter as much.

I would not say that it outflew even the P-40, it was just a matter of 'getting to know it' as a function of holding it in contempt of your own airframe's superiorities. And nearly any Allied fighter (including the P-36 and Buffalo) were better BnZ platforms. As I recall, Zeros beat Spitfires and Hurricanes over Burma and Singapore yet nobody claims to put the P-40 series above those.

The Harrier is the biggest waste of money ever conceived. Given it didn't really come into service until the eve of lookdown/shootdown systems made 'hiding it' (and it's caravan of semis or Chinook logistic support) impossible and a HAS'd airframe actually has a _better_ chance of surviving in a NATO=nuclear environment, the only thing you can say about Kingstons tinkery toy is that it ruined the RNs fixed wing aviation. And that's not a compliment so much as an admission that everything else BAC/BAe made was equally junk.

A Hunter could beat a Saber ten ways to Sunday. The MiG-17 had much more power and better slow speed control integration. Heck, the A-4 Skyhawk (which, believe it or not _is_ 'period') could put a Saber through a wringer. Too little power, too much experimentation with the wings without ever solving the underlying aeros problems. Not enough gas. No possibility of a decent weapons system. Perhaps worst of all, the Saber begat the Super Saber and what trash the Hun was.

The 109, well. It's a pilot killer and an ace maker. The notion that it was a good gun platform is a cruel joke belied by the use of Kanoneboot airframes throughout the East where the drag was overcome by the power and nobody played above about 300mph. Even so, F's blew entire ammo loads on Sturmovhiks with little to tell for it. I _don't_ like airplanes which put cannon breaches or MGs into the cockpit as this alone is a guarantee of fume problems sealing difficulties at height. But it is indicative of the airframe's chief problem (size) in that, even with all manner of goodies smack in your lap, there was only an average of about 60 30mm rounds and 200 7.7s available to the primary guns.

If the 109 had a problem, it was not landing characteristics (it flew just fine from concrete or well tended grass) it was _range_. Because it had the power loading and GCI to always beat our high cover and it had /fair/ CM behaviors in about the first 10,000ft of a dive. But it could never get up and OUT from it's basing (60nm internal, 90nm with a centerline tank, about 1hr total flight time) to both mass as a defensive interceptor and avoid the inevitable counter-sweep that eventually would destroy the Jagdwaffe on it's fields or in the marshall stack.

If the 109 has an advantage it is in it's DB-601/605 engines. With a /tremendous/ power to weight ratio, it was closer to an F-104 or F-16 of it's era in that, at low altitude where the IAS/KTAS didn't diverge too much (and drag ruled all) it could horse it's way around or above most fighters. While, at altitude, it's responsiveness made it a decent stall fighter, if you could keep it trimmed and did _not_ play to the Allies high speed penchant for Energy Maneuverability.

The fact remains that it was terribly poorly maintained as an exercise in aerodynamics (every surface on the airframe suffered (-15 knots) from tremendous wetted drag, just due to the paint, the exposed tail gear and 'humps, bumps and non-profile controlled inlets' stole another 20mph) and general aeronautical engineering (the control throws and stick loads in the cockpit, the lack of automated engine and pitch controls)

The Bug is a junk airplane that should never have been 'converted' to a navalized role simply to provide the Navy with penile envy equality with the LWF. The A-6 (with proper PGM) is a better bomber and the F-14 is a -vastly- superior multirole platform, given you are looking at severely limited total deckloads and a need to come as much as 200nm to get feet dry after the USAF has blown up in Europe.

The F-18 had (and has) tremendous avionics and cockpit technology packaged in McDonnell's 'typical' (open book of aero solutions to page #XX) aerodynamic package whose solutions to some complicated tradeoffs resulted in a low energy, low range, low loaded performance platform not worth the gas needed to bomb a seaside resort.

About the only excuse it brings to the table is the notion that it 'narrows the tail' by replacing the A-5/RF-8 and A-7 as well as the F-4. Given that these were leaving anyway (and the SLUF and Rhino are each superior to the Bug as ranged attack and missileer platforms) it's not much a trade.

The MiG-21 is the token nod to the Russians. In terms of effect upon U.S. designs it brought the F-16 into being as an ACF 'both missiles and gas I tell'ya!' counter, much as the F-15 was the Foxbat's response. Yet the F-15 is a better Fishbed killer than the Viper. And the MiG-21 was easy to beat for much the same reason that the 109 was: Find it's basing mode and pound the crap out of it.

It's always been a slippery little beast and performed better in the mid range between the 300-350 knots (small wings make for fabulous acceleration, even on low installed thrust). Yet the fuel and CG problems have never been resolved on this jet and the very increase in fighting speeds were not matched by a serious attempt to install a truly functional weapons system. Later N/Bis versions have decent thrust to weight and the Bison/Lancer mods bring some pretty good radar and SRMs. Yet the fact remains that the Fishbed is a weapon intended (in the tactical role) to exhaust it's enemy by simple attrition (more planes/pilots than you can afford to shoot missiles at) and where you hold them at arms distance or break into their sortie window (regeneration) you can easily wipe them out.

Ironically, a western pilot corps might have made more of this aircraft's fantastic (F-104 competitive in early, lightweight, models) acceleration and handling. But the lack of a credible weapons system, flyout range and Russian pilot training all made the MiG-21 less than what it could have been.

The Spitfire is yet another 'fighter' whose mission came and went in a single year as a PDI platform. Not necessarily because it was unable to expand it's roles so much as simply because the Brits chose not to do to it what we did with the Mustang (aft fuselage tanks and a laminar 'cruise wing'). At least not until after the war when the XIV/XVIII transformation was necessitated by economic exhaustion in the face of a continuing 'colonial' problem.

Unfortunately, the combination of the Mk.V's serious trouncing in 1941-42 (Me-109F and FW-190A3/4 summers of) and a general conservatism on the part of RAF Fighter Command (if not Winning Winnies insistence on a 'peripheral war' in the Med) meant that the type just didn't contribute much during the critical 1942-43 timeframe in the offensive Rhubarb type missions which might have put us on the Continent a year earlier and several thousand dead 8th AF crewmembers less wastefully.

A great, spirited, platform in the Series 60 engined variants, by the time the Griffon rolled around and the type could actually start to add serious mission weight, the types general handling could best be described as rambunctious if not brutal.

The P-51 is a joke. That laminar wing tends to buildup unstable flow in the turn which makes it sluggish in loaded response and prone to lunging with power changes. Similarly, the roll rate is not that much better than the 109 at 370-400mph fighting speeds. It has decent range but that advantage is neutralized if it is bounced early and forced to drop tanks while still heavy-aft on gas. And it's top end is in fact '20-30mph' _slower_ than the typical (MW-50 or GM-1) boosted top end that the Germans could count on, irrespective of RPM or head temps/pressures for altitude.

If the P-51 has an advantage it is that they were aggressively employed and available in the numbers such that a Reich's Defense Force had to choose between cells of 60-70 bombers off the nose and the 16-24 fighters being sent out to break up their massed Herraschluss/Company Front/Sturmbock profiles.

You _cannot win_ if you don't pick your battles and 'thin the herd' of it's sheepdogs before you go in for the bombers.

This could have happened (with over-German-soil attritional advantagement, just like BOB) if Hitler had reorganized and reprioritized his jagdwaffen in mid March 1944 to accept the pounding he was going to take in the coming months /anyway/. So that he could pull apart the escort system using the one 'shared dynamic' (pilot training interval) which not even the U.S. could afford to lose fighter aircrew at as little as 3-4:1 exchange rates.

In all areas which 'count' however; the saying that P-51's made aces and P-47/P-38 made survivors is terribly true. The late models of each of the 'alternative platforms' had superior high speed (Lightning in cruise and acceleration, the Jug in raw power and criticals) and competitive range. While being vastly hardier in the face of late war ground attack emphasis shift.

CONCLUSION:
If there is a single great fighter of all time, it must be the F-4 Phantom. A jet which had the power, systems redundancy and inherent flexibility to be adaptable to all roles and all basing modes while maintaining at least one and often 2-3 physical performance advantages at the 300-500nm radius point where you can consistently state you are taking the fight TO the enemy rather than simply indulging him in a pitched battle.

No other fighter, piston or jet, comes even close in terms of _fighting_ an enemy who chooses to actually make a contest of it.

Arab, Asian or 'Other', for 20 years, the mighty Rhino took on and defeated or stalemeated 3 generations (MiG-17/19, MiG-21/Mirage III and MiG-23/25) of the best that the 'next best' competition could put out.

In doing so, it has always maintained that graceful redundancy of weapons system functionality, sheer physical performance and crew synergy employment of same to remain dominant.

No MiG-21 could fly from Hanoi to hit Phantom airbases in Laos. No MiG-29 could out shoot an F-4F ICE with AMRAAM. No Mirage III could stay in a close fight with a jet that had equal high energy slashing performance and twice the missile load. Only the Flogger and Foxbat have any real options and those are of simple numbers and the ability to 'run away'.


KPl.



posted on Jul, 13 2005 @ 04:35 PM
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Maybe I am a little confused by what you mean by Greatest ever. Are we talking sheer firepower speed and agility. Well then my list would be...

10. Jas-39
- excellent lightweight multitask fighter.Rivals the F-16 possibly better but to young to tell
9. SU-30
- all of the fighters in the Sukhoi family are very good. Their speed and agility is matched by few.
8. Eurofighter typhoon
- pretty cool plane with all the capabilities. Would be one heck of a fight between this and the Jas-39
7. SU-27
- Sukhoi Family need I say more
6. F-15C
- The work Horse of the USAF. One heck of a plane. Nearly the total package.
5. F-16C(my favorite)
- Not a great deal of difference in fighting capabilities except speed(Adv. F-15) and agility (Adv. F-16). I personally think agility is more important in a dogfight.
4. Su-37
- Sukhoi Family once again. This is possibly the most agile plane in the world. A report came out a couple of years ago that these planes plus US pilots beat up on a squadron of F-15's.
3. Dassault Rafale
- This plane can kick some tail. It is a complete package along with SOME stealth capabilities.
2. SU-47
- New plane I put it second because it is in the Sukhoi family and they are know for the most agile planes. It also looks like it may have some stealth characteritics with a rounded mid section.
1. F-22
- No fighter comes close. I had the privelage to hear the Lt. General in charge of the F-22 project speak. He told us how when the F-15 came out they put 4 against 8 F-4 phantoms. The F-15 shot down all 8 F-4's while only losing one of its own. Then when the F-22 came out they put 12 F-15's against 2 F-22's. Not a single F-15 pilot got off a shot nor saw the F-22 before they were dead. We all know it can go supersonic with out afterburn but supposedly it can outrun every plane in our military without the afterburn. It is the ultimate Package.



posted on Jul, 13 2005 @ 04:56 PM
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If you doubt the P-51 was the best of it's time, then you've gotta take into consideration that this is a British program stating it, and even they said it was the P-51 above the Spitfire. Usually, any country would have their own bias towards their own aircraft flown, yet they said the American P-51 was the best. Now, I never really looked into it's stats compared to others, but I think this is a good hint at what most likely is true.




posted on Jul, 13 2005 @ 05:13 PM
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Originally posted by Northax
If you doubt the P-51 was the best of it's time, then you've gotta take into consideration that this is a British program stating it, and even they said it was the P-51 above the Spitfire. Usually, any country would have their own bias towards their own aircraft flown, yet they said the American P-51 was the best. Now, I never really looked into it's stats compared to others, but I think this is a good hint at what most likely is true.


Discovery channel is not a british channel.



posted on Jul, 14 2005 @ 05:06 AM
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>>
Personally I like the F/A-18E Super Hornet, very versitile...Best looks will probably go to the MiG-29, IMO one of the most beautiful aircraft ever.
>>

The F/A-18E is slow to pitch, slow to recover from pitch, has NO loaded energy sustainment for reversals, doesn't roll well (largely because of FLCS and plenum mods to lower wingdrop frequency). It's draggy, it's underpowered. It's weapon carriage modes are limited by both separation clearances and on-airframe aeroacoustics. In essence, a late block F/A-18C with the 402 engines will outturn, out accelerate and flat out last an equivalent 'air combat' (4 missiles, 1 tank) loaded E-Bug.

The MiG-29 was a landbased F/A-18 that could have been a world beater in the mid-small export range. Politics prevailed in Russia and Sukhoi's chief (Simnonov I think?) got control of the government aircraft steering committee which instead chose to fund development of the far less capable and underachieving (overpriced) Su-27.

Knowing this now, MiG should have gone with simpler improvements to the 9-13 (C-fatback) instead of a virtually new-airframe M but they got suckered into thinking they could as much as had to compete on a fairly leveled playing field with the Su-35. And when the funding dried up, they were left with a fleet of A-standard (incomplete) airframes and mixed prototypes at the factory. And not enough money from residual sales to make even the SMT happen at anything but a glacially slwo rate.

As is, the MiG-29 is closer to an F-5E with 1:1 T/Wr than anything, as it is another jet with no legs, no A2G worth mentioning, short life, poor engines and largely deficient avionics/radar. Even in it's basic lightweight Air Superiority only mission.

It looks like it will take the Indians to make the type into a true 'multiroled' mission platform, in the same fashion as the F-16A became the C. But it is probably a case of too little, too late.

Speaking of which, the later F-16C and now E/F are indeed awesome warfighters but for the majority of their combat careers they were worthless as either PGM slingers or BVR spear chuckers and those are what wins a war. If you cannot FIGHT your way to target, unsupported, without other door-kicker enabling missions to get you in the door, you cannot rightfully claim entitlement as a 'top fighter', IMO.

And the F-16A through C.30 were just airshow sextoys until LANTIRN/LITENING, APG-68V(9), JDAM and the AMRAAM came onboard, anywhere from 15 to 20 years into service.

OTOH, the F-4 Phantom /began life/ as a competent fighter/interceptor mission platform (BVR and IR in suitable shot counts to matter) and never had to give up at least it's radar weapons nor it's (jettisonable) gas to become a bomber. That, along with a more definitively tested combat record, is what makes it truly superior to the LGPOS.

>>
Okay, now that we've gotten that straight, and while we're talking about F-4's, I'm gonna vote for the F-15(E).
>>

No. It's a pig. Especially the 220 engined versions which make up about 2/3rds of a limited buy of about 200 jets. The F-15E gained so much weight and parasite drag in the type-IV CFT and LANTIRN system pods that all the miracle features of the 'self scrubbing' wing and thrust:weight ratio that make the fighter what it is just disappeared completely. As such, it is hard to hold a 320knot minimum safe airspeed without cranking up the nose to compensate and this makes the drag even higher. So they bring back the wing tanks and now you face a gross weight difficulty even as you lose standoff options like the GBU-15 and AGM-130.

Tanked and before AMRAAM, the remaining A2G stations had to compete with Sparrow for a BVR option. After AIM-120 came online, you were /still/ stuck with 'only a pair' (i.e. the F-16 typically carries 3 at a minimum, 4 at night) because of loading problems between the shoulder station and CFT side.

The Beagle has _never_ had a serious HARM capability, nor an ability to cue it. Which means that you are right back at the 300nm radius point of a Hornet or Viper.50 to get back under SEAD escort.

At low altitude, The Beagle rides like a giraffe on roller skates going over a field of ball bearings and /in cruise/ it is at least .15 Mach slower than an F-111 (though stores limits can somewhat effect this).

It is also massively shorter legged than the 'Vark, which shouldn't surprise anyone since it has less total fuel than the 111 does just internally.

Rodan has a huge signature in all spectrums and visually it is indeed a veritable flying tennis court which attracts salvo fire at and forever after the first turn.

Once more, you have a platform which is not a 'fighter', in and of itself, or as a function of variants-of-same being able to accomplish all missions necessary to penetrate to and kill a surface target. I will freely admit that it is miles and yards above the Phantom as a 'pure' (no S2A threat) Air Superiority machine. But the only time that's gonna happen is in ADC missions where you can make an F-106 look good.

The Spitfire has not the range to get to the fight. Just like the 109. If it did, /of course/ it would beat the, what, 5,000lbs heavier Mustang?

The F/A-22 is potentially the greatest fighter in existence because it's invisibility allows it to _ignore_ those threats which normally would require a golf bag (clubs for every mission/threat) approach to MA. It's problem is that it is a 117 million dollar airframe (the last time the USAF purchased 'just one' on budget savings created by Lockheed, without consideration to R&D) that will never be exported, competing against an 80 million dollar F-35 whose sole purpose is to recover debt by Vae Victis Vickers FMS.

As such, it's abilities with the GBU-35 and 39 are underplayed and it's Air Dominance role _ignored_ for the 90% DEAD (S2A ground target kills) component that that new definition of 'what a fighter does' includes. Until and unless they get the APG-77 updated with hi-gain ISAR and the ALR-94 cueing it across the board of air _and surface_ emissions tagging; I doubt the Raptor will amount to much. Which is a shame, because it is, potentially, twice the fighter that that the JSF ever will be.

That latter key phrase meaning: 'unproven against a historically known threat' being why it is wrong to pick the latest high tech, just because it has not yet been beaten. Potentially, DEWS could drive even the Raptor from the playing field.


KP



posted on Jul, 14 2005 @ 05:58 AM
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Hmmm, lets see, F15 Eagle vs F111 Pig.

Swing-wing cruise, single-tail, single mission bomber

vs

twin-tailed, smaller, multi-role interdictor.

And given the SIZE difference, I'm not surprised the Pig can go further, faster. I believe that's what variable-geometry wings are all about.


Lancasters could fly further than Spitfires, I don't hear any old Fighter Command guys saying they wanted to trade their Spits and Typhoons for Stirlings and Halifaxes.

The only reason necessary for F86 not making the list is its armament. 6 .50 cals, a decade after the RAF mandated 8 machine guns on all new fighters and half a decade after the RAF began fitting cannon to Spit variants and Typhoon and Tempest straight off the line. MiG 15 had a 37mm and when they got behind Sabres, Sabres died. Russian training and doctrine were at fault, not the 'plane.

Zeros beat Hurricanes and Spits over Burma.

Yes, but what versions and in what numbers? If you care to remember Spit Mk1 had a two-blade wooden prop, ie fixed pitch. The Far-Eastern command was always given the cast-offs and while they weren't that poor in Singapore they still had Wildebeests and Brewster Buffaloes. The planes in Rangoon bore little relation to what flew against the Luftwaffe on Adler Tag.

The Harrier killed FAA fixed-wing aviation? No. It saved it, go read Sharkey Ward's book. Without Harrier there would have been no carrier-borne jets available to send to the Falklands, only Helicopter carriers equipped to hunt Soviet boomers.

Best fighter ever?

Gloster Gladiator. 3 of them defended Malta and defeated the Italian Air Force (well, held off anyway).



posted on Jul, 14 2005 @ 08:57 AM
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HR,

>>
Hmmm, lets see, F15 Eagle vs F111 Pig.

Swing-wing cruise, single-tail, single mission bomber

vs

twin-tailed, smaller, multi-role interdictor.
>>

Actually, it should be remembered that the 'TFX' program was actually the JSF of it's day and attempted to make at least a naval interceptor out of the F-111B. Given a very small frontal area, variable aspect ratio effect on overall wavedrag and a huge radome to stuff an AWG-9 under (not to mention the Hawkeye to keep the bad guys out of your baffles), the 111 would have vastly exceeded the F-15, even as a BVR missileer.

Yet the F-15 was never designed to be a decent interdictor. And it's abilties _as a fighter_ (penetrating to the target area) were less than those of the jet it replaced. Simply because the aircraft did not have but three effective pylons vice the 5 that the F-4 brought to the table.

>>
And given the SIZE difference, I'm not surprised the Pig can go further, faster. I believe that's what variable-geometry wings are all about.
>>

The fuselages are only about 10ft in difference, the wings are about 20ft greater, but only at combat-useless full span. Such are more or less the same 'class' (the Flanker and Tomcat as examples) of fighter when compared to a true theater bomber like a Hustler, B-1 or Tu-22M.

VG brings you slow aboard a carrier and gives you fair sprint acceleration from a CAP. Otherwise they are not worth the structural complexity and wingloading penalties you pay for them. Not least because the real nature (ACM vs. Cruise) is still set by the width of the glove displacement for partial sweep loadings and surface deployments (note the Tornado and MiG-23 both effectively lose their wing inside the fuselage which compromises fuel as well as turn rate options).

Even just looking at the base payload:altitude cruise, a fully loaded F-111 has a combat ceiling of under 14,000ft because the wing has Mach limitations which require sweep beyond the point at which the remaining surface can support the jet. Flying at comparitively low altitudes sucks gas, big time.

>>
Lancasters could fly further than Spitfires, I don't hear any old Fighter Command guys saying they wanted to trade their Spits and Typhoons for Stirlings and Halifaxes.
>>

You are not getting what I am trying to say. A Lancaster is pure bomber designed to 'make history, not movies' (though the Dambusters and BOB clearly are the exception that makes the rule).

The difference is primarily that IF the Spitfire could have had the /range/ to accompany the Lancasters, suppressing ground fire and providing escort, daylight tactics might have lasted longer and overall effectiveness of the strategic air campaign have been greater. Because accuracy would go up. And (at least potentially) German reaction times would have been reduced to Ding Hao levels of 'Observer Corps' relays on lolo visual sightings.

Yet the Spitfire was not there. And never would be, until after the Allies came onto the Continent in summer 1944 (after the back of the Luftwaffe had effectively already been broken).

Such that, in an 'unescorted' environment, the plane you want to compare to is actually an aluminum Mosquito/Hornet (more mass produceable anyway). A plane which sacrificed defensive turret fire and armor for pure speed (and could, in a long haul, outrun a period equivalent single engine fighter at any level).

At a third the weight with half as many engines and a 4,000lb bombload in the big belly versions. This would have been the F-111 of it's era. Should the RAF have decided to do deep interdiction the /proper way/ which was in dispersing packs that hit critical transport targets (bridges, rail traffic, viaducts, canals/locks and of course oil storeage and electrical generation) and forgot trying for dehousing campaigns from 19-25 thousand feet.

Especially concerning electrical transformation (which is easily spottable due to the massive wire line confluences and the comparitive scarcity of large dynamo storage with all that wound brass) such would have stopped the German war effort dead in it's tracks by no later than late summer _1943_.

And yes, the Mossie IS a fighter too. Albeit a heavy/night one.

Whereas the F-15E has lost all it's capabilities as an A2A platform, and the Lancaster never attempted to be one.

>>
The only reason necessary for F86 not making the list is its armament. 6 .50 cals, a decade after the RAF mandated 8 machine guns on all new fighters and half a decade after the RAF began fitting cannon to Spit variants and Typhoon and Tempest straight off the line. MiG 15 had a 37mm and when they got behind Sabres, Sabres died. Russian training and doctrine were at fault, not the 'plane.
>>

Canadair Sabers and many of those made in or for European use, as well as the U.S. F-86H, had 20 or 30mm cannon pairs on each side. This doesn't change the fact that the Saber doesn't have the native swingrole flexibility of even an F-80, let alone a Hunter or Mystere/Ouragon. And it is (excepting the Aussie Avon version) terribly underpowered.

Even accounting for the weak wings and control reversibility under compressibility, if the MiG's over Korea had had decent sighting and better fighter weapons, the F-86 would have fallen at a vastly greater rate than it did. Even as is, there is fair evidence to suggest that 'when the Honchos flew them', the LER was close to 1:1. In no other way was the Saber distinguished as it was outclassed in the PakIndi wars and /outweathered/ in the muck that was Europe and Japan.

>>
Zeros beat Hurricanes and Spits over Burma.

Yes, but what versions and in what numbers? If you care to remember Spit Mk1 had a two-blade wooden prop, ie fixed pitch. The Far-Eastern command was always given the cast-offs and while they weren't that poor in Singapore they still had Wildebeests and Brewster Buffaloes. The planes in Rangoon bore little relation to what flew against the Luftwaffe on Adler Tag.
>>

Again, you misunderstand what I am trying to say. The Spitfire could beat the P-40 black and blue. Yet the P-40 had sustained dominance over the A6M simply by never playing to it's strengths.

That is half of what fighting is about you know. If a Samurai comes at you with his 'since childhood' training in the use of a Katana, you had darn well better shoot him in the face with a gun. Or move your 6' legs away from his 5'5" ones in full run-awaaaaay!! respect for the threat.

In the latter case, the fact was that the heavy wing loading (though the early spits were close), hardy structure, good controls and higher critical Mach on ALL the Allied fighters meant that they could engage and disengage at will with the Zero while hitting with heavy guns and a lot more rounds onboard.

And so it became a game of catching them in high speed passes and simply _never_ fighting the way they fought best. Because the Zero could not keep up.

>>
The Harrier killed FAA fixed-wing aviation? No. It saved it, go read Sharkey Ward's book. Without Harrier there would have been no carrier-borne jets available to send to the Falklands, only Helicopter carriers equipped to hunt Soviet boomers.
>>

No. Without the Harrier, the Brits would have been a lot less likely to can CVTOL aviation and rerole the Phantom and Bucanana. ANY competently flown, non-STOVL 'fighter' of the mid 60's to late 70's could beat ANY Harrier. You have a gerbil core running a giant fan and no efficiency through the nozzle expansion. You have average 90-100lbs/square foot of wing loading. You have minimal combat persistence as a function of fuel and only two AIM-9B/D equivalent Sidewinders.

Any competent tactical team will either run right around you. Or use tease and squeeze radar missile plays at high altitude and supersonic speeds to pull your nose around until you are out of airspeed and running downhill. Which, considering the Harrier's best 'fighting height' is only about 17,000ft, is almost always going to be below the opposition first circle determinator /anyway/.

Sharky Ward be hanged, FG.1 Phantoms and _AEW&C_ (Gannet or 'borrowed' E-2) were the planes you wanted in Corporate. And you gave them up for a second best thru-deck cruiser economy solution that has been biting your backside ever since. Just look at the number of fatal 'landing incident' attritions in the decade /after/ 1982 if you don't believe me.

>>
Best fighter ever?

Gloster Gladiator. 3 of them defended Malta and defeated the Italian Air Force (well, held off anyway).
>>

Snort. Who was it that said that "We were stuck with the Italians in the last war, it's only fair that the Germans get to carry them through this one..."??

The Brewster Buffalo had one of the highest kill:loss ratios of the prewar and early WWII period, in Finnish hands. But only because they faced the Russians at a time when the latter were themselves novices. That doesn't mean that the Finns (who had some /mighty fine/ drivers and used every tactical 1PHA ambush advantage they could) didn't eagerly transition to the 109 as soon as they could get their hands on some.


KPl.



posted on Jul, 14 2005 @ 10:46 AM
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Discovery channel is not a british channel.


I think he was talking about the OTHER programme on channel 5. It is a bit confusing. You only have me to blame for introducing the discovery channel top tens programme.



posted on Jul, 15 2005 @ 06:09 AM
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Originally posted by ch1466
HR,

Sharky Ward be hanged, FG.1 Phantoms and _AEW&C_ (Gannet or 'borrowed' E-2) were the planes you wanted in Corporate. And you gave them up for a second best thru-deck cruiser economy solution that has been biting your backside ever since. Just look at the number of fatal 'landing incident' attritions in the decade /after/ 1982 if you don't believe me.


Now you're not getting it. The decision had been made, much like the TSR2 and the Avro Arrow. The decision was manned fighters were soon to be obsolete and the Fleet Air Arm didn't need them, therefore they didn't need big carriers. Without Harrier there would have been NO jets in the Royal Navy, regardless of whether you categorise F4 as better than SHAR.

The RAF had claimed they could protect the RN anywhere in the world through the miracle of mid-air refuelling and all the money for jets should be spent on them. Rumour had (and has) it that the RAF even produced a map shifting Australia 200nm west to show that the vastness of the Indian ocean could be covered from friendly soil. Never mind that land-based pilots cannot loiter in CAP and KC135s make beautiful targets for enemy fighters.

In Naval aviation terms loiter is what you want. You can't cycle jets off a catapault fast enough for them to reach altitude and fight, given that, F4 was too thirsty to continue as a Fleet Air Arm aircraft anyway. You burn up your fuel on CAP and then go to burner when notified of a threat, how long do you think you can stay in the air?

Harrier has no cat to reset, jets just keep on going down the ski ramp, one after another. although with no burner how do you get them to altitude in time? And with vertical landing there's no need to re-set wires and no need to train pilots for night traps and wash them out after you've spent a million dollars training them to fly.

I guess the way to settle this one is to put a Harrier up against a Phantom in naval combat terms and let them dogfight, as happened during Corporate.



>>
Best fighter ever?

Gloster Gladiator. 3 of them defended Malta and defeated the Italian Air Force (well, held off anyway).
>>

Snort. Who was it that said that "We were stuck with the Italians in the last war, it's only fair that the Germans get to carry them through this one..."??

The Brewster Buffalo had one of the highest kill:loss ratios of the prewar and early WWII period, in Finnish hands. But only because they faced the Russians at a time when the latter were themselves novices. That doesn't mean that the Finns (who had some /mighty fine/ drivers and used every tactical 1PHA ambush advantage they could) didn't eagerly transition to the 109 as soon as they could get their hands on some.


KPl.


That's just it. There were three Gladiators on Malta: Faith, Hope and Charity. All they carried was twin .303 Vickers and they still managed to shoot down metal-skinned monoplanes. Yes, yes, Italian ones mostly, but they took out 109s as well. The pilots played to their aircraft's strengths and denied the enemy theirs, much as you say the Yanks did in the P40s.

(we really need a way to transmit wry tones over the net! I certainly wasn't being serious about Gladiator)

As for Finns and 109s, the same can be said for Squadrons being type -transferred from Hurricane to Spitfire during the BOB, they didn't want to, their Hurricanes could take more punishment and their crews could have them back in the air the next day, not so with a stressed-metal skin.



posted on Jul, 16 2005 @ 12:33 AM
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HR,

>>
Now you're not getting it. The decision had been made, much like the TSR2 and the Avro Arrow. The decision was manned fighters were soon to be obsolete and the Fleet Air Arm didn't need them, therefore they didn't need big carriers. Without Harrier there would have been NO jets in the Royal Navy, regardless of whether you categorise F4 as better than SHAR.
>>

The 1957 White Paper destroying British Airpower (and the manufacturers who made it happen) had nothing to do with the 1970's (Queens Jubilee remember) decision to 'Omega' the RN Phantom community. Many people use Sandy's idiocy as an excuse for "Why the Brit's aren't what they used to be...". When in point of truth there were many great projects that came AFTER that doctrinal decision was proven false.

>>
The RAF had claimed they could protect the RN anywhere in the world through the miracle of mid-air refuelling and all the money for jets should be spent on them. Rumour had (and has) it that the RAF even produced a map shifting Australia 200nm west to show that the vastness of the Indian ocean could be covered from friendly soil. Never mind that land-based pilots cannot loiter in CAP and KC135s make beautiful targets for enemy fighters.
>>

With this I have no problem, though I would say that it reinforces MY view which is that the real problem is pushing fuel forward in such a fashion as to be economical. And once you accept that carrier borne tanking is the only way to sustain a FORCAP operation, you can no longer stay with STOVL air because there isn't a powerplant on the planet that can vertical land (let alone lift) a KA-6D or EKA-3 or even S-3B class platform.

>>
In Naval aviation terms loiter is what you want. You can't cycle jets off a catapault fast enough for them to reach altitude and fight, given that, F4 was too thirsty to continue as a Fleet Air Arm aircraft anyway. You burn up your fuel on CAP and then go to burner when notified of a threat, how long do you think you can stay in the air?
>>

Snort. Which is why of course the Task Force stayed within SUE range and only put their SHAR over the amphib zone for about 45 minutes out of every hour.

The sad reality is that the Brits tried to do too many things at once and failed at ALL of them before commiting to an inshore amphib operation which they could not defend.

You DO NOT tackle the thief at your bedroom door by reaching for a gun in your nightstand!

You sick the dogs on him as he clambers over the fence.

And that means killing the two KC-130 Chanchas and the Phoenix Escuadron pathfinders as they drag the pathetically undergassed Mirage, Dagger and A-4 teams out from the mainland.

I admit that they tried. With the Elephant's Head missiletrap. But they only used ONE asset pair and they failed to MOVE IT from Day-1's initial successes. And they didn't even /have/ an OAB/MAB/IAB coordination plan so that the SHAR BARCAP -watched- the A-4's come in and bomb the destroyer and frigate pair doing Keystone Cop games over 'who was cleared hot'.

If they had had AWG-10 and AIM-7E4 or later, they could have been outside visual range of the targets and gotten LDSD kills (overwater, even 1970's 'non-doppler' tech is amazingly good) that at least scattered the Scooters.

Except, oops, they were stuck with a SHORT RANGE, _visual intercept_ fighter designed to bag Russian Bears playing Condor over the Mid Atlantic.

>>
Harrier has no cat to reset, jets just keep on going down the ski ramp, one after another. although with no burner how do you get them to altitude in time? And with vertical landing there's no need to re-set wires and no need to train pilots for night traps and wash them out after you've spent a million dollars training them to fly.
>>

'Tiz better to stop and land than land and hope to stop' is a _myth_. Because the Gen-1 Harriers are so twitchy on the thrust column that they are effectively 'experts only' systems that kill newbs just as readily as any CVTOL qualification effort. Indeed, what you are saying is that the RN pilot community is not 'smart enough' and so the Phantom/Buccaneer days were just a fluke. And that's just plain silly, given anything like an adequate flight screening and UPT program which tracks the men to areas where they can still be useful, even if they wash out of Gold Winging 101.

As for operational suitability and utility, look at the ONLY TWO 'A2A' SHAR losses in the war. That's right. Flying formation, trying to climb out of the muck.

A Rhino would light the burner and two-four minutes later be sitting ontop of the clag. AFTER which you joinup into tacticals.

What's more, that FG.1 is going to come with 8 missiles (equivalent to _four_ Harriers) and at least 600 gallons worth of external fuel (200 on the SHAR). And it carries a combat IFR probe. Not a 'deployment' toy.

>>
I guess the way to settle this one is to put a Harrier up against a Phantom in naval combat terms and let them dogfight, as happened during Corporate.
>>

Keeping in mind that the SHARs never had more than a pair over the beach at any one time because they were operating mixed flights off helo cruisers at the maximum of range. And also remembering that they had TPS-44 and Skyguard 'looking at them', all the time, from Stanley. The ONE TIME they faced a maximum threat surge (4 Skyhawks, being trailed by 2 Mirage, the Argie GCI having confused the one for the other in sending the Skyhawks 'charging in' with the stunned Mirage pilots going to reheat to try and save their charges) against them, do you know what they did?

That's right. THEY RAN LIKE SCALDED CATS. Because all's the A-4's had to do was soak the four Limas until the Mirages could come in with their R530 or (perhaps) Pythons. And _win or lose_ it would all be over.

As the next SHAR pair was at least 30 minutes out. And any followon strikers could have come in and had the /time/ to set up surround sound compass point attacks which would have quickly overwhelmed the pathetic 20mm and SeaCat defenses of the amphibgru.

You _do not_ fight the enemy at your doorstep. You meet him head on, as he rides in and you MAKE HIM bust his fuel margin. Even if you don't trade a couple fighters off a Destroyer helo deck (the one thing a SHAR could theoretically have been 'more useful' than a real fighter in doing) in bagging the Fat Sow IFR itself.

The Harrier is too short legged, too poorly weaponed, had terrible radar and could not stay OR pursue OR take the initiative in combat.

This against a CANA/FAA enemy whose 400nm radii and lack of nav gear itself meant virtually straightline trips to the islands and down through 2 mountain passes to the Sound.

Idiots. The RN plan to secure the Falklands airspace let /hundreds/ of Brit Infantry _die_ because they were idiots. Badly equipped and poorly trained, it was yet another BOBian Blunder whereby the victor was defined by the other side's making /more/ mistakes.

>>
That's just it. There were three Gladiators on Malta: Faith, Hope and Charity. All they carried was twin .303 Vickers and they still managed to shoot down metal-skinned monoplanes. Yes, yes, Italian ones mostly, but they took out 109s as well. The pilots played to their aircraft's strengths and denied the enemy theirs, much as you say the Yanks did in the P40s.
>>

No. There is a significant difference between the two casepoints. In that that P-40 was dominant over the Zero in enough areas that it could hold it's own. The Gladiator was speed, climb and altitude challenged by even
the CR.42. Against the later Saetta it was badly overmatched. Against the 109 it was completely knackered.

In this case, it can -only- be pilot skill which is determinative. And I assure you, the pilots in FHC were dreaming lurid sexual fantasies about Spitfires and Hurricanes (P-40s, /anything/ is better than the Gladiator). Because a pilot knows that however many tricks he has in his playbook, he can only play them so many times before he teaches his enemy how to beat them. And if he isn't /defeating/ his enemy (not holding the line but _pushing it back_) the likelihood of attrition keeping the number of 'veterans' low is very small.

Not too mention the disappointment as all those 'innocent of reality' around him look with shining eyes at him to keep them safe. When he can't even guarantee that for himself.

>>
As for Finns and 109s, the same can be said for Squadrons being type -transferred from Hurricane to Spitfire during the BOB, they didn't want to, their Hurricanes could take more punishment and their crews could have them back in the air the next day, not so with a stressed-metal skin.
>>

BOB was a case of misuse of assets as much as a Spit/Hurri man's opinion of superiority. You _never_ bleed for dirt. EVER. Bleed for time, bleed for lives, bleed for victory. But never bleed for dirt.

Every sector airfield should have been evacuated to 2-plane roadshows of tingaling coordinated fast rise and nightfall retirement to 12 Group central maintenance. Every raid (which should have been loft counted and tracked by high altitude modified Blenheim or Spits) should have been met over the channel by fighters whose SOLE PURPOSE was to get the 109's to throttle up and destroy their over-blightey fuel margin. London itself should have been treated as a 'H'yeeer Kitty Kitty!' replay of Warsaw and Brussels. The Big Wing should have been emphasized as a slow-rise force which met the enemy _on the way home_. So that maximum numbers of guns-to-bear could be brought while acknowledging the reality that you would never catch them 'over the 11 Group fields'. And rather than busting their hump trying to nail barges (dime a dozen and yet BC suffered 20-30% attrition for 10% of the 'invasion fleet') every bomber that could fly should have been mustered in the _West Country_ and then sent to chase the Germans back to base so that the OCA war could have been two sided at the point where 'maximum guilt by association' could have it's best effect (fuel, ground crews and aircraft, all in one tight little targeting cluster).

You NEVER give your enemy any edge. NEVER let him rest 'for free' (day or night). You push him beyond his limits to protect his offensive forces over your dirt and defend his basing modes over his. Bringing the number of 109 sorties up to 5-7 per day until they snap like dry kindling.

In any case (given London was going to get plastered anyway and there was NO WAY TO KNOW that German targeting would be so bad as to consistently plaster CC airfields and then 'shift' all over the place to war production and urban counter value targets) _never bleed for dirt_.

Such is not a matter of how good the plane is. Because a good USE of that airplane, just like Chennault made of his Tigers, would have made them that much better. And as was, you are back to counting the mistakes of each side's command element rather than the excellence of either crate or driver.


KPl.



posted on Jul, 18 2005 @ 06:19 AM
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Originally posted by ch1466
HR,

>>
That's just it. There were three Gladiators on Malta: Faith, Hope and Charity. All they carried was twin .303 Vickers and they still managed to shoot down metal-skinned monoplanes. Yes, yes, Italian ones mostly, but they took out 109s as well. The pilots played to their aircraft's strengths and denied the enemy theirs, much as you say the Yanks did in the P40s.
>>

No. There is a significant difference between the two casepoints. In that that P-40 was dominant over the Zero in enough areas that it could hold it's own. The Gladiator was speed, climb and altitude challenged by even
the CR.42. Against the later Saetta it was badly overmatched. Against the 109 it was completely knackered.


The Gladiator could outperform all other WW2 fighters in exactly two areas, loop and turn. It was still early enough in the war, and biplanes were just recent enough, that no-one had yet proved that speed CAN ALWAYS be used to an advantage over manouverability IF YOU KNOW WHAT YOU'RE DOING and HAVE TRAINED FOR IT. For this exact reason when Me 262 appeared Mosquito ran like hell and Mustang hunted it when it was on final approach.



In this case, it can -only- be pilot skill which is determinative. And I assure you, the pilots in FHC were dreaming lurid sexual fantasies about Spitfires and Hurricanes (P-40s, /anything/ is better than the Gladiator). Because a pilot knows that however many tricks he has in his playbook, he can only play them so many times before he teaches his enemy how to beat them. And if he isn't /defeating/ his enemy (not holding the line but _pushing it back_) the likelihood of attrition keeping the number of 'veterans' low is very small.

Not too mention the disappointment as all those 'innocent of reality' around him look with shining eyes at him to keep them safe. When he can't even guarantee that for himself.


Of course they were getting hard over thoughts of Spitfires. Galland got hard over thoughts of Spitfires. Aussies stuck with Wirraway trainers and Boomerangs got hard over thoughts of Spitfire. But that doesn't change the fact that in this one case biplanes killed monos. But we immediately get into the caveats, ifs, buts and qualifications.

But back to earlier, Gladiator and Harrier are two cases of pilots using the strengths of their aircraft against the deficiencies of their opponents' flying. (So I guess we agree about pilot skill then.)

We're getting well off-topic here, but...

Given that the pilots sharing the three Gladiators were able to play their tricks at all, let alone survive multiple missions, what would the result have been if there had been a couple of squadrons of the things on the island? (Probably the Italians would have been mauled the first time and the Germans come riding straight to their rescue, thereby dooming two complete squadrons to swift deaths.)

After all, the Germans allowed Boulton Paul Defiant a few days of flying so they could figure out ways to kill it more swiftly, allowing the crews those few days of false confidence. As they did again against B17E when it first arrived. Take a few days, keep your distance, look it over and discover that it's only got a pair .30 cals at the front. One bath water level moment later and you come at it head on.



posted on Jul, 18 2005 @ 06:50 AM
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Good to see a thread like this.I tried to start a thread like this
THEN it was abolished to BTS and DIED OF COURSE.



www.belowtopsecret.com...


Incidently the F-14 is the best.

The sheer stregnth of design and longivity of design Two thumbs up
GRUMMAN.



posted on Jul, 18 2005 @ 06:19 PM
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Originally posted by Jezza
Good to see a thread like this.I tried to start a thread like this
THEN it was abolished to BTS and DIED OF COURSE.



www.belowtopsecret.com...


Incidently the F-14 is the best.

The sheer stregnth of design and longivity of design Two thumbs up
GRUMMAN.


I'm still working on my "scientific criteria" for this thread but I have to put in my admiration for the F-14 (A+, B and D models). Tomcats! Anytime, anyplace, Baby!



posted on Jul, 18 2005 @ 07:08 PM
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I was just going to say, the F-14 is the best. Simply put, it was capable of doing some extremely nice stuff. It was fast, maneuverable, had lot's of range, had an amazing radar, and could carry AIM-54's. No other aircraft has carried the AIM-54, which was the worlds best AIM. They say that thing coupled with the F-14's rader (pre-launch of course), it had the capability to intercept cruise missiles.

Sure is a shame the F-14 is being retired.



posted on Jul, 19 2005 @ 04:39 AM
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HR,

>>
The Gladiator could outperform all other WW2 fighters in exactly two areas, loop and turn. It was still early enough in the war, and biplanes were just recent enough, that no-one had yet proved that speed CAN ALWAYS be used to an advantage over manouverability IF YOU KNOW WHAT YOU'RE DOING and HAVE TRAINED FOR IT. For this exact reason when Me 262 appeared Mosquito ran like hell and Mustang hunted it when it was on final approach.
>>

I think a Haybusa with the butterfly flaps would put in a good score. In any case, fighters win in pairs using double attack or loose deuce methods to bleed the threat down on the first turn and then shoot the strafe rag in #2. In this, the Axis fighters were crippled by low ammo loads and poor layout of guns IMO, as the best way to force and 'airspeed, altitude, ideas' kill on a super agile threat is to saturate the volume where it /could be/ rather than pressing in to fill-the-canopy range where every foot of offset is lead error is magnified at 200-300fps. Wing guns using point harmonization to spread out 300rpg of .50 caliber actually beats the 'nose on perfect' approach of a 109 or 190 and certainly the majority of bipes.

>>
Of course they were getting hard over thoughts of Spitfires. Galland got hard over thoughts of Spitfires. Aussies stuck with Wirraway trainers and Boomerangs got hard over thoughts of Spitfire. But that doesn't change the fact that in this one case biplanes killed monos. But we immediately get into the caveats, ifs, buts and qualifications.
>>

Which is why I qualified my F-4 answer as 'against the widest spread of historical entanglements'. Leave it this way then, if FH&C had faced /any other/ threat, would they have been dominant? _Dominant_ to the point where they not only won but pushed the enemy back and thus succeeded in defeating the threat to whatever it was they were PDI protecting?

>>
But back to earlier, Gladiator and Harrier are two cases of pilots using the strengths of their aircraft against the deficiencies of their opponents' flying. (So I guess we agree about pilot skill then.)
>>

The SHAR won for three reasons:

1. Because the AIM-9L gave it competent ALASCA functionality at all levels including fairly dense saturated low level backgrounds. Again noting that the only 'near-effective' FQ attack was actually an R530 or P3 off an Argie Mirage which forced a SHAR pilot to put his jet into a 10,000ft dive from which the missile STILL steamed by at danger close distances because junior _had no flares_).

2. Argie High Command failed the numero uno of air warfare which is to secure operational penetration airspace and then _saturate_ the target with as many jets as possible. In the end, using my earlier example, this is easy to do so long as every jet there is effectively a light weight fighter bomber. Because the Argies can afford to do 1:1 trades with the RN. Even 2:1. Just so long as they bust the CAP over the amphib anchorage long enough to get a decent surround sound attack going which ALSO destroys the AAW escorts with their miserable Seacat and clutter bound Seawolf systems.

3. Having failed to do 2, the Argentinians then pulled the Mirage assets out entirely and thus failed to 'get' that they could no longer afford to do long sortie interval raids when what they had (again, _in place available_) was the best secondary option, using FFAR and cannon. In this it should be noted that for all the publicity it got, the raids on Pebbles and Goose Green were attacks on airpower that had largely already been destroyed by air days before such that, while the Argies were foolish in neither massing NOR dispersing (behind or under every civillian building they could find) their available airpower; the Brits wasted massive SOF efforts on targets that were so huge, any 'normal' infantry asset could have taken them. While missing out on the TPS-44, the Skyguard, the Commandancia (Governor's House) and of course the Exocet.

IOW: You are talking as much about command mistakes in doctrine that led to poor deployment of forces. Poor utilization of airpower. And _indecisive_ displays of capability by either pilots or airframes.

Such is not how one rates a fighter's capability. Not ever. Because you are simply measuring the depth of your enemy's mistakes. Not your own tactical innovation. Or the ability of a platform to meet the 'new need' that you create for it.

>>
Given that the pilots sharing the three Gladiators were able to play their tricks at all, let alone survive multiple missions, what would the result have been if there had been a couple of squadrons of the things on the island? (Probably the Italians would have been mauled the first time and the Germans come riding straight to their rescue, thereby dooming two complete squadrons to swift deaths.)
>>

The Italians were incompetent baboons that didn't half hardly 'begin to fight' until we hit some of their elite mountain troops crawling up the boot. Yet the Germans were the real idiots because not only was Malta an obvious 'fort in the wilderness' that they could not allow to freely ravage both air and sea support. But it was also largely unnecessary for them to BE THERE. at all. If I want Alex and the Canal, I don't come halfway across the freakin' Libyan desert! I go through Turkey and Palestine and thus expose the soft petro-belly of the trans-Caucausus' region and Sevastopol from the SEA SIDE.

God knows, they'd bled heavily enough getting Crete and making the Aegian into a Nazi pond as a function of their /last/ bailout of the Italian's in Greece. For pities sake, it only takes ONE glance at a map to see that the shortest LAND route (no torpedoes, no radio comms intercepts) is in fact the 'long way round'. Not least because that also potentially gives you the 100 years backward (we're talking cavalry here folks) states of the Persian Gulf and a chance to flip the bird to the Brits and their 'Empire Never Sets' naval superiority by sortieing out of the PG.

Sigh. Having said that, the way you beat back airpower of any sort is to mass, mass, mass, mass. Rinse and Repeat. Push their DCA effort so hard that you eventually start getting them in the sortie regeneration turnaround.

You can magnify this effect, if you know the local threat is incredibly weak in it's VnE, by coming in high and low, fast and slow, surround sound, to pull the intercept away from the very base it's defending. You can further aid your efforts by making use of 'Sunrise Further East' and 'Range over Threat' (illuminated bomber airfields) to hit the enemy while they are just getting up. Or after they expect you have ceased air operations for a day.

The key here is most likely that Hitler bled his precious little Fallschirmjaeger's white and thus Malta was never more than a sidebet while he prosecuted his Lebensraum campaign.

But in any case, the moment your enemy can mass airpower over you sufficient to make you have to /land/ under attack; it's time to shelter or disperse and conserve assets for the inevitable sea or airborne landing repulsion effort.

There is no pride in dying by inches, no matter how 'brave a front' you put up. Because if Kesselring and/or Hitler had gotten their act together or even bothered to /read/ what their AARs were saying, they would have steamrolled Malta in about a week to ten days.

>>
After all, the Germans allowed Boulton Paul Defiant a few days of flying so they could figure out ways to kill it more swiftly, allowing the crews those few days of false confidence. As they did again against B17E when it first arrived. Take a few days, keep your distance, look it over and discover that it's only got a pair .30 cals at the front. One bath water level moment later and you come at it head on.
>>

I have never believed in deep penetration strategic bombing to be honest. You can't generate enough subsonic sorties of any sort to maintain pressure and the notion that a brick falling on a multiton machine tool is going to do anything other than 'add insulation' just never seems to have lit a bulb over anyone's head.

Indeed, I knew, ten years before DS and /twenty/ before OIF, that the rate of mechanized advance was such that you could FORCE an enemy to take to the field in a maneuver phase to cut off vital penetrations and prevent occupation of LOC/LOT. And then butcher him as he tried to move up and array himself, tactically, using light bombs (in numbers) from short radii and virtually ZERO high density (towed tube or sited SAM) IADS threat to worry about.

As a function of WWII methodology, you are looking less at the failure of airpower to provide sufficient escorts or defensive firepower/armor, than you are the inability to _deploy it properly_.

Given that the Germans 'showed us how it's done' and then virtually abandoned in place their occupational achievements so as to go fight the Slavic Hordes, there is simply no excuse.

For both Harris and Spaatz KNEW (from reports) the value of Transport Plan attacks as early as 1942 yet they remained ardent (hot and _heavy_) pursuants of the Trechard/Mitchel/Douhet rnolded vision of Strategic Bombardment as a 'pure' terror/anti-production weapon approach that would avoid land warfare.

And /lo the poor soul/ who thought we should fight like the Huns just had.

This is criminal because it _did not_ save lives on our side. Since we ended up losing just as many in worthless 'peripheral' theaters like Africa and Italy. And because Hitler finally got some defenses to the Atlantic wall while generally improving his mechanized systems to the point where (lacking air) they wiped the field with us.

All of which is pathetic. Because Circus/Rodeo/Rhubarb efforts had largely eliminated the Luftwaffe aerodromes in France by early 1943 and made the Low Country 'BARCAP speedbump' (Tank Dumper) Luftwaffe efforts _very_ costly.

Something we could have continued to assure simply because the 109 had about 60nm combat radius (90 with tanks) and the 190 not more than about 150. So that they came to their fights by rail.

And without real, effective, fighter-air to work with we could have chopped the bridges, blown the rail, and generally isolated the entire French state with _equal efficiency_ (the Norden works /great/ at 10-12K) in 1943 as we did in 1944.

At which point, it doesn't matter where the fighter finds a Herraschluss weakspot. Because (adequate lead sweeps from P-38 and P-47 as a precondition), the biggest threat is going to be flak. And that in turn should be the job of the mediums and more fighters to directly suppress.

CONCLUSION:
Bluntly put, I will _never_ forgive 'Winning Winnie' (or the weak minded fool Roosevelt who listened to him) for sending U.S. to the minor leagues for a 'year of practice' against secondary theater forces, hell bent as he was upon securing a post-war British Empire in the Med.

The ONLY way that plan works (Italy ends at the Alps idiots) is if you make a Balkans campaign attack the logistical links through SE Europe towards the Russian front. And there was no reason to help the Russians gain what we've subsequently spent FIFTY YEARS (and trillion$ more) retaking, 'armed peacefully'. When their sole moral contribution to the war was switching sides after finding out there is no honor among bad guys.

There simply was no need to be playing around elsewhere. Not when we could have been on the Continent no later than summer 1943.

And in Berlin by Spring 1944.

In this, the one 'fighter relevant' thing that the Series-60 Merlin Spit (with the power to take a combat tank) would bring would be ease of fighter sweep reach over most of the Western occupieds. While the Lightning and TBolt could have served as 'U.S. Mosquitoes' in supporting small, company sized, deployments of forces which retired to NGS sheltered areas at night. And in the day /dared/ the Germans to come looking for a fight under an aluminum overcast of airpower. Until we decided which commando forces we wanted to expand into real beacheads.

Here too, it's not so much the pilot or the crate but the /doctrine/ which fails to highlight a significant winner among the many also-rans of improperly deployed and utilized fighter airpower.


KPl.





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