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Defining the Breed - Fighters

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posted on Nov, 6 2005 @ 05:57 PM
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There have been many many great fighters that we all love or hate but how would you pick the ones that define the genre in any given period? Well, here is an attempt from me, while I try to explain why some other choices didn't make it.

1, Fokker Eindecker - How could I not start with this? The first genuine practical fighter plane in the world and the first aeroplane ever to generate a fear culture.

2, Sopwith Camel - while the Eindecker was surpassed by other aircraft before the Camel, this represented a new way of doing things, while the Eindecker and its ilk were basically aeroplanes with guns fitted, the Camel was actually created for aerial fighting, with its twin vickers guns and big rotary engine its unstable handling made it difficult to fly but a great dogfighter, an approach in fighter design that was only revived 70 years later with the built in safety feature of fly by wire available.

3, Polikarpov I-16 Rata - following WW1 fighter design stagnated to the point where there were still twin gun, open cockpit, fixed gear biplanes in service with RAF fighter Command in 1939! Of course advances were made but they were piecemeal, despite its 256mph top speed the Gloster Gladiator still had its roots in WW1 design and despite the fact that it was at least a monoplane ,the US Boeing P-26 was technically no more advanced than the 1916 Bristol M.1C or 1917 Fokker D,VIII monoplanes.

In the I-16 though Polikarpov created the template for fighter design for the next decade, its cantilever monoplane layout and retractable undercarriage were astonishing and every new design that followed until the start of the jet age followed that basic rule, even the legendary Bf.109, Spitfire and P-51 followed where the I-16 led, its onlt drawback was its following of a misguided interpretation of aerodynamics that then favoured by mainly US companies like Grumman and Brewster, which hindered both its performance and development potential.

4 - Spitfire - here at last, everything came together - the layout pioneered by the I-16 married to a better understanding of streamlining and the very latest in stressed skin construction techniques reult in probably the most famous and legendary fighter ever built anywhere. The Hurricane doesn't really qualify as, despite its appearance, it was really the last gasp of the old way of doing things with its fabric covered fuselage and tubular construction, the P-51 doesn't get the nod because, despite its obvious greatness, it was several years later and the only thing it had that the Spitfire lacked was range, and one advantage doesn't define the breed. The most obvious rival would be the Bf-109, and it is a very close call, but the Spitfire has to get the nod because of the fact that this fighter which first flew in 1936 was so advanced that it was still in production and STILL among the very highest performance fighters in the world at the end of WW2 and the era of the piston fighter, this allied to the fact that no other fighter has ever become a national hero before means the Spitfire is the ultimate fighter of its generation.

5 F-86 Sabre - Although there were many jet fighters before the F-86 the Sabre is the aircraft that defines the generation that followed the Spitfire's. It predecessors showed no advance in aircraft design other than the use of the radical new jet engine, The British jets of the period would have flown just as happily (and in the Meteror F.1s case just as fast) with piston engines, while even the Me-262's swept wing was accident of design. Although the work that lled to the Sabres design was done by Germany there can be no escaping the fact that the F-86 was the first really successful jet interceptor to incorporate all the design advances gleaned from the war years, closest rival in this sense is obviously the MiG 15 but its rather agricultural nature beside the F-86's finesse count against it, for me.

6, F-100 Super Sabre - North American continue where they left off, pushing back the boundaries again and bringing supersonic performance tot he fingertips of fighter pilots, given Britains abdication from this particular race with the scrapping of the Hawker and Supermarine prototypes there is only the Super Mystere and MiG 19 to also consider, for me the F-100 just shades it.

7 F-4 Phantom - Not the first of a new class of heavy fighter (the F-101, for one, is there first) but the point where the technology really came together, as with the Spitfire) also interesting to note that this was the first time that a naval fighter was the world leader! The Air Forces of the world are, at first, gutted. Then they swallow their pride and 5,000 Phantoms are built!

8 MiG 25 - I really had to think about this, I suppose it really really should be the F-14 or F-15 but, thinking again, If, as I said, the Phantom was like the Spitfire of its day, if you know what I mean, then the MiG 25 is the Polikarpov I-16 of the jet age. Not the greatest by any means but nevertheless the blueprint that led America towards developing the stunning F-15 Eagle and its carrier based sister the F-14. Its radical twin finned design looked extremely futuristic when it first appeared but this also led to greatly inflated ideas about its capabilities. However, given the next generation of US fighters that appeared in its wake, the USAF and USN might, at a stretch, be said to owe a debt of gratitude to Mikoyan.

10 F-15 Eagle - I could hardly ignore it could I, the greatest fighter of the past 30 years without a shadow of a doubt, much has been written about it on these boards so I will just leave it at that.

11, Eurofighter Typhoon - At last Europe finds a way of building a better fighter than the F-15. Radical new thoughts about relaxed static stability and FBW controls and several other revolutionary technologies lead to the ultimate expression of the conventional fighter plane, however, like the Gladiator in 1937, it might be the best of its kind, but..........


12 F/A-22 Raptor........a whole new way of designing and building fighter planes arrives and is the biggest single improvement to fighter design since Spitfires replaced Gauntlets and P-47's replaced some very tired P-26's. Maybe evben bigger than that. The modern fighter plane is defined by the F/A-22 Raptor, the proof of this is that almost every new design revealed whether it be Russian, Chinese or whatever, in the past five years wants to be one. Long live the king.

There are my, perhaps incosistent thoughts on fighters, anyone want to debate my choices and throw some of their own in?

I would just ask that people give reasons, simply saying something like "well I think the F-104 should be in there" doesn't really make for much debate.

Thank you.




posted on Nov, 6 2005 @ 08:19 PM
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Waynos, how could you not put the P-51 Mustang in there?
Not only could it outclass all piston fighter of its era, but it had the legs to accompany bombers on their mission and return back with them.



posted on Nov, 6 2005 @ 08:53 PM
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Originally posted by waynos
the P-51 doesn't get the nod because, despite its obvious greatness, it was several years later and the only thing it had that the Spitfire lacked was range, and one advantage doesn't define the breed.

Here is the reason Waynos has posted why P-51 Mustang didn't to be breeded



posted on Nov, 6 2005 @ 11:40 PM
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Originally posted by waynos
, the P-51 doesn't get the nod because, despite its obvious greatness, it was several years later and the only thing it had that the Spitfire lacked was range, and one advantage doesn't define the breed.


If you can't even get to the fight, whats the point?

The P-51 could take the fight to the enemy, not the other way around. Not too mention if could escort the oh so important bombers deep into enemy territory.



posted on Nov, 7 2005 @ 01:20 AM
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Originally posted by NWguy83

Originally posted by waynos
, the P-51 doesn't get the nod because, despite its obvious greatness, it was several years later and the only thing it had that the Spitfire lacked was range, and one advantage doesn't define the breed.


If you can't even get to the fight, whats the point?

The P-51 could take the fight to the enemy, not the other way around. Not too mention if could escort the oh so important bombers deep into enemy territory.


The P-51, was build and designed based on the knowledge that the British Engineers gained from producing the radical Spitfire, there for in my opinion for that time the Spitfire was the leader.

- Phil

PS. Another Great Thread Wayos



posted on Nov, 7 2005 @ 01:49 AM
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If the Spitfire was so great then why did Britain buy a bunch of P-51s during the war.



posted on Nov, 7 2005 @ 02:35 AM
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If American things are so great why did they buy the Rolls Royce Merlin engines?

My only point regarding the the F86 is its all-machine gun armament. Why did the Yanks go backwards when the Brits went from MGs to cannon?

I second the Spit, way ahead of the Mustang as a "leader". Eight .303s. Then 303s and .50cals. Then all 50 cals. Then cannon and 50cals. The Hurricane and Spitfire were the first eight-gun fighters in the world and they proved why you needed eight guns.

As for range. Who needed range in the BoB?

You're trying to compare the Prsche 911 with the 356.

I thought the Polikarpov was the Chato. Or was that the biplane?


For naval aircraft, Chance Vought F4U Corsair?

And European jets - what about Saab products, Waynos?



posted on Nov, 7 2005 @ 02:49 AM
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I must disagree with the choice of the F-86 - are you choosing it for its use of swept wing?

Surely the Me 163 introduced transonic aerodynamics earlier, although its rocket motor limited its performance, the advances it hailed in other areas must be counted as significant, the same research undoubtedly led to the Ta-183, which in concept was nearly 5 years ahead of either the Sabre or MiG-15 (indeed, some say it basically morphed into the MiG-15 - I had photos of soviet Ta-183s on tests, but lost the damn things in a computer crash!
)



posted on Nov, 7 2005 @ 02:56 AM
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Originally posted by WestPoint23
Waynos, how could you not put the P-51 Mustang in there?
Not only could it outclass all piston fighter of its era, but it had the legs to accompany bombers on their mission and return back with them.


Because it was an evolution of existing ideas.



posted on Nov, 7 2005 @ 02:56 AM
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Originally posted by gooseuk

Originally posted by NWguy83

Originally posted by waynos
, the P-51 doesn't get the nod because, despite its obvious greatness, it was several years later and the only thing it had that the Spitfire lacked was range, and one advantage doesn't define the breed.


If you can't even get to the fight, whats the point?

The P-51 could take the fight to the enemy, not the other way around. Not too mention if could escort the oh so important bombers deep into enemy territory.


The P-51, was build and designed based on the knowledge that the British Engineers gained from producing the radical Spitfire, there for in my opinion for that time the Spitfire was the leader.

- Phil

PS. Another Great Thread Wayos


P-51 was just rated the TOP Fighter of all time by the discovery channel... nuff said...



posted on Nov, 7 2005 @ 03:06 AM
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Originally posted by rmatrem
P-51 was just rated the TOP Fighter of all time by the discovery channel... nuff said...


Only because it's visible and (relatively) recently remembered.

I say the Sopwith Camel is the TOP fighter of all time...nuff said...

The problem is that so many Mustangs are still flying. Hey, an RAN Sea Fury shot down a MiG 15, why doesn't that qualify as the greatest prop fighter of all time?

Hurricanes had more kills in the BoB than any other RAF aircraft...

Harriers suffered no a2a losses in the South Atlantic...

Israeli Kfirs...

This could go on all night. Mostly I agree with Waynos' assessment and in regards to the P51, I am in total agreement.



posted on Nov, 7 2005 @ 05:25 AM
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Originally posted by rmatrem
P-51 was just rated the TOP Fighter of all time by the discovery channel... nuff said...


Oh right... so then it MUST be true



Note that the question Waynos is asking is not: which is the best fighter... but


how would you pick the ones that define the genre in any given period


I now realise my earlier statement about the Me163 or TA183 is not viable as both were quite a bit ahead of their time, and did not define the aircraft of the period.



posted on Nov, 7 2005 @ 05:29 AM
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Originally posted by waynos
2, Sopwith Camel - while the Eindecker was surpassed by other aircraft before the Camel, this represented a new way of doing things, while the Eindecker and its ilk were basically aeroplanes with guns fitted, the Camel was actually created for aerial fighting, with its twin vickers guns and big rotary engine its unstable handling made it difficult to fly but a great dogfighter, an approach in fighter design that was only revived 70 years later with the built in safety feature of fly by wire available.



I think the camel was built with the mass centralisation concept (similar to that used by Honda in MotoGP with the massively successful RC211V) - I think all the heavy components were located within the first 6ft of the fuselage or something similar.



posted on Nov, 7 2005 @ 06:48 AM
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The best sabre.... was the aussie armed with cannons.

Following the failure of the English Hawker P1081 to meet both RAAF and RAF requirements Lawrence Wackett turned to the USA in search of a design for local production, once again selecting a North American Aviation design to be built by CAC.

Although the F86 Sabre was already acknowledged as a successful aircraft, Wackett proposed to Rolls Royce that the Sabre be fitted with the Avon, with 50% greater thrust than the original engine, which was presently being tooled up for production by CAC for use in the Australian built GAF Canberra.

Other modifications included replacement of the six 50 calibre machine guns with two 30mm Aden cannons, and although the resulting aircraft still has the classic looks of the F86, the fuselage required 60% of the fuselage structure to be redesigned. Not obvious to the eye is the 25% increase in the air intake to meet the different needs of the Avon engine.

One prototype and 111 production aircraft were manufactured from 1953 to 1961, and the type remained in service with the RAAF until 1971.

Interestingly, the Sabre became the third Australian made aircraft to service with overseas forces, following the Wackett Trainer and Mosquito, when the Australian government presented operational Sabres to the air forces of neighbouring Indonesia and Malaysia.

Our aircraft last served with No 5 Operational Training Unit, where it crashed near Williamtown NSW in 1969. Consigned to the fire dump at Point Cook, it was disposed to a private owner in 1972, and was acquired by the Museum in 1982. Since that time the stripped airframe has been completed using parts of Sabres found all over Australia.

Engine: Rolls Royce RA7 Avon jet
Length: 37 feet 6 inches ( 11.43 m)
Span: 37 feet 1 inch ( 11.30 m)
Height: 14 feet 4 inches ( 4.37 m)
Weight: 11,600 pounds (empty) ( 5,262 kg)
Speed: 700 mph (1167 kph)
Range: 1500 miles (2500 km)


www.aarg.com.au...




posted on Nov, 7 2005 @ 07:21 AM
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In my Opinion, I believe that everything Waynos has posted up to Spitfire, I agree with. But at Spitfire, that's where things in my opinion should be different.

The Spitfire is great and all, but twined with that aircraft, should be the P-51, the P-51 came after the Spitfire, yes, but it also was just as great, if not even greater because it fought longer than the Spitfire(Not by time in years, but by range and time in the air).

Now, escaping from fighters for a minute, how could we possbily include interceptors? The F-14? The MiG-25, all nice, but not fighters. They are interceptors.

Before the F-86, should come the MiG-15. The MiG-15 came before the F-86, had swept wings, not only this, but also wiped the floor with the F-86, even after the F-86 was introduced. The MiG-15 was still a very effective fighter. Only when the F-4 was introduced, that the MiG generation started to see a steep incline from the level that Allied fighters were at.

F-15, Air Superiority, stays where it is at.

How could we not include the Su-35? The Su-37 of the 90's is only a testbed, but the later Su-35 is everything the Su-37 is. Extreme manuerverability and capability, I believe that if a Su-35 met with an F-15, the Su-35 would definetly come out on top. However all of this is overshadowed by the obvious introduction of the F/A-22.

The Typhoon, I don't see any problem in its placement.

So everything else I agree with, except those minor points. Just my opinion.

Shattered OUT...



posted on Nov, 7 2005 @ 09:09 AM
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Originally posted by ShatteredSkies
In my Opinion, I believe that everything Waynos has posted up to Spitfire, I agree with. But at Spitfire, that's where things in my opinion should be different.

The Spitfire is great and all, but twined with that aircraft, should be the P-51, the P-51 came after the Spitfire, yes, but it also was just as great, if not even greater because it fought longer than the Spitfire(Not by time in years, but by range and time in the air).

Now, escaping from fighters for a minute, how could we possbily include interceptors? The F-14? The MiG-25, all nice, but not fighters. They are interceptors.



If we are not including interceptors in this discussion then we should discard the Spitfire. The claim here for the Spitfire's is based on it's record in the Battle of Britain. The Spitfire was used in an interceptor role in the Battle of Britain. As a matter of fact it can be argued that the Spitfire was the first pure interceptor as the Hurricane also had a distingushed ground attack role.. If we want to define an air superiority fighter we have to include the P-38 Lightning.



posted on Nov, 7 2005 @ 09:46 AM
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WOW, great responses guys, thank youall for contributing so far


I'll add a few notes and replies, many of the points have already been covered by others and its all opinions anyway so here goes;

First the 'P-51 dissenters'


To be honest I fully expected this response, and why not? Threre is no argument that the P-51 is right up there on any list of all time classics, it was superb. Anyone who chooses the P-51 is making a valid choice. BUT, my feeling is the Mustang was a continuation of existing successful practice in fighter design and construction, and was not even a better fighter by any measurable margin( by which I mean that the P-51 could not outrun, outmanouvre or outgun a Spitfire), and the Spitfire had already been in service a couple of years when the P-51 was designed. Thats why the Spit is my choice.


If the Spitfire was so great then why did Britain buy a bunch of P-51s during the war.



That is easily answered. First there was the range requirement, of course, and secondly, sheer numbers. You will notice that the Spitfire outlasted the P-51 in RAF service by 9 years so it was not discarded when the P-51 appeared.


For naval aircraft, Chance Vought F4U Corsair?


If I was doing a list of Naval aircraft the F4U would certainly make it. No other naval fighter had the impact of the Corsair for a number of reasons, you could even make a good case for it in this list. For my part I decided to choose only one fighter from the WW2 era so as not to make the list too cluttered, as a starting point I decided on the Spitfire, Bf109 and P-51 as a 'shortlist' then made a choice from there (Bf -109 because it predates the Spitfire but is designed on similar principles, it lost out purely because it was outmoded by 1945 in a way that the Spitfire still was not while the P-51 was every bit as good but came several years later as I noted.)



And European jets - what about Saab products, Waynos


Again, very good call. To be honest I just didn't think of the J-29 when I was making that choice and on reflection I still think the F-86 shades it. When it comes to the time when the J-35 would be considered, I bottled out. I was torn between the J-35, F-106, MiG 21, Lightning and Mirage III.

I skipped straight to the F-4 rather than make a choice but on further consideration I will go for the Mirage III out of this generation, it simply had the greatest global impact out of all these similarly impressive types.



must disagree with the choice of the F-86 - are you choosing it for its use of swept wing?

Surely the Me 163 introduced transonic aerodynamics earlier, although its rocket motor limited its performance, the advances it hailed in other areas must be counted as significant, the same research undoubtedly led to the Ta-183, which in concept was nearly 5 years ahead of either the Sabre or MiG-15


I can explain my thinking here; I did consider many types, including those you name however I dismissed the Me 163 because it was a developmental dead end ( as far as rocket fighters go) and because it killed more of its own pilots than allied crews managed to shoot down or allied crews that were shot down added together.

The Ta 183 remained a proposal and a mock up, while ahead of its time for sure, I couldn't consider anything that never saw service.

As for the F-86, its not only the swept wing, though that is a major factor, it also had the best wing loading ever on a fighter plane and was thus the most perfect 'pilots aeroplane' of the jet age. In fact if you are looking for an 'American Spitfire', forget the P-51, the F-86 was it. Its weedy MG armament was a drawback but was one that was easily rectified (ie the Commonwealth Sabre Mk.32)

Other planes mentioned;

Hurricane - covered in original post
Harrier - very well flown but not a cutting edge 'fighter'
Kfir - ditto, a variant of the Mirage, not new.

Shattered's point about Interceptors;

Interceptors are just fighters, its just a different word for the same thing. For instance you would call the Hurricane a fighter, yes? Before the name Hurricane was allocated it was called the 'Hawker Interceptor Monoplane'. Its just that 'intercepting' is a function of a fighter plane, like dogfighting might be said to be, it is not a different classification. I also have a book from 1939 with a photo captioned 'a pair of Supermarine Spitfires, the RAF's latest interceptors'.

I also query the point about the Mig 15 wiping the floor with the F-86? That is not in any history I have ever read. It was the F-86 that gave the USAF parity with the MiG 15 after it had wiped the floor with everything else however.

I also take your point about the various Flankers, in another persons list they could replace the Typhoon maybe, and validly so, but as they, like the Typhoon, are current with the Raptor I just felt that the Typhoon alone was enough to make the point.



There you all go, rip that lot to bits!



posted on Nov, 7 2005 @ 10:05 AM
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Hmm, The P-51D should defenetly be there, it was the best fighter during the 2WW... And why not the Hornet, it's the best carrier fighter for the moment...???



posted on Nov, 7 2005 @ 10:20 AM
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Originally posted by Figher Master FIN
Hmm, The P-51D should defenetly be there, it was the best fighter during the 2WW... And why not the Hornet, it's the best carrier fighter for the moment...???


The P-51 you can make a case for...


BUT THE HORNET!!!



posted on Nov, 7 2005 @ 02:04 PM
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Originally posted by Figher Master FIN
Hmm, The P-51D should defenetly be there, it was the best fighter during the 2WW... And why not the Hornet, it's the best carrier fighter for the moment...???

Wouldn't go as far as saying the Hornet being the best carrier fighter. At the moment right now, maybe so, but 2 years ago, the F-14B ruled supreme.

Shattered OUT...



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