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Top 5 US fighters of all time

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posted on Nov, 22 2005 @ 04:34 PM
Just an opinion but here goes. I base this on several things including performance, innovation, length of service, and versatility

1. F-16 Fighting Falcon- One of the most versatile airframes ever, capable as a top rate dog fighter, interceptor and attack plane. Adaptable to many missions
2. P-51 Mustang- Gave the allies in large numbers 1st plane that was superior to any enemy aircraft. Supported bombers previously vulnerable, and excellent attack qualities
3. F-15 Eagle- No combat loses under any flag. Possibly the greatest fighter ever.
4. F-6F Hellcat- Responsible for more downed enemy planes that any other fighter in WW2
5. F-86 Sabre- US's 1st capable jet fighter. Achieving air superiority back from the emeny in Korea

posted on Nov, 22 2005 @ 04:55 PM
Hmm, Interesting. All valid reasons of course but as its all about opinions here's mine.

Obviously the F/A-22 is the best fighter ever built (hopefully) but that would be too easy, so here is my top 5 US fighters;

1 P-51 - as above, also first US fighter to be right up there with the best in world, something the US has never lost since.

2 F-86 - Yes, it depended on German research but it was still a US designed and built fighter and was one of the last truly great dogfighting aircraft until FBW brought agility back into fashion.

3, F-4 Phantom - became virtually the standard heavy fighter of the western world and was as iconic in its day as the F-15 is now.

4 F-16 True, it has never been that impressive performance wise, always good enough but never outstanding, but it wins its place because of its space age looks (for 1974) and the way it was adopted globally just like the F-4 before it.

5 F-15 Eagle, would have been the global replacement for the F-4, if the world had more money to spend. Truly outstanding performance and a greatness that stood the test of time for 30 years and isn't finished yet.

They might all seem like the 'easy' choices. They do to me. But that's why they are the Greatest.

posted on Nov, 22 2005 @ 05:19 PM
It was tough for me to leave off the F-4 for the F-6. I am biased to the Hellcat because my grandfather flew one in WW2 and i do not think it gets enough respect. Also i am guilty of chosing a little for asthetic reasons and always disliked the way the F-4 looked. F-22 is not on because it has not done anything yet. I put alot into service history

posted on Nov, 22 2005 @ 05:39 PM
Your right zoso28 the hellcat doesn't get nearly enough respect that it deserve from military historians. The F4F Wildcat wasn't that bad either however the hellcat took it to an entirely diiferent level.

posted on Nov, 23 2005 @ 07:48 AM
Browno's favorite fighters:

F-14 Tomcat: My best plane of all time, this one is a true legend- Will take your breath away!

F-15 Eagle: Tough,reliable and dangerous, this is like the Tomcat but more heavy duty and greater air performances, Shame they never made a Naval variant.

F-111 Aardvark: Luxury fighter/bomber with ejection canopy to protect surviving aircrew from the elements. Problem is the whole plane is too big and bulky for a fighter.

F-4 Phantom 2: Built to last, hard to get rid of. This plane has served NATO for the last 45 years and still has a good record(exept for the British Spey Phantoms). The only reason why Air forces are replacing the Phantoms is becouse they are just bored with them but other than that, I still think they are effective workhorses.

F-19 Specter: Shame this plane does not exist but only as a plastic model,
I have always liked the design of this one since i was a young lad. I also quite like the Testors one too but this Monogram version looked more like a fighter. This design should have been used for the Eurofighter, Anyway lets look at some REAL aircraft.

Dassault Mirage series/Rafale: Great sellers great air performances but they are all sort of the same.

F-7 Cutlass: Bad performances bad record but still has nice design, could have been improved with front landing gear and front canards. Well the Cutlass is dead and gone so lets move on. It also looks a bit like a mini Tomcat!

F-21 KFIR/Lion: Mirage with F-4 Phantom engine shoved up it, This plane is basically a revamped Mirage.

A-5 Vigilante: This plane would suppose match the F-111. It had a rubbish bomb dropping system that worked by dropping the weapon out of its tail. If it had a rotating bomb bay like most bombers, this would have lasted longer in service. Like the F-21 KFIR, it uses F-4 Phantom engines. Would come great with Vulcan/Avenger gun system- if it could!.

[edit on 23-11-2005 by Browno]

[edit on 23-11-2005 by Browno]

[edit on 23-11-2005 by Browno]

posted on Nov, 23 2005 @ 08:23 AM
Yeah, but the Raptor isn't COMBAT PROOVEN yet... so it can't come in this list... the Mustang is a good choise, so is the F-4... and the F-15... but the F-16...??? It's not that good in my opinion...

posted on Nov, 23 2005 @ 12:14 PM
Totally disagree with you Fin. Think about if you were starting your own Airforce to defend a country, but you can only pick one plane. I would argue that 9 out of 10 people would choose the F-16 because of its versatility. Need an interceptor, ground attack, air superiority fighter, recon, high altitude, nap of the earth, day or night, good weather or bad, the F-16 can perform all these duties sufficiently.

posted on Nov, 23 2005 @ 12:36 PM
The F-16 and F/A-18 are both alike, they do have a good record but for some reason they get boring after a while.

posted on Nov, 23 2005 @ 09:27 PM
How can you say the F-16 is boring. Maybe i overrate this airframe but i have always been fascinated by the Falcon.It is just so versatile. It can accomplish so many missions. I had the fortunate oppurtunity to converse with an Israeli pilot who had flown in combat many different planes, including F-16, F-15 and Mirage and he said hands down he would chose the F-16 over all others. That holds alot of weight with me. As far as the F-18 goes i am sure that it is a more than capable airframe, but it just seems like a stop-gap plane to me. Kinda bridging the gap betwwen the Tomcat and the JSF. The Superhornet might be another story though

posted on Nov, 24 2005 @ 02:13 PM
I do quite like the both, I know the F-16 is a standard fighter and it is similar to the F/A-18. But it is just the fact they are quite overated and too common so that could be the reason why. The F/A-18 is a lazy mans jet fighter(one you just jump in and pop) and it does not go so fast for a fighter although it can do some sick stunts. Im more into big heavy metal things like Tomcats,Phantoms etc.

The US Air National Guard(ANG) have replaced the Convair F-106s with F-16s. The F-106 Delta Dart and the previous F-102 were specially made to defend americas airspace from the soviet agressors and they were to never serve abroad(well the F-102 served in vietnam). Pilots say the F-106 was a delight to fly. Once a pilot ejected from his F-106 when he came to a flat spin, his aircraft landed in a field undamaged and it was brought back into ANG use.

If i was in the ANG and i had a choice to fly the F-16 or the F-106, i probably go for the delta dart, maybe the F-16 not sure.

Look on this site, George W Bush flew an F-102!

[edit on 24-11-2005 by Browno]

posted on Nov, 24 2005 @ 04:29 PM
I thought I might comment on one of the above aircraft -- the Mustang P-51. In order to do so though, we need to take a warm and nostalgic trip back to my childhood. The year was 1967 and a Mustang P-51 had landed at a near by airport en route to Expo.

She sat there for two days, alone, like a burnished bulwark of security from the past; dwarfing the Cessnas', Pipers' and most anything that passed close to her. I was in awe because of the shear size of the craft - it was much larger than I could have imagined.

It was a Sunday, noon, as I recall, the day she was to take to the air. The pilot arrived by cab, paid the driver and stepped into the flight lounge. He was an older man, his hair grey and tossed . . . looked like it might have been combed, oh say, back in 1947. His bomber jacket was dog eared and worn, it smelled old and honest. He projected a humble aire of proficiency and pride devoid of arrogance. He filed a quick flight plan then walked across the tarmac.

After several minutes taken to do a walk-around, the pilot returned to the flight lounge to ask if anyone would be available to stand by with fire extinguishers while he "flashed the old bird up."

Though only 12 at the time I was allowed to stand by with an extinguisher after brief instruction on its use -- "You see fire, point and pull this lever!" Three of us stood by that day; I later became a firefighter but that's another story.

It seemed like a lifetime before the pilot was ready to bring the bird to life. Moments after I saw the air around the exhaust manifolds shimmer like a mirror one manifold, then another, and yet another, barked blue flame -- I stepped back with the others. In moments the Packard-built Merlin engine came to life with a thunderous roar, blue flames visible in her manifolds. I looked at the others' faces, there was no concern. I lowered the bell of my extinguisher.

One of the guys signaled to walk back to the lounge, we did.

Several minutes later we could hear the pilot doing his preflight run-up. He was at the end of runway 19, out of sight. All went quiet for several seconds.

We raced to the second story deck to see if we could catch a glimpse of the P-51 as she started down the runway, we could not. We stood, eyes fixed to a spot half way down 19. Then, a roar ripped across the field, much louder than before, like a furious hellspawn set loose---something mighty our way was coming.

"Christ!' "said the radio controller, "listen to that thing!" In seconds the Mustand burst into our line of sight. Its tail was already off, and it was moving faster than anything I'd ever seen by that point on 19. Two thirds the way down 19 the Mustang was up and her gear was going up. The prop tips were already supersonic; we clasped our hands to our ears as the Mustang climbed low, level, and hellish fast into the circut and out over the lake to be eaten up by the dog-day haze.

We stood for a few moments in stunned silence, trying to digest what we'd just seen. The radio controller rushed by me to the radio. "Kingston radio to Mustang?" He looked back to us as he waited for an acknowledgment. The radio crackled, "Kingston radio, go ahead." "Roger Mustang. Kingston radio would like to advise that the circut is clear for a low level pass." I stood in shock, the controller had just, more or less, asked the Mustang to return for an impromptu air show!

The controller looked at us. "What?" He asked. "I can't let that guy go without asking, I couldn't forgive myself!" The radio crackled once again, "Kingston radio, do I have permission for a low level pass, east to west, across the field?" "Roger Mustang, the circut is clear for an east to west pass." "Roger Kingston radio, we are coming out of 3000 feet, stand by." We rushed back onto the second-story deck, eyes fixed toward the eastern haze.

The sound was subtle at first, a high-pitched whine, muffled screech, a distant scream . . . moments later the P-51 burst through the haze, the airframe straining against positive Gs and gravity, wing tips spilling contrails of condensed air, prop-tips again supersonic as the P-51 crossed the eastern margin of the field shreding and tearing the air.

At about 400 MPH and 150 yards from where we stood she passed -- with an old American pilot saluting us . . . imagine, a salute. I felt like laughing, I felt like crying, the P-51 glistened in the sun, the building shook, my heart pounded then the old pilot pulled it up and rolled, and rolled, and rolled out of sight, into the clouds and indelibly into my memory. I never wanted to be an American more than that day.

And why this story? Call it a salute to the old American pilot who chose to take the time to weave a memory that's stayed a lifetime.

posted on Nov, 24 2005 @ 05:36 PM
Alright, My 2 cents worth

1) P-51 Mustang: Good combination or range and speed, was one of the first fighters that could stick with the bombers during thier attacks.

2) P-38: Another Kelly Johnson creation. Fast, heavily armed, many will still in service decades after the war. Also shot down Yamoto's plane.

3) F-15: Fast, agile, and armed to the teeth, it has been one fo the more dominat fighters of the era.

4) F-4 Phantom aka Rhino. Big, fast, not so agile, but produced in huge numbers and served both the Navy and AF at the same time. There also was the day when Randy "Duke" Cunningham became a aviation legend in the skies over Vietnam.

5) F-16. Fast agile, cheap (everything is relative) and produced in huge numbers.

The F-22 and the F-35 no doubt will go down as great fighters, with the F-22 possibly being the zenith of manned fighters if UCAV's become mainstream, however, they are not even in full squadron service yet.

posted on Nov, 25 2005 @ 06:19 PM
My personal fave is the F14. However the 5 best planes would be when looking at succes and how revolutionairy i think this is the best top 5.

1. F4 first modern multirole fighter.
2. F15 was the best air superiority fighter for several years. Also has become the benchmark plane. Very infuential design.
3. F16 first design with fly by wire
4. F18 First design with allot of help with the computer
5. F14 i think that its better than the F15 in almost every area but most of the things that made it so good werent used by later planes.

posted on Nov, 26 2005 @ 08:08 AM

Originally posted by tomcat ha
My personal fave is the F14. However the 5 best planes would be when looking at succes and how revolutionairy i think this is the best top 5.

The F-14 Tomcat is my personal favourite of all time too and i will always love it but i still think they should have made a F-15N Sea Eagle or a 'Seagle'. It could have been made to 'Patch up' F-14 squadrons if they had problems so the F-15N could have backed up the Tomcat.

I like the old Northrop P-61 Black widow night fighter. Night fighters were probably an early origin of stealth technology. It was a shame to replace it with the twin mustang.

Guess we both share the same dreams of being an F-14 Tomcat jockey, In other words to describe the job- it would be basically be a tom cruise in Top gun.

Those who got the job of flying the F-14 are the luckiest b++++++s ever to exist

posted on Nov, 27 2005 @ 10:40 PM
The reason that i did not include the F-14 was because its mission was narrow and could have been carried out by other airframes in the arsenal at the time IMHO. There is no doubt that it is probably one of the greatest pure interceptors of all time, but it was overkill for its time. It bridged the gap between the F-4 and the F-18. However, with the capabilty of the enemy taken into the consideration, i believe it was an unneccesary bridge. Of course, this is with the benefit of hindsight, which is 20/20.

posted on Nov, 30 2005 @ 12:09 PM
My ranking would be:

My ranking is based on the importance of each aircraft's role in history.

I put the Hellcat before the Mustang because the airwar in Europe would have been won without the P-51 (granted at a greater cost in time and lives) but I don't think that the airwar in the Pacific could have been won without the Hellcat.
I used the same reasoning with the F-86. Just it's role in countering the MIG-15 alone is good enough for me.
The F-105 I added because of it's role as both a strike aircraft and as an air defence supression aircraft (Wild Weasel). To me the F-105 was the first effective multi-mission jet aircraft.

The F-15 is on this list because of it's record with the IAF and Desert Storm. I love the Tomcat, but the Eagle has the edge with it's combat record. I am not taking anything away from the F-14 but I think an A-7 could have knocked down those Libyan aircraft. The Eagle just happened to get it's chance and took advantage of it.

There are many more planes I could add to this list but the subject is top 5 US fighters of all time.

posted on Nov, 30 2005 @ 01:21 PM
Like your list JIMC with one exception. The F105 does not belong. It was underpowered and not agile, definately not good traits for a fighter, which is the purpose of the thread. Maybe it could make Top 5 Multirole or Fighter-Bomber, but not this one.

posted on Nov, 30 2005 @ 05:41 PM
Well it was actually a ground attack aircraft, not a fighter. being called the F-105 instead of the A-105 or whatever helps confuse matters.

I like the reasoning with the Hellcat and Mustang JimC, I never thought about it like that before

Speaking of which a preserved Hellcat recently crashed killing its pilot, a sad loss on both counts.

posted on Nov, 30 2005 @ 10:15 PM
I won't rack and stack US fighters but I'll tell you which one I preferred. I have 1000 hours in the F-15 and 2000 hours in the F-16. I much preferred the F-16. The F-15 is big, comfortable, smooth and has good performance. It's a lot like a Mercedes. The F-16 is small, has a tiny cockpit, is extremely responsive and maneuverable and has outstanding performance. It's a lot like a Ferrari. An F-16 will out accelerate an F-15. It will outmaneuver the F-15. The F-16 will out climb the F-15. At low altitude the F-16 will blow the doors off an F-15. At high altitude, the F-16 is only limited by its intake design to speeds less than that of the Eagle. I’ll bet 95% of F-15 pilots have never had their airplanes above Mach 2 anyway. F-16s have better range than F-15s (when both aircraft are similarly configured) and better avionics.
The F-16 is also a more reliable aircraft than the F-15. I was flying an air defense sortie over southern Iraq one night leading a 4-ship of F-16s. Three hours into a planned 4-hour mission AWACS informed me that the F-15s that were supposed to relieve us weren’t going to make it because of maintenance issues. My 4-hour mission turned into 8 hours. More F-16s from my squadron ended relieving us instead of the planned F-15s. In fact, my F-16 squadron flew 75% of the planned air defense missions during that period while the F-15 squadron at the same base only flew 25% of the missions. While sitting alert for Operation NOBLE EAGLE here in the states a couple of years ago, I was wondering why America’s primary air superiority fighter (the F-15) wasn’t out there doing its air superiority job. We were basically guaranteed to get airborne while the F-15 is a hydraulic-system- failure ground abort waiting to happen. The Eagle guys got to spend the holidays at home with their families.
The F-16 was a fighter the USAF didn’t want and it was politically hamstrung through much of its career. The F-15 was the prize show dog in the eyes of the generals and they wouldn’t allow the F-16 the limelight it deserved. Prior to Desert Storm a USAF general toured the F-16 units prior to the war starting and told the F-16 pilots that if they got any air-to-air kills, the “offending pilot(s)” would be getting bus tickets home. Since Desert Storm, there haven’t been many air-to-air engagements, but F-16s have gotten more kills than F-15s; especially if you don’t count 2 F-15s shooting down Blackhawk helicopters over northern Iraq.
OBTW – the P-51 was the reason the allies prevailed in Europe in WWII. It was the only fighter that had the range to escort the bombers all the way to Berlin and back to England. Neither the P-38 nor the P-47 had the range to escort from England to Berlin. The strategic bombing of Germany was to prepare for the invasion of Europe. The USAAF’s doctrine of precision daylight bombing came at a high price. Losses exceeded 30% without fighter escort. In 1943, the USAAF was on the brink of halting daylight bombing raids due to high losses and low crew morale. Had the Americans gone to night bombing like the British, the war would have drug out as night bombing in those days amounted to little more than carpet bombing of large areas and at a high cost to the civilian population. Many historians believe Germany could have forced a stalemate in this situation. Operation OVERLORD (the invasion of Europe) was 100% reliant on allied air superiority. Only when P-51s were available in large numbers were the allies able to gain absolute control of the skies over Europe. The P-51 allowed the USAAF to continue with daylight bombing raids which impacted the German industrial and transportation infrastructers and with the attrition of the Luftwaffe’s fighter force. On D-Day, the Luftwaffe only launched 2 aircraft against the landing forces. The F-6 Hellcat was better than the P-51? Not hardly!! The P-51 was the weapon system that allowed for the liberation of Europe. The Hellcat never had to prepare a continent for invasion. The Hellcat did great work in the Pacific. But it wasn’t better than the P-51.

posted on Nov, 30 2005 @ 11:10 PM

Originally posted by zoso28
Just an opinion but here goes. I base this on several things including performance, innovation, length of service, and versatility

1. F-16 Fighting Falcon- One of the most versatile airframes ever, capable as a top rate dog fighter, interceptor and attack plane. Adaptable to many missions
2. P-51 Mustang- Gave the allies in large numbers 1st plane that was superior to any enemy aircraft. Supported bombers previously vulnerable, and excellent attack qualities
3. F-15 Eagle- No combat loses under any flag. Possibly the greatest fighter ever.
4. F-6F Hellcat- Responsible for more downed enemy planes that any other fighter in WW2
5. F-86 Sabre- US's 1st capable jet fighter. Achieving air superiority back from the emeny in Korea
U.S. did shoot more MiG-15's down than they lost, U.S. lost over 1800 F-86's, VVS lost 335, Chicoms/N.Koreans lost a combined of 235, so all in all 570 to 1800+ U.S..

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