As a response to a U2U, I'll attempt to give my perspective of US vs Soviet fighters. I have flown against Soviet fighters while flying the F-15,
F-16, F-5 and MiG-29 (of course, the MiG-29 really doesn't count since it's also a Soviet fighter; we just didn't have any dissimilar adversaries).
While flying the US fighters, I have flown against the MiG-21, MiG-23, MiG-29 and Su-27.
One should remember that Soviet fighters were designed and built using a different mindset with respect to tactical aviation. It's almost like
comparing the playbook of the Dallas Cowboys with that of some profi-league football (soccer) team in Europe. The sport goes by the same name but
it's just not the same (I must give credit to that analogy to a friend of mine who did a very comprhensive study of the MiG-29 in the mid-1990s -
). The mindset of the Soviets was centralized control and centralized execution. That means the pilot and aircraft
were an extension of the ground controller. The pilot was not provided with the tools nor the training to operate autonomously. If you cut off his
communications link with his ground controller, the Soviet pilot was not equipped to operate on his own. US fighters are conceived around the concept
of centralized control, decentralized execution. That means that US fighter has all the tools necessary for the pilot to operate and make autonomous
decisions. The US pilot's aircraft sensors and displays are designed to provide him with the battle-space information required to make those
decisions. AWACS and GCI are there to provide peices to the puzzle. They have no real 'control authority'. I've been known to tell AWACS to STFU
and quit garbaging the radios.
Flying against the MiG-21 and MiG-23 with the F-15 was relatively easy. The Fishbed is difficult to see and you have to ask yourself if that speck on
the canopy is a piece of fly do-do or a MiG-21? I also flew against those airplanes while flying the F-5. The MiG-23 was still a baby seal while the
MiG-21 was much more evenly matched.
I have flown against the MiG-29 and Su-27 while flying the F-16 (Blocks 30, 40 and 50). Since I have 500 hours in the MiG-29, I'll talk a little more
The Fulcrum is a very reliable airplane. It seldom breaks. The same can be said about the F-16. The F-16 absolutely owns the MiG-29 from beyond visual
range (BVR). Initial contact ranges from both aircraft are similar although I'd give a slight edge to the F-16. The BVR AMRAAM against the AA-10A is
a joke. By the time the Fulcrum pilot gets in range to shoot an AA-10, the AMRAAM has gone active and the F-16 pilot has turned around and is going
away. If forced to merge, I'd still give the advantage to the F-16 pilot. His sensors will tell him exactly where multiple MiG-29s are. The Fulcrum
pilot may have situational awareness (SA) on one F-16 and his displays won't point out exactly where his F-16 adversary is. If the MiG-29 pilot does
have SA, then his helmet-mounted sight and AA-11 Archer make him a deadly adversary. If the F-16 pilot has the Joint Helmet-Mounted Cueing System and
AIM-9X, the advantage is still with the Viper pilot as the off-boresight capability of the AIM-9X is significantly higher than the AA-11. If it comes
down to a gun fight, I still give the advantage to the F-16. The F-16 sustains a high-g turn better than the MiG-29, has better outside visibility, is
more responsive and easier to fly, rolls significantly faster and will out accelerate the MiG-29 like the Fulcrum was glued to the floor (the Block 50
F-16 will out accelerate the Raptor below about 25,000 ft). The Fulcrum is a very sloppy-flying airplane. I'm not saying the Fulcrum is a push over;
the Viper pilot needs to bring his A-game. The Fulcrum pilot better prosecute the merge pretty fast because he doesn't have the fuel to hang around
[edit on 1-9-2007 by fulcrumflyer]