Missile and aircraft turn performance

I have often encountered claims that testing proves performance of modern BVR missiles. Baloney.

Most if not all missile tests nowadays are against QF-4, which has 50% greater turn radius than the F-15 (itself hardly an agile aircraft compared to more modern fighters), and even QF-16 will be weighted down by necessary equipment added. None of them are anywhere as agile as modern fighters, and UAV always has inferior OODA loop compared to a manned fighter, even if operator is sitting right there, whereas drone can’t really compare. In other words, missile Pk based on testing is unrealistically optimistic, even if UAVs/drones used were equipped with modern onboard jammers.

Further, all graphs and videos of tests show target aircraft in a steady state sustained turn. This leaves more than enough time for missile to adapt. For this very reason pilots never use sustained turns to avoid missiles, but rather a combination of maximum acceleration, maximum turn and transient performance (in particular, quick rolls). Which means that probability of kill for radar-guided BVR missiles might be an order of magnitude worse than what is achieved in tests, at the very least.

F-15 has a 9g corner speed of 385 kts for instantaneous turn and a 5 g corner speed of 425 kts for sustained turn at combat weight. Rafale has 11 g corner speed of 330 kts for instantaneous turn with 2 wingtip missiles and 9 g corner speed of 350 kts for sustained turn at combat weight; Typhoon’s sustained turn performance is said to be the same. F-4 has a 7,5 g corner speed of 425 kts for instantaneous turn. This means that….

v^2 / r = a

a / G = g

v = speed of aircraft in turn

r = radius of turn

a = acceleration due to turn

G = acceleration due to gravity (9,81 m/s2)

g = g loading in turn

330 kts = 169,8 m/s

350 kts = 180,1 m/s

385 kts = 198,1 m/s

425 kts = 218,6 m/s

IRIS-T can achieve 60 g at Mach 3, which at 30.000 ft would be 909,3 m/s.

AIM-120 can achieve 40 g at Mach 4, which at 30.000 ft would be 1.212,4 m/s

S-400 can achieve 60 g at Mach 4,5 and sea level (1.531,3 m/s), and 20 g at Mach 4,5 and 30 km (1327,05 m/s?).

Thus turn radius is:

Rafale (instantaneous): 267,16 m

Rafale (sustained): 367,38 m

F-15 (instantaneous): 444,49 m

F-15 (sustained): 958,59 m

F-4 (instantaneous): 649,72 m

IRIS-T (instantaneous): 1.404,73 m

AIM-120 (instantaneous): 3.745,96 m

S-400 (instantaneous): 3.983,8 m / 8.975,85 m

It can be seen that the F-4s sustained turn radius is almost certain to be greater than 1.400 meters. Far greater in fact, due to its draggy airframe and low thrust-to-weight ratio compared to modern fighters (0,86 at combat takeoff weight, worse than Gripen). Now, for fun… F-35 can pull 4,6 g sustained, most likely (an estimate I found) at M 0,85 or above at 20.000 ft, which translates into >269 m/s, for a turn radius of >=1.604 m. In other words, F-35 has sustained turn performance similar to the F-4 (assuming that figures I found for the F-35 are correct, which is a big if except for the g value).

These values don’t really correspond (missile ones are for sea level, while values I used for aircraft are typically at 20-40k feet, which leads to lower turn rate and larger turn radius), but they should give an idea – of both missile performance relative to aircraft, and of aircrafts’ relative performance (and how illogical is it to base missile performance versus Rafale on performance of that same missile versus F-4 drone).

While this is just a speculation, 5 times the g rule probably comes from v^2, since typical WVR missile can achieve Mach 2,5 and typical cruise speed is cca Mach 1, then square difference gives a factor of 5, which corresponds to the rule that missile needs to pull number of gs that is g(m) = [v(m)/v(a)]^2 * g(a). The missile will rarely be fired from an ideal position, and if it flies an intercept path – which indeed does reduce turn capability necessary to hit a target in a sustained turn – and aircraft changes direction of the turn, missile is in far worse position than it would be if it had flown chase path; this means that it has to pull more g than it would normally have to, maybe (depending on relative positions) even more than it would have to match aircraft’s turn capability.

Now, we have turn radius. Turn circumference would be:

Rafale (instantaneous): 1678,78 m

Rafale (sustained): 2.308 m

F-15 (instantaneous): 2.792,8 m

F-15 (sustained): 6.023 m

F-4 (instantaneous): 4.082 m

F-35 (sustained): 10.078 m

IRIS-T (instantaneous): 8.826 m

AIM-120 (instantaneous): 23.537 m

S-400 (instantaneous): 25.031 m / 56.397 m

Combine this with speed and we get turn times:

Rafale (instantaneous): 9,89 s

Rafale (sustained): 12,82 s

F-15 (instantaneous): 14,1 s

F-15 (sustained): 27,55 s

F-4 (instantaneous): 18,67 s

F-35 (sustained): 37,47 s

IRIS-T (instantaneous): 9,71 s

AIM-120 (instantaneous): 19,41 s

S-400 (instantaneous): 16,35 s / 42,5 s

Thus turn rates are:

Rafale (instantaneous): 36,4 deg/s

Rafale (sustained): 28,1 deg/s

Typhoon (sustained): ~28 deg/s

F-15 (instantaneous): 25,5 deg/s

F-15 (sustained): 13,1 deg/s

F-4 (instantaneous): 19,3 deg/s

F-35 (sustained): 9,6 deg/s

IRIS-T (instantaneous): 37,1 deg/s

AIM-120 (instantantaneous): 18,5 deg/s

S-400 (instantaneous): 22 deg/s / 8,5 deg/s

Going by numbers alone, IRIS-T has high probability of kill in ideal conditions, and quite dangerous even if launch conditions are less than ideal – ignoring, of course, any countermeasures, as well as the fact that actual performance of IRIS-T at altitudes where aircraft performance is calculated here will be less than the numbers listed (both IRIS-T’s and AIM-120s turn rates are calculated for sea level, and will be less at medium, and far less at high, altitude). AIM-120 on the other hand has a low chance of hitting a modern fighter if latter is trying to avoid getting shot at all, and can only hit a target that is either not maneuvering or is pulling a steady-state sustained turn (in other words, flying in an easily-predicted circular path). In either case, performance of missile does not negate the need for a maneuverable platform – in IRIS-Ts case, attacking aircraft has to be capable of maneuvering into the perfect six-o-clock position in order to maximize probability of a kill, while AIM-120 is easy enough to evade that it does not negate a need for visual-range dogfight even if IFF requirements are ignored. Achieving a six-o-clock position is important for two reasons. First, it minimizes the amount of turning that missile has to do even though it reduces missile’s range. Second, missile achieving a kill position relative to targeted aircraft does not necessarily result in a kill – if missile’s flight path is perpendicular to that of a target, there is a large possibility of missile exploding on far side of a target and doing no damage; such possibility actually exists for any flight path that is not parallel to the target, albeit it is not as large as for the strictly perpendicular flight path.

(Note here: F-35 values are basically unknown, and I have found different turn values – see below.)

Rafale has also pulled 10,1 g at 448 kts for 24,6 deg/s.

I have also found following turn rate data. Where it conflicts with the above calculations, said calculations should be taken as more reliable:

Rafale A: 32-35 deg/s instantaneous, 24 deg/s sustained

Gripen C: 30 deg/s instantaneous, 20 deg/s sustained

Typhoon: 30-35 deg/s instantaneous, 20-25 deg/s sustained

F-22: 28 deg/s sustained

F-35A: 15 deg/s instantaneous, 12 deg/s sustained

F-15C: 21 deg/s instantaneous, 15-17 deg/s sustained

F-16C: 26 deg/s instantaneous, 18 deg/s sustained

F-18E: 24 deg/s instantaneous, 15-18 deg/s sustained

Su-27: 27 deg/s instanteneous, 21 deg/s sustained

Su-35: 32 deg/s instanteneous, 22,5 deg/s sustained

F-4E: 19,3 deg/s instantaneous, 14,7 deg/s sustained

MiG-23ML: 16,7 deg/s instantaneous, 14,7 deg/s sustained

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Categories: weapons

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108 replies

  1. Come to think of it, is sustained turn really that much good for anything?

    On that note, this is a good rationale for why a lightweight missile is a good option – probably maximum Pk. The IRIS-T was heavily influenced by the Russian R-73 series of missiles; it’d be interesting to compare the latest R-74 and K-74M variants against the IRIS-T.

    • “Come to think of it, is sustained turn really that much good for anything? ”

      Not really.

      “it’d be interesting to compare the latest R-74 and K-74M variants against the IRIS-T.”

      Agreed. I might do AAM comparision someday.

  2. Thx Picard for your wonderfull work.
    Regards.

  3. First off all a question: Rafale can pull a 9g sustained turn? I’m asking because I know that in the 80s the Rockwell HiMAT experimental UAV pulling an 8g sustained turn was a big deal.

    Second off all you should add the South African A-Darter WVR missile https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A-Darter which will probably be the Gripens future main WVR missile seeing as it has been integrated on the South African Gripens (the integration having been done in Sweden it’s probably also integrated on the Swedish Gripens ) and is going to be also integrated on the Brazilian Gripens (they received the license for the A-Darter before the one for Gripen). According to the Wikipedia page (linked above) which cites this article http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/brazilian-air-force-commissions-factory-for-a-darter-missile-confirms-380258/ the A Darter can pull 100g turns. I didn’t find anything about it’s maximum speed.

  4. Most if not all missile tests nowadays are against QF-4

    Where did you hear this? Has the USAF/USN exhausted its MQM-107 & BQM-167 inventory?
    ______________________________________

    even QF-16 will be weighted down by necessary equipment added

    – I admire your confidence. How much additional weight do you expect the QF-16 to carry and how did you arrive at the figure?
    ______________________________________

    UAV always has inferior OODA loop compared to a manned fighter

    – In an well equipped testing range, the UAV operator will have access to information on the aircraft, launch parameters and missile tracking information allowing him to simulate the response of an actual pilot.
    ______________________________________

    Further, all graphs and videos of tests show target aircraft in a steady state sustained turn.

    – The US military (and allies) launch some 300 missiles in testing every year. Which would mean about 3000 missiles have been launched over the last one decade, presumably in a wide variety of conditions not limited to those carried out for photo ops. How many missile testing videos have you watched?
    ______________________________________

    The missile will rarely be fired from an ideal position, and if it flies an intercept path – which indeed does reduce turn capability necessary to hit a target in a sustained turn – and aircraft changes direction of the turn, missile is in far worse position than it would be if it had flown chase path; this means that it has to pull more g than it would normally have to, maybe (depending on relative positions) even more than it would have to match aircraft’s turn capability.

    – The missile can change direction far more easily than the aircraft. And by virtue of being at a distance it’ll need to make a far smaller course correction to compensate for a change in the target’s trajectory.

    • “Where did you hear this? Has the USAF/USN exhausted its MQM-107 & BQM-167 inventory?”

      IIRC, -107 was retired in 1996.
      http://www.wsmr-history.org/Drone107D.htm

      And these drones don’t accurately duplicate tactical aircraft’s behavior, thus use of the QF-4 and introduction of QF-16 (why no QF-15?). But with all drones there is an issue of basic OODA loop. In order to evade a missile, maneuvers have to be timed correctly. Drones and UAVs are not capable of that.

      “How much additional weight do you expect the QF-16 to carry and how did you arrive at the figure?”

      No idea. But you need sensors that can accurately detect how close did the missile come even if the drone wasn’t hit, a remote control system, as well as additional sensors providing 360* spherical SA if you want to be capable of pulling off anything resembling an evasive maneuver. So few hundred kgs. And since QF-16 is required to fly in both manned and unmanned configuration, you won’t lose any weight on life support or other systems.

      “– In an well equipped testing range, the UAV operator will have access to information on the aircraft, launch parameters and missile tracking information allowing him to simulate the response of an actual pilot.”

      It isn’t enough. He can’t assess the situation as well as the pilot in the aircraft, and there is a matter of control lag as well.

      “– The missile can change direction far more easily than the aircraft.”

      Not necessarily. It needs lift for that, and missile is optimized for high speed flight, not for turning. So it will start to lose lift even at small angles of attack – especially since much of the lift for modern missiles comes from body, which is anything but optimized for the high-AoA performance.

      • Don’t many missiles now have TVC. I guess you can argue the temp loss of energy situation but with missiles high thrust to weight, energy will be regained easily. Shot would have to be taken at distance where fuel is sufficient for manuevers. Like you have said Picard, “if missile goes ballistic it has no chance”, unless pilot is completely unaware.

        • WVR missiles do have TVC to compensate for control surface ineffectiveness at high speeds, BVR missiles don’t. TVC also helps with HOBS performance. However, turn rate is always limited by lift and g limits; TVC has no impact on either.

        • What is HOBS? My acronym dictionary (inside my head) is not recognizing this one.

          TVC is of poor use in sustained turn where wing loading/lift becomes key aspect but, in instant turns/change of direction TVC is superb. Most missiles have poor lift I would think since wing area is small. Although, missile is also very light usually.

          I know we had this argumant before but, with the info I have recently digested I cant help but beleive that TVC on aircraft has to be extremely helpful in change of direction and transitions. You do lose energy and become sitting target for a second but with good fly by wire, fast moving thrust nozzles, and good thrust to weight you can overcome that.

          You still need good aerodynamic features, control surfaces, canards, etc. But, there are things you cant do as well without vectoring thrust.

          For example an aircraft like Rafale that has good control surfaces, unstable design, high thust, good wing loading, etc. If you add ability to use advanced TVC it would be able to do some things it just cant do right now.

          I do wonder if the strain on the pilot would be too much.

          I also wonder if the added cost of a TVC engine is worth what you gain tactically.

        • “What is HOBS?”

          High Off Bore Shot, which allows pilot to lock on to a target and launch a missile within 90* off the axis.

          “TVC is of poor use in sustained turn where wing loading/lift becomes key aspect but, in instant turns/change of direction TVC is superb.”

          Actually lift is a key aspect in instantaneous turn as well, even more important than in a sustained turn. TVC may increase pitch / turn onset rate, but even then there are better ways of doing it.

          “with the info I have recently digested I cant help but beleive that TVC on aircraft has to be extremely helpful in change of direction and transitions.”

          Depends on the aircraft. For many configurations it does help, but close coupled canards for example have mostly same effect (increased pitch onset / pitch rate, roll onset / roll rate, control at high altitudes / high angles of attack and general nose pointing ability) while improving lift and without losing thrust in the process. Meanwhile, even using TVC simply for rapidly changing direction of flight leads to major loss in thrust and thus loss in energy.

          Missiles are a different thing since they fly at far higher speeds and can’t be shaped the same way aircraft can.

          “You do lose energy and become sitting target for a second but with good fly by wire, fast moving thrust nozzles, and good thrust to weight you can overcome that.”

          Depends. TVC increases weight of the aircraft, and even a minor initial increase can send everything spiralling up (more weight to the engine + more weight to the airframe (to accomodate increased stress) > larger wing (to maintain wing loading) > stronger structural elements (to accomodate larger wing) > more weight to the airframe > stronger engine (to maintain TWR) > more fuel (to maintain endurance). That is why I removed everything redundant or unnecessary when making a fighter aircraft proposal.

          Further, it takes time to recover the energy. Which means that while easy sustained turns are not an option in combat (turns greater than 90* are basically suicidal), energy losses during instantaneous turns should be kept to minimum for a given turn rate. This automatically excludes changing direction of thrust. (Standard approach is a hard 45-90* turn followed by either 1 g or 0 g acceleration, or a roll, another turn and acceleration to recover the energy. I believe I have linked a PDF in which most of it is explained, in any case book’s called “Fighter Combat – Tactics and Maneuvering”, by Robert L. Shaw).

          Another problem is that TVC adds a very problematic failure point. Even the simplest vectoring system is rather complex, and if nozzle gets stuck in wrong position, aircraft is going down – regardless of how many engines it has (you can shut down the engine, but if it happens during dogfight, you’re dead anyway). TVC is also a rather maintenance-intensive system.

          In the end, TVC is simply a patch-up work for aircraft not designed for maximum aerodynamic maneuverability.

          “If you add ability to use advanced TVC it would be able to do some things it just cant do right now. ”

          I can’t think of any. Gripen, which has lower TWR and similar overall aerodynamic configuration (superior in some respects – such as middle fuselage shaping – while inferior in others, such as shaping of air intake area and lack of LERX), can achieve cca 100* maximum angle of attack and 70-80* sustained angle of attack. It also has excellent transient and airfield performance. Rafale has similar, if not better, high-AoA performance while having most likely superior roll performance. Carrier landing performance is also very good.

          “I also wonder if the added cost of a TVC engine is worth what you gain tactically.”

          I don’t think it is.

        • You make some good points but, I still disagree with your point that Canards can do what TVC can. Canards are better in some things but cant change direction that quick.

          Although turn is less abrupt (with canards) there is no change in thrust direction and much less loss of energy. If it were not for cost and added maintenenace and complexity TVC added to a plane like Rafale (with switch on/off) would add tactical abilities.

          In a WVR dogfight I would take the Rafale airframe over the F-22. I dont think TVC is better than all the aspects that make Rafale great but TVC together with other aspects is useful. I beleive at least.

          I have to go back and look for that link. I sometimes miss out on things. I do most of my blogging between clients at work and my work computer blocks most links.

          When I get home I have a wife and two kids (one newborn) so I have my hands full.

          I have to find that book. I beleive I will enjoy it much.

          Thank you.

        • “Canards are better in some things but cant change direction that quick.”

          Close coupled canards are less of a control and more of a lift improvement surface, and that is most strongly felt at forward portion of the wing, which results in a strong pitch-up moment*. This moment is normally balanced by control surfaces – both canards and trailling edge surfaces. When pitching, canards go from producing downforce to producing upforce, while trailling edge control surfaces go from producing upforce to producing downforce. Since control surfaces – especially canards – are less massive than vectoring nozzles, they can achieve this transition in smaller amount of time.

          * Unlike design control of centre of lift in classical canardless or long arm canard aircraft, which control centre of lift solely by wing position and design, interaction between close coupled canard and wing results in centre of lift being further forward than it normally would, causing stronger pitch-up moment. Some documents I have read also suggest that canard movement may lead to momentary increase in lift on forward portion of the wing, increasing pitch-up moment even more when turn is initiated. This also means that less control surface deflection is necessary to initiate a turn, reducing drag. Further, close coupled canard aircraft experience slower backwards shift in centre of lift compared to other aircraft types, significantly improving supersonic maneuverability.

          TVC allows the aircraft to rotate around the pitch axis, but using it also means that portion of thrust negates lift. As a result, aircraft with TVC do not actually turn faster in most cases (exception are the aircraft – like the F-16 and, I believe, F-22 – which are incapable of reaching AoA required for maximum lift without using TVC). In fact, when TVC is just engaged, aircraft will sink – it will pitch but will not turn, and will loose altitude – for a moment before it actually starts turning. This vulnerability window is well known, and was exploited by both Typhoon pilots going against the F-22, and F-15 pilots against the Su-30.

          In the end, only lift allows the aircraft to change direction of flight, and TVC does not provide it. What TVC does is to increase effectiveness of control surfaces in situations when they are ineffective – very low subsonic speeds and supersonic speeds. Neither is a problem for close coupled canard aircraft – IIRC, Rafale was flown as slow as 18 knots in a mock dogfight against Mirage.

          “If it were not for cost and added maintenenace and complexity TVC added to a plane like Rafale (with switch on/off) would add tactical abilities.”

          I don’t think so. Rafale has close coupled canards, and for that configuration TVC brings no real advantages.

          “I have to go back and look for that link. I sometimes miss out on things. I do most of my blogging between clients at work and my work computer blocks most links.
          When I get home I have a wife and two kids (one newborn) so I have my hands full.
          I have to find that book. I beleive I will enjoy it much.”

          No problem.

        • “Actually lift is a key aspect in instantaneous turn as well, even more important than in a sustained turn. TVC may increase pitch / turn onset rate, but even then there are better ways of doing it.”

          Such as ? Whats gonna be more effective at 15000m alt, aerodinamic surfaces or TVC ?

          “Meanwhile, even using TVC simply for rapidly changing direction of flight leads to major loss in thrust and thus loss in energy.”

          True, but only if bad pilot is in the plane. AGAIN, what is more effective at high alt.- high speed scenario, close coupled canards or TVC ?

          “Of course they are. Rafale for example can achieve 11 g with 2 wingtip missiles but “only” 9 g with standard combat load, and I believe that some hardpoints are only loaded for 5-7 g. Best turn rate is achieved at corner speed of instantaneous turn.”

          And what is standard combat load ? Few more AA missiles. If you want me to believe that ANY plane can achieve such stated maneuvrability with 2-4 bombs in Air to ground scenario than i would like to see those figures. The numbers i gave for Su-27 are with 4 AA missiles wich is irrelevant for AG scenario and dont forget that people on the ground can have quite good idea about strike package and fighter cover, based on flight profiles, so, wich planes they gonna target ?

          “Best case scenario” for given parameters, which are almost never optimal for the missile.”

          FALSE, thats why algorithms are made (and open architecture nowdays), thats why pilots always try to stay out of SAM(or AA missile) engagement zone and thats why SAM operators (or pilots) are trying to postpone launch, problem is if AG (AA) weapons have no reach, you just have to enter danger zone sometimes…thats the game of cat and mouse. Thats why i say it takes time to outmaneuver the missile, to change your parameters relative to the missile in such a way so you can defeat it, wether you gonna have this time or not is a question, and what this will cost you. Mission kill maybe in SAM scenario, or being eventualy shot down in AA scenario, depends…Majority of Serbian pilots were able to evade at least one AMRAAM, one evaded 4, but all were shot down eventually, as NATO was flying higher and had longer range weapons, so even crappy AMRAAM did the job at the end. Once you got fired upon you are in a defensive situation and you loose initiative, consecutive shots will bring you down, no matter how good your plane is and the better the missile less shots will be needed.

          Of course, in AA scenario things works diferently, historicaly IC missiles were more usefull, but than again, even SARH misiles were somehow effective when fired from close ranges, but SARH for BVR were useless, question is how new ARH missiles with AESA heads will perform…and its just question of time when dual seekers will be introduced, take RVV-BD for example, such a big missile has enough space to house both AESA seeker and EO seeker.

        • “Such as ?”

          Close coupled canards.

          “And what is standard combat load ?”

          For rafale, 6 AAMs.

          “Few more AA missiles. If you want me to believe that ANY plane can achieve such stated maneuvrability with 2-4 bombs in Air to ground scenario than i would like to see those figures. The numbers i gave for Su-27 are with 4 AA missiles wich is irrelevant for AG scenario and dont forget that people on the ground can have quite good idea about strike package and fighter cover, based on flight profiles, so, wich planes they gonna target ?”

          It is 5,5 g with bombs, I believe. But Rafale with ARMs will not have problems achieving same maneuverability as air-to-air configured Rafale, and SAM operators can’t know which Rafale carries which.

          “so, wich planes they gonna target ?”

          If they target aircraft with bombs, they will achieve mission kills but will be attacked themselves.

          “Majority of Serbian pilots were able to evade at least one AMRAAM, one evaded 4, but all were shot down eventually, as NATO was flying higher and had longer range weapons, so even crappy AMRAAM did the job at the end.”

          You forgot to mention that Serbs were outnumbered, undertrained – Yugoslav military was fairly crappy by European standards – and using malfunctioning aircraft with no countermeasures. MiG-29 itself is also a rather shitty fighter, all things considered.

          https://defenseissues.wordpress.com/2013/04/27/usefulness-of-bvr-combat/

          “Once you got fired upon you are in a defensive situation and you loose initiative, consecutive shots will bring you down, no matter how good your plane is and the better the missile less shots will be needed.”

          Unless the enemy runs out of the missiles first. Which is entirely possible, especially with SAMs.

          “Of course, in AA scenario things works diferently, historicaly IC missiles were more usefull, but than again, even SARH misiles were somehow effective when fired from close ranges, but SARH for BVR were useless, question is how new ARH missiles with AESA heads will perform”

          Typically, WVR IR missile had twice the Pk of BVR RF missile, when both were fired from within visual range, and IR BVR missile was halfway between them.

          Missile Type — war — Pk
          RF BVR — Gulf — 34% (F-15 stats only)
          IR WVR — Gulf — 67% (F-15 stats only)
          RF BVR — Viet — 8%
          IR BVR — Viet — 11%
          IR WVR — Viet — 15%

          BTW, US Navy and USMC F-18s achieved Pk of 4,76% with Sparrow and 5,26% with Sidewinders during the Desert Storm.

        • “Such as ?”

          “Close coupled canards.”

          You forgot to answer me what is better in high speed high alt scenatio aircfraft vise, and what is better TVC or aerodinamic controls on missile for high alt engagement ?

          It is 5,5 g with bombs, I believe. But Rafale with ARMs will not have problems achieving same maneuverability as air-to-air configured Rafale, and SAM operators can’t know which Rafale carries which.”

          You believe…ok…,i will believe also, though some link will be highly appreciated…When it comes to ARM’s u made a point. Just dont forget one thing, most modern ARM’s performed quite crappy vs old SAM systems…especially against VHF p-18 radars…than just think about new VHF radars, no jamming on those, new ones are actually out of any current ARM bandwith reach….tough…

          “MiG-29 itself is also a rather shitty fighter, all things considered.”

          What all things considered ? It has slightly better maneuvrability than F-15 and F-16 in most cases, radar was comparable to one on F-16, while SHLEM coupled with R-73 was decisive factor in dogfight. German pilots were quite confident against Western planes, while western pilots just bragged about its “not user friendly” interface, this story can buy only one who dont know how to use Mig-29 propperly, and western pilots are one of those cases, they just flew the plane and were not trained on it, most probably thay were not aware of some “things” such as automatic target selection…..As you stated yourself, BVR in those times was futile, so majority of engagements were to be dogfights, than you just activate SHLEM and fly with eyes out of cockpit, having plane with equal at least, but most probably better agility than enemy plus having way better WVR missile is crappy to you ?

          Unless the enemy runs out of the missiles first. Which is entirely possible, especially with SAMs.

          Thats why Su-27 was built to carry 4-6 two missile salvos. Thats why S-400 has 12 TEL’s wich give us 48 long range missiles, or 24 long range missiles plus 96x9m96 missiles…with one reload near by…with missile pk of 10% this give us around 10 planes shot down, just with missiles on TEL’s, quesion is whos gonna run out first, you with planes or me with missiles….and who is paying more $$$ ? And what is faster to build, plane or missile ? And who can be trained faster, pilot or sam crew ? Once again, i do not claim SAM’s are silver bullet, but disregarding them can be fatal mistake.

          Than again, take a look of S-300 proliferation around the world, and than about Typhoon and Rafale…Most probably it will be S-300 against some older planes than Rafale against S-300. Unless we are considering WW3 🙂

        • “You forgot to answer me what is better in high speed high alt scenatio aircfraft vise, and what is better TVC or aerodinamic controls on missile for high alt engagement ?”

          For aircraft, close coupled canards are better for most scenarios. During high speed / high altitude maneuvering engagement, aircraft is limited by quite a few things – such as control surface effectiveness at supersonic speeds, drag vs engine thrust, structural limits etc. TVC and CCC both allow for significant reduction in aircraft trim drag, especially at supersonic speeds, and better controllability in all axises at low subsonic and supersonic speeds. Canard effectiveness is reduced at supersonic speeds compared to subsonic ones. This means that it is possible for TVC to surpass canards in effectiveness after a certain mach number; which number would it be I don’t know, and it would vary depending on configuration.

          That being said, close coupled canard automatically dictates quite a few design parameters if it is to be optimally integrated as opposed to a suboptimal latched-on patchwork, whereas TVC is easier to integrate. For example, TVC was considered in Typhoon as it would reduce drag during supersonic cruise by reducing control surface deflection – something that close coupled canards already achieve with less technical risk, but more risk when it comes to FCS programming. This means that TVC allows for greater design liberty, which is quite important for e.g. stealth aircraft. And combined with what I stated above, it is possible that in designs placing greater emphasis on supersonic cruise as opposed to maneuvering combat TVC would be a superior choice.

          For missiles, TVC is better if you are going for maneuverability, aerodynamic controls combined with ramjet if you are going for range.

          “You believe…ok…,i will believe also, though some link will be highly appreciated…”

          Found it.
          http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/flight-test-dassault-rafale-rampant-rafale-334383/

          “When it comes to ARM’s u made a point. Just dont forget one thing, most modern ARM’s performed quite crappy vs old SAM systems…especially against VHF p-18 radars…than just think about new VHF radars, no jamming on those, new ones are actually out of any current ARM bandwith reach….tough…”

          Yes, VHF radars are a problem since wavelengths are too long for ARM sensors.

          “What all things considered ?”

          http://www.510fs.org/index.php/squadron/code-one-magazine/item/78-schlemming-with-the-fulcrum

          “”The Fulcrum doesn’t have the crisp movements of an F-16,” Sparrow continued. ‘You need to be an octopus in the MiG29 to work the avionics. Those German pilots have it tough. Just to get a simple lock on and fire a missile may take a half dozen hands-off switches or so. We can do the same with a flick of the thumb while we are looking at the HUD. F-16 pilots also have a significant sight advantage. A couple of hundred feet advantage can make a difference in air-to-air combat; the actual difference is more significant than that. MiG29 pilots have a tough time checking their six o’clock. Their canopy rail is higher. They can lose sight of us even when flying BFM.”

          “”Besides visibility, I expected better turning performance,” McCoy continued. “The MiG29 is not a continuous nine-g machine like the F-16. I tried to do some things I normally do in an F-16. For example, I tried a high-AOA guns jink. I got the Fulcrum down to about 180 knots and pulled ninety degrees of bank and pulling heavy g’s I then went to idle and added a little rudder to get the jet to roll with ailerons. The pilot took control away from me in the middle of these maneuvers because the airplane was about to: snap. I use the F-16’s quick roll rate like this all the time with no problem.””

          ““The aircraft was not built for close-in dog fighting, though it is aerodynamically capable of it,” Prunk continued. “The East Germans flew it as a point defense interceptor, like a MiG-21. They were not allowed to max perform the airplane, to explore its capabilities or their own capabilities. Sorties lasted about thirty minutes. The airplane was designed to scramble, jettison the tank, go supersonic, shoot its missiles, and go home.””

          http://www.16va.be/mig-29_experience.htm

          “”The radar is at least a generation behind the AN/APG-65, and is not line-repairable. If we have a radar problem, the aircraft goes back into the hangar. The radar has a poor display, giving poor situational awareness, and this is compounded by the cockpit ergonomics. The radar has reliability problems and lookdown/shootdown problems. There is poor discrimination between targets flying in formation, and we can’t lock onto the target in trail, only onto the lead. We have only the most limited autonomous operating capability.””

          “”Our limited station time and lack of air-to-air refuelling capability effectively rules us out of meaningful air defence missions. Nor are we suited to the sweep escort role. We have a very limited range, especially at high speed and low altitudes, and are limited to 540-kt with external fuel. We have navigation problems, Bullseye control is very difficult and we have only one radio. So if I talk, I ‘trash’ the package’s radios!””

          “”But even then I would still consider the onboard systems too limited, especially the radar, the radar warning receiver, and the navigation system as well as the lack of fuel. These drive the problems we face in tactical scenarios. We suffer from poor presentation of the radar information (which leads to poor situational awareness and identification problems), short BVR weapons range, a bad navigation system and short on- station times.””

          “It has slightly better maneuvrability than F-15 and F-16 in most cases, ”

          Depends. It would be more accurate to say that it has slightly better turn rate than the F-16, but as you can see from above quotes, it has problems with roll and transient performance, which is actually even more important. F-16C has high wing loading as-is, so not very good turn rate (especially by modern standards) but it compensates with transient performance.

          “radar was comparable to one on F-16”

          Assuming it worked, which was not the case on many Serb MiGs.

          “while SHLEM coupled with R-73 was decisive factor in dogfight. ”

          Which they didn’t get a chance to use.

          “but most probably better agility than enemy plus having way better WVR missile is crappy to you ?”

          MiG-29 doesn’t have that good agility, and in any case it has major problems with situational awareness.

          “Thats why S-400 has 12 TEL’s wich give us 48 long range missiles, or 24 long range missiles plus 96x9m96 missiles…with one reload near by…with missile pk of 10% this give us around 10 planes shot down”

          10% Pk for radar-guided SAMs is extremely optimistic. Not even IR MANPADS ever achieved it. 0,2-2% would be more likely, so 0,2-2 aircraft per battery, and that is assuming it can launch all missiles.

          “Than again, take a look of S-300 proliferation around the world, and than about Typhoon and Rafale…Most probably it will be S-300 against some older planes than Rafale against S-300. Unless we are considering WW3 :-)”

          That is true. Though I have the tendency to consider worst-case scenarios – just check scenario discussed at the end of this article:
          https://defenseissues.wordpress.com/2014/08/02/air-superiority-fighter-proposal-6/

        • “This means that it is possible for TVC to surpass canards in effectiveness after a certain mach number; which number would it be I don’t know, and it would vary depending on configuration.”

          This being said, lets suppose worst case scenario: What if adversory impose 17-18000m mach1.7 supercruise with TVC equiped plane. How Rafale and Typhoon will cope with this situation ?

          “”Besides visibility, I expected better turning performance,” McCoy continued. “The MiG29 is not a continuous nine-g machine like the F-16″

          Here McCoy tryes to tell that continuous 9g turn means something in combat. I dont buy this. I believe this one is accurate:

          “Further, it takes time to recover the energy. Which means that while easy sustained turns are not an option in combat (turns greater than 90* are basically suicidal) ! ! !, energy losses during instantaneous turns should be kept to minimum for a given turn rate. This automatically excludes changing direction of thrust. (Standard approach is a hard 45-90* turn followed by either 1 g or 0 g acceleration, or a roll, another turn and acceleration to recover the energy. I believe I have linked a PDF in which most of it is explained, in any case book’s called “Fighter Combat – Tactics and Maneuvering”, by Robert L. Shaw).”

          So, who is wright here, McCoy or Picard ?
          Anyway, even if constant 9g means something its quite questionble how long actually pilot can sustain 9 G’s in F-16.

          “The pilot took control away from me in the middle of these maneuvers because the airplane was about to: snap. I use the F-16’s quick roll rate like this all the time with no problem.””

          Here is obvious that guy dont know how to fly Mig-29 as he needed intervention from real pilot. You dont fly one plane like you are used to fly another, thats not pilot approach, at least not aproach from good pilot as every plane is story for itself. The same kind of story could come from Mig-29 pilot trying to perform Cobra or Bell maneuver on f-16. BTW, 180 knots is slow, meaning that in actuall combat a lot of energy was lossed, pilot who ends up in such situation deservs to be shot down. Again, why performing such maneuvers while you have HMS ?

          ““The aircraft was not built for close-in dog fighting, though it is aerodynamically capable of it,” Prunk continued. “The East Germans flew it as a point defense interceptor, like a MiG-21.”

          Here author denies himself in very same sentence. BTW, if he is wright than why HMS+ Archer combination ? Besides, wrong doctrine of use has nothing to do with plane characteristics:

          “They were not allowed to max perform the airplane, to explore its capabilities or their own capabilities. ”

          “There is poor discrimination between targets flying in formation, and we can’t lock onto the target in trail, only onto the lead. We have only the most limited autonomous operating capability.””

          This one i dont understand, Mig-29 can not engage aircraft in persuit ? It’s radar can not do it ?

          “”Our limited station time and lack of air-to-air refuelling capability effectively rules us out of meaningful air defence missions. Nor are we suited to the sweep escort role. ”

          Spinning. Mig-29 was designed as frontline fighter, meaning it would fly short range fighter missions or escort Su-25. Compare actual Mig-29 combat radius with Su-25 combat radius and you will see they are quite simmilar. Mig-29 was designed for specific role, if some was using/misusing it its just a mistake. As i said before, when you buy some weapon system you should take manufacturers doctrine as much as possible. Of course it can not ecort F-15E. BTW, what is F-16 range on internal fuel ?

          “”But even then I would still consider the onboard systems too limited, especially the radar, the radar warning receiver, and the navigation system as well as the lack of fuel. These drive the problems we face in tactical scenarios. We suffer from poor presentation of the radar information (which leads to poor situational awareness and identification problems), short BVR weapons range, a bad navigation system and short on- station times.””

          Question is why F-15, F-16, F-18 with their good situational awareness so hevily rely on AWACS? AWACS was for west as GCI was for east, both relied on additional info- another spinning. Short BVR range ? It had 30km- or so BVR range, at time it was designed, as for today its quite enough. What are BVR ranges historicaly? I believe you did some work on this posting the ranges of BVR shots, remind me, how many of these shots were made beyond 30km, and how many were succsesfull ? Another spinning if you ask me.

          “”But even then I would still consider the onboard systems too limited, especially the radar, the radar warning receiver”

          Beryoza RWR will give you type of radar (air to air, short range SAM, Medium range SAM, long range SAM, AWACS), its relative bearing, range estimate and in case of Air to air radar whether is above or bellow your plane. What else this “pilot” needs ?

          “Assuming it worked, which was not the case on many Serb MiGs.”

          Serb MiGs had their resources expired in 1995 and merely flyable, and as said by yourself they were outnumberd and outguned so this case is not particularly good for comparison. Anyway, would like you to elaborate how would Rafale, Gripen, Typhoon perform in similar situation(assuming they are completly operational), meaning they are 20:1 outnumbered with enemy having AWACS while they rely on poor GCI.

          “Assuming it worked, which was not the case on many Serb MiGs. & Which they didn’t get a chance to use.”

          Where did in previous two statements “Though I have the tendency to consider worst-case scenarios” dissapeared ?

          “10% Pk for radar-guided SAMs is extremely optimistic. Not even IR MANPADS ever achieved it. 0,2-2% would be more likely, so 0,2-2 aircraft per battery, and that is assuming it can launch all missiles.”

          Once you posted a link from fas.org as a proof of Patriot bad performance. Meaning that you know about this website and that you take it as a good enough source. Than, check what they say about Sa-6:

          “Extensively used in the 1973 Israeli-Arab war (64 airplanes were shot down by 95 fired missiles)”

          http://fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/missile/row/sa-6.htm

          Which gives us a pk of ?

          Its quite strange that you consider MANPADS to be most effective. While they have bigest suprise element, they are worst maneuvrable, worst reliable and with worst seekers, parameters you actually use to prove missiles inefectivness. If you check you will see that majority of planes shot down by MANPADS were not fast, maneuvrable aircraft.

          Regards.

        • “This being said, lets suppose worst case scenario: What if adversory impose 17-18000m mach1.7 supercruise with TVC equiped plane. How Rafale and Typhoon will cope with this situation ?”

          Enemy will have freedom to chose where to attack from, and wether to disengage. However, since both Rafale and Typhoon have RWRs, and cruise at same altitude though some M 0,2-0,4 slower, he will have to use IRST to attack in order to make full use of his speed advantage. Otherwise he will allow Rafale/Typhoon to easily acquire him with IRST by using their radar warners, after which he will have to face with very likely shot in the face. And since Rafale has IR BVRAAM, such a situation will be quite dangerous.

          “Here McCoy tryes to tell that continuous 9g turn means something in combat.”

          In one on one engagement it does. Only problem is that only time engagements are one-on-one are practice sorties. It is typically four on four, four or two, two on two and two on one. Less often engagement involve squadrons or wings.

          One actually important thing that good continuous turn performance does reveal is good thrust-to-drag ratio, which means less energy lost during instantaneous turn, and thus typically less time required to recover the energy after the turn. But a fighter with low cruise but extreme high AoA drag (say, highly swept wings) may well be capable of recovering lost energy in short amount of time despite suffering extreme energy loss during sustained turn, simply due to excellent acceleration.

          “Here is obvious that guy dont know how to fly Mig-29 as he needed intervention from real pilot.”

          If flying a MiG-29 involves no abrupt rolls, then it means that MiG-29 is a crappy dogfighter, period. Transient performance is critical for success in dogfight, and best measures for transient performance would be: time to go from 1 g to maximum positive g and back; time to roll 90* in one direction and 180* in the opposite direction; time to accelerate from economic cruise speed to maximum cruise speed; time to decelerate from maximum cruise speed to economic cruise speed; time to decelerate from maximum cruise speed to instantaneous turn corner speed; time to decelerate from economic cruise speed to instantaneous turn corner speed).

          Now a quote you are referring to:
          >For example, I tried a high-AOA guns jink. I got the Fulcrum down to about 180 knots and pulled ninety degrees of bank and pulling heavy g’s I then went to idle and added a little rudder to get the jet to roll with ailerons. The pilot took control away from me in the middle of these maneuvers because the airplane was about to: snap.>There were several factors playing into SAMs success. Israelis were surprised and had to go after priority targets – attacking ground troops – with no time left to organize SAM supression. SAMs were fired in large salvos – often of 20 or more missiles. Obvious answer to SAM threat is to go below SAMs envelope, and that is what Israelis did. However, since they had no proper CAS aircraft, they had to use fast, thin-skinned fighter jets for ground attack, which made them vulnerable to AAA. Israelis also had no previous experience in dealing with SAMs, and had in fact ignored the problem alltogether. SA-6 was effective in particular – shooting down 36 aircraft on a first day – because of three factors. Israeli electronic countermeasures were designed to counter SA-2 and SA-3, and were useless against the SA-6. As a result, ALR-36 RWR used by Israeli Air Force was unable to pick up any radar emissions from the SA-6. Israeli aircraft also had no missile approach warners, which meant that pilots had to pick up SAMs visually. This, however, was hard to do – main Israeli aircraft were F-4 Phantom and A-4 Skyhawk, both aircraft with very bad cockpit visibility and low to moderate cruise speeds (510 kts / Mach 0,87 and 420 kts / Mach 0,62, respectively). After RWRs were modified to detect the SA-6 launches, losses dropped sharply since evasive maneuvers were typically effective against it, despite aircrafts’ less-than-ideal maneuvering performance (F-4 had a very high wing loading while A-4 had low thrust-to-weight ratio). Even then, majority of Israeli A-4 fleet had no RWR at all, and vast majority of all aircraft used had no chaff or jammers. Flares were not used at all. In the end, SA-6 achieved a Pk of 1-2%, and 30-40% of total Israeli losses happened during the first three days of the war.<<

          So a scenario hugely biased in favor of SAMs, and SA-6 still achieved 1-2% Pk.

          "Its quite strange that you consider MANPADS to be most effective. While they have bigest suprise element, they are worst maneuvrable, worst reliable and with worst seekers,"

          Actually, MANPADS tend to have IR seekers, which are far more effective than radar seekers (even ones that are superior on the paper) as they are harder to jam or decoy, and cope better when target maneuvers. And SAMs are typically only effective when the target is unaware of them, regardless of the seeker type.

          During war in Yugoslavia, 3 aircraft (an F-16, a Sea Harrier and a Mirage 2000D) were lost to IR SAMs, compared to one lost to radar SAM (an F-117; another was also hit but made it back to base and was written off). So not only did IR SAMs shoot down more aircraft, each of these aircraft was also a more difficult target.

          "If you check you will see that majority of planes shot down by MANPADS were not fast, maneuvrable aircraft."

          Majority of the aircraft shot down by any type of SAM were not fast, maneuverable aircraft. It speaks more of SAMs in general than of any single SAM type.

      • “What all things considered ? It has slightly better maneuvrability than F-15 and F-16 in most cases, radar was comparable to one on F-16, while SHLEM coupled with R-73 was decisive factor in dogfight. German pilots were quite confident against Western planes, while western pilots just bragged about its “not user friendly” interface, this story can buy only one who dont know how to use Mig-29 propperly, and western pilots are one of those cases, they just flew the plane and were not trained on it, most probably thay were not aware of some “things” such as automatic target selection”

        FALSE

        Cheetahfan258 (which is a pilot with 500 hours in the MiG-29 and 2000 in the F-16) commented on this very issues in this article: https://defenseissues.wordpress.com/2013/05/04/aerodynamic-families-of-jet-figters/ his last comment on the page.

        I reproduce the comment bellow:

        cheetahfang258 said
        September 21, 2014 at 2:43 am

        From an F-16 Fighter pilot’s perspective
        I’ve got over 500 hours in the MiG-29 and 2000 hours in the F-16 (I also flew the F-15A/C and the F-5E). The following is an excerpt from a research papaer I wrote while working on a Master’s DEGREE IN aerospace engineering. Bottom line: F16 (and F-15) good, MiG-29 bad.

        MiG-29 Fulcrum Versus F-16 Viper

        The baseline MiG-29 for this comparison will be the MiG-29A (except for 200 kg more fuel and an internal jammer, the MiG-29C was not an improvement over the MiG-29A), as this was the most widely deployed version of the aircraft. The baseline F-16 will be the F-16C Block 40. Although there is a more advanced and powerful version of the F-16C, the Block 40 was produced and fielded during the height of Fulcrum production.

        A combat loaded MiG-29A tips the scales at approximately 38, 500 pounds. This figure includes a full load of internal fuel, two AA-10A Alamo missiles, four AA-11 Archer missiles, 150 rounds of 30mm ammunition and a full centerline 1,500 liter external fuel tank. With 18,600 pounds of thrust per engine, this gives the Fulcrum a takeoff thrust-to-weight ratio of 0.97:1. A similarly loaded air-to-air configured F-16 Block 40 would carry four AIM-120 AMRAAM active radar-guided missiles, two AIM-9M IR-guided missiles, 510 rounds of 20mm ammunition and a 300 gallon external centerline fuel tank. In this configuration, the F-16 weighs 31,640 pounds. With 29,000 pounds of thrust, the F-16 has a takeoff thrust-to-weight ratio of 0.92:1. The reader should be cautioned that these thrust-to-weight ratios are based on uninstalled thrust. Once an engine is installed in the aircraft, it produces less thrust than it does on a test stand due to the air intake allowing in less air than the engine has available on the test stand.
        The actual installed thrust-to-weight ratios vary based on the source. On average, they are in the 1:1 regime or better for both aircraft. The centerline fuel tanks can be jettisoned and probably would be if the situation dictated with an associated decrease in drag and weight and an increase in performance.

        Speed

        Both aircraft display good performance throughout their flight regimes in the comparison configuration. The MiG-29 enjoys a speed advantage at high altitude with a flight manual limit of Mach 2.3. The F-16’s high altitude limit is
        Mach 2.05 but this is more of a limit of inlet design. The MiG-29 has variable geometry inlets to control the shock wave that forms in the inlet and prevent supersonic flow from reaching the engine. The F-16 employs a simple fixed-geometry inlet with a sharp upper lip that extends out beyond the lower portion of the inlet. A shock wave forms on this lip and prevents the flow in the intake from going supersonic. The objective is to keep the air going into the engine subsonic unlike a certain ‘subject matter expert’ on this website who thinks that the air should be accelerated to even higher speeds than the aircraft is traveling. Supersonic air in the compressor section? That’s bad.

        Both aircraft have the same indicated airspeed limit at lower altitudes of
        810 knots. This would require the centerline tanks to be jettisoned. The placard limits for the tanks are 600 knots or Mach 1.6 (Mach 1.5 for the MiG-29) whichever less is. It was the researcher’s experience that the MiG-29 would probably not reach this limit unless a dive was initiated. The F-16 Block 40 will easily reach 800 knots on the deck. In fact, power must be reduced to avoid exceeding placard limits. The limit is not thrust, as the F-16 has been test flown on the plus side of 900 knots. The limit for the F-16 is the canopy. Heating due to air friction at such speeds will cause the polycarbonate canopy to get soft and ultimately fail.

        Turning Capability

        The MiG-29 and F-16 are both considered 9 G aircraft. Until the centerline tank is empty, the Fulcrum is limited to four Gs and the Viper to seven Gs. The
        MiG-29 is also limited to seven Gs above Mach 0.85 while the F-16, once the centerline tank is empty (or jettisoned) can go to nine Gs regardless of airspeed or Mach number. The MiG-29’s seven G limit is due to loads on the vertical stabilizers. MAPO has advertised that the Fulcrum could be stressed to 12 Gs and still not hurt the airframe. This statement is probably wishful and boastful. The German Luftwaffe, which flew its MiG-29s probably more aggressively than any other operator, experienced cracks in the structure at the base of the vertical tails. The F-16 can actually exceed nine Gs without overstressing the airframe. Depending on configuration, momentary overshoots to as much as 10.3 Gs will not cause any concern with aircraft maintainers.

        Handling

        Of the four fighters I have flown, the MiG-29 has by far the worst handling qualities. The hydro-mechanical flight control system uses an artificial feel system of springs and pulleys to simulate control force changes with varying airspeeds and altitudes. There is a stability augmentation system that makes the aircraft easier to fly but also makes the aircraft more sluggish to flight control inputs. It is my opinion that the jet is more responsive with the augmentation system disengaged. Unfortunately, this was allowed for demonstration purposes only as this also disengages the angle-of-attack (AoA) limiter. Stick forces are relatively light but the stick requires a lot of movement to get the desired response. This only adds to sluggish feeling of the aircraft. The entire time you are flying, the stick will move randomly about one-half inch on its own with a corresponding movement of the flight control surface. Flying the Fulcrum requires constant attention. If the pilot takes his hand off the throttles, the throttles probably won’t stay in the position in which they were left. They’ll probably slide back into the ‘idle’ position.

        The Fulcrum is relatively easy to fly during most phases of flight such as takeoff, climb, cruise and landing. However, due to flight control limitations, the pilot must work hard to get the jet to respond the way he wants. This is especially evident in aggressive maneuvering, flying formation or during attempts to employ the gun. Aerial gunnery requires very precise handling in order to be successful. The MiG-29’s handling qualities in no way limit the ability of the pilot to perform his mission, but they do dramatically increase his workload. The F-16’s quadruple-redundant digital flight control system, on the other hand, is extremely responsive, precise and smooth throughout the flight regime.

        There is no auto-trim system in the MiG-29 as in the F-16. Trimming the aircraft is practically an unattainable state of grace in the Fulcrum. The trim of the aircraft is very sensitive to changes in airspeed and power and requires constant attention. Changes to aircraft configuration such as raising and lowering the landing gear and flaps cause significant changes in pitch trim that the pilot must be prepared for. As a result, the MiG-29 requires constant attention to fly. The F-16 auto-trims to one G or for whatever G the pilot has manually trimmed the aircraft for.

        The MiG-29 flight control system also has an AoA limiter that limits the allowable AoA to 26°. As the aircraft reaches the limit, pistons at the base of the stick push the stick forward and reduce the AoA about 5°. The pilot has to fight the flight controls to hold the jet at 26°. The limiter can be overridden, however, with about 17 kg more back pressure on the stick. While not entirely unsafe and at times tactically useful, care must be taken not to attempt to roll the aircraft with ailerons when above 26° AoA. In this case it is best to control roll with the rudders due to adverse yaw caused by the ailerons at high AoA. The F-16 is electronically limited to 26° AoA. While the pilot cannot manually override this limit it is possible to overshoot under certain conditions and risk departure from controlled flight. This is a disadvantage to the F-16 but is a safety margin due its lack of longitudinal stability. Both aircraft have a lift limit of approximately
        35° AoA.

        Combat Scenario

        The ultimate comparison of two fighter aircraft comes down to a combat duel between them. After the Berlin Wall came down the reunified Germany inherited 24 MiG-29s from the Nationale Volksarmee of East Germany. The lessons of capitalism were not lost on MAPO-MiG (the Fulcrum’s manufacturer) who saw this as an opportunity to compare the Fulcrum directly with western types during NATO training exercises. MAPO was quick to boast how the MiG-29 had bested F-15s and F-16s in mock aerial combat. They claimed a combination of the MiG’s superior sensors, weapons and low radar cross section allowed the Fulcrum to beat western aircraft. However, much of the early exploitation was done more to ascertain the MiG-29’s capabilities versus attempting to determine what the outcome of actual combat would be. The western press was also quick to pick up on the theme. In 1991, Benjamin Lambeth cited an article in Jane’s Defence Weekly which stated that the German MiG-29s had beaten F-16s with simulated BVR range shots of more than 60 km. How was this possible when the MiG-29 cannot launch an AA-10A Alamo from outside about 25 km? Was this a case of the fish getting bigger with every telling of the story? The actual BVR capability of the MiG-29 was my biggest disappointment. Was it further exposure to the German Fulcrums in realistic training that showed the jet for what it truly is? It seems that MAPO’s FREE ADVERTISING backfired in the end as further orders were limited to the 18 airplanes sold to Malaysia.

        If F-16Cs and MiG-29s face off in aerial combat, both would detect each other on the radar at comparable range. Armed with the AIM-120 AMRAAM, the F-16s would have the first shot opportunity at more than twice the range as the Fulcrums. A single F-16 would be able to discriminately target individual and multiple Fulcrums. The MiG-29’s radar will not allow this. If there is more than one F-16 in a formation, a Fulcrum pilot would not know exactly which F-16 the radar had locked and he can engage only one F-16 at a time. A Viper pilot can launch AMRAAMS against multiple MiG-29s on the first pass and support his missiles via data link until the missiles go active. He can break the radar lock and leave or CONTINUE to the visual arena and employ short range infrared guided missiles or the gun. The Fulcrum pilot must wait until about 13 nautical miles (24 kilometers) before he can shoot his BVR missile. The Alamo is a semi-active missile that must be supported by the launching aircraft until impact. This brings the Fulcrum pilot closer to the AMRAAM. In fact, just as the the Fulcrum pilot gets in range to fire an Alamo, the AMRAAM is seconds away from impacting his aircraft. The advantage goes to the F-16.

        What if both pilots are committed to engage visually? The F-16 should have the initial advantage as he knows the Fulcrum’s exact altitude and has the target designator box in the head-up display (HUD) to aid in visual acquisition. The Fulcrum’s engines smoke heavily and are a good aid to gaining sight of the adversary. Another advantage is the F-16’s large bubble canopy with 360° field-of-view. The Fulcrum pilot’s HUD doesn’t help much in gaining sight of the F-16. The F-16 is small and has a smokeless engine. The MiG-29 pilot sets low in his cockpit and visibility between the 4 o’clock and 7 o’clock positions is virtually nonexistent.

        Charts that compare actual maneuvering performance of the two aircraft are classified. It was the researcher’s experience that the aircraft have comparable initial turning performance. However, the MiG-29 suffers from a higher energy bleed rate than the F-16. This is due to high induced drag on the airframe during high-G maneuvering. F-16 pilots that have flown against the Fulcrum have made similar observations that the F-16 can sustain a high-G turn longer. This results in a turn rate advantage that translates into a positional advantage for the F-16.

        The F-16 is also much easier to fly and is more responsive at slow speed.
        The Fulcrum’s maximum roll rate is 160° per second. At slow speed this decreases to around 20° per second. Coupled with the large amount of stick movement required, the Fulcrum is extremely sluggish at slow speed. Maneuvering to defeat a close-range gun shot is extremely difficult if the airplane won’t move. For comparison, the F-16’s slow speed roll rate is a little more than 80° per second.

        A lot has been written and theorized about the so-called “Cobra Maneuver” that impresses people at airshows. MAPO claimed that no western fighter dare do this same maneuver in PUBLIC. They also claimed that the Cobra could be used to break the radar lock of an enemy fighter (due to the slow airspeed, there is no Doppler signal for the radar to track) or point the nose of the aircraft to employ weapons. Western fighter pilots were content to let the Russians brag and hope for the opportunity to see a MiG-29 give up all its airspeed. The fact that this maneuver is prohibited in the flight manual only validates the fact that this maneuver was a stunt. Lambeth was the first American to get a flight in the Fulcrum. Even his pilot conceded that the Cobra required a specially prepared aircraft and was prohibited in operational MiG-29 units

        Another maneuver performed by the Fulcrum during its introduction to the West is the so-called “Tail Slide”. The nose of the jet is brought to 90° pitch and the airspeed is allowed to decay. Eventually, the Fulcrum begins to “slide” back, tail-first, until the nose drops and the jet begins to fly normally again. The Soviets boasted this maneuver demonstrated how robust the engines were as this would cause western engines to flameout. The first maneuver demonstrated to me during my F-15 training was the Tail Slide. The engines did not flameout.

        The MiG-29 is not without strong points. The pilot can override the angle of attack limiter. This is especially useful in vertical maneuvering or in last ditch attempts to bring weapons to bear or defeat enemy shots. The HMS and AA-11 Archer make the Fulcrum a deadly foe in the visual arena. The AA-11 is far superior to the American AIM-9M. By merely turning his head, the MiG pilot can bring an Archer to bear. The one limitation, however, is that the Fulcrum pilot has no cue as to where the Archer seeker head is actually looking. This makes it impossible to determine if the missile is tracking the target, a flare, or some other hot spot in the BACKGROUND. (Note: the AIM-9X which is already fielded on the F-15C, and to be fielded on the F-16 in 2007, is far superior to the AA-11)

        Fulcrum pilots have enjoyed their most success with the HMS/Archer combination in one versus one training missions. In this sterile environment, where both aircraft start within visual range of each other, the MiG-29 has a great advantage. Not because it is more maneuverable than the F-16. That is most certainly not the case regardless of the claims of the Fulcrum’s manufacturer and numerous other misinformed propaganda sources. The weapon/sensor integration with the HMS and Archer makes close-in missile employment extremely easy for the Fulcrum’s pilot. My only one versus one fight against a MiG-29 (in something other than another MiG-29) was flown in an F-16 Block 52. This was done against a German MiG-29 at Nellis AFB, Nevada. The F-16 outturned and out-powered the Fulcrum in every situation.

        The Fulcrum’s gun system is fairly accurate as long as the target does not attempt to defeat the shot. If the target maneuvers, the gunsight requires large corrections to get back to solution. Coupled with the jet’s imprecise handling, this makes close-in maneuvering difficult. This is very important when using the gun. Although the Fulcrum has a 30 mm cannon, the muzzle velocity is no more than the 20 mm rounds coming out of the F-16’s gun. The MiG’s effective gun range is actually less than that of the F-16 as the 20 mm rounds are more aerodynamic and maintain their velocity longer.

        If the fight lasts very long, the MiG pilot is at a decided disadvantage and must either kill his foe or find a timely opportunity to leave the fight without placing himself on the defensive. The Fulcrum A holds only 300 pounds more internal fuel than the F-16 and its two engines go through it quickly. There are no fuel flow gauges in the cockpit. Using the clock and the fuel gauge, in full afterburner the MiG-29 uses fuel 3.5 to 4 times faster than the Viper. My shortest MiG-29 sortie was 16 minutes from brake release to touchdown.

        It should not be forgotten that fights between fighters do not occur in a vacuum. One-versus-one comparisons are one thing, but start to include other fighters into the fray and situational awareness (SA) plays an even bigger role. The lack of SA-building tools for MiG-29 pilots will become an even bigger factor if they have more aircraft to keep track of. Poor radar and HUD displays, poor cockpit ergonomics and poor handling qualities added to the Fulcrum pilot’s workload and degraded his overall SA. It was my experience during one-versus-one scenarios emphasizing dogfighting skills, the results came down to pilot skill.

        In multi-ship scenarios, such as a typical four versus four training mission, the advantage clearly went to the side with the highest SA. Against F-15s and F-16s in multi-ship fights, the MiG-29s were always outclassed. It was nearly impossible to use the great potential of the HMS/Archer combination when all the Eagles and Vipers couldn’t be accounted for and the Fulcrums were on the defensive. The MiG-29’s design was a result of the Soviet view on tactical aviation and the level of technology available to their aircraft industry. The pilot was not meant to have a lot of SA. The center of fighter execution was the ground controller. The pilot’s job was to do as instructed and not to make independent decisions. Even the data link system in the MiG-29 was not meant to enhance the pilot’s SA. He was merely linked steering, altitude and heading cues to follow from the controller. If the MiG-29 pilot is cut off from his controller, his autonomous capabilities are extremely limited. Western fighter pilots are given the tools they need to make independent tactical decisions. The mission commander is a pilot on the scene. All other assets are there to assist and not to direct. If the F-16 pilot loses contact with support assets such as the E-3 Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft, he has all the tools to complete the mission autonomously.

        The combat record of the MiG-29 speaks for itself. American F-15s and F-
        16s (a Dutch F-16 shot down a MiG-29 during Operation Allied Force) have downed MiG-29s every time there has been encounters between the types. The only known MiG-29 “victories” occurred during Operation Desert Storm when an Iraqi MiG-29 shot down his own wingman on the first night of the war and a Cuban MiG-29 brought down 2 “mighty” Cessnas. Are there more victories for the Fulcrum? Not against F-15s or F-16s.

        Designed and built to counter the fourth generation American fighters, The MiG-29 Fulcrum was a concept that was technologically and doctrinally hindered from the beginning. Feared in the west prior to the demise of the Soviet Union, it was merely an incremental improvement to the earlier Soviet fighters it replaced. Its lack of a market when put in direct competition to western designs should attest to its shortcomings. The German pilots who flew the aircraft said that the MiG-29 looked good at an airshow but they wouldn’t have wanted to take one to combat. Advanced versions such as the SMT and MiG-33? Certainly better but has anyone bought one?

        Lt. Col. Johann Köck, commander of the German MiG-29 squadron from
        September 1995 to September 1997, was outspoken in his evaluation of the Fulcrum. “It has no range, its navigation system is unreliable and the radar breaks often and does not lend it self to autonomous operations”, he said. He added that the best mission for NATO MiG-29s would be as a dedicated adversary aircraft for other NATO fighters and not as part of NATO’s frontline fighter force.

        • Defense Industry usually tries to play-up the capabilities of the enemy to scare the public into being OK with big spending on “better weapons” or more weapons.

          Exception is when the aircraft are competing for big foreign contracts.

          Even than the stuff that goes out to the public tends to be fear mongering.

          This is true in the USA. Don’t know to well enough about other nations.

        • “The baseline MiG-29 for this comparison will be the MiG-29A (except for 200 kg more fuel and an internal jammer, the MiG-29C was not an improvement over the MiG-29A), as this was the most widely deployed version of the aircraft. The baseline F-16 will be the F-16C Block 40. Although there is a more advanced and powerful version of the F-16C, the Block 40 was produced and fielded during the height of Fulcrum production.”

          BULLSHIT, and thats quite normal when it comes from you, as you repeteadly show lack of knowledge and understanding…

          Why ? Because, if you knew something you would never post this full of horshe sh## article wich has false data embeded such as comparison of Mig-29 with F-16c blk40 as Mig-29A was introduced in 1983 while f-16c blk40 was introduced in 1988, than same “respectfull ” “pilot” take AMRAAM into account while AMRAAM was introduced on F-16 only in 1992(some sources state 1987 but even in Gulf war it was not used that much) Comparing first version of one plane against 6th version of other is spining. By this mig-21 bison can be shown as a better plane than F-16A, it just take “pilot” to tell the story and ignorant reader (as you) to swallow this Sh##…

          Realistic comparison would be F-16c blk25/30 with Sparrow against Mig-29..as if things were to be hot in 80ties, THIS 2 planes would fight….Hope, (really hope, and quite optimistically) that you will understand this point, this time(without further explanation as it may be quite boring as you proved to be hard to teach)..

          Tell me, is there AAA gun with caliber larger than 30mm ? 🙂

        • Igor and Andrei both of you need to stop with this childish game. Act like grown ups!

          Second, It seems to me that Cheetahfang’s credentials are pretty good and his explanation also shows that.

          Can anyone fully verify his claim? Any other fighter pilots out there.

          I would love to hear a responce from someone else who has flown both aircraft. Although, thats unlikely.

          Third, the comparison points would change very little if you used block 25 F-16. In fact in some ways F-16 block 25 was a better plane. It was lighter and more maneuverable.

          Pilots can be biased (towards the aircraft they fly most usually) but, no one’s opinion is more valuable than an actual pilot. Especially one who has flown many types.

        • “Third, the comparison points would change very little if you used block 25 F-16. In fact in some ways F-16 block 25 was a better plane. It was lighter and more maneuverable. ”

          Wrong, as it was lighter and more maneuvrable as you say, it would still be on same, if not worse, level of maneuvrability with mig-29, while it had way worse missile and lacked HMS….With sparrow its BVR capability was close to zero, so majority of engagements would be dogfights were R-73 coupled with HMS would be huge advantage. If HMS was not such a big advantage it would never become standard in western planes.

          As for my relation to andrey, you dont need to intervene, he asked for it, as he figured out that stupidity pises me off and use it to draw my attention wich he obviously craves for.

          Regards.

          PS: Have a look at NATO orbat 1989 document, you will see that majority of F-16 were block 25/30/10/15 and only 72 block 40 stationed in USA.

      • @Igor

        The quote I submitted was based on the personal experience of the poster, his knowledge of how an MiG-29 A handles and how an F-16 C handles. As such it has more relevance then any “realistic comparison” “as if things were to be hot in the 80ties” (whatever did you mean by that) that your feeble imagination might come up with. If you fail to realize that then you make yourself irrelevant the more you rage and swear.
        You accuse me of showing lack of knowledge and understanding when by the very tone of your posts you show a basic lack of common sense long before you feinted knowledge and understanding comes into play and lets not even get into your basic lack of conversational skills which clearly show you to be an pubescent or even pre-pubescent Russian boy too dazzled by half understood facts and propaganda to think straight or absorb any form of knowledge. You have nothing to teach me as you know nothing. And you have nothing to offer to this grown-up conversation, except the same mantra that you try to impose on everybody thinking that you bring new information without realizing that said information has already been digested, and included in the analyses on this site be the owner and other contributors.

        As for your question in the end: another example of your immaturity.

        • I have deleted some comments that boil down to shit exchange, so if you wonder where comments have disappeared, that’s the case.

        • Thats too bad we have to get to this place where we delete peoples comments. Regardless of how wrong anyone may be I think they are entitled to their opinion. As long as they are not spamming the blog. This can be a very slippery slope.

          I hope you re-think this policy Picard.

        • I have nothing to rethink. I only delete comments that have no content. Regardless of what someone may think about “freedom of speech” and such, I will NOT allow this blog to become a place for exchanging insults. Everything has its limits.

        • Its your blog and I agree some controls are needed. I just feel it is a slippery slope.

        • I think he had wright to delete my coments as they were pretty rude and certainly off topic, so they could be regarded as spam..Were he did big no no is revealing where i come from as this is kind of privacy issue. Question now is what other privacy issues he will misuse. As a host here he should not do this kind of things as by this only thing he achieved is to destroy his own reputation. Besides, calling upon who is from where, what is his religion or skin colour is a little bit of “Heil Hittler” kind of thing, wich certainly should be avoided.

          Regards.

        • I never hid where I come from, so I never really thought about it, and all I wanted was to stop that idiotic “he’s from X so he has the opinion” thing. Anyway, I’m gonna delete it.

        • I have no problem revealing where i come from if somebody likes to know or if someone ever wants to visit Serbia he/she is welcome to ask for help and i will do it…. I have a problem when someone use this to make some “point” with this. Historically 2 groups of people used this: Nazis and Comunists and i tend to dislike both. As of me you dont have to delete it. Question is why you posted it in first place and if someone next time will ask you to post my email adress whether you gonna do it….or someone else adress…

          Regards.

        • @ Igor

          e-mail address would be big breach. I have no reason to beleive Picard would do something like that and neither do you.

          Nationality is no breach. Serbia has millions of citizens.

          When you do anthing on-line always expect that nothing is private. People can trace it to you if they wanted. Unless you are using computer in a public place like a public library.

          Nothing said here is top secret.

        • Your missing a point here. When certain person started with “educational” guesses where im from, i could reveal where im from but obviously i didnt want to from reasons i already explained. Picard could say both of us to stop as he has wright to it, but revealing something that someone obviously dont want is a issue. If him or you asked me where i come from just from curiosity i would answer, but im not gonna fuel someones nazi ideology. So, im not talking about “breach” as there was no real one. Im talking about host ethics as there were other ways to stop that bullshit that happened, way before.

          “When you do anthing on-line always expect that nothing is private. People can trace it to you if they wanted. Unless you are using computer in a public place like a public library. ”

          Of course.

          Regards.

        • Its Understood.

          Thank you.

        • “Question is why you posted it in first place”

          Because a possibility that you are from Russia was brought up as a possible cause of your bias. People do tend to be emotional whenever their nation is concerned – in more than a few discussions I had, I got an impression that my opinion about the F-35 was considered by many Americans as an affront to United States themselves. Likewise, using a French surname as a part of my nickname is doing me no favors when it comes to aircraft discussion, since people assume that I am French and that I like Rafale because it is French (and if I were French, it might have even been true).

          “and if someone next time will ask you to post my email adress whether you gonna do it”

          No. Unlike a country, e-mail adress is highly specific – as in, it pertains to one person as opposed to few million.

          In practical matters, someone knowing that I am from Croatia will not make him much more good than knowing that I am from Earth (unless he’s planning to nuke Croatia because of my posts). But knowing my IP or e-mail adress is a completely different thing.

        • “Because a possibility that you are from Russia was brought up as a possible cause of your bias. People do tend to be emotional whenever their nation is concerned – in more than a few discussions I had, I got an impression that my opinion about the F-35 was considered by many Americans as an affront to United States themselves. Likewise, using a French surname as a part of my nickname is doing me no favors when it comes to aircraft discussion, since people assume that I am French and that I like Rafale because it is French (and if I were French, it might have even been true).”

          While i completly understand your point i strongly disagree towards my alleged bias aqusations. If someone red my posts carefully he could nottice that when it comes to Rafale i agree with you. If i remember good i said that i will be pretty confident going in Rafale against F-22 and that is at this moment best plane in the world.. When it comes to my respect of Russian made SAM systems its just because i believe they are the best, as no other nation put so much effort in developing them as Russia, neither no other nation has so much various types and i studyed them a lot more than other countryes systems.. In general, im trying to be objective as much as possible, when i think some weapon system is good it has nothing to do who actually produced it. Problem is that a lot of people tend to dislike/disregard weapons made in Russia believing in old mantra “look at russian cars therefore weapons are also crap” therefore its a knife with two sides, when i say something good about Russian wapons automatically i become Russian fanboy while there is quite good possibility that fanboy is actually on the other side. For example, if you consider Rafale’s strong points you will see some similarities with older Russian planes, IRST, HMS, ARH and IR version of MICA which is BVRAAM missile (like R-27 was, SARH though), good maneuvrability….If you take a look at LECLERC mbt than you will see it share more ideological (design vise) points with T-72 than with any other western tank-small frontal area, relatively light weight, autoloader….Than,antiship missiles, what other country currently produces supersonic ones ? So, Russians do have some very good ideas when it comes to weapons design, others bias towards Russian weapons stops them to see those facts.

          “Likewise, using a French surname as a part of my nickname is doing me no favors when it comes to aircraft discussion, since people assume that I am French and that I like Rafale because it is French (and if I were French, it might have even been true).”

          Those kind of people are fanboys, discussion with them is painfull and time consuming with no guarantiee that this kind of effort will lead somewhere. I tend to evade discussion with fanboys.

          I had no idea you are from Croatia therefore:

          Veliki pozdrav !!!!

          PS: Your aircraft proposals had some kind of smell towards NOVI AVION. Now its clearer why. Shame it never flew as it was small Rafale.

        • “When it comes to my respect of Russian made SAM systems its just because i believe they are the best, as no other nation put so much effort in developing them as Russia,”

          That I agree with, though I still don’t believe they are actually capable of area denial or that they will achieve Pk’s anywhere close to air-to-air missiles.

          “Problem is that a lot of people tend to dislike/disregard weapons made in Russia believing in old mantra “look at russian cars therefore weapons are also crap””

          It is less that and more believeing in “complex = advanced = capable” BS, or taking a shallow look at wars in the Middle East and concluding that “Western = superior”. But most *good* weapons have been simple when compared to their counterparts of the time, and people > ideas > weapons.

          “For example, if you consider Rafale’s strong points you will see some similarities with older Russian planes, IRST, HMS, ARH and IR version of MICA which is BVRAAM missile (like R-27 was, SARH though), good maneuvrability…”

          IIRC, France and Russia are the only countries with an IR BVRAAM. And Russians were the first to include IRST and HMS on their aircraft as standard equipment. What I don’t like about Russian fighters is their size – but that is kinda necessary evil (Siberia, Arctic circle and that stuff).

          “If you take a look at LECLERC mbt than you will see it share more ideological (design vise) points with T-72 than with any other western tank-small frontal area, relatively light weight, autoloader…”

          I know. Though T-72 has (had?) a problem of autoloader trying to feed gunner into the breech, and ammunition in the autoloader being vulnerable to lethal cookoff. Leclerc, Degman, and possibly new Russian tanks fixed these flaws, though. Not sure about M-84D.

          “Than,antiship missiles, what other country currently produces supersonic ones ?”

          Not sure which currently produces such missiles, but I believe that Norway, Germany and China have relatively new missiles of that type.

          “So, Russians do have some very good ideas when it comes to weapons design, others bias towards Russian weapons stops them to see those facts.”

          Nothing new, nor something exclusively applied to Russia. Rafale is derided for its small radar, while value of its IRST and SPECTRA is ignored. Gripen is derided for being small and single-engined, while importance of these characteristics for maintenance, operating cost and wartime survivability is ignored, as is Gripen’s EW suite. M1 is considered the best tank in the world, despite the fact that it has some significant flaws (high fuel consumption, huge maintenance requirements, huge IR signature, gun inferior to British and German counterparts, relatively high track pressure).

          As far as Russia goes… some Russian radars have been derided for use of vacuum tube technology while ignoring their resistance to nuclear EMP. MiG-25 in particular used such technology for basically entire aircraft, which is logical considering its purpose (intercepting nuclear bombers). In military discussions, importance of Flankers’ dirt strip capability is basically ignored. Assessment of Russian weapons is all too often based on the export “monkey” versions – for example, an actual AK-47 is as precise as the M-16, yet it is often seen as not being capable of hitting anything (because it is simple to produce, so even an Afghan blacksmith may be able to copy it… OK, exaggerating a bit, but I don’t think it is very far from truth either). Iraq used crappy copies of Russian T-72 tanks (called “Lion of Babylon”)… these tanks were badly produced, even more badly maintained, crewed by undertrained crews, lacking many systems and shooting steel rod penetrators… yet they are sometimes used as an indication of general performance of Russian tanks (and few times they were actually competently crewed, they managed to cause some M1 Abrams losses).

          BTW:

          http://science.slashdot.org/story/12/05/23/2058251/return-of-the-vacuum-tube

          “Veliki pozdrav !!!!”

          Hvala, također.

          “Your aircraft proposals had some kind of smell towards NOVI AVION. Now its clearer why. Shame it never flew as it was small Rafale.”

          Shame, really. Though I don’t think FLX was directly influenced by Novi Avion, similar requirements = similar solutions. These links should explain design choices:
          https://defenseissues.wordpress.com/2014/08/02/air-superiority-fighter-proposal-6/
          https://defenseissues.wordpress.com/2013/08/24/dassault-rafale-analysis/
          https://defenseissues.wordpress.com/2013/02/16/saab-gripen-analysis/
          https://defenseissues.wordpress.com/2014/08/23/close-coupled-vs-long-arm-canard/
          https://defenseissues.wordpress.com/2013/04/13/usefulness-of-thrust-vectoring/
          https://defenseissues.wordpress.com/2014/08/09/single-vs-twin-engined-fighters/
          https://defenseissues.wordpress.com/2014/07/05/supercruise/
          https://defenseissues.wordpress.com/2013/04/27/usefulness-of-bvr-combat/
          https://defenseissues.wordpress.com/2013/07/20/why-gulf-wars-cannot-be-used-as-a-basis-for-estimating-effectiveness-of-beyond-visual-range-combat/
          https://defenseissues.wordpress.com/2013/06/15/air-to-air-weapons-effectiveness/
          https://defenseissues.wordpress.com/2013/03/30/value-of-stealth-aircraft/
          https://defenseissues.wordpress.com/2014/01/17/stealth-in-the-air/
          https://defenseissues.wordpress.com/2013/02/23/on-multirole-aircraft/
          https://defenseissues.wordpress.com/2013/05/18/why-return-to-single-role-aircraft/
          https://defenseissues.wordpress.com/2014/01/04/quality-versus-quantity-fallacy/
          https://defenseissues.wordpress.com/2013/01/12/why-the-west-should-revert-to-kiss-principle/
          https://defenseissues.wordpress.com/2014/01/25/dangers-of-complex-weapons/
          https://defenseissues.wordpress.com/2013/09/07/are-more-expensive-weapons-automatically-more-capable/
          https://defenseissues.wordpress.com/2015/01/15/notes-on-war/

          In the end, as they say, truth is one, lies are limitless. Similarly, when designing a fighter for a specific purpose, you can take many design choices – but only a single set will give you optimal results.

      • @Duviel Rodriguez

        I’m sorry for my behavior. I have a pretty big “berserker button ” when it comes to bullies trying to force half-understood facts on everybody else. But you are right that is no excuse on my part to engage in an argument with a boy, which benefits no one. I will do my best from now on to ignore his swearing and raging and immature behavior, it’s not my problem if he doesn’t have the demeanor to absorb any new knowledge.

      • @Igor

        Before you continue with accusing me of being a nazi, please take a look at the comment that sparked me calling you a Russian fan-boy, both comments are still up by the way. My comment was written in anger at your violent answer full of invectives at me posting a legitimate estimation of the capabilities of the MiG-29. Your apparent irrational clinging to a notion that is at best unproven at worst proven wrong, coupled with the fact that you take rumors and unproven capabilities of SAMs in general and Russian ones in particular as more legitimate then statistical data, sparked me to label you as nothing more then “a Russian fan-boy”.
        I’m sorry if that offended you.

        Further more if you had bothered to read the many comments I posted in the past year you would have notice that like you I consider Russian weapons and design practices to be better then Western ones in general and American ones in particular. I have enormous respect for Russian ingenuity when it comes to technical matters and for their expertise in fine mechanics and miniaturization, for your information I use a Russian Mir watch bought by my grandfather form Moscow in the 50s.

        That being said I would like to add something to the discussion regarding the LeClerc being similar with the T-72. It’s less a case of French copying the Russians, and more a case of parallel evolution. After World War II the French having analyzed, like everybody else, the tank battles fought arrived at the correct conclusion, sometime around the mid 50s, that the key to mobile warfare is a light weight, highly maneuverable, medium tank like the Panzer III and IV and T-34. The only other nation to arrive at this correct conclusion was Russia, everybody else got it wrong which is way we now have heavy defensive monsterd like Abrams, Leopard 2 and Challenger, masquerading as highly mobile medium weight offensive Main Battle Tanks.

        Here is a sample of french post war tank designs, both experimental and which were produced:

        First off the AMX 13 a light tank which was a huge export success. This is one of the first, if not the first successful tank to feature an auto-loader: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AMX-13

        Next up an enlarged version of the AMX-13 the Batignolles-Chatillon_Char_25T. At 25 tons it was one of the lightest medium Tanks/MBTs created. It featured many of the systems found on the AMX 13 including the auto-loader but added a fourth crew member, a loader, because the auto-loader had only 12 ready rounds. That was not a problem in the AMX-13 as the tank was small and nimble enough to retreat and the gunner thus had no problem to reload alone the 75mm ammo, but it was a problem for the Char 25T which had a heavier gun, larger profile and different mission so retreating might not have been an option. It was supposed to be Frances first main battle tank but problems with scaling up it’s turret and auto-loader proved unsolvable so the M47 Patton was bought until it’s replacement the AMX-30 was ready:
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Batignolles-Chatillon_Char_25T
        http://www.jedsite.info/tanks-bravo/bravo/bc_series/bc-series.html

        And finally the AMX-30 Frances MBT from 1963 to when it was replaced by the LeClerc, at the low weight 36t it was the lightest MBT in the world being lighter then even it’s Russian counterparts the T-62 (37t) and T-64 (38t) and equal in weight to the older T-55 and definitely lighter then all other NATO MBTs (Chieftain 56t, Centurion 52t, Leopard 1 40t, M-60 Patton 46t ) and at 2.28m height it had the lowest profile after the T-64 at 2.1m height:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AMX-30

        • “….., sparked me to label you as nothing more then “a Russian fan-boy”.”

          Well, labeling IS a nazy or comunist way of behaviour. When i am angry i never use someones nationality, religion or skin colour in attempt to dicredit him that way. You were also talking about “inflated ego” wich is just another proof of bias toward some nationality wich is again nazi way of thinking.

          You should, as a grown up person you claimed to be, control you vanity and not te oposite. The hole thing between us started when i stressed out some points were you made mistakes, no matter if they were out of lack of knowledge or oversight due to tiredness. This being said, grown up person should know that tiredness can couse oversights so he woud think twice. Than you tried every time to prove me wrong wich leaded to conclusion that you are vane, and a lot. Being aware that vanity controls your behaviour i asked you not to contact me again as my experience is that there is no good comunication with vane persons. And you disregarded and continued in a passive-agressive manner wich was a couse of mine non polite (but not NAZI) response.

          If you think i am wrong and that vanity doesnt control your behaviour just ask yourself, why would grown up person, as you claim to be, respond do 12 year old child (as you labeled me)? Why would non vane person broke his own promise ? Vanity is bad thing my friend. But keep digging, we can stil see ya.

          Regards.

          Ps: “I’m sorry if that offended you.”

          You did not offended me, you offended your parents and your country as i dont believe they reised you to be vane nazi.

        • I agree with importance of mobility but, you overlook that Abrahms, Challenger and Leo II although heavier in armor are just as mobile as Leclerc. The powerplants on those tanks (especially Abrahms) Have more horsepower than needed. You could even make tanks heavier.

          Maybe more important than mobility is trained experienced tank crews and protecting the crew is primordial. The Germans and Japanese in WWII were replacing tanks and airplanes but they could not replace experienced crews and pilots at same rate.

          Russia against Germany in WWII was not fair. Germany was overstretched fighting on 3 fronts (Italy, France, East Europe) and unable to match the Russian onslaught of numbers. Russian tactics and equipment was not better, they just overwhelmed the Germans.

          Same Goes for UK & US in west.

          The fact that Germany was able to fight against Soviets, Americans, and whole British Commenwealth and make it a game was incredible.

        • “I agree with importance of mobility but, you overlook that Abrahms, Challenger and Leo II although heavier in armor are just as mobile as Leclerc.”

          No, they are not. You are ignoring strategic mobility, and even within tactical mobility, you’re wrong.

          First, weight is detrimental to mobility. Leclerc Series XXI weights 57,4 tonnes, compared to 62,3 t for Leopard 2A6, 62,5 t for Challenger 2, 62 t for M1A2, ~70 t for M1A2 SEP and 74,95 t for Challenger II Streetfighter. There is also an issue of ground pressure, where M1 is again the worst one, at least where basic variants are concerned (not sure about SEP vs Streetfighter).

          Second, M1 has 1.900 l of fuel, compared to 1.200 for Leclerc and Leopard II and 1.600 l for Challenger II. Road range is 465 km for M1 and 550 km for other tanks on the list. That is, consumption per km on road is 4,09 l/km for M1, 2,18 l/km for Leclerc/Leo and 2,91 l/km for Challie. M1 consumes 8,6 gallons per mile (20,23 l/km) in combat operations (I also found a figure of 14,8 l/km), while Leopard II consumes 5 liters per km, Challenger II consumes 6,4 liters per km and Leclerc consumes 13,8 l/km. Thus *combat* range is 87 km for Leclerc, 94-128 km for M1, 240 km for Leopard II and 250 km for Challenger II. Obviously, real figure will be somewhere in between.

          Third, M1 and its gas turbine are an absolute pain in the ass to maintain. Major elements of Iraqi Republician Guard escaped in Gulf War I for no reason other than the fact that M1s broke down so often. Other than that, I can’t really compare how maintenance intensive tanks are.

          Despite the gas turbine, M1s poor suspension means that it is far slower off-road than the “underpowered” Challenger II. I’m going to do an actual comparison sometime.

          “Maybe more important than mobility is trained experienced tank crews and protecting the crew is primordial.”

          You can’t make a tank immune to enemy fire, and main purpose of tanks is not to destroy enemy tanks, but to cut off enemy supply lines. Ergo, tanks should avoid combat with other tanks – or anything, really – and focus on destroying enemy fuel trucks, command centres etc. Of course, it doesn’t mean that you should make unarmored self-propelled guns, but focusing on protection only is also incorrect. After all, you cannot make a tank immune to the enemy fire, and if tanks run out of fuel at inopportune moment, or lose their strategic mobility, they are at far greater danger than they would be with slightly weaker armor.

          “Russian tactics and equipment was not better, they just overwhelmed the Germans. ”

          By the end of the war, Russian tactics were comparable to German tactics. And in fact USSR had less industrial capacity than Germany, yet it produced far greater amount of weapons because said weapons were simpler, and were standardized.

          “The fact that Germany was able to fight against Soviets, Americans, and whole British Commenwealth and make it a game was incredible.”

          Not really, 3/4 of the Wehrmacht were on the Eastern Front at any given time, and despite that, once Soviets actually worked out kinks in organization, training, tactics and strategy, it was clear that the war was lost for Germany. Direct contributions of Western Allies to the whole story were rather insignificant until the 1944 and invasion of Normandy.

        • Give me a few to respond. Very busy.

          But, I do beleive you are overstating some facts and ignoring some others.

        • @Picard

          In strategic mobility you are wrong. C-5 can take off with 381,000 Kg. M1-A2 weighs about 65-70 thousand Kg’s. A400M can take off with 141,000 Kg. Leclerc weighs about 55,000 Kg’s. C-5 has better crusing speed and range than A400M. Sounds to me like mobility is a problem more for France than for US.

          Even if France had a C-5, the C-5 could not carry more Leclerc’s than Abrahms due to size of both.

          There is no Helicopter that can carry a MBT. Even barely armored tanks like T-55. AMX-13 is not a MBT.

          Tactical mobility is no big difference. Abrahms is slightly better at fording than Leclerc. Leclerc is slightly better against vertical obstacles and trenches.

          Weight difference and ground pressure is no bid deal. 55,000Kg instead of 65,000kg will not allow tank to cross soft muddy land or frozen lakes, etc. There may be some bridge out there that would support 55,000 Kg but not 65,000 Kg but, not in any significant numbers.

          I would rather have better armor protection for all of my tanks than ability to maybe cross one bridge out of a dozen.

          M1 needs more fuel than any others and that can in some instances be a problem. But, regardless all tanks need fuel often. Therefore they all need to protect supply lines and cutting of fuel supply would be deadly to any tank force advance. If you are able to control the space and protect your rear you will have your fuel. Abrahms with its better armor will probably be more able to defeat enemy advance into rear.

          From what I have been told (by some people who worked on or served on M1 tank) servicing the Turbine engine is simple compared to older Deisel tanks. Engine can be quickly removed and replaced, like plug and play. Armored forces have large number of spare turbine engines that can be plugged in to tank in the field. Not in the middle of fight but just behind. I dont know anything about repair and maintenance for other tanks. Really, I am told that issues with wear of tracks is the bigger negative issue compared to past tanks. But, they have stocked up on those too and are relatively quick to replace.

          You cant make tanks totally immune but you can improve chances of survival. Mostly with Abrahms you improve the chances of getting the tank crew out alive and that will be hugely important in final years of a big war.

          Running out of fuel will happen to all tanks if army cant protect its supply lines. Abrahms can also run on many types of fuel including bio fuels now. Dont think Leclerc can do that.

          As far as Abrahms having poorer suspension thats like arguing that Ford F-150 has a better suspension than Toyota Tundra. Its very academic and depends on who you ask.

          For tanks to penetrate enemy lines and cut off supplies they must be able to out fight other tanks and than survive infantry anti-tank weapons. that means armor situational awareness and mobility. Tanks need infantry protection and supplies. If you penetrate too far into enemy lines without severely weakening its forces youre tanks will be cut of behind enemy lines and destroyed or starved out of fuel. No tank can go long without fuel.

          Tanks primary mission is to either penetrate enemies armored lines causing panic and destruction behind those lines or to destroy advancing armor trying to do same to you. In both cases tank on tank warfare will be primodial. If you penetrate without destroying frontal forces you leave your own supply lines vulnerable to the enemies frontal forces.

          Tanks need to be able to have these things to win:

          1) Situational awareness and being able to locate other armored or crew served threaths.

          2) Being able to fire quick and accurate and being able to sustain fire.

          3) Being able to change location quickly and being able to close into enemies assembly areas to catch unprepared.

          4) Being able to destroy enemy with your main gun (when you get good hit) while being able to survive (or atleast get your crew out) a direct hit from enemy.

          5) Being able to maintain tanks in combat. That means mechanical reliability, repair capacity and in real combat most of all it means good armor that stops enemy rounds well enough that tank is repairable.

          6) Being able to out produce your enemy to replace destroyed equipment.

          Yes, large portion of German army was fighting in Eastern front but large forces were all over Europe occupying territory. The invasion of Italy took a lot of German attention and top Field Marshals, as did defending French coast from expected invasion. Most importantly you are overlooking what US & UK were doing in Air from 1942. Soviets were not the one’s bombing Germany. Regardless, Soviets won in east not becuase of better tactics but because of greater numbers. I will admit that soviet weapons were quicker to produce than over engineered German equipment.

          Germany was fighting on many fronts and being bombed without hesitation. Soviets had only one front to worry about and not being bombed. Also Soviets were mostly in their own territory and had no issues with guerilla interventions from local populations.

          You should know well about the resources Germany had to put into occupying what was to become Yugoslavia.

          Other than Germany the only other power fighting on two fronts was the US who was taking on Japan.

          Germany’s size and population would not allow it to fight long war against the Soviets and Americans (not to mention UK). Also Hitler’s interventions were costly. It was an awesome showing of war fighting abilities that allowed Germany to make it a competitive fight.

        • “In strategic mobility you are wrong. C-5 can take off with 381,000 Kg. M1-A2 weighs about 65-70 thousand Kg’s. A400M can take off with 141,000 Kg. Leclerc weighs about 55,000 Kg’s. C-5 has better crusing speed and range than A400M. Sounds to me like mobility is a problem more for France than for US.”

          Which has to do with aircraft, not with tanks themselves. And C-5 cannot land at some places where A400M can, exactly because of its size and weight, so that advantage is somewhat negated as well. But tanks will, in the enemy territory, move on their own drive train. Fuel consumption matters a lot in such circumstances, and M1 is disadvantaged in that. M1 cannot cross many bridges that Leclerc can, precisely because of those additional 10 tons.

          “Tactical mobility is no big difference.”

          But it is. M1 has slower acceleration than Leclerc, Challenger II or Leopard II, and also slower top speed over the rough ground than any of these.

          “There may be some bridge out there that would support 55,000 Kg but not 65,000 Kg but, not in any significant numbers.”

          IIRC, most European bridges have a weight limit of 60.000 kg. 5 tons over or under is kinda big deal if you are moving a large force, though the bridge will not collapse if a few heavier-than-limit vehicles pass over it. Roads have a weight limit as well.

          “I would rather have better armor protection for all of my tanks than ability to maybe cross one bridge out of a dozen.”

          Inferior mobility actually can be quite dangerous as it makes a force more predictable. That, plus larger and more vulnerable supply train.

          “M1 needs more fuel than any others and that can in some instances be a problem. But, regardless all tanks need fuel often. Therefore they all need to protect supply lines and cutting of fuel supply would be deadly to any tank force advance. If you are able to control the space and protect your rear you will have your fuel. ”

          Not necessarily. In urban combat at least, tanks may be able to refuel from surviving civilian fuel stations. Even during normal operations, needing less fuel makes a lot of difference – you can never entirely protect your rear against a competent opponent.

          You have also forgotten the primary purpose of tanks: move into the enemy’s rear and cut off his supply. In such conditions, you cannot count on regular refuelling from your own supplies, and fuel efficiency (as well as multi-fuel capability) is kinda big deal.

          ” Abrahms with its better armor will probably be more able to defeat enemy advance into rear.”

          Not necessarily. If it wants to defeat it, it has to catch it first, which is extremely hard for the M1 to do considering how often it breaks down, how hard it is to maintain and how quickly it drinks fuel.

          “From what I have been told (by some people who worked on or served on M1 tank) servicing the Turbine engine is simple compared to older Deisel tanks. Engine can be quickly removed and replaced, like plug and play.”

          Which is all nice, but it is better to have the engine not break down in the first place. You cannot be certain that spare engines will be avaliable quickly enough. Besides, all modern Western tanks have such “plug-and-play” engines.

          “You cant make tanks totally immune but you can improve chances of survival.”

          True. But you are forgetting that armor is only a minor part of it. IR signature, tactical mobility, strategic mobility and reliability are just as important. And in any case, there are tanks that are better armored than the M1 (or at least, one tank).

          “Dont think Leclerc can do that. ”

          Actually, it can. All modern Western tanks have multi-fuel capability. Some Leclercs also got upgraded to bio-fuel in 2012.

          “As far as Abrahms having poorer suspension”

          Abrams has the worst suspension of Western tanks, bad enough to allow the “underpowered” Challenger II to outstrip even early Abrams variants over the rough ground. So it is far from academic.

          “For tanks to penetrate enemy lines and cut off supplies they must be able to out fight other tanks and than survive infantry anti-tank weapons.”

          Yes and no. Being able to outfight 50 enemy tanks means nothing if you are so slow that 150 of them have managed to catch up to you.

          “If you penetrate too far into enemy lines without severely weakening its forces youre tanks will be cut of behind enemy lines and destroyed or starved out of fuel. No tank can go long without fuel. ”

          Which is why they have to be able to make use of the enemy’s supplies.

          “Tanks primary mission is to either penetrate enemies armored lines causing panic and destruction behind those lines or to destroy advancing armor trying to do same to you.”

          Actually, tank destruction is primarily a task of infantry, artillery and air force. You have to have some tanks in reserve if enemy tanks manage to survive that, but designing tanks solely for tank-on-tank combat is a wrong approach to take.

          “Tanks need to be able to have these things to win:”

          You are correct in these, but you are forgetting things that are just as important:
          7) Ability to communicate and coordinate with other tanks as well as other allied forces.
          8) Good machine gun coverage, firepower and ammo supply to both ward off enemy infantry and to destroy enemy soft-skinned vehicles.

          “Most importantly you are overlooking what US & UK were doing in Air from 1942.”

          Nothing that had any real impact on war until 1944, when P-47s started destroying German ground forces and supply lines en masse.
          http://ww2-weapons.com/german-arms-production/

          “Regardless, Soviets won in east not becuase of better tactics but because of greater numbers.”

          They had greater numbers in 1941 and 1942 as well, yet they lost because they could not employ numbers effectively. Western Allies also had greater numbers in 1940, but again lost because they were stuck in World War I.

          I’m probably the last person who will say that numbers are irrelevant, but they are not the only important thing either – or even the most important. Training + tactics > numbers > technology.

          “It was an awesome showing of war fighting abilities that allowed Germany to make it a competitive fight.”

          Which is actually scary considering how inefficient Germany was about it.

        • Granted Fuel consumption will in many scenarios be an issue for Abrahms. Abrahms was really designed to be outnumbered and take on charging Soviet Tank Forces in 1980,s Europe. Thats why original M1-A1 lacked in backside and underbelly protection compared to its heavily protected front.

          Still the tank can move with any comparable tank. Even with Leclerc. I know you disagree but speed and obstacle navigation numbers are very comparable as I stated in begining of last responce. You state that Challenger II (which was designed with similar concept) outraced the Abrahms. I’m guessing you are talking about Gulf War I where Abrahms was able to quckly and effectively maneuver into Iraqi interior and jump on Republican Guard before it could reposition. Something it was not designed for but could also do well.

          You always mention that Iraqi’s were so incompetent but thats playing the result. Iraqi military was feared going into the battle as they were well armed with top line Soviet (and some western) equipment and were experienced after 8 years of war with Iran. I’m not saying Iraqi’s were great tacticians but they were not the JROTC some now want to make it be. Iraqi T-62 & T-72 were export version but not too different than Soviet tanks. Afterall, Soviet tanks were low-tech and had few bells and whistles that can be removed for export. It was basically the same tanks.

          Dont think anyone can argue that Soviet tanks of late cold war (or todays Russian tanks which basically the same) could fight on par with Late Cold war Abrahms or Leopard II tanks. There only card was in numbers. Challenger and Leclerc were mid 90’s designs so they are post-cold war.

          You keep stating that Abrahms breaks down too often and that it is hard to maintain. I dont know where you get this?

          Leclerc and Leopard II have had no real combat and Challenger II only in Iraq war II. .

          The only modern tank with real combat experience (other than soviet exports to middle east) is the Abrahms. You can add Challenger II and Israeli Merkava but only in Urban combat against iregular forces.

          Bombing Germany had a big impact even before 1944. German (although they kept up production as war went on) industry would have been much more productive if not being bombed. Too say that being bombed plays no part in industrial production is just, not well spoken.

          Hitlers medling just killed Germany too.

          France & Russia in 1940 and 1941 were bad examples. Those two at that time had no tactical capabilities, poor training, and no troop morale. Compared to Wehrmacht that was ahead of its time. Once Russian forces started actually fighting and using some degree of competence its superior numbers (as well as some of the equipment factors Andrei and you mentioned) became decisive.

          Look at what happened with Italy in Africa (and elsewhere) against Brits. Italy had far superior numbers but its troops had little desire to fight for Musollini’s ambitions and they were easily routed by a competent apponent that brought the fight to them.

          You want to get rid of an Italian just mention WWII. I am sorrounded by Italian-Americans here where I live and I love to bring up WWII.

        • “but speed and obstacle navigation numbers are very comparable as I stated in begining of last responce. ”

          Acceleration: M1 is deficient compared to European tanks thanks to its gas turbine engine.
          Cross country: M1 is deficient compared to Challenger II thanks to inferior transmission, and compared to Leclerc thanks to inferior power/weight ratio
          Fuel economy: M1 is a fuel hog, only Leclerc is anywhere near being as bad in this department

          Top speed is mostly irrelevant except in Russia and Middle East.

          “You state that Challenger II (which was designed with similar concept) outraced the Abrahms.”

          I was talking about trials.

          “I’m guessing you are talking about Gulf War I where Abrahms was able to quckly and effectively maneuver into Iraqi interior and jump on Republican Guard before it could reposition. Something it was not designed for but could also do well. ”

          Actually, most of the Republician Guard managed to get out of Kuwait because Abrams tanks ran out of the fuel. As a result, Saddam’s regime managed to survive until the Gulf War II.

          “Armored force operations in Desert Storm confirmed our worst fears that the existing fuel-haul capacity [of] today’s M1A1-equipped heavy division is wholly inadequate. During a critical phase of the fight our tank-heavy units began to run critically low on fuel. The lack of a mobile bulk fuel transport capability cost the division at least 12-18 precious hours that may have subsequently allowed key Iraqi armored units to escape certain destruction.”
          Major General Ronald H. Griffith
          Commander, 1st Armored Division (Op. Cit.) – See more at: http://www.pogo.org/our-work/reports/90s/ns-puav-19920701.html#sthash.zMmzdJnE.dpuf

          “Crews cleaned the V packs (turbine air filters) at all maintenance halts that would last 1 hour or more and 1 hour halts were planned every 3-5 hours. Commanders in the 1 CD commented that 30 kilometers [19 miles] were standard distance traveled before engine performance began to be degraded due to dirty V packs.”
          Major Charles A. Jones, Armored Systems Modernization Material Fielding Team (Op. Cit.) – See more at: http://www.pogo.org/our-work/reports/90s/ns-puav-19920701.html#sthash.zMmzdJnE.dpuf

          “Iraqi military was feared going into the battle as they were well armed with top line Soviet”

          Yes, a tank with no IR sensors, no night vision sensors*, no advanced countermeasures, no ERA, low-quality optics and steel rod penetrators in lieu of DU/tungsten ones is representative of top-line Soviet tanks of the period. And majority of Iraqi tanks were T-55, T-62 and T-72/Assad Babil tanks, all of them “monkey models”.

          Overall, Iraqi hardware was outdated, insufficiently maintained and operated by people who most of the time barely knew what they were doing with their own weapons, forget about any advanced tactics. M60A1 did almost as good against Iraqi tanks as M1 did.

          *some had IR searchlights, but these – being active sensors – just made them big juicy targets for Coalition tanks and air power

          “and were experienced after 8 years of war with Iran”

          Wrong.

          This is about air power, but is relevant for ground combat as well:
          https://defenseissues.wordpress.com/2013/07/20/why-gulf-wars-cannot-be-used-as-a-basis-for-estimating-effectiveness-of-beyond-visual-range-combat/

          More detailed reading:
          http://books.google.hr/books?id=sSHYdGR_xvoC

          “I’m not saying Iraqi’s were great tacticians but they were not the JROTC some now want to make it be.”

          They were pushovers. Literally what Hitler said about USSR: kick the door and the entire house comes crumbling down. Iraqi military was worst in the world, and nobody in it actually believed in the cause they were fighting for. They surrendered to journalists, for crying out loud. Even today, after US invested billions in equipment and training, they were being beaten hard by terrorists in pickup trucks, at least until Quassem Suleimani came.

          Don’t insult JROTC.

          “There only card was in numbers.”

          That, and strategic mobility. But overall they were deathtraps.

          “You keep stating that Abrahms breaks down too often and that it is hard to maintain. I dont know where you get this? ”

          Its performance in Gulf Wars.

          “Leclerc and Leopard II have had no real combat and Challenger II only in Iraq war II. . The only modern tank with real combat experience (other than soviet exports to middle east) is the Abrahms. You can add Challenger II and Israeli Merkava but only in Urban combat against iregular forces. ”

          None of them have combat experience against a competent opponent.

          “Bombing Germany had a big impact even before 1944. German (although they kept up production as war went on) industry would have been much more productive if not being bombed. ”

          Questionable. For the most part, Germany did a number on itself by constantly “improving” weapons, producing a dozen of tank types instead of one etc.

          “Those two at that time had no tactical capabilities, poor training, and no troop morale. ”

          Just like Iraq in 1991 and 2003, except they were nowhere as bad as Iraq was.

          Point is, troop training, quality, organization and morale are all more important than technology.

          “Look at what happened with Italy in Africa (and elsewhere) against Brits. Italy had far superior numbers but its troops had little desire to fight for Musollini’s ambitions and they were easily routed by a competent apponent that brought the fight to them.”

          Correct.

      • ““I agree with importance of mobility but, you overlook that Abrahms, Challenger and Leo II although heavier in armor are just as mobile as Leclerc.””

        No they are not. In addition to what Picard has said, what is a measure of mobility for tanks just like of fighters is the power to weight ration.For western tanks the power the weight ratios are the following:

        LeClerc: 27.52 hp/t
        Leopard 2: 24.1 hp/t
        Abrams: From 26.9 hp/t (early Abrams) to 23.8 hp/t ( M1A2 SEP and TUSK)
        Challanger 2: 19.2 hp/t

        As you can see the only one that comes close to the LeClerc are early versions of the Abrams which can get that performance at the cost of on the average twice the fuel consumption. For tanks even a 1 hp/t difference is a huge difference not in maximum speed, which is not a measure of mobility, but in acceleration. For instance the T-80U which got nicknamed the Flying Tank for it’s quick acceleration and literally being able to jump of a ramp at full speed had a power to weight ration of 27.2 hp/t lower then the LeClerc and only 0.3 hp/t higher then the Abrams but that coupled with it’s lower weight allowed it to do thinks the Abrams could never do.

      • ““Russian tactics and equipment was not better, they just overwhelmed the Germans. ””

        In addition to what Picard was saying I will add that it’s not true the Russian equipment was inferior. Maybe the workmanship and the bells and whistles were inferior to the German ones, but the design was superior, to German tank design. The Germans practically copied the T-34 when they built the Panther. In fact they were so similar that German crews complained that at range it was difficult to discern between Panthers and T-34s. The T-34 while being designed before the war remained, at the end of the war, that tank that combined best the attributes of mobility, firepower, protection and ease of maintenance. While the Tigers and Panthers of the Germans were on a unit basis superior in protection and firepower they traded mobility for it, more German tanks bogged down in difficult terrain then were destroyed by other tanks, while the T-34 could practically cross any terrain encountered, and they were a nightmare to repair. In German tank units damaged tanks were usually abandoned because the three types of tanks that Germans used at the end of the war, Tiger, Panther and PzKw IV, came from different manufacturers and except for the gun in late version of PzKw IV and Panther had no pieces in common. Even worse at most times different version of the same type had incompatible spare parts. So if a unit transitions from one version of the same tank to another the stock of spares it had became useless, and military logistics being what it is it was more likely for them to not receive the new spares.
        In Russian practice tanks had to share as many parts as possible, across both types and versions of the same type. So from 3 damaged and useless T-34s the maintenance crews could make 2 functional T-34s by cannibalizing alone. Even more spares from the T-34 were god of IS-1 or IS-2 or KV-1 and KV-2 etc.

        • I do agree that Germany’s worst aspect was its stupidity in how they over-engineered equipment. Although much of what they developed was groundbraking. Germany never was allowed (because Hitler was too quick to rush to war) to truly develop much of its war equipment.

          If hitler would have held out of Invading Poland for a few more years Germany would have been much more difficult to defeat. In long-term US (with its industrial capacity as well as large population) entering the war would have been too much for Germany to overcome in almost any scenario. US military industry had not yet reached its peak when war ended in 1945.

        • “and ease of maintenance.”

          True, though I believe that its drive train – ironically designed in USA – broke down rather often.

      • “True, though I believe that its drive train – ironically designed in USA – broke down rather often.”

        Yes the initial models, the ones the Germans encountered in Operation Barbarossa, had that problem as the Christie suspension was poorly understood ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christie_suspension ), but by the time of the battle of Stalingrad most of the problems had been worked out and the T-34 was becoming one of the most reliable tanks. Coincidentally Christie ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J._Walter_Christie ) was a great promoter of using tanks built for speed not protection to strike deep into the rear. He even designed flying tanks that would have been carried in flight behind enemy lines and then would proceed on the ground to their objective. ( http://blog.modernmechanix.com/flying-tanks-that-shed-their-wings ). The Christie suspension initially (and the prototypes of the T-34) had the option of removing the tracks and running on rubber tires for higher speed on road. Unfortunately Christie’s ideas were considered to radical in the USA and he didn’t get the support he needed. In the USSR most of his ideas were implemented starting with the BT-7 ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BT-7 ) fast tank, and then with the T-34 and even with heavy tanks like KV-1 and KV-2.
        In Russian doctrine the tank didn’t have the role of line breaker like in German and Western doctrine. For line breaking they would use shock infantry ( most often penal and politically undesirable units) and would use the tank units to exploit the breach and strike behind enemy lines enveloping the enemy at the same time.

        • Kind of what happened In Gullf War I. Hit the front lines with lightly armored Marines and attack the flanks and rear with fast moving armor.

          The problem is always in maintaining open supply lines. If you strike deep into enemy territory and are not strong enough to break front lines soon, youre forces will be starved behind enemy lines. Seems to me that attacking deep behind enemy lines is better done by covert Special Ops and air strikes.

        • Covert ops are only of limited utility, and air strikes are ineffective on their own. If your tanks and APCs have sufficient range (500-1000 km), you can relatively easily complete an envelop maneuver with enough fuel remaining to fight or get out of the dodge if necessary. And you might catch some supply depos on the way as well.

        • You make a good point. But, how many MBT’s have range of that type?

          You still have to be able to outfight the enemy in any scenario. If the enemy is busting youre forces up you are in trouble regardless. Thats why you need trifecta for good tank. Armor + Firepower + Mobility. If you are too weak in any one area enemy will take advantage.

          Abrahms for example lacks mobility (because of fuel issue) while T-72 lacks armor protection.

          I guess design depends on the intended tactical use. T-72 design for example is only good if you are attacking and penetrating and have superior numbers. which Soviets expected to use as tactic.

          Abrahms (like Challenger II) very good if defending against tank waves like Soviets were expected to attempt.

          Or, if you are attacking but have ability to control area for easy re-supply. In other words if you are attacking against inferior foe.

          Leclerc is very well balanced. But, may suffer from jack of all trades yet master of none issues.

          Problem with Leclerc and Challenger is its almost useless to use for intended use because they only purchased a few hundred each. Might as well have not purchased any if you realized it was not needed anymore.

          US has over 8,000 Abrahms but most were purchased in 1980’s (than upgraded most) when there was a need.

          With modern weapons I think you either built a fast super light tank or a super heavy tank that can protect against heavy crew served weapons. Maybe some of both.

          US is now putting a lot of attention into their Stryker Brigades.

        • “Abrahms for example lacks mobility (because of fuel issue) while T-72 lacks armor protection.”

          Well, thats questionable since T-72b with k5 had/has 740/1100mm ke/heat resistance at frontal turret while M1A1HA( desert storm model) had/has 680/1250mm ke/heat resistance on front turret. Besides, it would be more fair to compare T-80u with M1A1 as they are similar generation while M1A1 was actually built to negate T-72 and was built 10 years later. Using data from Desert storm operation is not very realistic as iraqy T-72 were monkey models, with armor, FCS, firepower level of T-62 and had only 500 of them, facing 2000 Abrams. Not to mention that Iraq army was very very incompetent.

          “I guess design depends on the intended tactical use. T-72 design for example is only good if you are attacking and penetrating and have superior numbers. which Soviets expected to use as tactic. ”

          Well, thats true if we buy “Soviet agressors” fairytale. But if you dig a little bit deeper than you will find out that majority of Soviet weapons were actually designed for defence. Look at the Sniper- tank fired guided rounds, they could be fired only from tank while not moving. And their range of 4000/5000m were best suited for open Russian fields not central Europian hilly terrain (while they were still usefull even in that scenario-occasionally) so obviously defence oriented….Than again, T-72 was just cheaper version of T-64 wich at a time it was designed was revolutionary design.

          “Weight difference and ground pressure is no bid deal. 55,000Kg instead of 65,000kg will not allow tank to cross soft muddy land or frozen lakes, etc. There may be some bridge out there that would support 55,000 Kg but not 65,000 Kg but, not in any significant numbers.”

          Actually, a lot of WARPAC countryes bridges were built with that in mind, to at least slow down heavyer western tanks. One more point from operational mobility POV, T-72 have multyfuel engines, meaning they will run on petrol, diesel, even alcolhol…of course, it will impair some shorter engine life but in critical situations it may be decisive factor. Gas turbine is very thirsty, its only benefit is (actualy was) higher output power and quite quieter work.

          “I would rather have better armor protection for all of my tanks than ability to maybe cross one bridge out of a dozen.”

          Than you might very easily end up in same scenario in wich German Tigers/Panthers ended: Better tank, better armour but overwhelmed and eventually defeated.

          One more point, frontal area and overall height…Abrams turret 3.5m2, T-72 turret 1.8m2- smaller target. Reticles for laser distance measure are with fixed POV, and in accordance to dessipation of laser thru atmosfere, meaning, while you can put whole T-72 turret in reticle POV at 1500m, at 2500m reticle POV will be bigger than T-72 turret, meaning that error from laser will be there, as it will read reflection from the turret but also from the ground wich may be 100m or more behind tank, terrain dependant, and that will lead to error in distance measured resulting in probable miss. Actually, dont know actual numbers, distances i gave are just as example, they may vary(ie. 1000m and 2000m…)

          @ Picard:

          “You state that Challenger II (which was designed with similar concept) outraced the Abrahms.”

          I was talking about trials.”

          You forgot to mention tank race in Kuwait 1990/91 (not sure) and wich tank was a winner. 🙂

          Regards.

        • I dont have time to look up your claims now but I will soon. T-80 is not much better than T-72 and maybe even lighter in armor. T-72 in no imagination can be considered a heavily protected tank Igor. Only you would argue that.

        • T-72: The turret has conventional cast armor with a maximum thickness of 280-mm, the nose is about 80-mm thick and the glacis is 200-mm thick laminate armor.

          Combat weight is around 45 tons with some small variance.

          Chassis Length Overall (m) 6.91
          Height Overall (m) 2.19
          Width Overall (m) 3.58

          M1/IPM1

          M1A1

          M1A2

          Length:

          32.04 FT

          32.25 FT

          32.25 FT

          Width:

          12.0 FT

          12.0 FT

          12.0 FT

          Height:

          7.79 FT

          8.0 FT

          8.0 FT

          Weight:

          60 TONS

          67.6 TONS

          68.7 TONS

          Abrahms is a little bit taller and wider and very slightly longer. Still the 23 ton difference is much more significant than the difference in size. Weight=more heavy armor.

          It must be that Russia sells wholly downgraded versions of its equipment to everybody while US sells its best.

          Everytime in combat (various Arab-Israeli wars, Libya (1986 and present), Gulf War, Balkans) that US weapons prove to be superior certain people want to say its because either the operators were untrained or the equipment was bad export.

          I bet when talking about Vietnam air war (where Mig 17 and 21 did pretty well) you dont mention that US politicians had handcuffed American pilots by not allowing BVR shots (when they were flying early F-4’s designed for BVR) and not allowing pursuit into N. Vietnam, or attacking of N. Viet air bases.

          No one (to include Soviets) was saying how downgraded Iraqi tanks air-defenses, and aircraft were before the war. In fact, Iraq was looked at as a top military power before the war. After they were demolished than the US detractors ran out saying they were monkeys.

          The Iraqi Army had a considerable array of tanks, mostly purchased from the former Soviet Union. Chief among these were about 500 T-72’s.

          In addition, Iraq had a number of earlier Soviet models: perhaps as many as 1,600 T-62 and about 700 T-54.

          Although most of the frontal Iraqi forces were conscripts not loyal to regime who surrendered to anything that moved, the Republican Guard that had all the T-72’s was a very loyal force of Sunni’s that were very intent on the survival of the regime that gave them their high status and prosperity. They were also battle tested after eight years of fighting Iran.

          Iraq in 1991 was no pushover. Its not the fact that US forces won. Its the fact that they did it so overwhelmingly and with such few losses.

          Im the first to say that if Soviets would have attacked Western Europe in almost anytime during Cold War (pretending that all sides refused to go nuclear) NATO would have been mostly unable to stop them from taking most of Europe.

          Soviet weapons had many advantages and advanced versions of T-72 and T-80 used effectively would have been trouble for Abrahms.

          Abrahms has weaknesses too and I have mentioned the issues with fuel and lack of protection from the rear. But, Igor you need to stop making these arguments about Russian systems that are indefensible.

          T-72 or T-80 in no way can be considered a well protected tank compared to M1 series. Although, you can argue that mobility advantage and ease in construction of these might be decisive in a war.

          It is similar to Tiger Vs T-34 argument.

          But, please mention all the logistics and numbers advantages that Russian forces had over German.

          One on one fight Tiger would have eaten the T-34 (and any other WWII tank) alive. But wars are not fought one on one.

        • “It must be that Russia sells wholly downgraded versions of its equipment to everybody while US sells its best. ”

          Not necessarily. IIRC, Egyptian M1 tanks have RHA armor (that is, no composites).

          “I bet when talking about Vietnam air war (where Mig 17 and 21 did pretty well) you dont mention that US politicians had handcuffed American pilots by not allowing BVR shots (when they were flying early F-4’s designed for BVR) and not allowing pursuit into N. Vietnam, or attacking of N. Viet air bases. ”

          BVR shots were not allowed because reliable BVR identification was impossible. There were two BVR kills made during the Vietnam war, outside large-scale combat and basically set up as a BVR propaganda. One of them was a fratricide against US F-4. And US fighters did fly over North Vietnam.

          “In fact, Iraq was looked at as a top military power before the war.”

          Looked at. France was considered top military power in 1940, as was the USSR before the Winter War. But Iraq was a paper tiger, far more so than the examples I have given.

          ” After they were demolished than the US detractors ran out saying they were monkeys. ”

          Because they were. So much was obvious after the Iran-Iraq war, but both Saddam and US military built up propaganda about it.

          https://defenseissues.wordpress.com/2013/07/20/why-gulf-wars-cannot-be-used-as-a-basis-for-estimating-effectiveness-of-beyond-visual-range-combat/

          You have links at the end of the article, read through them. Especially the book “Arabs at War: Military Effectiveness, 1948-1991”.

          “The Iraqi Army had a considerable array of tanks, mostly purchased from the former Soviet Union. ”

          Which were a) monkey models that b) had no crews who knew how to use them effectively. Most Iraqi tanks were used as static artillery positions.

          “the Republican Guard that had all the T-72’s was a very loyal force of Sunni’s that were very intent on the survival of the regime that gave them their high status and prosperity. They were also battle tested after eight years of fighting Iran. ”

          Highly loyal and incompetent. They got stalemated against a predominantly light infantry army.

          “Iraq in 1991 was no pushover.”

          Against any somewhat competent opponent, it was.

          “T-72 or T-80 in no way can be considered a well protected tank compared to M1 series.”

          True. In particular, Russian tanks have an issue of badly protected ammonution. Basically any hit into a, typically badly armored, body of the tank results in the tank blowing up.

        • “It must be that Russia sells wholly downgraded versions of its equipment to everybody while US sells its best. ”

          Not necessarily. IIRC, Egyptian M1 tanks have RHA armor (that is, no composites).

          I was trying to point out that Customers of US Weapons have done well against customers of Soviet weapons.

          Even in 1950’s (when there was no reason to beleive that Israeli forces were better trained than Syrian, Eqyptian, Jordanian forces) Israeli M-48, Centaurian equiped forces badly whipped the T-54, T-55 equiped forces. Even being outnumbered most of the time.

          “US fighters did fly over North Vietnam”

          Sometimes maybe, but they were not allowed to chase fighters into north or attack fighters taking off, or attack airbases. Those were big restrictions. Vietnamese (and reportedly many Russian pilots in Mig-21) could pretty much choose when to engage and could run when it benefited them. There might have been one or two exceptions but i’m talking generally.

          “France was considered top military power in 1940, as was the USSR before the Winter War. But Iraq was a paper tiger, far more so than the examples I have given.

          We are not giving enough credit to German forces superior tactics, coordination, execution, and use of equipment. If German forces were not so good at what they were doing maybe France and Russia would not have looked so awful in 1940 and 1941.

          If the US/British/French forces in 1991 would have been less efficient maybe Iraqi forces would not have looked so bad.

          Its like 15 years ago people used to critisize the Miami Hurricanes for playing soft apponents often. But, we would beat those inferior teams by 40-50 points not by 10 points. I think that counts for something.

          I purchased the air combat book you recomended by Shaw. I am reading it slowly during my toilet breaks.

        • “I was trying to point out that Customers of US Weapons have done well against customers of Soviet weapons.”

          Most of customers of US weapons are either NATO countries or Israel, so results would have been the same even if they switched weapons with their opponents – especially considering types of opponents they regularly fight. That being said, US weapons often are superior to Russian/Soviet ones in a direct confrontation – but this does not mean that having Russian weapons automatically puts one side at a disadvantage, assuming they know how to use those weapons properly.

          For example, Su-35 is a huge aircraft with equally massive IR signature. As a result, it will be easily surprised by Rafale / Typhoon / Gripen NG, and will also be at disadvantage in dogfight. But unlike most Western fighters, it has long range and can be operated from dirt/grass fields. What this means is that Russians should go after NATO AWACS aircraft and air bases while avoiding aerial engagements with NATO fighters (unless said fighters are pigs like F-35 or F-18E/F).

          “We are not giving enough credit to German forces superior tactics, coordination, execution, and use of equipment.”

          Point I was making is that reputation means nothing. French and BEF were preparing to fight World War I all over again, and consequently got flattened for reasons you listed – despite having equipment that was, on paper, either comparable or far better than what Germans had, and outnumbering Germans by a large margin.

          “I purchased the air combat book you recomended by Shaw. I am reading it slowly during my toilet breaks.”

          Excellent.

        • Well, i agree that Rafale is good, very good plane, but not so good as you would like it to be. The same goes for Typhoon and Gripen.

          “For example, Su-35 is a huge aircraft with equally massive IR signature. As a result, it will be easily surprised by Rafale / Typhoon / Gripen NG, and will also be at disadvantage in dogfight.”

          I assume, all 3 planes armed with propper AA load will have rcs around 1m2 and maybe a little bit more. Su-35 has Irbis radar wich can detect 3m2 at 400km thus it will detect 1m2 at 300km. Lets suppose Spectra and ECM on Typhoon and Gripen can cut 70% of Irbis range, quite optimistic thou for radar with 20kw peak power and wich came out later than those ECM systems so it must have good ECCM against them…So, detection range will be around 100km wich is out of those 3 planes current AA weapons while R-77 has range of 110km. Why i use radar? Because 2 of 3 planes have much better IRST’s so Su-35 will have to rely on its radar. Now, Su-35 can fly 3km higher than Rafale and Gripen and 1.5km higher than Typhoon wich will impose shorter range on their AA weapons while it will give extra range for Su-35 weapons. Obviously, smart enough Su-35 user will impose high alt fight where its TVC works better than close coupled canards so maneuvrability will be the same in that situation (if not better). What Su-35 has that none of those 3 planes have is much bigger internal fuel capacity, so, even in case those 3 planes can make first shot it will have enough fuel to get out of range and come back while 3 planes can not without EFT wich will degrade agility if they carry them (and increasce RSC quite well).Fired from 15km alt. Mica will not have range more than 70km, and fired from such range it will be soon spotted with not very good but still good enough OLS-35. Not to say that Pk of missiles fired from this kind of range will be near to zero. Of course, once Su-35 lights up its radar others will know its there, there is possibility to go around but its questionable if 3 planes will have enough fuel even with EFT’s and atacking from sides is most ineffective way as you shoot missile on already beaming target. Than again, once 3 planes use their ECM Su-35 pilots will know they are there somewhere..So, yours easily surprise is not so easy afther all even in such optimistic scenario in wich ECM cuts 70% of Irbis range.

          Than again, while 2 of 3 planes have better sustained turn rates, when it comes to instantaneous turn Su-35 is on par with them if not a little bit better. What is more inportant in air fight, sustained or instantaneous turn ?

          Regards.

        • “I assume, all 3 planes armed with propper AA load will have rcs around 1m2 and maybe a little bit more. Su-35 has Irbis radar wich can detect 3m2 at 400km thus it will detect 1m2 at 300km.”

          And its radar will be detected by Eurocanards’ defense suite at far greater distance than that – possibly over 1000 km. It is also unlikely that it will actually achieve detection performance you have noted (there is always a lot of EM crap going on in war), and if it does, it won’t lock on.

          IIRC, SPECTRA can actually reduce Rafale’s RCS – during the Lybian campaign, it made Rafale basically invisible to Lybian ground radars – but I can’t really speculate about its effectiveness against modern airborne radars.

          “Lets suppose Spectra and ECM on Typhoon and Gripen can cut 70% of Irbis range, quite optimistic thou for radar with 20kw peak power and wich came out later than those ECM systems so it must have good ECCM against them…So, detection range will be around 100km wich is out of those 3 planes current AA weapons while R-77 has range of 110km.”

          That is detection range. Tracking range is 80% of the detection range, and if we assume that jammers remove 2/3 of radar range, end result is 80 km tracking range, compared to 60-80 km for OSF and 70-90 km for PIRATE. Add time required for generating a firing solution – I will assume equal times even though in heavily-jammed environment IRST should be superior – and there is a high probability of both aircraft shooting each other in face.

          “Now, Su-35 can fly 3km higher than Rafale and Gripen and 1.5km higher than Typhoon wich will impose shorter range on their AA weapons while it will give extra range for Su-35 weapons.”

          Service ceilling:
          Rafale: 59.055 ft – http://www.ixarm.com/Technical-card,10820
          Typhoon: 64.993 ft
          Gripen: ~50.000 ft
          Su-35: 60.000 ft – http://www.flightjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/SUKHOI.pdf

          All of these figures are likely only achievable when aircraft are clean, and will be reduced under combat load. There is only 945 ft (288 m) difference between Rafale and Su-35.

          “Obviously, smart enough Su-35 user will impose high alt fight where its TVC works better than close coupled canards so maneuvrability will be the same in that situation (if not better).”

          Even in conditions where TVC does work better than close-coupled canards, it will still lead to massive fuel expenditure and energy loss. If Su-35 pilot wants to have endurance, he will have to come down to speeds where thrust vectoring won’t provide an advantage.

          “What Su-35 has that none of those 3 planes have is much bigger internal fuel capacity,”

          Agreed, but in a scenario you propose it is also burning it off at high rate.

          “but its questionable if 3 planes will have enough fuel even with EFT’s”

          No idea about Rafale, but Typhoon’s combat radius in air-to-air mission is 1.389 km with 10 minute loiter when equipped with a centerline tank. Rafale has combat radius of 1.852 km on penetration mission (3 EFTs + AtG ordnance) while Su-35 has combat radius of 1.800 km on the internal fuel. Rafale’s wing loading at 100% fuel is still less than Su-35s with 50% fuel, though Su-35 will have TWR advantage.

          “Than again, once 3 planes use their ECM Su-35 pilots will know they are there somewhere..”

          Whereas they will know precisely where Su-35 is as soon as it uses its radar.

          “So, yours easily surprise is not so easy afther all even in such optimistic scenario in wich ECM cuts 70% of Irbis range.”

          Considering that radar gives away Su-35s presence, and that Eurocanards have higher cruise speed, surprise is entirely possible.

          “What is more inportant in air fight, sustained or instantaneous turn ?”

          Transient performance (roll onset, pitch/turn onset, acceleration) > instantaneous turn > sustained turn.

          In roll onset, lower wing span is better. Both close coupled canards and diferential TVC help with roll onset, but TVC has far longer response time than control surfaces, and Su-35 has wing span of 15,3 m compared to 10,8 m for Rafale, 10,95 m for Typhoon and 8,4 m for Gripen. On the other hand, I have heard some less than flattering things about Typhoon’s roll performance. In the end, Gripen and Rafale are likely to have better roll onset than Su-35, while Typhoon’s might be worse.

          In pitch onset, close coupled canards, long arm canards and TVC all help quite a lot, as they improve nose pointing ability. I will note here that close coupled canards are not just a control surface, but also increase lift on forward portion of the wing, which leads to significant nose-up tendency – this tendency has to be counteracted by trailling edge control surfaces pulling the aircraft’s rear up, thus improving overall lift. This improvement is somewhat cancelled out by canards providing downforce in a level flight. However, canards are comparably small and so can release load very quickly; trailling edge control surfaces will do it a bit slower but still more quickly than TVC. Long arm canards OTOH are similar to aft tail in effect, but with a significant lever arm advantage. In the end, canarded aircraft are likely to have higher pitch onset than TVC aircraft, though it is not given.

          Heavy weight is highly detrimental to being able to transit from one maneuver to another (hence why I designed FLX so small and light). Combat weights are 12.597 kg for Rafale with 50% fuel and 6 MICA, 14.972 kg for Rafale with 100% fuel and 6 MICA, 14.539 kg for Typhoon with 50% fuel and 6 AAM, 17.009 kg for Typhoon with 100% fuel and 6 AAM, 8.779 kg for Gripen with 50% fuel and 6 AAM, 9.979 kg for Gripen with 100% fuel and 6 AAM, 21.490 kg for Su-35 with 15% fuel fraction and 6 AAM, 24.178,5 kg with 50% fuel and 6 AAM and 29.947 kg with 100% fuel and 6 AAM. In other words, even at its lightest combat weight Su-35 is still nearly 50% heavier than the heaviest Eurocanard with full fuel, and more than twice as heavy as Gripen with full fuel.

          When initiating a turn, canards release downforce and produce lift, increasing lift forward of Cg. Close coupled canards may also increase lift on forward part of the wing. This lift increase is what pulls the nose up. At the same time, wing’s trailling edge control surfaces will release upforce and produce downforce, which may partly or entirely cancel out lift increase on forward part of the wing. End result however is very high instantaneous turn rate for any given AoA. On the other hand, both horizontal tail and TVC will create the downforce to initiate a turn, pushing tail down and cancelling out some of the lift produced by the wing. Using TVC helps the aircraft rotate around its axis, but it also means that portion of thrust pushing it forward is significantly reduced, and it also reduces lift. As a result, TVC aircraft will have improved pitch onset rate compared to the baseline, but this will not necessarily translate into improved turn inset and instantaneous turn rates. Even if it does, it will lead to massive energy loss, necessitating more time to recover the energy through either acceleration (0 g or 1 g) or climb.

          Instantaneous turn rate is determined by lift-to-weight ratio. If we ignore impact of canards, LERX or wing-body blending (last two are present in Rafale, Gripen NG and Su-35), lift-to-weight ratio is proportionate to wing loading. Wing loading for Rafale is 276 kg/m2 with 50% fuel, 6 MICA and 328 kg/m2 AtA takeoff; for Typhoon it is 290,8 kg/m2 with 50% fuel, 2 Sidewinder, 4 AMRAAM and 340,2 kg/m2 AtA takeoff; for Gripen it is 293 kg/m2 with 50% fuel, 4 AMRAAM and 2 Sidewinder and 333 kg/m2 AtA takeoff while for Su-35 it is 347 kg/m2 with 15% fuel fraction, 2 R-73 and 4 R-77, 390 kg/m2 with 50% fuel, 2 R-73 and 4 R-77 and 483 kg/m2 AtA takeoff. When effect of canards and LERX is added, it can be seen that all Eurocanards will have significant ITR advantage.

        • “And its radar will be detected by Eurocanards’ defense suite at far greater distance than that – possibly over 1000 km. It is also unlikely that it will actually achieve detection performance you have noted (there is always a lot of EM crap going on in war), and if it does, it won’t lock on.”

          Radar horizon at this altitudes is almost exactly 1000km, a little bit more, but question is what is the reciever noise levels in those ECM’s….Dont forget one thing, as Su-35 definetly flyes higher it will have better radar picture from above so its quite possible that we are talking about quite more than 1m2. If radar can detect and track than it can lock on also, You can not operate even the most modern ECM in both modes, either you try to cut on range or you try to feed false data. At least not in both modes and still expect they will be efective against modern radar. Historically, ECM had 30% chance to fool similar generation radar.

          “IRC, SPECTRA can actually reduce Rafale’s RCS – during the Lybian campaign, it made Rafale basically invisible to Lybian ground radars – but I can’t really speculate about its effectiveness against modern airborne radars.”

          True, spectra has active cancelation mode wich is undisputably effective against older radars. The same kind of system is built in B-2 and it led to USA goverment law persuit against its producer as it was not working against modern radars. To effectively cancel radar signal you need a lot of power and a lot of processing power plus some knowledge to feed to database, whether Spectra producers have this data on modern radars is questionable. Thou it will be definetly gathered afther some time.

          “That is detection range. Tracking range is 80% of the detection range”

          Zhuk radars have 83-85% detection/tracking range, since Irbis is much modern design tracking will be around 90%, if i remember where i saw that data i will post link, since than you will have to believe me 🙂

          “Rafale: 59.055 ft –”

          50.000ft. Think its producers could have better idea: http://www.dassault-aviation.com/en/defense/rafale/specifications-and-performance-data/

          “All of these figures are likely only achievable when aircraft are clean, and will be reduced under combat load.”

          Wich goes for all planes, so higher flying plane will always fly higher.

          “Even in conditions where TVC does work better than close-coupled canards, it will still lead to massive fuel expenditure and energy loss.”

          Not nececerly. Think, first Su-35 prototypes called Su-37 had canards, while on serial Su-35 designers got rid of them while retaining TVC.Why would they do this kind of thing ? We can speculate that they had problems with them but than question is how that planes performed so well in airshows ? Maybe they get rid of them to save some weight ? Possible. But maybe they actually designed the plane for high altitude engagements. Dont think that flight at 18000m needs more fuel than on 13000m, speed must be higher obviously, but drag is smaller also…At 10000m Su-27 has 530km per fuel ton range at 850km/h while on 13000m with same speed it has 550km per fuel ton range…..

          “Considering that radar gives away Su-35s presence, and that Eurocanards have higher cruise speed, surprise is entirely possible.”

          Higher cruising speed is quite questionble, as none of eurocanards are actually designed to supercruise, while they still can do it it will lead to higher fuel consumption.Their marketing publicity about their supercruise is just that, as supercruise is considered fancy nowdays and they still need to sell those planes. Actually, about supercruise i will quote you:

          “Rafale’s maximum supercruise speed is Mach 1,4 with 6 missiles.

          Fuel consumption is 2.250 l or 1.800 kg per hour at Mach 0,9 (987 kph at 30.000 feet). At full dry thrust, fuel consumption is 8.000 kg per hour, and 26.250 kg/h at maximum afterburner. Thus, 2 minutes of combat uses up 875 kg of fuel, while 20 minutes of supercruise use up 2.667 kg of fuel, leaving 1.178 kg of fuel. This allows for a flight time of 39 minutes at cruise thrust, allowing a combat radius of 320 km. Again, the calculation does not account for takeoff, landing or climb, meaning that Rafale will have to refuel in the air after the takeoff or carry a centerline fuel tank to have useful supercruise performance.”

          So, actual cruise speed will be quite simmilar. As i said, to surprise they will have at least to attack from flanking positions, if not from 6. To flank while staying out of 100km danger range with Irbis 120+- azimuth coverage they will need to fly around 170km will they have enough fuel for this ? They will with EFT’s, but than we are not talking about 1m2, more liikely 3m2… Asuming flanker pilots are stupid and continue to fly straight disregarding that something strange is happening with their radars…And asuming that their turn will not expose their engines to OLS-35 and still be out of its range wich is in that case bit more than 45km….Now, i dont like to call upon rumours, but this time i will make exception. rumour is that Irbis can also work in L band, wich is quite possible given Russian experience of using multiband radars on aircraft, like on Mig-25-dual band and Mig-31- three band. So, just for fun, if this is true, how ECM on eurocanards will perform against L band ? I expect zero efficiency. And im not talking about AESA installed in leading edges of the Flanker wich is also L band and has 180 degrees azimuth coverage.With those installed even flanking maneuver will not lead to surprise. At least for coaltitude targets….But, again, if Irbis has L band mode than…..

          “……it can be seen that all Eurocanards will have significant ITR advantage.”

          Well, when you put numbers like that it seems that you are wright, but it also seems that you forgot about TVC with wich Flanker has 35 deg/sec ITR. What are the actuall numbers for Eurocanards ?

          “TVC aircraft will have improved pitch onset rate compared to the baseline, but this will not necessarily translate into improved turn inset and instantaneous turn rates. Even if it does, it will lead to massive energy loss, necessitating more time to recover the energy through either acceleration (0 g or 1 g) or climb.”

          I believe you wanted to say by descent, not climb…

          What planes you actually designed, i mean real ones, not proposals ? As by this what you are saying the plane designers who put TVC on planes are actually stupid. While i think they actually by this imposed new kind of aerial combat, not seen so far. While close coupled canards are undisputably superrior in “clasic” air fight i believe thing has changed by now, and that change is lead by F-22. While we can talk about it’s flaws, its the best by now for new air combat doctrine wich is: Fly high, fly fast. While Eurocanards can score against it in classical engagements, when it comes to fly high- fly fast they are history. If this is not true, than why Russia and China are developing Raptor competitors and not Eurocanard competitors? Because all the aircraft designers and analysts from both countries are stupid ? I dont think so.

          While we can continue with proving who is wright and who is wrong about this thru next 100 posts, actually some new war in wich this 2 “ideologies” will meet will definetly give us answer. But on the other hand, lets hope we will never find out. Even some new “red flag” will be enough.

          Regards.

        • “but question is what is the reciever noise levels in those ECM’s….”

          Radar has to deal with a lot of it as well… an ordinary family car has RCS of about 25-100 m2, in other words less than 1% of emissions that hit the target aircraft get reflected towards the radar. So it is hard to hide radar emissions in the noise and be able to still generate firing solution. Against a competent RWR it is basically impossible.

          “If radar can detect and track than it can lock on also,”

          As I said, tracking range is cca 80% of the detection range, and it can be cut down hard by jamming.

          “either you try to cut on range or you try to feed false data.”

          Any type of jamming – be it noise jamming, active cancellation or range gate pull – is more effective at distance because radar signals are weaker.

          “50.000ft. Think its producers could have better idea”

          IXARM is official portal of French Ministry of Defense. In the case you need anything more:
          http://inwisconsin.com/market_update/france-march-2014/
          >>Ixarm, managed directly by the French Ministry of Defense, is focused on armaments, military equipment and munitions, while the portal for more general equipment for the public sector can be found at http://www.marches-publics.gouv.fr. Ixarm also publishes all tenders from NATO in which France has a role. In the longer term, Ixarm is in discussion with other EU member states to act as a pan-European e-procurement portal for the defense sector.<<

          50.000 ft limit is likely what can be achieved at subsonic speed.

          "Wich goes for all planes, so higher flying plane will always fly higher."

          Typically yes, though if difference is small enough, superior weapons integration can play a part (conformal/internal vs external missile carriage).

          "Not nececerly. Think, first Su-35 prototypes called Su-37 had canards, while on serial Su-35 designers got rid of them while retaining TVC.Why would they do this kind of thing ?"

          One reason is that canards have to be properly sized and positioned to achieve optimum aerodynamic effectiveness. But due to design choices, Sukhoi canards had to be coplanar, reducing their effectiveness. But main reason for that is RCS reduction, as TVC allows many of the CCC benefits (reduced drag in level flight, improved pitch, roll and high-AoA performance as well as takeoff and landing performance) without penalty of higher RCS. Of course, it has issues when it comes to maneuvering, but I believe that main reason they considered canards at all was takeoff and landing performance, not maneuverability. Su-27 and variants are primarily bomber interceptors anyway, similar to the F-15 and F-22.

          Note that Su-30MKI has canards, and Su-35 is based off the MKI.

          "Higher cruising speed is quite questionble, as none of eurocanards are actually designed to supercruise, while they still can do it it will lead to higher fuel consumption."

          No modern fighter aircraft is properly designed to supercruise, even the F-22 has too low fuel fraction for useful supersonic endurance. And Flankers actually have engines with rather high bypass ratio compared to Eurocanards, which means inferior supercruise performance.

          "To flank while staying out of 100km danger range with Irbis 120+- azimuth coverage they will need to fly around 170km will they have enough fuel for this ?"

          If they have some standoff jammers, then it may not be necessary to stay out of the 100 km limit.

          "And asuming that their turn will not expose their engines to OLS-35 and still be out of its range wich is in that case bit more than 45km"

          OLS-35 can detect a subsonic fighter aircraft from rear at 90 km, OSF can detect it from front at 80 km and PIRATE from front at 90 km. If you also consider size difference between these fighters, and the fact that Rafale has extensive IR signature reduction measures, it is entirely likely that Rafale's OSF will have greater head-on detection range vs Su-35 than OLS-35 will have tail-on against Rafale.

          "So, just for fun, if this is true, how ECM on eurocanards will perform against L band ? I expect zero efficiency."

          Gripen has coverage from 0,7 to 18/40 GHz with RWS-300, L band is 1-2 GHz. So it will be detected, though there might be some problems jamming it.
          http://www.saabgroup.com/en/Air/Electronic_Warfare_Solutions/Self_Protection_Systems/IDAS_Integrated_DAS2/Technical_specifications/

          And how effective will L band be, anyway? Wings are typically aeroelastic, which means that they bend with aerodynamic loads (bending is obviously superior to breaking). It also means that any wing-located array will have very low precision – which is why Rafale has both RWR and jammer antennas on the airframe, and why Gripen has MAWS sensors in wing roots.

          "Well, when you put numbers like that it seems that you are wright, but it also seems that you forgot about TVC with wich Flanker has 35 deg/sec ITR. What are the actuall numbers for Eurocanards ?"

          TVC only improves pitch and nose pointing, it does not improve turn rate as to turn you need lift.

          As for figures, some data I have found suggests 32-35 deg/s instanteneous for Rafale. I'm not sure how reliable it is, and in fact it might be Rafale A and not Rafale C (which is smaller and aerodynamically superior).

          "I believe you wanted to say by descent, not climb…"

          Descent yes, but energy recovery capability in 1 g flight can be roughly compared by comparing climb rates, hence the typo…

          "As by this what you are saying the plane designers who put TVC on planes are actually stupid."

          No they are not. Properly integrated close coupled canards have most if not all advantages of TVC with very few drawbacks, but either canards or TVC might be a better choice depending on the mission, and TVC can be used – and often is – as a "patch up" job, to improve maneuverability of an aircraft that had it compromised by other requirements.

          IIRC, Rafale and Gripen are optimized for maneuvering combat at =<M1,6, hence close coupled canards. All fighters optimized for high-speed interception have either long arm canards (Typhoon) or TVC (F-22, Su-35), and in Typhoon's case it would actually benefit from TVC.

          "While close coupled canards are undisputably superrior in “clasic” air fight i believe thing has changed by now, and that change is lead by F-22. While we can talk about it’s flaws, its the best by now for new air combat doctrine wich is: Fly high, fly fast. While Eurocanards can score against it in classical engagements, when it comes to fly high- fly fast they are history."

          "If this is not true, than why Russia and China are developing Raptor competitors and not Eurocanard competitors? Because all the aircraft designers and analysts from both countries are stupid ? I dont think so."

          If you take a look at history, it is entirely likely for even large groups of smart people to get important assumptions wrong. Wehrmacht high staff was a bright bunch, yet they still believed that horses were decisive military arm in *1939*. Guderian had to go to Hitler behind their backs in order to have any hope of implementing his combined-arms doctrine based around armor, air power and motorized infantry – which then allowed Wehrmacht to conquer entire Europe as all other militaries were still living in 1918. And such examples are limitless.

          Designs are dictated by the military. Military is typically led by people who *are* smart but are so used to a certain way of thinking that they are psychologically incapable of accepting any change in their fundamental beliefs (such as radar being the basis of air combat etc.). And since brass typically dictates newer arrivals what to think due to being in position of authority (note that any active repression is unnecessary as humans have a tendency to blindly believe figures of authority), beliefs and doctrines have a tendency to propagate long after they have become obsolete – up until they are disproven by a major war. And last such war was, for West, in Vietnam.

          "But on the other hand, lets hope we will never find out. Even some new “red flag” will be enough."

          Red Flag will never be enough, it is based on assumptions, but I do hope we never have to find out.

        • “You still have to be able to outfight the enemy in any scenario. If the enemy is busting youre forces up you are in trouble regardless. Thats why you need trifecta for good tank. Armor + Firepower + Mobility. If you are too weak in any one area enemy will take advantage. ”

          True, but exact balance depends on intended usage. Which is why I’m against having just one type of the tank. You should always be able to “grab the enemy by the nose” (firepower > armor > mobility) and “kick him in the arse” (mobility > firepower > armor). Just one type may not be sufficient.

          “I guess design depends on the intended tactical use. T-72 design for example is only good if you are attacking and penetrating and have superior numbers. which Soviets expected to use as tactic.
          Abrahms (like Challenger II) very good if defending against tank waves like Soviets were expected to attempt. ”

          Agreed. Though my idea was to, for example, use Challenger II to punch holes in the enemy lines and then use longer-ranged and more mobile M-84D for envelope maneuver.

          “Problem with Leclerc and Challenger is its almost useless to use for intended use because they only purchased a few hundred each. Might as well have not purchased any if you realized it was not needed anymore. ”

          450 Challenger II and 862 Leclerc, total production. That is not exactly “almost useless”, considering that:
          a) in their intended use, they would oppose Soviet tanks alongside 2.570 Leopard II tanks + however many Abrams tanks were in Europe or could be shipped to Europe in time
          b) in modern day, they don’t really have an opponent that has that many tanks

          Production runs are rather limited, true, in that respect Leopard II was far better.

      • “a) in their intended use, they would oppose Soviet tanks alongside 2.570 Leopard II tanks + however many Abrams tanks were in Europe or could be shipped to Europe in time”

        Actually considering France had not integrated itself in NATO defensive strategy and was pursuing it’s own doctrine based on small,professional maneuver oriented army, the LeClerc was not designed to stand in line with Leopard 2, Challengers and Abrams, but was a purely offensive tank that would have probably been used, like the whole French army, for flanking maneuvers, counter-attacks etc.

      • “Think, first Su-35 prototypes called Su-37 had canards, while on serial Su-35 designers got rid of them while retaining TVC.Why would they do this kind of thing ? We can speculate that they had problems with them but than question is how that planes performed so well in airshows ? Maybe they get rid of them to save some weight ? Possible. ”

        They were inefficient, because they were in line with the wing. For Close-Coupled-Canards to deliver maximum efficiency in all flight regimes, they have to be placed above the wing so that the vortex they create touches only the dorsal side of the wing decreasing static air-pressure on the dorsal side of the wing and thus increasing lift. When they are placed like this they deliver maximum efficiency from the angle-of-attack at which the vortex starts forming. At higher-angle of attack an all-moving canard like the ones on Gripen and Rafale helps keep the Vortex flush to the dorsal side of the wing.
        For the inline configuration used on the Su-37 the Vortex generated by the Canard, at low angles-of-attack, will touch both the dorsal and ventral parts of the wing. Now the Vortex is oriented along the direction of the air-speed vector, so slightly upward in relation to the wing so most of it will touch the dorsal side providing the increase in lift, but a big portion of this increase will be offset by the fact that the Vortex also touches the ventral side of the wing decreasing lift, and also increasing drag due to the highly turbulent flow of the Vortex. This happens at lower angles of attack only, at higher angles of attack the Vortex clears the ventral side of the wing and touches only the dorsal side of the wing providing a substantial increase in lift. That’s why the Su-37 performed very good in air-shows, because most of its performance was at high angles of attack. But in combat you don’t want to reach high angles of attack, because it increases drag and causes lose of energy. If you use a close coupled canard you want it to give a substantial increase in lift at low angles-of-attack. Since the canard on the Su-37 offered only small increases of lift at low angles-of-attack they got rid of it on the Su-35S.

        There are two ways around this problem for in line canards. One would be to angle them in such a way that at lower angles of attack the Vortex touches only the dorsal side of the wing. But this makes them act as an air-brake so it’s not feasible. The second solution is to turn them into LEVCONS. Which Suhoi did on the PAKFA. LEVCONs force the Vortex over the wing and also allow the control of the Vortex so that it’s always at an optimum position. But they create a less intense Vortex. So they are slightly better then LERX but are inferior to Close-Coupled-Canards because the Vortex generated it’s not that strong so the lift increase is smaller.

  5. The last post was a tad snarky. Sorry about that (no edit function). Its late here.

  6. “Most if not all missile tests nowadays are against QF-4

    Where did you hear this? Has the USAF/USN exhausted its MQM-107 & BQM-167 inventory?”

    From the MQM-167 wikipedia page: “The Streaker is generally designed to operate as a tow vehicle for missile and gun targets. The aircraft can carry either radar or infrared tow targets for missile training, as well as a square banner with an enhanced radar signature for gunnery training. Flare and/or chaff pods can be carried as well.[2]”
    Dosen’t sound like a higlly agile vehicle to me.

    As for the BQM-167 is it operational yet or still in testing?

    • Besides I think Picard is right for AAM missiles OF-16 an OF-4 drones are used, with QF-16 being a very recent addition (first flew 2012).

      From the F-16 variants wikipedia page ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Dynamics_F-16_Fighting_Falcon_variants#QF-16 ):

      “The USAF plans to convert Block 15, 25, and 30 F-16s into full-scale target drones under the QF-16 Air Superiority Target (AST) program.[83] These AST drones are used in Weapon System Evaluation Programs (WSEP) for assessing upgrades or replacements for air-to-air missiles (AAM), and they are also useful for giving pilots the experience of a live AAM shot and kill prior to entering combat. QF-16s would replace the current QF-4 drones, the last of which are expected to be expended around 2015.[84] The Air Force’s Air Armament Center hosted its first “Industry Day” for interested vendors at Eglin AFB, Florida on 16–19 July 2007.[85] The DoD awarded the nearly $70 million QF-16 Full Scale Aerial Target (FSAT) contract to Boeing on 8 March 2010,[86] with the first delivery scheduled for 2014.[84]

      On 22 April 2010, the first F-16 to be converted to an aerial target arrived at Boeing’s facility at Cecil Field, Jacksonville, Florida.[87] Six F-16s will be modified during the development phase, as prototypes for engineering tests and evaluation. From 2014, up to 126 QF-16 drones will be created. The prototype QF-16 undertook its maiden flight in May 2012. In January 2013, the 576th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Squadron refit team was due to begin modification work on the QF-16 program. Davis-Monthan has 210 F-16s stocked for conversion. From that pool, the Air Force will draw airframes for its 126 planned QF-16 drones.[88] F-16C Block 30B s/n 85-1569 was the first aircraft delivered in November 2012.

      On 19 September 2013, an empty F-16 jet tested by Boeing and US Air Force, two US Air Force pilots controlled the plane from the ground as it flew from Tyndall Air Force Base, Panama City, Florida.[89] Boeing suggested that the innovation could ultimately be used to help train pilots, providing an adversary they could practice firing on. The jet – which had previously sat mothballed at an Arizona site for 15 years – flew at an altitude of 40,000 ft (12.2 km) and a speed of Mach 1.47 (1,119 mph/1,800 km/h). It carried out a series of maneuvers including a barrel roll and a “split S” – a move in which the aircraft turns upside down before making a half loop so that it flies the right-way-up in the opposite direction. This can be used in combat to evade missile lock-ons. The firm added that the flight attained 7Gs of acceleration but was capable of carrying out maneuvers at 9Gs – something that might cause physical problems for a pilot.[90]”

      Also a very interesting article on the OF-4 http://www.fencecheck.com/content/index.php?title=The_Final_Mission:_The_USAF%92s_QF-4_Target_Drones

      I will cite the forth pragrapgh of it:

      ” Under United States law (Title 10, Section 2366 of the U.S. Code) a missile system must undergo lethality testing before it can enter full-scale production. This means it must be fired at a combat-configured target, which for air-to-air or surface-to-air missiles is a full-size, fully capable aircraft. The cost and hazards of using a manned aircraft from the active-duty inventory for this purpose are obvious. Instead, the target is an unmanned FSAT drone. As one 82 ATRS pilot summarizes it, “the F-4 is dying, to give birth to new weapons systems.”

      This implies that MQM-107 and BQM-167 are not used in missile testing and validation but in pilot and/or gunner and/or missile operator training.

      Also another 3 paragraphs further bellow state:

      ” To evade the weapon system under test, the drone’s flight profile may include defensive maneuvers (including 6-G turns and vertical maneuvers), chaff and flare releases, and radar jamming. Test results are recorded by telemetry and, at WSMR, by optical systems. If the drone is destroyed, its wreckage falls onto the range. But if it survives and the chase pilot confirms it is intact, the aircraft is recovered at base. A straight-in approach is made from the south with the hook down, and the aircraft is stopped by an arresting cable.

      A NULLO drone will usually complete three or four missions before being destroyed. Except during a lethality test, the missiles fired may lack warheads and the drone’s flight track may be programmed to evade a direct hit. This saves the cost of replacing the drone and prolongs the life of the QF-4 inventory. The drone’s onboard scoring system will tell if the missile achieved “kill” parameters. Occasionally a lethality test will fail to take down the aircraft, an occurrence that confirms the importance of Title 10 testing. The QF-4 attrition rate is about one aircraft per month at Tyndall and one to four per year at Holloman.

      “Live fire” projects for Tyndall’s QF-4s have included Operational Test and Evaluation (OT&E) of Raytheon’s AIM-9X Sidewinder and AIM-120 AMRAAM missiles. Holloman drones have participated in OT&E of Lockheed Martin’s Patriot Advanced Capability (PAC-3) air defense missile and the F-22 Raptor. But more than missiles are tested: a Holloman QF-4 has flown development tests of the BAE Systems Common Missile Warning System, which can identify surface-to-air missiles launched at an aircraft and automatically release suitable countermeasures.

      So the QF 4 has been used Test and Validate (and produce the pks of) the AIM-9X, AIM-120 AMRAAM, Patriot PAC-3. But the QF-4 is limited to 6g turns which is bellow what Picard calculated for it.
      In conclusion the high pk of latest generation missiles has been obtained in testing against an aircraft limited to 6g turns, which validates Picard’s point that the performance values of missiles are inflated.

    • – The MQM-107 isn’t particularly agile but it can still be used to simulate a target turning tightly at low subsonic speeds.

      – The BQM-167 has been operational since 2007 with over 700 units delivered to date.

  7. Being that missiles are light weight (especially shorter range IR) compared to aircraft, if missile has good control surfaces and thrust vectoring (less straight edge surfaces that help bleed energy in TV turn a well) why would they not be able to turn better (especialy instantantanious that requires less wing lift with TV) than large heavy (comparetively) aircraft?

    I dont beleive anyone’s claims but it is logical to beleive that missiles parts and systems (and therefore entire missile system) have improved over time. Nonetheless, there is no good reason to beleive missiles have improved at better rate than jammers, missile warners, and aircraft in general. Therefore, if AA & SA missiles had a Pk of 10% 40 years ago against 1975 aircraft and systems, it is logical to beleive Pk of more advanced missiles Vs more advanced aircraft would be somewhere around 10% today as well, roughly.

    • “if AA & SA missiles had a Pk of 10% 40 years ago against 1975 aircraft and systems, it is logical to beleive Pk of more advanced missiles Vs more advanced aircraft would be somewhere around 10% today as well, roughly.”

      Indeed. Although it should be noted that military aircraft technology had roughly 40 years of advance compared to AtA missiles. So missile’s technological curve of development should be better.

      I strongly suspect missiles Pk VS fighters is higher than it was before. But by how much?

      Available evidences from real world as shown by Picard seems to point it’s not yet efficient enough. People opposing his view saddly refers only to virtual test results and claims out of the blue, so at the moment I rate Picard’s point higher than opposing ones.

      Also, recent infos leaked from Mace XIII, as well as operation Harmattan, has shown that lastest fighters (at least Rafale) are not deprived at all against current SAMs. Although apologist of missile technology will always claim that the lastest products have corrected every flaws of past ones and are now unbeatable, fact that those claims have been made continuoulsy since the begining of missiles development is harming their credibility a lot. That, and the abscence of real world data backing their claims too…

  8. “S-400 can achieve 60 g at Mach 4,5 and sea level (1.531,3 m/s), and 20 g at Mach 4,5 and 30 km (1327,05 m/s?).–S-400 (instantaneous): 22 deg/s / 8,5 deg/s”

    At H=36000ft with 2x R-77+2 x R-73 SU-27 has instantaneous/sustained turn rate as follows:

    @mach=0.6 9,5/5 deg/sec
    @mach=0.8 13/5.5 deg/sec
    @mach =1.1 16.5/4.5 deg/sec
    @mach=1.4 12/4 deg/sec

    Even if this numbers may not be 100% accurate they show us that turn rates are highly dependant on combat load and speed. So, if plane cruise at this height for long range AG mission it may need some time to accelerate(*) to best turn speed as it also may need to jettison load..And this “chart” above apply to all planes, of course, with some turn/speed diferencies.

    Now, if S-400 missile (as Picard stated) can achieve 8.5 deg/sec @ 30km height, who can calculate how much it will be at 36000ft…i guess a little bit more than 8.5 deg/sec…

    So, this:

    “F-22: 28 deg/s sustained

    F-35A: 15 deg/s instantaneous, 12 deg/s sustained

    F-15C: 21 deg/s instantaneous, 15-17 deg/s sustained

    F-16C: 26 deg/s instantaneous, 18 deg/s sustained

    F-18E: 24 deg/s instantaneous, 15-18 deg/s sustained

    Su-27: 27 deg/s instanteneous, 21 deg/s sustained

    Su-35: 32 deg/s instanteneous, 22,5 deg/s sustained

    F-4E: 19,3 deg/s instantaneous, 14,7 deg/s sustained

    MiG-23ML: 16,7 deg/s instantaneous, 14,7 deg/s sustained”

    …are the best case scenarios, for optimum speed and no combat load at low level, while in reality speed may differ and in most cases there will be some combat load while missile will always fly its “best case scenario” defined by guidance algorithm. Think such things must be taken into account when talking about plane vs missile energy game.

    (*)- For example Su-35 at H=1000m and 50% fuel will need 13.8 sec to accelerate from 600km/h to 1100 km/h and 8 seconds to accelerate from 1100 km/h to 1300km/h. And that is with 4 A-A missiles…

    One more thing that nobody mentioned. Missiles have different aerodinamic designs, so, while one maneuver will be perfect for lets say AMRAAM it may be completly innapropriate for some other missile, trust vectored for example….

    • To this “…are the best case scenarios, for optimum speed and no combat load at low level, while in reality speed may ” I answer with the following quote from the article which proves you are not reading:

      “F-15 has a 9g corner speed of 385 kts for instantaneous turn and a 5 g corner speed of 425 kts for sustained turn at combat weight. Rafale has a 9 g corner speed of 350 kts for sustained turn at combat weight; Typhoon’s sustained turn performance is said to be the same. F-4 has a 7,5 g corner speed of 425 kts for instantaneous turn. This means that….”

      So the numbers used in the article are for COMBAT LOADED aircraft, at corner speed (optimum speed) and probably at sea level (that is not mentioned), not as you say “for optimum speed and no combat load at low level”

    • “Even if this numbers may not be 100% accurate they show us that turn rates are highly dependant on combat load and speed.”

      Of course they are. Rafale for example can achieve 11 g with 2 wingtip missiles but “only” 9 g with standard combat load, and I believe that some hardpoints are only loaded for 5-7 g. Best turn rate is achieved at corner speed of instantaneous turn.

      “no combat load at low level”

      F-22 can, IIRC, achieve 28 deg/sec at >10.000 ft. For most other aircraft cited you are correct, but you have to keep in mind that the F-16 for example is aerodynamically clean, and can achieve 9 g, with two wingtip missiles. F-22 is aerodynamically clean with 8 missiles, though I’m not sure wether hardpoints for BVR missiles are stressed for 9 g.

      “while missile will always fly its “best case scenario” defined by guidance algorithm.”

      “Best case scenario” for given parameters, which are almost never optimal for the missile.

      “Missiles have different aerodinamic designs, so, while one maneuver will be perfect for lets say AMRAAM it may be completly innapropriate for some other missile, trust vectored for example….”

      Some basic things never change though. And appropriate maneuver also depends on the missile’s guidance… which is just one of reasons why IR missiles are most dangerous.

  9. “S-400 (instantaneous): 22 deg/s / 8,5 deg/s”

    Here Picard clearly talks about 9m96 missile and these data are true when it comes to missile’s aerodinamic design. What he missed to mention is that thanks to its thrusters 9m96 missile can go from 0 to 20g load in 0.025 seconds !!! This means 8.4 degrees in 0.025 seconds so theoretical angular speed of 9m96 is 336 deg/sec not 8.5deg/sec as he stated. Of course, in reality missile can not turn that fast as it will brake from tremendeous g forces, but with thrusters stop and go technique, 150 deg/sec as mentioned on some sites is realistic. How long thrusters can work is not disclosed, but anyway, this change calculation by certain margin. Now the only question is how much fuel for thrusters there is, just for one second ? Yet, i have no data on it but I believe (wild guess) figures are around 3 seconds based on 9m82/3 missiles guidance methods.

    • Very nice. But like you recognize yourself most of your data is theoretical and conjectural, the sort of brochure like wishful thinking this blog tries to combat. So until the official data for the 9m96 missile will contain hard-data relating to the performance of the thrusters and the quantity of fuel carried for them, they don’t have any place in any analysis. Otherwise we might to start factoring in other fancy-full wishful thinking data such as an AESA radars theoretical capacity to act as a direct energy weapons capable of short-circuiting the electronics of missiles at upwards of 10km ranges, to level the playing field on the aircraft’s side.

      • Well, Andrei, this is a bit agressive.

        If we go this way we cannot discuss anything at all. None of us has “certified real data”. Picard is quite cautious with use of statistics, but then lots of the numbers he use for performance analysis are based on his own educated estimations. Manufacturers claims are doubtfull, end users are keeping things secret whilst they can, and the whole internet is full of guys who know better (and have their own agenda)…
        Here we have a site offering transparent analysis, with open discussions to try and get a better understanding of the whole picture, which I know you enjoy, as I and others do. 😉

        Igor obviously has some knowledge about SAMs, and whatever I think about his reasoning, I’m glad he share it and defend his point here. Chances of either him or Picard being 100% right are quite low, but their opposed numbers and understanding of the missile VS fighter sequence probably draws the limits in which lies the truth.

        OT: It has absolutely nothing to do with this discussion, but does anyone have infos about what happened to globalaviationreport.com website? They used to post a ton of articles per day, now there hasn’t been anything since 25 february…

        • Vyse,

          Thanks for “defending my stand point”. Anyway, no need to. As you may saw, i spare no time and words to explain my opinion but when it comes to ignorant people with lack of knowledge and obvious deep inability to follow and understand what is written than only thing that is left is to ignore them as any further “discussion” is just a vaste of time.

          Just to be clear, i do not claim that i supprot manufacturers PK levels, my point is that modern SAM’s and A-A missiles will have pk of around 15-30%, wich is far less than manufacturers claim but than again much more than Picard believes. Of course, i am thinking of similar generations of weapons. As Rafale will almost every time prevail against s-300pmu1 (mid 80ies tech) also s-300pmu1 will almost always prevail against F-4, Mirage-5 and Mig-21….

          Take AMRAAM for example, in tests it had pk 85%, but in reality its PK was around 38%, and that was against planes with no ECM, and situational awareness was not so good, actually pilots relied on their eyes and nothing more. All AMRAAM’s were defeated by maneuver(one pilot evaded 4 AMRAAM’s and was shot down by SA-6 when he was aproaching airbase, but this NATO credited also to AMRAAM) but than again using this data to estimate that aircraft always has 55% chance to outmaneuver missile is not realistic because missile design also playes role in here and AMRAAM will never be highly agile missile as it never was. If we just for play instead of AMRAAM’s put missile with considerably higher maneuvrability (like R-77 with same eletronics level of AMRAAM) is it realistic to assume that in same conditions PK will still be the same or it would be higher ? This is wider picture that im standing for, as for me, just taking statistics and drawing conclusions from them may lead to misunderstanding.

          This data about 9m96, 20g in 0.025 seconds, i did not made up, i can provide link if necessery, in Russian though, but Google translator can fix this. What i speculated is trusters burn time, as my point is, missile is obviously in production so keeping the eyes shut because lack of data will not make it go away..and if this manufacturer claim about 20g in 0.025 second is true, than there is one missile wich is very very hard to beat by maneuver.

          Best regards !!!

      • I’m sorry if I’m a bit aggressive, but unfortunately Igor is reaping the storm of the wind that he sowed in another thread were his comments were very aggressive and dismissive of any information that didn’t sustain his point of view. He often combated the arguments others made by completely disregarding their statements, and diverting from the subject of the article to subjects that were helping his point of view, for example the subject of the article had been effectiveness of SAMs versus low and slow flying CAS aircraft, and he only talked about the performance of SAMs versus high and fast flying aircraft.

      • “Thanks for “defending my stand point”. Anyway, no need to. As you may saw, i spare no time and words to explain my opinion but when it comes to ignorant people with lack of knowledge and obvious deep inability to follow and understand what is written than only thing that is left is to ignore them as any further “discussion” is just a vaste of time.”

        For your information, Igor, usually “obvious deep inability to follow and understand” is not the listener/readers fault but the fault of the person who presents the data either in writing or speech. If a person feigns knowledge and understanding by sparing “no time and words to explain” their opinions i.e. spitting out information that they have read on some site without understanding that information by first passing it through their mind filter, then the person who is supposed to follow and understand that information will have a very hard time doing that, as the information will be to much and except for a small part of it, which a truly knowledgeable person would have known how to extract and present, will have little in common with the discussion.
        Take your information of the 9m96 missile being able to achieve 20g in 0.025s. For a person with basic knowledge of physics that is impressive, they can infer from this, using basic arithmetic, impressive data relating to capacity of maneuver. On the other hand a person with university level knowledge of mechanics, such as myself, knows that information on the rate of change of acceleration has absolutely no baring on estimating the turning capacity of a powered object. The reason is, that information about an objects velocity is obtained from information about an objects acceleration, through integration which can be approximated by basic arithmetic only for constant values. Which is not the case for the acceleration obtained by integrating the third derivative of space i.e rate of acceleration or in layman’s terms “x amount of g’s in y amount of microseconds”. If one tries to create a function of the third derivative of space i.e the rate of change of acceleration or in layman’s terms “x amount of g’s in y amount of microseconds”, the result will be highly discontinuous and, as everybody knows you can only integrate a function on a continuous interval. Thus the rate of change of acceleration can be integrated on very small intervals only, which results in an acceleration function which is discrete and cannot be integrate on anything other the infinitesimal intervals. So information about velocity or angular rate, which is obtained by a second integration, can be obtained only for very short intervals on the order of microseconds, the above quoted 0.025, which dose not give information even about instantaneous turn-rates, let alone sustained turn-rates.
        A person with university level knowledge of mechanics knows that the only use information about rate of change of acceleration has, is in estimating capacity to respond to commands and the capacity of the payload of that object to endure the maneuver. In the case of a manned powered object information about rate of change of acceleration is useful for determining the comfort of the passengers. In the case of of the 9m96 missile information about rate of change of acceleration is useful for estimating the responsiveness of the control system. A professional such as myself, which knows that signals used in avionics have a sample rate of about 0.006s or 0.007s, can estimate that the control system of the 9m96 missile is capable to achieve the command given in only 5 or 6 cycles which is impressive, from a control point of view, but has no baring on the missiles capacity to turn ” y amount of degrees per second” only on the missiles capacity to start to turn. In more layman term: the fact that the 9m96 missile is capable of achieving 20g in 0.025s means it has a faster reaction time then a fighter aircraft because the pilot usually has a delay of between 0.05s to 1s and the control ads another delay of between 0.006s to 0.05s so a manned fighter needs anywear between 0.01s to 1s to reach it’s maximum g.

  10. https://twitter.com/RamiAlLolah/stat…07366744223744

    If confirmed you could add this one to the stats. A french Rafale has supposedly evaded heat seeking missile over Irak. What sort of SAM is ISIS able to operate? They might have put their hand on any system formerly in Irakian or Syrian regular forces.

  11. @Igor

    The problem is that your assuming that missile technology has advanced, while the aircraft remains constant.

    Technology has led to better missiles, and perhaps with better warheads, I will grant you that.

    The problem is:
    1. As technology improves, things like engine technology also improve
    2. New, improved MAWS, and other warning systems are possible
    3. Countermeasures, jamming, and ECM also gets better

    For SAM to be a superweapon that you claim it to be with a high pK, it must make very big relative gains compared to the aircraft.

    The challenge has always been trying to outmanuver a pilot who has the freedom to move in all 3 directions. This was a similar problem that large heavy calibre AA guns had in WWII – only this time the pilot has ample warning and the projectile can move.

    I suspect (and I base this on historical performance) that the large SAM missiles, along with heavier radar guided fighter launched missiles will have a very poor pK compared to smaller ones – MANPADs I think will have a higher pK when fired then any other type of missile.

    The problem is that larger missiles will simply build up more inertia for reasons of physics, making it harder for them to make the rapid changes in velocity needed to track an aircraft. Although they do have larger warheads, it’s not a good return as it’s the cube root. To double the kill radius, you need a warhead 8 times as large. That would mean a missile 8 times as large and well, needless to say, you’d need a proportionately bigger motor just to sustain as much acceleration and the fuel as well. I suppose there is also air resistance to factor in as well, and that may favor larger missiles somewhat, but not enough to offset their other drawbacks.

    @Andrei, on that note, what would the relationship be between the 3rd derivative of velocity and the thrust to mass ratio of a missile?

    My gut feeling again, is that to maximize pK, even for a medium sized missile, a rocket stage system, not dissimilar to how rockets escape earth’s gravity, will be needed, each with a motor and their fuel, to try to minimize mass of the final stage.

    • “The problem is that your assuming that missile technology has advanced, while the aircraft remains constant. ”

      No, im not assuming this, neither i claimed that ever, what i was saying is that missile tech improved much more than aircraft tech. For exapmple F-4 had 7.5 max g while latest generation (in 1971) of SA-2 missile had max 7 g at low level. Today planes can go 9g, in some cases 11g, and new missiles have 40g and some others even more. So, aircraft maneuvrability is improved up to 50% while missiles maneuvrability improved in 5-6x.

      “New, improved MAWS, and other warning systems are possible”

      MAWS means Missile approach warning system, what other warning system you reffer to ? MAWS is just aid to give good situational awareness, wich is very important, but to defeat missile it takes good ECM, decoys and energy game. Historycally ECM was 30-50% effective, dependant on plane-SAM system generation parity, decoys can twist this a little bit further but if this two fail you will need to defeat missile by maneuver. Example: Why Russians decided to go for more maneuvrability and not stealth in PAK-FA ? Is it reasonable to believe that they just can not produce stealthier plane ?

      ” Countermeasures, jamming, and ECM also gets better ”

      Well, ECM actually means countermeasures….But, than again, ECCM also get better, todays modern radars have active nulling, meaning that when they detect jamming from lets say bearing 233, they by triangulation measures and signal strenght analyses estimate range gate, and than they just disregard any signal from bearing 233 and distances for exapmle from 100 to 125km. While in this “box” you still can hide planes, everithing outside this box will be detected, even on same 233 bearing. Than again, its not always straight forward, you have to look for a bigger picture. For example, take VHF radars, metric wavelenghts, to jamm on those you need antenas so big that so far its impossible to put on tactical aircraft. And modern VHF radar have position estimation errors small enough to guide missiles to certain engagement box, than seeker on missile can take over for last couple of seconds.

      “For SAM to be a superweapon that you claim it to be with a high pK, it must make very big relative gains compared to the aircraft.”

      Feel free to go thru all my previous posts again, you will se i never claimed SAM’s to be superweapon, i estimated PK 15-30%.

      “The problem is that larger missiles will simply build up more inertia for reasons of physics, making it harder for them to make the rapid changes in velocity needed to track an aircraft.”

      As i already stated, take SA-2 missile and 48n6e2 missile. SA-2 had 2400kg while 48n6e3 has 1800kg. SA-2 could go up to 7g, 48n6 can go at least 25g. SA-2 range is 60km or so, 48n6 range is 200-250km, model dependant……So, dont worry about physics, missile designers obviously worry about that.

      “Although they do have larger warheads, it’s not a good return as it’s the cube root. To double the kill radius, you need a warhead 8 times as large. That would mean a missile 8 times as large….. ”

      SA-2 had 200kg warhead, it had 65m kill radius and 130m heavy damage radius…average miss distance was 75m…48n6 has 180kg warhead…. But, you really believe explosive tech today is the same as 50 years ago ? Dont think so… And, you really believe miss distances for modern systemy are so big ? ASTER for example has average miss distance of 0.25m…….

      “My gut feeling again, is that to maximize pK, even for a medium sized missile, a rocket stage system, not dissimilar to how rockets escape earth’s gravity, will be needed, each with a motor and their fuel, to try to minimize mass of the final stage.”

      Pantsir s1 has 2 stage missile, final stage separates. 48n6e3 is a 2 stage missile…Even SA-3 missile was 2 stage missile with first stage dropping off when fuel is burned…what are you trying to say ?

  12. @Duviel Rodriguez

    “T-72: The turret has conventional cast armor with a maximum thickness of 280-mm, the nose is about 80-mm thick and the glacis is 200-mm thick laminate armor.”

    Not true for all T-72, thats for monkey models, while others have non metalic, like boron armide, inserts with total thikness of almost 800mm in some areas.. And you completly forgot about aditional armor wich is called ERA especially Kontakt 5 (k5) wich was designed to deplete not only HEAT but also APFSDS rounds. So here are the figures for T-72B WITH K5, T-80U WITH K5 and 2 versions of Abrams, HA and HC:

    T-72:
    Frontal turret 740/1100mm vs apfsds(sabot)/heat
    Glacis 710/1070mm vs sabot/heat

    T80U:
    Frontal turret 660/1100mm vs sabot/heat
    Glacis 720/1040mm vs sabot/heat

    M1A1HA(desert storm)
    Frontal turret 680/1230mm vs sabot/heat
    Glacis 590/800mm vs sabot/heat

    M1A1HC/M1A2 first versions

    Frontal turret 900/1500mm vs sabot/heat
    Glacis 590/1050mm vs sabot/Heat.

    So, obviously Abrams not always has better protection, but even when it does, does this extra protection is worth of 15-20 tons of more weight ? Now, feel free to find M1 protection levels..M1 precedeed Abrams, you will be surprised with results when it comes to armor.

    Soviet/Russian tanks were supposed to go to battle with aditional armor so you can not disregard those.

    “Abrahms has weaknesses too and I have mentioned the issues with fuel and lack of protection from the rear. But, Igor you need to stop making these arguments about Russian systems that are indefensible. ”

    What arguments are indefensible? If you bothered to search more than 1 minute you would find the very same data. How could you talk about tanks without knowing that some has non metalic inserts and ERA armor wich is pretty much stanard since T-64?

    “It must be that Russia sells wholly downgraded versions of its equipment to everybody while US sells its best.”

    Not true, even USA sells downgraded weapons, just how downgraded they will be depends on customers reliability.

    “No one (to include Soviets) was saying how downgraded Iraqi tanks air-defenses, and aircraft were before the war. In fact, Iraq was looked at as a top military power before the war. After they were demolished than the US detractors ran out saying they were monkeys. ”

    No one say Iraqi soldiers were monkey but that they used so called “monkey models”. If you bothered to search the net you would find that term. Than again, why would Soviets as suppliers say that tanks were downgraded ? Even in comunist time they were not so stupid when it comes to marketing. Afther all, people who said that were not USA detractors as you call them but true patriots who wanted to reveal the truth, as gloryfying such a “victory” may lead to very bad experience when real army is met.

    “Everytime in combat (various Arab-Israeli wars, Libya (1986 and present), Gulf War, Balkans) that US weapons prove to be superior certain people want to say its because either the operators were untrained or the equipment was bad export. ”

    Well, quite often that was reality. And that reality can be found by searching the net, not watching discovery chanel “Documentaries” and Holywood movies.

    Regards.

    • I got my data from FAS and Janes. I did not see your data anywhere i consider reliable. All tanks nowadays have non metalic/laminate/composite.

      When you add it all up it equels weight. I look at weight a lot because its easy way to deduce armor without believing and data on abilities of certain armors.

      My point on exports was that western tanks have shown in real combat to be more survivable, accurate, and even reliable.

      Why are soviet supplied Syrians, Serbs etc, looked at as being less trained. I dont buy that fully. I think the equipment is a big part of why Nato and Israel have succeeded.

      • “Why are soviet supplied Syrians, Serbs etc, looked at as being less trained.”

        Because they were. Serbs failed to conquer Croatia in four years even though looking at numerical and technological disparity in 1991, war should not have lasted more than few days, maybe weeks – tops. They were basically using 1914 approach to warfare in 1991.

        • The same goes for Serbian held teritory in Croatia. While having numerical superiority in any aspect, Croatian army was not able to drive them out untill they got help from air….

          Anyway, bringing politics into this forum will cause only damage. This being said im very dissapointed that you are clearly unable to see what really happened, and that you still rely on 25 year old dogma. I will not take part in any similar future “exchange of opinions” as i consider this unnapropriate for military oriented blog. If im mistaken about nature of your blog please, feel free to tell me that and i will stop visiting.

          Regards

        • “While having numerical superiority in any aspect, Croatian army was not able to drive them out untill they got help from air….”

          Wrong. Air power played a minor part in Operation Storm – almost none, except for recon – the only reason why Serbs were not defeated earlier was that a peaceful solution was being given a chance. On the contrary, Serbs had an absolute dominance in the air early on, yet what they achieved militarily was nothing spectacular.

          “This being said im very dissapointed that you are clearly unable to see what really happened, and that you still rely on 25 year old dogma.”

          WTH?

        • How did the Croats and Serbs go from union under one flag (and much historical and ethnic commonality) to mortal enemies? And how did Tito ever manage to keep Yugoslavia united?

          I think the succession wars once again proved that in war if one sides troops have no interest in fighting and risking death and the other side does, numbers and weaponry matter little. It takes a highly professional army to overcome this situation.

          Each time the side having the most to fight for won, no matter what other factors.

          Yugoslavia reminds me in some ways of what is going on in Ukraine (and in some ways Iraq and Syria) a country meshed together whose borders don’t represent the true nationalities of the citizens.

        • “How did the Croats and Serbs go from union under one flag (and much historical and ethnic commonality) to mortal enemies?”

          Basically, Austria happened. More specifically, we and Serbs originally had a common enemy in Habsburg dynasty. So Habsburgs commissioned a Serb mercenary, Ilija Garashanin, who then wrote a “thesis” that Croats are Serbs and that Croatia should be part of Serbia. It caught on, and… suffice to say that it wasn’t taken well in Croatia. And it has been a freefall since then.

          It didn’t stop our leaders from seeking a union with Serbia in 1918, though that was as much a pragmatic choice (to stop the Italy from taking most of our coast) as it was an emotional one. Problems happened when it became obvious that Serb politicians have bought into Garashanin’s propaganda. Entire Yugoslavia was carefully divided in order to erase old national borders. Further, Croatia – which was, in both Yugoslavias, *the* most economically developed country – was forced to finance eastern parts of Yugoslavia (Bosnia, Serbia, Montenegro). That heavy exploitation, plus planned transfer of industry from Croatia to Serbia, had a devastating effect in terms of economic development.

          Situation was finally improved in 1939, when Croatia was politically united for the first time since Ban Jelačić, but it was too late, as by then mostly everyone resented Yugoslavia. In 1941, Yugoslavia fell, and home-bred traitors on both sides did nothing conductive to improving relationship – they were too busy killing each others and everyone else to even think about it. It helped even less that Italians promoted such ethnic conflicts to their own ends. In 1945, a second Yugoslavia came (partly courtesy of UK and USSR, partly because Communists killed everyone who could effectively oppose it)… and it was even worse than the first. Again, Croatia was put into a subservient position, and a forceful Serbization of Croatian language and culture was attempted. It came to head after Tito’s death, when Serb Chetniks came to power and decided to make Greater Serbia possible. Result was that in 1990, Slovenia and Croatia seceded from Yugoslavia, after which Serbia attempted – with help of the local Serb populace, which had been led to believe by Belgrade that any Croatian independence would mean second coming of NDH.

          So, thank you, Austria!

          “And how did Tito ever manage to keep Yugoslavia united?”

          Quite simple. If you didn’t listen to him, you lost your head. There was also the fact that he had authority as a leader of resistance movement during World War II (he killed or otherwise disposed of all the other leaders), and support of international community. But even he was forced to cut back a bit after 1974.

          “Each time the side having the most to fight for won, no matter what other factors. ”
          “Yugoslavia reminds me in some ways of what is going on in Ukraine (and in some ways Iraq and Syria) a country meshed together whose borders don’t represent the true nationalities of the citizens.”

          Agreed.

      • “I got my data from FAS and Janes. I did not see your data anywhere i consider reliable. All tanks nowadays have non metalic/laminate/composite”

        That tells about your inabillity to recognize valuable data. FAS and JANES are holy bilbe ? All data there is 100% accurate ? Lets get real. They usually dont provide enough data. Just basic.

        Regards.

    • Well than Igor where do you suppose I look. Russian State Media? Reliable data on Russian equipment is harder to find than western. State controls all info tight and most of what you find is state controlled info.

      FAS and Jane’s are not gold but, there is not much I can find better. Unless I have access to classified info.

      Please share the link to where you found your data I would love to read it.

      I also found this link about T-90 (and other things) many here might like.

      http://foxtrotalpha.jalopnik.com/what-america-can-learn-from-russias-cheap-but-deadly-t-1540829820

  13. http://www.jhuapl.edu/techdigest/td/td2901/palumbo_homing.pdf
    Fig 7. basically disproves everything said here.

    No matter what the missile speed is, with a proper guidance algo, if the target pulls N Gs the missile has to pull between N and 3N Gs. ACs should never try to outmaneuver a modern missile.

    • You’re forgetting reaction times and quite a lot of other stuff. In some situations missile may have to achieve higher turn rate than aircraft to hit, in some cases just an equal number of Gs will be enough. Which is why sustained turns should never be attempted in combat.

    • The arguments I had read here stated that missiles will need 30G turn to even have a chance at hit. Now we agree that only in some situations will missiles need any degree of higher turn rate.

      Why has the argument shifted?

      Is it based on new data?

      • There is difference between turn rate and g load. IRIS-T has 60 g limit yet has ITR about comparable to modern fighter aircraft. 30 g is nowhere close to being enough to secure a hit against a modern fighter, especially for BVR missiles.

        EDIT: Argument hasn’ shifted, there are different requirements for hitting a straight-and-level fighter or one in a steady-state turn, and for hitting a fighter in adaptive defensive tun.

    • Nice, but do note that it only compares F-35 to US 4th generation fighters, which are nowhere close in capability to Eurocanards or new Russian fighters.

      Also important is this:
      “For the F-16, this would leave the Harm Targeting Pod (HTS), IR Targeting Pod, ECM pod, MAUs, rails, and air-to-air missiles; for the F-15C, the fuel tank racks; for the F-15E, the Targeting Pod, MAUs, rails, and air-to-air missiles; for the A-10, the IR Targeting Pod, ECM pod, and enough racks and rails from which to hang a city’s worth of meat. ”

      Comparison assumes that aircraft were attacked while carrying out ground attack mission, and jettisoned the payload. As noted, 4th generation fighters will – even in such circumstances – be left with significant baggage which will reduce their performance. External targeting pods, surveillance pods, racks and rails… Meanwhile, most my comparisons involving the F-35 compare it for air superiority role only. Apples to oranges comparison. F-35 is excellent for precision strikes against targets in a defended territory, but for air superiority, you need F-22, Typhoon, Rafale, Gripen… and most air forces cannot afford to operate the F-35 *plus* another fighter type.

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