Air Superority Fighters

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Air Superority Fighters

Post by sasahara17 on Mon 2 Jun 2008 - 17:51

Lets talk about modern day Air Superiority Fighters like the legendary F-15 Eagle or more recently, the F-22 Raptor, the most sofisticated arial weapons platform in the world.

Can't have a Fighter discussion post without dogfights!


Comparison between the YF-22 and the YF-23

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Re: Air Superority Fighters

Post by ElfenMagix on Mon 2 Jun 2008 - 20:41

?? Looks to me that they are the YF22 vs the F22 mods and changes...

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Re: Air Superority Fighters

Post by sasahara17 on Tue 3 Jun 2008 - 4:57

The YF-22 IS the F-22 during it's testing stages.

Don't know much about the YF-23 Black Widow, other than the fact it looks completely badass and supposedly was super unconventional, but lost out during the ATF Trials to the cheaper, supposedly less advanced Raptor.

So, what's you favourite dogfighter? Suprisingly, mine is the F-14 Tomcat. Can't imagine an Aircraft carrier without one on board.

I love the Harrier to death, but the F-14 has those wings see...

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Re: Air Superority Fighters

Post by Awinnell on Tue 3 Jun 2008 - 5:22

you'll have to imagine a carrier without the F-14, they've all been retired !

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Re: Air Superority Fighters

Post by LoC978 on Tue 3 Jun 2008 - 8:18

yeah, no US Navy F-14s left... they've all either been sent to the Air Guard or sold to Iran Laughing

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Re: Air Superority Fighters

Post by Guest on Tue 3 Jun 2008 - 9:05

At least the F-22 Raptors were there to replace them...

that's a notch up, right?

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Re: Air Superority Fighters

Post by Awinnell on Tue 3 Jun 2008 - 10:51

the F-22 is an air superiority plane not a carrier plane, its only going to be used by the US airforce,and at the moment is not being sold to any US ally,it will probably end up like the B-2 very good but very very expensive and built only in limited numbers,its role outside of air to air combat is limited and most military types prefer a multirole arcraft ,one that is reasonable at most things

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Re: Air Superority Fighters

Post by sasahara17 on Tue 3 Jun 2008 - 18:32

Awinnell wrote:you'll have to imagine a carrier without the F-14, they've all been retired !
I'm well aware of that rather sad fact.

Embarrasingly enough, that association of F-14s and Aircfaft carriers comes from hose 'Micro machines' toys I used to play with when I was a brat.

Awinnell wrote:the F-22 is an air superiority plane not a carrier
plane, its only going to be used by the US airforce,and at the moment
is not being sold to any US ally,it will probably end up like the B-2
very good but very very expensive and built only in limited numbers,its
role outside of air to air combat is limited and most military types
prefer a multirole arcraft ,one that is reasonable at most
things
I can see why the US wouldn't want this aircraft being owned by anyone else. And while it's not much good outside dogfight, in that area the F-22 is unmatched. It even eats F-15s for breakfast. Given how important air superiority is in today's warfare, whichever side has more F-22 is agoing to come out on top.

As for the carrier plane, isn't that what the F-18 is for?

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Re: Air Superority Fighters

Post by LoC978 on Tue 3 Jun 2008 - 18:51

sasahara17 wrote:As for the carrier plane, isn't that what the F-18 is for?
yeah, but the Hornet is no match for a real air superiority fighter, at least in range and maneuverability... and it's no match for a bomber in terms of payload...
Still, they're a great multi-role fighter, or so I've been told... and I suppose there's no real need for a carrier-based aircraft to be an air-to-air monster. There are plenty of ways to take a plane out of the sky... dogfighting is pretty much obsolete right now (might make a comeback someday, though)...

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Re: Air Superority Fighters

Post by sasahara17 on Wed 4 Jun 2008 - 0:20

I suppose in an age where most air to air combat involves locking a guided missile onto a small blip on your radar, dogfighting is more or less impossible *sigh*.

But sill, air superiority is still very important in modern warfare, especially since the tatical options avaliable to a commander who has control of the skies so so much more varied than someone limited to troops on the ground.

The F-18 is a very useful carrier based fighter. I would imagine that the carrier needs planes capable of taking on multiple roles rather than specialised bombers or interceptors becuase of it's 'limited' carrying capacity, and as such a multi-role fighter like the Hornet would be a perfect. Besides, it's not as if the US can't field their more 'specialised' planes from a land based airbase from an allied state.

Anyway, back to the planes. If we want a plane reknowned for dogfighting, how about the famous Hurricane and Spitfire from WWII?

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Re: Air Superority Fighters

Post by Wileama on Wed 4 Jun 2008 - 11:27

sasahara17 wrote:I suppose in an age where most air to air combat involves locking a guided missile onto a small blip on your radar, dogfighting is more or less impossible *sigh*.
If dog fighting where dead, then why does the F-22 have a gun? America has twice weakened it's dogfighting program. First with the introduction of jet fighters, and second with the modern air to air missile. Korean, and Vietnam both showed the error of those ways. As stealth tech becomes more prevalent, dog fighting will only become more prevelant. Now if you have better radar then your opponent you do have an advantage. That doesn't mean you'll win though. The missile still has to hit it's target, and that leaves the other fighter a chance to dodge. If they do, the aggressor has to get in position to fire another missile. Meanwhile his opponent is trying to do the same thing. All the while the two opponents are very very likely closing range. This is the beginning of a dog fight. There is more long range jousting in ariel combat then their use to be, true. Considering just how much better the USAF is, it's not surprising that dogfights aren't common anymore. I guarantee though, if the US where to go to war with China there would be plenty more stories for this show.

sasahara17 wrote:But sill, air superiority is still very important in modern warfare
Can you say close air support kids? How about saturation bombing? Air superiority makes all the difference in the world. Very Happy

sasahara17 wrote:Anyway, back to the planes. If we want a plane reknowned for dogfighting, how about the famous Hurricane and Spitfire from WWII?
Personally I think the P-38 is cooler

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Re: Air Superority Fighters

Post by sasahara17 on Wed 4 Jun 2008 - 18:22

Wileama wrote:If dog fighting where dead, then why does the F-22 have a gun? America has twice weakened it's dogfighting program. First with the introduction of jet fighters, and second with the modern air to air missile. Korean, and Vietnam both showed the error of those ways. As stealth tech becomes more prevalent, dog fighting will only become more prevelant. Now if you have better radar then your opponent you do have an advantage. That doesn't mean you'll win though. The missile still has to hit it's target, and that leaves the other fighter a chance to dodge. If they do, the aggressor has to get in position to fire another missile. Meanwhile his opponent is trying to do the same thing. All the while the two opponents are very very likely closing range. This is the beginning of a dog fight. There is more long range jousting in ariel combat then their use to be, true. Considering just how much better the USAF is, it's not surprising that dogfights aren't common anymore. I guarantee though, if the US where to go to war with China there would be plenty more stories for this show.
So rather than going exitnct, the rules have merely changed?

Cool.

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Re: Air Superority Fighters

Post by Nachtsider on Wed 4 Jun 2008 - 21:58

The Mitsubishi A6M is a mean dogfighting plane. It pwns the P-38, Spit and Hurry in that department.

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Re: Air Superority Fighters

Post by sasahara17 on Thu 5 Jun 2008 - 1:14

Nachtsider wrote:The Mitsubishi A6M is a mean dogfighting plane. It pwns the P-38, Spit and Hurry in that department.
Completely forgot about the Zero, agruably the WWII fighter with the most formitable reputation. Even when the technology of the allies should have made it obselete, it still put up a stubborn fight. No question the Spit and Hurry would be outclassed by one, but I thought the P-38 fared extremely well against the Zero?

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Re: Air Superority Fighters

Post by Guest on Thu 5 Jun 2008 - 1:32

It did in some circumstances, for example, when a P-38 and Zero engaged at a relativly high altitude the Lightning might dive straight down and go full throttle, the Zero would not be able to keep up and it woudl break up at much lower speeds due to it's thin alumunium skin, the Lightning would then come up from below.

Man I love dogfighting in old-school planes, it was so much better back then, when you had to rely on your wit and quick reactions rather then technology.

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Re: Air Superority Fighters

Post by Awinnell on Thu 5 Jun 2008 - 2:08

actually the spit and the zero rarely met,in fact most of the RAF aircraft in the east were older pre war aircraft,the zeros main advantage was its speed and agility over the heavier more armoured US aircraft it met,the spitfire was faster and could outurn almost all of the WW II aircraft out there and was still better armoured and armed than the zero ! the zero was stripped down so much to increase its agility speed and most important of all given the distances it fought over its range,however this meant that a concentrated attack of only a few seconds would cause it to fall apart in mid air.in addition it lacked self sealing fuel tanks so it burnt pretty well !

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Re: Air Superority Fighters

Post by Guest on Thu 5 Jun 2008 - 2:33

They mostly engaged Wildcat and maybe Corsair, along with others.

Yeah, and the Japanese where losing good pilots due to that fact that the planes has practically no armor.

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Re: Air Superority Fighters

Post by Wileama on Thu 5 Jun 2008 - 2:55

I don't know a lot about the P-38. I imagine that as the P-38 weight about three times the Zero it probably would have lost a turning fight. As it's been said though the Zero really couldn't take any punishment. It's only defense was that it was so maneuverable it was hard to get behind, especially with the underpowered wildcat. Once the Zero started to face off against the better Hellcat, or Corsair, they started to lose. Especially give the fact that Japan wasn't able to replace pilots as well as the US was. Still I just can't help, but love the lines of the P-38. It's a really beauty in my eyes. I just love the twin boom look of it. It's sexy.

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Re: Air Superority Fighters

Post by Guest on Thu 5 Jun 2008 - 2:56

Hell yeah.

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Re: Air Superority Fighters

Post by Nachtsider on Thu 5 Jun 2008 - 3:09

Some misconceptions here I'd like to clear up.

The Zero was a poor diver, but the statement that it would break up in a dive is a complete myth. This legend arose due to USAAF engagements with the Zero's poor cousin, the Ki-43 Hayabusa, which was used by the Japanese Army Air Force - that plane looked just like the Zero, and was prone to having its wings snap off when it dived. Contrary to popular belief, the Japanese Army Air Force did not use the Zero. The Zero was a Navy-only plane - the Japanese Navy and Army were bitter rivals, and guarded their respective technology jealously.

The Zero did not outclass its opponents in terms of speed. It was slower than most Allied warplanes. No Allied warplane could mix it up with a Zero in a close-in, slow-speed dogfight, but they could outstrip it by performing 'boom-and-zoom' attacks - careening in on a Zero, blasting it with all the guns they had and diving away before the Zero could react, using superior speed to their advantage. The P-38 excelled in this, but its large size and considerable weight made it a poor dogfighter and vulnerable to its Japanese Navy opponent. Spits did engage Zeros plenty over Darwin. Every time the Spits attempted to mix it up at slow speeds with the Zeros like they did with German planes, they lost. 'Boom-and-zoom' - as taught to them by the USN's Commander John Thach, who developed anti-Zero tactics over Midway and the Solomons - were the only way to go.

Also, the statement that the Zero was poorly armed compared to Allied fighters is innacurate. Allied warplanes were largely armed with machine guns, while the Zero and other Axis planes boasted machine cannons that fired explosive bullets. In the final analysis, however, the Zero's poor armor and lack of self-sealing fuel tanks (this strip-down introduced to guarantee its formidable maneuverability and range) rendered its armament advantage over Allied planes marginal. It was not that Allied planes were better-armed than the Zero; it was that the Zero was totally unable to take anything the less-well armed Allied planes could dish out.

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Re: Air Superority Fighters

Post by Awinnell on Thu 5 Jun 2008 - 5:12

ok my bad ,rumour and badly remembered stories lol

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Re: Air Superority Fighters

Post by sasahara17 on Thu 5 Jun 2008 - 5:16

Nachtsider wrote:Big long informative spiel about the Zero
From the looks of things, it seems like killing Zeros had more to do with tatics and strategy on the allied pilots rather than a straight out one on one dogfight. The 'Tatch Weave', an ingenious air combat strategy, was developed in response to the sheer manuverabilty of the Zeroes.

Seeing as how this strategy is so effective it still is in prcatice today, I can imagine how badly this was needed back in the good old days of WWII.

Now, slightly off topic from WWII dogfighting, I just realised that we have an entire thread without a direct mention of the F-15 Eagle, the (former) undisputed king of dogfighting with over 100 kills and no losses in it's entire operational history. Kinda makes the F-22 looks more impressive since it took down several F-15s during a mock trial doesn't it?

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Re: Air Superority Fighters

Post by Guest on Thu 5 Jun 2008 - 5:57

F-22 = Air-Superiority Fighter
F-15 = All Rounder

But yeah the -22 is freaking awesome.

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Re: Air Superority Fighters

Post by mara on Thu 5 Jun 2008 - 6:22

Guess we just have to wait 'til the JSAF is issued.....

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Re: Air Superority Fighters

Post by sasahara17 on Thu 5 Jun 2008 - 22:12

BrynTheSkits wrote:F-22 = Air-Superiority Fighter
F-15 = All Rounder

But yeah the -22 is freaking awesome.
If I'm not mistaken, the F-15 was originally concieved as a dedicated dogfighter. However the design proved so successful they eventually developed a more versitile strike fighter, the F-15E.
Although the F-15E is a derivate of the F-15, could you really call it the same plane? It's a dual seater instead or a single, and it's role on the battlefield is very differet from it's dogfighting counterpart. Any opinion?
As a side thought, could the F-22 eventually have a non-air superiority variant developed in this manner?

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Re: Air Superority Fighters

Post by Guest on Thu 5 Jun 2008 - 23:00

I don't see them developing it like that, as it was designed purely for air-to-air, but yes it might be able to be modified to have bigger weapon bays for bombs or to be fitted for air-to-ground missiles.

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Re: Air Superority Fighters

Post by Wileama on Thu 5 Jun 2008 - 23:29

sasahara17 wrote:
Nachtsider wrote:Big long informative spiel about the Zero
From the looks of things, it seems like killing Zeros had more to do with tatics and strategy on the allied pilots rather than a straight out one on one dogfight.
That's true of any good dogfighter. You remember in Top Gun, how they say 'never leave your wing man.' There is a reason they tell you things like that. A good fighter pilot knows tactics. He knows what his strengths, and weakness are. If he's lucky he also knows these things about his enemy. A pilot uses that information to help decide what tactics, and maneuvers he needs to win. You can't just rely on your fighter to be better then the other guys in every respect.

Which was actually a major issue with the Zero early on. If you compare the Zero to Wildcat, you'll realize that it was basically a better fighter in every way. Add to that Japanese pilots in the begining of the war where better trained, and had more experience then their allied counter parts. Yeah it's not that big a surprise the Zero kicked America's ass so hard. The Zero was a hell of fighter. Time marched on though, and American fighters got much, much better. Depending on the fighter it was going against the Zero was still better in some areas. When you put the Zero up against a Hellcat, or Corsair thought those advantages are few. The Japanese also built better fighters, but they couldn't really get them into production in significant numbers. Which is really why japan Japan lost the war. The Japanese had a much better military machine at the beginning of the war, but lacked the manufacturing base to sustain the loses they suffered.

I don't really know what the F-15 role was to begin with, or how it has changed. I will say this, it's not unusual for pylons that hold missiles to be capable of holding bombs. What's more the F-22 isn't just replacing the F-15, it's also replacing the F-117. The F-22 can drop I think two of 2000 pound JADMs. Having a fighter that can't drop bomb in the modern era is kind of rare from my understanding.

The F-15 is kind of crazy. I think something like 70% of it's air to air kills have taken place beyond visual range, which is to say great then 20 nautical miles. Yet it's still a great dogfighter. The F-22 guys have repeatedly commented that it takes about six F-15 to really challenge them... Honestly the USAF may be too good. When no one is left to challenge you, it's easy to slack off.

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Re: Air Superority Fighters

Post by rusty-spring on Fri 6 Jun 2008 - 1:05

Wileama wrote:The Japanese had a much better military machine at the beginning of the war, but lacked the manufacturing base to sustain the loses they suffered.

Yup. Hard to win a war when you're being outbuilt. Play any RTS game.

For the record, the F-22 performs outstandingly but I'll always have a grudge against it along with the F-35 and the Super Hornet. Only because they have/will replaced the F-14 and F-15s. Razz

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Re: Air Superority Fighters

Post by sasahara17 on Fri 6 Jun 2008 - 4:49

Wileama wrote:The Japanese had a much better military machine at the beginning of the war, but lacked the manufacturing base to sustain the loses they suffered.
Losing through attrition *shakes head sadly*. What a way to go.

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Re: Air Superority Fighters

Post by Awinnell on Fri 6 Jun 2008 - 6:16

the militaries of both Germany and Japan were geared to a quick decisive war,of course such a war is a fantasy,in general all it takes is for the opposition to hang on long enough and you will run out of supplies and manpower ! neither country prepared its industrial capabilities to meet the demands of a long war, failing until much to late to switch to full mobilisation of its population,in fact both of them instead tried to use new technologies to combat the numerical superiority of the allies ,this lead to a waste of resources which instead of being used to build fancier planes ,tanks etc could have been used to produce massive numbers of cheap easily maintained equipment,which is what the allies did

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Re: Air Superority Fighters

Post by Guest on Fri 6 Jun 2008 - 6:56

Our forces goes on the decline after Midway. The American blockade didn't help either--good ol' Arisaka rifles suffered with lack of material.

Then there's the Russians...and the atomic bomb. Really, is the reason dropping the bomb was to 'force' us to surrender, or just to test it?

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Re: Air Superority Fighters

Post by Awinnell on Fri 6 Jun 2008 - 7:25

bit of both,as well as to scare the Russians

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Re: Air Superority Fighters

Post by Wileama on Fri 6 Jun 2008 - 11:19

Awinnell wrote:Neither country prepared its industrial capabilities to meet the demands of a long war, failing until much to late to switch to full mobilization of its population. In fact both of them instead tried to use new technologies to combat the numerical superiority of the allies , this lead to a waste of resources which instead of being used to build fancier planes ,tanks etc could have been used to produce massive numbers of cheap easily maintained equipment,which is what the allies did
The Japanese, couldn't have increased their industrial capabilities significantly. They didn't have the resources, and such a shift without war would have crippled their economies. The Germans did a bit better, but again the major issue for them wasn't the industrial base, but resources. Of those resources man power was perhaps the greatest issue. Japan had much more trouble replacing pilots then they did planes. One reason being they didn't rotate out their pilots into training positions like the Americans did.

Often times wonder weapons did more to hasten the end of the war then to end it. I don't really know what 'wonder weapons' the Japanese had planned. I can say that some of the German ones actually did help the Third Reich. Jet fighters, night vision, those kind of things. Now programs like the V-1, and V-2, did more damage then good. Still thought, by that point Germany had already lost the war. Focusing on more traditional weapons wouldn't have only made a difference of months in most cases.

Panzer IV wrote:Really, is the reason dropping the bomb was to 'force' us to surrender, or just to test it?
I shouldn't touch this with a 20 foot pole. I really shouldn't, I remember how the last one with TK went back in the old forum. That said I think the first bomb was justified. The fire bombing campaign that America was running was I think worse then the atomic bomb. They aren't quite as dramatic thought as a nuclear bomb though. That drama demanded Japan surrender, thus ending the war that much quicker. Did it also did serve as a warning to the Russians, and a chance to study the bomb. Yes. Does that make it a bad thing? Not necessarily. The second bomb. Maybe it didn't have to be dropped. I honestly don't know. What ever the case nuclear weapons are horrible. Their use brings me no joy, and I wish that as a species we would give them up.

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Re: Air Superority Fighters

Post by mara on Fri 6 Jun 2008 - 11:46

[quote="rusty-spring"]
Wileama wrote:The Japanese had a much better military machine at the beginning of the war, but lacked the manufacturing base to sustain the loses they suffered.

Yup. Hard to win a war when you're being outbuilt. Play any RTS game.



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Re: Air Superority Fighters

Post by Awinnell on Fri 6 Jun 2008 - 11:52

the germans didn't employ their womenfolk in war industries until more than half way through the war,leaving 50% of your population out of the workforce has got to be a bad idea,they also couldn't seem to realise it was easier to build spare parts rather than a new tank or plane,the allies salvaged their vehicles whenever they could patched them up and sent them back into combat,the germans howevere due to the part shortage were forced to await an entirely new tank outside of scavenging parts from one to repair the others,their tanks were technically better than any allied tank but they were so complicated they often broke down,personally on a battlefield i would rather have tank that works all the time fairly well rather than one that is brilliant some of the time,the tool kit for a T-72 was 4 spanners 1 screwdriver and a hammer and pliers ,you could fix everything on it just using those tools,the guns were the allied tanks biggest failure,though from late 44 some of them were using tungsten sabot rounds in their guns and that offset the advantages the germans had in armour if not the range of their 88mm gun,and of course they had a massive numerical advantage

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Re: Air Superority Fighters

Post by sasahara17 on Sat 7 Jun 2008 - 7:59

[quote="mara"]
rusty-spring wrote:
Wileama wrote:The Japanese had a
much better military machine at the beginning of the war, but lacked
the manufacturing base to sustain the loses they suffered.

Yup. Hard to win a war when you're being outbuilt. Play any RTS game.
It's all about logistics really. History has proven an amy that can replace it's losses faster than the enemy will always triumph over an opponent.

This is coming from experience. That's how I LOSE most RTS LAN games I play. I suck at micro-managing. On the ither hand, I win at turn based strategy games for the very same reason (outbuild+ounumber=overwelm the enemy). Meat shield infantry rush.

Yeah, I read military books cause I don't think my only winning strategy will fly well with the Singapore Army Officers course.

EDIT - Gave it a bit of a thought and decided better of asking a question like that, so got rid of the whole atom bomb thing. Sorry if I offended anyone.

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Re: Air Superority Fighters

Post by Awinnell on Sat 7 Jun 2008 - 8:16

they test detonated one in the Mojave desert prior to its use against Japan,but one test is hardly going to let you know just how devastating it is against a city,especially when it was done in a desert,but at the time the fact that it worked was considered enough,the light from the blast was so bright a blind girl outside the test area saw it !
there was little knowledge of the effects of the radiation generated,after the war tests were carried out using soldiers as witnesses,they were put in trenches a few miles from the bomb and given welding goggles to protect their eyes,these men have suffered a much rate of cancers than most people and are still dying from the effects to this day,
the fact that only 2 bombs were dropped had more to do with the fact that they only had 2 than any desire to let the Japanese surrender

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Re: Air Superority Fighters

Post by Nachtsider on Sat 7 Jun 2008 - 20:59

It didn't help the Japanese that the Americans managed to capture an intact and working Zero during the Battle of Midway. Once they carted it home, they were able to analyze its strengths and weaknesses, following which they were able to build planes better suited to the tactics that could neutralize the Japanese machine.

One of Japan's biggest wartime weaknesses was, indeed, its industrial base. They were more suited to quality over quantity, and could never produce weapons on the scale that America could. Also take into consideration their training programs, especially where it applied to naval aviators flying the Zeros. The Japanese Navy's training program was designed to produce none but 'the very best of the best', with only a hundred pilots graduating a year. Ironically, this training program washed out 'the best of the best', 'the very best' and 'the best' in favor of the top one percent. Couple this with the fact that combat pilots in the field were only rotated back to Japan once they were on their last legs, along with the Zero's design (which discarded armor protection so that the airplane could fly its way out of trouble), and you can see why attrition eventually took its toll. By the time a more efficient training program appeared, it was already too late, and the Japanese were eventually forced to throw second and third-rate replacements into combat to face large numbers of above-average and good American pilots who knew how to deal with the Japanese machines in a fight. This is why conventional combat tactics gave way to kamikaze attacks, which came on the scene in 1944.

Regarding Japanese super-weapons - they were more interested in germ warfare and using nuclear power to fuel their warships, not as ordnance to drop on enemy cities or strongholds. During the last year of the war, however, experiments were conducted to produce cigarette-packet-sized atomic bombs, designed to be dropped on the invasion beaches and mounted in kamikaze planes to attack the American invasion fleet when it popped up off Japanese shores - which, of course, did not happen.

Two atomic bombs were dropped in quick succession to make the Japanese believe that the Americans had a whole arsenal of them sitting back in the States, ready to be unleashed. If the Japanese did not fall for the bluff after the bombings, the invasion of Japan would have gone ahead, with the purpose of the bombs therefore being that of softening up the invasion areas - Hiroshima and Nagasaki were major defence strongpoints. In the ultimate event, however, it was the Russian declaration of war that drove Japan to surrender, not the bombs. As I've mentioned prior, the awful effect of those things did not sink in until much, much later.

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Re: Air Superority Fighters

Post by Sheo Darren on Sat 7 Jun 2008 - 23:11

Now reciting historical data from the cobwebbed back of my head without the aid of a reference guide...

The Spitfire was a good fighter, but its earlier engines wasn't up to par with the BF-109's diesels at... 9000 feet altitude or higher, I believe.

A North American fighter model famously designed on the floor of a barn suffered from underpowered engines until it received the superb British Merlin engine. At that point, it was designated P-50. Yes, it is the Mustang, one of the best escort fighters of the European Theater.

The sad thing is that someone (forgot who) turned blueprints of the Zero over to the US before WWII. But no one paid any attention to the documents. Only when they found that Zero stranded in the Aleutians did the Americans get to work on the Hellcat.

The US Navy Wildcat that preceded the Hellcat was a fair fighter. One on one, it would lose against the Zero. But, as already mentioned, superior tactics developed by Thach (especially the so-called Thach Weave) allowed two Wildcats to handle several Zeros at the same time. That, plus makeshift boiler plate armor installed at the back of the Wildcat's seat, allowed the Wildcat to win.

The P-38 was faster (two engines are better than one), tougher and had better range than the Zero. In comparison. Conversely, the Lightning was a poor dogfighter, because it was designed as an interceptor.

More on the Lightning: this excellent interceptor also had a heavyweight cannon in the nose alongside the machine guns, or at least some versions did. The placement of the guns- (briefly looks at Wikipedia for the proper terminology, then gives up and copy-pastes the paragraph, which describes the effect better than I can at the moment)

Clustering all the armament in the nose was unlike most other U.S.
aircraft, which used wing-mounted guns where the trajectories were set
up to crisscross at one or more points in a "convergence zone". The
nose-mounted guns did not suffer from having their useful ranges
limited by pattern convergence, meaning good pilots could shoot much
farther. A Lightning could reliably hit targets at any range up to
1,000 yards (910 m), whereas other fighters had to pick a single
convergence range between 100 and 250 yards (230 m). The clustered
weapons had a "buzz saw" effect on the receiving end, making the
aircraft effective for strafing as well.

The Hellcat was specifically designed to kill the Zero. It had the most number of kills against the Japanese, since it was the primary US Navy fighter for most of WWII.

In comparison, the Corsair had the best ratio of kills. The Japanese called it "Whispering Death", because it was surprisingly quiet for such a massively-engined plane. Another plane who got such a nickname from the Japanese was the Bristol Beaufighter attack plane.


It was the fear that the Russians would invade and occupy Japan that caused the Japanese to give up. The atomic bombs were just the official excuse.

Whatever the Japanese said to new recruits about American Marines' first mission being to kill their parents (with about ten times the stigma attached if the Marine in question was black; I seem to remember hints of cannibalism were overly implied, but I may be wrong), they knew that the Russians were much, much worse. Admiral Bill Halsey might have declared that "When this war is over, the Japanese language will be spoken only in hell", but the Russians were actually the ones who would really take that statement to its logical, brutal conclusion.

Even so, there were Japanese officers who tried preventing the Emperor and pro-peace officers from surrendering, to the point that they tried kidnapping the Emperor. There were fatalities, as I remember. A nasty business.


Now, to a more modern setting.

The F-14 was retired because the design's airframe was approaching its maximum lifespan. The Tomcat was designed in the 1970s alongside the F-15. Grumman was ordered to destroy the molds for the F-14 in the 1990s, so they can't build new F-14s or spare parts.

Still, the F-14 is undeniably effective, not only as a long-range interceptor (with its 100km Phoenix missiles, which are just as old as the fighter is is) but also as a bomber. In fact, the Tomcat can carry more bombs than the F/A-18E/F (the latter being different from earlier F/A-18s; more on it later) at longer ranges and with better accuracy. The Tomcat had this ability from the very beginning, considering it was descended from the F-111 fighter-bomber (originally a naval interceptor), but sadly received the proper equipment only towards the end of its service life.

Swing-wings are necessary if you want large naval aircraft that can, among other things, carry heavy bombloads. In fact, a design for the F-14's stealthy successor looked remarkably like an F-22 with swing wings.

The F-15 Eagle is of course the premier 4th generation fighter of the world. No fighter has yet to beat it in real combat. It helps that the Israelis who established that record are the best pilots in the world, bar none. I understand that even the USAF pilots would lose to the IAF mano y mano. That is, until the F-22s appear.

The Su-25/27/30/35 "Flanker" series are the Russian equivalent of the Eagle. The Sukhois are the match of the F-15, with the later versions probably better at maneuvering thanks to their canard wings.

The F/A-18 Hornet is actually two groups of aircraft. The A to D versions descend from the YF-17 lightweight fighter that competed with the XF-16 (the future F-16). They received the nickname "Plastic Bugs". The running joke was that they had only enough fuel to take off, circle the carrier once, and land, they were so small. ^_^

The E and F Super Hornet versions, dubbed "Rhino" due its massive nose, share only the front part of the earlier F/A-18. The rest of the plane was upped in size for better range, speed and power. The E and F are now roughly the size of the F-15. They have replaced the A-6 series in the naval medium bomber, electronic warfare (EA-6) and (KA-6) tanker roles, and the F-14 in the naval fighter role.

The MiG-29 is the Hornet's Russian equivalent. The Fulcrum has better range and is a much better air-superiority bird, but is weaker at ground attack. The Fulcrum is renowned for its long-range infra red tracking system, allowing it to sneak on enemy aircraft without using its telltale radar, and its helmet-mounted missile designator, allowing a pilot to designate an enemy fighter without needing to point his jet at it. Indeed, ex-East German Fulcrums have beaten the best dogfighters the West has thrown at them in exercises, including its rival the F-16.

The F-22 outclasses the F-15. In one exercise, an F-22 flew straight at an F-15. The F-15's radar couldn't see the -22.

The F-22, I believe, is rated to carry a lot of Air Force air-to-ground ordnance, including bombs and Mavericks and (my especial favorite) High-Speed Anti Radiation Missiles. It also has about five seconds worth of ammo for its cannon. So it can be used as an attack fighter.

The F-35 is the dedicated attack fighter, replacing the F-14 and the earlier F/A-18s. Its GAU-13 cannon has more ammo than the -22 and is descended from the A-10's GAU-12, since the -35 will take over the Warthog's mission post 2040.

The problem is that in order to save weight, Lockheed made the F-35's weapons bay even smaller. The F-35 can now carry only two 2000lb bombs (the standard heavy bombs of the US).

That's why the US is putting so much energy into new ordnance, especially their new Small Diameter Bomb, probably the smallest air-dropped bomb in the world. The SDB has the punch of a much bigger bomb thanks to new explosives, plus much better accuracy. Coupled with its small size, it can be used in urban areas with supposedly little risk of collateral damage.

The YF-23 is stealthier than the YF-22, especially in the IR (infrared) spectrum. Sadly, it was also bigger. That posed a problem, since the Air Force would spend so much money on building new hangars for the new fighter. In comparison, the YF-22 was about the size of the F-15, and could use the latter's hangars. Just one of the reasons the -22 won.

However, the YF-23 might make a comeback, as the Air Force is looking for a fighter-bomber design to replace the F-111. A YF-23 version is reputedly competing with an FB-22 design.

The Russians have both the MiG 1.44 and the excellent Su-37/47 Berkut in development and/or testing. They also have an "F-22 killer" in the works. Everyone claims to have an F-22 killer in the works. That's how much they fear it. ^_^


WWII-wise, I prefer the Messerschmidt BF-109 series for soldiering
through most of WWII for the Luftwaffe, the Republic P-50 Thunderbolt
for being such a badass predecessor of the A-10 Thunderbolt II, and a
version of the Yak (forgot which one) for making German pilots nervous
at 5000-feet-or-lower airspace.

Modern-wise, I'd take the Saab Gripen for guerrilla warfare (try taking off from a highway!) and ground attack, the Su-47 Berkut for air defense, and an F-15E painted all black.
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Re: Air Superority Fighters

Post by Nachtsider on Sat 7 Jun 2008 - 23:45

Sheo Darren wrote:The sad thing is that someone (forgot who) turned blueprints of the Zero over to the US before WWII. But no one paid any attention to the documents. Only when they found that Zero stranded in the Aleutians did the Americans get to work on the Hellcat.
Only partially right there, Sheo. The Zero first appeared on the scene over China; personnel in Chiang Kai-Shek's Nationalist Air Force who were lucky enough to survive engagements with the Japanese machine met up with USAAF liason officers and told them about it, their statements going unheeded. No blueprints were involved - the Zero's production and design were top secret, and never got leaked.

Sheo Darren wrote:More on the Lightning: this excellent interceptor also had a heavyweight cannon in the nose alongside the machine guns, or at least some versions did.
The prototype Lightning had six fifty-cals in the nose; all the later versions had a cannon. But yeah - it was one of the few US fighters that had cannon armament.

Sheo Darren wrote:Whatever the Japanese said to new recruits about American Marines' first mission being to kill their parents (with about ten times the stigma attached if the Marine in question was black; I seem to remember hints of cannibalism were overly implied, but I may be wrong), they knew that the Russians were much, much worse..
I never heard that story before. Everything I've read and heard indicates that the Japanese never instilled in their troops any horror stories about their enemy's ferocity; rather, they indoctrinated their troops to believe that Japanese personnel were tough and superior, and (dig this) encouraged acts of cannibalism against captured enemy troops. No, I'm not kidding about that last point.

Sheo Darren wrote:WWII-wise, I prefer the Messerschmidt BF-109 series for soldiering through most of WWII for the Luftwaffe, the Republic P-50 Thunderbolt for being such a badass predecessor of the A-10 Thunderbolt II, and a
version of the Yak (forgot which one) for making German pilots nervous at 5000-feet-or-lower airspace.
The real predecessor of the Thunderbolt II was a German plane off the Henschel works (can't remember the name offhand). That thing was a twin-engine deal that bristled with cannons and bombs, including a 75mm (!). Gotta love that bird.

Willy Messerschmidt's 109 was okay, I guess, but I'd still go for Kurt Tank's FW-190 series. The final variant rocked.

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Re: Air Superority Fighters

Post by Sheo Darren on Sun 8 Jun 2008 - 0:50

Only partially right there, Sheo. The Zero first appeared on the scene
over China; personnel in Chiang Kai-Shek's Nationalist Air Force who
were lucky enough to survive engagements with the Japanese machine met
up with USAAF liason officers and told them about it, their statements
going unheeded. No blueprints were involved - the Zero's production and
design were top secret, and never got leaked.

I see... it's been years since I read the material. From what I remembered, an American (for some odd reason my brain keeps on suggesting it was Charles Lindbergh -_-) succeeded in sneaking out blueprints, but bureaucratic paperwork soon consigned the information to the most secluded spot in the archives section.


I never heard that story before. Everything I've read and heard
indicates that the Japanese never instilled in their troops any horror
stories about their enemy's ferocity; rather, they indoctrinated their
troops to believe that Japanese personnel were tough and superior, and
(dig this) encouraged acts of cannibalism against captured enemy
troops. No, I'm not kidding about that last point.

Again, my data dates back way back to high school, when I read books and didn't use the Internet much

Probably the horror stories came after Guadalcanal, where the Japanese first clashed with the US Marines and came away with badly bloodied noses.

Now, Japanese soldiers eating people... I had thought that only happened when they were stuck in the jungle, hungry and with no food.

I do remember a very nasty episode where a battalion (albeit a depleted one) trapped in the jungle got decimated by crocodiles attracted to all the blood in the water. It reminds me why I hate reptiles (barring dinosaurs, who are coincidentally all dead) so much.


The real predecessor of the Thunderbolt II was a German plane off the
Henschel works (can't remember the name offhand). That thing was a
twin-engine deal that bristled with cannons and bombs, including a 75mm
(!). Gotta love that bird.

Oh, yes, that one, the one that replaced the Stuka in said CAS role. (Checks Wiki.) Hs 129. The big 75mm gun carried only 12 rounds, but was automatic, and a single burst was enough to take out any tank.

Still, no one can match that Stuka pilot who sank a Russkie battleship with his cannon. ^_^


Willy Messerschmidt's 109 was okay, I guess, but I'd still go for Kurt Tank's FW-190 series. The final variant rocked.

Indeed, the Focke-Wulfe series were superior, to the point that they could beat the P-50 regularly- if the Mustang didn't come in numbers all the time. But poor Willi's 109s held the line for so long (alongside the infamous 88mm AA guns), I just have to give his design credit for doing so much. Smile)
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Re: Air Superority Fighters

Post by Awinnell on Sun 8 Jun 2008 - 5:55

a Mustangs a P-51 not a P-50

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Re: Air Superority Fighters

Post by Nachtsider on Sun 8 Jun 2008 - 6:11

Sheo Darren wrote:I see... it's been years since I read the material. From what I remembered, an American (for some odd reason my brain keeps on suggesting it was Charles Lindbergh -_-) succeeded in sneaking out blueprints, but bureaucratic paperwork soon consigned the information to the most secluded spot in the archives section.
Well, Lindbergh was too busy being a Nazi sympathizer. He was, despite all the denial that's been thrown around. Only reason he agreed to join combat operations as a Lightning pilot later in the war was that he liked flying too much.

Sheo Darren wrote:Now, Japanese soldiers eating people... I had thought that only happened when they were stuck in the jungle, hungry and with no food.
Oh, it happened quite often in non-starvation situations, I assure you. The poor men who ended up on the dinner table were more often than not downed Allied aircrew.

Sheo Darren wrote:Still, no one can match that Stuka pilot who sank a Russkie battleship with his cannon. ^_^
Hans Ulrich-Rudel! The living legend! The only man to receive the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oakleaves, Swords and Diamonds! That guy ruled so hard - honestly speaking, I look up to him more than any fighter ace.

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Re: Air Superority Fighters

Post by Sheo Darren on Sun 8 Jun 2008 - 9:19

Well, Lindbergh was too busy being a Nazi sympathizer. He was, despite
all the denial that's been thrown around. Only reason he agreed to join
combat operations as a Lightning pilot later in the war was that he
liked flying too much.

Well, that's an irony, if there ever was any. ^_^


Oh, it happened quite often in non-starvation situations, I assure you.
The poor men who ended up on the dinner table were more often than not
downed Allied aircrew.

At least those who weren't rescued by heroic islanders and coast watchers. It pays to be GI Joe.


Hans Ulrich-Rudel! The living legend! The only man to receive the
Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oakleaves, Swords and Diamonds!
That guy ruled so hard - honestly speaking, I look up to him more than any fighter ace.

Aye, he's the man. Like the A-10 pilots' joke went, "You can shoot down a hundred MiGs a day, but if you land at your airfield and find the Soviet Tanks Guard commander having a drink at your bar, you've lost the war."
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Re: Air Superority Fighters

Post by ElfenMagix on Sun 8 Jun 2008 - 10:27

Nachtsider wrote:
Sheo Darren wrote:I see... it's been years since I read the material. From what I remembered, an American (for some odd reason my brain keeps on suggesting it was Charles Lindbergh -_-) succeeded in sneaking out blueprints, but bureaucratic paperwork soon consigned the information to the most secluded spot in the archives section.
Well, Lindbergh was too busy being a Nazi sympathizer. He was, despite all the denial that's been thrown around. Only reason he agreed to join combat operations as a Lightning pilot later in the war was that he liked flying too much.
Actually, Lindbergh was considered too valueable as a national hero to be sent off to war. But he was allowed to be an air-army consultant/instructor for those Pacific Theater Pilots flying long missions! Since he flew to the Pacific Islands, where there the USA Ary Air Corp and US Navay Air Corp patrolled, they thought he would be safe. Instead, he flight troop was attacked many times, and he himself shotdown (though in despite) from 3 to 8 enemy Zeros in self defense; making him at least an ace. He is the only civil-ace known to history, though the US Army Air Corp frowned upon this and kept all this activity secret. Because it was secret, he was never awarded for his actions. During the war, he flew lightnings, mustangs, and the big bombers.

Lindbergh's second (actually first) contribution to the war (and all future aircraft since) was design premise and prinicipal that help create the DC-3. "The aircraft must be able to fly while fully loaded with 1/2 its engines off!" All multi-engined planes prototypes submitted to the US Military were personally flown by him personally to see it if passed his simple test. The DC-3 was the first plane to pass this test. Ford submitted a plane to revive its aircraft componant of its company. It failed, and this Ford never built another plane after that.

The test was simple: go upto 5000ft, shut off an engine. If it continued to fly level, it passed the test. If it starts to pitch down and descend, it fails.

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Re: Air Superority Fighters

Post by Nachtsider on Sun 8 Jun 2008 - 10:38

I think you're a tad off about Lindbergh's combat records, Elfen. The guy never shot down any Zeros and never made ace - he downed at most a couple of bandits, one of them a recon plane and the other an Army fighter.

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Re: Air Superority Fighters

Post by Wileama on Sun 8 Jun 2008 - 12:13

Sheo Darren wrote:The sad thing is that someone (forgot who) turned blueprints of the Zero over to the US before WWII. But no one paid any attention to the documents. Only when they found that Zero stranded in the Aleutians did the Americans get to work on the Hellcat.
No not quite that way sir. The Hellcat was in the works well before Pearl Harbor was attacked. It wasn't originally slated to be much more then a modest upgrade. I think after the Zero saw action in China though, the Navy changed their minds about 'modest.'

Sheo Darren wrote:Even so, there were Japanese officers who tried preventing the Emperor and pro-peace officers from surrendering, to the point that they tried kidnapping the Emperor. There were fatalities, as I remember. A nasty business.
I was reading about that on wikipedia just the other day actually. The failed coup seemed fairly bloodless, considering they attempted to take the Imperial Palace.

Sheo Darren wrote:The F-15 Eagle is of course the premier 4th generation fighter of the world. No fighter has yet to beat it in real combat. It helps that the Israelis who established that record are the best pilots in the world, bar none. I understand that even the USAF pilots would lose to the IAF mano y mano. That is, until the F-22s appear.
USAF F-15's have also scored air to air kills in various combat operations. So Israel alone is not responsible for the F-15's superb statistics. It also helps the F-15 hasn't exactly seen many fair fights. The IAF is certainly a bad ass group, just like the other Israeli military branches. Israel deals with war in a much more real sense then the US. So pound for pound the entire Israeli military is probably better then the US military. It's much smaller though, so the US still comes out as top dog.

Sheo Darren wrote:The F-22 outclasses the F-15. In one exercise, an F-22 flew straight at an F-15. The F-15's radar couldn't see the F-22.
The F-22 changes a lot of rules. In super awesome ways.

Sheo Darren wrote:The F-35 is the dedicated attack fighter, replacing the F-14 and the earlier F/A-18s. Its GAU-13 cannon has more ammo than the F-22 and is descended from the A-10's GAU-12, since the F-35 will take over the Warthog's mission post 2040.
Wait, what! Okay, the F-35 does have a derivative of the GAU-12. Of course it's designated the GAU-22/A. Key difference being it has one less barrel. That, and the F-35 only carries 180 internally, with the option for another 220 externally, to the F-22 480 internal. I would also like to point out the GAU-12 != the GAU-8. The F-35 is not the A-10, and to replace the latter with the former is a mistake in my mind. The A-10 needs a proper replacement, not some fighter pretending to do it's job. Also that replacement is currently scheduled for about 2028.

Sheo Darren wrote:The SDB has the punch of a much bigger bomb thanks to new explosives, plus much better accuracy. Coupled with its small size, it can be used in urban areas with supposedly little risk of collateral damage.
Okay looking more carefully I realize that your aren't saying the SDB has the punch of a 2000lb JADM. Still something you have to realize is that the SDB is not about a big blast radius. Rather the opposite. Until the SDM the smallest precision weapon in the USAF arsenal was a 500lb bomb. When your doing close air support for the Army in Baghdad, it's not really cool to drop a 500lb on one house in in a neighborhood. That 500lb will take out a couple other buildings when it blows. So you use a bomb that weights 250lb, and only a fifth of that is explosive. That bomb still going to do some collateral, but not nearly as much. Also you get carry twice as much. Also it makes a pretty decent bunker buster against say, a hardened aircraft hangar. So the SDB makes a lot of sense for more then just the new stealth fighters.

Sheo Darren wrote:The YF-23 is stealthier than the YF-22, especially in the IR (infrared) spectrum. Sadly, it was also bigger. That posed a problem, since the Air Force would spend so much money on building new hangars for the new fighter. In comparison, the YF-22 was about the size of the F-15, and could use the latter's hangars. Just one of the reasons the -22 won.
My understand was the main reason was that the YF-23 had sacrificed it's maneuverability to get that stealth. In the end though, that's probably not the only reason.

predecessor of the A-10 Thunderbolt II
The Hs 129 can certainly claim the A-10 as it's spiritual successor. So can the A-1, the Il-2, and the P-47 Thunderbolt. The Thunderbolt was a good air to ground attack aircraft. What's more it was designed by the same company. Some of the Thunderbolt did go into the A-10.

Also I am of the opinion that the Dassault Rafale is one sexy beast. I'll be honest I don't even care if it's a bad fighter. It looks like a fighter should. It just looks like it wants to be doing a mach 2 barrel roll while firing off a missile when it's sitting on the ground.

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Re: Air Superority Fighters

Post by rusty-spring on Sun 8 Jun 2008 - 12:28

The more I look at the F-35, the more I like it. Sure it's not as flash as it's older brother the Raptor, but it's still going to be a damn good plane. Too bad Goose will never be able to fly in one.

Mostly because he isn't real he died tragically during training, but also because F-35's don't have RIOs. Razz

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Re: Air Superority Fighters

Post by Nachtsider on Sun 8 Jun 2008 - 12:38

Wileama wrote:It just looks like it wants to be doing a mach 2 barrel roll while firing off a missile when it's sitting on the ground.
Barrel rolls - the solution to everything.

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Re: Air Superority Fighters

Post by rusty-spring on Sun 8 Jun 2008 - 12:40

Nachtsider wrote:
Wileama wrote:It just looks like it wants to be doing a mach 2 barrel roll while firing off a missile when it's sitting on the ground.
Barrel rolls - the solution to everything.

Nope. As Maverick from Top Gun has showed us, the best thing to do in a dogfight is to hit your brakes and SLOW DOWN. *rolls eyes* Cause you know...speed isn't an advantage... bang head

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