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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The news said that France has attacked ISIL targets with aircraft.

Are these the Rafale, and how does it stack up against the best US and Russian fighters?

Thought we might have some aviation buffs here.
 

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I imagine that NATO design requirements make every platform less that what it could be if the design was carried to it's full potential. Lets hope the Chinese haven't figured it out.
 

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Most likely they are the Rafale fighters. They are multi role strike fighters best described as a 4.5 gen fighter where the F22 and F35 are 5th gen fighters. Capability wise not a match for the 22 which is an air superiority fighter but versus US strike fighters like the F16 or even the 35 it will hold its own if you take the 35's stealth out of the equation. One on one the Rafale has the advantage over the US fighters when up close. The F35 really needs to be networked with other 35's to gain the advantage.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Most likely they are the Rafale fighters. They are multi role strike fighters best described as a 4.5 gen fighter where the F22 and F35 are 5th gen fighters. Capability wise not a match for the 22 which is an air superiority fighter but versus US strike fighters like the F16 or even the 35 it will hold its own if you take the 35's stealth out of the equation. One on one the Rafale has the advantage over the US fighters when up close. The F35 really needs to be networked with other 35's to gain the advantage.
So you think it'd outmaneuver the F-15 and F-16, both of which have combat records?

My concern is that I've seen videos of very maneuverable Russian planes that the Rafale may have to face in battle.

Hw dangerous are the newest Chinese fighters, compared to US and western Euro models? I'm hoping the Typhoon and the Gripen can deal with them or Russian foes.
 

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1) I'm not aware that NATO places restrictions on aircraft design. That would be extremely STUPID.

2) When comparing fighter a/c today it's important to remember a few basic things:
China can build a plane that 'looks' like anything but that doesn't mean it works like it.
Fighter a/c effectiveness (the ability to kill) is based on a lot more than its ability to turn and burn. The electronic systems, missile abilities, stealth and coordination with AWACS makes all the difference.
The ability of the F-22 to 'super cruise' along with it's stealth abilities are two huge abilities that puts way ahead of anything else in the air. It was never about the dog fights. It's really all about killing the other guy. Nasty *** dog fights just are not an automatic part of the story anymore.
Yes, the Europeans have designed some very good aircraft but none of them have the battle record of the F-15, not even close. No body have a/c that have the tested battle records that our a/c do. So it's all speculation.
In the first Gulf War there was HUGE speculation about how well our a/c would work because they were so much based on 'smart' weapons and untested technology. Everything about the air war was untested. It was a huge gamble. Even the F-15E was pressed into service straight from the R&D units.
So the direct question of how they compare is HUGE and very subjective once you get past power, weight, bomb load, etc.
 

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So you think it'd outmaneuver the F-15 and F-16, both of which have combat records?

My concern is that I've seen videos of very maneuverable Russian planes that the Rafale may have to face in battle.

Hw dangerous are the newest Chinese fighters, compared to US and western Euro models? I'm hoping the Typhoon and the Gripen can deal with them or Russian foes.
The Chinese don't have the metallurgical knowledge to match our engines. Stealth wise, they're close enough to be dangerous, but their fighters don't have anything like the thrust and acceleration of ours. Russia has much better metallurgy and engines than China (which is why China and India have bough Russian in the past), but Russian electronics are where the US and NATO were in the late 1990s, which is why Russia buys export controlled versions of French electronics for their really important stuff. I rate American ~4th generation fighters better than the rest of the world with Russia and Western Europe fairly tied, though Russia's latest 4.5 gen design might have an edge over our NATO allies' 4th gen jets. Saudi Arabia's F16s have better specs than our F16s, as do many of our allies' and enemies' fighter jets, but our F15s, F18s, and F/A18s tend to win out -especially the later blocs. No one else currently has a 5th generation fighter, but I'd bet the F22 will remain top dog for a long time. The F35, though, is reliant on too much new and untested technology for me to make any predictions. It might do amazing in air-to-air fights, or it might be a repeat of the F4 without the gun.
 

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The F35, though, is reliant on too much new and untested technology for me to make any predictions. It might do amazing in air-to-air fights, or it might be a repeat of the F4 without the gun.
Sorry, but F-35 does have a gun. I wasn't sure you understood that.
 

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One part of this air superiority discussion which hasn't been mentioned yet is the pilot. I believe we have the best, the most experienced and best trained.
 

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Sorry, but F-35 does have a gun. I wasn't sure you understood that.
Yeah, I know the F35 has a gun. The F4 did not have a gun when it was first introduced because its missiles were supposed to make dogfights a thing of the past. Unfortunately, the ROE for our conflicts at the time, and the limitations on our electronics, meant the BVR target acquisition was much harder than the Air Force brass and the engineers of the time anticipated. The M61 cannon was added after the limitations of the design became apparent. The F35's non-line of sight munitions, IR sensor suite, and helmet HUD are likewise supposed to revolutionize air-to-air combat. I'm saying that the F35 might be like those early F4s that lacked guns, running circles around the competition technology wise but not actually able to beat them. And unlike the F4, the F35's potential limitation will be its airframe. Not something that can be easily fixed. (Actually, if it's a problem then it can't be fixed.)
 

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My only real tactical knowledge comes from the Army attack helicopter arena, but......

I think the overwhelming factor here that nobody has touched is what really, ultimately, is the largest factor. Our pilots. The pilots of our Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps are far and above more well trained. The simple fact that we have airplanes far more capable, to me, is secondary to the fact that we have the best trained fighter pilots on the planet. What other countries use for their light attack airplanes we use for trainers, The British RAF demonstration team uses a jet we use as a trainer.

Our planes may be .5 generation better than the competition, but our pilots make them look like toddlers. I'm not sure how relevant this data is, but a couple years ago I read in a magazine article that Chinese pilots were never given airplanes with full tanks of fuel for fear they'd defect. That kind of lack of trust will never breed a quality relationship.
 

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So you think it'd outmaneuver the F-15 and F-16, both of which have combat records?

My concern is that I've seen videos of very maneuverable Russian planes that the Rafale may have to face in battle.

Hw dangerous are the newest Chinese fighters, compared to US and western Euro models? I'm hoping the Typhoon and the Gripen can deal with them or Russian foes.
I didn't say that the rafale will outmaneuver the f15 or f16. Its just more oriented for that kind of fight. True the F15 has never been shot down in air to air combat, but the F16 is the most prolific fighter jet in the world and the F16 can outmaneuver the 15 in air to air when up close and achieve kill shots. The same can be said of the Typhoon vs Eagle. I read about an incident of a US F15 pilot decided to mess with a British Typhoon, friendly of course, and targeted him with his avionics. The typhoon supposedly pulled a maneuver and was behind the eagle with radar lock so quickly the F15 pilot had to concede defeat. The typhoon,rafale, and gripen were designed to be insanely maneuverable in turning fights, think knife fights, where US fighters prefer to hit at a distance and if they have to turn into a dog fight.
The Russians and the Chinese copies of them are large planes with very good maneuverability and since they are larger than the European fighters can carry more weapons, longer range etc. But for now they have no combat ready stealth or lower observation characteristics which the European fighters do. So who has the edge? Depends on fight.
 

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The Chinese don't have the metallurgical knowledge to match our engines. Stealth wise, they're close enough to be dangerous, but their fighters don't have anything like the thrust and acceleration of ours. Russia has much better metallurgy and engines than China (which is why China and India have bough Russian in the past), but Russian electronics are where the US and NATO were in the late 1990s, which is why Russia buys export controlled versions of French electronics for their really important stuff. I rate American ~4th generation fighters better than the rest of the world with Russia and Western Europe fairly tied, though Russia's latest 4.5 gen design might have an edge over our NATO allies' 4th gen jets. Saudi Arabia's F16s have better specs than our F16s, as do many of our allies' and enemies' fighter jets, but our F15s, F18s, and F/A18s tend to win out -especially the later blocs. No one else currently has a 5th generation fighter, but I'd bet the F22 will remain top dog for a long time. The F35, though, is reliant on too much new and untested technology for me to make any predictions. It might do amazing in air-to-air fights, or it might be a repeat of the F4 without the gun.
Yes Saudi Arabia's F16 have better specs than ours but they have the newest version of the F16 and the US isn't buying any more F16's. Shame really as the SA F16 is pushing in to the gen 4.5 category.
I know you mentioned this later that the F35 has a gun but only the A version has the internal gun. The B and C are going to be almost exactly like the F4 and use a gun pod.
 

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"French Fighters"??...thought this would be about the resurrection of the Maquis to deal with internal issues ;)
 
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