Well, I was aksed a few months ago why I did not include the F-16 and variants (up to Block 52) in with the Sukhoi Su-27 and Variants (Su-30, Su-27K, Su-33, Su-37) in with the "most maneuverable aircraft.
Unfortunately, we have real problem brewing. Only the Russian State's virtual bankruptcy prevents the Russian Air Force from acheiving virtual air supremacy and/or in sales to so called 3rd world nations.
Because of the size of the files I cannot attach them or load them here or, even send them.
However, it is clear from viewing the videos and military reviews that the F-16 and F-18 and Variants are 'one notch down" from the maneuverability of the latest in the Sukhoi family.
The F-16 has been an extremely popular aircraft among US Allies and precommittment to buy "blocks" of F-16s by Nato Aircraft helped finance the rather fattality pocked development and deployment of the aircraft.
In point of fact, think about the various weapons systems that were dubbed as fatally flawed, or politically incorrect, in their development and initial deployment. was one.: The Bradley AFV was one such project Tand the design requirement to make the wieghty vehicle amphibious put me over the edge.
In this one case I think we have been better off to just modify the BMP rather than develop a home grown vehicle.
It is not and APC or a light tank----ah--so what is it?
Another time and another thread I think.
It has been US practice to maintain many useful but tecnically obsolete aircraft in various roles because of the USAF and USN to establish local air supremacy.
Could B-52's or B-1's operate in an environment where the latest in the Sukhoi Family (dubbed the "Terminator Su-37") is operating?
In the first case clearly NO in the second, maybe.
As to the B-2, perhaps at night.
The edge that US aircraft in avionics, missiles radar etc. has alwys in stood it in good stead versus Russian and Soviet Aircraft.
The F-18 is perhaps a match for Mig 29's as now owned, for example, by Germany.. The "Hoover" is also operated by Finland, a country habitually used to operating Russian Aircraft. (Well, of course there were exceptions.)
But the technical edge has gradually been eroded.
Russian avionics as shown in the Su-30,33 and 37 either equal or outmatch US counter parts.
How the F-22 is going to stack up against the Sukhoi is not really being discussed loudly.
This is an apples and oranges type of debate. In part because, fortunately, one view holds that the Sukhoi family's improved versions, developed originally in the same time frame historuically as the F-16, F-15, F-18 et el, merely turned out better than US improved versions of the last three listed aircraft.
The F-14 was a unique development. The Navy simply refused to accept MacNara's aim of foisting the F-111 (aka TFX) on them as a fighter aircraft.
Now, I think the Aardvark was a great aircraft, but it was not a Carrier borne fighter.
Do you think??
The F-22 and JSF really are on a totally different 'tier' so to speak.
How will the F-122 and F-35 and variants will stack up.
Good question as a Russian counterpart to a Stealth Supersonic Fighter have not come to my attention, let alone one that iHas Vtol and STOL variants and is near to deployment.
Yes, I know tht the F-22 has been deployed, but the JSF is not quite there yet.
In the short run, however, Iranian F-14's, in Iran and Sukhoi variants being deployed elsewhere raise an air superiority question.
As an aside; F-14s, in retired by the USN, are a serious threat to US air assets in Iraq and having even been detected sporting normally 'SAM use only Hawk Missiles' instead of Phoenix missiles.
This is part of the hidden price we paid when A-Hawk technology was sold to the Iranians in connection with the Iran Contra Affair.
Suddenly my opinion of Olly North has been altered.
F-14s have been filmed already overflying US forces in Iraq, and it is only the dwindling numbers of maintanable F-14s in Iranian hands that forestall a serious potential imbalance in US ability to maintain local air supremacy.
F-18's and F-16s are going to continue to be imprived.
But the facts of the matter are that the Russian imprvements to the Sukhoi Family of fighter has put the two US families of aircraft and variants at a clear disadvantage one on one.
How this all will plat out is anyone's guess.
The US has become very carefull that all F-14 and spare parts for them and the Phoenix Missiles are carefully and quite lterally shredded.
So this answers the question as to why IRanian F-14s have now been seen with the relatively huge Hawk (variant) missile.
The Hawk and A-Hawk were replaced, of course, by the formidable Patriot Weapons system.
It should be pointed out that even in its earlier versions in US service, Hawk was able to intercept "Corporal" missiles.
The Corporal could be deemed a rough earlier equivalent of the Scud.
The Us abandoned, largely, field deployed SRBM's in favor of the Crusie missile.
Members of the Sukhoi Family. "The F-22 Will Meet a Sudden and Deadly end" Russian spokesperson.
Regardless of the source and antipathy, the Sukhoi Su-27 is a beautiful aircraft.
Unfortunately, I suppose, making an aircraft stealthy, as in the cse of the Raptor and JSF, can effect the aesthetics of the plane.
It seems some heat is rebuilding between the former Cold War adversaries.
Russia will be selling Su-30's at least to the Islamic Republic. To what end, I ask, is this knee jerk reaction aimed.
I willl post pics of the F-22 and JSF on another thread as I have yet to copy pics of them, although such pics are available.