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Posted: 5/14/2004 5:38:20 AM EST
I was never really into military aircraft, especially not in the 80s. How good were the best MiGs compared to our best fighters?

I remember seeing the MiG 25 Foxbat in the dunes of Iraq, so it seems Russia is still developing them, and probably selling them to the Chinese. Does China have a lot of MiGs (that we know about)?
Link Posted: 5/14/2004 5:43:01 AM EST
As I understand things, the Mig 15-17 (in Korea) were outstanding, and better than our F86s. After that little wake up call, we've been ahead ever since. I saw a special on the Mig where they played gun camera footage of Mig 15-17s attacking B29 formations over North Korea. The 29s looked like they were standing still.
Link Posted: 5/14/2004 5:58:24 AM EST
They were no match for our fighters.....but still a threat nevertheless.


Link Posted: 5/14/2004 6:00:16 AM EST
The Korean War era Mig 15's were very good, if not better than western fighters. Only the arrival of the F-86 made it equal again and even then it was pilot training and expierence that really made the difference. Vietnam era Mig 21's were also the equal of the F4 in air to air combat. After these Migs its hard to really rate them. Western aircraft did not seem much combat against Migs manned by competently trained and motivated pilots.
Link Posted: 5/14/2004 6:03:06 AM EST
Used a jet turbine modeled off of an engine that the british gave them as a gift (the first MIGS). Go figure...
Link Posted: 5/14/2004 6:03:35 AM EST
The trick the Russians learned was how to sacrifice durability for performance. In many airframes like the Mig 25 where our engineers insist on titanium the Russians design for the weight of steel and produce three times the number of aircraft for the same money. Aircraft are a little larger, a little heavier but perform the same mission.

Russian aircraft commanders count on a third of their fleets being grounded at any given time for engine replacement. The engineers push the engines as hard as western designers but use cheaper steel over titanium and Inconel and reduce times between overhaul. They really have perfected using what they do have and concentrate on numbers with moderate quality. Planerench out.
Link Posted: 5/14/2004 6:05:56 AM EST
To understand the MIG's you have to first understand the Soviet/Russian philosophy of warfare.

Do you follow the philosophy of fielding 100 "Good" planes that are built like tanks and require minimal field maintenance to perform?

Or.......do you follow the philosophy of fielding 30 terrific planes requireing high tech materials and require a higher level of field maintenance to perform properly?

It begins with the philosophy of HOW to fight a war.

Alot of Butt Simple Weapons versus a smaller amount of higher tech weapons.

AK versus AR......so to speak.
Link Posted: 5/14/2004 6:22:04 AM EST

The Korean War era Mig 15's were very good, if not better than western fighters. Only the arrival of the F-86 made it equal again and even then it was pilot training and expierence that really made the difference. Vietnam era Mig 21's were also the equal of the F4 in air to air combat. After these Migs its hard to really rate them. Western aircraft did not seem much combat against Migs manned by competently trained and motivated pilots.


Not Really. The Soviets always cut corners in aircraft design…

The MIG-15 was a good aircraft but had some very serious problems that could kill the pilot. The F-86 was a better all around plane.

The Mig-21 was a good dogfighter but in no way in the same class as a fighter as the F-4. The MIG-21 has miserable range and if the afterburners are turned on it gets even worse. MIG-21s were used with ambush/hit and run tactics against US aircraft but they could not stay in the air and fight it out. When the US adapted to these tactics the MIG-21 became a target.

Current Russian designs (Mig-29 and SU-37 families) have much higher thrust to weight ratios than US fighters and they are more maneuverable, they also have better close combat weapons and fire control systems and therefore could be very deadly in close combat. Their short coming is in the long range radars, weapons and fire control systems which are still behind US systems. If you were to combine these Russian designs with Western avionics it would be a very deadly combination. For this reason the US needs to get the F-22 in to service ASAP.
Link Posted: 5/14/2004 6:29:19 AM EST
Well - in my opinion after around the mid 70s or so, it didnt matter nearly as much how good MiGs were compared to ours - what mattered was how good our missles were.

I know there was traditional dog fighting in Viet Nam, but since then many air-to-air combat has been done with missles. And in that arena we have led for many years.

From what I gather, the Russians have always had a good thrust to weight ratio on thier engines - generally better than ours.

As far as manuverbility, it depends on the plane - but over all I would say ours are better.

However, thier avianoics and advanced weapons systems were always behind us. So many aspects of modern fighter jets are computer controlled. Both weapon systems and piloting are effected by how good/bad the electronics and computer systems are.

And I dont quite understand the hard on for the MiG-25 Foxbat. I guess its the Mach3 "bigger is better" thing that gets people excited.

The MiG-25 was built in responce to a prototype bomber - XB-70 Valkyrie. Read about that here http://www.aerospaceweb.org/design/waverider/examples.shtml

We scrapped the project, but the soviets didnt. The MiG-25 was made to jet up to the target and intercept it (thus the mach 3 speed). I got with in 10 miles of the target, fire is specially designed missle, and go home.

Other than that mission, it wasnt a very well made plane. Fast, but used alot of fuel. And it was slow and not especially manuverable. It was later refited for recon missions.

They were supposed to be made from Titanium, but as a defectors plane showed, they cut down on costs by only haveing titanium on the tips of the wings and tail (titanium does much better with heat)

Sooo... anyway. I think the russians made some good planes - some great engines - and if they hadnt been in a depressing communist environment that focused on quanity over quality - then they may have had better avionics.
Link Posted: 5/14/2004 6:43:17 AM EST
Better than the pilots fortunately!

Tj
Link Posted: 5/14/2004 7:02:47 AM EST
[Last Edit: 5/14/2004 7:04:03 AM EST by Backstop]
In the early '80s there was a briefing at Nellis, where you could actually sit in a MIG (can't remember the MOD). They looked very spartan - short on any creature comforts compared to ours. There was tubing bolted to the outside of the skin, rather than neatly hidden inside the skin. Looked like it leaked everything but aircrew.

One of the most notable things I was shown was that all of the MIG's ground equipment receptacles were modified so that our (US) ground equipment would work on the MIG. Very very smart, if you ask me. I was told that our acft couldn't use the USSR's ground equipment.

The briefing was made public in the late '80s or maybe early '90s.

EDIT: Spelling
Link Posted: 5/14/2004 4:23:30 PM EST
Link Posted: 5/14/2004 4:37:19 PM EST

Originally Posted By Max_Mike:
The MIG-15 was a good aircraft but had some very serious problems that could kill the pilot. The F-86 was a better all around plane.



I've watched an interview with Chuck Yeager one of the first Western pilots to test the MIG-15, he stated he loved it. It was certianly good enough that it was usually pilot skill and training that made the difference. Straight up performance was very equal.


Originally Posted By Max_Mike:
The Mig-21 was a good dogfighter but in no way in the same class as a fighter as the F-4. The MIG-21 has miserable range and if the afterburners are turned on it gets even worse. MIG-21s were used with ambush/hit and run tactics against US aircraft but they could not stay in the air and fight it out. When the US adapted to these tactics the MIG-21 became a target.




The Mig-21 was a far better dog fighter than the F-4. Again it was pilot skill after the U.S. Air Force and Navy ramped up air to air combat training that made the difference. The Mig-21 was also designed as a short range interceptor, so range was not their first goal. The North Vietnamese Air Force used hit and run tactic to offset their lack of numbers and low quality of their pilots. Not becuase of some design flaw of their Mig-21's.
Link Posted: 5/14/2004 4:40:32 PM EST
[Last Edit: 5/14/2004 4:41:59 PM EST by vito113]
I was covering the Farnborough Airshow a while back. I was standing on the flight line chatting with two F16 jocks when Yevgeny Frolov proceeded to demonstate the new Sukhoi SU35, when that plane back flipped, rolled off the top and climbed straight up from stationay in mid air, both those guys jaws dropped and one looked at his buddy and said "were f**ked!"

Early Migs so-so, Mig 25 is a piece of junk, Mig 29 very competent plane, but the real danger is the Sukhoi SU27 & 35, every bit as, or more agile than the F15, and sports a cloned copy of an F18 radar and electronics package the Russians "aquired". The Chinese have them, bad news for the good guys.

Andy
Link Posted: 5/14/2004 4:46:55 PM EST

Originally Posted By Kihn:
Used a jet turbine modeled off of an engine that the british gave them as a gift (the first MIGS). Go figure...



Big surprise. The Tu-4 Bull was an exact duplicate of the US B-29, reverse-engineered by the opportunistic Soviets. The evolution continued through to the Bear...
Link Posted: 5/14/2004 4:47:37 PM EST
[Last Edit: 5/14/2004 4:49:09 PM EST by Special-K]
IIRC the Israelis had a Mig 25 flying recon over them. They had an F4 on full afterburner barely able to creep up on it when the Russian pilot noticed the F4 and pushed the throttles forward and walked away from the Phantom. We saw that and panicked at the new Russian superjet and went and built the F-15. Turned out that the Foxbat wasn't such a badass afterall, but we were happy with the F-15 and kept it around.

The Russians have built some really incredible aircraft. The Mig 29 was meant to match our F-18, and it's a very well built aircraft. In the hands of a skilled pilot it would be a very dangerous plane to fight. The SU 27 was meant to compete with our F-15, and it also a very good airplane. The SU-37 is a modified SU-27 with thrust vectoring that makes it far more manuverable. And yes, the Russians are selling lots of Mig29 and SU27's - and China is buying and producing a large number of them too.

One thing about the durability of the Russian aircraft is that they are designed to cope with the crappy Russian concrete. It crumbles very badly and doesn't last very long. So the jets they design can cope with injesting runway cement and other debris that would kill western jets.
Link Posted: 5/14/2004 4:51:36 PM EST
Link Posted: 5/14/2004 5:03:02 PM EST
That's fucking bullshit.
If a turbine sucks in concrete chunks (not cement, that's an ingredent of concrete) it is fucked no matter if it is an American or Russian turbine engine.

Both the MiG-29 and the SU-27 have "doors" that cover the engine intake to prevent ingestion of FOD.

MiG-29:
Incorporates a multi-segment ramp system, including top-hinged forward door (containing a very large number of small holes) inside each intake that closes the duct while aircraft is taking off or landing, to prevent ingestion of foreign objects, ice or snow. Air is then fed to each engine through louvres in top of wingroot leading-edge extension and perforations in duct closure door.

SU-27:
Large auxiliary air intake louvres in bottom of each three-ramp engine duct near primary wedge intake; two rows of small vertical louvres in each sidewall of wedge, and others in top face; fine-grille screen hinges up from bottom of each duct to shield engine from foreign object ingestion during take-off and landing.



One thing about the durability of the Russian aircraft is that they are designed to cope with the crappy Russian concrete. It crumbles very badly and doesn't last very long. So the jets they design can cope with injesting runway cement and other debris that would kill western jets.

Link Posted: 5/14/2004 5:05:40 PM EST
The answer to the original question is simple.

As good as the pilot.

"Quality of the crate matters little, Success depends upon the man inside."
Manfred von Richthofen

Too often people discuss the machines of war as a sort of military pissing contest, the reason we won more often then not was that we never forgot the human factor. The mig, eagle, falcon, lightning II etc all are just tools... the real weapon is the pilot. We invested more in our weapons then they did... thus we emerged victorious.

Link Posted: 5/14/2004 5:05:43 PM EST

Originally Posted By KA3B:
That's fucking bullshit.
If a turbine sucks in concrete chunks (not cement, that's an ingredent of concrete) it is fucked no matter if it is an American or Russian turbine engine.



I think he just meant rough landing surfaces, not actually sucking concrete into the turbine.
Link Posted: 5/14/2004 5:17:07 PM EST

The Mig-21 was a far better dog fighter than the F-4. Again it was pilot skill after the U.S. Air Force and Navy ramped up air to air combat training that made the difference. The Mig-21 was also designed as a short range interceptor, so range was not their first goal. The North Vietnamese Air Force used hit and run tactic to offset their lack of numbers and low quality of their pilots. Not becuase of some design flaw of their Mig-21's.


Bunk

The Mig-21s short range and woefully little fuel capacity was a trade off to get performance and was a serious problem. You can build the most maneuverable fighter in the world but if it cannot use full power because of lack of fuel that ain’t too good and is a design flaw.

The Mig-21 was short ranged it could not stay in the combat area for any time and could only make limited use of afterburners there by negating it most important features. The North Vietnamese Air Force could have used no other tactic with the Mig-21. The Mig-21s short range combined with short range weapon made this the only tactic possible against the F-4. If the F-4 was not sucked into a turning match with the Mig-21 it would beat the Mig-21 everytime.

The US faced the same situation as early in WWII vs. the Japanese Zero, the Zero look like a superior fighter until the proper tactics reviled its woeful short comings, the Mig-21 had woeful short comings that when exposed showed it to be a second rate fighter.

A better direct comparison against a US fighter for the Mig-21 would be the F-8 Crusader and the Mig-21 loses that one to.

Comparing the Mig-21 to the F-4 is similar to comparing a .38 snubie to a .45 1911 both can and will kill you but if you had to pick one or the other before a fight the choice is easy. If the choice is either a Mig-21 or F-4 the choice is easy the F-4 everytime.
Link Posted: 5/14/2004 5:26:28 PM EST

Originally Posted By Max_Mike:

The Mig-21 was a far better dog fighter than the F-4. Again it was pilot skill after the U.S. Air Force and Navy ramped up air to air combat training that made the difference. The Mig-21 was also designed as a short range interceptor, so range was not their first goal. The North Vietnamese Air Force used hit and run tactic to offset their lack of numbers and low quality of their pilots. Not becuase of some design flaw of their Mig-21's.


Bunk

The Mig-21s short range and woefully little fuel capacity was a trade off to get performance and was a serious problem. You can build the most maneuverable fighter in the world but if it cannot use full power because of lack of fuel that ain’t too good and is a design flaw.

The Mig-21 was short ranged it could not stay in the combat area for any time and could only make limited use of afterburners there by negating it most important features. The North Vietnamese Air Force could have used no other tactic with the Mig-21. The Mig-21s short range combined with short range weapon made this the only tactic possible against the F-4. If the F-4 was not sucked into a turning match with the Mig-21 it would beat the Mig-21 everytime.

The US faced the same situation as early in WWII vs. the Japanese Zero, the Zero look like a superior fighter until the proper tactics reviled its woeful short comings, the Mig-21 had woeful short comings that when exposed showed it to be a second rate fighter.

A better direct comparison against a US fighter for the Mig-21 would be the F-8 Crusader and the Mig-21 loses that one to.

Comparing the Mig-21 to the F-4 is similar to comparing a .38 snubie to a .45 1911 both can and will kill you but if you had to pick one or the other before a fight the choice is easy. If the choice is either a Mig-21 or F-4 the choice is easy the F-4 everytime.



I don't agree with you about the Mig-21. It was good enough to have a 1 to 1 or better kill ratio when pitted against the best we had early in the war. Only better pilot training in air to air combat swapped the kill ratio back in our favor. That leads me to believe it was not the plane holding them back. But lack of pilot training and dependency on ground control intercepts. By the way the F-8 was also a far better dog fighter than the F-4.
Link Posted: 5/14/2004 5:29:51 PM EST
When my father was in the Air Force (1975-1979), their belief was that the MIGs didn't have all of the bells and whistles of our fighters, but they had us beat in the numbers game.

Also, it seems that they have successfully developed a working design that eluded us. The Ruskies still don't have the same technical advancement that we have, but they aren't exactly cavemen.

www.mig-29.com/aircraft/Su-47/
Link Posted: 5/14/2004 5:32:26 PM EST
He meant what he posted.
Nothing more, nothing less.
Injesting is the key word.
Landing is no where to be found.


Originally Posted By Special-K:One thing about the durability of the Russian aircraft is that they are designed to cope with the crappy Russian concrete. It crumbles very badly and doesn't last very long. So the jets they design can cope with injesting runway cement and other debris that would kill western jets.




Originally Posted By Va_Dinger:

Originally Posted By KA3B:
That's fucking bullshit.
If a turbine sucks in concrete chunks (not cement, that's an ingredent of concrete) it is fucked no matter if it is an American or Russian turbine engine.



I think he just meant rough landing surfaces, not actually sucking concrete into the turbine.

Link Posted: 5/14/2004 5:36:54 PM EST

I don't agree with you about the Mig-21. It was good enough to have a 1 to 1 or better kill ratio when pitted against the best we had early in the war. Only better pilot training in air to air combat swapped the kill ratio back in our favor. That leads me to believe it was not the plane holding them back. But lack of pilot training and dependency on ground control intercepts. By the way the F-8 was also a far better dog fighter than the F-4.


Fact: When the F-4 used proper tactics the Mig-21 could not stay in the air with the F-4, the Mig-21 COULD NOT overcome these tactics with tactics of its own… this means the Mig-21 was an inferior fighter.

The Zero had an advantage in kill ratio against the F4F until the US used the proper tactics.

Early war kill ration in the comparison don’t mean a damn thing because US pilots were not being trained to dogfight.

The F-4 was a better fighter hands down.
Link Posted: 5/14/2004 5:37:34 PM EST

Originally Posted By KA3B:
He meant what he posted.
Nothing more, nothing less.
Injesting is the key word.
Landing is no where to be found.


Originally Posted By Special-K:One thing about the durability of the Russian aircraft is that they are designed to cope with the crappy Russian concrete. It crumbles very badly and doesn't last very long. So the jets they design can cope with injesting runway cement and other debris that would kill western jets.




Originally Posted By Va_Dinger:

Originally Posted By KA3B:
That's fucking bullshit.
If a turbine sucks in concrete chunks (not cement, that's an ingredent of concrete) it is fucked no matter if it is an American or Russian turbine engine.



I think he just meant rough landing surfaces, not actually sucking concrete into the turbine.




I stand corrected and your right. No turbine can eat concrete chunks. I think he read about their FOD doors used on take off and landings and got confused. I did not notice his using the word "injestion" in his post.
Link Posted: 5/14/2004 5:40:13 PM EST
Link Posted: 5/14/2004 5:44:11 PM EST
The Navy and Marine F-4's didn't have an internal gun.
The Air Force F-4's didn't get an internal gun until 1968 with the F-4E.

During the initial design of the Phantom, several proposals had been considered for a cannon-armed version. In fact, the original F3H-E proposal was designed around a quartet of 20-mm cannon. However the philosophy of the day was that the air-to-air missile was the wave of the future and that the internal gun was an obsolete holdover from an bygone era. Consequently, all Phantoms to reach production had been armed exclusively with missiles.

However, the all-missile fighter had shown some serious drawbacks in the initial air-to-air battles over Vietnam. The earlier Sparrow, Falcon, and Sidewinder air-to-air missiles did not perform up to expectations. They were expensive, unreliable, and vulnerable to countermeasures. Many an enemy MiG was able to escape unscathed because a Phantom-launched missile malfunctioned and missed its target. The Phantoms could carry a podded cannon mounted on the centerline, but it was relatively inaccurate, caused excessive drag which reduced the performance of the Phantom carrying it, and took up a valuable ordinance/fuel station.

An initial F-4 variant with an internal M61 cannon had been proposed by McDonnell to the USAF in March of 1961, but had met with little enthusiasm. McDonnell began a new design study for a gun-armed Phantom in late 1964 and finally got the attention of the Air Force. The gun-armed F-4E was finally funded in June of 1965. It was destined to be produced in greater numbers than any other single Phantom variant.

The first F-4Es reached the Southeast Asia theatre in November of 1968, equipping the 469th TFS at Korat in Thailand. The 4th FTS and 421st TFS arrived from CONUS in April 1969 with F-4Es to join the F-4Ds of the 366th TFW at Da Nang AB. After this, the F-4Ds of the 366th TFW assumed forward air control duties, whereas the F-4Es conncentrated on aircraft escort duties and conducted ground attack missions Six more F-4E squadrons deployed to Vietnam and Thailand in 1972 in response to the North Vietnamese invasion of the South in the spring of 1972.

The F-4E was credited with 21 MiG kills during the war. 10 of these were brought down by Sparrows, five with gunfire, four with Sidewinders, one with a combination of Sidewinder and gunfire, and one while maneuvering (no weapons being fired). However, most combat missions flown in Vietnam by the F-4E were ground-attack missions.


This is from an F-8 pilot who was an instructor at Top Gun during the Vietnam war:

This is a neat bit of history and takes me back about 3-4 decades. Most of those (listed on the memorial above) were 27 Charley Type carriers, except Coral Sea and Midway. I knew most of the guys on the Memorial and some in training at VF-124 at Miramar in 1966-68 and Coral Sea in 70-73. My first Intro to the F8U-1 was in 1958, and then on to VF191 where I first met Lefty Swartz..you remember him I believe. Herb Hunter was also in the Blues (Blue Angels) at the same time as Lefty.. knew him later at Miramar in 66,67..not sure which year he was killed. The F-8 killed more pilots during normal carrier ops than combat did. The small decks left very little margin as Hook to Ramp Clearance was only about 10-12ft and at night it was a bear, especially if there was any pitching as was quite often. In the Gulf of Tonkin, the decks were steady most of the time unless thunderstorms kicked up the swells....

There is a story I might add about the F8 vs the F-4 that I got involved with quite by accident. In short the F-4 community was having high losses with MIG intercepts as their training was mostly using their highly sophisticated radar and missile systems and very little one-on-one Air to Air Tactics!

I was a ready FRP, (Fleet Replacement Pilot) in VF124 waiting to join VF-51 as soon as they returned from a Vietnam tour. The ComNavAirPac admiral was really concerned about the number of F-4 losses and wanted to know why the F-8's were lower...He said get me an F-4 and a typical F-8 crew and lets see what happens. Bill Kiper, one of the best air to air pilots in VF-124, choose me to go with him as a section. The Admiral was in the back seat of one F-4. WE had them in every attack....on the last run one F-4 almost spun in. F-4 training changed after that little scene!

As a result of the real ass kicking Bill and I imposed on this test case of the (F-4 Fleet Replacement Pilot training or FRP vs the F8 Air-to-air training that all Crusader pilots got, the entire FRP Training for Navy F-4 pilots immediately changed to implement adversary training and less time depending on radar engagements with Mig 21 pilots. The radar training was supurb, however if the Migs intercepted any type first, which they did many times... radar was useless and in short, the F-4 community was at a big disadvantage and short changed on how to outmaneuver the MIG21 or even the 17 when the intercept turned bad. Once a merge plot occurs, it's you and your wingman's eyeballs that will predict the outcome! The missing link was how to get the hell out of a very bad situation. ACM or Air Combat Manevuering was all we did in the F-8 community. This point was driven home with our test case setup with the F-4.

One comment that will somewhat temper the way F-4 drivers and F-8 drivers see themselves. Pilot for pilot they are on average each just as capable airplane drivers for their role "IF" you train them in the same manner, that is to say switch cockpits and the Intercept Pilot would learn as the eyeball fighter type. It comes down to training concepts and much of the training is dictated by the opposition that one encounters and the equipment that you must quickly learn to apply. Against Russian Bears, etc. the F-4 was much superior, it could make a shoot down without ever seeing the target visually! When it's a western style shootout (as we called ourself Gunfighters), the F8 was among the best in it's day! The average F-8 pilot was much better trained ACM than the average F-4 driver...and vice versa!

Well I could go on and on , but I sign off for now.
take care,
Hal

Link Posted: 5/14/2004 5:44:37 PM EST
Good question, aside from preformance.....I had a chance to get up close and check out
a couple of MIG-25's (Ukranian) which were touring the U.S. Air Show circuit.
Poor Avionics, using borrowed Garmin GPSand other comm gear. NO in air refueling capabiliity.
Rough finish, paint and engine maintaince, the one's I saw had balding tires(steel showning) and sand still in the wheel castings!!!
The overall roughness of execution was consistant with many other aircraft of Soviet
manufacture such as the Antonof 124 which I have been on and about many,many
times.
Link Posted: 5/14/2004 5:55:40 PM EST
[Last Edit: 5/14/2004 5:56:23 PM EST by Va_Dinger]

Originally Posted By KA3B:
There is a story I might add about the F8 vs the F-4 that I got involved with quite by accident. In short the F-4 community was having high losses with MIG intercepts as their training was mostly using their highly sophisticated radar and missile systems and very little one-on-one Air to Air Tactics!

The radar training was supurb, however if the Migs intercepted any type first, which they did many times... radar was useless and in short, the F-4 community was at a big disadvantage and short changed on how to outmaneuver the MIG21 or even the 17 when the intercept turned bad. Once a merge plot occurs, it's you and your wingman's eyeballs that will predict the outcome! The missing link was how to get the hell out of a very bad situation. ACM or Air Combat Manevuering was all we did in the F-8 community. This point was driven home with our test case setup with the F-4.



Oustanding article, thanks. It highlights how "bad" U.S. pilots considered the Mig-21.
Link Posted: 5/14/2004 6:08:14 PM EST

Originally Posted By Va_Dinger:


Originally Posted By Max_Mike:
The Mig-21 was a good dogfighter but in no way in the same class as a fighter as the F-4. The MIG-21 has miserable range and if the afterburners are turned on it gets even worse. MIG-21s were used with ambush/hit and run tactics against US aircraft but they could not stay in the air and fight it out. When the US adapted to these tactics the MIG-21 became a target.




The Mig-21 was a far better dog fighter than the F-4. Again it was pilot skill after the U.S. Air Force and Navy ramped up air to air combat training that made the difference. The Mig-21 was also designed as a short range interceptor, so range was not their first goal. The North Vietnamese Air Force used hit and run tactic to offset their lack of numbers and low quality of their pilots. Not becuase of some design flaw of their Mig-21's.



They were 2 different aircraft.

The MiG-21 was a knife fighter, the F-4 was built as an interceptor.

The problem was that the US air services screwed up so much in arming the F-4 & training it's pilots, that the MiG-21 had a chance. The AIM-7 (Sparrow) was designed as a drop-launch missile but was being fired from rails (causing a horrendous miss-rate), which took away the F-4's main advantage (the MiG had no onboard radar and could not engage from long range). Second, dogfight practice was actually forbidden as 'a waste', and emphasis was placed on ground strike by the AF, & directed intercept (fleet defense) by the Navy...

Once fixed, the '21s dropped to their place comparitively.
Link Posted: 5/14/2004 6:20:45 PM EST
Link Posted: 5/14/2004 6:38:25 PM EST
[Last Edit: 5/14/2004 6:38:54 PM EST by omar]
Here's an old timer: A MiG 15U cockpit. There's a guy here in town that has a pantload of these things, along with a beautiful restored TU-2 recovered from a cave in China. He just traded it to the Moscow Museum for something else.
Link Posted: 5/14/2004 6:46:47 PM EST
I took this last week: The Moscow-bound TU-2.



He's supposed to have about ten of these unrestored. I'm not sure what the trade is, but it should be interesting.
Link Posted: 5/14/2004 6:55:15 PM EST

Originally Posted By bvmjethead:
www.bvmjets.com




Shameless plug!
Link Posted: 5/14/2004 6:56:42 PM EST
[Last Edit: 5/14/2004 6:58:13 PM EST by Va_Dinger]
Awesome picture, the PE-2 was an excellent ground attack aircraft for the Russians during WWII.
Link Posted: 5/14/2004 6:59:46 PM EST
The U.S. military were so impressed with the capabilities of the Mig-21 during the Vietnam War, they decided to design their own lightweight, Mach 2 fighter...The F-16.
Link Posted: 5/14/2004 8:33:34 PM EST

Soviet aircraft have always been competitive with US aircraft. Why shouldn't they, when both countries have an abundance of resources and talent and the motivation to learn the craft?


NO

Until recently Soviet aircraft have almost never been up to US standards (and even today lag way behind in avionics and systems) and because of this when Soviet aircraft came up against US aircraft and trained pilots they ended up as smoking holes in the ground.


Oustanding article, thanks. It highlights how "bad" U.S. pilots considered the Mig-21.


NO

It highlights what happens when you make bad assumptions, don’t train correctly and throw away the advantages of your equipment and play to your enemy’s advantages.


The U.S. military were so impressed with the capabilities of the Mig-21 during the Vietnam War, they decided to design their own lightweight, Mach 2 fighter...The F-16.


NO

The US Air Force built the lightweight fighter because they could not afford to get as many F-15 as wanted and needed a cheaper alternative for internal use and export.
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