Home » Air » DT Poll: What’s the World’s Best 4.5-Gen Fighter?

DT Poll: What’s the World’s Best 4.5-Gen Fighter?

by John Reed on March 29, 2012

So, we talk about fifth-generation fighters all the time and we’ve even asked for your opinion about them.

Well, many of the world’s air forces can’t yet afford stealthy fighters but still need to modernize their aging fleets, we thought we’d look at the next best thing to a fifth-gen fighter; a 4.5 gen jet.

You know, the planes like the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet or the Eurofigter Typhoon. Badass jets that are able to give the only fifth-gen fighter on the international market, the delay-plauged F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, a run for its money in fighter acquisition contests around the globe.

So readers, which 4.5 jet is the best?

We’ve got Boeing’s ‘stealth killer’ Super Hornet, Boeing’s F-15SE Silent Eagle, Dassault’s Rafale, the Eurofigther Typhoon, the Saab Gripen, Sukhoi’s  Su-30, the MiG-35 and finally the Chengdu J-10.

4.5-gen fighters are called this because they feature advances in technology over 4th-gen fighters that were designed in the 1970s and dominated the skies in the 1980s and 1990s yet they aren’t entirely revolutionary designs like the F-22 Raptor and other 5th-gen planes. All of these jets mentioned above feature advanced radars, sensors communications links, while some like the Super Hornet, Silent Eagle and Typhoon are considerably stealthier than previous generations of fighters. Meanwhile, the Typhoon, Rafale and Gripen can supercruise — they can fly faster than the speed of sound without using gas guzzling afterburners — a feature that the F-22 Raptor, the ultimate fifth-gen fighter, is famous for.

So, do your research and tell us which one is the best in the poll below.

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{ 269 comments… read them below or add one }

Zimmerman March 29, 2012 at 8:57 am

The swiss air force recently compared 3 of these fighters : Gripen, Typhoon, and Rafale. Rafale was the preferred fighter but the Gripen was choosen because of it was cheaper.

source : http://files.newsnetz.ch/upload//1/2/12332.pdf

Hence, I vote for the Rafale

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Sgt_Buffy March 29, 2012 at 10:55 am

I came up with the same findings. Rafale was better than the Typhoon (barely) but the Gripen was just that much cheaper. What I like is that the Rafale is also carrier capable, Somtehing that the Typhoon or Gripen can't boast.

Edit: So then it remains: Rafale or F-18 Superhornet?

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blight_ March 29, 2012 at 11:12 am

Just so we're all on the same page, there is an AF and a Navy variant of the Rafale. Hopefully nobody thinks people are using Navy Rafale (Rafale M[arine]).

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harry July 18, 2012 at 6:08 pm

me 2 support rafael

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Sven February 8, 2013 at 1:56 pm

Why buy one costly big fighter that can maybe (observe maybe) turn little more to right or left) when you can buy two smaller fighters for nearly the same price with lower running costs and that are to small to be seen on radar in time before they surrounds the bigger fighter and takes the bigger fighters out .Gripen was difficult to lock on radar in Red Flag. I do belive it took one Typhoon and if I am not wrong F18 too but that might have been an older f18 version, maybe somone else in the forum know for sure. But Two for the price of one with low running costs is effective.

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Sven February 8, 2013 at 2:21 pm

http://weapons.technology.youngester.com/2011/12/

Read this and understand the powers of Gripen and it will be even better.
And the worlds economies need it so bad. Bad times often starts war, many planes good, many good planes better. But can worlds economies afford many expensive good planes, can they afford many good cheap planes ???

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Zeyn March 29, 2012 at 9:36 am

The hornet wins hands down, the Typhoon is good but will never be as good as American engineering.

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Mastro March 29, 2012 at 9:45 am

The Hornet might have a lead on precision bombing for now- but Typhoon could catch up (if the Euros make the investment)

The Typhoon is a good step ahead of the Hornet in air-to -air.

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Andy March 29, 2012 at 11:29 am

Typhoon don't have EASA radar.

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michael March 29, 2012 at 2:08 pm

will have soon

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Fly Navy March 29, 2012 at 3:22 pm

But you don't have it now. The question is "which 4.5 jet is the best?" Not which 4.5 jet will be the best in the future when it gets all the latest and greatest technology from the Americans.

Robert Fritts March 29, 2012 at 4:49 pm

Your right a Audi A8 will never be better than a Chevy Malibu. American engineering, you know.

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Fly Navy March 29, 2012 at 5:19 pm

Fastest production vehicle to go around the GERMAN Nürburgring circuit isn't a German vehicle. It isn't even an European car. The fastest is an AMERICAN Dodge Viper. Next time compare Apples to Apples, Not Gold to crap.

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KarlW March 29, 2012 at 5:59 pm

Ever wondered why Americans cars do not sell in Europe, even though they're cheaper than Euro marques? (Hint: the Ford Mustang on sale in Germany needed substantial technological upgrades not to be laughed out of court, doubling its US price.)

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gabe March 29, 2012 at 6:38 pm

not true, American vehicle sales are competitive enough in europe not to be laughed at. American SUVs are particularly popular with zee garmans. Also american light trucks do well. And the only reason the mustang sell for the ridiculous price that it does, is because every 17 year old white girl in this country owns one.

Optimistic March 29, 2012 at 6:55 pm

I thought the fastest time was set by the British Radical SR8.

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blight_ March 29, 2012 at 6:57 pm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_N%C3%BCrburg

Shows some bizarre UK vehicle which is "street legal"?

Then for http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Nordschleife

A porsche shows fastest time ever.

In 1984-2002 there are two Vipers.

Then again, there may be more than one event to interpret as "fastest lap time". YMMV.

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Charlie Reed May 13, 2012 at 12:46 pm

No it's not; it's the Radical SR8, followed by the Gumpert Apollo. We should also say here that the EF-2000 is a derivative of the BAe ATP and that the majority of the work is done in the UK (by a small margin), the company, Eurofighter GMBH has its controlling equity shared equally between the UK and Germany (with the remaining third divided among Spain and Italy). Your implication that the Typhoon is “crap” is hilarious however, as is suggesting that the F/A-18E/F is a decent air superiority fighter. Its upper g-limit is 7.5, which is fine, except, that at weights of over 51,000, this falls to under 6.2 (cited NATOPS -200), which is not; high drag indices exacerbate this. Other limitations are its low thrust: weight ratio, its pathetic fuel capacity and the fact that it can be out flown by a ‘70s interceptor and the legacy Hornet (see Flight Journal, Feb 2002 for citation). The Typhoon’s A2G capability is limited as of now, but Tranche 3 aircraft will be stunning in this field and the CAESAR will put the AN/APG-79 to shame.

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dan March 30, 2012 at 3:07 am

idiot

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Some Dude August 19, 2013 at 12:53 pm

The Boeing F-18E/F has an inherent performance disadvantage when compared to land-based 4.5 Gen fighters. For example, Boeing's F-15E climbs faster, turns tighter, has greater range, much MUCH higher top speed (clean), carries more warload, and has greater range than Boeing's F-18E/F…but the Eagle cannot land on carriers.

For a carrier-borne fighter, the Super Bug is a good all-around multi-role aircraft that excels at nothing except low-speed, high-AoA handling. However, it has very good avionics and cockpit, and that counts for a lot.

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richie November 4, 2013 at 5:13 pm

uk engineering stuck a proper engine in the mustang and made it a legend !!!!!!!!!

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brian p March 20, 2014 at 2:12 pm

Check out the mig 35 on youtube..badass…didn't get votes because most aren't familiar with it. But in any case, this poll is skewed. Americans would vote their fighter the best in the world even if it was powered by mice in a cage. military airpower magazine only had the F18 super hornet at 7 in the top ten.

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Thomas L. Nielsen March 29, 2012 at 9:40 am

Before placing my vote, could someone please define "best"?

Are we talking "overall most capable", "best value for money" or what?

Regards & all,

Thomas L. Nielsen
Luxembourg

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Mastro March 29, 2012 at 9:49 am

Good point- money matters. Probably why the Gripen won over the Typhoon and Rafale in Switzerland- and why the Rafale won/is ahead in India.

People take shots at the Rafale- but it was designed to be carrier capable- unlike the Gripen and Typhoon.

Ignoring the naval aspect- and to some extant money- I'll take the Typhoon.

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Nicky March 29, 2012 at 11:08 am

The Gripen is perfect for Switzerland. For a country of that size, they don't need a large fighter like the Typhoon or Rafale. I can see countries like New Zealand or the Philippines getting Gripens as an entry fighter. Countries like India, a Rafale or Typhoon is perfect for their size.

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yankeefifth March 29, 2012 at 4:25 pm

you are right about switzerland but wrong about nz and indonesia.

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Nicky March 29, 2012 at 4:59 pm

How so, If NZ wanted to get back in the fighter business, you can't go wrong with a Gripen. The same can be said for the Philippines as well. The both make good compact multi role fighters for both countries.

CDS March 30, 2012 at 11:14 am

That's really the key point. We can sit here and say what STATISTICS look the best, but it's all going to boil down to what the customer wants. No matter how good something is on paper, there needs to be a market out there that wants to buy it.

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Tom March 29, 2012 at 10:01 am

All of the jets feature advanced radar? I believe only one of the aircraft is actually in service with an AESA (two if you count the F-15, though the Silent Eagle version included on this survey is not in service). I believe an F-16, which is not even included on this list, with an AESA would be better for most missions than some of the aircraft on this list.

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Burger March 31, 2012 at 12:58 pm

The F-18 has really short legs. OK for a small Euro country, but doesn't provide much on station time without Texaco nearby.

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hotrod41 April 15, 2012 at 10:50 am

i feel like you, but i think f-15&f-18 are still just a touch better than f-16. but your right f-16 block 60 should be on the list! (the internation upgrade) is a monster. but so is f-15-18

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Some Dude August 19, 2013 at 12:57 pm

F-16 is faster, climbs faster, turns tighter at combat speeds (not at low speeds), and has much longer legs than F-18.

Don't forget, the YF-16 won the USAF competition for the lightweight fighter in the 70's against the YF-17; the YF-17 went on to become the F-18.

Carrier aircraft always have an inherent performance disadvantage against comparable land-based aircraft, due to the weight penalty of landing gear and structural design.

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Veng March 29, 2012 at 10:22 am

The Super Hornet has over a decade's worth of proven combat experience.

Those other planes have either seen NO action or just Libya, and Libya wasn't much of a testing ground.

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Nicky March 29, 2012 at 11:05 am

The Rafele, Typhoon and Gripen all have seen action in Libya.

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PMi March 29, 2012 at 2:17 pm

The Rafale has also bomb trucked in Afghanistan.

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buster March 30, 2012 at 11:43 pm

Bombing nearly non-existent defenses in Afghanistan and Iraq is not exactly an amazing addition to your experience portfolio.

If Libya wasn’t a testing ground, neither were Iraq and afghanistan.

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hpb February 21, 2013 at 1:33 pm

If your definition of combat is ground attack then you're correct.
How many actual "aces" are even alive today?
Who is the last American "ace?" Yeah.

It' must be traumatic for these modern day "fighter pilots" to fly ground attack missions practically exclusively, having never even once confronted an adversary in the air.

They must dream about fighting against one or of those Sukhoi variants!

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Some Dude August 19, 2013 at 1:04 pm

The Super Hornet has a decade's worth of providing CAS in a relatively benign air defense environment in support of a land campaign.

It certainly does a fine job of dropping bombs on Talibans armed with only small arms.

Doesn't mean it is the best choice for a contested air campaign against an IADS. Of all the current fighters, the Strike Eagle is by far the most capable at the most tasks.

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V.A. March 29, 2012 at 10:29 am

1) The J-10 isn't a 4.5 generation fighter. It isn't even a 4.25 gen aircraft, fitting design specifications that only qualify it as 4th generation. To build it the Chinese had to source a large part of the avionics and the entire engine from Russia. There's rumours about the J-10B programme floating about Chinese internet, and the redesigned aircraft has even flown, but there's no proof to suggest that the Chinese have perfected an AESA design or sensors superior to their Western/Russian equivalents.

2) I think the Su-30 option should be replaced with the Su-35S/BM. The most advanced Su-30 in service is the Su-30MKI, which doesn't have all the checks to qualify as a 4.5 generation fighter in western terms. The Su-35BM comes closest, lacking the AESA radar.

3) Between the Silent Eagle and the Rhino, the latter is a cheaper option. That Super Hornet International Roadmap that Boeing presented at AeroIndia '11 was particularly impressive; shows a level of commitment to the platform far stronger than anything Eurofighter, MiG and Saab have shown towards their designs. Silent Eagle is an impressive design, but looks like it will work out to be exorbitantly expensive.

4) The Typhoon's upgrades are doubtful. Germany are reluctant to invest, Italy and Spain have no money left. That leaves the UK as the only partner nation actively investing in upgrades, most of which are dependent on Saudi funding. The Rafale will probably retain its edge over the Typhoon for a long time to come. As the Swiss studies showed, the Rafale achieved all minimum operating requirements set forth, while the Typhoon is still lacking in crucial A2G and sensor elements.

The Rafale's "omnirole" argument works out to be the most impressive, followed closely by the Rhino and the Su-35BM.

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Juuso March 30, 2012 at 11:23 am

“To build it the Chinese had to source a large part of the avionics and the entire engine from Russia. ”

Based on what? There is videos of J-10B flying with WS-10 engine. Also, we don’t know anything about it’s avionics… so how can you claim it uses russian systems?

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Joe March 30, 2012 at 1:34 pm

Simple. The person must have been the phone operator connecting the lines from Russia to China must have overheard the conversation.

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V.A. March 30, 2012 at 7:41 pm

Yes, there are videos of the J-10B flying on the WS-10A. Lots of pictures identifying the differences in the nozzles as proof of the WS-10A flight.

And then, very recently, the Chinese military ordered several Al-31FN engines.

The Al-31FN is specifically modified from the baseline engine to work on single-engined fighters. Infer what you will from there.

Every Chinese aircraft to date has featured heavy Soviet/Russian influence, and, more often than not, parts. Both Russians and Chinese insiders have attested to the fact that the KLJ-10 radar was built after close inspection of the Phazotron Zhuk-M radar offered by the Russians in the early '90s (Jane's). The airborne SIGINT pod used on the J-10 and other Chinese aircraft are basically reverse-engineerd Soviet designs (Ausairpower). Then there's the weaponry. The SD-10, which is an AMRAAM with a seeker from the R-77 Adder.

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Chimp April 2, 2012 at 8:45 am

J-10A is not a 4.5 generation aircraft. J-10B, which (apparently) has an AESA set, IRST and so on, is closer, though it lacks super cruise. I suspect it's missing a few other parts of the puzzle, as well.

Not actually in service, either, though it is definitely flying.

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Shree April 14, 2012 at 12:55 pm

The Super Su-30MKI will check all the boxes…..the upgrade is planned to started from 2014…it will have AESA , MAWS , stealth coating and more importantly a major refit of the engine core.

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Joseph Tan October 25, 2012 at 7:07 am

!) Even the US military did not underestimate J-10. There is perhaps even had some
Israeli input, which in air, there are second to none, even better than the US
2) Currently there are reports to say that Chinese J-15 (Flying Shark) may be even
superior to all current fighters including F-18, save for F-22.
3) In the stimulated air practise (Cope India), Indian-flew Su-30MKI beats even
F-15C hands down, which F-15 is a suprior plane in all dimension (except
carrier-based) compared to an F-18. Therfore hoe come F-15 can be the best
Gen 4.5 plane
4) Even F-22 is a much puff-up plane. Recently a German flew Eurofighter states
that Eurofighter match ever dimension and in certain aspect fared better than
F-22 in within-vision-range compared with F-22..
5) F-18 battle tested? Against whom? Iraq, Iran, Libya and Serbia – which weapons
had been saction years, wheen they were unable to get spare-parts and the up-
to-date attachments/ avionic/ weapons.
The mere fact that these planes can still be flying when the allies fighters fought
with them shown great resillience in these countries. Not how good the
Western planes are.
When you want to compare you must allow them to have the best compare to
your best – not when you are an able person fighting a crippled or old person.
Ask the PENTAGON – Certain Russian and even Soviet weaponry was then the
worst best and many stll are.

Get more knowledge and read more and be humble to learn. It is still not too
late.

American are big nouth, because they are the world greatest salesman.
Obviously to peddle their wares, they had to state taht theirs are the best! Or
otherwise demonize their competitor. Got It?????

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Walter March 29, 2012 at 10:47 am

I would go with the Silent Eagle simply based on its beginning platform cuz you can't beat a 100-0 combat record once it gets going. But for overall cost vs capability in something in operation I would go Gripen.

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Sgt_Buffy March 29, 2012 at 10:58 am

That seems to be the trend.

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Davis March 29, 2012 at 12:15 pm

I'm not too sure about the Silent Eagle. Is it really that much of an upgrade over a plane that lost handedly against some Indian SU-30MKI's back in 2004 AND 2008? Its a bit more stealthy but just because of a different body material and slight changes to it airframe design, otherwise its just like the original non-stealthy 1970's design. Because of its 1970's design, it's going to be outmaneuvered by every other plane on this list unless its given a significant upgrade like a thrust vectoring engine. I doubt this will happen because it takes lots of $$$ to design and test a new engine and Boeing only has one real interested country in purchasing the F-15SE (Saudis). Based on models and concept art/CGI it will only be able to carry 4 internal missiles making it significantly weaker than any other aircraft on this list. If it were to carry more to match up to the other aircraft, it would have to carry them externally, negating it's purpose as a stealthy aircraft. And knowing all that I still not sure why its on this list. Let's not forget that an actual F-15SE hasn't even flown yet. The cancelled Russian MiG 1.44 is further along in the development stage than the F15SE. How are you going to compare an aircraft that hasn't even flown yet to aircraft that have years of operational experience. With that in mind, I cast my vote for the Dassault Rafale flown by American pilots. Its not that I think the French are completely awful, they just don't invest as much in training their pilots like the Americans do. If the Rafale isn't flown by an American, my vote changes to the SU-35S the latest version of the SU-35. Gripen isn't a bad aircraft at all for the money, but it clearly isn't the best on this list. I know I'm gonna be gettin some serious flak from F-15 fans for my opinion. Fire away!

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Anon March 29, 2012 at 12:30 pm

My only balk to this is that maneuverability is over-rated in a world where the next gen of AA missiles will have ranges of 60-100 miles and can lock on targets behind you.

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taxingcharlotte March 29, 2012 at 2:01 pm

I really don't mean to be disagreeable, but this is an argument that has come up since the 50's. Who needs maneuverability or fixed guns in the age of radar and missiles? If there was no need to positively identify targets, if there was no such thing as ROE, I might say otherwise, but how many kills in the last 50 years have been from beyond the average range of a heat seeker without prior positive identification?

Technology can be flexible, an airframe in production is less so. My vote will always go to the fastest and most agile airframe, with agility always being the number one criteria. EASA radar and a 100 mile kill zone does not help much when your ROE says you have to close within visual range and positively identify the target. I want to have that capability, but I have to recognize that maneuverability and speed are going to be more practical in the average "limited" conflict.

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passingby March 29, 2012 at 2:36 pm

Agree.

Praetorian March 29, 2012 at 2:12 pm
Praetorian March 29, 2012 at 2:13 pm

Sorry ^ against

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Walter March 29, 2012 at 2:22 pm

Ok I will have to disagree with your assessment of that whole Red Flag incident. That was with the American planes completely blind and the Indians had full use of all avionics. That was an exercise in seeing how American pilots would fight having both hands tied behind their backs with 20 year old planes whose frames were cracking. Up close the SU-35 is good but BVR its a giant target drone and have that thing operate at the same tempo as our 20 year old aircraft and see how they hold up. Just sayin.

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passingby March 29, 2012 at 2:34 pm
Peter September 3, 2013 at 6:09 am
Dylan March 29, 2012 at 10:54 am

SAAB dominates them all!!! :-)

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roman July 3, 2013 at 1:12 pm

Are you sure?!!!!!!!!

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richie November 4, 2013 at 5:27 pm

dream on !!!!!!!!!!! you cant afford Eurofighter gripen cheap and cheerful no match for Eurofighter end of .

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SXO March 29, 2012 at 10:55 am

With the right upgrades I would say the Typhoon, but as for existing models I would say the Rafale edges out the win.

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Nicky March 29, 2012 at 11:03 am

The hornet, Rafele, and Typhoon is a perfect aircraft for medium to large Air forces. Gripens are perfect for small to medium air forces that want a multi role aircraft. The SU-30 and MIG-35 is good for those who want the western equivalent. while the J-10 is the alternative to western or Russian fighters

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Kole March 29, 2012 at 11:14 am

The Super Hornet wins in terms of performance, but in terms of bang for your buck, the Gripen wins. The Saab jet has been accepted by Switzerland, replacing its F-18C fleet. They said they chose the Gripen due to the fact that it does everything the competition does at a fraction of the cost, and money is the issue in these times.

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Nille March 30, 2012 at 8:33 am

The Gripen was chosen to replace the F-5s.

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Kole March 30, 2012 at 1:23 pm

It was chosen to replace the F-5 and F-18C. Most F-18C drivers will be switched to the Saab.

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Roman July 3, 2013 at 1:10 pm

Wrong!! Gripen will replace F5 Tiger II fleet.

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gnarf September 3, 2013 at 2:56 am

and none of the F18C's will be set out of service.

btw. the F/A 18 C replaced the old Hawker Hunter jets @ the Swiss airforce…

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Some Dude August 19, 2013 at 1:56 pm

The Super Hornet does NOT win in terms of performance. It is relatively slow with low T/W.

Its "affordable stealth" doesn't really make any difference vs modern radars.

It is a decent, all-around aircraft without any outstanding features. It can land on carriers, though.

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Pat March 29, 2012 at 11:17 am

The F-15 has never been shot down. I know this doesn't relate but its a great fact about the plane.

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Ben March 29, 2012 at 11:49 am

You have to take into consideration the fact that it's not carrier-capable, though. It may be the most lethal, but it can't dominate the skies if it's not in theatre when a situation breaks out.

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TMB March 29, 2012 at 12:21 pm

In the opening days of Desert Shield, a squadron of F-15s flew into Saudi Arabia overnight from the States with a few aerial refuelings. The Air Force can put a handful of planes somewhere almost immediately (assuming friendly airfield fairly close), and the Navy can put a ton of self-sustained aircraft somewhere in a few days.

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Anonymous March 29, 2012 at 2:29 pm

Well it helps that the U.S. only fights 3rd world countries with little to no air force.

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passingby March 29, 2012 at 2:51 pm

Exactly.

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stoppingin March 29, 2012 at 3:48 pm

Exactly, what?

Most of the F-15's recorded kills were done by the Israelis Air Force. So, yours and whoever's notion that the U.S. "only fights" 3rd world countries is silly at best and at worst a pathetic excuse.

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Stratege March 29, 2012 at 4:31 pm

The F-15 Eagle's recorded kills are 2 and 3 generation fighter jets piloted by mosty incompetent arab pilots in the most cases.

Some Dude August 19, 2013 at 1:58 pm

Well, it's easy to see why you are anonymous. Many Eagle victories were not even scored by the U.S. but by Israel against Arabs armed with Russian and French jets.

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Stratege March 29, 2012 at 4:26 pm

F-15 is great aircraft and successfully proven design. It have awersome combat history. But "Eagle" had never faced 4 generation enemy aircraft in real combat.

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Praetorian March 29, 2012 at 4:52 pm

So a Mig-29 is not 4th generation ??

http://www.f-16.net/news_article607.html

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Praetorian March 29, 2012 at 5:30 pm

Right now, the F-15 has 9 Mig-29 kills
5 Iraq’s, 4 Yugoslav’s

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Stratege March 30, 2012 at 1:12 pm

Ok. But…
- MiG-29 is not in same class (light fighter jet) as F-15
- Those MiGs were outnumbered and picked up by AWACS/specialized early recognition aircraft

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Stratege March 30, 2012 at 2:14 pm

- Those MiGs were stripped-down export models

stoppingin March 29, 2012 at 6:05 pm

Another bogus claim on the "never faced 4 generation enemy aircraft"… The F-15s even without the Silent Eagle characteristics still dominate the sky whenever they are called to engage.

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Sgt_Buffy March 29, 2012 at 11:17 am

Aviata.net has a lot of side-by-side comparisons. It's pretty neat. Using their data, I recommend the Rafale. It appeared that the Rafale is able to out-dogfight any airplane out there, and had a surprisingly large armament, but isn't the fastest, or most economical.
http://www.aviatia.net/category/versus/

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Ron March 29, 2012 at 12:08 pm

Its not about dogifghting any more. Its who can see who 1st. Which ever 4.5 fighter has the best chance of seeing a Gen 5 Fighter would win in air to air combat.

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Sgt_Buffy March 29, 2012 at 12:33 pm

True, it's all about supporting avionics, radar, and support aircraft and vehicles that can target for the birds. So, then, the F-15 wins because the Army has the best forward eyes? I guess so. Anyway, if we have to get a visual ID on somebody, I'd like to be able to swing my beast around faster than the other guy.

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jamFRIDGE March 29, 2012 at 11:19 am

I’m a fan of the Super Hornet, And in my opinion it’s Better than the others

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Guest September 18, 2012 at 6:19 am

@ jamFRIDGE

There is absolutely nothing super about this Hornet

The report I heard from my friends and colleagues of mine in the defence industry is damning of the Super Hornet in areas critical operational requirements, while praising it for its improved aircraft carrier capabilities when compared to the original Hornet – something not high on our list of essential criteria.

Three sentences on page eight of the report say it all: "The consequences of low specific excess power in comparison to the threat are poor climb rates, poor sustained turn capability, and a low maximum speed. Of greatest tactical significance is the lower maximum speed of the F/A-18E/F since this precludes the ability to avoid or disengage from aerial combat. In this regard, the F/A-18E/F is only marginally inferior to the F/A-18C/D, whose specific excess power is also considerably inferior to that of the primary threat, the MiG-29."

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Guest September 18, 2012 at 6:20 am

@ jamFRIDGE

Apart from the new Sukhoi Su-27/30 Flanker family of Russian fighters proliferating across the regions: the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet is acknowledged in the report as being no match for even the older and newer MiG-29 family. Space precludes quoting the report's comments on the multitude of other areas where the Super Hornet is inferior to the 1970s-designed and 1980s-built original F/A-18 aircraft. Admittedly the Block II Super Hornet has a new radar and some electronic components not in the version Coyle gave evidence on, but the fundamental airframe and performance remain unaltered: it is heavier, slower, larger and uglier (its radar signature did not measure up to expectations) than the normal Hornet.

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Guest September 18, 2012 at 6:20 am

@ jamFRIDGE

Again, there is nothing super about this Hornet; perhaps "Super Dog is a better descriptor. Why? Because it has a missing sting in its tail, the F/A-18E/F has a similar performance deficiences to the F-35 which the aircraft has a short range and does not have the performance envelope of a true air superiority fighter compared to the large fighters (with high capability). Evidently the underwing aero-acoustic environment and resulting vibrations are so violent that some weapons are being damaged in transit to the target on a single flight – dumb bombs are fine in that environment but not long-range missiles containing sophisticated and relatively delicate components.

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richie November 4, 2013 at 5:35 pm

how can a super hornet beat Eurofighter when german Eurofighters had raptor salad for lunch !!!!!!!! uk Eurofighters will have super hornet casserole for lunch !!!!!!!!!! now have a good think about that !!!!

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Marcos March 29, 2012 at 11:29 am

The F-15SE is a battle hardened proven designed for many, many years in different battle scenarios. An excellent aircraft, made even better to accommodate some of today’s demands.

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guest March 29, 2012 at 12:51 pm

The F-15 is a battle hardened proven design, but the SE cant be counted, as currently, there has only been one SE built and has never seen any form of combat.
the same goes for the mig 35, aircraft that arent in production and in service should not be counted

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Mastro March 29, 2012 at 1:42 pm

If you stick with "battle hardened" we'd still have Mustangs or Sopwith Camels.

At some point technology allows you to make huge improvements.

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Guest February 15, 2013 at 6:51 pm

It might be 'battle hardened' but its also had issues with airframe fatigue leading to inflight breakups. Winning the fight isn't much fun if your plane falls apart on the RTB.

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Riles March 29, 2012 at 11:46 am

Top two IMO are the Rafale and the Super Hornet. Though I know nothing about this stuff, other than what I read during my wikipedia studies.

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Omnipresence March 29, 2012 at 12:36 pm

Wikipedia Studies! LMAO!

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Some Dude August 19, 2013 at 1:59 pm

Yes, it is clear that you know nothing except what you have read.

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TMB March 29, 2012 at 12:29 pm

I'm thinking about how Military Channel does these comparisons. They include production numbers, reputation, technical innovation, price tag, weapons, and length of service. I'd say the F-18 hits highest in most of these categories. The F-18 has been around for many years, we produced a lot of them, and has seen a lot of combat. How many attributes of the listed planes are untested?

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@HeyKCG April 3, 2012 at 6:29 am

Having been a talking head on military channel programmes I can tell you how they (their production companies, really) do their "rankings": the producer invents them in a way he thinks the audience will like and then they fab-up figures after the fact.

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Sean March 29, 2012 at 12:34 pm

If u take into account only what's on the planes at this very moment then the SuperHornet comes out ahead in your list as best overall. It's AESA radar gives it a huge advantage over both the Typhoon and Rafale in Air to air and air to ground. It can also carry a much wider range of weapons than those 2. Not too mention a version totally dedicated to SEAD missions.

Now only if the Super Hornet had a dedicated IRST…..

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Bhuller February 21, 2013 at 1:16 am

Rafale has the ASEA and EDS Typhoon has also included in the latest tranche, while the SU30MKI is undergoing upgrading to ASEA , all three has another advantage of Vector Thrust ( TVN ) for it to fly at supercruise mode and all have Canard wing to give superior manoeuvrability.

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Some Dude August 19, 2013 at 2:03 pm

Super Hornet isn't even as good as the latest Strike Eagle, not even counting the Silent Eagle.

The Eagle climbs faster, turns tighter, carries a bigger warload, has longer range, higher operational altitude, and is faster.

The only clear advantage the Super Hornet has is that it can land on carriers. Since only two countries in the world have large-deck carriers (U.S. has about a dozen and France has one almost-large deck carrier), that's a moot point.

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BradW March 29, 2012 at 12:45 pm

9 people vted for the PLA's J-10 fighter… pshhh hahaha over the Silent eagle and super hornet really? Those nine are probably in China, wishing…

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Joseph Tan March 25, 2014 at 5:40 am

Some say that J-10 was based on Israeli Kfir where Israeli had lots of understanding in respect of modification and input she had done to F-16 and Mirage F-1. In close combat between Grrek Mirage 2000 and Turkish F-16, Mirage 2000 shot down the F-16. Even the American fighter pilot did not underestimate Chinese J-10.

So to laugh at those who vote for J-10, the outcome may be, they may have the last laugh!

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Jayson March 29, 2012 at 12:45 pm

Shadow Veritech?

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Mike March 29, 2012 at 1:05 pm

Ha! +1

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Johnny Ranger March 29, 2012 at 1:10 pm

LOL!!!

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UAVGeek March 30, 2012 at 2:31 am

I prefer VF-25's personally.

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Ronaldo March 29, 2012 at 12:55 pm

There is absolutely no given criterion for this comparison, so flag waving seems to dominate the voting.

Does anyone here remember the results of the Indian fighter procurement de-briefing to the contractors that lost out ? That would be the best guide to getting an as neutral an opinion as you could get.

Just sayin' boys…………..

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Noha307 March 29, 2012 at 5:11 pm

Exactly what I was thinking (the 2nd part of the post). The Indian MRCA competition essentially does the testing and comparison behind the question for us – it is the real world equivalent of this question. That's what makes it so interesting – a nation actually went out and compared all these aircraft to determine the best one – IRL.

Before actually saying anything about which fighter to be the best I must state 2 things: 1. the obligatory qualifier that whomever is in the cockpit will be the ultimate determinate of which plane will beat another – with a good enough pilot any of these aircraft could beat any of the others. 2. I understand the fact that the question doesn't state what "best" means – we don't need 20 people stating that. And if you do feel it is completely necessary to say this for an umpteenth time, you can at least state which fighter you think is the "best" in whatever criteria you so deem. Or otherwise, break it down by best cost effective, best performance, etc.

Anyway, now to the choices:

Best overall: Typhoon, the biggest problem it has is developmental issues. But if and when they are resolved, it should be one heck of a fighter.

Best looking: Rafael, by far. Those smooth lines are unbeatable! (Worst looking: Typhoon, that thing is just disgustingly ugly with those giant air intakes.)

Best service record: F-15 or F/A-18. The 104-0 air-to-air kill ratio is one of, if not the best on the planet – although if I understand correctly most of these were against inferior aircraft, so I'm not sure how well it would stand up against any of the other aircraft here in actual combat. As far as the F/A-18, the thousands of carrier launches and traps speak for themselves. (Rafale & Typhoon can't compete in this category because they have essentially none.)

Best manuverability: Su-30, with its thrust vectoring it wins however EADS says that the Typhoon can be given this capability.

In addition, the Gripen, F-15, J-10 and F-16 suffer for lack of ability to handle carrier operations.

I admit I know next to nothing about the Gripen and J-10 (although neither does the rest of the world about the 2nd) except that the 2nd looks like a Typhoon.

For the sake of completeness, seeing as it was in the MRCA competition and is AESA compatible, the F-16 should also be considered. The problem with it is that, I believe, it is horribly outclassed by all the other fighters in this category.

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Bhuller February 21, 2013 at 1:24 am

for both the Indian MMRCA and Swiss procurements could give a better gauge of which is better than the other …………..

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SJE March 29, 2012 at 12:56 pm

What do we mean by "better"? Its not just the one-one fight we need to be concerned about, but multiple sorties in hostile environments, flexibility etc. We cannot assume that they will be operating under ideal conditions. What happens if you cannot field enough tankers. Combat radius becomes important, and could be problem for F18s. The Rafale and Gripen have excellent STOL: the Swedes specifically intend for their planes to be able to use highways. The F15E might be a bit old-school, but I'd prefer over some of the others in very bad weather. I'm not saying which are better planes, but any discussion cannot assume permissive environments: weather, landing strips, or budgets.

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Dfens March 29, 2012 at 1:09 pm

Yeah, generation 4.5 my ass!

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passingby March 29, 2012 at 3:17 pm

my sentiment too.

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stoppingin March 29, 2012 at 6:09 pm

Which part of the statement? The 4.5 or the ass?

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Dfens March 30, 2012 at 8:00 am

You can put a f'ing avionics box or radar on any airplane. Hell, we could make the P-47 a generation 4.5 fighter if someone wanted to bolt the boxes to it. Stealth is either designed into the airplane or it isn't. You might as well ask, "which is the best SUPER airplane." Another marketing term that doesn't mean shit.

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richie November 4, 2013 at 5:39 pm

raptor salad !!!!!!!!!!

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tribulationtime March 29, 2012 at 1:28 pm

What is the better item use to eat? Spoon, forke, knive, glass, dish, soup dish, cup?. it Depends what you gone eat, same for this kind of questions. Rafale why? beside it would be equals to the others, looks cool, the black one!!!

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Robert Fritts March 29, 2012 at 4:58 pm

Saw the Black Rafale demo at Bitburg years ago. Beautiful aircraft, flew in on the wing of a all black B-1B Bone. The 90s were great. Had all the F-15 drivers drowling.

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Kool Guy March 29, 2012 at 1:57 pm

I dont think that the Rafale is all that crazy or badass in the sky. The only reason why it was able to win and lead ahead in India is because of the fact that theres an agreement of transfer in technology. The majority of the Rafale produce for India will actually be made domestically in India with Dassault's technology. Speaking of capability in term of actual combat, the F-15s have lots of evidences to prove its capabilities with a crazy record. I say if you want to build a capable air force on budget get the F-15.

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arthuro March 30, 2012 at 5:11 am

LOL…The Rafale is the fourth best 4.5 aircraft in the world after F-18, F-15 and Su-30. Would be too long to explain you why..But it's true !!

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Thomas L. Nielsen March 30, 2012 at 7:37 am

So we're supposed to just take your word for it?

LOL yourself!

Regards & all,

Thomas L. Nielsen
Luxembourg

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Mastro March 30, 2012 at 11:25 am

India is exploiting Dassault's utter failure to export the Rafale- getting a great deal. Including the tech transfer- which the US and EU balk at. India nixed the Gripen since its basically 50% US.

India just needs something that will outmatch Pakistan's F16's and Chinese stuff. Rafale can do that nicely.

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Sid April 13, 2012 at 4:09 pm

Rightly said…India need something to outmatch Pakistani's F-16's and Chinese stuff..!!!
Rafale can very well do than with low cost..

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roman July 3, 2013 at 1:19 pm

If the F15 is still the best, why is the USAF prohibited by the former secretary of defense to procure new batch of older types like the F16V and F15SE??!!

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carl March 29, 2012 at 2:29 pm

Hm, my loyalty to Britain makes me want to say Eurofighter. It's definitely the most advanced on there but I'm going to have to say F-18 due to the higher amount of combat time it's seen where it has proven itself over and over.

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matheusdiasuk March 29, 2012 at 2:35 pm

The Spitfire rules over them all!
:D

My guess goes to Super Hornet. I'm a huge fan of the Eurofighter Typhoon but the lack of his carrier version is terrible. The UK wouldn't be without a full operational carrier until 2020, if typhoon could fly from Queen Elizabeth.

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hotrod41 April 15, 2012 at 12:26 pm

yes thats crazy, typhoon is such a great plane. it needs some big gear under it to land on carry! wonder what that would do to the weight and stability ratio

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bchock March 29, 2012 at 2:36 pm

F-16!!!!

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carl March 29, 2012 at 2:41 pm

Commonly seen as 4th gen mate.

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William C. March 29, 2012 at 2:44 pm

The latest F-16E/F probably qualifies as 4.5 gen.

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Tom March 29, 2012 at 4:31 pm

I agree, with its AESA it is better than many of the fighters on this list at many missions.

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tee March 29, 2012 at 2:42 pm

The only true 4.5+ Gen fighter is the Gripen NG. It has the only Second Gen AESA Radar ( Movable Squash Plate) , IRST, is made from over 60+% composites, Super cruises at Mach 1.2 and can land and take off from a 800 meter stretch of highway.

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V.A. March 29, 2012 at 5:01 pm

The Typhoon's Captor AESA is set to have a swivelling squash plate as well.

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roman July 3, 2013 at 1:37 pm

And what about the new AESa radar that it is to be delivered to the french air force by the end of the summer. I read that is the best radar in a european aircraft so far. Better than the GRIPEN AESA. Any comments?

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Vaporhead March 29, 2012 at 3:00 pm

Using the term "afterburner" is not really the correct term. It should actually be called "augmentor." So, instead of saying "gass guzzling afterburner", you should say "gas guzzling augmentor." Sorry, I have OCD.

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Just-Joe March 29, 2012 at 3:00 pm

Ok, may be dumb, but I chose other with a non-production aircraft. The post 1993 NASA F15 ACTIVE. Perhaps joining this and the SE tech. would make the cheapest most capable 4.5gen.

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Stratege March 29, 2012 at 3:08 pm

Where is the latest "Flanker" Su-35S (aka Su-35 BM)?

Su-35's advantages:

- Great agility (proven aiframe, 3D thrust-vectoring engine nozzles)
- Low observable (especially when compared to old Su-27 Flanker and "exportskiy" Su-30's variants): composite materials, stealthy canopy, radar abrorbent paint
- Powerful radar (nevertheless not AESA), IRST
- Supercruise capability
- Great range
- Heavy combat load
- Ultra-long range AAM "RVV-BD". It can destroy targets with 8g overload at ~200 km.

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Guest January 26, 2013 at 8:20 pm

Hi Stratege

The Su-35S will be equipped with the N011 Irbis-E (Snow Leopard).

NIIP claims a detection range for a closing 32.3 square feet (3 square metre) coaltitude target of 190 – 250 NMI (350-400 km), and the ability to detect a stealthy aircraft while closing 0.11 square feet (0.01 square metre) target at ~50 NMI (90 km). In Track While Scan (TWS) mode the radar can handle 30 targets simultaneously, and provide guidance for two simultaneous shots using a semi-active missile like the R-27 series, or eight simultaneous shots using an active missile like the RVV-AE/R-77 or ramjet RVV-AE-PD/R-77M.

Cheers

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Lance March 29, 2012 at 3:23 pm

The F-15 never lost in air to air combat and is the only plane in mock battles to shoot down a F-22A. Carries more and is faster than the Navy's lousy Super Hornet and Is more maneuverable and heavier pay load than the Griphen and EF-2000. The F-15 is and shall be KING for a long time to come. With sequestration cuts and the F-35 like always in trouble the Silent Eagle may be a upgraded away from US service.

The MiG-35 is better than the SU-30 in air to air combat since it has vectored thrust and more advanced radar just never been in service yet.

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V.A. March 29, 2012 at 5:02 pm

The Su-30MKI/MKM/SM all feature 2D thrust vectoring.

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Praetorian March 29, 2012 at 5:25 pm

Hmmm, I thought all Russia TV where 3 dimensional.

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V.A. March 29, 2012 at 6:24 pm

Every Russian production aircraft to feature thrust vectoring have been 2D. The development of 3D TVNs was more recent. They've demonstrated 3D TVNs on the Su-37, MiG-35, and the Su-35BM. With the VVS's buy of the Su-35BM, that becomes the first production aircraft from Russia to feature 3D TVC.

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Praetorian March 29, 2012 at 10:33 pm

Thanks V.A., good post.

Lance March 30, 2012 at 12:17 am

Most dont read about it these is s New MiG in development to be a light weight partner to the Su TA-50 and is similar in performance to the Saab Griphen.

The fact is the F-22 is a great plane and can kill F-16 and F-18C,E,Fs with ease the F-15 and EF-2000 are the only planes who can match it shows they can survive 5th gen fighter like the TA-50 and J-20 easily not so for the Super Hornet or Rafael.

jokeyjohn October 28, 2013 at 6:50 am

Guest January 26, 2013 at 8:15 pm

@ Praetorian

The Su-35S Super Flanker-E will be equipped with 3D thrust vectoring nozzles.

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labanda March 30, 2012 at 4:30 am

typhoon win

2 Typhoons Vs 8 USAF F15C

During recent exercises, NATO Air Forces carried out several training combat engagements known as DACT, Dissimilar Aircraft Combat Training, involving different types of aircraft. In this situation, where the air dominance is a matter, the Eurofighter Typhoons turned out to be the leading air-to-air fighter jets.

Once again, the outstanding performance of the Eurofighter Typhoon was evident in a dogfight simulation. The 111 Squadron of the Spanish Air Force as well as the 493rd Squadron of the U.S. Air Force were deployed for training in Gando Air Base, Gran Canaria. The Spanish Squadron attended the training with a total of six Eurofighter Typhoons. The U.S. Air Force deployed F-15s.

In an interview on the exercise, Major Juan Balesta, the 41-year old Commander of the 111 Squadron stressed that a two-ship formation of Eurofighters involved in a dogfight simulation “against” the F-15s enjoyed full control of the engagement. The Typhoons managed to smash a formation of eight F-15s which had the role of the attacker with the first Eurofighter jet managing to “shoot down” four F-15 fighter jets. The second Eurofighter managed to disable three F-15 jets. Eventually the pilots were using the Eurofighter Typhoon to full capacity and taking advantage of its enormous capabilities. Trump that.

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Lance March 30, 2012 at 4:30 pm

Not true sorry there where some exercises done in India and Europe where the host countries made it a unfair advantage to the host nation. India the SU-30 did well because the Indians didn't allow USAF to have SEAD and anti radar units to simulate taking C3 capabilities and allowed the SU-30 to ambush the Eagles. We did the same to Briton and others in Red Flag and the F-15 came out on top.

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Guest September 18, 2012 at 5:11 am

Hello Lance

I totally agree what you stated about the F-15. Indeed the Eagle has never lost in air to air combat and is the only plane in mock battles to shoot down a F-22A. Carries more and is faster than the Navy's lousy Super Hornet and is more manoeuvrable and heavier payload than the F-16, Gripen, EF-2000. You got that right Lance that the F-15 is and shall be KING for a long time to come. With sequestration cuts and the F-35 like always in very serious trouble the Silent Eagle will hopefully be a upgraded away from US service.

The smaller MiG-35 does shares the high agility of the Su-30 and Su-35BM/Su-35-1, but lacks its brute force in raw performance, combat persistence, radar range, and internal volume for mission avionics. All of the Western fighters will compare more favourably against the MiG-35 series, but this may be another entirely academic comparison given that none have been ordered as yet.

Regards Guest

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guest March 29, 2012 at 4:30 pm

actually the eurofighter shot the f22 down also:
"there have been repeated reports that two RAF Typhoons deployed to the USA for OEU trails work have been flying against the F-22 at NAS China Lake, and have peformed better than was expected. There was little suprise that Typhoon, with its world-class agility and high off-boresight missile capability was able to dominate "Within Visual Range" flight, but the aircraft did cause a suprise by getting a radar lock on the F22 at a suprisingly long range. The F-22s cried off, claiming that they were "unstealthed" anyway, although the next day´s scheduled two vs. two BWR engagement was canceled, and "the USAF decided they didn´t want to play any more .
- When this incident was reported on a website frequented by front-line RAF aircrew a senior RAF officer urged an end to the converstaion on security grounds"
Google it.

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stoppingin March 29, 2012 at 6:14 pm

Playing tag in a school yard don't always make you a good runner. Mocked up battle is just that. Without a dedicated AESA radar and supplemental avionics and obviously lack of stealthy characteristics, the Typhoon won't even see the Raptor before getting whipped in a real fight.

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blight_ March 29, 2012 at 7:03 pm

It won't be long before they start doing it properly: use actual missiles, but replace the warhead with concrete. Once the missile is in "killing distance" of your target, then you'll know.

After all, if you have magic stealth-detecting aircraft but your missiles can't maintain the lock, then…?

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Tyler March 30, 2012 at 9:58 am

The T-38 has shot down F-22s in Guns only dogfights, because It doesn't have a radar for the F-22 to detect, and Aggressor pilots are the best.

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Hotel55 March 30, 2012 at 11:33 am

Nice! Maybe we should be talking about best "4.5 generation" pilots!
The pilot does have alot to do with the performance of the jet. Remember Korea and Vietnam, pilot training went a lonnng way to what happened in the skies.

Lance March 30, 2012 at 4:28 pm

Not true in a real red Flag set up T-38s arnt used. Only once instance of a EF-2000 getting a raptor and 2-5 of F-15 doing a kill on a F-22. No F-16 or F-18 has been victorious against a Raptor only falling victim to one.

Boone March 30, 2012 at 2:12 pm

That was a Growler that shot the F-22 down in simulated combat, not a Typhoon.
http://www.flightglobal.com/blogs/the-dewline/200

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Belesari March 29, 2012 at 4:39 pm

Superhornet. Probably over all better performance except for the F-15SE which out performs every other competator at air to air.

However because the F-18E/F/I is Capable of operating off of a carrier deck with a full load it takes the cake.

However the whole Question of which is best is irrelevent due to the different needs and requirments in each nation.

For instance cost, range, etc…. Then there is say the competitions where providing countries like India or Brazil the access to the entire aircraft and even the rights to build the aircraft come into play. Which some like the Superhornet have been allowed there is another dimension to the whole question of which is best.

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Guest January 26, 2013 at 8:28 pm

@ Belesari

The Super Hornet is overweight and underpowered. The F-15 is much more capable than the Super Hornet. The combat range of the F-15E is almost three times as much as the Super Hornet. Yes the F-15E is a better more powerful plane so you will pay more. However Canada or some other countries is in a good bargaining position and should be able to get it for a fly away cost of around $100 million each.

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mpower6428 March 29, 2012 at 5:00 pm

the F/A-18 E/F is a radically morphed version of its original high performance fighter. as concerns aerodynamics… it has more in common with the old A-6 intruders then an actual "fighter"/bomber.

i just can believe its winning.

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Nicky March 29, 2012 at 5:02 pm

With the Typhoon, it's is nothing more than an F-16 on steroids.

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Robert Mandel March 29, 2012 at 5:06 pm

As a former USN engine mech(AD3- Recips) a long time ago,I must point out the importance of ease of maintaining the aircraft.The more complex the plane the longer the down time between missions,not to mention the need for qualified maintainers.No one has mentioned that.

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mark March 29, 2012 at 5:09 pm

typhoon as it not only shot down 2 f-15e that jumped it but also it managed to get lock on f-22, all this bvr stuff is useless if u cant tell whose side the jet is on

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Belesari March 29, 2012 at 5:40 pm

There are also reports of Growlers shooting down a F-22 in a exercise. Seems when you cant get a lock on all those missiles are worthless….

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ruinz August 8, 2012 at 9:15 pm

You mean the typhoon locked on an f-22 that was loaded down with weight compared to stripped down version on the typhoon in close quarters sure that happened but did you fail to also see the report of the f-22 getting gun lock on the typhoons many of times as well.The f-22 never needs to be close to any of these aircraft,they will never see it coming.So please do not compare the 2.

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ruinz August 8, 2012 at 9:19 pm

And i must also say that during these test they do have their radar signatures turned on so the tower can keep in contact with them during excercis's just as the f-117 had to do while flying toward base for landing,if it was a real battle they would be very hard to find and lock onto with many countermeasures.

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xb March 29, 2012 at 5:25 pm

supercruise for rafale. I don’t think so. gripen NG doesn’t exist.

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bhuller February 21, 2013 at 1:54 am

Gripen NG at both India and Swiss were field tested

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Guest March 29, 2012 at 6:05 pm

Hmmm….pretty tough decision. But I would have to go for the F15 or F18. Simply because neither is hampered by a European supply chain. Having the best aircraft in the world doesn't do you any good if you can't get the parts to keep them in the air!

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SJE March 29, 2012 at 7:59 pm

So true! "Sorry M'sieur, but we cannot supply your part because the workers are on strike….oui, I know that you in a war right now, but you should have thought of that before hand"

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blight_ March 29, 2012 at 8:36 pm

With the foreign parts craze contaminating the American supply chain, the same would likely shut America down.

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N.L. March 29, 2012 at 7:13 pm

This vote is rather interesting, since the Swiss Air Force was evaluating the Rafale, Eurofighter and the Gripen as a new Air-fighter. The Saab Gripen was chosen, but this decision caused lots of medial attention and discussions and thus the acquiring has be postponed. Dassault recently made a new offer to the Swiss and this sure will make the new deicsion very interesting.

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bhuller February 21, 2013 at 1:56 am

Swiss have placed an order for Gripen NG

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straywolf March 29, 2012 at 10:14 pm

Part 1-Define 'best'. Best in BVR? Best in a dogfight? Best in combat radius with a full/effective combat load? Best in pilot workload/ergonomics? Best in 'bang for the buck'?
This one is pretty tough to gauge. Weeding out the nationalistic pride and prejudice one has to consider what is 'best' for the operating country. Obviously…$$$ is key. If I were out shopping for the 'best 4.5 gen fighter' I would have to know what my air force can budget in any given year. Not to mention what the training requirements are for my pilots and how many flight hours they would have to log in order to stay 'combat proficient' in their steed.

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Dude March 29, 2012 at 10:43 pm

F18EFG: most versatile

F15SE: best in heavy weight (14t) class

Typhoon: best in BVR/WVR

Rafale: most versatile while being +9/-3G

Gripen: best in light weight (7t) class

Citing potential reliability and warranty issues, Russian or Chinese aerospace gigs are usually not preferred.

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itfunk March 29, 2012 at 11:02 pm

Marketing only goes so far. How many competitions does the F-18F have to lose before people get that it's just not cutting it in the global marketplace.

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Tom March 30, 2012 at 10:01 am

If the global marketplace is the test of an aircraft's capability, I think the F-16 is the winner, hands down, end of story. The reality is none of these aircraft have proven to be dominant in winning export orders. The SU-30 has the most export customers, but I don't think that means it's the best, rather it's an indication that they have the most flexible financing options. Of the current European fighters, the Gripen is the most successful at winning export orders, does that make it the best of the European fighters, or just the best value?

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Robert Fritts March 30, 2012 at 12:19 am

Or we could go by the performance of Aircraft at our USAF's primer event Red & Green Flag. As the case of Rafale F2 ,and Gripen C a year later. Embarrass the USAF a little too much and you dont get invited back. Rafale spanked all teen fighters in all A2A and successfully avoided Raptor(and aggressors) on all strike missions resulting in highest strike package scores in Red Flag history. Raptor"s vaunted sensor suite and radar couldnot pick up the physically small Gripen until it was too close causing Raptors to use all of their thrust advantage to escape vertically.

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labanda March 30, 2012 at 4:28 am

typhoon win

2 Typhoons Vs 8 USAF F15C

During recent exercises, NATO Air Forces carried out several training combat engagements known as DACT, Dissimilar Aircraft Combat Training, involving different types of aircraft. In this situation, where the air dominance is a matter, the Eurofighter Typhoons turned out to be the leading air-to-air fighter jets.

Once again, the outstanding performance of the Eurofighter Typhoon was evident in a dogfight simulation. The 111 Squadron of the Spanish Air Force as well as the 493rd Squadron of the U.S. Air Force were deployed for training in Gando Air Base, Gran Canaria. The Spanish Squadron attended the training with a total of six Eurofighter Typhoons. The U.S. Air Force deployed F-15s.

In an interview on the exercise, Major Juan Balesta, the 41-year old Commander of the 111 Squadron stressed that a two-ship formation of Eurofighters involved in a dogfight simulation “against” the F-15s enjoyed full control of the engagement. The Typhoons managed to smash a formation of eight F-15s which had the role of the attacker with the first Eurofighter jet managing to “shoot down” four F-15 fighter jets. The second Eurofighter managed to disable three F-15 jets. Eventually the pilots were using the Eurofighter Typhoon to full capacity and taking advantage of its enormous capabilities. Trump that.

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William C. March 30, 2012 at 4:21 am

Upgrade those F-15Cs with APG-63(V)3 AESA radars, JHMCS + AIM-9X capability, F100-PW-229/232 engines, and I'd place my money on the F-15s.

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tiger March 30, 2012 at 5:22 am

Stuff does not make you a better pilot. Sounds Like Maj. Balesta has some good fighter jocks.

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blight_ March 30, 2012 at 9:19 am

More information in general would be useful. At least more than this blurb…

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roman July 3, 2013 at 1:43 pm

ATLC exercise 2009 Dubai: Rafale 7 wins vs typhoon 1 win against each other!!! And the rafale manage to shoot down an F22… just watch the video at rafale news.

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xav25 March 30, 2012 at 4:51 am

I have voted for Rafale because :
- there is no detailed exact definition for the question "what is the best ?" so i think in this case we can suppose that "the best" is the aircraft who anwser the best to specifications for it was created.
for example the rafale is created to be "omnirole" so it is good in all domains, its not created to excell in one domain. the eurofighter is created to be an air-to-air fighter, and some capabilities air-to-ground have been added. The rafale have won in many evaluation in air-to-air combat versus eurofighter. so the typhoon seems to be less than an polyvalent aircraft in a domain where he should be better -> in this example the rafale is better.
in an other plan, the f-15 SE, where has he prouved his real capabilities ? I have no information about that. so its difficult to evaluate…

Sorry for my bad english

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tiger March 30, 2012 at 5:04 am

I had the cash to buy one plane & take it to War? Saab Gripen hands down. The cars may not sell, but the plane damn good. In fact the Saab folks are having meet this week.
Lion Effort 2012 will be the biggest Gripen exercise to date with all five Gripen-operating nations taking part, of which four will fly their own aircraft.

Some 30 Gripen fighters and about 300 people will participate in the exercise, which will take place in Sweden from 27 March to 5 April. http://www.saabgroup.com/Campaigns/Lion-effort/

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George March 30, 2012 at 6:03 am

It's pretty weird no F-16 variants are in this poll. Currently results from multi-national NATO exercises show the block 52 is a very useful plane, a -V variant with AESA and stealthy characteristics would be pretty interesting.

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tiger March 30, 2012 at 6:37 am

Did you not read the specs for the poll? The F-16 is too old.

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George April 1, 2012 at 3:28 pm

The Eagle first flew in July 1972, and entered service in 1976. The first production F/A-18A flew on 12 April 1980 having been selected in 1977. The first F-16A rolled out on 20 October 1976 and first flew on 8 December. You don't really know your stuff, do you?

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Meph March 30, 2012 at 6:17 am

One plane I see missing from this list is the SU-35S. Vector Thrusting, some LO adjustments to the body shape, large AESA radar on a gimbal for a huge field of vision, powerful IRST, very large combat radius, very long range AA missiles with IR, Radar, and anti radiation versions of most missiles, huge payload, high speed and even rumoured supercruising. I'd say the ruskies win hands-down with this one

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Stratege March 30, 2012 at 6:41 am

To Merp
Su-35S does not have AESA radar.
But it has extremely powerful large aperture PESA radar which is capable to detect a target with 0.1 m2 RCS (every low observable 4/4.5 gen fighter jet) at 165 kilometers.
I think that the BVR capabilites of latest Flanker are the most impressive in its class (4+/4.5 gen aircraft). The updated R-77 AAMs and new ultra-long range RVV-BD (R-37's successor) should make make it a winner in long range engagements.

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Terry Kelly March 30, 2012 at 8:39 am

Ok i pick the Super Hornet simply because it can be launched from aircraft carriers andis superior to any other 4.5 generation fighter the only one that can come close is the american made F-15 Silent eagle.

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Tyler March 30, 2012 at 9:51 am

Hahaha, There's a naval Eurofighter variant in the works, the Rafael is proven off of french AND american carriers. The problem with the Super Hornet is it's very expensive, and it can't supercruise. Plus, there's concerns about american reliability (remember what we did to Iran). The F-15SE is interesting, but it's just a concept aircraft. It's never actually flown. And the weapons loadouts they're projecting are VERY sparse. If I wanted a big aircraft to haul bombs or missiles, it would be the Eurofighter, because of the Ergonomics of the cockpit, and the compatibility with our NATO buddies. If I wanted bang for my buck, I'd go for the SAAB, because of the ease of maintenance, maneuverability, and the ability to take off of improvised airstrips. And if I wanted the best of both worlds I'd get the Flanker, because modern russian BVR missiles are second to none, 3D thrust Vectoring, multi role ability, and ease of maintenance.

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Riles March 30, 2012 at 1:13 pm

What did the US do to Iran that would cause us to have a reliability issue? Is it because we stopped giving them weapons once they became an enemy?

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Praetorian March 30, 2012 at 1:13 pm

“The problem with the Super Hornet is it’s very expensive” : Out of all the western aircraft on the list the Super Hornet is cheaper then the Rafale, and the Typhoon. Only the Gripen and Russian/Chinese aircraft are cheaper. Also, life cycle costs are good on the Super Hornet, very easy to service the aircraft. So I got to disagree with you on that comment Tyler.

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blight_ March 30, 2012 at 1:34 pm

What we did to Iran was stop supporting their aircraft after the Islamic Revolution.

You try fixing /anything/ without access to new parts. If someone destroyed the factories that Eurofighters were made in, chances are it would affect reliability adversely as well after spare parts are exhausted.

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Riles March 30, 2012 at 2:03 pm

No, I understand that. I just don't see how that would give the US a reliability issue. Unless you suddenly become a mortal enemy, I feel like the US probably has about a good a track record on "reliability" as anybody else when it comes to supplying parts.

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blight_ March 30, 2012 at 2:22 pm

Fair enough. I guess I mis-read your post the first time.

matheusdiasuk March 30, 2012 at 9:12 pm

"There's a naval Eurofighter variant in the works"

When, Where and How?!

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Jonathan March 30, 2012 at 9:47 am

Where in the hell are modern f16's?????????? I think if it came down to it and I was fighting a war I would want either the f18 or f16 on my side

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mareo2 March 30, 2012 at 10:19 am

If the F-18 is "soooo good", then why no one aside of the US Navy and the Australian air force buyed the Super Hornet? Why Malasya, Denmark, India, Japan, etc… rather buy anything else? I think that some pople need to be more honest and less nationalist.

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Praetorian March 30, 2012 at 1:49 pm

Should’nt that post be the same thing for the Rafale ??

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Boone March 30, 2012 at 2:22 pm

Them nations didn't pick the F-18 because of cost. India wanted technology rights as well, or something close to that.

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Mr.T March 31, 2012 at 1:00 am

I can't speak for the Australians, but I will say that they made a smart move by converting a few of those into Growlers. And which electronic warfare aircraft brought these "unique capabilities" to the Libyan operations? Which airforce wouldn't want the escort jamming of its AEA suite?

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StrumPanzer March 30, 2012 at 11:47 am

Instead of calling it the 4.5 Gen Poll they should have called it the 4+ Poll. I go with the Su-35BM it's only a mater of time before the put AESA radar in it and is a very potent 4+ fighter jet easily a match for the F-15 even though we don't like to admit it.

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Stratege March 30, 2012 at 12:31 pm

While Irbis-E Su-35's radar is not AESA, it's not joke

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Stratege March 30, 2012 at 12:33 pm

Detection range:
- with RCS 3 m2 = 350-400 km,(towards each other, in the area of 100 square degrees)
- the same target = up to 150 km (in pursuit of, in the area of 100 square degrees)
- target RCS 0.01m- = 90 km (wiki)
With its latest air-air missiles – updated R-77 and RVV-BD, 4.5 generation Flanker is so formidable opponent in a BVR engagement. "Eurocanards" and Chinese birds does not come close. (wiki)

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StrumPanzer March 30, 2012 at 4:10 pm

I'm not arguing with irbis-e isn't a good but, like most thing AESA is the next in progression. I saw somewhere that said aesa was in development for the Su-2X,3X family.

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Guest March 30, 2012 at 12:21 pm

Several of these are formidable. Each with strengths and weaknesses. In the end the big difference comes down to pilot skill, training, morale and resolve. It is a GREAT blessing the US has excellent hardware. But our Air Force comes out on top because of our pilots…

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Boone March 30, 2012 at 12:47 pm

I am going to have to pick the F-18, although the F-15 has proven itself time and time again. The standing factor is the F-15SE isn't even in test flight yet, however i expect it to live up to is brother. All the European aircraft have little to no combat experience under their belt. If you really start to nit-pick the numbers then combat radius, thrust to weight, armaments would play a key. But as it stands I'll still stand by the F-18.

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Mr.T March 30, 2012 at 1:16 pm

I guess I'll abstain from a single pick .. but I will say this, if NATO is protecting me from overhead, or I'm Brass calling the shots…give me a fighter that can use other nations weaponry seamlessly in a timely fashion. Slightly off topic: I don't want to hear about any bomb shortages or fuel concerns.

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Shree March 31, 2012 at 12:58 pm

Just wait for the Super Sukhoi 30 MKI …. that will have AESA Radar , some stealth coating , google it …it will be the best

BTW
Gripen NG doesn't exist still. But versatile and cheap to maintain.
Eurofighter A2G capability is minimal. Too damn costly
F15 SE is not even produced. But avionics are top notch
F18 aerodynamic performance is poor. But avionics are top notch .
Mig 35 will not be produced.
J 10 ..their rate of production is enough to be scary.

So from the 4.5 gen fighters currently at service Rafale is the best … India thinks so too

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Stratege March 31, 2012 at 7:25 pm

You forgot to take Su-35s in comparison

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Shree April 1, 2012 at 3:55 am

I think Su30MKI is more advanced as it has isareli,french and indian avionics,EW suite and other tested stuff.
the upgrade to su30mki will make it even better

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Ranger Rick April 1, 2012 at 2:53 pm

I'm not interested in everybody's opinions. I want to see the facts and stats. It would be great to see the performance evaluation criteria and performance evaluation comparisons side by side.

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@ptitz April 2, 2012 at 10:00 am

I dont know about the best, but Rafale is the sexiest.

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Erick Borling April 3, 2012 at 12:25 pm

This contest reminds me of Lisa Simpson's flashback to being in the second best band in America. The band members represent the aircraft. "Will you welcome Garfunkel, Messina, Oates, and Lisa singing their number two hit, "Born to Runner-Up."

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Shree April 3, 2012 at 12:37 pm

Su30MKI is more advanced than Su35 as it has isareli,french and indian avionics,EW suite and other tested stuff.
the planned upgrade from 2014 to Su30mki will make it even better

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Stratege April 4, 2012 at 8:52 am

What make you believe that modern Russian avionics should be inferior to Israeli, Frech… and even Indian? Domestic Su-35 uses it's own top tier avionics, partially taken form PAK-FA program.
Why export-oriented Su-30MKI should be better than domestic Su-35S ? This is nonsense.

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Shree April 10, 2012 at 1:22 pm

Feed your knowledge dude Su35S/BM is a variant of Su30MKI where avionics of foreign origin have been replaced with Russian ones.
Where did i that Russian avionics are inferior to Israeli, Frech ? They were just not present when India bought Su30.
And when Russia sold Su30MKI it was better than anything they had.

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Stratege April 14, 2012 at 10:01 am

Su-35S/BM is better than export Su-30, not doubt about it. The main aspects are:
- radar
- air-air armament
- avionics
- low observable airframe (composites, radar absorbent paint, new stealhy canopy)
- better aerodynamics (no canards)
- better engine (thrust, full 3D TVC, service life)

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Shree April 14, 2012 at 12:30 pm

So one must wait for the soon planned Super Sukhoi-30MKI MLU …. any views on that??

Matt April 6, 2012 at 9:28 pm

I'm giving it to the Super Hornet. While the F-15SE might be a better design, in theory, the actual combate experience of the Super Hornet plus its adaptablity and proven ability to be upgraded give it the edge (imo) over the experimental Stealth Eagle, even though the S.Eagle is based on arguably the most successful fighter of all time.

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sexiest April 14, 2012 at 2:54 am

sily debate…. for me the most best is The american and russian people.. they capabale buil d the most amazing stuff in the world..jepicture.com

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ksk549 April 14, 2012 at 12:59 pm

The Super Su-30MKI will be the best cas it is confirmed and is in active service…..the upgrade is planned to started from 2014…it will have AESA , MAWS , stealth coating and more importantly a major refit of the engine core.

The f-15SE seems to have no takers..who will be using the f-18 international roadmap and their airframe is over 40 years old.

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William C. April 14, 2012 at 2:21 pm

The Flanker series airframe is itself well over 30 years old.

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ksk549 April 16, 2012 at 11:02 am

Dig before u type man..that is Su-27 …Su-30 n its versions first took of in 1990s.

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hotrod41 April 15, 2012 at 11:04 am

is the j-10 even in the running? but people america must own the worlds best planes. f-22 must be updated! these dang problems with the plane's on-board oxygen system & slow block increment are embarrising to say the least (sorry off topic). best 4.5gen f-15-f-18 e.f f-16

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Ack. April 15, 2012 at 4:17 pm

Huh, who is going to win?
- American planes are on the first place in the ladder
- mostly american visitors to this blog, who are known for ignorance and extreme patriotism.

You dont need to be a genius to figure it out.

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Shree April 16, 2012 at 11:23 am

Air wars are going to be NETWORK CENTRIC and Pilot skill will be crucial .Also real world combat experience will be an added advantage which china lacks the most.
So the countries with best Air Forces as of 2012
1. USA
2. Russia
3. France
4. UK
5. India
6. Israel
7. china It will be different after 2018 India , china will be in 3rd n 4th places maybe not in that order…..US cannot be displaced for another

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Liam May 13, 2012 at 1:28 pm

F-15 Eagle never lost in combat, and that's a 1970's design…so I can only imagine what the what the Silent Eagle could do.

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Pen_Par June 8, 2012 at 6:59 am

I'm just wondering, why's AESA so important for a Gen 4.5 fighter? Don't get me wrong, I'm not recommending a PESA in anyway. I really am clueless to the advantages of the AESA, and why fighters are only considered as superior to others if they use AESA.

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Picard June 18, 2012 at 3:39 am

I’m having doubts between Typhoon and Rafale, but I’ll go with Rafale as it is more mature system.

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Guest September 18, 2012 at 4:59 am

What's is so special about the F/A-18E/F and why is the aircraft voted higher in this vote category?

What I'm concerned about this aircraft is because I don't see it to be a viable option to replace the Legacy Hornet fleet. Is because the F/A-18E/F has a similar performance deficiences to the F-35 which the aircraft has a short range and does not have the performance envelope of a true air superiority fighter compared to the large fighters (with high capability). The F/A-18E/Fs will be outclassed by the Su-27/30 Flanker family of fighters by most regional nations in all key performance parameters, aerodynamic, bigger weapons payload, radar / sensor performance by widely available fighters.

Canada and Australia need to get out of this “Hornet country” and look for other aircraft on the table such as the F-15SE.

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Guest September 18, 2012 at 5:24 am

The Advanced F-15E+/F-15SE is a combat-proven aircraft the Canadian's and Australia's should be considering to fulfill their air force requirements.

The F-15 can be modified with the APG-82 AESA, F110-GE-132 engines with 2-D or 3-D thrust vectoring nozzles and supercruising mode (without using afterburners which saves fuel) which needs to be considered, DEWS (Digital Electronic Warfare System), NG (Next Generation) 3-D touch screen cockpit display, digital fly-by-wire flight control system, IRST sensor pod etc.

The reason why the F-15 is a combat proven aircraft is because, during action in the Persian Gulf, Kosovo, Balkans and recently in Afghanistan the F-15 showed its superior ability to perform missions required of the F-X (Fighter Experimental).

The F-15 family of aircraft has a perfect air-to-air combat record of more than 104 victories and zero defeats. F-15s shot down four MiG-29 fighters during the Balkan conflict and 33 of the 35 fixed-wing Iraqi Air Forces aircraft lost in air combat during Operation Desert Storm. During the Balkan conflict, the F-15E was the only fighter able to attack ground targets around the clock, in all weather conditions. The F-15 aircraft are used by the Air Force against terrorist targets.

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Guest September 18, 2012 at 5:24 am

The F-15 has a fantastic long range endurance, bigger weapons payload and speed capabilities than its F-X competitors. The aircraft will get into a fight, strike with a lethal mix of air-to-air and air-to-ground weapons, and return more effectively than the other (small airframes with short range such as F/A-18 Super Hornet, Eurofighter Typhoon, Dassault Rafale, F-16 Fighting Falcon and F-35 JSF) F-X aircraft.

The F-15 is in production. Boeing has built more than 1,500 of all its F-15 models and the company has extended the F-15 production line well into the 2020s to attract and satisfy new and existing customers.

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Blueaxe_101 October 2, 2012 at 12:26 am

I am sure that JF-17 Block-II will be the best fighter and 4.5 generation fighter!

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JoLaughingOutLoud October 19, 2012 at 6:47 pm

People show their ignorance here.A lot of ignorance , and stupid pride.
There are two 4,5 gen fighters for NATO : f18 and rafale.Rest is crap or old and is 4Th gen material at best.: Eurofighter proved to be a worthless plane (spe AA but weaker than a multirolle like rafale…LOL), and grippen never been tested for real ,but performs awfuly in exercise.
F15 is a 30 YO old plane , the best in its days , now totally outmatched.
Since the only 5th gen fighters fighters (f221 and JSF f35) proved to be crap(maybe the worst planes ever produced compared to their prices) , we can say ,that on the NATO side , , only f18 and rafale are up to the task and are the best planes available.
On Russian side ,Su 35 is pretty good , at the level of f18 and rafale , and far above the rest of the planes presented here.
period.
End of topic.

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Thomas L. Nielsen October 25, 2012 at 7:22 am

"End of topic" – ORLY?

"Eurofighter proved to be a worthless plane" – Source and or justification, please.

"grippen never been tested for real ,but performs awfuly in exercise" – Same as above.

"only f18 and rafale are up to the task and are the best planes available" – Same as above.

Looking forward to your reply.

Regards & all,

Thomas L. Nielsen
Luxembourg

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rob October 27, 2012 at 3:14 pm

As the world already knwr tat Su30MKI is the best

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Jo-droit au but December 19, 2012 at 3:41 pm

US weapons are pieces of crap .
F 35 and f 22 are crap.Period.
Eurofighter is a shame.Period.
Rafale or russian planes.period.
If you do not agree the you have a problem of IQ. Period.
To quote Russian pilots Vs f18 and other NATO fighters "it was like clubbing baby seals"
End of story.Buy Russian or French , or be a moron.Period.

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TradeForSix January 24, 2013 at 11:58 pm

I personally think the Su-35S (or the production variant Su-37 for those not in the know) is the best 4++ generation fighter. It's just the Su-27 is already a great platform, and the Su-35's new array of equipment of updates (and TVC) is just going to make it better.

I have little doubt that the Su-35 would even give the 5th gen F-22 a run for the money in WVR engagement thanks to it's outstanding maneuverability.

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Guest January 26, 2013 at 8:38 pm

What should Canada or other air forces buy for a multi role fighter? A plane with a long combat range, ability to use short runways (low wing loading), two engines for reliability, and a proven combat record. Clearly the F-35 does not fill that bill. What will?

Saudi Arabia recently placed an order for 84 new F-15SA fighters. Delivery is scheduled to be completed by 2018. Details can be found at this link:
http://www.f-15e.info/joomla/en/export-variants/f….
They should buy the same thing with a few notable changes:

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Guest January 26, 2013 at 8:38 pm

- Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-229 EEP (Engine Enhancement Package) instead of the F-110- GE-129 engines

– The Pratt engines increase service intervals by 40% thus reducing maintenance costs.

- Raytheon APG-82(V)1 AESA radar instead of the APG-63(V)3 AESA – This improved version is currently in test for installation on the US Air Force F-15E's.

- JHMCS IIH and decoupled cockpits instead of the JHMCS

- Large Area Displays

And, in general insist on non-degraded for export systems, and as much commonality as is practical with the US Air Force F-15E's. This will cost Canada and other air forces much less than a F-35, but more than a Super Hornet. However, it will be a much more capable plane than the Super Hornet, and better fit for Canada and other air forces needs. Last all our current weapons can be saved and used on the new plane.

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Guest January 26, 2013 at 8:41 pm

The SAAB JAS-39E/F Gripen NG is an excellent multi-role fighter, unfortunately the aircraft does not have long-range that Canada or Australia large landmass requires, and does not have dual-engine for backup.

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Guest January 26, 2013 at 8:45 pm

A big disadvantage of the Gripen is the limited weapons load and single engine.

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Guest January 26, 2013 at 8:46 pm

The F-15E has a current unit cost of around 30 million dollars and has been in production since 1988. Now it looks like you are looking at the F-15K; which has been around since 2006 and matches your 100 million/unit cost. This seems to directly complete with the Rafale in cost and performance. The department of defence should really clearly lay out for example, how they decided between the three tiers of aircraft.

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Mike Barnard January 27, 2013 at 10:13 am

there are more things to consider when you are voting for the best, american aircraft are very delicate, hard to service etc, Russian aircraft are much more rugged and easier to service and this counts for a lot in the field, also range and search and destroy radar that can be used in all weathers can determine if you can achieve air superiority and I believe after a lot of research that the Russian Mig 35 would be Superior in real world combat situations.

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Papi1960R January 27, 2013 at 3:30 pm

Considering the now exposed (thru Wikileaks) huge amounts of money that US manufactures and government agencies have spent (well over $1billion) badmouthing the Rafale, it has to be outstanding. Its performance in Afghanistan, Mali and Libya have been great. Finally a sale to India that has now put them in the front of the list for Brazil,UAE,Qatar, Kuwait and Malaysia. We will see how it shakes out. Additionally the Hammer smart bomb and Meteor missle have left American products in the rearview mirror.
The USAF is shifting back production numbers for the F-35 for years, the UK and Italy have cut F-35 procurement numbers drastically, that coupled with Canada and the Netherlands having total cold feet on the JSF. Canada's opposition party plans on sueing Lockmart and the US DODin the World Court to recover all funds Canada put into JSF. This will be a interesting year to come.

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Sven February 8, 2013 at 3:04 pm

Big fighter uses dog fight
Gripen i s feline and a beautiful aircraft engaging with Catfight with those big dogs. Who wins a little defensiv or offensive cat or a big aggresive dog. I have seen it the big K9 ran out with a blood dripping nose and the little kitten was no pussy, that was the dog.

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BAHAN March 22, 2013 at 11:22 am

I would choose rafale :
+omnirole
+aesa radar
+carrier capability
+refuel each-other
+better A2A fighter than the other (exept maybe russian plane)
+spectra
+fast and cheap maintenance
+supercruise capabilities (but need reheat to breack the sound barrier)
+mica / meteor (meteor available in 2018)
+OSF

-more expensive than the other (exept typhoon)
-maybe a lack of power from M88
-french diplomacy isn't as performant as US, UK, or Russian diplomacy for selling the aircraft

I think Swiss and indian army agree with me.

For thoose who said american engineering is better, just remember that boeing used a software called CATIA to designed their product (by the way northrop, ford, GM, christler,.. used and still use it to) and this software is developped by … DASSAULT, the same people that developped rafale.

I'm french so my opoinion might not be entirely partial.
And for spelling, gramatical mistake,…, english isn't my first or my 2nd language.

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tiger May 10, 2013 at 2:40 am

Stupid comparison…in an air to air combat , the Su 30 MKI will rip the balls out of all the other planes as it is the only one to have thrust vectoring coupled with a power radar….imagine an SU30 MKI performing a herbst manoeuvre and take out your fucking hornet…or just visualize it performing a flat turn and fry the ass of the typhoon….further it is now being upgraded with the AESA…this is a US website, therefore al bullshit voters….

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Big Al June 14, 2013 at 6:54 pm

super hornet is a fantastic Aircraft, but as a air to air fighter im going have to go with the typhoon, purely because i have seen its immense agility in the air

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Roman July 3, 2013 at 1:32 pm

Anybody who reads dedicated fighter magazines knows the answer that the best 4.5 generation fighter are the RAFALE and the SUPER HORNET. they can perform the whole lot of mission at the same time without to reconfigure the airplane hardware or sensors. By the I ALREADY SAW IN A VIDEO RELEASED BY FRENCH AIR FORCE, A RAFALE SOOTING DOWN AN F22 in DOGFIGHT. Just go to RAFALE NEWS site and watch it!! Some of you will be Greatly surprise!!!

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Some Dude August 19, 2013 at 1:28 pm

Forget the Silent Eagle or the "4.5 Gen fighters".__By far the overall best land-based plane is the existing Strike Eagle upgraded to its latest capabilities.__Some folks have made a career out of writing about how formidable Sukhois are, or how somebody jumped someone else and won a "dogfight" during some training mission. These are meaningless without understanding the ROE of the exercise. The Sukhoi getting on an Eagle's six and not being shaked story turned out to be an overblown myth – they were flying in an administrative formation when the Flanker pilot decided to play games, which is not a realistic scenario. __Even if it were true that Flankers had some WVR advantages, it wouldn't change the fact that if you wanted to conduct an air campaign you would be better off with Eagles than with Flankers.__The Strike Eagle is still very potent and does everything very, very well.

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Yoron September 23, 2013 at 3:42 pm
Yoron September 23, 2013 at 3:47 pm
Suvajit October 24, 2013 at 3:29 am
Suvajit October 24, 2013 at 3:42 am

Also just wanted to clarify that, when I am talking of different roles for aircrafts, it may appear confusing in recent times when all these aircrafts have been used in different roles, the f18s in Iraq or Kosovo, please remember that they were used against older generation, inferior quality migs or in case of Israel they mostly used f15s against lower tech migs. It is widely known that F15s are better fighters than the mig 21/ 23 types though i am not sure how they would have performed against a fully updated mig 29 fulcrum.
But if we consider a hypothetical scenario, where both the opposing parties are equivalent in terms of maintainance and upgradation, then these considerations will come to play. I mean, in such a scenario, I dont think an air commander with f18/f15s will send it against a Su 30 MKI but will certainly send them against a Rafale or Gripen.

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Popeye March 18, 2014 at 3:24 pm

From that list? The Su-30.

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Rest March 18, 2014 at 7:13 pm

Yep. By a commanding margin.

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YU March 24, 2014 at 12:51 pm

Yugoslav MiG 29′s were old export version, and runned out of resource by early 1996. So, that didnt make them just real competition to Eagles supported by AWACS. Beside that, YU ground radars didnt work properly, we had the best weapon in old SA 6 and big caliber guns. On top of all that, look at the map, we were surounded by NATO. And by pilots said, one was hit by our ground fire near city of Nis.

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Joseph Tan March 25, 2014 at 5:33 am

Actually it all depend on what role do the plane are dealing with:-

i) in term of air – to -air and air superiority – the Flanker should win hands down

ii) in term of air -to -ground or ground attack – the Hornet may have an edge, Rafale would come close. Because of the focus on air superiority, unless couple with AWACS of Ka-31 radar helicopter, Flanker had a slight inferior in this area.

iii) in term of maritime strike – Su- 30 may be be best since she had the biggest radar and able to detect further distance of the ship, couple with the fact that she can even linked up with AWACS and satellite, Not t say that F-18 and Rafale are inferior but because Flanker had a larger combat radius, therefore in the sea where there is little to land except carrier, the range is of utmost importance and it can take head-on of a destroyer or ship in mid ocean.

iv) in term of close air support, rafale may be the best . In fact rafale also have reasonable well air-to-air as well.

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Andrew March 29, 2012 at 5:12 pm

And any other nations flying 4.5 gens aren't?

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Optimistic March 29, 2012 at 6:54 pm

AESA does not a complete package make and I'd be wary of pitting any single system (apart from the under development F-35 package, based on the Typhoon approach) against Typhoon's combined CAPTOR, IRST, HMSS and Networking system. IIRC the CAESAR upgrade to CAPTOR has also been flown (would appreciate help relocating the sources though). But I take your point, and by your logic we can also eliminate the Silent Eagle completely.

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PMI March 30, 2012 at 12:53 pm

Look at the location of the Philippines and New Zealand and the reasons why a relatively short ranged single engine fighter may not be best choice for national defense may become clear.

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Riles March 30, 2012 at 2:26 pm

Tis all good. I can see how that could happen.

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Praetorian March 30, 2012 at 8:33 pm

I know what your trying to say Stratege, I just think it's irrelevant. What ever excuse you want to use about why the other aircrafts got shot down, comes back to the simple fact they lost and the pilot, and F-15 did not. In fact it never has lost in real combat.

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Kiwi March 31, 2012 at 10:25 pm

NZ has no need to worry, unless Australia goes expansionist.

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jim October 12, 2012 at 1:10 am

I heard that Syrian pilots were ejecting when the radar warning system buzzed in there helmets ha ha eject before your even hit. 100 migs downed in a few days. yes they were old shitty mig 21s

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Sascha April 24, 2014 at 7:26 am

And what is about Ford and Opel (GM) both brands sell well in Germany and Europe.
Of course Ford adapts it technologies to European requirements and so does GM.

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