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

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.

What’s the world’s best 4.5-gen fighter?

106 Comments on "DT Poll: What’s the World’s Best 4.5-Gen Fighter?"

  1. 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

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

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. SAAB dominates them all!!! :-)

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

  10. 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

  11. 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.

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

  13. 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/

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

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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?

  18. 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…..

  19. 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…

  20. Shadow Veritech?

  21. 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…………..

  22. 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.

  23. Yeah, generation 4.5 my ass!

  24. 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!!!

  25. 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.

  26. 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.

  27. 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.

  28. F-16!!!!

  29. 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.

  30. 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.

  31. 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.

  32. 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.

  33. 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.

  34. 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.

  35. 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.

  36. 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.

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

  38. 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.

  39. 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

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

  41. 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!

  42. 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.

  43. 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.

  44. 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.

  45. 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.

  46. 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.

  47. 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.

  48. 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

  49. 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/

  50. 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.

  51. 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

  52. 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.

  53. 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.

  54. 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

  55. 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.

  56. 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.

  57. 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…

  58. 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.

  59. 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.

  60. 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

  61. 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.

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

  63. 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."

  64. 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

  65. 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.

  66. 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

  67. 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.

  68. 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

  69. 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.

  70. 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

  71. 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.

  72. 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.

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

  74. 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.

  75. 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.

  76. 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.

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

  78. 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.

  79. As the world already knwr tat Su30MKI is the best

  80. 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.

  81. 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.

  82. 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:

  83. – 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.

  84. 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.

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

  86. 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.

  87. 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.

  88. 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.

  89. 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.

  90. 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.

  91. 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….

  92. 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

  93. 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!!!

  94. 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.

  95. 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.

  96. From that list? The Su-30.

  97. 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.

  98. 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.

  99. The best 4th & 4.5th generation are the Sukhoi Flanker series. Starting with Su-27, Su-30, Su-30MKI, Su-30MKK, Su-33, Su-34, Su-35, & the Su-35S. Some even think the latter ones (Su-35) can challenge the F-22A & would fair even better against the F-35 series. These airplanes have amazing maneuverability. I think it was the Su-27 that first performed the Pugachev’s Cobra. The latter ones have an amazing thrust to weight ratio & most of them have 3-D thrust vectoring (the F-22A only has 2-D, while the F-35 doesn't even have any).
    The notion that American & European jet fighters are the best in the world should be seriously reconsider. Although some of these aircraft have good maneuverability (the F-16 series mostly because of its light weight), they all have one weakness & that is FUEL Capacity.
    Tell me what do you commonly see when you see an image of an American jet fighter? Mostly like the plane (of course) & fuel tanks strapped to its wings. Even the F-22A flies with fuel tanks strapped to its wings (which comprises it radar stealth capabilities).
    Now try to find an image of a Flanker with fuel tanks strapped to its wings; (very rare but some exist). The Flankers have an amazing fuel capacity. These aircrafts are large aircrafts but with an amazing maneuverability.
    In fact the stealth series of the F-15 & F-18 (F-15SE & F-18EF) are not that stealthy. They just have the same radar cross-section as a regular F-15 (or F-18) but without any wing-loads. Plus, they sacrifice their already low fuel capacity (for internal weapons bay) just to be a little stealthy; one weakness of stealth aircraft.
    I could go on all day but I'll stop here. People need to stop basting in the American superiority propaganda & be more open, because there are a lot of amazing non-American aircrafts out there.

  100. Bit disappointed as F 16 falcon is not in the list.you can not let the daddy on side line

  101. su-30[MKI family] will be preferred than others here. it has better maneuverability . thrust vector, Advanced AESA radar, greater BVR , twin pilot which is always better than single. and these babies are huge than others with the most maneuverability capabilities than most other aircraft in the world. its even compared with F-22 raptors though raptor wins the bid with stealth, supercruise without afterburner, and other extra feature which falls in 5th gen, still its good to see a 4.5 class competes with 5th gen class

  102. Sukhoi’s Su-30

  103. For a real 4.5 gen aircraft—you must have an AESA radar and a dedicated IRST—otherwise—you are on the fringe of it being a 4th gen—. Because for a 4th gen aircraft—aesa is an upgrade—and then you are going to go for a 5th gen aircraft—-.

    So—may I disagree?

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