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MigBuster

Favorite production Military Aircraft of 2012

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Any favorite modern day Military aircraft? - must have been in production or available brand new in 2012

 

 

For me - probably still the F-16C Block 50/52 + - because I'm getting old

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Uh...I'm tired of the older planes at this point. Once it's been 30 years, my interest wanes. :grin:

 

That said, I'm not sure which ones being built now are favorites. I both like and dislike to varying degrees all the newer planes starting with Gripen (oldest of the "next gen") to Rafale and Typhoon to Super Hornet and F-35 to Su-27SMT and J-10 and whatever.

 

I guess the F-35 for the promise of what it will be able to do more than anything else.

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F-35.. saw every video Lockheed Martin publish on YouTube of the aircraft

and I don't keep track of anything else ;)

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Okay call me strange many have... but I would go with the Super Hornet because it does what it says on the tin Strike Fighter and it is true Multi-Role Fighter Strike Tanker Jammer there aren't many Jets that can claim to do all that... and also because I prefer the legacy Hornet over the Falcon...

Edited by Slartibartfast

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I particulary like the light design of the JF-17 Thunder.

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Well if its going to be a 2012 aircraft I vote F-22 cause two engines are always better than one.

 

Sorry, F-22 doesn't cut it:

In December 2011, the 195th and final F-22 was completed (out of 8 test and 187 combat aircraft produced)

 

Believe me, I wish it did.

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PAK FA

 

Not in production in 2012 - not sure you can preorder one yet either - try again

 

SR-71 :D

 

there must be something you like - there's quite a lot still being made

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The F-15E (in variants for other countries) is actually in production. The SE is available to begin should a customer order it, but to date I don't believe they've gotten any serious bites because it will make the F-15 cost more than just going with the standard. If they're going to spend more, they probably will want something newer.

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Well one should be about 100 mil$ but is that really too expensive for something like that?

EF-2000 and Rafale can go up to 90 mil€, F-35 maybe twice that much even F-16E was sold to UAE for about 80 mil$ each...

 

I would really love to see F-15 SilentE flying around, really looks cool with those slanted tails...

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AH-64D Block III and Ka-52

much more worth today than hundrets of F-22 or Eurofighters

Edited by Gepard

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AH-64D Block III and Ka-52

much more worth today than hundrets of F-22 or Eurofighters

 

Interesting take on things - might not have much luck against the Taliban airliners though :)

 

No one for any Russian stuff - MiG-29K, Su-35S, Su-34 ?

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The Indian choice of the 29K notwithstanding (based on the needs of using them on a smaller carrier with limited space), I think the Fulcrum's time has passed along with the F-16, F/A-18A/C, and other early-gen 4 planes that have been upgraded. The F-16 for instance was designed as a lightweight fighter.

"The F-16 FSD differed in several respects to the YF-16 prototype since the ADF design now was be become a multimode fighter. No changes however, were made that would degrade the prototype’s aerodynamics. At the same time, the design team had to adapt the airplane to amplified air-to-ground requirements that foreshadowed the F-16’s transition into a multirole fighter. The overall length grew by thirteen inches. The nose, which accounts for about three of those additional inches, acquired a slight droop to accommodate the AN/APG-66 multimode radar. To respond to the need for larger air-to-ground payloads, the wing and tail surfaces were enlarged to carry the extra weight. The wing area grew from 280 to 300 square feet, which is about as much as it could grow without requiring additional internal bulkheads to lengthen the fuselage. The horizontal tails and ventral fins grew about fifteen percent. The flaperons and speed brakes grew by about ten percent. An additional hardpoint was placed under each wing, giving the aircraft a total of nine. The airframe was structurally strengthened for these new loads as well." -wiki

That was just for the F-16A Blk 1.

"The empty weight of the Block 10 F-16A is 15,600 pounds. The empty weight of the Block 50 is 19,200 pounds. MTOW of Block 50 is 37,500 pounds" -- fas.org

That's another 3600lbs on the same basic airframe, some of it due to structural strengthening and some just due to the extra stuff piled on, and then it carries almost 20,000 lbs of fuel, armament, and other removable equipment like TGP or ECM pods.

 

True late-gen 4 planes like the Super Hornet, Rafale, Tyhpoon, Gripen, etc do have life left.

The F-15 and Flanker families straddle an interesting spot where due to their size and power they can receive many upgrades that make them into true late-gen 4 planes and not suffer the same performance penalties that the lighter planes do.

 

In other words, their airframes still have "growth" space while the smaller planes need to be designed that way from the start. After 30+ years, the other light gen 4 planes are maxed out. It would require a much larger redesign to "zero" them out, to the point where it would not be cost-effective and you'd still have the basic problems of stealth, sensor fusion, and so on that would never let them be gen 5.

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The Indian choice of the 29K notwithstanding (based on the needs of using them on a smaller carrier with limited space), I think the Fulcrum's time has passed along with the F-16, F/A-18A/C, and other early-gen 4 planes that have been upgraded. The F-16 for instance was designed as a lightweight fighter.

"The F-16 FSD differed in several respects to the YF-16 prototype since the ADF design now was be become a multimode fighter. No changes however, were made that would degrade the prototype’s aerodynamics. At the same time, the design team had to adapt the airplane to amplified air-to-ground requirements that foreshadowed the F-16’s transition into a multirole fighter. The overall length grew by thirteen inches. The nose, which accounts for about three of those additional inches, acquired a slight droop to accommodate the AN/APG-66 multimode radar. To respond to the need for larger air-to-ground payloads, the wing and tail surfaces were enlarged to carry the extra weight. The wing area grew from 280 to 300 square feet, which is about as much as it could grow without requiring additional internal bulkheads to lengthen the fuselage. The horizontal tails and ventral fins grew about fifteen percent. The flaperons and speed brakes grew by about ten percent. An additional hardpoint was placed under each wing, giving the aircraft a total of nine. The airframe was structurally strengthened for these new loads as well." -wiki

That was just for the F-16A Blk 1.

"The empty weight of the Block 10 F-16A is 15,600 pounds. The empty weight of the Block 50 is 19,200 pounds. MTOW of Block 50 is 37,500 pounds" -- fas.org

That's another 3600lbs on the same basic airframe, some of it due to structural strengthening and some just due to the extra stuff piled on, and then it carries almost 20,000 lbs of fuel, armament, and other removable equipment like TGP or ECM pods.

 

True late-gen 4 planes like the Super Hornet, Rafale, Tyhpoon, Gripen, etc do have life left.

The F-15 and Flanker families straddle an interesting spot where due to their size and power they can receive many upgrades that make them into true late-gen 4 planes and not suffer the same performance penalties that the lighter planes do.

 

In other words, their airframes still have "growth" space while the smaller planes need to be designed that way from the start. After 30+ years, the other light gen 4 planes are maxed out. It would require a much larger redesign to "zero" them out, to the point where it would not be cost-effective and you'd still have the basic problems of stealth, sensor fusion, and so on that would never let them be gen 5.

 

I also read somewhere that the designers at MiG

 

 

have a plan to modernize older MiG-29C / M so

 

 

they will do something similar to the F-15SE

 

 

program with its radar absorbent materials and

 

 

paralel geometrically lines and surfaces.

Edited by Stipe

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"The empty weight of the Block 10 F-16A is 15,600 pounds. The empty weight of the Block 50 is 19,200 pounds. MTOW of Block 50 is 37,500 pounds" -- fas.org

That's another 3600lbs on the same basic airframe, some of it due to structural strengthening and some just due to the extra stuff piled on, and then it carries almost 20,000 lbs of fuel, armament, and other removable equipment like TGP or ECM pods.

 

 

Depends on the comparison - empty weight + engine + 50% fuel +ammo puts it about 22,000lbs - which is still lighter than its rival 4th Gens :

 

 

F-16A B10 = empty 15,306 lbs (Unclass SAC doc)

MiG-29 (9.12) = empty ~25,000 lbs (wiki) , 33,070 lbs normal (YGordon )

FA-18A = empty ~28,000lbs (J Baugher) ?? (FA-18C given around 23,000lbs)

F-15A = empty 25,870lbs (unclass SAC document)

F-14A = empty 38,188lbs (unclass SAC doc)

Su-27 (T-10S) = empty 35,270lbs (YGordon)

 

 

Also consider the F-16 only gets one engine (~3000 lbs) compared to all the above - but can carry 7,189 lbs of fuel which is probably why only the F-14 and SU-27 on that list had better endurance on internal fuel.

 

in Boyd it mentions he wanted more wing area on the 16 to counter the weight put it back to where the YF-16 was but never got it.

 

Looking at the F-16E/F Block 60 and F-16D/I Black 50+ you do wander how much more you can hang off it - which is why I think the USAF will probably only go as far as putting AESA radars in their best low timers while the 35 comes in.

Edited by MigBuster

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Yes, the so-called "Agile Falcon" program that never made it past the design stage. That would've helped the performance, but I'm referring more to the straight-up design. It wouldn't make the plane lighter (or alternatively stronger for the same weight) or give it more space in the fuselage.

 

You could put the same engines, radar, and missiles the F-15 has on an F-4 (ok, not literally, but...) but it still wouldn't be as good. Planes are designed around the capabilities of the time plus projected advances in the foreseeable future, and these 70s designed planes are far outside that range. Only because of their larger size making them less sensitive to weight changes are the Flanker and Eagle still going as strong.

 

What happens when you take a 70s design like the F/A-18A and overhaul it to be a more modern plane that fixes the worst problems with the original? You get the F/A-18E! Few countries are willing to go that route, and as we did it for the Hornet 20 years ago I don't think we'll do it again soon.

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