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June 04, 2007


Big Rocket

Stealth aside, which is the more maneuverable fighter in service: Su-35/37 or F-22? The Super Flanker has 2-axis vectoring compared to the Raptor's 1-axis vectoring, but I wonder how useful that extra axis is in real combat.

Small Rocket, No Insecurity, But It Works

You have GOT to be kidding (reference to original blog entry). This is STEALTHY? Its big, you can hear it coming no doubt its loud, you can DEFINITELY see it coming -- so much for stealth, what a joke. So what, it can fly straight up. For $250 million, we get a plane that can make some tight turns? Big whoopy do.

dave fulghum

This demonstration is interesting, particularly the low-speed, low-altitude 360 degree somersault, but it was nowhere near as exciting as the Russian displays I saw at the Moscow air show a few years ago. The reverse sweep Su-47 Berkat, was literally doing somersault after somersault at low speed and low altitude. (That's where the Russian air defense engineers told us they had the pieces of the F-117 that was shot down in Serbia.) I know the F-22 can do some incredible maneuvering, but most of their work is done at altitude and involves quick vertical and horizontal changes in direction (see Aviation Week & Space Technology Jan.8, 2007 special report on J-turns, high-alpha turns and the Cobra with the F-22). They're not doing that at the air shows -- so far, anyway. In the operational squadrons there is a lot of emphasis on doing what the aircraft is supposed to do operationally and not on developing an air show routine. Also, you won't see what the F-22 is capable of as long as it's at low altitude. However, I suspect the envelope will expand as time goes on. But in the U.S., there are a lot of safety rules to be observed.
So, interesting, but not stunning, yet.

dave fulghum

What you get with the F-22 is an incredible intelligence collecting platform that can penetrate sophisticated air defenses to collect at close range. Remember, physics is physics and getting closer to electronic emissions lets you analyze them faster and with more accuracy. The F-22 is going to be important for establishing an almost instantaneous electronic order of battle, creating situational awareness for any friendly with a datalink, electronic attack and identifying and targeting aircraft and other objects for conventional aircraft at ranges of over 100 naut.mi. That's what you get for the money.

dave fulghum

I just doubled checked my memory with Robert Wall, Aviation Week's Paris bureau chief. He says, indeed it was the Su-47 that was so spectacular and that compared to the F-22 airshow demonstration, "The Su-35 with its all-axis thrust vector control and the similarly fitted mig-29 (OVT I believe) also are more spectacular. Of course, a nice cobra maneuver is good for air shows, but I'd rather have supercruise and an AESA radar in combat." And with that I'd agree.

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