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Thread: Its the 1980s and your Air Force will choose only 1 or 2 fighters for its core!

  1. #1
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    Its the 1980s and your Air Force will choose only 1 or 2 fighters for its core!

    Scenario 1: you are limited to one fighter!
    Scenario 2: you are limited to two!

    limitations:

    1. Any aircraft that entered service until 1989!
    that means no F-22, F-35, J-10, Su-35, etc

    2. No experimental or prototype aircraft. needs to have entered service!



    my picks:

    1. F-14
    2. F-14 and M2K

  2. #2
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    1. F-18. a very underrated aircraft and straight up multi-role from the start.
    2. Depends. If I was going for a hi-lo combination the F-15/F-16 is probably the best hi-lo pair ever.
    Or a strategic one to diversify suppliers, F-16 and Mirage 2000.

    the MiG-29As at the time were rather limited and not multi-role. You could argue the other two as well, but history has shown that they have aged better.

  3. #3
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    F-16, it's really a no-brainer. Only plane which can compete is F-18, depending on what kind of qualities you need. In a blind call, F-16 all the way. If American types are not available, then Mirage 2000.

    For two-fighter fleet, I'll throw a curveball: high-low mix of F-15E and F-7P Skybolt. Latter can handle all simpler interception, QRA etc duties while Strike Eagle is a multirole heavy hitter.

  4. #4
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    1Saludo
    Revista Ejercitos, sometime She will back...

  5. #5
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    The Hornet is under-rated I agree, however it is also more expensive than the F-16.

    Interesting to note that Finland who did a very thorough assessment short-listed Mirage 2000 and the Hornet (but not the F-16)

    So:

    If budget is "low": F-16
    If budget is "medium": F-18
    If budget is "high": F-15E


    If 2 fighters: F-16/F-15E

  6. #6
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    Several answers have to be disqualified due to technicalities (Sorry, have to uphold standards as resident pedantic smart@ss)

    The F-15E isn't eligible as a 1980's aircraft. Even though IOC was planned for sept '89, it wasn't "full" IOC until 1990.

  7. #7
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    Its the 1980s and your Air Force will choose only 1 or 2 fighters for its core!
    Is this some kind of 'counter-factual' or alternative history thread?

    We already know what many air forces, given a choice, did choose as their fighter aircraft in the 1980s. That prize goes to the F-16 surely, followed by the MiG-23. No F-14 was ever sold to any foreign customer in 1980s, at all.
    Last edited by Levsha; 15th February 2018 at 15:58.

  8. #8
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    F-16, it's really a no-brainer. Only plane which can compete is F-18, depending on what kind of qualities you need. In a blind call, F-16 all the way. If American types are not available, then Mirage 2000.
    In the eighties the Viper was a AIM-9L, MK82, Maverick day only fighter. Both the Sparrow capable F-16 ADF and the Block 40 "Night Falcon" were delivered in the late 89 and IOC"ed" in 1990, so they are out.
    Both the Mirage 2000C equiped with the RDI and the F/A-18C had a more robust avionics suite and a true BVR capability.

    Cheers

  9. #9
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    In the eighties the Viper was a AIM-9L, MK82, Maverick day only fighter. Both the Sparrow capable F-16 ADF and the Block 40 "Night Falcon" were delivered in the late 89 and IOC"ed" in 1990, so they are out.
    Both the Mirage 2000C equiped with the RDI and the F/A-18C had a more robust avionics suite and a true BVR capability.
    Hmmm...AIUI, block 25 Vipers also have, in theory, Sparrow capability - they just didn't have the software? Or something. But it's true that for practical purposes there were no Sparrow equipped F-16's in service during the '80s though they could have been easily made if it had been a priority.
    F-18C IOC was late 1989 so IMO it's disqualified if F-15E is also not accepted.

  10. #10
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    "Its the 1980s and your Air Force will choose only 1 or 2 fighters for its core!"

    Hi-mix = Mirage 4000
    low mix = Mirage 2000

    Click image for larger version. 

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    -=*J33NELSON*=-

  11. #11
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    F-18C IOC was late 1989 so IMO it's disqualified if F-15E is also not accepted.
    I have this idea that it was 1988 with VFA-83?

    Cheers

  12. #12
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    Didn't know Mirage 4000 IOC'd before 1990...

    My choice:
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Who cares about multi-role. I can keep my F-4Es from the 70s, right? I'll equip them with targeting pods for precision attacks. Replace them with F-15Es during the 90s. For general ground attack, F-15C is fine:
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    How can less be more? It's impossible. More is more.
    Yngwie Malmsteen

  13. #13
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    Single type fleet: JA-37 Viggen. All weather, multirole and BVR capable in 1980.
    Mixed Fleet: F-15 & F-16. These aircraft pretty much defined the high-low mix principle.

  14. #14
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    F-15 and F-117.

  15. #15
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    F-16 only works in a hi-lo mix... missing critical capabilities like BVR, recon, anti-ship.

    For a single fighter fleet the F/A-18 would be ideal but not available for export until the mid/late 80s. Mirage 2000 is similar. So in the early 80s I might still go with the later Mirage F1E variants...

  16. #16
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    I'd of wanted an F-15C backed by F/A-18A instead of F-16 if money is no option.
    Go Huskers!

  17. #17
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    Singgle Aircraft JA-37 Viggen..preferably reengine with GE F-110.

    Mixed Aircraft, F-16 and Mirage 2000. F-16 mostly on attack role, Mirage 2000 for Air Superiority.

  18. #18
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    im glad a lot of guys caught a few inappropriate aircraft and understood the time frame

    1980s F-16 were a bit more limited, no F-15E yet (on that subject how well suited were the earlier eagles towards A2G?)
    Also yes, its 1989 and downwards.. 60s and 70s aircraft are still valid, and perhaps a better choice because they were more mature at this stage.
    M4K never entered service. doesn't count.
    F-14 was exported.. in the 70s.

  19. #19
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    on that subject how well suited were the earlier eagles towards A2G?
    -
    www.dtic.mil/get-tr-doc/pdf?AD=ADA398080

    Here is an overview from an Air War College paper written by an F-15C pilot. Gives a good overview of the F-15's robust air to ground capabilities.

    The major weakness in the F-15 A-D attack capabilities wasn't the aircraft (the first "Strike Eagle" was an F-15B modified ETF demonstrator with an SAR mode for the APG-63, FAST packs, and a PAVE TACK )

    The USAF training and doctrine for the F-15 focused almost exclusively on air superiority. The Israeli's did train their pilots and use F-15's in attack missions.
    Last edited by FBW; 16th February 2018 at 15:42.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBW View Post
    -
    www.dtic.mil/get-tr-doc/pdf?AD=ADA398080

    Here is an overview from an Air War College paper written by an F-15C pilot. Gives a good overview of the F-15's robust air to ground capabilities.
    “Robust”? That’s pretty barebones - basically dumb bombs and cluster munitions.

    No standoff missile, no SEAD, no runway denial munitions, no self-designation, no rocket pods, no anti-ship, no recon pod.

    There’s more to air-to-ground in the 80s than being a bomb truck from medium altitude that has to overfly enemy ground defenses...

  21. #21
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    F-15E for the High end (1989) (For both the 1-Fighter Choice and the 2-Fighter choice)
    http://www.af.mil/About-Us/Fact-Shee...-strike-eagle/

    F-16 Blk40/42 for the Low end (1989) (for the 2-Fighter choice)
    http://www.af.mil/About-Us/Fact-Shee...ghting-falcon/

    I know.. The dates are all 1989... But it's still the '80s
    Last edited by SpudmanWP; 16th February 2018 at 18:50.
    "The early bird gets the worm but the second mouse gets the cheese."

  22. #22
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    This depends how you mark the introduction of the F-15. Is the F-15E separate because I regard that as a development of the F-15, which entered service in the 1970s and could probably have been ordered by a customer if such a demand existed. I was assuming F-15C and E counted as one type - F-15.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by St. John View Post
    This depends how you mark the introduction of the F-15. Is the F-15E separate because I regard that as a development of the F-15, which entered service in the 1970s and could probably have been ordered by a customer if such a demand existed. I was assuming F-15C and E counted as one type - F-15.
    We’re looking at specific aircraft variants that made it to a frontline squadron.

    So generic types are irrelevant, e.g. F-15A, C and E are all different. This is a more accurate reflection of reality... just too hard for example to talk about “F-16s” in generic terms. Too many evolutions over time.

    The F-15E is a great choice for the 1990s but IMHO it’s cheating to include it in the 1980s. It wasn’t fully operational, and even shortly before the Gulf War was still mostly limited to dropping dumb bombs by day, due to missing Lantirn and laser designator. It was basically irrelevant in the 80s for the short few months it was in limited squadron service.
    Last edited by H_K; 16th February 2018 at 21:02.

  24. #24
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    The F-15E had Lantirn & LDP during ODS, although they were in short supply.

    http://www.f-15e.info/joomla/en/weap...9-desert-storm
    Last edited by SpudmanWP; 16th February 2018 at 21:17.
    "The early bird gets the worm but the second mouse gets the cheese."

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by H_K View Post
    “Robust”? That’s pretty barebones - basically dumb bombs and cluster munitions.

    No standoff missile, no SEAD, no runway denial munitions, no self-designation, no rocket pods, no anti-ship, no recon pod.

    There’s more to air-to-ground in the 80s than being a bomb truck from medium altitude that has to overfly enemy ground defenses...
    The point isn’t what capabilities the US actually used on the F-15A-D, it’s what the aircraft itself was capable of. The aircraft itself could carry GBU-10, no F-15 (even E) carry Hydra pods, there is no reason they couldn’t carry Durandal.

    Israel used their F-15B to strike PLO targets with GBU-15 in operation wooden leg with on the fly modification, and later Popeye standoff weapons. Again the F-15B that was the ETF demonstrator had a SAR mode software addition, CFT, and PAVE TACK added (and rear seat display). Add CFT and PAVE TACK or PAVE SPIKE and you have a capable strike aircraft.

    The USAF didn’t use that capability, Israel and RSAF did with their F-15’s. It’s illogical to state that the F-15E would be a multi role and the F-15C/D wasn’t. The only real difference would be the strengthened airframe. The last blocks of F-15C even had APG-70 radar. Had the US updated the ground attack software in MSIP II, any F-15C/D could have had F-15E strike capabilities (with MTOW and maneuver limitations, obviously pilot workload on the C without a WSO).
    Last edited by FBW; 17th February 2018 at 00:54.

  26. #26
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    FBW don’t you see that you’re dealing in hypotheticals? By those standards why don’t I pick a tricked out F-14 or Su-27? Or an F/A-18 with Aim-54 Phoenix AAMs?

    You underestimate the amount of work required to integrate weapons to ensure accurate delivery. Per Spudman’s post for example the targeting pods were barely ready for Desert Storm, almost a decade after the start of the Strike Eagle’s development.

    Simple rule: if it wasn’t integrated, it didn’t exist. That’s the real world.

  27. #27
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    Understand the point about “integrated” completely. Which is why the F-15E wouldn’t qualify. There is nothing hypothetical about Israel using F-15B as strike aircraft, or the fact that the last F-15D (and possibly even C, sources vary) built for Saudi Arabia were F-15E without the CFT and Lantirn NAV and Targeting pods mounted and limited radar modes.

    There isn’t anything hypothetical about Israel’s development of the F-15 A-D as strike aircraft, nor the ability of the aircraft to carry targeting pod centerline (it happened).

    Get you point completely, but the view of the F-15A-D as a pure air superiority fighter is from the point of view of the USAF. Others used the F-15 as a multi role aircraft (they didn’t have F-111’s for long range strike). Hell, even the Saudis used their F-15’s on strike missions in Desert Storm.
    Last edited by FBW; 17th February 2018 at 02:13.

  28. #28
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    I'd say the smart money is on the F/A-18A/B for an all-around multirole aircraft. Compact design w/a bubble canopy, carrier tough, twin-engined, BVR-capable, and IFR-capable all work very well to overcome some of the Hornet's shortcomings. To get more exotic with a dedicated air defense/interceptor design with another type fulfilling the ground attack role, its F-15/Su-27 and F-16/Mirage 2000. Budget plays the biggest role, but so does politics.

  29. #29
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    thanks for the PDF document on the F-15. Read through the first half and skimmed the rest. but it is pretty much as you summarized.


    F/A-18.. good combat record, safety.. its only limitations imho, is the sweep of its wing (understandable due to carrier operations) but would have preferred a deeper sweep.

  30. #30
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    1. Mirage 2000
    2. 36-48 Mig 31s & the rest consisting of Mirage 2000s.

    I reckon the F18 would be an excellent choice for 1. but I'm not buying American.
    Last edited by Nicolas10; 17th February 2018 at 11:16.

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