Daily Archives: July 9, 2016

Embraer KC-390 Makes Its International Debut At Farnborough Airshow

| ShowNews Jul 9, 2016

 Still in the thick of flight tests, Embraer’s KC-390 multi-mission transport aircraft is flying internationally for the first time on a summer tour of Europe and the Middle East, and making its maiden stop at the Farnborough Airshow.

The KC-390, capable of hauling cargo, refueling aircraft, search and rescue operations and medical evacuation, arrived at the show July 7 where it will be on static display. After leaving Sao Paolo, the aircraft made two stops en route to Portugal, where it spent two days. After its Farnborough debut, the aircraft will move on throughout Europe and the Middle East, where Embraer hopes to generate momentum for international sales. Already Embraer has a firm order of 28 aircraft from the Brazilian air force and commitments from Argentina, Chile, Colombia, the Czech Republic and Portugal to buy an additional 32 and hopes to translate information from the visits into additional sales.

“We have a lot of countries which are talking to us, getting information, technical information, performance information,” says Jackson Schneider, the President and CEO of Embraer Defense & Security.

For now, Canada might not be one of them. Embraer put forward a bid for the North American nation’s fixed-wing search and rescue competition. But Jackson is downplaying Embraer’s chance of success.

“It does not represent too much for us,” Jackson says, pointing out that the request is for a “totally different plane” than the larger KC-390. The Brazilian multi-role aircraft is competing against the Finmeccanica-Leonardo’s C-27 and the Airbus C295 turboprops. “It is a different configuration for different purpose. We are not paying too much attention to that to be very, very transparent with you.”

That said, flight tests are going well, Jackson adds. The aircraft has already logged about 360 flight hours. Several weeks ago it began tests of airdrop and the lateral cargo door. Before that, the aircraft had reached a cruising speed of Mach 0.8 and flown at an altitude of 36,000 ft. The aircraft has performed inflight shutdown and restart and auxiliary power unit start tests. It has also tested hose extension on the air refueling system that showcased its stability.

“The results were very positive,” Jackson says, adding that airdrop tests will continue. “[The KC-390 is] flying practically on a daily basis.”  Aerodynamic freezing tests will take place as well.

The aircraft is expected to be certified in 2017 with deliveries beginning early in 2018. From the start of 2017, the company will begin working on the supply chain to prepare for a transition to the production phase.

Since a delay due to currency fluctuations at the end of 2015, when the KC-390 effort was slowed by one year, the program has been on track. “From that moment onward, we didn’t have any issues regarding payments,” Jackson says. “The government is maintaining the payments that we contracted.”

In addition to the KC-390, Embraer sees continued opportunity to sell the A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft, particularly in countries in the Middle East or North Africa that are struggling to counter insurgencies. The aircraft can also be used to with border surveillance. The company is focused on being able to maintain and operate the aircraft at a reasonable cost.

Original post aviationweek.com


Brazilian Air Force Embraer KC-390 Arrives at The Farnborough Airshow England


Published on Jul 7, 2016

FARNBOROUGH: F-35 faces tough fight for global sales



Two years ago, Lockheed Martin’s F-35 was set to make its first Atlantic crossing ahead of a high-profile Farnborough air show debut. The manufacturer seemed poised to dominate the fighter market afresh, following a more than 40-year success story with the F-16. In Europe, Dassault had yet to secure a first international customer for its Rafale, the Eurofighter consortium had not won an export deal since a modest 12-unit order secured from Oman in late 2012, and Saab had suffered a recent setback, with a public referendum in Switzerland shooting down a proposed 22-aircraft procurement of its Gripen NG.

Of course, the Joint Strike Fighter never made it “across the pond” in July 2014, as operating restrictions imposed following a ground engine fire in a US Air Force example frustrated the US Marine Corps, Lockheed and show-goers in the UK.

Atlantic crossings made by one Italian air force F-35A and more recently a pair of Royal Netherlands Air Force examples mean that distinction was not claimed when USMC and USAF Lightning IIs arrived at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire in late June, ahead of a starring role at the 8-10 July Royal International Air Tattoo. The fifth-generation strike aircraft will then also be appearing in the skies above Farnborough, including an expected flypast in formation with the RAF’s Red Arrows aerobatic display team.

While the F-35B achieved initial operational capability status with the Marines late last year, and should hit the same milestone with the USAF before the end of 2016, it seems a less dominant force than when it missed out at the last Farnborough event.

A fix for the earlier issue with the Pratt & Whitney F135 engine – which was linked to excessive blade rubbing – and a number of international commitments made since the last Farnborough have provided significant boosts for the F-35. However, competition in the fighter sector is vibrant, and challenges remain for Lockheed as it continues along the path to delivering full operational capability with the Lightning II. It also must meet ambitious plans for a dramatic ramp-up in production and associated cost reduction.

After a spectacular double-success in early 2015, when it signed back-to-back contracts with Egypt and Qatar, for 24 aircraft each, Dassault now appears to be edging towards concluding its third export deal for the Rafale, with India’s government seeking approval for a 36-aircraft buy. While this is greatly fewer than the 126 previously sought via New Delhi’s now-abandoned medium multi-role combat aircraft contest, it would be a welcome outcome, more than four years after the French type won selection.

After diverting several Rafales from delivery to its French customers to accommodate the urgent requirements of Egypt, Dassault has now delivered six of the nation’s on-order examples, Flight Fleets Analyzer shows. These have all been in the two-seat Rafale B configuration, which will make up the bulk of the Egyptian order, along with eight single-seat fighters.

Meanwhile, following an Italian-led campaign victory and 28-aircraft deal in Kuwait, Eurofighter will be at the show with renewed drive, as it looks to secure further sales to safeguard production of the Typhoon beyond the start of the next decade.

Significantly, Doha’s commitment for Tranche 3 production aircraft includes the first confirmed order for a new active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, in development by the Euroradar consortium. Eurofighter partner nations Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK used the last Farnborough show to underscore their commitment to complete development of the Captor-E sensor.

“We have a contract – in 2019 this capability will be delivered,” says Alberto Gutierrez, head of Eurofighter and combat aircraft programmes for Airbus Defence & Space. Until earlier this year chief executive of the Eurofighter consortium, he adds that Germany and Spain have also made commitments to add the AESA capability to parts of their fleets, while Italy is also considering the enhancement. Notably, that list does not include the UK, which is also studying a potential national solution to integrate an active array in some of its most advanced Typhoons.

Gutierrez points to opportunities in Asia, Europe and the Middle East for additional Typhoon sales, with current targets including Belgium, Finland, Indonesia, Malaysia, Poland, Qatar and Switzerland, plus potential repeat orders from Kuwait, Oman and Saudi Arabia. In many contests it will face familiar competition from the Rafale, Gripen E and Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet – and for the some of the opportunities from the F-35 as well.

For Swedish airframer Saab, its narrow referendum disappointment in Switzerland was swiftly followed by securing contracts from its home air force and Brazil to complete the development of the Gripen E/NG. Sweden’s air force will receive 60 single-seat examples, with an option on a further 10, while Brazil’s F-X2 contract is for an initial 36 NGs – including eight two-seat examples to be developed in collaboration with Embraer. The new-generation model is making solid progress, with Saab having unveiled its first test aircraft in Linköping on 18 May.

Saab lists a large number of nations that it considers as potential future Gripen customers – either in the current C/D-model standard or the in-development E/NG. Near-term prospects include Belgium, Bulgaria, Colombia, Croatia, Finland, Indonesia, Malaysia and Slovakia.

Deliveries could be made within 18 months of a deal being signed, says head of Gripen Jerker Ahlqvist, who adds that Saab has the capacity to build 25-30 of the type per year if multiple successes are recorded. Overseas production will also be conducted, if India selects the type for an expected requirement to acquire about 100 light fighters, he adds.

Swedish policy precludes it from offering fighter aircraft in the Middle East, and – due to past experience – the company is unlikely to enter into a head-to-head battle with the F-35.

Airbus’s Gutierrez says three things sell a fighter aircraft: “price, performance and political support”. While companies can control the first two of these variables, the latter can be less predictable – and sometimes quick to change.

With manufacturers in this sector serving as the industry’s heavyweight prize-fighters, their pride is easily dented. Following a competition defeat to the USA’s Boeing F-15K in South Korea more than a decade ago, Dassault famously quipped that “bamboo always leans the way it’s pushed the hardest”. Saab mounted a fierce defence of its Gripen NG when theNorwegian government and defence ministry used a capability modelling exercise to reject the type in favour of the F-35A in 2008, labelling the analysis “incomplete, or even faulty”. Its decision to withdraw the single-engined type from contention in a Danish contest recently appeared vindicated, when a self-picked panel of experts ranked the Lightning II as superior to the Super Hornet and Typhoon in all categories.

Airbus Defence & Space is now seeking clarification from Copenhagen, with head of military aircraft Fernando Alonso unhappy about the result – which should lead to a 27-aircraft buy. “We totally disagree with how the technical evaluation was done,” he says. Referring to claims about the projected cost, performance and risks associated with a selection of the Typhoon, he adds: “We will fight, and we will demonstrate that they are not true.”

The defeated firm has submitted a list of about 40 questions to the Danish government, but responses had yet to be received by late June.

“The F-35 is a fantastic machine – but not fantastic enough to equip all European air forces,” contends Jean-Pierre Talamoni, Airbus Defence & Space’s head of sales and marketing.

Elsewhere in the fighter arena, Boeing’s wait to announce a second export buyer for the Super Hornet continues, after its previous sales of the F/A-18F and EA-18G variant to Australia. Pending interest from existing Hornet operator Kuwait has yet to advance to a procurement, but the company’s production line has been safeguarded for some time, due to a US Congressional plan to acquire more for the US Navy.

Boeing’s F-15 has not secured additional sales since the last Farnborough, although unconfirmed reports have suggested that Qatar could also be interested in acquiring the type, to join its future Rafales. For now, production of the type continues for Saudi Arabia.

Lockheed also is looking at the potential to extend production of its F-16. The United Arab Emirates has previously shown interest in acquiring additional E/F-model examples. The type has also been offered to other nations, including Bahrain, in an enhanced F-16V configuration, with features including an AESA radar. Without additional sales, assembly of the type could come to an end during 2017.

Current US government policy restricts Lockheed from offering the F-35 to any nation in the Middle East apart from Israel, whose first “Adir” was rolled out at the company’s Fort Worth site in Texas in mid-June. With this position unlikely to change for some years, the prospects for additional sales of both the Rafale and Typhoon within the region are likely to be strong.

Meanwhile, Canada could offer a rare opportunity for European types to take on the F-35, since Ottawa’s new government has pledged to hold a competition, rather than proceed with an earlier acquisition strategy considering only the Lightning II.

In Russia, the nation’s industry continues to sustain production of the RACMiG-29 and Sukhoi Su-30, as the latter design bureau’s new-generation T-50/PAK-FA also edges closer to service entry with the Russian air force.

Irkut is currently delivering Su-30SM multirole fighters to the Russian air force and navy, and also to Kazakhstan, while MK-series examples are being produced for Algeria and India.

One potential wildcard in this market is Lockheed’s F-22, with the USAF – prompted by Congress – looking at the practicality and cost implications of reviving production of the type. Unlike during its previous build-run, this could even include the prospect of selling the Raptor on the international stage. However, Japan, which previously wanted to buy the air-superiority platform, has instead ordered the F-35A, and is investing significant sums in developing its X-2 technology demonstrator, first flown on 22 April.

But for some operators, budgetary constraints, a limited-threat environment and an inability to access advanced fighters presents opportunities for the manufacturers of less-sophisticated strike aircraft. Embraer has been particularly successful in this sector with the armed EMB-314 Super Tucano, with competition coming from the Beechcraft AT-6 Wolverine. Combat-capable versions of advanced jet trainers such as the Leonardo Aermacchi M-346 and Irkut-built Yak-130 also can expect to secure business, while the pending first flight of a production-standard version of the Textron AirLand Scorpion should also boost interest in the low-cost design.

Longer term, technological advancement and service interest will determine whether air forces might be ready to replace some of their piloted aircraft with unmanned combat air vehicles. However, the USN has downgraded its ambitions for such a combat-capable asset to instead propose using it as an airborne tanker, and the prospects for an Anglo-French future combat air system – expected to enter use post-2030 – could potentially diminish following the UK’s vote to leave the European Union.

For its part, Germany has asked Airbus Defence & Space to study options for a manned follow-on to the Panavia Tornado, which could be optimised for teamed operations alongside unmanned systems. The company is calling on other European firms to work together to maintain the continent’s capabilities in fighter production after sales of current models come to an end.

So, while the F-35’s Farnborough debut will grab many headlines during the show, Lockheed will by no means be having the fighter market of the future all to itself.




The F-35 program cost is now $2 trillion but they keep repeating the $400 billion figure which is several years old!

Doubt countries in SE Asia can afford the $340 million Eurofighter so I guess they are just making the prospect list look longer!

Note how Saab keeps omitting Thailand from it’s list of potential customers which is looking to increase the Gripen fleet as Saab deem it sensitive due to the political situation in Thailand!  Even after they released statement of  RTAF may acquire up to 36 planes That is why I have stressed that Thailand needs to look at Russian jets like the MiG-35 or even Su-35.


Related post:

Canada talks to bidders to map out fighter jet competition

F35 stealth fighter jets take to UK skies despite cost fears – FT.com

Sukhoi completes initial flight tests on T-50

France agreed to provide 50 percent offsets to India for Rafale fighter sale

Saab Pushes For Year-end First Flight of Latest Gripen

Make In India F-16s, F-18s: Hunt for new range of fighter jets set to take off

US Air Force Says F-35A Nearly Combat Ready

Eurofighter Plans for Typhoon Fighter Export Sales

Russia likely to receive first MiG-35 fighter jets in 2018

Pressure Mounts to Approve Sale of Super Hornets to Kuwait

Good Choice! Belarus Plans to Buy Russian Su-30SM Fighter Jets

Saab highlights Make in India plans; says Gripen has lowest life cycle cost in world, India one of its home markets

Brazilian Navy eyes Saab Sea Gripen

Boeing’s defense chief looks beyond fighters

Lockheed Martin Wins $3 Billion Fighter Jet Order From Denmark

Indonesia to Buy 8 Russian Su-35 Fighter Jets, Talks Near Completion

Egypt To Receive Advanced Fulcrum Fighters from MiG

Russia in Talks With Middle East Countries on Su-32 Bomber Jet Deliveries

Kuwait joins the Typhoon club [SOFEX16D1]

Yak-130 Sales Mount as Russia Orders More

Swedish Embassy denies discussions to sell four additional Gripen fighters to Thailand

Thailand mulls buying four more Swedish jet fighters

Saab pitches Gripen for Finland – Video

Saab looks to Gripen lease to kickstart Malaysia’s MRCA programme

Royal Thai Air Force, Slovakia, Croatia and Bulgaria are to acquire Gripen

Saab has announced a 15% growth in sales for 2015 alongside a record order backlog


The F-35s Fatal Flaw: It Might Need to Win a Dogfight (But Can’t)

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David Axe  July 8, 2016

The aerial dogfight was not supposed to happen. On May 20, 1967, eight U.S. Air Force F-4C fighters were patrolling over North Vietnam when they spotted as many as 15 enemy MiG-17 fighters a short distance away.

Fog and the MiGs’ low altitude had prevented the F-4s from detecting the North Vietnamese jets from farther away.

Diving to attack, the twin-engine F-4s fired a staggering 24 Sparrow and Sidewinder missiles, shooting down just four of the single-engine MiGs. The North Vietnamese jets reacted quickly, forming into a tight-turning “wagon wheel,” with each pilot watching the tail of the man in front of him.

As the heavy, twin-engine F-4s tried to out-turn the nimble, single-engine MiGs, a North Vietnamese pilot peppered one of the American planes with cannon fire, igniting it and forcing the two crewmen to eject.

“The turning ability of the MiG-17 is fantastic,” one F-4 flier recalled later. “It must be seen to be believed.”

But the Air Force had assumed that wouldn’t be a problem — that its then-brand-new twin-seat F-4s would never even get into a close-range dogfight. Instead, the F-4s — and other Air Force and Navy fighters — would always destroy their enemies from long range, using the Sparrow and other air-to-air missiles.

It was a flawed and dangerous assumption that got scores of American aviators shot down over Vietnam. But many years later, the Air Force is assuming the same thing … with regards to its new F-35 stealth fighter.

In January 2015, the flying branch pitted a radar-evading F-35A against a 25-year-old F-16D in mock air combat. The F-35 proved too slow and sluggish to defeat the F-16 in a turning fight, according to the official test report that War Is Boring obtained.

But the Air Force says not to worry. “The F-35’s technology is designed to engage, shoot and kill its enemy from long distances, not necessarily in visual ‘dogfighting’ situations.”

Sounds familiar.

The Air Force’s faith in long-range aerial warfare proved disastrous in Vietnam. There are good reasons to believe it will prove equally disastrous the first time squadrons of new F-35s fly into battle against a determined foe.

For the first four decades of air-to-air fighting, opposing planes mostly shot at each other with guns. Then in 1946, Navy engineer William Burdette McLean began work on a heat-seeking rocket — the Sidewinder, the first effective air-to-air missile.

Twelve years later, Washington outfitted Taiwanese F-86 fighters with the first combat-ready Sidewinders. In aerial battles over the Taiwan Strait, the F-86s shot down Communist Chinese MiG-17s — and seemingly changed air warfare forever. Soon, new and better missiles — some with radar guidance — were rolling out of laboratories all over the world.

The Air Force and its sister branches enthusiastically embraced the missile age, even dropping guns from many of its new warplane designs, including the early F-4Cs.

The new missile technology coincided with a shift in doctrine. The Pentagon decided that in future wars, jet fighters would climb high and fly fast to target Soviet long-range bombers, striving to hit them from far away before they could drop their atomic bombs.

American jets of the era were powerful but lacked agility. “Our tactical fighters were designed primarily for nuclear war where penetration was more important than maneuverability,” Air Force Gen. Bruce Holloway wrote in a 1968 issue of Air University Review.

But the next war America fought wasn’t global Armageddon with the Soviets. Instead, U.S. troops joined the South Vietnamese military battling a communist insurgency backed by North Vietnam’s own army and air force.

American military planners had bet on a high-tech war of atoms, electrons, rockets and high Mach numbers during straight-line flights. What they got were slow, twisting dogfights low over the forest canopy. It didn’t take long for the Air Force and Navy to realize their technology and tactics just didn’t work very well against Hanoi’s MiGs.

Between 1965 and 1968, American fighters launched 321 radar-guided missiles over Vietnam. Slightly more than eight percent hit their targets, according to a 2005 analysis by Air Force Lt. Col. Patrick Higby.

The Navy scrambled to analyze the terrible hit rate. “A primary reason for less-than-desired combat performance of air-to-air missile systems in Southeast Asia is their design optimization for a high-altitude engagement against a non-maneuvering, large (bomber) target,” the sailing branch concluded in a 1968 report.

With a little bit of warning, a MiG-17 could out-turn a missile — and then use that same maneuverability to get on the American jet’s tail.

The Pentagon upgraded the Sparrow and Sidewinder missiles and added a gun to the new “E” version of the F-4. Pilots got training for turning fights. Soon, kill-loss ratios improved for U.S. aircrews. But what America really needed was a brand-new fighter — one that didn’t just excel at a narrow sort of high and fast, long-range fighting.

America needed a dogfighter.

“A tremendously improved thrust-to-weight ratio, which, coupled with a low wing loading, will produce high Mach and ceiling along with superior climb, acceleration and turn ability throughout the flight envelope,” is how Holloway described the new jet’s characteristics in 1968.

“Advanced avionics and armament, which will provide the necessary ability to defeat any foreseen adversary with a wide variety of weapons, including missiles and guns,” Holloway added.

The result was the twin-engine F-15, which debuted in 1972 and 43 years later is still the Air Force’s most numerous air-superiority fighter. The smaller, single-engine F-16 followed a few years later. It, too, could fight high or low, fly fast and turn tight, launch missiles and fire guns.

The F-15 and F-16’s designers didn’t optimize them for fanciful, idealized war scenarios. They optimized them for our own imperfect planning, for uncertain circumstances and for an enemy that gets his own vote — in other words, for the real world.

Which has only become more important as Russian fighter design has progressed. MiG-17s gave way to speedy MiG-21s and, later, highly maneuverable MiG-29s and Su-27s. Today’s Su-35 — a heavily redesigned Su-27—can fly faster and turn better than an F-15 and carries more and arguably better weapons.

Less and less, America gets to dictate the terms in aerial warfare. More and more, the Pentagon needs fighters that can fight.

But America’s new F-35, which is set to become the Air Force’s main warplane, is “substantially inferior” in a turning battle even to an F-15, according to the pilot in the January 2015 mock dogfight. The Air Force insists that’s no problem because the stealthy F-35 will avoid detection and hit enemy planes from long range.

In other words, the Air Force insists it can dictate the terms of the F-35’s engagements.

Maybe that’s partially true. Maybe the F-35’s stealth properties will actually work somewhat. Maybe its missiles won’t miss all the time. Maybe Russia won’t export the Su-35 to every interested buyer. Maybe the United States won’t ever wage a full-scale war against a high-tech foe that can negate the few advantages the F-35 possesses.

But what if the government’s rosy projections turn out to be even slightly off-target? What if something doesn’t work perfectly and F-35 pilots find themselves in dogfights with aerodynamically superior Sukhois or MiGs or Chinese-made planes? What if we send a fighter that can’t turn into battle with fighters that can?

It’s happened before to Air Force fighter jets that weren’t ever supposed to fight close. And a bunch of F-4 crews paid for the government’s blind faith in long-range, straight-line aerial warfare with their freedom … or their lives.

This first appeared in WarIsBoring here



F-4 Phantom II


Image @wall.alphacoders.com

F-4 Phantom II – Operational History:

Setting several aviation records just prior to and in the years after introduction, the F-4 became operational on December 30, 1960, with VF-121. As the US Navy transitioned to the aircraft in the early 1960s, Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara pushed to create a single fighter for all branches of the military. Following an F-4B’s victory over the F-106 Delta Dart in Operation Highspeed, the US Air Force requested two of the aircraft, dubbing them the F-110A Spectre. Evaluating the aircraft, the USAF developed requirements for their own version with an emphasis on the fighter-bomber role.

Adopted by the USAF in 1963, their initial variant was dubbed the F-4C. With the US entry in the Vietnam War, the F-4 became one of the most identifiable aircraft of the conflict. US Navy F-4s flew their first combat sortie as part of Operation Pierce Arrow on August 5, 1964. The F-4’s first air-to-air victory occurred the following April when Lieutenant (j.g.) Terence M. Murphy and his RIO, Ensign Ronald Fegan, downed a Chinese MiG-17. Flying primarily in the fighter/inceptor role, US Navy F-4s downed 40 enemy aircraft to a loss of five of their own. An additional 66 were lost to missiles and ground fire.

Also flown by the US Marine Corps, the F-4 saw service from both carriers and land bases during the conflict. Flying ground support missions, USMC F-4s claimed three kills while losing 75 aircraft, mostly to ground fire. Though the latest adopter of the F-4, the USAF became its largest user. During Vietnam, USAF F-4s fulfilled both air superiority and ground support roles. As F-105 Thunderchief losses grew, the F-4 carried more and more of the ground support burden and by the end of the war was the USAF’s primary all-around aircraft.

To support this change in mission, specially equipped and trained F-4 Wild Weasel squadrons were formed with the first deploying in late 1972. In addition, a photo reconnaissance variant, the RF-4C, was used by four squadrons. During the Vietnam War, the USAF lost a total of 528 F-4s (of all types) to enemy action with the majority being down by anti-aircraft fire or surface-to-air missiles. In exchange, USAF F-4s downed 107.5 enemy aircraft. The five aviators (2 US Navy, 3 USAF) credited with ace status during the Vietnam War all flew the F-4.


Image @army.lv

Following Vietnam, the F-4 remained the principal aircraft for both the US Navy and USAF. Through the 1970s, the US Navy began replacing the F-4 with the new F-14 Tomcat. By 1986, all F-4s had been retired from frontline units. The aircraft remained in service with the USMC until 1992, when the last airframe was replaced by the F/A-18 Hornet. Through the 1970s and 1980s, the USAF transitioned to the F-15 Eagle and F-16 Fighting Falcon. During this time, the F-4 was retained in its Wild Weasel and reconnaissance role.

These two latter types, the F-4G Wild Weasel V and RF-4C, deployed to the Middle Eastin 1990, as part of Operation Desert Shield/Storm. During operations, the F-4G played a key role in suppressing Iraqi air defenses, while the RF-4C collected valuable intelligence. One of each type was lost during the conflict, one to damage from ground fire and the other to an accident. The final USAF F-4 was retired in 1996, however several are still in use as target drones.


F-4 Phantom II – Issues

As the F-4 was initially intended as an interceptor, it was not equipped with a gun as planners believed that air-to-air combat at supersonic speeds would be fought exclusively with missiles. The fighting over Vietnam soon showed that engagements quickly became subsonic, turning battles which often precluded the use of air-to-air missiles. In 1967, USAF pilots began mounting external gunpods on their aircraft, however the lack of a leading gunsight in the cockpit made them highly inaccurate. This issue was addressed with the addition of an integrated 20 mm M61 Vulcan gun to the F-4E model in the late 1960s.

Another problem that frequently arose with the aircraft was the production of black smoke when the engines were run at military power. This smoke trail made the aircraft easy to spot. Many pilots found ways to avoid producing the smoke by running one engine on afterburner and the other at reduced power. This provided an equivalent amount of thrust, without the telltale smoke trail. This issue was addressed with the Block 53 group of the F-4E which included smokeless J79-GE-17C (or -17E) engines.


F-4 Phantom II – Other Users

The second-most produced Western jet fighter in history with 5,195 units, the F-4 was extensively exported. Nations that have flown the aircraft include Israel, Great Britain, Australia, and Spain. While many have since retired the F-4, the aircraft has been modernized and is still use (as of 2008) by Japan, Germany, Turkey, Greece, Egypt, Iran, and South Korea.

American Aces

American Aces

Data @dogfighthistory.be


Image @combataircraft.com

Updated May 12, 2015.

F-4E Phantom II – Specifications:


  • Length: 63 ft.
  • Wingspan: 38 ft. 4.5 in.
  • Height: 16 ft. 6 in.
  • Wing Area: 530 sq. ft.
  • Empty Weight: 30,328 lbs.
  • Loaded Weight: 41,500 lbs.
  • Crew: 2


  • Power Plant: 2 × General Electric J79-GE-17A axial compressor turbojets
  • Combat Radius: 367 nautical miles
  • Max. Speed: 1,472 mph (Mach 2.23)
  • Ceiling: 60,000 ft.


  • 1 x M61 Vulcan 20 mm Gatling cannon
  • Up to 18,650 lbs. of weapons on nine external hardpoints, including air-to-air missiles, air-to-ground missiles, and most types of bombs

Data @militaryhistory.about.com



The zenith of the MiG-17’s combat career was Southeast Asia. When the US began the air war against North Vietnam in 1964, ramping it up considerably in 1965, the North Vietnamese had an integrated air defense system that they continuously refined and improved. The backbone of the defense system were SA-2 SAMs and a range of anti-aircraft artillery (AAA), ranging from light weapons to heavy guns, directed by a radar network. The network also employed interceptors, with the North Vietnamese heavily relying on the MiG-17 and, later, the MiG-21. As per Soviet doctrine, the fighters were tightly integrated into the air defense network, remaining under very strict ground control. They were not allowed to enter air-defense zones covered by SAM and AAA sites, being engaged without hesitation if they did.

Although the Americans never found North Vietnamese fighters to be as big a threat as SAMs and AAA, at first the US suffered startlingly large losses to all elements of the air defense system. US tactics and procedures were poor, and air combat training had been neglected. In time, matters were improved, and American pilots got “MiG fever” — the urge to score air combat kills. However, the Americans never had it easy; the North Vietnamese were learning, too.



A subsonic MiG-17 might not seem like much of a match for a supersonic F-105 or F-4 Phantom, but few aircraft fly at supersonic speeds when they are loaded down with bombs or other external stores; and though American fighters were as a rule much more powerful than the MiG-17, they lacked its agility, the F-105 in particular being regarded as a “lead sled”. While the North Vietnamese had the advantage of planning attacks as they pleased, in compensation the American aircraft had the speed to make or break contact at will; any American pilot dumb enough to get suckered into a turning fight with a MiG-17 was likely to learn about the little Red fighter’s heavy cannon armament the hard way. Many US pilots regarded the MiG-17 as a much more dangerous foe than the less-maneuverable supersonic MiG-21.

The easy way or the hard way, the Americans learned and gradually got the best of toe-to-toe fights; to screen out the MiGs, strike packages were protected by “combat air patrols (CAPs)”, including escorting “barrier CAPS (BARCAPs)” and free-ranging “MIGCAPs”. The North Vietnamese still had plenty of tricks up their sleeve. They like “ambush” tactics, loitering at low altitude, hidden against the jungle canopy by their disruptive camouflage colors, and then dashing up into an American strike package, making a single firing pass, and then running away again. Even if the MiGs didn’t score a kill, they forced the intruders to dump their bombs, frustrating the air strike. Another trick was to fly a natural-metal MiG at low altitude, where it was likely to be “bounced” by American fighters — which would then be led into a trap in the form or other MiGs, SAM or AAA sites, or both.


MiG-17 Cockpit – Image @warbirdalley.com

Early in the war, due to US President Lyndon Johnson’s fear of escalating the conflict, North Vietnamese air bases were off-limits for attacks. Of course eventually the air bases were put on the target list. The North Vietnamese had been expecting them to be attacked sooner or later, and came up with an ingenious means of aircraft dispersal, using Mil Mi-6 “Hook” heavy-lift helicopters to simply carry the camouflage-painted aircraft on a sling to dispersal sites in the jungle vegetation. They would be transferred back to an airfield when needed.

In the end, most of the losses inflicted on American aircraft were from SAMs and particularly AAA; the air combat war was always something of a sideshow. Not surprisingly, the number of kills claimed by the two sides differ widely, with American sources insisting the kill ratio was in their favor, and North Vietnamese sources insisting exactly the reverse. Most North Vietnamese pilots were not “hot dogs”, being trained Soviet-style to follow orders and display little initiative, but there were a few stars among them. Oddly, the most famous North Vietnamese pilot, Colonel Tomb, exists in a state between fact and legend. No details are known about him, and though he does seem to have been based on one or more MiG pilots, he appears to have either been a propaganda fabrication of the North Vietnamese or an “urban legend” created by American pilots. @airvectors.net

North Vietnamese Aces

MiG-17), 1 F-105D

Data @dogfighthistory.be



North Vietnamese MiG-17 – Image @ wp.scn.ru

Nicknames: Fresco (NATO Codename); Silver Swallow (North Vietnamese AF designation)


Image @combataircraft.com

Specifications (MiG-17F):

    Engine: One 7,452-pound thrust Klimov VK-1F turbojet

    Weight: Empty 8,664 lbs., Max Takeoff 13,393 lbs.

    Wing Span: 31ft. 7.25in.

    Length: 36ft. 11.25in.

    Height: 12ft. 5.5in.


        Maximum Speed at 10,000 ft: 711 mph

        Ceiling: 54,460 ft.

        Range: 1,230 miles


        One 37-mm N-37 cannon

        Two or three 23-mm NR-23 cannon

        Up to 1,100 pounds of mixed stores on underwing hard-points

Number Built: 9,000+ (6,000+ in the USSR alone)

Number Still Airworthy: Approximately 12

Specification data @warbirdalley.com


Canada talks to bidders to map out fighter jet competition


Fri Jul 8, 2016 7:03pm EDT

By Tim Hepher and Andrea Shalal

RAF FAIRFORD, England (Reuters) – Canada talked to potential bidders on Thursday to map out next steps in a protracted effort to replace an aging fleet of CF-18 fighter jets built by Boeing, industry and government officials said on Friday.

Defense ministry spokesman Evan Koronewski said Ottawa would assess its options over the summer, in part to determine if Canada needed to purchase all 65 jets it initially planned.

Representatives of Boeing, Eurofighter, Lockheed Martin and Saab took part in a conference call with Canadian agencies on Thursday, a second government spokesman said.

France’s Dassault did not take part but expressed interest in meeting with Canadian officials next week at the Farnborough International Airshow outside London, he said.

Koronewski said the government would consider issues such as cost, delivery times, readiness, interoperability with North American Aerospace Defense Command and economic benefits.

Boeing wants Canada to buy its F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, which is nearing the end of production, instead of the Lockheed F-35 fighter that was backed by the previous Conservative government.

Canada paid to help develop the F-35, and many Canadian firms produce parts for the plane, but those orders could disappear if Ottawa opts for a rival, since countries that order jets are entitled to industrial participation in the program.

Canada’s ruling Liberals government vowed during the 2015 election campaign to ban the F-35 from a new competition, though officials have since softened their stance. Lockheed has said it could shift nearly $1 billion in orders from Canadian firms if Ottawa quit the program.

Lockheed, which is showcasing the F-35 at two British air shows this month, welcomed Thursday’s call.

“We believe this is a positive first step to an open competition and Lockheed Martin remains confident that the F-35 is the best and most affordable solution,” said Lockheed spokesman Joe LaMarca.

Lockheed says it believes the plane could win in an open competition given its stealthy characteristics and a drop in costs since bids were initially submitted.

Lockheed officials say the F-35 will cost around $85 million, including an engine, in 2019.

Boeing argues its Super Hornets would cost less, and is also offering Canadian firms work on its commercial jets if Ottawa decides to buy the F/A-18E/F.

“Boeing stands ready to support the government of Canada’s consultation process,” said a spokeswoman.

Boeing has over the past five years awarded Canadian companies $6 billion in direct contracts, the spokesman added.

(Editing by Elaine Hardcastle and Cynthia Osterman)



I think LM will get it at this rate they have US government’s backing

“Lockheed officials say the F-35 will cost around $85 million, including an engine, in 2019”

BIG BS regarding price per unit!

My pick would be 

  • Rafale

  • Saab Gripen E

  • Typhoon

In that order regarding best platform for multirole fighter

Related post:

Fourth-generation Super Hornets just can’t do the job in the Arctic, retired U.S. Air Force general insists

Boeing has thrown in a sweetener for Canada to pick F-18E/F

Pressure Mounts to Approve Sale of Super Hornets to Kuwait

Boeing confident of extending Super Hornet and Growler production

Liberals planning to buy Super Hornet fighter jets before making final decision on F-35s, sources say

Boeing F-18 Super Hornet: Details


Saab Gripen E: Details


Eurofighter Typhoon: Details


F-35 Lightning II: Details


Dassault Rafale: Details