In November 2019, the Philippine Air Force (PAF) revealed to the defense publication Jane’s that the F-16 Fighting Falcon is one of the aircraft they are considering for their Multi-Role Fighter (MRF) program, along with the Su-30 Flanker, JAS-39 Gripen and Eurofighter Typhoon.1
No data is available yet for the Operating Costs or Cost Per Flight Hour (CPFH) of the F-16V, but some data are available for its older version, the F-16C. Calculating CPFH though is a bit tricky since there is no standard way of doing it, so instead of citing just one figure I am just going to give a range of figures if enough data is available. Continue reading The F-16V Block 70/72 Viper for the Philippine Air Force? – Part Two→
There are rumors are that the Philippine Air Force (PAF) may be considering the F-16A Netz from Israel for possible acquisition, hence I thought it would be a good idea to try to see how it will fare against the main threat (for now) it will be facing it if does get chosen, which is China’s SU-30MKK Flanker-G.
The SU-30 is an improved version of the SU-27 Flanker made by the Russian Federation’s “Sukhoi Company” and first entered service with the Russian Air Force in 1996. It is described as a heavy, long-range, all-weather strike fighter and around 400+ aircrafts have been built so far in service with 9 countries around the world. The SU-30MKK is the special export version to China of the SU-30 which went into Chinese Air Force service in 2000. Continue reading The F-16A Netz versus the SU-30MKK Flanker-G→
Rumors are circling around that the Philippine Air Force (PAF) is considering either the Kfir Block 60 or the F-16A Netz from Israel for possible acquisition. Right off the bat I felt that the F-16A would automatically be the better fighter aircraft, but it would be good to have some sort of data to support this, hence I will try to do it with this blog.
The Kfir is based on the Mirage III/5 delta-winged aircraft whose blueprints were stolen by the Mossad (as is now detailed in various spy books and articles1), and is described as an all-weather, Multi-Role Fighter (MRF) aircraft. It first entered service in 1975 and saw extensive combat duty with the Israeli Air Force (IAF) before finally being retired by the IAF in 1996. A total of 220 Kfirs were built, and currently the air forces of Colombia, Equador and Sri Lanka are still operating the aircraft. All Kfirs being sold now are taken from the mothballed stocks of the IAF, but are refurbished and upgraded with advanced avionics plus a 40-year manufacturer’s guarantee. The latest version in the market is the “Block 60” equipped with an Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar, the EL/M-2052.2 Continue reading The F-16A Netz versus the Kfir Block 60→
I’ve noted on my blog “The FA-50 Golden Eagle versus the SU-30MKK/MK2 Flanker-G” the apparent shortcoming of the FA-50 Golden Eagle in Beyond Visual Range (BVR) combat against China’s current premiere fighter aircraft, the SU-30MKK/MK2 Flanker-G. So the question is, what kind of aircraft would be needed to match up individually against the Flanker-G? The F-16C has always been on the radar of the Philippine Air Force (PhAF) to be its main combat aircraft, and plans were in fact under way to acquire second-hand models of it from the United States before being eventually abandoned due to the projected high costs of maintenance of the used aircrafts. Despite this, let’s take a curious look at how the F-16C Block 50/52+ would fare against the Flanker-G.
The F-16 was made by the American company “General Dynamics”, and first entered service with the United States Air Force (USAF) in 1978. It is described as an all-weather Multi Role Fighter (MRF) and one of the most successful modern aircraft designs as eventually over 4,500 were built and went into service into more than 26 countries worldwide. Continue reading The F-16C Block 50/52+ Viper versus the SU-30MKK/MK2 Flanker-G→
Revised June 2, 2016. See bottom of the page for the complete revision history
The Department of National Defense (DND) has indicated the intention to buy the FA-50 Golden Eagle (or Geagle), but some individuals in the Philippine defense sector has expressed doubts about its capability as a combat aircraft. Hence out of curiousity I wanted to compare it to a more popular combat aircraft like the F-16, for example, from which it was actually based from.
The F-16 was made by the American company “General Dynamics”, and first entered service with the United States Air Force (USAF) in 1978. It is described as an all-weather Multi Role Fighter (MRF) and one of the most successful modern aircraft designs as eventually over 4,500 were built and went into service into more than 26 countries worldwide. Continue reading How Does the FA-50 Golden Eagle Compare to the F-16C Block 52+ Viper?→
One advantage the Gripen NG has over the Viper Block 50/52+ is that it has an Infra Red Search and Track (IRST) system. An IRST has become common in fighter aircraft the last couple of decades because they offer the advantage of PASSIVE detection and tracking of enemy aircraft. Unlike radar, and IRST system does not send out signals that can be detected by its enemy, hence enhancing its stealth capabilities.
It is not a perfect system, though, as certain atmospheric conditions can hinder its effectiveness, but when it does work, an aircraft could effectively sneak up on its opponents without being detected and fire its missiles. Aircrafts use it mainly as a COMPLEMENT to their radar system, using it only when the weather opportunity allows it so.
‘Manueverability and Vertical Performance’
One aspect of both these planes I wanted to take a look was their maneuvering capability. This aspect is important during Within Visual Range (WVR) combat which I think will still be important for fighter aircrafts for a long time to come. For this I wanted to take a look at their WING LOADING (WL), and THRUST-TO-WEIGHT RATIO (TTWR).
“Wing Loading” is simply the amount of the weight the wing supports during flight, and is expressed in weight per area, or in the metric system, kg/m^2. This is computed by: (Wing Area divided by Weight). This is an important indication of an aircraft’s maneuverability in the horizontal plane as the lower the wing loading, the tighter the radius of a turn an aircraft can do at any given speed, and vice versa, the higher the WL, the wider the radius of a turn an aircraft can do.
“Thrust-to-Weight Ratio” means how much power the aircraft has compared to its weight, and is expressed by a simple number. This is computed by: (The maximum thrust of the aircraft’s engine divided by weight). This is also important both in the horizontal and vertical plane as it shows an aircraft’s ability to maintain speed during vertical turning maneuvers, and also show how fast an aircraft can accelerate when it is flying vertically straight up. The higher the TTWR means the more power the aircraft has available compared to its weight, and vice versa, the lower the TTWR means the less power the aircraft has available compared to its weight. Continue reading Comparing the Viper Block 50/52+ versus the Gripen E – July 2013 Part Two→
While there are reports that the Philippine Air Force (PhAF) favors the JAS-39 Gripen as its next Multi-Role Fighter (MRF), one possible showstopper in terms of the PhAF getting it would be the fact that its latest version, the JAS-39E/F Gripen will not be available for delivery until 2018, which is a full 5 years from the time of this writing. Initially I thought that would be enough time for the PhAF to finally get its FA-50 Golden Eagle Lead In-Fighter Trainer and have operational use of that aircraft and be ready for the Gripen E, but it seems the PhAF might want to get their MRFs sooner.
The sense of urgency is understandable because of the increasing belligerence of China in terms of turning the South China Sea into its own, personal lake. Hence, rumors have been floating around that aside from the Gripen E, the PhAF might also consider the F-16 as its next MRF.
The F-16 is officially known as the “Fighting Falcon” by the United States Air Force (USAF), but it has been known to its pilots as the “Viper” because when it first came out, it reminded them of the “Colonial Viper” fighter space craft in the TV series, “Battlestar Galactica”. There are dozens of different versions of the aircraft, so many it almost boggles the mind to keep track of all of them. So my initial question if we are going to get the F-16 is which version will we be getting? Continue reading Comparing the Viper Block 50/52+ versus the Gripen E – July 2013 Part One→
‘Small Radar Cross Section’
The Gripen is a small aircraft, you could say it is tiny, even, especially when compared to the Sukhoi Superfighters like the SU-30MK. But one advantage of its small size combined with its delta-wing configuration and smooth lines is that it has a very small Radar Cross Section (RCS). RCS means the measure of how detectable an object is to radar, and is expressed in terms of area in square meters (m^2). The higher the number, the easier to detect by radar, and vice versa, the lower the number, the harder it is to detect by radar. The available data for the JAS-39A version of the Gripen is 0.1m^2.
This is particularly small, especially when you compare it with large fighters like China’s SU-30MKK or Chengdu J-11. The RCS for those fighters are not available, but the RCS for the SU-27 from which those aircrafts were based on is between 10-15m^2. This means that the RCS of the Gripen is approximately 100 times LESS than that of China’s main frontline fighters. Of course when missiles are added the RCS for all these aircrafts will rise, but since the Gripen has a lower RCS to begin with, it will always have a lower RCS than the SU-30MKK/J-11.