Monday, May 23, 2005

The Military Aircraft Quiz

What military aircraft are you?

F-15 Eagle

You are an F-15. Your record in combat is spotless; you've never been defeated. You possess good looks, but are not flashy about it. You prefer to let your reputation do the talking. You are fast, agile, and loud, but reaching the end of your stardom.

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That's a nice description, but I would have preferred either some of the Cold War-era types (i.e. B-52 Stratofortress, B-58 Hustler, F-104 Starfighter, F-106 Delta Dart) or something like the F-14 Tomcat. I've had a long love-hate relationship with the F-15, which all got started back when I was a kid, and found out that the F-15 development program made copious use of former F-102A Delta Dagger fighters as drone targets for the AN/APG-63 radar & AIM-7 Sparrow missile combination. Later on, somewhere in the 1990s, I came about and decided to embrace the thing. It didn't hurt that I'd read the following (paraphrased) description of the F-15 program: "It was a typical American fighter: Developed in tremendous haste against an imagined threat (the MiG-25 Foxbat), it cost an absolute fortune, overran its budget multiple times, and wrecked several other procurement programs. But it was also the best land-based air superiority fighter in the world, and has been for fifteen years." Nevertheless: I don't actually have a combat record, but I did manage to do pretty good in law school once I actually got in the courtroom. Southern charm still goes a long way, especially when delivered in an understated "let's be reasonable" manner. I dunno about my looks. I'm a man; so long as I've shaved recently and had a haircut in the last month or so, I'm fine, thank you. I suppose my reputation preceded me on several occasions; it always helps, whether it be to put the other side to sleep or to earn their respect, depending. Yee haw. Fast, agile and loud? Two out of three ain't bad; I'm too old to be agile. But my hand-eye coordination's still good, thanks to a steady diet of computer games. Nearing the end of stardom my foot; the F-15C can still slaughter most anything in the skies, thank you. That is, if they'd give it the AIM-120B and AIM-9X with helmet-mounted sight. Kinda like Clint Eastwood in Unforgiven switching from pistol to shotgun. Tip of the Imperial Navy officer's hat to Llama Butchers. Bring back the Star Wars logo! UPDATE: Well, I spoke too soon about that 'slaughter most anything in the skies' bit. It appears that, when compared to the Su-35 (one of the more up-to-date Russian fighters), the Eagle loses nastily, requiring 1.3 lost F-15Cs to kill 1 Su-35. D'oh! And yes, I'm well aware that the Sukhoi Su-27 Flanker may very well be superior to the F-15; I've been playing the Su-27 Flanker series of flight simulators since 1996. You've gotta love that beautiful Russian crane.

2 Comments:

At 5:55 PM, Blogger N2 said...

The Flanker is why we need the F-22. There's nothing in the sky (short of the F-22) that compares. The F-15 is a fine airplane, but the Su-27 is more of everything. If the pilots are evenly matched, the Flanker wins every time.

 
At 8:21 PM, Blogger The Country Pundit said...

I concur. I think the F/A-22 is our air superiority future and that we ought to be building more of them. Although we seem to be having a lot of success with UAVs in the current military operations, I doubt that the operating environment will always be as permissive as they seem to require.

Our edge is supposedly our tactics and doctrine. The Russians, on the other hand, pretty much concede that to us and concentrate on getting close in, where the R-73 (AA-11) and their freakish helmet-mounted sights come into play; even AIM-9X is reported to be inferior to that weapons system. It's not welcome news.

Some brief analyses I read around in the late 1990s (after we'd lost that F-117) suggested that the American model was pretty good at retaining air superiority, so long as they started with it. One of the authors pointed out that triumphalist remarks about the superiority of the F-15 over the MiG-29 in Bosnia rang somewhat hollow when there's one MiG with no AWACS versus twenty-odd F-15s, F-16s, and F/A-18s in the area using advanced missiles with airborne intercept control.

If the Russian economy ever catches its legs and they start cranking out the Flanker series for export, the USAF/USN/USMC could be in a bit of trouble. Reportedly, the Russians sell for less and are more open about allowing access to the internal workings of the avionics software. (On the other hand, I've heard that the lower acquisition price of Russian equipment is more than offset by the maintenance costs over the life of the airframe, but I can neither confirm nor deny that.)

Thanks for commenting!

 

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