“No way an F-35 will ever match a Typhoon fighter jet in aerial combat” Eurofighter test pilot says

Feb 11 2013 - 134 Comments

In an interesting piece by Flight’s Dave Majumdar, Bill Flynn, Lockheed test pilot responsible for flight envelope expansion activities for the F-35 claimed that all three variants of the Joint Strike Fighter will have better kinematic performance than any fourth-generation fighter plane with combat payload, including the Eurofighter Typhoon (that during last year’s Red Flag Alaska achieved several simulated kills against the F-22 Raptor) and the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet.

“In terms of instantaneous and sustained turn rates and just about every other performance metric, the F-35 variants match or considerably exceed the capabilities of every fourth-generation fighter,” Flyinn said.

According to the Lockheed pilot, (besides its stealthiness) the F-35 features better transonic acceleration and high AOA (angle-of-attack) flight performance than an armed Typhoon or Super Hornet.

RNLAF

Image credit: Lockheed Martin

As Majumdar says in his article, such claims are strongly disputed by other sources. Among them an experienced Eurofighter Typhoon industry test pilot, who tried to debunk all Flynn’s “theories” about the alleged superior F-35 performance.

Here’s what he wrote to The Aviationist:

No doubt the F-35 will be, when available, a very capable aircraft: its stealth design, extended range, internal carriage of stores and a variety of integrated sensors are definitely the ingredients for success in modern air-to-ground operations.

However, when time comes for air dominance, some other ingredients like thrust to weight ratio and wing loading tend to regulate the sky. And in that nothing comes close to a Typhoon, except an F-22 which has very similar values. The F-35 thrust to weight ratio is way lower and its energy-manoeuvrability diagrams match those of the F/A-18, which is an excellent result for a single engine aircraft loaded with several thousand pounds of fuel and significant armament.

But it also means that starting from medium altitude and above, there is no story with a similarly loaded Typhoon.

Dealing with the transonic acceleration:

Transonic acceleration is excellent in the F-35, as it is for the Typhoon and better than in an F/A-18 or F-16, but mainly due to its low drag characteristics than to its powerplant. That means that immediately after the transonic regime, the F-35 would stop accelerating and struggle forever to reach a non operationally suitable Mach 1.6.

The Typhoon will continue to accelerate supersonic with an impressive steady pull, giving more range to its BVR (Beyond Visual Range) armament.

For what concerns AOA:

Angle-of-attack is remarkably high in the F-35, as it is for all the twin tailed aircraft, but of course it can not be exploited in the supersonic regime, where the limiting load factor is achieved at low values of AoA.

Also in the subsonic regime, the angle-of-attack itself doesn’t mean that much, especially if past a modest 12° AoA you are literally going to fall of the sky! Excessive energy bleeding rates would operationally limit the F-35 well before its ultimate AoA is reached.

Eurofighter superb engine-airframe matching, in combination with it’s High Off-Bore-Sight armament supported by Helmet Cueing, has already and consistently proven winning against any angile fighter.

Last, the F-35 is capable of supersonic carriage of bombs in the bomb bay, but the fuel penalty becomes almost unaffordable, while delivery is limited to subsonic speeds by the armament itself as is for the Typhoon.

Concluding (highlight mine):

[…] it is in the facts that while the Typhoon can do most of the F-35 air-to-ground mission, vice versa the F-35 remains way far from a true swing role capability, and not even talking of regulating the skies.

Provided that the F-35 will be able to solve all its problems, and that the raising costs will not lead to a death spiral of order cuts, both the British RAF and the Italian Air Force will be equipped with both the JSF and the Typhoon.

Mock aerial combat training will tell us who’s better in aerial combat.

MM7274_Typhoon

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  • Lop_Eared_Galoot

    Lots of rhetoric, little facts.

    Here’s some interesting ones:

    A. Real aircraft performance is measured in feet per second as specific excess or ‘Energy Maneuvering’ power. This is usually portrayed as P-sub-S and talked of as ‘smash’. You have to have enough power to sustain your forward flight speed and enough lift coming off the wings to keep from losing altitude or your instantaneous G will degrade. Obviously, the higher you go, the thinner the air is and the less lift as thrust you have to work with.

    B. Most aircraft hit Q or thermal or cycle (engine) limits long before they hit maximum airspeed. Which is to say that the aerodynamic forces acting on the jet act against it’s being able to sustain what G it might for it’s nominal specific excess power.

    C. From the 1960s onwards, when F-4C/D dueled with F-106s in the high arena between 20,000-40,000ft it has been known that you don’t pull more than about 4Gs on the airframe and rarely do such things as fly inverted because every twitch of the stick adds seconds as pounds of fuel before you regain your speed which is essential for putting enough energy behind a missile that it -holds- it’s Mach point and hits the enemy first. This is called ‘F Poling’ and is the essence of he who shoots first wins.

    D. Most jets, by about Mach 1.4 are creating an oblique shock on the nose which is capable of being detected by an IRST out to at least 25nm. By Mach 1.6 it’s unavoidable and may be seen as far as 50nm away. A/B (which both the Typhoon and the Lightning will need to get that fast with a combat load) nearly triples detection ranges to the point where you are seeing the thermal spike before you are generating the radar track to go with.

    E. In the old days, you had to be able to get the weapon to see the target and so were limited by the functionality of your weapons system in terms of line of sight rates and PRF spreads for a given crossing angle, on both the main radar antenna and the tether driven (SARH sampler on the missile tail) cuing of the seeker. Modern systems are not nearly so dependent on knowing where the target is at the beginning of their flyout as they are knowing ‘the cube’ around the target in which to orient their approach to point the seeker on arrival at the A-Pole or Acquisition Point. What this means is the if you can get -any- kind of sensor trackfile going, from almost any aperture (air or surface) that can talke to a network and pass on it’s data, you can fly out missiles to meet even a supersonic target. At which point, unless you have an incredibly stiff, strong, TVC enabled, airframe like the Raptor, going supersonic just guarantees you have impaled yourself on someone’s lance.

    F. Most people see IADS like this-

    http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-2c0Ftj4hbX4/TYRKpHvbstI/AAAAAAAAC7I/vHbuDKa9GKo/s1600/ZOOMED%2BALL%2BLAYERS.jpg

    When in reality, what it looks like is this-

    http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_0HCJq6B1wZA/S-orCgVcw1I/AAAAAAAACf4/Q8HiLOqCjbw/s1600/LYBSAMNETOVERVIEW.jpg

     

    Totally Dead Air.

     

    When a raid is expected (usually cued by on-ground airbase watchers and COMINT monitoring, prelaunch) ONE long range Early Warning Radar like this Vostock-

     

    http://www.ausairpower.net/Other/KBR-Vostok-E-2S.jpg

    Will come up. From waaaaaaaaay off in the backfield. Like a punter getting ready to kick the ball deep. The effect will still not be a perfect sphere of total coverage but rather something like this-

     

    http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_0HCJq6B1wZA/SgJm8ZG8dOI/AAAAAAAACGk/UJxOh9MtJv8/s400/WEDGESST15.jpg

     

    http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_0HCJq6B1wZA/SgJm8zs3UjI/AAAAAAAACG0/3YEgIRE6BVk/s400/WEDGESST17.jpg

     

    Because ground clutter or masking terrain (mountains and buildings, even simple thermals) will interfere. It won’t come on constantly because you don’t want to suck up an ARM and it will likely displace fairly frequently with other EWRs taking over so that Cruise Missiles and UAV attack are also not an issue.

     

    But the important thing to realize is that the Vostock and Nebo operation in the range 850MHz to 2GHz with Megawatts of power and so they are both long range and quite able to defeat F-35 8-12GHz ‘Fire Control’ Stealth.

    What inevitably happens then is you come into the bryar patch with a lot of silent snakes at your feet. And the low band EWR lights off and provides a general track on you which it feeds to the SAM systems and the SAM systems in turn focus their Engagement Radars-

     

    http://www.armyrecognition.com/images/stories/east_europe/russia/missile_vehicle/tomb_stone_30n6e2/30N6E2_Tomb_stone_illumination_guidance_radar_for_SA-20_Gargoyle_missile_system_Russia_Russian_army_640.jpg

    http://www.armyrecognition.com/images/stories/east_europe/russia/missile_vehicle/flap_lid_b/30N6E_5N63S_Flap_Lid_B_tracking_and_missile_guidance_radar_S-300PMU1_SA-10_Grumble_Russia_Russian_640.jpg

     

    And you get shot to bleep anyway. It is CRITICAL to understand this people. Because it is the difference between sweeping a flashlight randomly looking for an intruder in a dark room and holding focussed on a doorway you KNOW they have to pass through. Because that’s where their footsteps are heading.

     

    Nebo and Vostock and similar mobile EWRs listen for the footsteps. Flap Lid and Tomb/Gravestone are the flashlights which can send a flurry of Mach 6 48N6 or Mach 10 9M96 screaming in at you from so close that there is no getting away because the missiles fly out blind and activate their seekers a bare 5nm out from your ‘stealth’ aircraft.

     

    Which is why it’s pretty damn stupid to get close to a threat when you don’t have to.

     

    G. This is why you don’t have to-

    http://defense-update.com/images_new1/meteor-typhoon.jpg

    http://www.worldaffairsboard.com/attachments/military-aviation/13173d1232741444-mbda-meteor-bvraam-meteor.jpg

     

    Where most missile propellant (heat/fuel/air = burn) has an oxidizer mix of say 70:30 which effectively steals volume from fuel, a ramjet missile has an ‘oxi-weak’ system which gets all of it’s oxygen for free from the atmosphere. This means that where an AIM-120D might have a maximum flight time of 120 seconds and a burn time of 60, a BVRAAM has a flight time of 200 and a burn time of 130-150. The longer you stay out of coast mode, the faster your average Mach is and the shorter your overall flightime for any given range.

    This has a further modifier in that, if an AMRAAM-D has a maximum effective (launch) range of about 60nm. It’s NEZ or No Escape Zone is going to be less than 25nm (if you want a 90% likelihood of a kill, you have to E-Pole or Endgame the target inside this distance). But Meteor can do something truly special. It can fly out at one level of impulse. And then go terminal at a much higher one. So, provided it can overtake the target at all (and only a MiG-23 or MiG-25 in full burner would have much of a chance of outrunning it), it’s going to have the same chances of killing it at 60nm as it would at 40. This means you can fire the weapon, against a closing target, from upwards of 100-120nm away.

    The farther away you stay from the enemy jet, using ram-AAM to make critical Mach point happen, the less wise or even necessary it becomes to go supersonic. Because subsonic delays closure and keeps you away from the predominance Surface To Air threats.

    You never approach the door.

    Typhoon as Meteor. Lightning does not. But Typhoon is as dead against an S-300PMU2 or S-400 at 100nm as it is 50. Whereas, an F-35 can use it’s stealth to close to perhaps 40nm while slowly midcoursing the Meteor without worry about sudden SAM shots. It is a fact that the British want to integrate the Meteor on their F-35s, quite badly, because it is positioned to become the predominant BVR Air to Air weapons system of the early-mid 21st century, just like Sparrow once was.

    Only Meteor works.

    In the real world of air combat, where ‘shooting in’ is important in keeping you away from the snakes-at-your-feet condition of the bryar patch that is a modern IADS, nobody wants to go fast. And nobody wants to yank and bank their airframes. The air up at 40,000ft (where missiles go farthest) is simply too thin to make that a workable option.

    While your exposure based on comparitive RCS levels is so enormous that only true stealth is survivable in the face of equally improved, long range, heavy SAMs.

    The real trick then comes when you want to penetrate the enemy IADS and drop bombs. The Typhoon has no stealth and will be butchered as soon as it comes within 50nm of a major threat system. The F-35 has marginal stealth, especially in the flanks and RQ, but with the GBU-53/B and Meteor, it would not have to approach any closer than 50nm to deliver weapons.

    The Lightning wins because it can afford to conduct an OCA mission in the middle of an S2A dominant environment. The Typhoon loses because, even if it stands off, it cannot react to sudden threats to stealthy interdictors (which it is nominally ‘escorting’) in a sufficiently timely fashion to assure their protection. Meteor or no.

    Them’s the facts folks. Read’em and weap-on up.

  • John

    F-35 sucks at A2A. F-35 is inferior in A2A. We should’ve made a better plane than the F-35. F-35 is the best Bomb Truck around. F-35 is going to be very superior in A2G(Ground Attack- Air to Ground). It doesn’t have the manuverablility that fighters have today. Best is that we should make another program that’s better than the inferior F-35.

  • SG

    True, the Typhoon can do most of the F-35’s air to ground mission. Over Libya. Or any other third world country where air defence is based on spear throwing.

  • Chris B

    It would be difficult to add subsonic maneuvering with a pod.

  • mike webber

    Dear Mr Cenciotti,
    1st off, Billy flynn was the test pilot of both the EF typhoon and the F-35, he knows what he is talking about regarding both planes.
    this eurofighter pilot on the otherhand is simply relying on what he thinks he knows about the F-35 and comparing it to everything he knows about the Typhoon.

    the result is a very mis informed and biased statement. You could see that by the way he says that high AOA is practically useless, he says that because he was trained that way, The typhoon cannot reach high AOA thus he was trained to fight very effectively at low AOA.

    Ask a hornet pilot the same question and you will get a very different answer, to them high AOA is the holy grail of modern dog fighting, you can zoom and climb and turn all you want and see the hornet snap its nose high AOA to look at you and shoot you.

    Regarding the Relaxed 5.3-4.6 sustained Gs on the F-35, wehave nowhere near the needed info needed to draw a conclusion. what was the load out of the test? What speed? What was the altitude? We dont know.

    An F-16 can pull 9Gs but add a centerline fuel tank and that decreases to 7Gs instantainious and around 5Gs sustained. Add even more loads and that could go down even more to 3.5Gs.

    The F-35 can carry 18,000+ lbs of fuel and 18,000 lbs of weapons, if the test was carried out with that load then 4.6Gs isnt bad at all.

    Furthermore, the F-35s have not yet been cleared for its entire flight envelope so expect the baseline 4.6Gs sustained to go up significantly.

  • Ed

    Is anyone really surprised? The low t/w ratio, the bulkiness, relatively small wings…

    All we now know is that LM is truly spewing out lies – what is surprising is that they don’t yet seem to have lost all their credibility in the process, yet.

    They have no reason to lie so blatently, not about capability at least (prices and delays are another story). I’m sure the F-35 will be a great asset – within its specific niche. If air-superiority isn’t part of that niche, we’d better acknowledge that.

    And, preferably, have anyone who claims otherwise have their words backfire on them, so that in the future perhaps we can stay close to the truth from the get-go. It seems to me we’ll all be better off in the end.

    Who knows how the project would have gone if LockMart had taken a more objective view on the risks and costs involved, and had informed the ones responsible for procurement early on?

    • FrankW

      You are right about Lockheed Martin. Just because LM says the F-35 is the best in every category, people are taking that as gospel. Last time I checked, Lockheed Martin was not God. The F-35 is far heavier, has small wings, has a lower thrust to weight ratio -those are the obvious facts here. Now the F-35 may best a Rafale, Typhoon, or Sukhoi at BVR, but in a dogfight it will be at a disadvantage. Why??? Because the Typhoon, Rafale, and Sukhoi all have lower wing loading and greater thrust to weight ratios. Not to mention, they all have better aerodynamics. And the Rafale and Typhoon have canards, so they do not have to worry about trim drag like a tailplane design such as the F-35. Lockheed Martin was only famous because of the “black ops” (skunk works) projects such as the SR-71 and F-117. Its F-104 was a monumental disaster as a fighter. And the F-16 was originally a General Dynamics design. Sure, LM can develop an excellent stealth airplane, but it has never been very successful in developing air superiority jets. Sometimes your BVR systems will not always be successful and the fight will then generate into a WVR dogfight. That has happened in the past and it will happen again in the future. And as far as stealth goes, why is LM putting AIM-9s externally on the F-35? Will that not compromise its vaunted stealth characteristics. Will it not be entering the fight externally clean and low-observable like all its cheerleaders keep saying? Even the F-22 has fallen into the gunsights of Typhoons and Rafales. And then everyone cries that the F-22 had external tanks, which is not true. Look at the HUD camera of the Rafale, the F-22 is clean and it has no external fuel tanks. All i am saying here is that their designs are not invincible as they say.

      • John

        They have the capability to put them on hardpoints outside the plane. They do not have to. The plane is in testing. The F-35 has the power to carry an internal load and an external load. The external load wont be used till air superiority is already in place. Common sense here please.

        • FrankW

          Carrying Aim-9’s on the external hardpoints means they will be used for the AS/CAP mission. And I doubt the F-35 can even carry the Aim-9x internally??? Only the Aim-120 internally I believe-

  • Guesto

    If you keep asking each baker how good is their bread, you’ll be able to write opposing stories for a very long time. Let’s wait for the Brits or the Italians, who ordered both planes, to do some games and report their results.

  • MAveRicK

    No, the A model has an internal gun, the B and C model mount a pod.

  • FrankW

    Actually from wingtip to wingtip the entire design of the Typhoon is one giant delta wing. Rafale also has wide body design and large wing. Both designs have less drag than the F-35. Good luck with the F-35, hope it lives up to all its hype. But I doubt it will.

    • R Valencia

      From http://theaviationist.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/spanish-typhoon.jpg

      Typhoon looks like a classic body tube with two wings attached.

      Typhoon doesn’t have extra angled twin tails and the chinned forward fuselage design for extra lift device.

      From http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d3/F-35A_three-view.PNG
      Note the F35’s asymmetric tear drop wing shaping with engine inlet to the rear.

      F-35’s chinned forward fuselage design is similar to
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin-Marietta_X-24

      Martin Marietta (now Lockheed Martin) was experimenting with Lifting Body designs, they wanted to produce fuselages that can assist the wings in producing lift instead of being dead weight.

      The ultimate test for body lift is to fly with one main wing like Israeli F-15’s accident. F-35’s form resembles F-15, but with a single engine.

      As for the drag issue, F35’s front cross section area size is similar to Rafale.
      http://www.f-16.net/forum/download/file.php?id=18395

      With combat loads, F-35 has less drag than Typhoon.

      • FrankW

        If you are interested in how wing loading is calculated refer to pg. 140 of the book: “Fighter Combat, Tactics and Maneuvering” by Robert L. Shaw. Mr. Shaw was a Naval fighter pilot who flew the F-14 Tomcat and F-4 Phantom II.

        Now as I said it (wing loading) can also be calculated wing tip to wing tip. Typhoon has a giant Delta wing, canard, LE slats, and it is some 6,000-8,000lbs lighter than the F-35 (depending on the variant). Canards are less draggy subsonic and especially in supersonic regimes than tailed jets. Slats tend to provide more lift than LE conventional flaps (which the F-35 has) because with slats; the oncoming air is re-energized over the top of the wing (it makes the air go faster, which lowers air pressure, consequently providing more lift).

        The fuselage of the Rafale has wing/ body blending, which adds to lift. Rafale also has Canards, Lex’s, and LE slats. F-35 has chines (which I will admit, does add to lift; but is it superior to Lex’s or wing/body blending?) Rafale is also some 8-9,000lbs lighter than the F-35 (again depending on variant).

        Now, many jets have had body lift. But for example, the jet that originally set the standard for agility, the F-16A did not. The F-16 used Lex’s , CCV , and wing/ body blending to achieve its legendary aerial agility. The F-16A also has far lower frontal drag than the F-22, Typhoon, F-15, Su-27, F-35, F-14, and F-18. What doomed the F-16 design for ACM was when the USAF basically added some 3,500lbs to it, and its performance suffered. The USN F-16N which was basically a stripped down Block 30 with the GE F110 engine was noted for having extreme agility that no jet at that time could match. The F-16N could complete a 9g turn in only 17 seconds. Even today, that is very hard to match-

  • Paladin

    The B model will be one of the most agile jets in the air; for the same reason the Harrier is agile.

  • Komit

    The Typhoon is 20 years old its last gen. The F35 is 8 but austensibly brand new. The canard on the Typhoon tells you immediately its not stealth. Any type of signal sent out to sense the F35 will immediately draw an attack and additional wave of signals designed to scramble and defeat detection thats why its taking so long to work out the bugs. Any weapons system has bugs to work out this is Lockheed for god sake they know what their doing. Any signal sent out attempting to locate this system from the ground will cause the awac systems in the ship to direct unmanned craft to take out ground defence no other machines out there do this. This thing is EPIC.

    • Picard Alpha

      “Any type of signal sent out to sense the F35 will immediately draw an attack”

      Which also works in reverse, which in turn means that the IRST will be primary sensor for both Typhoon and the F-35.

  • Komit

    Everyone forgets the pesky little pain in the neck named Su-35BM with worlds most powerful ESA radar. The moment thats turned on their dead. You truly believe the soviets have the ability to jam our systems? All of this occuring before they even know the F35 is there.

    • Dan Blocker

      Of course they have the ability. The Russians use low tech radar, that can actually detect stealth aircraft. The old BUK missiles can hit them as well. When the F 22 and the B2 was created, it was tested under high frequency radars, typical of what we use today. The Russians learned that stealth’s Achilles heel is a primitive low freq radar. The Serbs used this technique to down a F 117 during the Kosovo War.

      • Komit

        The electronics suite on the 22 and 35 detect thier signals alter them and send them out with false readings. The B117 did not have this.

        • Dan Blocker

          Then that means their is two inbound signals. And there is no damn way the F35 and F22 can reproduce a low frequency radar, they are too big and take too much power. Once the signals are sent out, which BTW opens them up to active radar missiles, the pinging radar can actually tell the true return over the fake return. Even then the false readings will confirm a detection. Which defeats the purpose of stealth.

      • John

        The F117 that was shot down used the same route multiple times and was only picked up slightly from its bay doors being open. The missile never hit, the pilot bailed out thinking he was going to be hit.

        • Dan Blocker

          It still can be detected with VHF Radars. The whole stealth concept was created to defeat the Iron Curtain of the USSR without being seen. Well, we have figured out that it doesn’t work. It can be seen. Even the B2 has a signature of a baseball, and any radar engineer can see that a baseball flying at 2000 ft going 600 mph is probably a Stealth Aircraft. They scramble jets and down it. Iron Curtain broke. World War III starts. And F22s and F35s really need AWACS to back them up or a satellite feed, without it they are dead in the air. Both are which vulnerable to anti-air missiles. Satellites and AWACS are both VERY detectable, and also very easy to destroy. Also, Direct Energy Weapons could fry the computers on the F22 and F35, turning them into paperweights. BUK missiles are some of the most accurate anti air missiles on the planet, and they are using 60’s era tech.

  • Bogdan

    Оhh smon guys.How you can match almost 40 year old aircraft (f16) and another one which is designed quater a century ago (Eufighter blabla) with something that is still under development?The goal is to be introduced a low cost versatile platform with stealth capabilities which can be heavily modified in the future.And have the most advanced STOVL technology ever build. (take point)This opens incredible possibilities in the future including such that very little people in this world dare to imagine -vertical take off,landng and manuvering in static position in air.This is only the first step to a whole new era of fighters .The ones that you mentioned (su’s,typhoons,f’s) they are cold war era planes.Great or best,modernised or not sooner or later they become absolete.Im not very sure but i think that this supersonic dogfights with a use of a machine gun or small cannon are pretty much in movies.Anyways.You will see the whole idea of the f35.In some time in the future.

  • Picard Alpha

    “but if you include the mass outside of that including the massive horizontal stabs. which also produces lift for the F-35 you will get a total of 828 sq feet.”

    They produce lift but only once aircraft has settled into a sustained turn… which is not a safe place to be in. And even adding horizontal stabilizers, F-35A gets wing area of 54,5 m2 for a wing loading of 335 kg/m2, which is adequate but far from world beating. F-16s wing area with horizontal stabilizers included should be around 327 kg/m2 so at best you get comparable turn rates. And F-16C is hardly a world beater, again, as Gripen and Rafale have wing loading of 275 kg/m2 and 283 kg/m2, respectively, and due to the close coupled canards they can delay stall for longer and thus achieve higher lift coefficients and consequqntly higher instantaneous turn rates for the same wing loading.

    “”Physical imposibility”? how so? its common knowledge that Chines are just as efficient as LERX in producing vortecies, unless you can prove otherwise.”

    As LERXes, not as canards. Canards are far better than either LERXes or chines due to several reasons:
    1) LERXes produce one set of vortices while canards produce two, which means that canards delay stall over the greater percentage of wing area
    2) LERXes are fixed, whereas canards can adjust to changing conditions, and can be optimized for minimum drag in some flight regimes and maximum lift in others
    3) you can combine canard with LERX (as was done in Rafale and Gripen NG) to achieve a better effectiveness than either device could achieve by itself
    4) even in level flight, canards cause an area of low pressure to form on the front part of the wing, which causes a natural pitch-up moment (instability). This instability does not shift to stability in supersonic flight, improving supersonic maneuverability and reducing level flight drag.
    5) outer set of vortices produced by canards energizes outer part of the wing, which improves roll onset rate even at high angles of attack; LERX only affects inner portion of the wing (unless said wing is ridiculously low-aspect)
    6) drop tanks are… DROP tanks, they are always dropped prior to combat.

    “The F-35 is not a bomber, it was ment to be the best Ground attack aircraft and have A-A abilities second only to the Raptor.”

    And is a failure in both cases. Fact is, the F-35s design is meant for ground attack, and it was intended to be a ground attack aircraft while the F-22 took over air superiority.

    “compared to an empty F-16 (block 50), an empty F-35A ishas:
    -55% heavier
    -53% larger wing area
    -50% more thrust
    -153% more internal fuel
    -Box volume equal to an F-16.”

    And effect of that is (point by point):
    – increases inertia
    – is barely sufficient to counter weight increase
    – again, is barely sufficient to counter the weight increase, and insufficient to counter drag increase
    – improves endurance but also increases takeoff and combat weights
    – is completely irrelevant as the F-16 is not a carrier aircraft

    “The F-35 is also far less weight sensitive, as it is already heavier to begin with.”

    Which is relevant for a bomber.

    “For example, 4 AMRAAMs is 7% of the F-16Cs empty weight but only 4.5% of the F-35A’s.”

    And the F-35 force has to carry three times as many AMRAAMs per aircraft as the F-16 force to match the total number of missiles.

    ” This perfectly supports every F-35 pilots claim that the F-35 flies just ike a clean F-16C, except the F-35 is armed, and has enough fuel for an actuall mission. and has far better AOA charactaristics.”

    No, it does not.

    “And before you say that they are lying through their teeth, let me remind you that libel is a serious crime.”

    For which nobody gets punished. USAF and Lockheed Martin said that the F-22 will have lower unit flyaway and unit procurement costs than the F-15… it turned out to be far more expensive, yet no charges were pressed. They also said that it will be easier to maintain than the F-15… well, it isn’t.

    “This means that the F-35 will have no problems what so ever recovering energy after a high AOA pull.”

    And did Norway actually evaluate it or was simply given paper data? I very much doubt that actual data are avaliable at this point.

    Considering that the F-16 can cruise at Mach 1,1 and achieve maximum speed of Mach 2,0 while the F-35 is limited to Mach 0,9 cruise and Mach 1,6 maximum, I doubt it.

    “Its almost suicidal for a heavy, EFT hauling, draggy Rafale to do that against the super maneuverable and extramly fast F-35.”

    You know, I don’t know wether I’d laugh or cry after reding this nonsense.

    Piece by piece:
    1) Rafale is not heavy. It weights 9.550 kg empty and 12.582 kg at air-to-air combat weight. F-35A weights 13.300 kg empty and 18.270 kg at air-to-air combat weight-
    2) Rafale has combat radius of 925 km on the internal fuel. F-35A has combat radius of 1.082 km at internal fuel. Not a large difference, considering that the F-35 is both larger *and* has higher fuel fraction. In fact, it suggests that the clean F-35 has worse lift/drag ratio than an armed Rafale.
    3) Rafale drags far less than the F-35 in either level flight or when turning. In clean configuration, Rafale carries 2 missiles (conformal wingtip missiles are not considered when calculating drag, and in F-16s case they improve L/D ratio) while F-35 carries 4. Two more missiles on low drag pylons will not suddenly negate Rafale’s far superior baseline drag, lift-to-drag and thrust-to-drag ratios.
    4) F-35 is not super maneuverable or supermaneuverable. Rafale has far better lift-to-weight, thrust-to-weight, lift-to-drag and thrust-to-drag ratios, as well as far better transient performance. As for “supermaneuverability”, it is a term that includes a combination of high classical maneuverability and post-stall maneuvers. Rafale can achieve a maximum angle of attack of beyond 100*. F-35 can achieve 73* (for comparision, Typhoon can achieve 70*, and Gripen 100-110*).

    “Critics love to compare the F-35 against 4th gens with percentage figures because it makes the F-35 look less impressive.”

    Which is exactly what you did above:
    >>For example, 4 AMRAAMs is 7% of the F-16Cs empty weight but only 4.5% of the F-35A’s.<<
    Double standards much?

    "However what they don't mention is that 48.6% for the Grippen is just a tiny 18,000 lbs to max take off weight, compared to the F-35's 40,000 lbs max take off payload capacity."

    And Gripen also costs tiny 45 million USD while F-35 costs 3-4 times as much. So for the same cost, Gripens can lift 135% as much payload at least.

    "And dont give me range figures without mentioning the altitude, flight profile and payload. 4th gens can reach their advertised range figures when clean maybe,"

    Lol. Combat radius by definition includes standard air-to-air loadout, which is 4 missiles for F-35 and 6 missiles for Rafale.

    "Bottom line, the F-35 is obviously superior to the Rafale and Gripen in an armed configuration."

    Bottom line is, you have no idea what you're talking about.

    ""the Typhoon was not able to match the high angle of attack capability of the F-22. We ended up with numerous gunshots," (refering to Clean, airshow configured Typhoons)""

    Which is likely an outright lie, considering that they never gave any proof and all statements were anonymous. And remember these were 1-on-1 dogfights, thus not representative of the actual combat, so even if they did say the truth, it is irrelevant.

    • Mike Webber

      “And F-16C is hardly a world beater, again, as Gripen and Rafale ”

      O please you and I both know that Canards produce a down force when at idle position making your Canard’s wing loading calculation just flat out wrong.

      Once desired AOA is achieved the Canards will go back to idle producing that troublesome downforce again.

      According to Italian airforce pilots, the F-16 can maneuver just as well as the Typhoon below 10,000 feet, which has better T/W ratio rates than the Rafale.
      So if the F-16 isn’t a World beater, then I just feel sorry for the Rafale,

      A high-fidelity computational fluid dynamic model of the F-16 gives it a Clmax of 1.7 at 25 degrees AoA. Assuming this is linear down to 15 degrees (highest AoA for 9G) then the Clmax for 9G would be 1.02. The max effective Lift Area thus varies between
      306ft^2 and 510ft^2

      The F-35 is just as unstable if not more unstable than the F-16. Given the wider body and larger tail (relative to the F-16) the estimated Clmax to be 1.8. This leads to a maximum Lift Area of
      828ft^2

      That puts the Wing loading of an F-35 carrying 10,000 lbs to 231 kg/ sq m.
      Incase you haven’t heard, F-35s can cruise to Mach 1.2 with full internal weapons, id love to see your supper draggy Grippen or Rafale do that with a 5,000 lb load.

      “And were they given a piece of paper……I doubt”

      Well that pretty much sums it up doesn’t it, you doubt things that your not even sure of. Everything that debunks your hate for the F-35 is either a lie or a marketing stunt.

      Oh and about the percentage thing, I used 4 missiles on both planes as an example, these are true combat loads, not like critics who love using 50% fuel then making calculations. 4 AMRAAMs is something that both aircraft would most likely be armed with. 50% fuel on the other hand, w

      Well the F-35 can go on a mission with that, the Gripen and Rafale on the other hand, better be close to a friendly base by then.

      Again your extremely draggy Rafale and Gripen has no chance against the F-35. Better acceleration, better turn rate, better sustained speed, better Sensors, RCS and IR reduction, all belong to the F-35.

      The Rafale’s mediocre power doesnt help as well, but hey its a good airshow plane. Just don’t load it though

      • Picard Alpha

        “O please you and I both know that Canards produce a down force when at idle position making your Canard’s wing loading calculation just flat out wrong.”

        Canards produce downforce during level flight, which in fact helps improve pitch onset and instantaneous turn rates as downforce is released and becomes upforce.

        “Once desired AOA is achieved the Canards will go back to idle producing that troublesome downforce again.”

        Wrong, Rafale’s and Gripen’s canards are at 0* AoA during sustained turns to minimize drag.

        “According to Italian airforce pilots, the F-16 can maneuver just as well as the Typhoon below 10,000 feet, which has better T/W ratio rates than the Rafale.”

        Typhoon also has inferior aerodynamic configuration when compared to either Rafale or the F-16. No wing body-blending and no LERX.

        “That puts the Wing loading of an F-35 carrying 10,000 lbs to 231 kg/ sq m.”

        And Rafale will have even higher CLmax than the F-35 thanks to its close-coupled canards and overall superior aerodynamic configuration. Combine that with lower wing loading, and the F-35 is still badly outmatched.

        As for the F-16, it depends on wether you are using the F-16A or C. Plus, the F-16 cannot even reach angle of attack it needs for CLmax (it achieves CLmax at 32* AoA, while it is normally limited to 25,52* AoA).

        “Incase you haven’t heard, F-35s can cruise to Mach 1.2 with full internal weapons, id love to see your supper draggy Grippen or Rafale do that with a 5,000 lb load.”

        Rafale can cruise at Mach 1,4 with 6 missiles, Gripen C can cruise at Mach 1,08 with 2 missiles, so even if the F-35 can indeed cruise at Mach 1,2, it hardly shows it as having a superior aerodynamic design.

        And as a matter of fact, F-35 cannot *cruise* without afterburner, it uses afterburner to achieve and maintain supersonic flight, and once it shuts down afterburner it starts to decelerate to subsonic speeds:

        >>>>>>>>
        http://www.defensenews.com/print/article/20110613/DEFFEAT04/106130302/F-35A-Testing-Moves-Into-High-Speeds

        The F-35 can’t supercruise like the F-22 Raptor, but the test pilots have found that once they break the sound barrier, supersonic speeds are easy to sustain.

        “What we can do in our airplane is get above the Mach with afterburner, and once you get it going … you can definitely pull the throttle back quite a bit and still maintain supersonic, so technically you’re pretty much at very, very min[imum] afterburner while you’re cruising,” Griffiths said. “So it really does have very good acceleration capabilities up in the air.”
        <<<<<<<<

        "Everything that debunks your hate for the F-35 is either a lie or a marketing stunt."

        Most of it in fact is either that or misrepresentation. And I don't hate the F-35, I'm just realistic about its capabilities.

        "Oh and about the percentage thing, I used 4 missiles on both planes as an example, these are true combat loads, not like critics who love using 50% fuel then making calculations. 4 AMRAAMs is something that both aircraft would most likely be armed with. 50% fuel on the other hand, well the F-35 can go on a mission with that, the Gripen and Rafale on the other hand, better be close to a friendly base by then."

        Wrong, standard missile load is 4 AMRAAM for the F-35, 2 IRIS-T/AIM-9 + 4 AMRAAM for Gripen, 6 MICA for Rafale and 2 IRIS-T/AIM-9 + 6 AIM-120 for Typhoon. As for 50% fuel, Rafale has compat radius of 925 km on internal fuel, compared to 1.082 km for the F-35. So assuming same combat radius, Rafale would have 3.160 kg of internal fuel (or 67%), giving it a combat weight of 13.382 kg, wing loading of 293 kg/m2 and TWR of 1,13. Still better than the F-35s combat weight of 18.270 kg, wing loading of 428 kg/m2 and TWR of 1,07 (18.099 kg, 424 kg/m2 and 1,08 with internal missiles only).

        "Again your extremely draggy Rafale and Gripen has no chance against the F-35. Better acceleration, better turn rate, better sustained speed, better Sensors, RCS and IR reduction, all belong to the F-35."

        Really?

        Acceleration: Dictated by thrust-to-drag and lift-to-drag ratios. Can be roughly compared through climb rate. Rafale has climb rate of 60.000 ft/min, while the F-35 can achieve 50.000 ft/min at most. Advantage Rafale.
        Instantaneous turn rate: dictated by lift-to-weight ratio and g limit. Rafale has lower wing loading (275 vs 428 kg/m2) and higher lift coefficient, plus same operational g limit. Advantage Rafale.
        Sustained turn rate: dictated by lift-to-weight, lift-to-drag, thrust-to-drag ratios and g limit. Can be roughly estimated by comparing instantaneous turn rate and acceleration. Advantage Rafale.
        Cruise speed: dictated by thrust-to-drag ratio. Known maximum cruise speed of Rafale (Mach 1,4) is higher than the F-35s known maximum cruise speed (Mach 0,95). Advantage Rafale.
        Sensors: F-35 and Rafale both have IRST + RWR + IR MAWS with 360* coverage. Rafale's IRST is better in air-to-air (F-35s IRST has coverage issues as it can only see few degrees above horizontale); both have good RWR, while F-35 does have better MAWS coverage (horizontal coverage is 360* for both, but Rafale has a blind spot on the underside). Tie.
        RCS: Advantage F-35, but only relevant for SEAD/DEAD, and even then F-35 is vulnerable to VHF radars.
        IR signature: F-135 has no second cooling channel on its engine, while M88 does. F135 also has significantly higher turbine inlet temperature (2255 vs 1850 K or 3600 vs 2.871 F). F-35 itself is larger and has inferior aerodynamics compared to Rafale. Advantage Rafale.

        BTW, F-35s vortices are quite weak:
        http://img177.imageshack.us/img177/4003/f35vortexuv4.jpg
        which automatically translates into lower lift coefficient.

        There is another fact showing that F-35 has inadequate lift-to-weight ratio: F-35C needed significanlty larger wing than the F-35A (62,1 vs 42,7 m2) in order to achieve acceptable carrier performance, reducing its wing loading to 338 kg/m2 at combat weight – whole 90 kg/m2 less than the F-35As. Yet Rafale M has 13 kg/m2 greater wing loading than Rafale C does, at 288 kg/m2 at combat weight.

        "The Rafale's mediocre power doesnt help as well, but hey its a good airshow plane. Just don't load it though"

        It is a good airshow plane and even better combat plane, unlike the F-35.

    • James F. Tavella

      i am wondering where you are getting some of your data. Marvelous AoA numbers on the Rafale! What ASS did you pull your data out of because i have found nothing anywhere that caliborates it either (so im not the only one). To have a different opinion is one thing and thats respectable right or wrong. You dont like the F35? Fine. There is no crime in that. Lying to support your claims and dismissing/ignoring true facts just to be bias is not be the worst thing, but, to be arrogant and use your time/energy to actively spread such ridiculous false information really becomes insulting which is why my vulgar “Ass” comment is very fitting to you. Others have challenged you too. Where does your data come from? Sources please? Post some credible sources and ill retract my comment with an apology.

      • Picard Alpha

        Rafale achieved 100* AoA during testing, so did Gripen. Gripen can actually *sustain* 70-80* AoA:
        http://www.mach-flyg.com/utg80/80jas_uc.html

        Sources for Rafale’s AoA testing aren’t online, apparently. But this is from SWAF comparision of Gripen with F-16 etc:

        >>The Gripen achieved the AoA of more than 100 degrees during the flight test, but due to the reason for flight safety, the normal setting of the upper limit of the AoA for the Gripen?s FCS is 50 degrees now. <<

        "Lying to support your claims and dismissing/ignoring true facts just to
        be bias is not be the worst thing, but, to be arrogant and use your
        time/energy to actively spread such ridiculous false information really
        becomes insulting which is why my vulgar "Ass" comment is very fitting
        to you."

        Insulting people because you don't want to admit you're wrong is an example of asshole behavior. So the only one your insult is applicable to is you.

  • Dan Blocker

    A primitive weather radar could detect a F 22 and a F 35. Primitives like those in World War II could see modern stealth aircraft with ease. When all the interference is ironed out, the cheapest radar turns out to be the best.

    • R Valencia

      A static reproduction of the only surviving Ho 229 prototype, the Ho 229 V3, in American hands since the end of World War II was later tested by the U.S. military who found the basic shape, paint and laminating adhesive composition of the mockup copy would provide for 37% reduction in detection range against the British Chain Home radar of the 1940s, but no significant stealth benefit against most other contemporary radar systems

  • John

    34 SU35 built to date. 200 Raptors.. By the way, F-22 radars are superior.
    Also there is only a Few SU35-BM’s Those tests in airshows are without a weapons load. Do you grasp the concept on how much an external weapons load does to an airplane.
    A couple fuel tanks and missile load. You are a big radar signature that will have been spotted and shot down by and F-22 long before you knew they were even in the air.

    • Max Glazer

      First off to target Su-35, F-22 would have to use radar. F-22 radar has LOW probability of intercept mode. Except it doesn’t mean that it cannot be intercepted. Su-35 uses latest in ESM and ECM.

      Who said F-22 radar is superior? F-22 radar was designed in 80s and 90s. Irbis radar was designed in 2000s with Russians being world leaders in programming.

      Su-35 has a large radar signature. So what? AMRAAM has achieved a 56% effectiveness in benign conditions with no ECM, barely airworthy targets and most of them didn’t even try to shake the AMRAAM. Also many of those AMRAAMs were not fired at BVR. Su-35 will simply jam them or avoid them. And firing an AMRAAM will give away F-22 as it has to give AMRAAM target updates which Su-35 will detect. Su-35 has L-band AESAs which act as both radars and jammers. AMRAAM won’t even know where the REAL target is.

      Su-35 doesn’t need external fuel tanks. Its internal fuel is enough. Way more range then F-22

      Su-35 (when used over Russian territory) is supplanted with VHF ground radars which see F-22 as if its an F-15.

      • R Valencia

        http://theaviationist.com/2013/09/19/f-22-f-4-intercept/
        Iranian ground radar tracked and gave directions to Iranian F4s to intercept U.S. MQ-1 drone flying in international airspace off Iran, but Iran didn’t know about the drone’s F22 escort.

        “By international law, the notion of a country’s sovereign airspace corresponds with the maritime definition of territorial waters as being 12 nautical miles (22.2 km) out from a nation’s coastline.”

        Iran has 1L13 “Nebo” VHF radar, Kolchuga (VHF, UHF and SHF), Matla-ul-fajr (VHF), Gamma Radar (low frequency band), Vostok radar (VHF) and other radars, and it didn’t detect F22 threat.

  • John

    Basically it took a slick configuration of the Typhoon to match the F-22. When you factor in a A2A configuration, the Typhoon is still behind the Raptor.
    Sums it up pretty much. You have to give an advantage to the Typhoon for it to win. In real world combat, the F-22 with its BVR capabilities makes the argument null and void.

  • mike webber

    Again you’re comparing range figures of a clean F-35 against a clean Rafale.

    Only the F-35 can go into combat clean.

    Even if the Rafale’s T/W ratio was higher, it’s drag will also be a lot higher due to the External fuel tanks and weapons that it has to carry externally.

    Its range will be less due to the increase drag,

    and in a hypothetical dogfight between the 2, the Rafale has very little chances of firing a BVR shot against the F-35.

    Then upon entering the merge, the far draggier Rafale will be at another disadvantage.

    The downforce producing Canards will only be loaded briefly at the initial moments of the turn then return to their down force producing idle position which will negate the rafale’s wing loading advantages.

    The F-35 on the other hand will produce lift from it’s massive horizontal stabs once on idle which a large majority of the time even in a turn.

    Its thrust is not impeded by draggy EFTs or Weapons.
    It’s DAS will allow near 360 degree target acquisition, tracking and missile cuing

    Its much higher AOA limit will allow faster point and shoot maneuvers and will allow it to fire its weapons at the large RCS of the armed Rafale.

    Hands down the F-35 is better fighter than France’s best warplane

    • Picard Alpha

      “Again you’re comparing range figures of a clean F-35 against a clean Rafale.

      Only the F-35 can go into combat clean.”

      925 km *combat* radius for Rafale includes 6 missiles. Rafale’s ferry range on internal fuel is 2.100 km, which means that flight radius without external weapons (or with 2 wingtip missiles) and no combat is cca 1.000 km.

      “Even if the Rafale’s T/W ratio was higher, it’s drag will also be a lot higher due to the External fuel tanks and weapons that it has to carry externally.”

      External fuel tanks are dropped prior to fight, and drag increase due to external missile carriage is far less than drag increase due to inferior aerodynamics + higher AoA required.

      “and in a hypothetical dogfight between the 2, the Rafale has very little chances of firing a BVR shot against the F-35.”

      I beg to differ. Rafale’s OSF has detection range against subsonic fighter of 80 km (nose-on) or 130 km (tail-on), while MICA IR has maximum aerodynamic range of 80 km.

      “Then upon entering the merge, the far draggier Rafale will be at another disadvantage.”

      Replace “Rafale” in sentence with the “F-35″ and you will be correct.
      1) Rafale will not be entering dogfight with its full external load. Fuel tanks will be dropped, and all but wingtip missiles expended, prior to the merge. Empty hardpoints and wingtip missiles cause relatively minor drag penalty, one that cannot negate F-35s far higher baseline drag.
      2) Performance penalty due to external carriage is only really relevant when baseline performance is the same, but Rafale has far better baseline performance than the F-35:
      2.1) Rafale’s wing loading at combat takeoff weight is 275 kg/m2, which is less than the F-35s wing loading at combat weight (428 kg/m2). Difference is 56%.
      2.2) Rafale’s canards add 3,6 m2 to wing’s own 45,7 m2. Further, they can be expected to improve maximum lift coefficient of wing by cca 9%. This results in effective wing area of 53,4 m2 and wing loading of 235,6 kg/m2. F-35s horizontal tail adds 11,8 m2 to wing’s own 42,7 m2, but does not make any further contribution. This results in effective wing area of 54,5 m2 and wing loading of 335,2 kg/m2. That is still a 42% difference. Further, Rafale’s wing trailling edge control surfaces have the same effect as the F-35s tail during sustained turn, but at less drag due to cleaner aft lines.
      2.3) In order to initiate a turn, F-35’s tail momentarily provides download before settling into a lift-producing position. Rafale’s canards momentarily provide upload before settling into a neutral position in which they create no lift by themselves, but improve wing lift and reduce drag. This also reduces need for Rafale’s elevons to provide download in order to initiate a turn, further improving instantaneous turn rate. Taking a look at the point above, this means that effective wing loading during instantaneous turn is 235,6 kg/m2 for Rafale and 591,3 kg/m2 for F-35 (151% difference), while effective wing loading for sustained turn is 252,7 kg/m2 for Rafale and 335,2 kg/m2 for the F-35 (33% difference).
      2.4) Rafale’s canards create an area of low pressure on forward part of the wing. This moves center of lift forward, increasing instability beyond the static instability already built into the aircraft. Further, unlike the static instability, dynamic instability does not shift to stability in supersonic flight. This results in significant subsonic, and especially supersonic, maneuvering advantage even before lower wing loading, higher thrust-to-weight ratio and tailless delta’s traditional planform advantages in supersonic maneuver (no interference drag, large amount of lift) are accounted for.
      2.5) Rafale, thanks to its combination of 48*-swept wing and LERX, has an effective wing sweep of 56*. F-35 has physical wing sweep of 35* and an effective wing sweep of either 39* or 55*, depending on how you count it.
      2.6) Rafale also does not have internal bomb bays or overemphasis on radar LO, both of which cause a large penalty in the F-35s baseline drag.
      2.7) Rafale has thrust-to-weight ratio of 1,01 at combat takeoff and 1,2 at combat weight, compared to the F-35s 0,87 at combat takeoff and 1,07 at combat weight. Combined with advantages noted in previous points (2.4-2.6), this results in significantly better acceleration and sustained turn capability.
      2.8) Rafale’s canards not only improve pitch onset and turn onset rates (2.2-2.4) but they also energize outer portion of the wing, thus improving roll onset rates. Combined, this gives Rafale a transient performance significantly superior to that of the F-35.
      3) Both external fuel tanks and most missiles are expended prior to the fight. Rafale in dogfighting configuration only has 2 wingtip IR missiles, and contrary to opinions of some people, properly integrated wingtip missiles (here I am discussing the F-16/Rafale/Gripen configuration) actually reduce drag when carried. F-35 on the other hand can either limit itself with internal carriage (which means that pilot has to wait for cca 1 second for doors to open) or carry wingtip missiles (which are carried not on tips of wings but on classical underwing hardpoints some distance away from wing tips, and thus do cause drag penalty). In addition to wingtip stations, Rafale also has two semi-conformal stations on body near the wing root; thus both the F-35 and Rafale carry 4 missiles in low-drag configuration, and both can carry a maximum of 10 missiles.
      4) Rafale can achieve Mach 1,8 and cruise at Mach 1,2-1,4 with 6 missiles. F-35 can achieve Mach 1,6 and cruise at Mach 0,95 with 4 internal missiles. This makes it quite clear that the F-35 has inferior acceleration (and thus lift-to-drag and thrust-to-drag ratios) compared to Rafale, even when both aircraft are in air-to-air configuration. Similarly, clean F-35 achieves only 17% greater combat radius than the air-to-air configured Rafale (1.082 vs 925 km), despite having 17% greater fuel fraction (0,369 vs 0,316 at combat takeoff weight) *and* 75% greater total internal fuel capacity (8.280 kg vs 4.720 kg).

      “The downforce producing Canards will only be loaded briefly at the initial moments of the turn then return to their down force producing idle position which will negate the rafale’s wing loading advantages.”

      Wrong on multiple points.
      1) Even canards returning to producing downforce will not eliminate Rafale’s wing loading advantage (Rafale’s wing loading with canard area subtracted from wing area would be 299 kg/m2, while F-35s wing loading with tail added to wing area would be 335 kg/m2).
      2) Rafale’s canards during sustained turns are at neutral position (0* AoA), where canards themselves produce no lift but do not produce downforce either.
      3) Even at neutral position, canards still improve wing’s own lift-to-drag ratio, thus increasing sustained turn rate.

      Close-coupled canards are called close-*coupled* because they are *coupled* to the wing. Thus your attempts at looking at canards separately from the parent wing are inherently wrong.

      “The F-35 on the other hand will produce lift from it’s massive horizontal stabs once on idle which a large majority of the time even in a turn.”

      And as shown above, it will reduce but not negate F-35s massive disadvantage against Rafale.

      “Its thrust is not impeded by draggy EFTs or Weapons.”

      EFTs are dropped prior to dogfight, weapons are far less draggy than you assume – especially in Rafale’s case.

      “It’s DAS will allow near 360 degree target acquisition, tracking and missile cuing”

      Which is special how?
      http://s25.postimg.org/vcgi9je7j/SPECTRA_ON_LOCKING_TARGET.jpg

      “Its much higher AOA limit will allow faster point and shoot maneuvers and will allow it to fire its weapons at the large RCS of the armed Rafale.”

      Operational AoA limit is 32* for Rafale (29* with centerline tank) and 18* for F-35 (plans are for it to be 50*, but when, or if, it will actually be implemented is an unknown at this point). Rafale achieved maximum angle of attack of 110* during testing, while F-35 achieved maximum angle of attack of 73* during testing.

      “Hands down the F-35 is better fighter than France’s best warplane”

      It doesn’t even come close to Rafale when it comes aerial combat, let alone surpassing it.

    • Picard Alpha

      “Again you’re comparing range figures of a clean F-35 against a clean Rafale.

      Only the F-35 can go into combat clean.”

      925 km *combat* radius for Rafale includes 6 missiles. Rafale’s ferry range on internal fuel is 2.100 km, which means that flight radius without external weapons (or with 2 wingtip missiles) and no combat is cca 1.000 km.

      “Even if the Rafale’s T/W ratio was higher, it’s drag will also be a lot higher due to the External fuel tanks and weapons that it has to carry externally.”

      External fuel tanks are dropped prior to fight, and drag increase due to external missile carriage is far less than drag increase due to inferior aerodynamics + higher AoA required.

      “and in a hypothetical dogfight between the 2, the Rafale has very little chances of firing a BVR shot against the F-35.”

      I beg to differ. Rafale’s OSF has detection range against subsonic fighter of 80 km (nose-on) or 130 km (tail-on), while MICA IR has maximum aerodynamic range of 80 km.

      “Then upon entering the merge, the far draggier Rafale will be at another disadvantage.”

      Replace “Rafale” in sentence with the “F-35″ and you will be correct.
      1) Rafale will not be entering dogfight with its full external load. Fuel tanks will be dropped, and all but wingtip missiles expended, prior to the merge. Empty hardpoints and wingtip missiles cause relatively minor drag penalty, one that cannot negate F-35s far higher baseline drag.
      2) Performance penalty due to external carriage is only really relevant when baseline performance is the same, but Rafale has far better baseline performance than the F-35:
      2.1) Rafale’s wing loading at combat takeoff weight is 275 kg/m2, which is less than the F-35s wing loading at combat weight (428 kg/m2). Difference is 56%.
      2.2) Rafale’s canards add 3,6 m2 to wing’s own 45,7 m2. Further, they can be expected to improve maximum lift coefficient of wing by cca 9%. This results in effective wing area of 53,4 m2 and wing loading of 235,6 kg/m2. F-35s horizontal tail adds 11,8 m2 to wing’s own 42,7 m2, but does not make any further contribution. This results in effective wing area of 54,5 m2 and wing loading of 335,2 kg/m2. That is still a 42% difference. Further, Rafale’s wing trailling edge control surfaces have the same effect as the F-35s tail during sustained turn, but at less drag due to cleaner aft lines.
      2.3) In order to initiate a turn, F-35’s tail momentarily provides download before settling into a lift-producing position. Rafale’s canards momentarily provide upload before settling into a neutral position in which they create no lift by themselves, but improve wing lift and reduce drag. This also reduces need for Rafale’s elevons to provide download in order to initiate a turn, further improving instantaneous turn rate. Taking a look at the point above, this means that effective wing loading during instantaneous turn is 235,6 kg/m2 for Rafale and 591,3 kg/m2 for F-35 (151% difference), while effective wing loading for sustained turn is 252,7 kg/m2 for Rafale and 335,2 kg/m2 for the F-35 (33% difference).
      2.4) Rafale’s canards create an area of low pressure on forward part of the wing. This moves center of lift forward, increasing instability beyond the static instability already built into the aircraft. Further, unlike the static instability, dynamic instability does not shift to stability in supersonic flight. This results in significant subsonic, and especially supersonic, maneuvering advantage even before lower wing loading, higher thrust-to-weight ratio and tailless delta’s traditional planform advantages in supersonic maneuver (no interference drag, large amount of lift) are accounted for.
      2.5) Rafale, thanks to its combination of 48*-swept wing and LERX, has an effective wing sweep of 56*. F-35 has physical wing sweep of 35* and an effective wing sweep of either 39* or 55*, depending on how you count it.
      2.6) Rafale also does not have internal bomb bays or overemphasis on radar LO, both of which cause a large penalty in the F-35s baseline drag.
      2.7) Rafale has thrust-to-weight ratio of 1,01 at combat takeoff and 1,2 at combat weight, compared to the F-35s 0,87 at combat takeoff and 1,07 at combat weight. Combined with advantages noted in previous points (2.4-2.6), this results in significantly better acceleration and sustained turn capability.
      2.8) Rafale’s canards not only improve pitch onset and turn onset rates (2.2-2.4) but they also energize outer portion of the wing, thus improving roll onset rates. Combined, this gives Rafale a transient performance significantly superior to that of the F-35.
      3) Both external fuel tanks and most missiles are expended prior to the fight. Rafale in dogfighting configuration only has 2 wingtip IR missiles, and contrary to opinions of some people, properly integrated wingtip missiles (here I am discussing the F-16/Rafale/Gripen configuration) actually reduce drag when carried. F-35 on the other hand can either limit itself with internal carriage (which means that pilot has to wait for cca 1 second for doors to open) or carry wingtip missiles (which are carried not on tips of wings but on classical underwing hardpoints some distance away from wing tips, and thus do cause drag penalty). In addition to wingtip stations, Rafale also has two semi-conformal stations on body near the wing root; thus both the F-35 and Rafale carry 4 missiles in low-drag configuration, and both can carry a maximum of 10 missiles.
      4) Rafale can achieve Mach 1,8 and cruise at Mach 1,2-1,4 with 6 missiles. F-35 can achieve Mach 1,6 and cruise at Mach 0,95 with 4 internal missiles. This makes it quite clear that the F-35 has inferior acceleration (and thus lift-to-drag and thrust-to-drag ratios) compared to Rafale, even when both aircraft are in air-to-air configuration. Similarly, clean F-35 achieves only 17% greater combat radius than the air-to-air configured Rafale (1.082 vs 925 km), despite having 17% greater fuel fraction (0,369 vs 0,316 at combat takeoff weight) *and* 75% greater total internal fuel capacity (8.280 kg vs 4.720 kg).

      “The downforce producing Canards will only be loaded briefly at the initial moments of the turn then return to their down force producing idle position which will negate the rafale’s wing loading advantages.”

      Wrong on multiple points.
      1) Even canards returning to producing downforce will not eliminate Rafale’s wing loading advantage (Rafale’s wing loading with canard area subtracted from wing area would be 299 kg/m2, while F-35s wing loading with tail added to wing area would be 335 kg/m2).
      2) Rafale’s canards during sustained turns are at neutral position (0* AoA), where canards themselves produce no lift but do not produce downforce either.
      3) Even at neutral position, canards still improve wing’s own lift-to-drag ratio, thus increasing sustained turn rate.

      Close-coupled canards are called close-*coupled* because they are *coupled* to the wing. Thus your attempts at looking at canards separately from the parent wing are inherently wrong.

      “The F-35 on the other hand will produce lift from it’s massive horizontal stabs once on idle which a large majority of the time even in a turn.”

      And as shown above, it will reduce but not negate F-35s massive disadvantage against Rafale.

      “Its thrust is not impeded by draggy EFTs or Weapons.”

      EFTs are dropped prior to dogfight, weapons are far less draggy than you assume – especially in Rafale’s case.

      “It’s DAS will allow near 360 degree target acquisition, tracking and missile cuing”

      Which is special how?
      http://s25.postimg.org/vcgi9je7j/SPECTRA_ON_LOCKING_TARGET.jpg

      “Its much higher AOA limit will allow faster point and shoot maneuvers and will allow it to fire its weapons at the large RCS of the armed Rafale.”

      Operational AoA limit is 32* for Rafale (29* with centerline tank) and 18* for F-35 (plans are for it to be 50*, but when, or if, it will actually be implemented is an unknown at this point). Rafale achieved maximum angle of attack of 110* during testing, while F-35 achieved maximum angle of attack of 73* during testing.

      “Hands down the F-35 is better fighter than France’s best warplane”

      It doesn’t even come close to Rafale when it comes aerial combat, let alone surpassing it.