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Who would win? Su-27, or F-16?

This is a discussion on Who would win? Su-27, or F-16? within the Air Force forums, part of the China Defense & Military category; Hey i've heard a lot of people say the Su-27 would beat the F-16, and a lot of people say ...

  1. #1
    sze_j86 is offline New Member
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    Who would win? Su-27, or F-16?

    Hey i've heard a lot of people say the Su-27 would beat the F-16, and a lot of people say the F-16 will beat the Su-27? Which is it?


  2. #2
    ahho is offline Junior Member
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    Re: Who would win? Su-27, or F-16?

    this really depend on the situation. if one side have awacs support, advantage does lean on the side with awacs. But basically it depends on the skill, weather and luck

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    Shingy is offline New Member
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    Re: Who would win? Su-27, or F-16?

    I think he might want to compare just the planes in which has superior technology and ignore other variables, or lets say that skill is generally the same etc?

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    Totoro is offline Senior Member
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    Re: Who would win? Su-27, or F-16?

    Lets take su27sk and f16 block 20.

    sukhoi has more powerful radar, would probably have better situational awareness, in multi aircraft engegements on both sides it could use that to position its forces better, unless we're talking about situation where awacs support is included, where sukhoi's radar advantage would be more than negated. RWRs would surely go off on both planes, giving some kind of info on broad area where enemy is, so f16 wouldn't be completely blind even at long range from sukhoi.

    But lets stick to one on one engagement. Though not a a great radar, apg66v3 on f16 should be good enough to, given sukhois rather large RCS, allow it to use amraams to more or less full extent. Perhaps not to 80-100 km but realistically no one uses missiles to their max range. Note i am assuming c5 version of amraam or better. With diff weapons situation would be different.

    sukhoi would use r-27 missiles as its main weapon at long ranges. While it would have to keep a radar lock to use the SARH version, it would probably fire off the IR version at the same time, just to increase its chances. Range on the basic version would be a little bit inferior to f16 but not by much (60-80 km) meaning its quite likely sukhoi would get to fire off its missiles before amraams get to it. Now, with SARH version that's not quite enough as if the sukhoi dies then the missile is useless too, but the IR version would remain on target, given its guidance isnt spoofed.

    Differnt loadouts are possible, of course. Sukhoi could be using enhanced range versions of r-27, possibly up to 120 km, giving it a slight edge, though probably not able to kill the f16 before it fires off its amraams. Or f16 could be using aim7m, a SARH missile quite comparable to r-27, with some 50-60 km range. Please do note that in real world scenarios, all these missiles would be fired at anywhere from 25-75% of their max range, depending on altitudes and course of both planes. Or, if the pilot is an idiot, they'd fire them at 90-100% range and most probably miss as the missile would lose all its energy even to do a simple turn by the time it closes to the target. There's also IFF problem that we didn't even take into account here, usually making the engagement distances even smaller.

    If for whatever reason both planes are alive to get to WVR, its aim9m versus r-73 would be relatively comparable though most people seem to give the r-73 an edge. While basic r-73 wouldnt be significantly better than aim9m, r-73m and subsequent versions do offer better seeker and added range. Still, a mutual kill would still quite possible as aim9m is a fine enough missile. With fight getting even closer, sukhois chances woulld improve, in my opinion as, though f16 has somewhat tighter cornering, combo of sukhois helmet sight and r73 slaved to it, especially r73m with even bigger offbore lock on envelope could prove decisive.

    Of course, differnt versions of f16 and su27 would could offer different results. I chose mentioned versions for a reason though

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    googeler is offline New Member
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    Re: Who would win? Su-27, or F-16?

    sukhoi has more powerful radar, would probably have better situational awareness
    Not in the mentioned scenario (27SK versus Block 20) SK has a basic cockpit, while Block 20 has a Block 50/MLU style cockpit. Situational awareness isn't only about the radar's range, it's also about how easy is for the pilot to perceive the tactical situation and react accordingly- that's where the MFDs, HOTAS,... play their most important role

    BVR: With proper jamming and AMRAAM C-5 a Block 20 can kill any Su (unless it has R-77). Nobody should take those (russian-supplied) numbers about the R-27 as good, we all know their poor performance in Ethiopia-Eritrea war.

    WWR: R-73 has off-boresight capability on its side, but is very flare-hungry. AIM-9M8/9 has better ECCM, but less maneuvrability.

    Anyway, especially in WWR the best pilot (better trained, more hours, better motivated and, why not, more talented) WILL ALWAYS WIN.

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    Totoro is offline Senior Member
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    Re: Who would win? Su-27, or F-16?

    Scenario variables were no support airplanes (awacs, jammers etc) one on one engagement, same quality pilot.

    With that in mind, it i my belief that su27 pilot would be able to track a single f16 quite nicely and not lag behind f16. In a more stressful situations, with lots of planes coming from various directions, situation might be different but that's not the mentioned scenario. Hotas is also nice but less important in bvr than in wvr. (tracking someone 50-100 km further than he can track you is still a big step towards sit awareness, though of course the more planes you track the better system for showing you information you have to have)

    Analysis was given based on figures being used all around. We can choose not to believe those figures but then we have to have another set of figures instead. I for one believe that r-27s larger volume is quite possible to offer the mentioned ranges, when compared to other (both russian and western) missiles.

    r-27 lack of success in ethiopia/erithrea war could've easely been due bad pilots. Like it was said before, if you fire off a missile at 90% of its max range, you will almost certainly miss. I am not saying its a missile that is comparable to aim120, but it certainly is comparable to aim7m

    Both r73 and aim9m have their subversions. They have both been improved over their lifetimes. I do accept sidewinder has somewhat better eccm but r73 also has its perks. In the end it can even out, especially since we have one on one engagement where pilot can afford to shoot all its missiles if that's gonna help him survive.

  7. #7
    googeler is offline New Member
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    Re: Who would win? Su-27, or F-16?

    I agree on most points, except the R-27.
    Sorry, I tend to believe facts, not PR stuff from a Russian company (or any company for that matter)
    Of course we need some numbers as a refference, but it's hard to choose a set from the ones available. For example here:http://www.fabulousfulcrums.de/index_e.html
    you can find much lower numbers for R-27 (AA-10) range than the ones usually stated by its manufacturer - does the Luftwaffe lie? I don't think so - foremost for lack of a valid reason in this particular case. Indeed the R-27 is big, but it also has much more drag than any modern missile

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    Totoro is offline Senior Member
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    Re: Who would win? Su-27, or F-16?

    Actually that article you provided link for has some quite consistent data. I do believe ranges provided there are true, but they're in different category. They match the useful ranges, whereas we're (And manufacturers, of course) talking about maximum theoretical ranges. For each of the quoted ranges there, if you multiply them with average modifiers of 2-2.5 (difference between firing something from low alt and firing it from 10-15 km) you will get the usually quoted max range figures. I checked it and it applies for every single missile listed there.

    As far as more drag goes, sure, there's more drag. drag is aerodynamic coefficient * surface area * air density * speed squared. Induced drag is hard to count for but surface area drag is easy to calculate. r27 body cross section is 415.5 cm2 versus 323.65 cm2 on sparrow. So sparrow has some 78% surface that r27 has. Also, r27s fins are some 13cm longer. However, we don't know how thick they are (low sweep angle usually means a very thin wing for supersonics) nor do we know just how efficiently designed all those components are, whats the induced drag they make. Also, higher altitude and lower air density means less difference in drag. and there's huge difference in air density at 10 km compared to 1km altitude. It is certain that r27 max ranges for high and low altitudes would be more different than those of aim7.

    Now, fuel. r27 has 0.169 cubic meters of volume, while aim7 has 0.116. aim7 has 69% of volume that r27 has. warhead is comparable on both, if assumed similar characteristics of fuel motor and electronics systems - it is not unimaginable that r27, in theoretical conditions, has some 10% bigger range than aim7 does. At lower altitudes, the difference would probably diminish.

    I still maintain r27 is a fine enough missile with some life left in its design. It'd be even better if it had a datalink for course corrections and lock on after launch mode for its IR (or better yet, IIR) version. Maybe some future version...

  9. #9
    adeptitus is offline Senior Member
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    Re: Who would win? Su-27, or F-16?

    Quote Originally Posted by googeler
    I agree on most points, except the R-27.
    Sorry, I tend to believe facts, not PR stuff from a Russian company (or any company for that matter)
    Of course we need some numbers as a refference, but it's hard to choose a set from the ones available. For example here:http://www.fabulousfulcrums.de/index_e.html
    you can find much lower numbers for R-27 (AA-10) range than the ones usually stated by its manufacturer - does the Luftwaffe lie? I don't think so - foremost for lack of a valid reason in this particular case. Indeed the R-27 is big, but it also has much more drag than any modern missile
    When the manufacturer advertise range, it's max effective range under optimal conditions. In reality the engagement range of an AAM depends on many factors, such as altitude, flight profile, etc. See here:
    http://www.canit.se/~griffon/aviatio...siles/aam.html

    Quote:
    "To take one example, the Vympel R-77 has a stated range of 100 km against a head-on target at high altitude, but only 25 km in a stern chase. At low altitude it can fire at head-on targets at 20 km, from which we can guess range in a stern chase is 5 km. (See the above diagram.)
    And this is presumably against targets that don't try to evade."


    As for the listed range for R-27/AA-10, that depends on which model and what seeker head. As you know Russians tend to export downgraded (or earlier) versions, keeping the best to themselves.

    The web page you cited presents a more realistic 'average" engagement range, to Vympel's advertised max effective range for high-altitude head-on engagements. The same rules would apply to US-made missiles. The AIM-120C-5 has published range of 110km+, but that's also under optimal conditions, not low-altutde stern chase with the other guy trying to evade.

    ==============

    As for Su-27SK vs. F-16A/B, from cockpit control point of view, the F-16 pilot has a leg up. The Su-27SK pilot has to flip/turn/click a lot more buttons to engage a target and fire the missile, vs the F-16 pilot's controls are more computerized and automated:

    http://www.airforce-technology.com/p...u27/su274.html
    http://aeroweb.lucia.it/rap/Cockpits/su27-cp1.html

    http://uscockpits.com/Jet%20Fighters...5%20front2.JPG
    http://uscockpits.com/Jet%20Fighters...Block%2025.JPG

    From raw power/performance point of view, if the Su-27SK is using high-octane aviation fuel with unrestricted (not de-tuned) powerplant, it'd prolly fly circles around the F-16A. In close-range dogflight, I wouldn't want to be in the F-16 cockpit with that IRST ball tracking my butt.

    The German MiG-29's used lower octane fuel with de-tuned engines to prolong the engine and airframe lifespan. They are not represenative of Russian AF MiG-29's performance.

  10. #10
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    crobato is offline Senior Member
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    Re: Who would win? Su-27, or F-16?

    BVR is way overrated. The longest distance kill ever achieved is like 40km. Most kills with BVRAAMs are more likely to occur between 15 to 40km.

    Also SARH missiles are very deadly at closer ranges (R-27 vs R-77, Sparrow vs. AMRAAM). The reason for this is that the fighter's radar emits far greater energy than the radar of the missile's seeker. While in the wing, the SARH missile seeker would lock a lot faster than the ARH missile seeker which is going to take some latency "seeking" the target before it gets a lock on. The SARH missile on the other hand, can be "snap" fired.

    Once fired, the SARH missile does not reveal its position to the target's RWR because it is completely passive. The target's RWR will only tell you where the direction of the radiating fighter and how close the fighter's radar that is X-raying the target. This means you won't know how to evade the incoming missile. The ARH missile could alert the RWR when it goes active and where it's coming from, allowing the target for an evasive maneuver.

    The Chinese Su-27SKs all have modifications to allow for R-77 use, as reported by Jane's. However, they don't seem to have enough R-77s around, since it is probably allocated first to the Su-30s. The ROC F-16 Block 20 does not have enough AMRAAMs either, and have to rely more on AIM-7s, but that does not distract from the lethality of the late model AIM-7 when used in closer ranged "snap" tactics.

    The Mirage 2000-5 should be more of a worry to the PLAAF because of the far larger stockpile of MICAs, and the fact these planes can engaged four targets simultaneously. The FCK-1 and the Block 20 can only engage 2, the Su-30MKK and the modified Su-27SK can only engage 2.

    Between the Su-27SK and the F-16 Block 20, it's one of brute force vs. finesse.

  11. #11
    googeler is offline New Member
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    Re: Who would win? Su-27, or F-16?

    BVR is way overrated
    I'd rather say that it finally reached maturity.
    The ARH missile could alert the RWR when it goes active and where it's coming from, allowing the target for an evasive maneuver.
    Let's not forget that there are 2 types of ARH missiles
    -some use inertial navigation (some with mid-course updates from the launching fighter) and go active only in the final part of the trajectory (10-15 miles) - that's the case with AMRAAM
    -other are active off the rail - for the whole flight, such as Derby.
    I'd say at longer ranges the first method is desirable.
    Also, the latest USAF BVR tactics (Kosovo 99, OSW,ONW) are similar to the PVO ripple fire - they usually launch 2 AMRAAMs. If the target evades the first missile, it will be low on energy and unable to evade the second one - happened at least twice with Serbian MiG-29s

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    crobato is offline Senior Member
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    Re: Who would win? Su-27, or F-16?

    Quote Originally Posted by googeler
    I'd rather say that it finally reached maturity.
    I kind of doubt that. I still think BVR is overrated, especially when it comes to range.

    Let's not forget that there are 2 types of ARH missiles
    -some use inertial navigation (some with mid-course updates from the launching fighter) and go active only in the final part of the trajectory (10-15 miles) - that's the case with AMRAAM
    -other are active off the rail - for the whole flight, such as Derby.
    I'd say at longer ranges the first method is desirable.
    You are wrong in a way.

    What you are describing are two modes of operation that exists in all BVR missiles. They exist in one missile, not two kinds.

    Also, the latest USAF BVR tactics (Kosovo 99, OSW,ONW) are similar to the PVO ripple fire - they usually launch 2 AMRAAMs. If the target evades the first missile, it will be low on energy and unable to evade the second one - happened at least twice with Serbian MiG-29s
    Old strategy. They are already doing this in Vietnam. You can do this with SARH and it will be just as deadly. Everyone playing in a PC or console flight sim fights like this and knows this as a basic tactic.

  13. #13
    googeler is offline New Member
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    Re: Who would win? Su-27, or F-16?

    crobato wrote:
    I still think BVR is overrated, especially when it comes to range.
    Yes, ranges are overrated; but the system as a whole is very effective and cannot be discounted in any modern military operation which involves airpower. BVR is here to stay and it will only get better.

    What you are describing are two modes of operation that exists in all BVR missiles. They exist in one missile, not two kinds.
    OK, but you can't launch an AMRAAM at its max (useful) range active off the rail - its on-board radar simply doesn't have that kind of range

    Everyone playing in a PC or console flight sim fights like this and knows this as a basic tactic.
    Sorry, i'm not a gamer. I just wanted to emphasize that in the real world they don't rely on the "one shot, one kill" theory when it comes to BVR.

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    Sea Dog is offline Junior Member
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    Re: Who would win? Su-27, or F-16?

    This is a rather difficult matchup. But I think it goes without saying that a Su-27 could easily get it's nose around quicker on an F-16 from a neutral setup (head-on). The problem is the Su-27 quickly loses most or all of it's energy in that kind of turn and loses it's ability to rate it's nose until it gets some of that energy back. The F-16 on the other hand is highly agile and is able to rate it's nose at low speed because of it's inherent high thrust engine and lower weight design which allows quicker acceleration. Also the limiters on the F-16 will not allow it to do the high AoA energy depleting turn that the Sukhoi jet can do.

    If we're talking guns only, I would say that the Su-27 would probably come out on top if it could get around quickly within range and fire an accurate burst of gunfire. But if the F-16 guy is good, he'd probably maneuver out of plane and come over on top of a low energy Sukhoi trying to accelerate to gain enough energy for another turn.

    Again, when comparing designs like this, it mostly comes back to pilot skill.

  15. #15
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    crobato is offline Senior Member
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    Re: Who would win? Su-27, or F-16?

    The thrust to weight ratio of the Su-27 is quite high once you're half fuel so it does recover speed quickly. And the Su-27 doesn't lose speed easily from what I've heard except on high AoA maneuvers, but then everything does lose speed in high AoA maneuvers. You either can do a high AoA maneuver or you don't. Given you have more ample fuel, the Su-27 can afford to use its afterburners more.

    Its main disadvantage is the large size, which makes it easier to eyeball, and the single engined jet probably rolls faster, so it's in the advantage of the F-16 pilot to do scissors or barrel rolls. Without HMS, the F-16 pilot has a definite disadvantage.

    The aggressor pilots in the PLAAF would probably know best how to beat an Su-27. as they know how to do it even with a J-7E.

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