Cain Marko wrote:Disagree here. I pointed out in an earlier post that the 29's range issues were mainly a result of the poor fuel fraction.
Well, if you agreed with the earlier point, you need to agree with this as well.Go to the root cause. Why is the Fuel Fraction low in the Mig29 ? The Mig-29's low fuel fraction is not an accident, it is inherent to the configuration choice made. With twin engines (because it want to got the excess thrust route), the empty weight as a percentage of a comparable single engine plane is higher and that cuts into the fuel fraction. For eg, the F-18 A/B , another twin engine plane similar to the F-16 again has a low fuel fraction and small legs compared to the F-16 , though it is has FBW controls. F-18 is understandable because it needs two engines for carrier and open sea operations and reliability.
Cain Marko wrote:Not necessarily, the Mirage 2000s were already being inducted as Air superiority birds. The 29 came as a result of cheap price, possible arm twisting by the FSU, and of course the performance surely helped.
The problem with the Mirage 2000 is that it is 35KN under powered. The M-53 engine, a single spool engine is obsolete, despite the tech infusions from the M-88 giving it a 1 ton thrust increase from earlier in the later versions. There is no getting away from that fact, whatever you avionics upgrade you do with it. Fine as an interceptor , but in a sustained turning fight with an F-16 or Mig29, it will lose. You did need a pure air superiority bird and that is where the Mig29 came in.
Actually, range is hardly it's issue - the greatest problem lies in the fact that even without the CFTs it would have problems vs. the E'canards and probably the 35.
Without the conformal tanks, it will be seriously competitive. The Mig-35 in the MRCA would have come behind the Eurocanards (Rafale, Eurofighter and Gripen NG), behind the F-16 without conformal tanks (but i doubt that config was an entry at all in the MRCA, so it is theoretical) and F-18 bringing up the rear in terms of pure field performance.
But that solution might have worked wonderfully for a low-end MiG-21 replacement. As it is the even the MiG-21 is quite a menace after decent (not comprehensive) upgrades. The Roosis had in fact stuck a RD-33N in the MiG-21, and it's performance (range + acceleration) was supposedly remarkable.
This is looking back in hindsight and projecting 1997 to 1982. Back then, there were no off boresight missiles (okay the R-73 and HMS was the first, but no one knew of it ), and that was not factored into the equation. So yes, today, sustained turning ability like in the the early 80s is not critical, because of this and a less maneuverable platform like the Mirage 2000, the Bison etc are competitive.
The sticking the RD-93, with FBW and metal airframe is ta.da.. the JF-17 Bandar, and the Russians put the Mig-29 engine in the 21 only in 1997. That plane was obsolete right then and made sense only if you wanted an engine upgrade in addition to the avionics upgrade. Didn't make sense in 97/2000.
More importantly, there is little to suggest that the IAF wanted a Mig-21 sized bird with F-16 maneuverability, why would you want to? Increasingly maneuverability is somewhat overshadowed by BVR requirements - and the newer F-16s are a testament to this - not as maneuverable but certainly more in demand.
That is sorry not wisdom, but a Sanku-esque whizz-dumb of projecting 1994 with active radar R-77 and high off bore sight R-73 to 1982 when you needed to get into the 6'0' clock of your opponent to shoot and at best you had SARH missiles. The IAF ASR would have reflected that need to get into the enemy's 6.
Even if that is the case, no air force will let go of field performance and go purely for a missile truck. If that were the case, the plane with the absolute best avionics and weapons in the MRCA contest, the F-18 would have won hands down.
Vinaji, as backwards as the 29 was/is, it almost always would have had the upper hand vs. the Solah as the USAF found out against derated Luftwaffe fulcrums.
Yes, what they found out was that within visual range, the HMS+R73 combo of off bore sight is so changes the game that the WVR game is different now and they came up with the AIM-9X and JHMCS program. Need to keep that in perspective.
If you pit the early models of F-16 vs. the MiG-29, the fulcrum comes out on top thanks to its HMS, one small addition to an otherwise less sophisticated design, throws a wet blanket on the entire F-16's "sophisticated electric jet" reputation. Kya fayda? It is all great on paper, but the IAF couldn't care less.
It does! That is why it plonked for more maneuverable platforms (Eurocanards) and threw out the F-18 (best avionics and sensor) and the Mig-35 (middling in avionics and sensor and airframe) !
Tell me saar - where lies the advantage of pursuing technology for it's own sake? There is a broader perspective that the engineering mindset needs to be aware of - and I daresay the LCA folks missed this, at least to some extent. It is the same efficiency vs. efficacy argument.
Well unless you wanted to take off in a plane smaller than the Mig-21 with the same R-25 engine and carry 2 heat seeking and 2 radar guided missiles only , take off form Bangalore, do 9G turns over Hosur, 2 loops and then the fuel warning goes woot..woot and you turn tail and land back in HAL
and that is ALL you could do ,(not that the Mig 21 does much better as is, it can go just to probably Salem and do what I told now and turn tail) , the Mig-21 derived conventional layout was a dead end. And no, you didn't have the RD-93 in 1982.