Well back to this matchup. After the success of the Soviet Navy in seizing Iceland in "Polar Glory", and they after seizing the airstrip immediately sent a regiment of Mig 29's to help in holding the island and to assist in Backfire escort as the Soviet bombers attacked the convoys trying to resupply NATO as they tried to stop the Soviet Army as it attacked near Hannover. in Iceland the Mig 29's savaged an unescorted B-52 raid that was trying to shut down the Huge airbase that the Soviets captured. The Migs along with the SAM-11(more on that another post) defended the island. The F-18 and the Mig 29 are similar configuration and are similar in profile making identification difficult. The regiment of Migs did comport themselves well against the F-14's and the F-18's. The regiment was lured away from the island during an attack by using B-52 jammers that made the Soviet believe that the island was going to be attacked by the B-52's again and Soviet doctrine stresses "get the Bombers", so the Migs ignored the American fighters and went after the bombers. Well there were no bombers...just a bunch of F-14's with Phoenix and Sparrow missiles and most of the regiment was shot down. the last Migs were shot down on the final attack on the island as the Navy launched the mission to retake the island and prevent the Backfires from going after the convoys. Once the island was in allied hands the Backfires would no longer have a friendly base to fly over and attack the convoys.
The McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet is a twin-engine supersonic, all-weather carrier-capable multirole combat jet, designed as both a fighter and attack aircraft (hence the F/A designation). Designed by McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing) and Northrop, the F/A-18 was derived from the latter's YF-17 in the 1970s for use by the United States Navy and Marine Corps. The Hornet is also used by the air forces of several other nations and, since 1986, by the U.S. Navy's Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels.
The F/A-18 has a top speed of Mach 1.8 (1,034 knots, 1,190 mph or 1,915 km/h at 40,000 ft or 12,200 m). It can carry a wide variety of bombs and missiles, including air-to-air and air-to-ground, supplemented by the 20-mm M61 Vulcan cannon. It is powered by two General Electric F404 turbofan engines, which give the aircraft a high thrust-to-weight ratio. The F/A-18 has excellent aerodynamic characteristics, primarily attributed to its leading edge extensions. The fighter's primary missions are fighter escort, fleet air defense, Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses (SEAD), air interdiction, close air support, and aerial reconnaissance. Its versatility and reliability have proven it to be a valuable carrier asset, though it has been criticized for its lack of range and payload compared to its earlier contemporaries, such as the Grumman F-14 Tomcat in the fighter and strike fighter role, and the Grumman A-6 Intruder and LTV A-7 Corsair II in the attack role.
The Hornet first saw combat action during the 1986 United States bombing of Libya and subsequently participated in the 1991 Gulf War and 2003 Iraq War. The F/A-18 Hornet provided the baseline design for the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, its larger, evolutionary redesign.
The U.S. Navy started the Naval Fighter-Attack, Experimental (VFAX) program to procure a multirole aircraft to replace the Douglas A-4 Skyhawk, the A-7 Corsair II, and the remaining McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom IIs, and to complement the F-14 Tomcat. Vice Admiral Kent Lee, then head of Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR), was the lead advocate for the VFAX against strong opposition from many Navy officers, including Vice Admiral William D. Houser, deputy chief of naval operations for air warfare – the highest ranking naval aviator.
In August 1973, Congress mandated that the Navy pursue a lower-cost alternative to the F-14. Grumman proposed a stripped F-14 designated the F-14X, while McDonnell Douglas proposed a naval variant of the F-15, but both were nearly as expensive as the F-14.That summer, Secretary of Defense Schlesinger ordered the Navy to evaluate the competitors in the Air Force's Lightweight Fighter (LWF) program, the General Dynamics YF-16 and Northrop YF-17.The Air Force competition specified a day fighter with no strike capability. In May 1974, the House Armed Services Committee redirected $34 million from the VFAX to a new program, the Navy Air Combat Fighter (NACF) intended to make maximum use of the technology developed for the LWF program.
The F/A-18 is a twin engine, mid wing, multi-mission tactical aircraft. It is highly maneuverable, owing to its good thrust to weight ratio, digital fly-by-wirecontrol system, and leading-edge extensions (LEX). The LEX allow the Hornet to remain controllable at high angles of attack. The trapezoidal wing has a 20-degree sweepback on the leading edge and a straight trailing edge. The wing has full-span leading-edge flaps and the trailing edge has single-slotted flaps and ailerons over the entire span.
Canted vertical stabilizers are another distinguishing design element, one among several other such elements that enable the Hornet's excellent high angle of attack ability include oversized horizontal stabilators, oversized trailing edge flaps that operate as flaperons, large full-length leading-edge flaps, and flight control computer programming that multiplies the movement of each control surface at low speeds and moves the vertical rudders inboard instead of simply left and right. The Hornet's normally high angle of attack performance envelope was put to rigorous testing and enhanced in the NASA F-18 High Alpha Research Vehicle (HARV). NASA used the F-18 HARV to demonstrate flight handling characteristics at high angle-of-attack (alpha) of 65–70 degrees using thrust vectoring vanes. F/A-18 stabilators were also used as canards on NASA's F-15S/MTD.
The Hornet was among the first aircraft to heavily use multi-function displays, which at the switch of a button allow a pilot to perform either fighter or attack roles or both. This "force multiplier" ability gives the operational commander more flexibility to employ tactical aircraft in a fast-changing battle scenario. It was the first Navy aircraft to incorporate a digital multiplexing avionics bus, enabling easy upgrades.
The Hornet is also notable for having been designed to reduce maintenance, and as a result has required far less downtime than its heavier counterparts, the F-14 Tomcat and the A-6 Intruder. Its mean time between failures is three times greater than any other Navy strike aircraft, and requires half the maintenance time. Its General Electric F404 engines were also innovative in that they were designed with operability, reliability and maintainability first. The engine, while unexceptional in rated performance, demonstrates exceptional robustness under various conditions and is resistant to stall and flameout. The F404 engine connects to the airframe at only 10 points and can be replaced without special equipment; a four-person team can remove the engine within 20 minutes.
The engine air inlets of the Hornet, like that of the F-16, are of a simpler "fixed" design, while those of the F-4, F-14, and F-15 have variable geometry or variable intake ramp air inlets. This is a speed limiting factor in the Hornet design. Instead, the Hornet uses bleed air vents on the inboard surface of the engine air intake ducts to slow and reduce the amount of air reaching the engine. While not as effective as variable geometry, the bleed air technique functions well enough to achieve near Mach number 2 speeds, which is within the designed mission requirements.
A 1989 USMC study found that single-seat fighters were well suited to air-to-air combat missions while dual-seat fighters were favored for complex strike missions against heavy air and ground defenses in adverse weather—the question being not so much as to whether a second pair of eyes would be useful, but as to having the second crewman sit in the same fighter or in a second fighter. Single-seat fighters that lacked wingmen were shown to be especially vulnerable.
McDonnell Douglas rolled out the first F/A-18A on 13 September 1978 in blue-on-white colors marked with "Navy" on the left and "Marines" on the right. Its first flight was on 18 November. In a break with tradition, the Navy pioneered the "principal site concept" with the F/A-18, where almost all testing was done at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, instead of near the site of manufacture, and using Navy and Marine Corps test pilots instead of civilians early in development. In March 1979, Lt. Cdr. John Padgett became the first Navy pilot to fly the F/A-18.
Following trials and operational testing by VX-4 and VX-5, Hornets began to fill the Fleet Replacement Squadrons (FRS) VFA-125, VFA-106, and VMFAT-101, where pilots are introduced to the F/A-18. The Hornet entered operational service with Marine Corps squadron VMFA-314 at MCAS El Toro on 7 January 1983, and with Navy squadron VFA-25 in March 1984, replacing F-4s and A-7Es, respectively.
Navy strike-fighter squadrons VFA-25 and VFA-113 (assigned to CVW-14) deployed aboard USS Constellation (CV 64) from February to August 1985, marking the first deployment for the F/A-18.
The initial fleet reports were complimentary, indicating that the Hornet was extraordinarily reliable, a major change from its predecessor, the F-4J. Other squadrons that switched to F/A-18 are VFA-146 "Blue diamonds", and VFA-147 "Argonauts". In January 1985, the VFA-131 "Wildcats" and the VFA-132 "Privateers" moved from Naval Air Station Lemoore, California to Naval Air Station Cecil Field, Florida, and became the Atlantic Fleet's first F/A-18 squadrons.
Data from U.S. Navy fact file, Frawley Directory, Great Book
- Crew: F/A-18C: 1, F/A-18D: 2 (pilot and weapon systems officer)
- Length: 56 ft (17.1 m)
- Wingspan: 40 ft (12.3 m)
- Height: 15 ft 4 in (4.7 m)
- Wing area: 400 ft² (38 m²)
- Airfoil: NACA 65A005 mod root, 65A003.5 mod tip
- Aspect ratio: 4.0
- Empty weight: 23,000 lb (10,400 kg)
- Loaded weight: 36,970 lb (16,770 kg)
- Max. takeoff weight: 51,900 lb (23,500 kg)
- Fuel capacity: 10,860 pounds (4,930 kg) internally
- Powerplant: 2 × General Electric F404-GE-402 turbofans
- Maximum speed:
- High altitude: Mach 1.8 (1,034 knots, 1,190 mph, 1,915 km/h) at 40,000 ft (12,190 m)
- Low altitude: Mach 1.2 (795 knots, 915 mph, 1,473 km/h)
- Range: 1,089 nmi (1,250 miles, 2,000 km) with only two AIM-9s
- Combat radius: 400 nmi (460 mi (740 km)) on air-air mission
- Ferry range: 1,800 nmi (2,070 mi (3,330 km))
- Service ceiling: 50,000 ft (15,240 m)
- Rate of climb: 50,000 ft/min (254 m/s)
- Wing loading: 93 lb/ft² (454 kg/m²)
- Thrust/weight: 0.96 (1.13 with loaded weight & 50% internal fuel)
- Guns: 1× 20 mm (0.787 in) M61A1 Vulcan nose mounted 6-barrel Rotary cannon, 578 rounds
- Hardpoints: 9 total: 2× wingtips missile launch rail, 4× under-wing, and 3× under-fuselage with a capacity of 13,700 pounds (6,200 kg) external fuel and ordnance
- Rockets: **2.75 inches (70 mm) Hydra 70 rockets
- 5 in (127.0 mm) Zuni rockets
- Missiles: **Air-to-air missiles:
- Air-to-surface missiles:
- Anti-ship missile:
- SUU-42A/A Flares/Infrared decoys dispenser pod and chaff pod or
- Electronic countermeasures (ECM) pod or
- AN/AAS-38 Nite Hawk Targeting pods (US Navy only), to be replaced by AN/ASQ-228 ATFLIR or
- LITENING targeting pod (USMC, Royal Australian Air Force, Spanish Air Force, and Finnish Air Force only) or
- up to 3× 330 US gallons (1,200 l; 270 imp gal) Sargent Fletcher drop tanks for ferry flight or extended range/loitering time.
- Hughes APG-73 radar
- ROVER (Remotely Operated Video Enhanced Receiver) antenna for use by US Navy's F/A-18C strike fighter squadrons
The Mikoyan MiG-29 (Russian: Микоян МиГ-29; NATO reporting name: "Fulcrum") is a twin-engine jet fighter aircraft designed in the Soviet Union. Developed by the Mikoyan design bureau as an air superiority fighter during the 1970s, the MiG-29, along with the larger Sukhoi Su-27, was developed to counter new American fighters such as the McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle, and the General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon. The MiG-29 entered service with the Soviet Air Force in 1982.
While originally oriented towards combat against any enemy aircraft, many MiG-29s have been furnished as multirole fighters capable of performing a number of different operations, and are commonly outfitted to use a range of air-to-surface armaments and precision munitions. The MiG-29 has been manufactured in several major variants, including the multirole Mikoyan MiG-29M and the navalised Mikoyan MiG-29K; the most advanced member of the family to date is the Mikoyan MiG-35. Later models frequently feature improved engines, glass cockpits with HOTAS-compatible flight controls, modern radar and IRST sensors, and considerably increased fuel capacity; some aircraft have also been equipped for aerial refuelling.
Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the militaries of a number of former Soviet republics have continued to operate the MiG-29, the largest of which is the Russian Air Force. The Russian Air Force wanted to upgrade its existing fleet to the modernised MiG-29SMT configuration, but financial difficulties have limited deliveries. The MiG-29 has also been a popular export aircraft; more than 30 nations either operate or have operated the aircraft to date, India being one of the largest export operators of the type. As of 2013, the MiG-29 is in production by Mikoyan, a subsidiary of United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) since 2006.
In the mid 1960s, the United States Air Force (USAF) encountered difficulties over the skies of Vietnam when supersonic fighter bombers like the F-105 Thunderchief which had been optimized for low altitude bombing were found to be vulnerable to older MiG-17s and more advanced MiGs which were much more maneuverable. In order to regain the sort of air superiority enjoyed over Korea, the Americans refocused on air combat using the F-4 Phantom, while the MiG-23 was the Soviet response to the American multi-role fighter. Towards the end of the 1960s, the USAF started the "F-X" program to produce a fighter dedicated to air superiority, which led to the McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle being ordered for production in late 1969.
At the height of the Cold War, a Soviet response was necessary to avoid the possibility of a new American fighter gaining a serious technological advantage over existing Soviet fighters. Thus the development of a new air superiority fighter became a priority. In 1969, the Soviet General Staff issued a requirement for a Perspektivnyy Frontovoy Istrebitel (PFI, roughly "Advanced Frontline Fighter"). Specifications were extremely ambitious, calling for long range, good short-field performance (including the ability to use austere runways), excellent agility, Mach 2+ speed, and heavy armament. The Russian aerodynamics institute TsAGI worked in collaboration with the Sukhoi design bureau on the aircraft's aerodynamics.
By 1971, however, Soviet studies determined the need for different types of fighters. The PFI program was supplemented with the Perspektivnyy Lyogkiy Frontovoy Istrebitel (LPFI, or "Advanced Lightweight Tactical Fighter") program; the Soviet fighter force was planned to be approximately 33% PFI and 67% LPFI. PFI and LPFI paralleled the USAF's decision that created the "Lightweight Fighter" program and the General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon and Northrop YF-17. The PFI fighter was assigned to Sukhoi, resulting in the Sukhoi Su-27, while the lightweight fighter went to Mikoyan. Detailed design work on the resultant Mikoyan Product 9, designated MiG-29A, began in 1974, with the first flight taking place on 6 October 1977. The pre-production aircraft was first spotted by United States reconnaissance satellites in November of that year; it was dubbed Ram-L because it was observed at the Zhukovsky flight test center near the town of Kamenskoye.
The workload split between TPFI and LPFI became more apparent as the MiG-29 filtered into front line service with the Soviet Air Forces (Russian: Voenno-Vozdushnye Sily [VVS]) in the mid-1980s. While the heavy, long range Su-27 was tasked with the more exotic and dangerous role of deep air-to-air sweeps of NATO high-value assets, the smaller MiG-29 directly replaced the MiG-23 in the frontal aviation role. Features such as rugged landing gear and protective intake grates allowed MiG-29 operations from damaged or under-prepared airstrips that Soviet war planners expected to encounter during a rapid armored advance.
In the West, the new fighter was given the NATO reporting name "Fulcrum-A" because the pre-production MiG-29A, which should have logically received this designation, remained unknown in the West at that time. The Soviet Union did not assign official names to most of its aircraft, although nicknames were common. Unusually, some Soviet pilots found the MiG-29’s NATO reporting name, "Fulcrum", to be a flattering description of the aircraft’s intended purpose, and it is sometimes unofficially used in Russian service.
The MiG-29B was widely exported in downgraded versions, known as MiG-29B 9-12A and MiG-29B 9-12B for Warsaw Pact and non-Warsaw Pact nations respectively, with less capable avionics and no capability for delivering nuclear weapons. Total production was about 840 aircraft.
In the 1980s, Mikoyan developed the improved MiG-29S to use longer range R-27E and R-77 air-to-air missiles. It added a dorsal 'hump' to the upper fuselage to house a jamming system and some additional fuel capacity. The weapons load was increased to 4,000 kg (8,800 lb) with airframe strengthening. These features were included in new-built fighters and upgrades to older MiG-29s.
Refined versions of the MiG-29 with improved avionics were fielded by the Soviet Union, but Mikoyan’s multirole variants, including a carrier-based version designated MiG-29K, were never produced in large numbers. Development of the MiG-29K carrier version was suspended for over a decade before being resumed; the type went into service with the Indian Navy's INS Vikramaditya, and Russian Navy's Admiral Kuznetsov class aircraft carrier.
In the post-Soviet era, MiG-29 development was influenced by the Mikoyan bureau's apparent lesser political clout than rival Sukhoi. Mikoyan had developed improved versions of the MiG-29, called MiG-29M/M2 and MiG-29SMT. On 15 April 2014, the Russian Air Force placed an order for a batch of 16 MiG-29 SMT fighters.
There have been several upgrade programmes conducted for the MiG-29. Common upgrades include the adoption of NATO/ICAO standard-compatible avionics, service life extensions to 4,000 flight hours, safety enhancements, greater combat capabilities and reliability. In 2005, the Russian Aircraft Corporation “MiG” established a unified family of 4++ generation multirole fighters: the aircraft carrier–based MiG-29K, front-line MiG-29M and MiG-35 fighters.
The baseline MiG-29B has a Phazotron RLPK-29 radar fire control system which includes the N019 Sapfir 29 look-down/shoot-down coherent pulse-Doppler radarand the Ts100.02-02 digital computer. Tracking range against a fighter-sized target was only about 70 km (38 nmi) in the frontal aspect and 35 km (19 nmi) in the rear aspect.
The N019 radar was not a new design, but rather a development of the Sapfir-23ML architecture used on the MiG-23ML. During the initial design specification period in the mid-1970s, Phazotron NIIR was tasked with producing a modern radar for the MiG-29. To speed development, Phazotron based its new design on work undertaken by NPO Istok on the experimental "Soyuz" radar program. Accordingly, the N019 was originally intended to have a flat planar array antenna and full digital signal processing, for a detection and tracking range of at least 100 km against a fighter-sized target. Prototype testing revealed this could not be attained in the required timeframe and still fit within the MiG-29's nose. Rather than design a new radar, Phazotron reverted to a version of the Sapfir-23ML's twisted-polarization cassegrain antenna and traditional analog signal processors, coupled with a new NII Argon-designed Ts100 digital computer to save time and cost. This produced a working radar system, but inherited the weak points of the earlier design, plaguing the MiG-29's ability to detect and track airborne targets at ranges available with the R-27 and R-77missiles. New radars like the digital N010 Zhuk-M have addressed the signal processing shortcomings of the analog design.
The N019 was further compromised by Phazotron designer Adolf Tolkachev’s betrayal of the radar to the CIA, for which he was executed in 1986. In response to all of these problems, the Soviets hastily developed a modified N019M Topaz radar for the upgraded MiG-29S aircraft. However, VVS was reportedly still not satisfied with the performance of the system and demanded another upgrade. The latest upgraded aircraft offered the N010 Zhuk-M, which has a planar array antenna rather than a dish, improving range, and a much superior processing ability, with multiple-target engagement capability and compatibility with the Vympel R-77 (or RVV-AE). Most MiG-29 continue to use the analog N019 or N019M radar, VVS has indicated its desire to upgrade all MiG-29s to a fully digital system.
A useful feature the MiG-29 shares with the Su-27 is the S-31E2 KOLS, a combined laser rangefinder and IRST in an "eyeball" mount forward of the cockpit canopy.
Armament for the MiG-29 includes a single GSh-30-1 30 mm cannon in the port wing root. This originally had a 150-round magazine, which was reduced to 100 rounds in later variants. Original production MiG-29B aircraft cannot fire the cannon when carrying a centerline fuel tank as it blocks the shell ejection port. This was corrected in the MiG-29S and later versions. Three pylons are provided under each wing (four in some variants), for a total of six (or eight). The inboard pylons can carry either a 1,150 liter (300 US gal) fuel tank, one Vympel R-27 (AA-10 "Alamo") medium-range air-to-air missile, or unguided bombs or rockets. Some Soviet aircraft could carry a single nuclear bomb on the port inboard station. The outer pylons usually carry R-73 (AA-11 "Archer") dogfight missiles, although some users still retain the older R-60 (AA-8 "Aphid"). A single 1,500-litre (400 US gal) tank can be fitted to the centerline, between the engines, for ferry flights, but this position is not used for combat stores.
While the MiG-29's true capabilities could only be estimated from the time it first appeared In 1977 until the mid-1980s, a combination of persistent intelligence and increasing access afforded by the Soviet foreign sales effort allowed a true appreciation of its capabilities. Early MiG-29s were very agile aircraft, capable of rivalling the performance of contemporary F-18 and F-16 aircraft. However, their relatively low fuel capacity relegated them to short-range air defense missions. Lacking HOTAS and an inter-aircraft data link, and requiring a very intensive "heads-down" approach to operating cockpit controls, the early MiG-29 denied pilots the kind of situational awareness routinely enjoyed by pilots operating comparable US aircraft. Analysts and Western pilots who flew examples of the MiG-29 thought this likely prevented even very good pilots from harnessing the plane's full combat capability. Later MiG-29s were upgraded to improve their capabilities. The Soviet Union exported MiG-29s to several countries. Because 4th-generation fighter jets require the pilots to have extensive training, air-defense infrastructure, and constant maintenance and upgrades, MiG-29s have had mixed operational history with different air forces.
Data from MiG specifications
- Crew: 1
- Length: 17.37 m (57 ft)
- Wingspan: 11.4 m (37 ft 3 in)
- Height: 4.73 m (15 ft 6 in)
- Wing area: 38 m² (409 ft²)
- Empty weight: 11,000 kg (24,250 lb)
- Loaded weight: 15,300 kg (33,730 lb)
- Max. takeoff weight: 20,000 kg (44,100 lb)
- Fuel capacity: 3,500 kg. (7,716 lbs.) internal
- Powerplant: 2 × Klimov RD-33 afterburning turbofans, 8,300 kgf (81.4 kN, 18,300 lbf) each
- Maximum speed: Mach 2.25 (2,400 km/h, 1,490 mph) At low altitude: Mach 1.2 (1,500 km/h, 930 mph)
- Range: 1,430 km (772 nmi, 888 mi) with maximum internal fuel
- Ferry range: 2,100 km (1,300 mi) with external drop tanks
- Service ceiling: 18,013 m (59,100 ft)
- Rate of climb: initial 330 m/s average 109 m/s 0–6000 m (65,000 ft/min)
- Wing loading: 403 kg/m² (82 lb/ft²)
- Thrust/weight: 1.09
- Maximum design g-load: +9 g
- 1 x 30 mm GSh-30-1 cannon with 150 rounds
- 7 Hard points: 6 x pylons under-wing, 1 x under fuselage
- Up to 3,500 kg (7,720 lb) of weapons including six air-to-air missiles — a mix of semi-active radar homing (SARH)/infrared homing R-60, R-27, R-73, active radar homing R-77, RBK-500, PB-250, FAB-250, FAB 500-M62, TN-100, ECM Pods, S-8 rockets, S-24 rockets, Kh-25, Kh-29