Maneuverability of multirole fighters

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14 years 10 months

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How maneuverable were the 80s versions of the F-16 and F-15 when laden with offensive weapons for air to ground strike missions ?
were they still rated as 9G if lets say they are carrying 4 x 1000 lb bombs and an external fuel tank ?

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Profile picture for user Cherry Ripe

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10 years 4 months

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No, certainly not 9g. With a full centreline tank the F-16 is restricted to 6.5g.

Plus not just an airframe limit but also ordnance limit, usually in the range 5.5 to 7g. Mustn't overstress the missiles.

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19 years 11 months

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It is just a limitation at low level. At medium level (~20 kft) most fighters can not keep 7 Gs for long or at ~30 kft the practical limit is 5 G. Every surplus G will eat into lifetime of the hardware. In war-time most pilots will not care about that sometimes.

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14 years 10 months

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So F-15 that is carrying external fuel tanks and heavy offensive ordinance has no better maneuverability than an F-4 Phantom then?
The reason I'm asking is that there is a concept of mission kills I think in Vietnam that was used by the communist that if the fighter which is the Interceptor can have the attacking aircraft Jettison it's offensive ordinance than it has succeeded in its mission

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Depends on the weight, DI of both. A clean F-4 is going to have superior turn performance to an F-15C carrying two wing tanks and a full load of missiles.

It also depends on what F-4 model you are talking about, the F-4E with wing slats wasn't a poor performer in regards to sustained turn performance. An F-15C is (of course) going to have superior turn performance, acceleration when both are combat configured.

Edit- to give some specifics for context,
The early F-15C's GW 41,000lbs carrying a centerline tank, four aim-9, four aim-7 could sustain about 5.2 G at Mach .8 15,000 feet. ( 5.5G without the centerline tank and a lower GW)

The F-4E at a GW of 41,500 lbs carrying 2 each of aim-9 and aim-7 could sustain roughly 4.8 G. at same speed/alt.

Even with a higher DI (more specifically, higher parasitic drag as drag index is only relative to the particular airframe) the F-15C had slightly better turn performance (about 1.5 degrees per second with centerline tank, or better than 2.5 degrees per second with just missiles and center pylon as compared the the combat weight F-4)

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14 years 10 months

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so lets say during the cold war if F-15s or F-16s are flying in combat with a full load of A2G munitions then they would need escorts to protect them even against 2nd rate enemy fighters like mig-23/25 ?

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9 years 11 months

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like anybody else, no fighter in the 1980's (and even today) will sustain 9G when fully laden with ground ordnance.. you may get 9G in instant turn when you have depleted a good amount of your fuel and carry only air to air armament, but that's about it