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View Diary: Cold War Relics - MiG-23 (67 comments)

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  •  I've always been suspicious of kill ratios . . . (6+ / 0-)

    In virtually every modern war, what we've seen is one well-trained well-equipped side taking on a half-trained ill-equipped side. I think we could have put the Iraqi, Syrian, and Egyptian pilots in F-22s and they'd still have been shot down in droves. It's sort of like the situation on the Russian front in WW2, where over 100 German pilots scored over 100 victories against semi-trained Russian pilots flying outdated junkheaps, or Japanese Zero pilots in the early Pacific war, who racked up insanely high scores against inexperienced pilots in P-39s and P-40's.

    So I'd be far more trusting of the results in exercises like the Red Eagles, where both sides had pilots of roughly equal ability.

    In the end, reality always wins.

    by Lenny Flank on Sat Feb 01, 2014 at 07:08:19 AM PST

    •  If you look at the Korean War (11+ / 0-)

      When flown by Soviet pilots that MiG-15 had almost a 1 to 1 kill ratio against the F-86.

      As long as the two planes are in the same class the pilot seems to make the big difference. The plane just has to be "good enough".

      If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

      by Major Kong on Sat Feb 01, 2014 at 07:38:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  And if you look at the Vietnam war, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RiveroftheWest

        You'll see the two planes don't even need to be in the same class, as proven by Mig-17s shooting down F-105s.

        A good, well-trained pilot in a mediocre plane will best a mediocre or poorly-trained pilot in a top-notch plane most of the time. Pilots, training and tactics are what matter above all, the plane itself a fairly distant fourth.

        At least, no proposition to the contrary has ever been validated in a shooting war*, the kind of ignorance we can only be glad for. All-aspect sensors and weapons and (one day) AI may change that equation. But not yet, as far as we know.

        [* And from the Vietnam war, we also know what peace-time assessments of weapon systems are worth: less than zero.]

        I deal in facts. My friends are few but fast.

        by Farugia on Sat Feb 01, 2014 at 09:30:35 PM PST

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        •  One must be careful taking lessons from Vietnam (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          RiveroftheWest

          There were a lot of political constraints that were unique to that particular conflict.

          The NVAF airfields were off limits for political reasons.

          They wouldn't have had an Air Force for very long if we'd been able to attack them on the ground (as we did in Desert Storm).

          A MiG-17, though unsophisticated, is a formidable day VFR dogfighter. It's very hard to see and could turn rings around most anything in the US inventory circa Vietnam War. It doesn't have a radar to speak of, but a good GCI controller can make up for that.

          It's interesting that the NVAF pilots never like the MiG-19. The '21 was fast and the '17 was maneuverable but the '19 split the difference.

          If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

          by Major Kong on Sun Feb 02, 2014 at 08:19:41 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I disagree with you (0+ / 0-)

            The political constraints were grounded in very real military realities.

            NVA bases were out of reach because attacking them would have drawn the PRC and/or the USSR in the conflict. We couldn't get to them because they were in effect protected by a competent opposing force, albeit indirectly.

            In that respect, the Vietnam war was the last 'real war', a war where we did not enjoy overwhelming superiority on the enemy from the onset, a war where we didn't get to choose how and when we would fight, just like we wouldn't in a hot war against a significant enemy (none that exists at the time being).

            That's why I'd tend to think Vietnam is actually the most relevant and last truly useful point of reference, much more so than the very lopsided engagements* we have had since then.

            On the MiG-17 vs. F-105, the experience is actually not specific to Vietnam or the 17. The IAF got the same fairly poor experience after the Six Days war with their IIIs being frequently at serious pain against Iraqis and Jordanians flying harassment runs on Hunters, nice but old clunkers. I believe the IAF even lost a couple of IIIs. And Israeli pilots were neither mediocre nor poorly trained and the III was certainly a pretty good plane.

            [ * Although I will happily agree with you that when you are the one who gets to fly over Kuwait around SA-2s eager to get intimate with you, "very lopsided" is exactly the way you want your wars to be :) ]

            I deal in facts. My friends are few but fast.

            by Farugia on Sun Feb 02, 2014 at 08:53:16 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

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