Me-262 vs Ho-229

Me-262 was studied and well-documented, but Ho-229 remains mysterious. According to Horten brothers, a simulated dogfight was conducted between Ho-229 and Me-262. Ho-229 outperformed Me-262 by a wide margin. Ho-229 had lower wing-loading and its (untested) design speed was 1000 KPH (600 MPH). Since Ho-229 was a low-speed glider fitted with jets, US engineers argued the Hortens never understood its shape coincidentally happened to improve transonic speed nor stealth. Counter-arguments are Germans knew to sweep wings in jet aircraft, possibly had discovered, with Horten gliders, flying-wings intrinsically are stealthy, as USA later unintentionally discovered with Northrop flying-wings. Reimar Horten said he thought of applying charcoal to absorb radar waves on production models. Decades later, Grumman built a model of Ho-229, demonstrating it wasn't really stealthy. (Perhaps its general shape was stealthy but a few contours badly reflected radar waves?) WW2 British radar would've detected it in 80% of distance of a propeller fighter. Grumman didn't discover any radar-absorbing material on the captured pre-production Ho-229.

Me-262    Horten Ho-229 flying wing replica

Me-262 vs Lockheed L-133 or P-80

Lockheed began designing its L-133 Starjet back in 1939. Oddly, early L-133 was more advanced than Lockheed's later P-80 Shooting Star which flew in 1944.

L-133's airframe was never built. Its engine was, but it wasn't a success. Design had canards. Wings, fuselage, and engines were blended. Design speed was 600 MPH. But to reach this speed requires keeping wings outside sonic shock-waves, either with swept wings or a long nose. L-133 and Lockheed's later F-104 Starfighter have a long nose which allows straight wings. Possibly Lockheed engineers first discovered or anticipated this, but kept it a secret (?). Or wings were at rear simply because it was a canard design (?). Was nose long rather to provide space for fuel (?).

Me-262 had different advanced features: swept wing and leading-edge slats. (Reason for Me-262's swept wing was for balance, not to delay transonic drag.) It had drag/weight/maneuverability disadvantages with engines slung under its wings. Its tail-plane had elevators, but whole thing could be rotated (all-moving tail). All-moving tails solve lack of control at transonic speeds, which US didn't solve until years later in F-86 Sabre (a British engineer predicted and solved this prior).

P-80 was a conventional straight-wing (ugly) design with a jet engine shoved in. Lockheed can't be blamed. It was what USAF ordered, a conservative design, not a risky advanced one. Two preproduction YP-80s were deployed very late in WW2 but no combat ever occurred. After WW2, US conducted simulated dogfights with Me-262 vs P-80, concluded the two were evenly matched, as their advantages/disadvantages cancelled out [ref: "Yeager"].

As for Me-262 vs L-133, the L-133 might not have been a viable design (?). Its inlet looks too small.

Me-262    Lockheed L-133 jet prototype

F-14 Tomcat vs F-18 Hornet

F-14 was designed as a long-range interceptor and tight-turning dogfighter. F-18 was designed as cheaper airplane by compromising performance.

By design, F-18 was inferior in almost every respect. It couldn't reach Mach 2, had a shorter range, wings optimal for a narrow speed range, etc. F-18 had more modern avionics but avionics can be upgraded. In USAF competition against F-16, F-16 won, yet F-16 aggressors were defeated by Navy F-14 students.

F-18 replaced F-14 mainly for political and economic reasons. Idiot politicians [ref: Dick Cheney] assumed a plane with a greater numeric designation was superior. Grumman knew Navy knew F-14 was superior and bet Navy would pay a high price for building new Tomcats. But Navy went shopping. What Navy got was a hack -- "Super Hornet" is just a scaled-up Hornet.

F-14 Tomcat    F-18 Navy Blue Angel

F-14 Tomcat vs F-22 Raptor

Iran still flies their F-14 Tomcats (the US was foolish to sell them). An F-22 intercepted an Iranian F-4 Phantom and F-22 Raptor pilot aggressively flew alongside. (Incident was absurd -- a $250 million human-piloted airplane was protecting an expendable drone.)

What would've happened if instead an F-14 was flying and Iranian pilot was brave?

F-14 Tomcat    F-22 Raptor front

F-16 Viper vs F-18 Hornet

As a dogfighter, F-16 is superior. After YF-16/YF-17 competition, USAF said F-16 was a better plane. F-16 is lighter, less drag, faster, greater acceleration, higher G, faster roll, etc. F-18 has one small advantage: it can whip its nose around at low speeds.

[ref: F-16 vs F-18]]

F-16 USAF Thunderbird    F-18 Navy Blue Angel

F-15 Eagle vs MiG-25 Foxbat

US thought its F-15 Eagle would be more than a match for a Soviet MiG-25 Foxbat. But Iraqi MiG-25s proved otherwise when they evaded missiles by dropping chaff/flares, and evaded guns by simply outrunning F-15s.

They look similar. MiG-25 was introduced first. Basic shape of MiG-25, F-14, F-15, and F-22 originated from North American's Vigilante (designed in ~1950).

A-5 Vigilante North American Vigilante (designed in 1950)
F-15 Eagle F-15 Eagle
MiG-25 Foxbat MiG-25 Foxbat MiG-25 Foxbat

F-15 Eagle vs F-22 Raptor

F-15 has great speed and rate-of-climb, but its maneuverability is sub-par compared to an F-14 and F-16. F-15 airframes are worn and need to be replaced. But F-22 is terribly unreliable (despite 20 years of development). Some advocate semi-stealthy F-15 Silent Eagle as a lower-tech complement (like B-52 complements B-1).

F-15 Eagle    F-22 Raptor front

F-22 Raptor vs Su-47 Berkut

Su-47 certainly can outmaneuver F-22. Su-47 has more lift area, it has two-axis thrust vectoring vs F-22's one-axis, and forward-swept wings are more maneuverable than backward-swept. Su-47 would win if it can get within visual range (unless F-22 avionics computer can automatically dodge bullets). But F-22 is designed to kill Russian fighters from a distance. But so was F-4 Phantom.

F-22 Raptor front    Su-47 Berkut forward swept wing

F-35 vs MiGs/Sukhois

If detected by a MiG/Sukhoi, and unless its avionics can't dodge missiles/bullets, over-weight F-35 with its tiny stubby wings will be shot from sky with ease.

F-35 expensive fat turkey    MiG-35 MiG-35 (resemblance to F-14 Tomcat)

F-35 vs A-10 Wart Hog

A-10 Thunderbolt II (Warthog) was specifically designed for role of close-air support. Stealth isn't really needed for this role. A big cannon is needed, A-10 has one, F-35 doesn't.

A-10 bomb run    A-10 gun compared to car A-10 was built around its gun
F-35 expensive fat turkey

Grumman X-29 vs Su-47

Grumman X-29 was smaller and much lighter (~15000lbs, 25% of Su-47's weight). Su-47 has two-axis thrust vectoring.

A dogfight would've been interesting.

X-29 was extremely unstable, so unstable that if electric or hydraulic power failed, it would tumble +-6G within a fraction of a second. Instability was caused by its canards, not its wings swept forward. But its instability made it very maneuverable. Its maneuverability was a combination of canards, wings swept forward, wings with variable camber, strakes, light-weight, fly-by-wire. X-29 could out-turn any aircraft USA had (~1984). Thrust/weight ratio with GE404 engine was around 1. Grumman built two X-29s on Northrop F-5 frames with parts from F-16, F-18, SR-71. X-29 project was completely successful, notable for trouble-free flights, computer simulations accurately predicting actual performance. Despite proof of concept, USA hasn't made any forward-swept fighters. Reasons seem to be forward-swept wings aren't stealthy, higher fuel consumption from drag caused by continually adjusting pitch, aerodynamic instability becomes instantly dangerous if a control surface fails.

Grumman X-29 forward swept wing    Su-47 Berkut forward swept wing

Grumman X-29 forward swept wing    Su-47 Berkut forward swept wing

SR-71 Blackbird vs MiG-31 Foxhound

Dubiously, MiG-31 Foxhounds were able to "intercept" Blackbirds (or at least threaten). Using carefully planned prepositioning, a squadron of MiG-31s were able to fly for a short time, underneath and within radar range, threatening Blackbird pilots with possible long-range missile shots. Older MiG-25 Foxbats were no threat because of less-capable radar/missiles.

SR-71 Blackbird    MiG-31 Foxhound