Careers: Military--Army, Navy, Airforce, Marines, Coast Guard/Mig 31 Foxhound vs F14

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Question
Ive been having this argument with my brother for over a year now... He claims that a MiG 31 Foxhound can outfight an F14A.. He cant seem to take my side of the argument seriously, and wanted an expert's opinion on this... So I'm asking you to clear the smoke here for us.. Thanks

Answer
It's going to depend on a few things. The MiG has the advantages of higher speed and higher maximum altitude, both of which will be of help in a BVR (beyond visual range) engagement. Also, and many people overlook this, the Foxhound also has a datalink capability, allowing it to receive radar pictures from Russian AWACS aircraft rather than using its own radar to search for targets. Speaking of which, the Foxhound's Zaslon radar is considerably more powerful than the AN/AWG-9 of the F-14A, and can track multiple targets over a wider swath of airspace. This extra power also makes it harder to jam. However, this advantage disappears if we are talking about the F-14D, which employed the much more sophisticated APG-71 radar, completely outclassing the Zaslon. Finally, the range of the Tomcat's primary weapon, the AIM-54C Phoenix, is considerably greater than that of the R-33 carried by the Foxhound.

Leaving the BVR fight behind, if the engagement were to close to WVR (within visual range, or "dogfighting"), the Tomcat is going to win, hands down. The Foxhound can outrun the Tomcat, but it turns like a truck. It is built for speed, not manueverability. The Tomcat, while not a pure dogfighter by any stretch, is surprisingly nimble for its size, making good use of its variable-sweep wings -- so much so that in the hands of a skilled jock it has been known to give even an F-15 a decent fight.

Short answer: The Foxhound isn't going to get the first shot in a fight. If it survives that first shot, its powerful radar does give it the chance to get a shot off of its own, but if that shot misses, the pilot is better off using his speed advantage to disengage and fight another day rather than closing in for a turning engagement.

Careers: Military--Army, Navy, Airforce, Marines, Coast Guard

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Chris McDowell

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I can answer any question regarding aircraft types, missions, weapons systems, design and service history, and capabilities. This includes American as well as foreign aircraft.

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I have extensive study experience in all aspects of modern military aviation, going back more than 20 years. I have personal relationships with pilots, engineers, aircrew, and maintenance personnel which give me access to a wide array of anecdotal information as well as technical data not easily found through conventional sources like internet searches.

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University of Texas at San Antonio

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