Heavy Su-27 fighters will be the main tool for the operational maneuver of air defense forces in the most dangerous areas. His opponent, most likely, will be the main US Air Force fighter F-15C.
In the open press, one can often find comparative assessments of combat aircraft, mainly fighters. In most cases, the authors of such materials are trying to determine the winner in a real battle based on a comparison of tactical and technical characteristics, on-board electronic systems and weapons, as well as maneuvering capabilities. Tactical combat techniques, the mission of the combat vehicles being mapped are not taken into account.
A certain exception is the comparison of the fourth-generation Soviet and American fighters, which happened to converge in training battles in the 90s. However, the parties tried to avoid the full use of their RES, in particular, electronic warfare, apparently, for reasons of flight safety and secrecy. MiG-29 fighters, which went to Germany from the NNA GDR, were subjected to a similar test. In these battles, our machines demonstrated superiority, mainly due to maneuverability. But a combat fighter is a complex that includes, in addition to the aircraft itself and its airborne equipment, weapons, including outboard, primarily missile. Yes and by appointment aviation funds from different countries are different. Therefore, to compare the two samples, it is advisable to refer to the methodology, which was tested on Russian and foreign warships, adapting it to aircraft.
The first step is to correctly select the objects to be mapped. With a significant advantage of NATO in military aviation, the main task of our space forces will be to prevent the enemy from gaining air superiority. The main solution to this problem, taking into account the limited ability to attack the basing system of the alliance aircraft, is their destruction in battle. Accordingly, the main role is assigned to fighter aircraft. To assess the real level of combat capabilities, it is advisable to choose the most popular types of vehicles. We have this Su-27 and MiG-29 of various modifications. Possessing a large radius of action and powerful weapons, heavy fighters Su-27 will be the main means of allowing the operational concentration of air defense potential in the most dangerous areas. F-15C is likely to be the opponent of NATO.
Recognizing the correctness of such a comparison, we will take into account that the "duelists" will have to perform a range of other tasks, in particular, to destroy XRD, EW aircraft, bombers and attack aircraft. Note that both samples do not have special bomber equipment, therefore their use for strikes against land and sea targets will be the exception rather than the rule. Let us dwell on the analysis of the capabilities of the Su-27 and F-15C to conduct combat with fighters, with each other.
Su-27 with a normal take-off mass of about 23 tons can carry up to six thousand kilograms of load and has a combat radius when flying at high altitudes at subsonic speeds up to 1400 kilometers. Outboard armament is located at ten nodes: six under the wings and four under the fuselage and engine nacelles. In the ammunition - air-to-air missiles: medium range with semi-active seeker (PRGSN) - Р-27Р and Р-27РЭ, thermal seeker (ТГСН) - Р-27Т and Р-27Т, and also short-range with ТГСН Р-73 . Built-in weapons are 30-mm air cannon with 150 ammunition shells. The average ESR of the Su-27 airframe is estimated at 10 – 20 square meters. The aircraft's thrust-to-weight ratio is greater than one. The on-board radar sighting complex RLPK-27 includes a pulse Doppler radar H001 with mechanical scanning of the space, which allows you to find targets with EPR corresponding to the American F-15C, at distances to 190 kilometers in PPS and to 80 – 100 kilometers in EPS. Su-27 has an 36Sh optical-location station (RL) with a search field of 120x75 degrees capable of detecting fighter-type objects at a distance of up to 50 kilometers in RPS and up to 15 kilometers in PPS. Control system weapons provides escort to 10 targets and the firing of one of them with two missiles with PRGSN. The airborne defense complex includes a warning station about the irradiation of SPO-15 "Birch", blocks for the release of passive interference APP-50. At the wing tips (at the location of the launcher), an active sorption station “Sorption” can be installed in two containers. In the base Su-27 does not have the ability to use guided weapons to destroy ground and surface targets.
The maximum energy range of missile missile Р-27 - 80 kilometers in PPP and 20 – 30 kilometers in RFP. The corresponding figures for P-27РЭ and ТЭ are 110 and 40, for Р-73 are 30 and 10 – 15. However, the effective firing range may be significantly (at times) smaller, depending on the altitude of the target and the carrier, and the capabilities of the homing target.
F-15C with a normal take-off mass of about 21 tons has a combat radius when flying at high altitudes at subsonic speeds up to 900 kilometers. Suspended armament is located at eight nodes, where in a typical load is placed four missiles of medium and short range. Thrust-to-weight ratio even with normal take-off weight is less than one. The average ESR of the airframe is slightly larger than that of the Su-27. The absolute majority of F-15S are equipped with AN / APG-63 radar radar of various modifications, which provides detection of an aircraft with EPR, like that of Su-27, at a distance of 160 – 170 kilometers in PPP. Scanning in azimuth is mechanical, and in elevation - electronic. The main fire means are medium-range missiles with AIM-120 PRGSN (AMRAAM) and short-range missiles with AIM-9L / M TGSN. Built-in weapons are represented by a cannon "Volcano" caliber 20 millimeters. The on-board defense system includes Laurent AN / FLR-56 radiation warning stations (ACT), AN / FLQ-135 active jamming and AN / FLE-45 dipole reflectors. The maximum energy range of the AIM-120 rocket is estimated at 50 kilometers in PPP and about 15 – 20 kilometers in RFP. Indicators for AIM-9L / M roughly correspond to the Russian P-73.
We state that both planes possess symmetrical armament (when the Su-27 is considered with “Sorption”, in this case the composition of the missile weapon is identical). The experience of joint exercises shows that the Russian fighter surpasses his opponent in vertical and horizontal maneuverability.
F-15С without additional fuel tanks (DTB) has a smaller combat radius by 36 percent. Parity with the Su-27 will require suspension of two DTB, which will further reduce its maneuverability characteristics and reduce the composition of weapons by two missiles. AIM-120 is almost twice as inferior in energy to our P-27РЭ. An important advantage of our fighter is the presence in the ammunition of medium-range missiles with TGSN. This makes it possible to carry out covert attacks from medium distances according to the OLS data without the use of an RLPK in a ZPS.
To the barrier!
Consider a course of action when both aircraft search in a wide area. The most effective radar in this case is the periodic inclusion for a short time. This is due to the fact that the SPO of both machines are capable of detecting the work of the enemy’s radar at a distance of about one and a half times its detection range. That is, when the radar is turned on continuously, the enemy has the opportunity to preempt and move to a more advantageous position to attack. In this case, the Russian fighter can conduct a continuous search using the OLS in the passive mode.
Without going into details of the calculation, we give the final result. The probability of detection for a single survey of the area by Russian and American fighters using only the radar is about the same - 0,4 – 0,5. The likelihood of anticipation when applying STR and getting out of the band to view or take other responses is 0,3 – 0,4. But when maneuvering, when both are trying to get out of the viewing strip, the Russian fighter can effectively use the OLS for covert enemy detection and attack using TGSN missiles. In addition, having more long-range RSD, Su-27, even if the F-15C detects it earlier, has serious chances to preempt the American, because he has to approach each other for a relatively long time in order to reach the salvo position.
F-15C will be able to perform the first attack with medium-range missiles with a probability around 0,2. The ability of the Su-27 to preempt the enemy using not only medium, but also short-range missiles according to the OLS data is estimated at 0,25 – 0,3. Attacked to use the EW. Stations of active jamming can disrupt the enemy's auto tracking of a radar for a certain period of time. It takes several seconds to retake the target PRGSN. The likelihood of a missile attack disrupting a PRGSN can be quite significant - up to 0,4 – 0,6. In the Russian fighter, the indicator is better, as the Su-27 performs the anti-missile maneuver more vigorously and with the use of pilotage figures inaccessible to the F-15C. The likelihood of proactively destroying our aircraft by an American will not exceed 0,07 – 0,09. Su-27 using P-27Р (РЭ) with PRGSN, as well as Р-27Т (ТЭ) or Р-73 with ТГСН will destroy the enemy in the first strike with a probability of significantly higher - 0,12 – 0,16, in particular due to the fact that missiles with TGSN, launched according to the OLS operating in the passive mode, are very difficult to detect with sufficient preflexion to repel the blow.
In the event of the failure of the first attacks from both sides, a close air battle will begin, in which Su-27, as experience has shown, has an undeniable superiority over F-15C. Predicting its results, I suppose, the American pilot will try to leave the battlefield. In this case, a certain probability of its destruction will take place. But even the obtained probabilities from the results of the first strike speak for themselves: the Russian fighter is more than 1.5 times more efficient (in 1,7) than the American.
A different picture emerges when the F-15C operates on hover in a radar field, for example, according to the AWACS aircraft. In this case, it will go directly to the point of attack covertly, without turning on the radar. If Su-27 is not provided with guidance data, that is, it acts independently by searching for targets using radar and OLS, the enemy is likely to be able to take a position for a preemptive strike. However, our fighter will begin to use complex maneuvering and, probably, use its radar in a continuous mode, seeking to detect the attack. F-15C will be advantageous to take a position for a volley of short-range missiles with TGSN - for a sudden and virtually irresistible strike. If this happens, our fighter will most likely be destroyed. But, since the F-15C does not have optoelectronic systems similar to our OLS, and therefore should be placed in fact at the target capture range of a short-range TGSN missile "out of the wing", the use of AIM-120 with PRGSN is more likely. In this case, he will be forced to turn on the radar for auto-tracking of the target and its illumination to ensure missile guidance. The Russian fighter will be able to take measures to disrupt the attack and will begin maneuvering for an additional search of the American fighter and launching an attack on it or evading combat with withdrawal from the enemy’s observation zone. Rough estimates of the outcomes of such a collision show that the probability of destroying our fighter is very high and can reach up to 0,4 – 0,5, while F-15C can die with a probability less than 0,05.
With the opposite situation and the same logic of events, the probability of F-15C death will be higher - 0,5 – 0,65. This is due to the fact that there are significantly more opportunities to bring our fighter to the position of a covert attack thanks to the OLS and missiles with TGSN, which can be used from a range inaccessible to the American AIM-9L / M.
When both fighters are targeting in the radar field, each side will seek to ensure its advantageous position for attack. Americans, realizing the weaknesses of the F-15C, are likely to be limited to long-range combat. Our, taking the challenge, will try to develop the success of the duel in melee. At long distances, the advantage of our missiles in terms of energy will be affected, as well as the presence of RSD with PRGSN and TGSN, which will significantly increase the probability of hitting targets under REB conditions. Thus, during the matches of pairs and links, our Su-27 will have an advantage over the American F-15C. However, in combat operations with the participation of large masses of aviation, other factors will play a decisive role: the chosen tactics and the construction of air connections, the organization of control and monitoring of airspace, interaction.
In general, it can be stated that our fighter is superior to the American one and, in the possible collision options, has more chances to destroy it. This is not surprising, since Su-27 was created at the beginning of 80-s, while F-15 - in the middle of 70-s.