Comparison between FA-18 Super Hornet versus Russian MIG-29K
The United States’ FA-18 Super Hornet and Russian MIG-29K are two of the world’s most lethal carrier-based fighter jets. We thought it would be interesting to compare these aircraft operating in the two most powerful navies of the world.
The Super Hornet was first introduced in 1999. Around 608 jets have been built so far with a per-unit cost of $66m. Operated by a crew of 2, the Aircraft’s empty weight is 32,100lb and can take off with a maximum weight of 66,000Ib. The jet is powered by 2 General Electric turbofan engines, producing 44,000 pounds of thrust combined. The aircraft can fly at a top speed of Mach 1.6. With a ferry range of 2,070mi, the aircraft can conduct combat operations within a radius of 449mi. The aircraft has a climb rate of 748 ft/sec and can reach a maximum altitude of 50,000ft. The aircraft comes with 11 hardpoints in addition to a 20mm rotary cannon.
On the other hand, MiG-29k was first rolled out in 2010. Around 89 jets have been built so far with a per-unit cost of $27M. Operated by a crew of 1 or 2, the aircraft comes in a weight of 24,250lb. The jet can take off with a maximum weight of 54,013lb. The aircraft is powered by 2 turbofan engines generating 39,800 pounds of thrust combined. With the help of these engines, the jet can gain the top speed of Mach 2. With a ferry range of 1,864mi, the aircraft can conduct combat operations within a radius of 528mi. With a climb rate of 1,083 ft/sec, the jet can reach a maximum altitude of 57,400ft. The fighter jet is fitted with 8 Hardpoints in addition to a 30mm autocannon.
The most important factor in deciding a dogfight is maneuverability, the maximum rate, and radius of turn. To maximize its maneuverability, the FA-18 is outfitted with leading-edge extensions in addition to an advanced flight control system… Whereas, MiG-29k is a super maneuverable fighter as it can outperform the super hornet in both instantaneous and sustained turns. It can execute impossible maneuvers with regular aerodynamic controls because of its excellent handling characteristics following a stall. It can also attain a very high angle of attack. The aircraft can fly at a low altitude close to zero speed without the angle of attack limitations
Radar & Avionics
FA18 is outfitted with APG-79 radar and equipped with an upgraded processor resulting in increased speed and memory capacity. The radar is capable to track multiple targets from 93mi of distance.
On the contrary, MIG-29K is equipped with advanced radar with improved signal processing and a detection range. With the help of the radar, the aircraft can detect an object with an RCS of 5m2 from a range of 75mi. it can detect 9targets and engage 4 of than simultaneously. The jet can also detect naval destroyers at a 190mile of range.
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Both planes are equipped with state-of-the-art missiles capable of shooting each other. FA-18 has 11 weapon stations, which include two additional wing store stations and supports a full range of armaments including AIM-9 Sidewinder, AIM-7 Sparrow, and AIM-120 air to air missiles.
On the other hand, MIG is armed with 30mm autocannon with 150 rounds of ammunition. The aircraft is outfitted with 8 external hardpoints. The jet can carry two R-27 air-to-air medium-range missiles, 6 R-73, and R-60 air-to-air short-range missiles.
In assessing the super hornet against MIG-29, it is clear that the Russian jet has an advantage in terms of aerodynamic design and maneuverability but it still hasn’t mastered the radar tech and electronic warfare capabilities.
Interm of avionics the F/A-18 is the winner while in terms of weaponry both fighter jets are equally armed with modern weapons.
So in real combat maybe the Hornet see MIG first due to its better radar and sensors but once these two legendary fighter jets are in visual range the MIG have an advantage due to its super maneuverability but it will all depend upon pilots skill to outperform each other.