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Brand New Russian Su-35 and PAK FA Turn Pentagon's F-16 Into 'Relic of the Past'

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The F-16 Fighting Falcon has been a workhorse in the Pentagon's arsenal, but Russia's cutting-edge new aircraft, including the Sukhoi Su-35 and the Sukhoi PAK FA, have rendered the all-weather supersonic multirole aircraft, which has been in service since 1978, as "obsolete," defense and national security writer Kyle Mizokami asserted.

The F-16 is "seriously outmatched by a new generation of Russian and Chinese fighters," he wrote for the National Interest.

Mizokami named the Sukhoi Su-35 Flanker-E multirole air superiority fighter and the Sukhoi PAK FA fifth-generation stealth superiority fighter as a case in point.

The Su-35, a heavily upgraded version of the Sukhoi Su-27, is a 4++ generation aircraft produced since 2007. The warplanes completed their first combat missions in Syria earlier this year.

"The Su-35 may not be stealthy, but it can detect and engage the F-16 before the F-16 can detect it, and this puts the American plane at a big disadvantage. In a one-on-one fight, the F-16 will probably not even be able to get the Su-35 into dogfighting range, where the smaller fighter's legendary maneuverability would come into play," Mizokami explained.

A T-50 fighter performs demonstration flight during the International Aerospace Salon (MAKS 2015) in Zhukovsky near Moscow
© Sputnik/ Maksim Blinov
A T-50 fighter performs demonstration flight during the International Aerospace Salon (MAKS 2015) in Zhukovsky near Moscow

The gap between the F-16 and the Sukhoi PAK FA, also known as the T-50, is even more glaring.  The cutting edge aircraft is the first operational aircraft in Russian service to use stealth technology. The PAK FA is currently undergoing testing and is expected to enter service with the Russian Air Force and the Russian Navy in 2018.

The fighter jet is meant to replace Russia's aging Mikoyan MiG-29s and Sukhoi Su-27s.

PAK FA's "stealthy design will ultimately mean F-16s won't even detect their adversaries before they realize they are being targeted by beyond-visual-range guided missiles, launched by aircraft only visible on radar for the brief moment their internal weapons bay doors are open," the analyst noted.

The F-16 could be upgraded to become more competitive, but the lack of stealth is the plane's ultimate weakness when compared to other advanced aircraft.

"Thanks to PAK-FA and the J-20, [the F-16] days as a day-one frontline fighter are over. As the F-35 enters service with the United States and with its NATO and Asian allies, the F-16 begins its long, well-earned flight into the sunset," Mizokami said.

PAK FA (Advanced Tactical Air Sistem) T-50
© Sputnik/
PAK FA (Advanced Tactical Air Sistem) T-50
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Tags:
stealth, stealth aircraft, technology, aircraft, military aircraft technology, military technology, Sukhoi PAK FA T-50, Su-35, United States, Russia
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  • ViTran
    F-16 replaced by a far more expenses sitting duck known as F-35 !
  • edover3in reply toViTran(Show commentHide comment)
    ViTran, The messed up thing is, that in a US air force test, the F-16 defeated the F-35.
  • NATOisEVIL
    I just love that video. Awesome.
  • ViTranin reply toedover3(Show commentHide comment)
    edover3, Yes ... I know ... but F number is Bigger so must be Better ... Lol !
  • ivanwa88
    F35 is extremely limited in armaments as it is only stealthy with internal weapon systems to get more firepower additional external points will be fitted making it non stealthy.

    The big con to all and sundry is that the F-35 was primarily designed to penetrate deep into enemy territory with a high end tactical missile in its bomb bay for strategic surgical strikes.

    Its defence against a hi end fighters is more or less limited to its 30 mm cannon? or it must be defended by fighter escorts.

    The F-35 was never designed to replace F-16 that was reserved for Raptor or F-22 however owing to massive overruns on costs on development the F-22 production was limited and then disbanded as both could not be produced at the same time.

    These decisions were obviously made with a confidence that the Russian Airforce was effectively null and void.
    Or in strategic terms it did not matter as there would only be one major strike of Russia by the combined forces of all nations with F-35 bombers armed with smaller tactical nukes on board.
  • bruce.hannaford
    While there are very dangerous aspects and capacities to the US military industrial political complex, there are also very corrupt and dysfunctional outcomes as well.
    It is almost as if they have secured the largest sum of money ever devoted to a weapon and promised impossibly superlative performances to get it and no one in their fundamentally corrupt legislatures, executive or mainstream media seems to be seriously concerned with this wholesale abuse of public money.
  • nshahhsh
    To those FBs comments..

    Guess the reasons sputnik compared it to a F16 is due to there's nothing so special about that junk to be compared to.. Lol..! Nevertheless.. it still shows that the F16.. one of the best for its era..!
  • ivanwa88
    It was just used more against third world countries or nations under a no fly restriction F-16 was never superior to Su-27 and Mig 29 in fact once the R70 range of missiles came into use the F-16 was beaten hands down in a properly organised competition staged with German Luftwaffe who still had squadrons of Su-27 and Mig 29 end result was 9 hits to 2.
  • ivanwa88
    "Thanks to PAK-FA and the J-20, [the F-16] days as a day-one frontline fighter are over. As the F-35 enters service with the United States and with its NATO and Asian allies, the F-16 begins its long, well-earned flight into the sunset," Mizokami said.

    He doesn't know what he's talking about F-35 cant replace F-16 US is now upgrading with better sensors/radars and missiles to fair better with Su-35 and Mig 35 (latest variants)
  • ivanwa88
    nshahhsh...... your post is so archaic catch up with the news mostly US military experts in last 12 months saying Russian Fighters and Chinese J-20? are serious threats leaping ahead in speed, radar and firepower.

    With US needing to advance a lot more work on upgrades of avionics, radar and missiles to catch up? I remember posts 2 years ago by the hundreds like your not any more they have swallowed the truth.

    I must admit it would have been really tough to give up the Fly boy ace tag.
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