F-104 vs. MiG-21

Which would win??

  • F-104 Starfighter (USA)

    Votes: 6 21.4%
  • MiG-21 (Russia)

    Votes: 14 50.0%
  • Pepper (AHH)

    Votes: 3 10.7%
  • Superman (DC)

    Votes: 5 17.9%

  • Total voters
    28

Iceyl86

Spaceman
Ok heres one I've been arguing about with my father for a while now... which of these would win in a dogfight, the F-104 also known as the "Starfighter" or the MiG-21, which is to this very day a menace in the sky...

Here are the stats...

MiG-21:

Manufacturer: Mikoyan-Gurevich OKB

Designation: Mig-21

Version: BIS

NATO Code: Fishbed-L/N

Type: Fighter

Crew: Pilot

First Flight: 1972

Length: 51' 5.5" 15.00 M

Height: 14' 9" 4.5 M

Wignspan: 23' 5.5" 7.15 M

Wingarea: 247.60 Sq Ft 23.00 Sq M

Empty Weight: 13600 lbs 6050 Kg

Max Weight: 221607lbs 10050 Kg

No. of Engines: 1

Powerplant: Tumansky R-25 turbojet

Thrust (each): 16535 lbs

Range: 2118 miles

Max Speed: 1250 Mph 2050 Km/H Mmax 2.05

Ceiling: 54500 Ft 16000 M

ARMAMENT: One N-23 23mm cannon and two K-13 (AA-2 )air-to-air missiles


F-104 Starfighter

Manufacturer: Lockheed Aircraft Corporation

Designation: F-104

Version: A

Nickname: Starfighter

Type: Fighter

Crew: 1- Pilot

Length: 54' 8"

Height: 13' 5"

Wingspan: 21' 9"

Empty Weight: 14,082 lbs

Max Weight: 28,779 lbs

No. of Engines: 1

Powerplant: Various General Electric turbojet engines w/afterburner

Thrust (each): 14,000 to 18,000 lbs

Cruise Speed: 519 mph

Max Speed: 1,450 mph (Mach 2.2) at 35,000 ft.

Climb Rate: 50,000 feet per minute

Ceiling: 58,000 ft

Range: 1,000 mi

Guns: M-61 Vulcan 20mm cannon

External Armament: 4,000 lbs of bombs under the wings
two AAM-N-7 ³Sidewinder² missiles on tips



On the outside, these two fighters seem to be very similar in many respects, but my money would be on the MiG-21. It is a design that has withstood the test of time and still flys the skys in many militaries even today. The F-104, while impressive, did not see much combat (save korea) because the damn thing's range sucked ass! While her speed was revolutionary for the time, all a good pilot would have to do is play cat and mouse with this fighter until it's fuel ran low, and then shoot a missile up its tailpipe when the F-104 withdraws to refuel... but thats my opinion, anyone else here think differently??
 

Attachments

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
Where's the argument? MIG-21s went up against Starfighters in 1971... the results seem pretty undeniable.
 

Grimloc

Rear Admiral
I've got the image running through my head of the F-104 from the movie The Right Stuff spinning out of control, falling like a giant silver cigar out of the sky...
 

Maj.Striker

Swabbie
Banned
Mig 21s have been repeatedly bested by their peers in countless engagements. I don't know enough about the F104 to say specific counts but like Loaf mentioned...the results seem pretty clear. I want to say US had a 10-1 kill ratio on them...but I might be thinking of a different war. Israel also faired pretty darn well against them...
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
Mig 21s have been repeatedly bested by their peers in countless engagements. I don't know enough about the F104 to say specific counts but like Loaf mentioned...the results seem pretty clear. I want to say US had a 10-1 kill ratio on them...but I might be thinking of a different war. Israel also faired pretty darn well against them...
I have absolutely no idea what you're talking about. Israel didn't even fly F-104s. The only combat between F-104s and MiG-21s was during the 1971 Indo-Pakistani War. Pakistani F-104s were very soundly defeated by Indian MiG-21s.
 

Edfilho

Cry some more!
The F-104's could've been a good bomber interceptor, but I can't see how it would make a good dogfighter... With which the facts pointed by loaf seem to agree.
 

Primate

Spaceman
Bandit LOAF said:
I have absolutely no idea what you're talking about. Israel didn't even fly F-104s. The only combat between F-104s and MiG-21s was during the 1971 Indo-Pakistani War. Pakistani F-104s were very soundly defeated by Indian MiG-21s.
He probably took you to mean that the F104s came out on top. As far as Israel, he must have meant that they came out on top against Arab Migs ( but the same could be said for pretty much any aircraft they came up against).
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
Primate said:
He probably took you to mean that the F104s came out on top. As far as Israel, he must have meant that they came out on top against Arab Migs ( but the same could be said for pretty much any aircraft they came up against).
Yeah, but I can't imagine anyone actually thinking that was a reasonable thing to point out -- of course there are better aircraft than MiG-21s... they just aren't involved in this discussion.
 

TankGunner

Rear Admiral
It don't matter what the stats are for a fighter, the only thing that matters is the pilot of it, the level of training he has had and his experience with that particular plane.

An Expert pilot in a F-4 Phantom could down a novice pilot in a F-22. It's the pilot that matters, not the machine.
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
Yes, we've said that, it's a fine witticism and all but it's certainly not a way to avoid any sort of discussion. Simply ask yourself which of the two fighters in question your expert pilot would take, given the option.
 

Maj.Striker

Swabbie
Banned
Bandit LOAF said:
I have absolutely no idea what you're talking about. Israel didn't even fly F-104s. The only combat between F-104s and MiG-21s was during the 1971 Indo-Pakistani War. Pakistani F-104s were very soundly defeated by Indian MiG-21s.
I actually was responding specifically to this portion of his quote:

the MiG-21, which is to this very day a menace in the sky...
Perhaps I should have phrased the context of my response more clearly. I've never felt the Mig 21 to be anything even remotely resembling a serious menace to any of its contemporaries due to its poor combat record. The F104 however did see combat duty in Vietnam and it's presence (mainly escort duty) was apparently enough to reduce enemy air presence during it's time. I don't believe any actual kills resulted from their presence though.
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
Perhaps I should have phrased the context of my response more clearly. I've never felt the Mig 21 to be anything even remotely resembling a serious menace to any of its contemporaries due to its poor combat record. The F104 however did see combat duty in Vietnam and it's presence (mainly escort duty) was apparently enough to reduce enemy air presence during it's time. I don't believe any actual kills resulted from their presence though.
In addition to having absolutely nothing to do with the topic being discussed, your argument makes no sense. The F-104 is superior because 50 years ago when it was new it may have had an absolutely immeasurable impact on bomber escort missions... while the MiG-21 is inferior because after the same 50 years of service it's outclassed by some modern fighters? That makes *absolutely no sense*.

The F-104 *is* the MiG-21's contemporary... and as we've already discussed, it was certainly a "serious menace".

(And yes, some actual kills resulted from the presence of Starfighters in Vietnam -- nine of them were shot down.)
 

BradMick

Vice Admiral
TankGunner said:
It don't matter what the stats are for a fighter, the only thing that matters is the pilot of it, the level of training he has had and his experience with that particular plane.

An Expert pilot in a F-4 Phantom could down a novice pilot in a F-22. It's the pilot that matters, not the machine.
Eh, considering an entire sqaudron of F-15's were downed by 2 F-22's they didn't even know were there until they fired their missiles, i'd say the machine does make a difference.
 

Crazy J

Spaceman
BradMick said:
Eh, considering an entire sqaudron of F-15's were downed by 2 F-22's they didn't even know were there until they fired their missiles, i'd say the machine does make a difference.
Yeah, well, that's the F-22. I never liked 'em; they rely too much on technology to win; a novice pilot could crush an enemy squadron, yes, but put him in one of those F-15's and watch him flounder. Besides, we all know the record that the F-15 has - I distinctly remember reading a story where one lost its entire wing and still the pilot managed to get it on the ground, saying it just listed to one side and needed more throttle to stay airborne. I also saw that story on the History Channel. That's a good fighter.

Anyway, to try and get back to the point of the thread, i'd say that while indeed the MiG-21 has been in service a long time, it (and its many derivatives) are getting mighty long in the tooth. They couldn't hold a candle to any modern fighter, and I believe the only reason they remain in service is because they're relatively cheap - for a fighter craft, that is.

Also, the F-104 wasn't exactly intended as a dogfighter; it's an interceptor fighter; meant to get up to altitude and kill some bombers, or to hold off enemy fighters while the real dogfighters get airborne. It really wasn't meant to stay in the air that long, which is why it had such short range; though admittedly, it did have longer range than most of its contemporaries back in the 50's/60's, including many variants of the MiG-21.

In a straight-up fight, I think that despite my personal preferences (I think the Starfighter is a freaking sweet airplane), the MiG would likely come out on top and drop the Starfighter, mostly due to that it's a faster fighter and it carries a decent load of missiles; the Starfighter didn't.
 

Quarto

Unknown Enemy
Crazy J said:
Yeah, well, that's the F-22. I never liked 'em; they rely too much on technology to win; a novice pilot could crush an enemy squadron, yes, but put him in one of those F-15's and watch him flounder.
That's a silly argument to make. Naturally, pilots trained to use present-day technology won't do well in older planes. Similarly, any F-15 pilot would flounder if you put him in a Spitfire, and any Spitfire pilot would flounder if you put him in a Camel... but I don't hear you complaining that the F-15 and the Spitfire relied too much on technology.
 

Maj.Striker

Swabbie
Banned
Bandit LOAF said:
In addition to having absolutely nothing to do with the topic being discussed, your argument makes no sense. The F-104 is superior because 50 years ago when it was new it may have had an absolutely immeasurable impact on bomber escort missions... while the MiG-21 is inferior because after the same 50 years of service it's outclassed by some modern fighters? That makes *absolutely no sense*.

The F-104 *is* the MiG-21's contemporary... and as we've already discussed, it was certainly a "serious menace".
I never compared the Mig 21 to modern fighters? Where did you get that? I said contemporaries...as in other airplanes designed for a similar role and/or around the same time period. Its contemporaries would include fighters such as the Dassault Mirage IIIA
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dassault_Mirage_III

Against which its performance was lackluster at best. (ala The Six Day War in 1967 through the Yom Kippur War in 1973 during which time frame which the Israeli Air Force claimed 245 Air to Air kills).

As someone else mentioned, the F104 wasn't exactly designed to be a superiority fighter as it was an interceptor. The F104 however was pretty much a failure, it didn't succeed in its intended role as an interceptor and it wasn't designed for a multi purpose role so it's usefulness was short lived.
 

Crazy J

Spaceman
Quarto said:
That's a silly argument to make. Naturally, pilots trained to use present-day technology won't do well in older planes. Similarly, any F-15 pilot would flounder if you put him in a Spitfire, and any Spitfire pilot would flounder if you put him in a Camel... but I don't hear you complaining that the F-15 and the Spitfire relied too much on technology.
Read my name. Crazy J. I'm inexpliacble ;)

My standpoint comes from the fact that comparatively (between these two, not just fighters in general) the F-15 takes more skill to win in a dogfight. I didn't say the F-22 was a bad fighter at all; it's a good airplane. My personal feelings and preferences are for the F-15, and what I stated in my prior post was my feelings about the two fighters. Even though the F-15 is from the 70's and 80's, it's still one of the best fighters in the world hands-down. Some of the newer fighters from Russia's "Flanker" series are somewhat superior, and so is the MiG-31 (I think that's the right MiG; i'll double check on this shortly); but they're blasted expensive and rare. The F-15 is just an all-around excellent design and i'm pretty sure that thing'll still be in service 15 or 20 years from now.

And have you seen how expensive those F-22's are? It's mind-boggling! I don't think we could afford to maintain more than 10 squadrons of them at the most. They're good, but ridiculously expensive.
 

Quarto

Unknown Enemy
Crazy J said:
My standpoint comes from the fact that comparatively (between these two, not just fighters in general) the F-15 takes more skill to win in a dogfight.
That's just plain not true, though, and that was my point - that you could just as easily claim that it takes more skill for a Camel to beat another Camel in a dogfight than it does for a Spitfire. This is always going to be true, a next-gen plane will always require less skills to beat a plane from the previous generation. But against a plane of a similar technological level? It will never be up to the machine - it'll always come down to the skill of the pilot (...or the guy sitting behind the lines in a control centre, steering the UCAV :p).
 

Tigerhawk

Captain
Crazy J said:
Read my name. Crazy J. I'm inexpliacble ;)

My standpoint comes from the fact that comparatively (between these two, not just fighters in general) the F-15 takes more skill to win in a dogfight. I didn't say the F-22 was a bad fighter at all; it's a good airplane. My personal feelings and preferences are for the F-15, and what I stated in my prior post was my feelings about the two fighters. Even though the F-15 is from the 70's and 80's, it's still one of the best fighters in the world hands-down. Some of the newer fighters from Russia's "Flanker" series are somewhat superior, and so is the MiG-31 (I think that's the right MiG; i'll double check on this shortly); but they're blasted expensive and rare. The F-15 is just an all-around excellent design and i'm pretty sure that thing'll still be in service 15 or 20 years from now.

And have you seen how expensive those F-22's are? It's mind-boggling! I don't think we could afford to maintain more than 10 squadrons of them at the most. They're good, but ridiculously expensive.

The MiG-31 basically nothing more than an upgraded MiG-25, which was proven to be a joke in terms of maneuverability and dogfighting. The defection of a MiG-25 pilot to Japan with his machine proved this. Anyway, the MiG-31 is the same basic design with, as I understand it, better avionics, somewhat better speed and maybe better maneuverability. They're rare, sure...I believe they went into production near the end of the Cold War, and with the threat of U.S. nuclear bombers all but gone, and with the USSR/Russia nearly bankrupt, they've pretty well turned to making high performance fighters, i.e. the MiG-29 and the Su-27/Su-31 series, as you've pointed out.

I'm doubting that the F-15s will still be in service, at least if this whole JSF snafu is ever straightened out. The Eagles probably won't be flying all that much longer, considering McDonnell/Douglas doesn't make replacement parts for them anymore. That's the trouble with a lot of most of our air wings...the aerospace companies aren't producing maintenance parts anymore, so operational aircraft end up getting cannibalized.
 
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