back to article RAF Eurofighter Typhoons 'beaten by Pakistani F-16s'

Pakistani pilots flying modernised versions of the 1970s-vintage F-16 Falcon fighter have beaten the RAF's brand-new Eurofighter Typhoon superfighters during air combat exercises in Turkey, according to a Pakistani officer. Eurofighter Typhoon trainer (two seat) in flight. Credit: MoD Costs like a Raptor, flies like a …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    Let me Think

    India about to order a new fighter. Typhoon is one of the candidates. "Senior PAF pilot" anonymously rubbishes Typhoon.

    Has Lewis missed anything?

    1. Paul 135


      quite a plausible propaganda theory. Pity Lewis has such a self-loathing agenda to sell more of his books that he has to fall for it.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      India and Pakistan?

      So you're suggesting that India is going to influenced by a Pakistani recommendation? Umm...

      1. Magnus_Pym

        Of course they would...

        These PAF pilots are the guys that India's air force are most likely to come up against. If they say we can thrash a Typhoon it's a good reason to not get them Typhoon.

        Then again why would the PAF tell India about a machine they can beat just before they buy are about to decide what to buy to use against them? Braer Rabbit and the Bramble patch perhaps?

        1. Matt Bryant Silver badge

          Was the PAF guy lying?

          Well, let's put it this way - the Pakistanis have gone to war three times (declared wars, that is) against India, and according to Pakistanis they won each time.....

    3. streaky
      IT Angle


      Yes he has missed something, this:

      Fire an AMRAAM.

      This isn't the 1940's. Dogfights really. How you gonna dogfight when we control the airspace with e3ds just for fun?

      That said I've always been a massive fan on the F-16. Incredibly menouverable.

    4. Martin Gregorie

      That sounds unlikely

      India is currently building Sukhoi Su-30MKI fighters under license. As India signed a contract for another 40 (on top of the 142 currently in service) in 2010, it would seem quite unlikely that its thinking of buying anything else for quite some time. The Su-30MKI is a very good dog-fighting aircraft and well-armed too. I've read that its considered the best version of the Su-30 by quite a large factor.

      See for details.

      1. nichomach


        They have committed to buying a new MRCA and Rafale and Typhoon are the two remaining candidates. They are also developing the FGFA with Sukhoi, which is planned to be a kind of Indian-ised two-seat version of PAK-FA (kind of).

      2. Reg Blank

        @Martin Gregorie

        You've mixed things up.

        First error: Su-30 and Typhoon aren't in the same fighter class. Su-30 is a heavy air-superiority fighter in the same class to the F-15/F-22 (MTOW=38,800 kg). The Typhoon is a lighter multi-role fighter in the F-16/FA-18/Rafale/F35 class (MTOW=23,500 kg). They do not perform the same roles, so don't confuse them.

        Second error: The Su-30MKI is being procured by India for a different role (air superiority), as a part of a different program.

        Third error: The Indian Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft program has short-selected two fighters (note the MEDIUM part), the Rafale and the Typhoon, discarding all the others (F-16, FA-18, Gripen, MiG-35). The Su-30 was never in contention (because it is not MEDIUM).

        A simple Google search before commenting could have told you that the Typhoon was a finalist for the MRCA program.

      3. Peter 6

        @ Martin Gregorie..


        The title? "Eurofighter Typhoon frontrunner to bag the $11 billion Indian Air Force Multi-Role Combat Aircraft contract". The RAF even sent a few Typhoons over to play with the IAF's SU-30MKIs to see how they'd work together and the IAF loved them.

        India are actually playing a very smart game. The strategy is to use the Su-30s with their powerful radars and weapon loads to stand off and pick any baddies off while the Typhoons charge in and do the dirty work at relatively close quarters.

        This strategy is suitable both for wars against Pakistan and China.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Broken record

    Ok, we get it Lewis; you hate British kit and everything about it and we should buy the alledegly vastly better American kit in all circumstances.

    I'm surprised there is anything left to grind on your axe - it must be almost worn away by now.

    1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

      erm ...

      Don't you mean European, the UK wasn't the only country envolved with the project.

    2. Evil Auditor Silver badge

      @AC 10:29 GMT

      Bollocks. I'd rather guess that Lewis Page doesn't like overpriced kit which doesn't deliver. It's our money, we should hate that too!

      1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

        1. asdf

          Yep the Typhoon is 1337

          Funny how it was US kit that mostly took out 3rd world Libya's air defenses early on. Also is because the Typhoon and other Euro kit is so awesome that Europe is begging the US to bring our air power to bare again? BAE owns the UK tax payer even worse than Boeing, etc own the US tax payer. At least we can operate in any theater successfully by ourselves (military success not politically we still really suck at that).

          1. streaky


            "Funny how it was US kit that mostly took out 3rd world Libya's air defenses early on"

            Funny how it wasn't. If you bother to read the facts we even fired more tomahawks than the yanks and we don't really have many. Piled on top of that was a pretty serious storm shaddow shitstorm..

            So no not really.

            US mostly contributed planning, command and yes some air/sea assets, but not "mostly".

            1. akryu


              "If you bother to read the facts we even fired more tomahawks than the yanks and we don't really have many. "

              Nonsense. The first night, about 120 tomahawks were fired. Only a few were British.


              You give the above link a good read.

              "Piled on top of that was a pretty serious storm shaddow shitstorm."

              I wonder how long Britain can sustain this pace considering...


              "US mostly contributed planning, command and yes some air/sea assets, but not "mostly."

              According to

              "The U.S. military moved to a secondary role after the initial period of air and naval bombardment that established a no-fly zone over the North African country and opened the door to the NATO-led air campaign.

              Obama has declined to put U.S. warplanes back into an offensive role -- aside from a relatively small number of planes targeting Libya's air defenses. But a few weeks ago the U.S. provided nine more aerial refueling planes to enable NATO to accelerate its bombing, the U.S. officials said."

              According to:,8599,2076471,00.html

              "The U.S. is contributing about 75 percent of the aerial refueling capacity for the campaign and 70-80 percent of the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capability, U.S. officials said.

              That sure as hell sounds like "mostly" to me. Maybe you should read "the facts".

          2. This post has been deleted by a moderator

            1. Anonymous Coward

              Re: @ asdf - Good one :)

              However, you are missing a point or two here.

              USA has fought only wars where the opponent was backed up by another superpower and/or committed to not surrendering in the first place. Same for ex-USSR. In fact, since the Vietnam war there was no defined proper centralised opponent at a government (or organisational) level facing them anywhere except Iraq.

              Smaller developed countries like Britain, France, etc are much more likely to be underestimated by some w*nker extraordinaire who erroneously perceives them as "equals" or "weaker".

              We all know the "Falklands" example though that one was touch and go and very close at times. A more recent good example is that idiot in Cot 'd Ivoire who decided that using his "airforce" to attack French troops is a jolly good idea. Bad move. Terminally bad move.

              That same w*nker would have never had the thought of picking on USA. That is why USA ends up fighting conflicts against "fuzzy" enemies which it cannot win.

              Coming back to Libya - people fail to understand that Lybia is not a central-government/organisation opponent. It is Afghanistan redux, just worse. Qaddafi has spent his life juggling the power balance of tribes and tribal leaders. He is in fact a figurehead and has always been. As a result if we are drawn into a war we will never win it.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              @Anonymous Coward '8:47

              i agree with what your saying but thought i should just point out that the Falklands war was a huge amount of Luck. Had they actually comited to the fight with all their naval assets it might have been a different story, in fact it was highly likely it would have been a complete defeat for us.

              As it was we got lucky with sinking the General Belgrano, we had a massive amount of luck with the multitude of bombs that didnt blow up on contact with our ships because the pilots wouldnt fly high enough for them to arm (inexperience or belief that they would get shot down perhaps) as it was our anti air defences were patchy at best, of course they didnt really know this

              and there is much much more but whilst i would obviously mark it up as a Win i wouldnt go a far as saying we kicked arse, they kicked the crap out of us as well but fortune was on our side many many times...

              unfortunately not all of the time. RIP guys.

            3. asdf

              wait a minute

              In most of those losses you site wasn't the UK fighting along side us? I agree if the goal of the war is political more than likely we will muck it up bad. We are much better at killing than building. We always have insane kill ratios of 10 to 1 or more but winning is usually defined politically not by putting the other guy into the stone age (when you can undercut China on labor you are dirt poor eh Vietnam).

            4. asdf


              Must suck seeing a former colony make the mother country completely irrelevant. The US even gets to decide if the UK is going to fight or not in war. Our little puppy dogs. GDP speak volumes eh? Sadly China may have the last laugh.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                re nice

                It probably also "sucks" having to stitch a Canadian flag to your backpack when you travel, in the vain hope that it will explain your hick accent and persuade the people you encounter you are from the "right" side of the border. I'd imagine it "sucks" if you have to think carefully before visiting large swathes of the world because your nations delivery of ordnance, foreign policy or morality dependent aid has stuck in so many local throats over an extended period.

                Personally, I'll take "irrelevance" any day.

            5. akryu


              " Korea: No victory

              - Vietnam: Had to run away with tail between legs

              - Lebanon: Had to run away with tail between legs

              - Somalia: Had to run away with tail between legs

              - Iraq 1: Failed to topple Saddam

              - Afghanistan: Failed to achieve really anything of value

              - Iraq 2: Had to run away with tail between legs"

              Korea - America was fighting Soviets,N. Koreans, and the Chinese. Last I checked, the Aussies, Brits, and S Koreans were there too. We lost politically, not militarily. If not for us, S. Korea would not exist today; I consider that a "win".

              Vietnam - Our military never lost. Our politicians would not let the military engage the enemy using our total force due to concerns with China and Russia. It wasn't until the Chinese/Russian border skirmish that the U.S. military got the OK from Washington to bomb supply routes such as parts of the Ho Chi Minh trail that went through Cambodia. Our government would not allow the military to engage targets in neighboring countries; that's how the Vietcong openly hid from us. Just like today, our military has suffered losses mainly due to rules of engagement that bind us.

              Lebanon, Somalia - had little political support; the military was never defeated.

              Iraq - We didn't go after Saddam because it was not our mandate to. Just like how today certain countries are complaining that NATO is overstepping their mandate in Libya, we were just following our mandate in Iraq. If we had tried to topple Saddam, some countries would have thrown a fit just like they are now with Gaddafi in Libya.

              Afghanistan and Iraq - "Had to run away with tail between legs" Really. We're still there. It was the Brits that needed us to take their place in Helmand. Most of NATO has so many restrictions on their military, that they can't even fight unless shot at first. Most are just there for show.

              Our military has never lost a war. It's only due to our politicians and the war-weary public that cause us to pull out of a region before that job is done. Besides, what exactly is the criterea for considering any one of those wars a "win". If "holding ground" is the critera, then we'd be ostracized by the world for "expanding our empire" or accused of "colonizing".

              By the way, America did help you during the Falklands, we just did it behind the scenes. I believe we had an agreement with Argentina over copper, or something like that that we didn't want to lose out on.

          3. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Thumb Down

          PAF do not want India to buy the Eurofighter

          Of course they are going to claim (or lie) its no good. I believe the Pakistani airforce as much a believe or trust anything Lewis comes out with on the subject.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      re Broken record

      Thoroughly disingenuous too with rather inaccurate references to "1970s-vintage F-16". If you were to date most aircraft from the day the specs were laid out, most of the worlds air power would look very dated. "Block 50" is a thoroughly different aircraft to the one that first flew 30-odd years ago in the same way that the 2100hp Mk24 Spitfire was a rather different animal to the 1000hp Mk1.

      If you're going to try and make another tiresome "God Bless America" point and style it as "news" or "analysis", at least try and raise the standard of comparison from "loud bloke in a pub" to "interesting conversation".

      The facts should speak for themselves without a massage, surely?

  3. Anonymous Coward


    OK.. I dont normally post comments, but I have to on this one. I know The Reg dont have that much time for the Eurofighter, but this article is just crazy. The quote from the PAF fella is basically - "we won because the RAF pilots arent trained for this kind of fighting". The author has spun this completely to attack the Eurofighter. I suspect they would have lost in pretty much any plane, up against a PAF in pretty much any plane able to fly. Thats not proof that the Eurofighter is rubbish, but that the RAF arent trained for this kind of fighting.

    Looking at the types of conflicts we are involved with, I'd much rather the RAF were trained in the way they are. We simply dont see Top Gun style dog fighting these days - missles would rain down and destroy enemy capability before RAF planes were allowed even in the same hemesphere!

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: READ THE QUOTE !!!!

      "It's always possible, as the anonymous Pakistani pilot suggests, that the problem was with the crews. It may be that RAF pilots simply don't know how to fight close-in."

      The ATFA (A standing for author, of course) needs to RTFQ (Q standing for quote) that he pasted into his own article.

      Where's that Register tombstone icon when you need it most?

    2. big_D Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Pilot error not the plane's fault...

      I agree with you. The comment was on the pilots' abilities, not the aircraft. Therefore I found it very strange that the rest of the article panned the Typhoon, even though the pilot making the comment never said it had anything to do with the Typhoon itself.

      It would be intersting to know how the Typhoon actually stacks up in a dogfight with a properly trained pilot. Until then, the author's comments are just suposition.

      As to your preferring the training being done on BVR combat, surely they should be trained in both, in case an enemy plane "pops out from behind a mountain". The RAF pilot isn't going to be able to get out of visual range, so that he can use his training, he will have to cope with the situation, and if the PAF pilot is to be believed, it wouldn't look good for our chaps.

    3. Anonymous Coward 101

      Why buy Typhoons at huge expense...

      ...if they didn't bother to train the pilots to make best use of them?

      1. Rob

        RE: Why buy Typhoons at huge expense

        Seriously, why are you even asking this question, this the MoD were talking about, it's policy to buy kit and not train people properly to use it. One of the biggest problems we had with picking he Apache attack helicopter was we had a load sitting around but only a couple of pilots trained to use them (I think they may have since corrected that issue).

      2. Marvin the Martian

        Re: Why buy Typhoons at huge expense...

        ... and then don't bother to train for a type of fight we will not see in their lifetime?

        Hm hm. That's a toughie you came up with there. *scratches head* Lemmegetbacktoyouonthat.

        Anyway, pilots are not expendable like squaddies; you only send in your expensive planes if you expect them to come back, as opposed to soldiers you send in and keep in with unprotected jeeps and no body armour.

    4. Asgard
      Thumb Up

      Also PAF tactics not practical now days

      @"missles would rain down and destroy enemy capability before RAF planes were allowed even in the same hemesphere!"

      and @"we won because the RAF pilots arent trained for this kind of fighting"

      The RAF don't need to be. If the PAF were going up against the RAF (assuming there were any PAF remaining after initial ground & airfield bombardments) then the RAF will still shoot down the PAF at a distance with missiles long before the PAF get near enough to the RAF to use any old school dog fighting tactics.

      Warfare has moved on. Lets see the PAF dog fight with a few RAF air-to-air missiles chasing them down. Warfare is becoming less about human vs human and a lot more about human vs machine and the machines are getting ever more effective. Its how the humans use these new machines (i.e. missiles) that will win the day, so the RAF will win as they train with these modern warfare tactics in mind, not old school PAF outdated tactics that can't be used, as they can't really get close enough to use them in reality.

    5. L.B

      Totaly agree with 1st para, but disagree with the 2nd.

      The reason the US Navy created the Top Gun school was precisely because of that silly thinking about missiles being the "be all and end all" and that dog fights were history.

      Then then went up against the Chinese in Vietnam and got shot out the air. Their aircraft were superior in most respects, but they still lost.

      The reason being that the pilots were required to make a visual positive identification of the enemy aircraft before shooting at it (something most yank allies would like to see more of today), making their shoot from 20 miles away missiles utterly useless. Once in close enough the confirm what the plane was and comfirm it was an enemy plane, they could not get a lock with missiles.

      The only pilots who were not being shot down were those who had gotten their training in WW2 and Korea. But even many of them had trouble as their planes did not have guns.

      The US Navy very quickly retro fitted cannon to their planes and created a proper fighter pilot school to teach all the new crews the art of dog fighting.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I blame 'elf and safety

    RAF pilots probably aren't allowed to make sudden changes in direction in case they hurt themselve whereas the PAF pilots won't have such restrictions.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Probably not far from the truth....

      Could be the Health and Safety lobby - 'Horror! You can't do close maneuvres - you might get too close and have an accident and crash into a school - THINK OF THE CHILDREN!!!!'

      Equally, it could be a shortfall in the training and equally the habits of UK pilots. They were trained to fight using the Tornado for a very long time - such habits die hard. This was a platform designed for shooting down bombers at long range in the cold war, not knife fighting against all comers. Our boys (particularly ex-Tornado pilots) are probably pretty green when it comes to this sort of thing. I'd be interested to see how a former Harrier pilot (used to maneuvring etc) would fair.

      While I'm not a fan of the Euro-White-Elephant, I think the analysis is a little flawed in this case. It's more likely to be the pilots than the kit. After all, it has done reasonably well in other, similar contests.

      1. Dries Marais

        RAF training and RAF aircraft

        When the South African Air Force (the second oldest air force in the world) was at war in Angola against the heaviest (East Bloc) defences since WW II a number of chaps from the UK military flying establishments wanted to join us. Those from the Fleet Air Arm (RN) were just excellent and were an asset to the squadrons they had been attached to.

        Despite being apt at words during interviews, not a single individual from the RAF made the grade. Oh, they could fly the Mirages beautifully and did the most impressive aerobatic displays - but understanding how to use it as a weapon? Not good at all. Knew nothing of - and also were not "trainable" for ACM (air combat maneuvring) . Not in a single instance in advanced air combat training did any one of them even meet the basic standard.

        This is no criticism on individuals. The South African man grows up with weapons from very early age. Fighting a foe many times our own numbers, and with old equipment has been bred into our genes over 400 years. Only the Israelis at the time were a match. RAF pilots have become good at air displays an at coy ("my little pink body") remarks to the media after returning from a sortie over Iraq - where the aircraft systems had failed.

        As for the Typhoon against the F16: In close combat with equally well trained crews the F16 MAY have a match in the new F18. And that is all. The Typhoon's air combat ability is grossly overrated and crews depend on over rated weapons and systems. In plain aerial gun combat even the museum flight's F86E Sabres will kill it in each instance.

        Sad but true. You taxpayer guys have been flat-spinned into a very expensive, very beautiful but not too good flying machine.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @Dries Marais

          "The South African man grows up with weapons from very early age. Fighting a foe many times our own numbers, and with old equipment has been bred into our genes over 400 years. Only the Israelis at the time were a match."

          Well, maybe if you and the Israelis stopped making enemies of everyone, appropriating their lands and forcing them into abject poverty; you wouldn't need to fight anyone.

          There's a lot of blood under a 400-year old bridge. Why keep pouring more into the flow?

          1. Dries Marais


            Your unresearched and historically slanted comment is noted. Thank God there were no black pilots - even the RAF chaps would have been better than them! And we honour the Royal Navy / prior Fleet Air Arm pilots who came out to fight against communism here, and were assets to a man.

            That fight in Angola was against communism, not a white against black war. Against the best from East Germany and Russia and against the best of Russian equipment.

            Count the number of South African pilots that helped you won the battle of Britain against Germany. And a South African general who was the true father of the RAF, Field Marshall Jannie Smuts.

            And then count the number of women and girls killed by the Brits in the Anglo Boer war. When 160 000 of Her Majesty's Little Britain killed 27 000 women and girls in "concentration camps" and burnt our land and shot our cattle when they could not win their war against 50 000 farmers and their young sons, armed with only their hunting rifles. All in order to get our gold and diamonds. When you could not beat the Germans you bombed ( how many millions?) civilians in Dresden, and kept on attacking the ambulances and ambulance trains with rockets as they were evacuated. The cultural heartland of the German people, and not the war-machine factories of the Ruhr.

            In South Africa YOU started the 8 wars against the Xhosa (called them Caffir Wars) and lost each one of them.

            At Blood River 440 farmers defended themselves successfully against 15 000 Zulu, with ancient flintlock rifles. Later in two instances similar sized British columns were decimated by similar number of Zulus. The Brits were armed with Lee Metford magazine rifles and an endless supply of ammunition. Spear-bearing Zulus took them to the last man.

            You are good at fighting civilians because they do not fight back. So, please sir, read the crux of my post where I do NOT belittle the grand RAF chaps who came here to join the fight against communism, but because of the silly training they had received and still receive, they could not make the grade. Strange that the RN guys were up to scratch in at least one case one of them was right there with the best.

            By the way, what was termed "apartheid" (and which is hinted to in your unkind post) was started by Britain in South Africa. The "protectorates" of Bechuanaland, Swaziland and Basuthuland became independent homeland for these ethnic groups and eventually independent nations. So did the Transkei, and Vendaland and Kwa'Ndebele and Baputhotswana under the Nationalist Government.

            ONLY, you Brits assisted the SA Communist Party to fight against that, AND shielded and fed them in London, and assisted them to let Xhosas now rule Zulu and Venda people under the banner of the communist ANC. (At least we flew in to unknown London and killed a fair number of them right there under your righteous noses, and walked out, and flew back to Pretoria).

            YOU put Robert Mugabe in power with ballot box swapping (I was there, I saw it) and YOU still keep him there despite him killing 100 000 of a different ethnic group. Sadam Hussein killed 148 opponents and you went to war against him. You almost went to war against Ian Smith for daring to defend his country against REAL communist terrorism - something you have not lived with.

            The main thrust of my post was that the RAF must look at their training curriculum for pilots. And buy proper fighter aircraft - 60% cheaper F16s. Your country does NOT have the economic ability to maintain the Eurofighter.

            I was in London again a few years ago. It is now your world class AFRICAN city. It looks terrible west end way. Congratulations...

            Watch the crime, AND the profile of the criminals.

        2. Equitas

          Hmm. SAAF takes all in front of it?

          How many non-white pilots?

          Or haven't you noticed the revolution took place some time ago and the politicians who have taken control of the SAAF are now no longer white? So what are you fighting to maintain? Is the SAAF of any relevance any longer? What does it exist to do?

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

  5. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    Still think it must be crew training

    I have no first hand knowledge of how the crews are actually being trained in RAF now but based on the fiscal and financial situation in the country and all the cuts in the RAF budget I am pretty confident that all or some of the above does happen:

    - live flight training reduced to absolute minimum to save on fuel and airframe wear

    - high-g maneuvers are discouraged for the same reason

    - close in group training beyond smooth formation flying is discouraged for fear of losing an expensive and irreplaceable aircraft in an accident.

    This is not unique to RAF - that's how any financially ham-strung military lacking clear doctrine operates in peace time. Soviet army and AF being a case in point - both before WWII and prior to the break up of the USSR.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Let's get it over with

      That is why the USA army has regular postings of their fighter pilots to Hungary, Bulgaria and Poland so they can fly against real Russian aircraft.

      It costs less to use some money on that occasionally than to have your aircraft not up to date for both your own airforce and for tender.

      Let's procure the current export version of the Su-27 and get it over with. Having 4 of these for aggressor training will cost the same as having any other aircraft and we will finally have a realistic assessment if it is worth writing blank cheques to BAE.

      1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov


        "Having 4 of these for aggressor training will cost the same as having any other aircraft"

        Not to mention that they will look great in the UK skies and pull a lot of plane spotters to whatever RAF base they will be based on...

      2. Zolko Silver badge

        Saab Grippen

        The hungarian air-force uses Saab Grippens. They sold their Mig 29s long ago, and they never had the Su-27s.

  6. RachelG

    Did you pay attention to what the PAF pilot actually said?

    He seemed to put it very squarely on the pilot training; that RAF pilots aren't adequately trained in close air combat and dogfighting, favouring BVR engagements.

    He doesn't say *anything* about the capabilities of the planes.

    Your anti-eurofighter crusade is just a bit too transparent I'm afraid.

  7. TimNevins
    Thumb Down

    Typical William the Conquerer tactics

    Let everyone think you are outclassed and outmatched and they will be arrogant and overconfident in a real situation.

    All you have to do is get the enemy to give up their high ground and break ranks based on lies and innuendo.

    I'lve lost count of the number of times this tactic is used.

    1. Barticus

      William the Conquerer?

      I think Sun Tzu was recommending that approach way earlier.

  8. Mark 65


    Wouldn't be like the other guy would be lying whether he stands to cop shit or not. I'll wait for a more verifiable source than "some bloke what was there and didn't want to be named"

  9. Tim Parker

    Smoke, mirrors, opinions

    "Based on this account, the Typhoon is actually worse than an F-16"

    No - based on this account the crews aren't trained for close-in engagement. That's what the quote you showed says, that's even what you mention (somewhat begrudgingly) viz

    "It's always possible, as the anonymous Pakistani pilot suggests, that the problem was with the crews."

    I'm no flag waver for the Typhoon - but your summary quoted above goes against the evidence you've supplied. You say

    "But in general when the British forces perform badly it isn't because of a lack of skills and training. It's far more normal for them to be let down by their kit."

    ..that's as maybe - and all too believable unfortunately - but that is categorically not was opined by the PAF pilot. If you're going to use evidence to back up your arguments against the Typhoon, then please use and not just disregard it or even contradict it.

    Frankly, i'd be happier if we had not built the bloody thing, but this does not illustrate any technical deficiency with the aircraft - at least if the PAF pilots comments are taken as true.. any other reading is just pure opinion on your part Lewis.

  10. Turtle_Fan

    A bit disingenuous

    Iirc you were lamenting on earlier articles the limited fly time the typhoon pilots get.

    Even if they got plenty close quarters dog fighting wouldn't be their staple.

    Give one of those babies to a Greek or Turkish pilot who are constantly at each other over the aegean and see what happens. Even the Pakistani bloke said as much.

    Close quarters dogfighting? isn't it against health and safety regulations?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    More the pilot than the plane at fault

    The comment from the PAF officer doesn't state that the plane is at fault, instead he opines that the problem is NATO pilots being trained mainly in BVR combat rather than close in dog fighting, which is what the scenario entailed.

    I'm no fan of the Eurofighter tbh, I think its just another case of high cost, minimal job creation and lining BAe's pockets over choosing an option which has commonality with more of our allies. However in this case Mr Page is drawing unwarranted conclusions.

  12. Tom Servo

    based on the anon comment of a PAF pilot

    who himself said that RAF pilots aren't drilled in close combat, you're still concluding that the Typhoon is worse because of a generalisation you make that"kit usually lets our boys down" therefore your leap of faith is correct?


  13. Tegne

    'Pakistani Pilots are better at dogfighting than NATO pilots'

    I'd imagine they are a lot more familiar with the capabilities of their ancient F16s as well as how to be effective in close combat. I'm pretty sure that Michael Schumacher could get round the Nurburgring in a 200BHP Subaru than I could in his 700bhp Ferrari but It doesn't mean the Ferrari sucks.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      you left out 'faster' or 'quicker'

      But I'd still like to see that!

  14. LPF
    Thumb Down

    @Vladimir Plouzhnikov et al

    As many have said , in this case its not the equipment , its the massive lack of training time that the pilots we are keeping are getting.

    I'm pretty sure I read up on some pilots almost losing qualification to fly the typhoon as they have not kept up with the minum number of flight hours.

    Seriously the sooner we can get this economy sorted and get back some balance to the defense budget the better. becuase as we proved in the falklands the RAF dogfighting skills were still superb when flyign aircraft that were technically not as good as the opposition.

    As for the commentator going on about, he doesnt care as they are unlikely to come up against that kind of opposition, thats the kind of damn fool comment the french were saying in 1939!

    1. Trygve Henriksen

      In addition to being used as part of the plot of a comedy...

      Didn't the US AF believe that they didn't need to train for dogfighting any more after they got the first AA missiles?

      How many Phantoms (or whatever.) jets did they lose before they started hanging gunpods on them?

      Any time anyone says 'we don't need to train for that kind of warfare any more' it means they open up a big hole in their forces, which someone will sooner or later embed something sharp into...

      Besides, what's a pilot going to do if he spends all his missiles, or the opponent flies in areas where long-range missiles are useless?

      (narrow fjords, mountain passes, Beggars canyon back on Tatooine... )

      Fly home and complain to his commander that the enemy isn't playing fair?

      1. Danny 14

        not really the same thing

        Thats because the sparrow missiles were shite so the ancient migs got through the missile screen. Coupled with the fact the phantoms radar was twitchy at best.

        The F14 is hardly a major dog fighting machine but phoenix missiles are the mutts nutts.

        F16 would be toast against a bunch of AMRAAMs

        1. Marcus Aurelius

          Not necessarily crispy toast.

          F16 can has AMRAAMs too. Not sure if it can deploy Phoenix, which I seem to recall is a big missile.

          I think the principle is to go to full afterburner and head into dogfighting fast if long range missile launches are detected/ suspected.

          F16s don't have a big RCS, but the Eurofighter is much better, so I would suspect the EF has a better chance of surviving a medium/ long range missile exchange.

          1. Anonymous Coward

            RE: Not necessarily crispy toast.

            F14 and Phoenix are both retired anyway. USN flies the Super Hornet exclusively now.

  15. jnievele

    Learn the terminology!

    Sorry Lewis, but you know nothing about military air tactics.

    Yes, the RAF has no experienced fighter pilots. They have barely enough money to keep them on the sad training level they currently have, let alone improving their skills, and the same is true of most western airforces, USAF included (they rely on their fancy stealth jets and BVR tactics, too).

    Also, the "lamentable" Tornado F3 wasn't lamentable at all - it worked pretty well in the role it was designed for. Don't blame the aircraft if the owner suddenly decides he needs something else. When you buy a Rolls-Royce you can't complain it doesn't drive like a Ferrari, can you?

    The F3 was designed as an INTERCEPTOR, not a fighter. That's quite a big difference - the role of the F3 was to kill inbound Soviet heavy bombers over the North Sea and North Atlantic, dogfighting was never a major design feature.

    But don't let your rant get disturbed by facts...

  16. Gadget Rage is BAD

    Top Gun

    Maybe our pilots need to go and train with the yanks and play topless volleyball to soft rock music, that'll help their close combat skills.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      This was the very reason the "top gun" schools were conceived - when NVAF migs tore US fighters apart in the early days of the Vietnam war, Americans having bought into the "dogfighting is a thing of the past" idea.

      TBH fighters/fighter bombers/etc (as they are today) are looking to be a thing of the past.

      1. Matt Bryant Silver badge

        RE: well

        Yeah, except that, when the Septics needed to "re-discover" dogfighting, they had to go ask the RAF how it was done. Strange that no-one has mentioned that the Typhoon has had no problems beating F-15s and even (alledgely) the F-22, both of which are flown by very capable US pilots. That would be the same US that is the source of PAF training. Was the PAF guy called Captain Mohammed Pinnochio by chance?

        1. tonysmith

          PAF not trained by USAF

          PAF is not really trained by the USAF. PAF has it's own independent training set up since they started their AF.

          If you want to blame anyone, then blame Władysław Józef Marian Turowicz (polish ww2 fighter ace and aerospace engineer), who helped them set up their AF and it's training schools back in the 50s along with some of his fighter ace mates, who the commie government in Poland didn't like because they'd been in the RAF during ww2 - so they all moved to Pakistan on an invite from PAF.

          When Pakistan was created, it's more intelligent leaders also put a lot of emphasis on building a strong AF.

          That's why PAF, for a 3rd world AF, is abnormally good - ask the Israeli pilots during the 1967 and 1973 Arab-Israeli wars - they downed 10 Israeli AF planes with 0 losses flying Arab planes at a time when the Arab AFs where getting shot down all over the place.

          Ezer Weizman - the Commander of the Israeli Air Force at the time stated of his Pakistani counterpart in his biography "On Eagles' Wings":

          "He was a formidable fellow and I was glad that he was Pakistani and not Egyptian"

          a few other PAF quotes


          The PAF, although outnumbered by IAF(Indian Air Force), has at least

          one qualitative edge over its rival: Pilot Training. The caliber of

          Pakistani instructors is acknowledged by numerous air forces, and US

          Navy pilots considered them to be highly 'professional' during

          exercises flying off the USS Constellation (as co-pilots).

          -Jane's International Defense (June 24, 1998)


          "The air war lasted two weeks and the Pakistanis scored a

          three-to-one kill ratio, knocking out 102 Russian-made Indian jets

          and losing thirty-four airplanes of their own. I'm certain about the

          figures because I went out several times a day in a chopper and

          counted the wrecks below." "They were really good, aggressive

          dogfighters and proficient in gunnery and air combat tactics. I was

          damned impressed. Those guys just lived and breathed flying. "

          (General (Retd.) Chuck Yeager (USAF) , Book: Yeager, the


          so the RAF losing a few dogfights to PAF isn't really a like losing to some 3rd world AF.

          1. Matt Bryant Silver badge

            RE: PAF not trained by USAF

            "PAF is not really trained by the USAF...." No, but the PAF F-16 pilots got trained by the Yanks as part of the deal. All their tactics come right out of the US manuals. The Indians know this and have the manuals in question, and have developed counter-tactics.

            "....If you want to blame anyone, then blame Władysław Józef Marian Turowicz...." A lot has changed over the last 60 years. During Musharef's rule, for example, only a few pilots of known "reliability" were allowed to fly, and they were very restricted on what they could do just in case a jihadi had snuck into the PAF and intended to crash his jet onto Mushie's headquarters. American satellite and observer analysis showed that PAF bombing runs during the Western Frontier campaigns against the rebel tribes were of a very poor standard, presumably because the pilots hadn't the air time or experience to do the job properly.

            "....The air war lasted two weeks and the Pakistanis scored a three-to-one kill ratio..." The PAF CLAIMED that kill ratio, but post-war analysis of the 1971 Bangladeshi conflict through grave doubts on the PAF claims. It's not surprising the PAF would seek to inflate their claims as it was another war they lost to India. There's also the little fact the PAF were flying defensively and mainly against Indian ground-attack jets at low levels. When the fighting was fighter vs fighter at high levels there seems to have been little between the two air forces.

            "....ask the Israeli pilots during the 1967 and 1973 Arab-Israeli wars - they downed 10 Israeli AF planes with 0 losses flying Arab planes at a time when the Arab AFs where getting shot down all over the place....." Incorrect. At least one PAF officer in a Syrian MiG-17 was shot down by Mirages in '67, and that's proveable because he fell on the Israelli side of the border. Several PAF pilots are thought to have been killed by Israelli jets, but the PAF pilots only claimed four kills (and that's claimed, not were verified, and definately not 10-0). The only verified case of a PAF pilot shotting down an Israelli was when Gideon Dror was shot down and taken prisoner whilst protecting Vantour bombers attacking Iraqi airfields in '67. The PAF pilot claimed to shoot down three Israellis in that attack but only Dror's loss could be verified. The majority of the PAF volunteers didn't arrive until after the war had alerady finished and then flew Syrian MiG-21s in the "peace" that followed, achieveing a big, fat nothing.

            I would suggest you seek a more balanced view rather than swallowing whatever injured PAF pride spouts.

            1. Matt Bryant Silver badge

              RE: PAF not trained by USAF

              PS: - If you're wondering how the Indians got the USAF training manuals on F16 tactics, the minute they learned the PAF was getting updated F16s they went to their friends in Israel. Israel not only has their own tactics, they also have the US manuals and tactics for the F16. One reason they have developed their own is because they know the US manuals were given to the Saudis and then passed on to other Arab nations. Over the Lebanon in 1982, the Syrians expected the Israelis to use the USAF tactics and were surprised and soundly beaten when the IAF played their own set. If the PAF F16s ever do go up against the Indians in Eurofighters you can expect the Indians to have a thorough knowledge of the F16 and its capabilities. How much knowledge the PAF has on the Eurofighter I suppose depends on what they get passed by the Saudis.

      2. Anonymous Coward

        Re: well

        "This was the very reason the "top gun" schools were conceived"

        What? To learn about topless volleyball and soft rock? And BVR, of course.

  17. Jon Smit

    A balanced view

    Would add that our Royal Navy have been made to look complete knobs by pirates running around in dhows and speedboats.

    A spokesman for the pirates has said "We always get our tanker."

    1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

      This is the "Rules of Engagement"

      The Royal Navy are quite capable of preventing a lot of the dhows and speedboats from causing bother to the tankers. After all, even a 30mm cannon can do serious damage to an armoured wooden ship, and helicopters can react very rapidly over quite large distances.

      Unfortunately, the Rules of Engagement state that they have to have a reason for stopping or boarding the dhows, and also that there has to be evidence of hostile action before the RN can fire on ships in the Indian Ocean and Arabian Gulf.

      Besides the pirates, there is a large amount of quite legitimate sea travel in these seas, so the standard tactic of the pirates is to look as innocent as possible until they are within a few hundred metres of their target, and then move fast. Once on board, they have hostages to hold the navies of the world to account to prevent any action.

      Because the military lawyers advise against possible harm to civilians, especially the hostage crew once a ship is taken, it is almost impossible for anybody to take it back without collateral damage, no matter how well trained or armed they are. This is compounded by the unprecedented access the media has to publicise what has happened, and focus the World's scrutiny.

      This is not just an RN problem, but one that affects all countries navel ships in the area.

  18. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  19. ybird

    You were in a four G inverted dive with a MiG?

    I sincerely hope they're not paying you for bashing that keyboard, lewis.

    How's that build more nuclear power stations campaign coming along?

  20. binner


    this article seems utter pointless and I regret reading it please can I have the minute back ?

    Seriously the pilot says one thing and you contradict it !

    what is the point of this article ?

    If you added "IMHO" to the end of th elast sentence and didn't quote the PAF pilot then it maybe acceptable, nromally these sorts of articles are tagged as opinion not news

  21. James 132

    NATO pilots not trained in BFM? Hmm...

    That is utter nonsense. I suspect more than a little bit of BS going on there on the PAF official's behalf.

    NATO crews have been intensively trained in BFM since forever, not for nothing is the Typhoon a maneuver fighter.

    The Typhoon is a lead contender for India's MRCA (against the Dassault Rafale) and I would not be surprised if this wasn't a little bit of PAF gamesmanship.

  22. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

    RAF pilots trained in

    BVR fighting

    Which roughly translated means that the F-16s would have been smoking holes in the ground before they'd managed to get to within visual range.... if the RAF had been allowed to shoot at them

    1. Ed Deckard

      The thing about the F-16, see

      it can carry BVR missiles too.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      BVR doesn't always hit.

  23. alexh2o


    I've heard from reliable sources, though completely unprovable, that in the past a Typhoon and an F22 Raptor have had a simulated dog-fight and the Typhoon actually won. Such information is not allowed to be spoken about for obvious American reasons.

    By all accounts this means the PAF F16s are in fact superior to F22s! Or it could be, as other have stated, simply a case of pilot training...

    Also, would a Typhoon with a BVR trained pilot not shoot down the PAF F16 long before it could ever start considering a dog-fight? If I fought Mike Tyson I know who would win... If I fought Mike Tyson with my 9mm or saw-off, Im pretty sure the tables have turned!

    1. Trygve Henriksen

      There's many reasons for dog-fight training...

      What if the enemy aircraft shows up from 'nowhere'?

      (Out of a narrow canyon/valley/fjord, over a mountain or large hill... )

      What if you don't have long-range weapons?

      (After all, an aircraft can only carry a limited number. and if you're flying a multi-role aircraft, some points may be taken up by bombs or other 'useless' stuff)

      Weapons malfunctions...

      1. Danny 14


        you dont engage and get the hell out of dodge. the F16 wouldnt have been able to keep up.

        1. Marcus Aurelius

          Getting out of dodge fail

          EF2K and F16 are surprisingly similar in the speed stakes, and getting out of the exchange is easier said than done, as doing it wrong presents your hot exhaust as a prime target for a IR missile in the ass. If you don't want to play the best time to get out would probably be on initial flypast when both aircraft are heading at high speed in opposite directions.

          1. Matt Bryant Silver badge

            RE: Getting out of dodge fail

            The F16 can carry BVR misilies OR extra fuel, the Eurofighter can carry more of both. If the F16 goes into a dogfight with external tanks it seriously degrades both rate of turn and accelleration, and increases the loss of speed whilst turning. If you lose speed in a dogfight you are forced to either dive or fly straight to regain speed, which makes you an easier target. If you don't keep up speed then you risk stalling out and losing control, which will make you an easy target until you regain control. So an F16 pilot will probably dump his external tanks and be reliant on internal fuel for a dogfight, assuming he had external fule in the first place (if he wanted as many BVR missiles as the Eurofighter then he wouldn't have tanks). Assuming a single F16 vs a single Eurofighter and that they have got into a dogfight rather than the Eurofighter killing the F16 at range, that the pilots are equal and neither can get a missile solution, and that neither faces the prospect of another jet joining the fight, then all the Eurofighter pilot has to do is keep turning and wait for the F16 to run out of missiles or gas, or for the F16 to break for home from lack of fuel, presenting the Eurofighter pilot with a hot exhaust and an easy kill.

      2. Zolko Silver badge

        There's many reasons for dog-fight training...

        Like: many aircraft against many others, and those surviving the first wave of BVR missiles do what ? They dog-fight.

        Or: a lonely unidentified aircraft entering our airspace, do you shoot it at distance, or do you try to identify it ? Identifying means getting in visual range, and potentially dog-fight.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Close-in vs. BVR

    With my knowledge of modern air combat tactics being next to nothing I'm probably missing something here, but surely if the RAF pilots are trained to be deadly at long ranges then an engagement at short range (as here) is only likely during training, as normally they'd have shot the aggressor down before he got too close?

    Paris, because.

    1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

      They'd have shot the aggressor down

      Or not...

      Missiles do not have 100% hit probability and there may be more targets than you have missiles for.

      1. Danny 14


        "more targets than you have missiles for"

        then you will also lose dogfighting as more numbers = easier time for the dogfighters.

  25. MJI Silver badge

    Pity the Sea Harrier has gone

    With FAA pilots they would have won convincingly

  26. Ian K

    The wrong way round, Lewis

    You're meant to start by looking at the facts, then make a reasonable assessment of whether they fit your thesis.

    Not start with the assumption your thesis is correct, then bend the facts (or shoehorn in suppositions wholesale: "It's far more normal for them to be let down by their kit") to fit.

  27. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    So IRL is this *likely*

    I think if I was flying a state of the art fighter and my sensors spotted an incoming fighter I'd want to destroy it at the range that gave me a *good* chance of a successful kill with what I was armed with.

    Presumably some of these super duper AAM's Typhoon is meant to be carrying.

    It's not *exactly* cricket but I'd be aiming to finish my tour alive.

    Mind you, bearing in mind what some members of the Pakistani cricket team have got up to.....

  28. Jim 59


    So an anonymous "Pakistani pilot" says on a website, to paraphrase - "yeah we won we creamed them all. Not becuase of the planes, but just becuase we ROCK !". And the author:

    1. Swallows the anon posting without criticism, question or confirmation

    2. Ascribes the claimed victory to the equipment allegedly involved, when even the anonymous source seemed to be saying the opposite.

    3. Questions the Eurofighter project on this basis.

    Come on man.

  29. envmod


    oh belt up lewis.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Oh Lewis, what have you done?

    Normally I think Lewis' articles aren't too bad, some lean a little towards Brit bashing this is true, but there are usually some very good points in there.

    This one goes over the edge though. As many fellow commentistas have pointed out the ONLY source of outside info for this article is the PAF pilots quote. And he quite clearly says:

    "NATO pilots are not that proficient in close-in air-to-air combat. They are trained for BVR [Beyond Visual Range] engagements and their tactics are based on BVR engagements."

    He then spins this into a two page article about how shit the Typhoon is, and laughably titles one page "Analysis" when it's clearly nothing of the kind.

    Lewis, El Reg may be a 'red top' but there really is no need for this.

  31. geekclick

    It's no great surprise..

    .. that our boys have lost there touch given that all the Eurofighter seems to do is race a Veyron back and forth over a mile...

    The article doesn't specify which variant of the Eurofighter (Tranche 2, Block 8 etc) the F-16's were up against either, but then I am not sure this would have made all THAT much of a difference. Perhaps sending them up against ze Germans would be a good idea (as they have only a hand full less of them than us) and see how well the PAF do against Gerry?!?

    Has a rematch been organised?

    I guess at another level as well this should support the whole go and spend X amount of time flying with other airforces around the world to gain additional skill sets, tactics and such, much like the special forces do with the guys on the ground, SAS Troops are known to go and spend time training with Delta force and the Seals and vice versa and it keeps them all mighty sharp.

    Comparing the Eurofighter to the F3 is a bit like comparing an Evo to an M3, totally different requirements and roles!

    We get that people (specifically the author it would seem) aren't keen on the Eurofighter but like it or not we are stuck with it and surely now it should be about supporting the guys and gals who fly the things and giving them the skills they need to be at the front toppling other planes from the sky regardless.

  32. F111F

    What Were the ROE?

    Before anyone goes too far (like that ever happens at The Reg), what were the conditions for the fight? Were the PAF given a primo set up? Were the RAF handcuffed by certain restrictions? Remember a few years ago when the Indian Air Force "won" against US fighters? It was primarily because the ROE (Rules of Engagement) put the IAF in the best possible position to start each fight, not because aircraft or training were lacking. Sometimes air forces do that to make the exercise more interesting to crews on both sides--put the better ones into a box and see if they can figure a way out, and give the others a fighting chance to win.

    I've been on many deployments where superior aircraft were handcuffed by either restricting weapons, tactics, or both. On one we had F-15s vs F-4s (OK, it was a while ago), and we handily beat the F-4s until the last day when they went 16v4 and finally got one of our F-15s. That's not to say training and experience aren't important. I saw two experienced F-4 jocks cream two inexperienced F-15 pilots on the first day of another week long deployment. After that, the learning curve was fairly steep and the F-4s could only get draws at best. By the end of the week, it wasn't fun for the F-4 guys, so they started imposing restrictions on the F-15s to make it interesting. Same thing could have happened here with the RAF vs PAF.

    1. James 132
      Thumb Up

      True, dat

      Under 'Constant Peg' there is an account of a MiG-21 pilot (USAF) that knew the '21 inside out, and routinely humbled far more modern adversaries in BFM because he was so well practiced in it; but that of course is the point of the exercise.

    2. Marcus Aurelius


      Yep, its quite common in teaching scenarios for the pupils to be placed in the worst position possible so they learn the best way out of it.

      However I do hope its not the case that the RAF is so short of money that it can't train the UK pilots properly or ensure they put in enough flying hours. If that is the case, I suggest they buy a block of F16s or F18s to play with and keep the serious machines for wartime.

  33. Rufe0

    missing the point

    You all seem to be missing the point. It doesn't matter wether it was the pilots fault or the aircrafts fault. After spending so much money we should of won, well atleast a good percentage of bouts. It's clear there is somthing wrong, be it the man or machine we should be doing better in these battles or what are we paying our taxes for?

  34. Anonymous Coward 101


    "There goes Lewis on one of his Brit bashing exercises! He said that the Eurofighter is rubbish, when in actual fact we have spent gazillions of pounds on each Eurofighter and then not trained our pilots to use them effectively! Wait, that didn't come out quite how I wanted it to sound, let me try again..."

    What was the point of spending so much money on these allegedly high performance, ultra-maneuverable fighters if they are only effective - due to deficiency with aeroplane and/or pilot - for BVR combat? We may as well have kept F3s or bought cheapo F-16s.

  35. Frostbite

    Oh no Lewis

    Poor journalism again Lewis, stand in the corner until home time.

    When will people start calling the Eurofighter Project aircraft by its assigned name 'Typhoon'?

  36. Craig Vaughton


    ..Happiness is vectored thrust!

    So no going back to face F-16's until we get F-35B's then. Or maybe instead of replacing the GR3 on its concrete plinth outside Wittering with a nearly new GR9 they should have sent those them to Turkey instead?

  37. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Eurofighter is crap

    It is not brit bashing to say that the eurofighter has been a huge failure. Due to incompetence in procurement and actually deciding what the thing was supposed to do it has ended up costing more than an F22 and yet will get owned by much cheaper planes that other countries have been going for instead. Not only that but we couldn't back out of it when it became plain to see it was going to be a mess due to the ludicrous agreements that had been made. It is not the manufacturers or pilots that are to blame, it is the red tape disaster.

  39. Peter Bennett 1

    Return of Sharky?

    Didn't Sharky's book about the Harrier's performance around and during the Falklands mention that the Harrier defeated F-16s jockeyed by elite US pilots in air-to-air combat?

    Please may we have the Sea-Harrier back now?

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge

      RE: Return of Sharky?

      Yes and no. In the first engagements USAF F-16 drivers had with Sea Harriers the RN pilots had a field day, mainly as the F-16 drivers weren't experienced in how the Harrier could manouvere out of plane, it was an unusual shape for them (the F-16 drivers reported that sometimes they couldn't tell at a glance if a Harrier was turning to them or away), and they'd fallen for the idea that a subsonic jet couldn't match a Mach2 one. After a few losses and some talking with the RN pilots (and, if the rumours are to believed, the USAF pilots swallowed their pride and called some USMC Harrier pilots to get some ideas), the F-16 drivers came up with tactics that reduced the deficit. Even so, in NATO exercises the Harrier in any form was an unpopular opponent even for F-15 jockeys, and scored many a "kill" against larger and more powerful fighters. They developed such a rep that Argentine Mirage III pilots were instructed to avoid combat with RN Sea Harreirs over the Falklands, despite the Mirages having a BVR capability that the Sea Harriers couldn't match.

  40. Anonymous Coward

    Bears repeating...

    ...if the Eurofighter was designed to be good at dogfighting, why haven't our pilots been trained to do it? Either their training wastes the planes capabilities, or the plane's capabilities are considered superfluous. In either case that's bad news.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Maybe this is all a bit of a set up?

    India gets the Euro fighter and a bit more of a discount because everyone *knows* that the plane is crap, right?

    Pakistan get bolder because they think they have air superiority and then they do something stupid like start WW3.

    Yeah, that's the ticket.

    Only the high end arms dealers make out.

    Its all a complicated con...

    Ooops what's that 'whoop whoop' I hear outside my window... got to go.


  42. spl23


    For my sins, I lived in Islamabad for three years in the late 80's. Every morning, regular as clockwork, 2 PAF F-16s would take off from Islamabad airport (which was also a PAF base) and fly in slow circles around the city for an hour, before landing. That was the only flying I ever saw the PAF's fighters do - the local joke was that they didn't want to fly out of sight of the city in case they couldn't find it again...

    The RAF are one of the best-trained air forces in the world, before you take the kit into consideration. (My brother was a Harrier pilot for them - he may have slagged the kit occasionally, but I never heard him question the competence and training of the pilots. Unlike those of certain of our closer allies with whom he flew...)

    In other words, I don't believe a word of this story. To be honest, I'd bet that if the RAF boys were in the F-16s and the PAF pilots were in the Typhoons, the PAF would still lose any engagement against the RAF...

  43. Anonymous Coward

    Correct some misconceptions

    Let me establish my bone fides first. I'm an ex-RAF Engineering Officer who working on one of the Tornado F3 bases before they were pensioned off for the vastly superior Eurofighter/Typhoon.

    Let me assure everyone reading this article that the RAF pilots train extensively for close in air to air combat. In fact, pilots in ground attack aircraft also train for within visual range air to air combat. At one point I worked on a Jaguar Squadron, and the pilots there trained for this role.

    What is not clear, and was is really important to judge this case, is what the "set-ups" referred to in the interview are. Given the types of combat that get practiced at these NATO exercises, it is wholly believable that F16s might win. For example, it could have been a pair of Typhoons protecting a fixed asset (like an AWACS or refuelling aircraft) against a squadron of F16s. It could have been an exercise where one side had AWACS support and the other didn't. It could have been F16s practicing intercepting a penetration bombing attack. I sincerely doubt that an F16 beat an RAF Typhoon in a straight one on one dogfight.

    I also would like to re-echo the comment from an earlier AC. India are considering buying a bunch of new aircraft and the Typhoon is a contender. Rubbishing the Typhoon in air to air combat would be a useful thing for a PAF pilot to do.

    In the interests of balance (take not Lewis), I will say that I would not be surprised if some of the avionics in the Typhoons is causing problems and prevented the aircraft from achieving its full capabilities in this role.

    Finally, I will repeat a point which Lewis always misses in his "buy American" articles. In almost all modern air warfare roles avionics is much much more important than airframe. The US *NEVER* sells the same avionics to its allies as it puts in its own aircraft. Generally to get fully capable aircraft we end up having to develop all of our own avionics. The avionics have been most of the expense of the Typhoon, and developing our own avionics for an F35 or even an F16 would be an extremely expensive way to get new aircraft.

  44. benzaholic

    American F-16 kicks butt!

    That's my completely unbiased take on this article.

    The stodgy old F-16, designed in the good old US of A, is still Barney Super Bad A$$ of the skies.

    America! F*** Yeah!

  45. Cihatari

    If Lewis looks in the mirror these days..

    Does Richard Littlejohn stare back at him?

    You couldn't make it up!

  46. dsdetective
    Thumb Up

    Eurofighter worse than Spitfire - clearly! Someone think of the children!

    The Eurofighter (a relaxed stability aircraft made of light weight composites) represents a step change in manoeuvrability over any aircraft of the F16 era. This is a matter of mathematical fact and can easily be shown from widely known performance data. There are also a number of well cited examples of Eurofighters coming up with devastating kill to loss ratios over far more capable aircraft in close-in scenarios.

    I have, however, read numerous articles by fast jet pilots asserting the idea that within visual range combat is essentially suicidal at best for any aircraft in the modern arena because the dog fighting missiles are so effective, and even relatively old aircraft sport helmet mounted sights. That is exactly why modern air-to-air doctrine is designed around avoiding that scenario at all cost. Your article therefore pretty much ignores every possible sensible argument and instead jumps to the most blatantly preposterous conclusion imaginable. It’s the sort of thing you usually read in the comments section on youtube! Good job!

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm Glad they Lost

    With Typhoon Pilots currently on QRA (Air defence of the UK) and in operations in Libya, I’m glad we didn't beak the PAF in their F16's.

    Why you may ask?

    Because it shows that the RAF would rather put their best pilots into planes doing something useful, rather then at this sausage fest of "my planes bigger then your plane." Like I don't know, Dropping Bombs in Libya (yes Lewis, the Typhoon can drop various types of ordinance and it has been able to for some time, it's just never had to in anger before.)

    Or maybe having the RAF pilots who excel in Dog fighting stay in the QRA role, chasing off the Fighters and Bombers that are uninvited into British Patrolled Airspace (you'd be shocked how many times this happens,) is a waste of resources and the RAF should send their best equipment and best pilots to show off to other countries. What are we, America?

    Ohh and the Bashing of UK equipment Lewis, it's getting very old now.

  48. Anonymous Coward

    What The Hell

    Is UK doing, playing games with Pakistan?

    Pakistan is not a nice country.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Talking to myself: selling, I suppose

      Damn, I forgot that some countries make money from selling arms to not-nice countries

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You could loose 4Bn Dollar Indian contract to Rafael

    Hi, if u keep hiiting out against your own kit, you could lose the 4 Bn Dollar Indian contract. after all perceptions can harm more .


  50. Michael E. Stora, Ph.D,

    Be careful with interpretation

    Despite some national pride in the F-16 modernization program (programme on your side of the pond?), I wish to point out that one needs to be very careful when it come to interpreting leaks from exercises or war games. The way these are set up, "Blue Team" is supposed to beat "Red Team" most of the time. Everything important is in the details of the scenarios run.

  51. jrwlynch

    Second Anonymous Coward's post

    It's interesting that Lewis, between bouts of Typhoon-trashing, also condemns the Tornado F.3. Has he never heard of the exercise a few years ago, where two Tornadoes defeated eight - count'em, eight - of the mighty US Air Force's F-15 Eagles without loss?

    Now, there was the petty detail that the F-15s only had their own eyes and radars, while the F.3s had AWACS support - sending its Big Picture straight to their cockpits by Link-16 - but trivia like this don't matter much compared to the final score...

    As has been repeatedly stated - the setup and exercise rules are key to the score, otherwise we'd have proved that the F-22 Raptor is hopelessly inferior to the F-16. (F-16s beat Typhoon in an exercise, Typhoons have beaten Raptors out at Nellis, therefore the F-16 is superior to both).

    1. arkhangelsk

      Well, to be fair

      ... depending on what year this happened, this might not have been unfair - the F-15s didn't have datalink. It was considered big news when the 366th Composite Wing's F-15s (and apparently only them, at least for that period) got JTIDS links, at least back in the 90s.

  52. Anonymous Coward

    The moral of the story is

    invade England! The RAF suck at close-in-fights. Germany should have patiently waited.

  53. Antoinette Lacroix

    Make no mistake

    The Block 50/52/60 F-16s have as much to to with the original as a Spitfire MK I with an XIV. The 2010 models, which sport 32.500 lbs thrust engines, sold for 60M a piece. They have all the latest gadgetry and are everything but ancient.

  54. Cyrano d'Ecosse

    Wow! Do you do any research or fact checking at all?

    Excellent Lewis, not a single fact in your post, the RAF did not attend this years Anatolian Eagle, though the US, UAE, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Jordan & Spain did. Indeed the RAF have only made an appearance at 2 events so far, 07/02 - when we sent Tornado GR4s and when Pakistan also attended; the RAF also went in 09/2 when Pakistan were NOT present. Now the Saudi's and Spainiards have Tiffies, they might have sent , cos the RAF didn't.

    1. Starace

      Update to the article?

      Just waiting for Lewis to update the article to acknowledge this is all based on a false report, or better just withdraw the whole thing and replace with a note explaining why.

      The giveaway - even if he hadn't checked the dates/attendees - was that pretty much every quote on the original source was obviously bollocks to anyone with even a small clue about the subject.

      There are quite a few people who already consider these articles to be a joke and this one in particular really isn't helping the reputation of the author.

    2. tonysmith

      NATO attened though

      According to Anatolian Eagle website

      Pakistan and NATO attended AE-06/2. The RAF could have been part of that presumably. The PAF pilot does not state it was this years event.

      He says: "On one occasion – in one of the international Anatolian Eagles - PAF pilots were pitted against RAF Typhoons, a formidable aircraft."

      If theReg can contact the RAF on that - it would clear everything up.

    3. arkhangelsk

      Well, you've checked the Anatolian website

      ... but did you check the interview from which the article was sourced? It does say:

      "TuAF has honoured the PAF by also letting its pilots fly in the national Anatolian Eagle exercises under Turkish command and wearing Turkish flags and badges. This is a unique honour given only to PAF pilots. The exchange pilots also get to fly TuAF F-16s in the Anatolian Eagle international exercises. So you could have 6 visiting PAF pilots flying their own PAF F-16s and the one PAF exchange pilot flying with the Turks in a TuAF F-16."

      In other words, according to the interview, the absence of a Pakistani flag on the website does not necessarily negate the presence of Pakistanis, flying a foreign flag.

      1. nichomach

        More fail

        The national as opposed to international Anatolian Eagles are internal Turkish Air Force only, so there would have been no NATO or RAF foreign aircraft involved regardless of whether PAF pilots were flying TuAF F-16s.

        1. tonysmith

          but it says

          "The exchange pilots also get to fly TuAF F-16s in the Anatolian Eagle international exercises"

          it says that they get to fly TuAF f-16s in the international exercises - maybe that's what the PAF guy is on about.

          In Question 20 the interviewer also suggests the PAF may have flown with/against the Israeli AF 'pretending' to be TuAF pilots - presumably an international version of the exercise - though the PAF guy does not reply to the question.

          But it seems reasonable to say that PAF pilots could have flown against the RAF pilots in eurofighters in the international exercise - but with Turkish F-16s - not PAF ones.

  55. Anonymous Coward

    Slight matter of this actually never happening anyway.

    Just one wee small point:

    Reading the Ex Anatolian Eagle website, the Pakistani Air Force attended AE04/ 3, AE06/2, AE07/2, and AE08/4. The RAF has only turned out to bat at 07/2, sending 14 Squadron, which /was/ equipped with.... wait for it.... Tornado GR4!! Typhoon didn't make an appearance at Anatolian Eagle untl 2009.

    So the PAF F-16 topguns managed to 'shoot down' aircraft which weren't even there! Much like the story, really.

    1. Mr Floppy
      Paris Hilton

      Perhaps the account above is simply a lie

      "Perhaps the account above is simply a lie, or anyway a bit of a fighter pilot tall story. But the pilot quoted will be easily identifiable inside his community if not to the outside world, and he could expect a lot of flak for telling a lie on such a matter in public."

      Well, it looks like if you pass on a lie, you can expect a lot of flak too

  56. me n u

    I'll go easy on you Brits, then

    Being a Yank and all, I could pounce all over this, but I won't.

    IMO, the problem is almost certainly one of training. The Typhoon pilots may not have enough quality dogfight training. Lord knows we Americans were getting our butts kicked in 'nam with a terrible kill ratio of 1:1 against the MiG-21. After the Navy instituted Top Gun, that changed to about 14:1. (The Air Force opted to forego training and bought external 20mm guns-their kill ratio remained dismal).

    A very well trained pilot can make all the difference in the world. So, to be fair, one must examine the pilots backgrounds before assuming the aircraft is at fault. If there's a next time, make sure you have properly trained pilots going against the PAF F-16's.

    All just my opinion.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      Funny, most of the pilots I know are pretty well trained.

      They also considered what was covered at Top Gun to be simplistic compared to the training they covered at home or on other exchanges.

    2. graeme leggett

      Top Gun and FAA

      Phoenix Squadron by Rowland White links the development of Top Gun into the exchange work between USN pilots and the Fleet Air Arm in the 60s.

  57. Defiant

    Stop Joking

    "a Pakistani officer."

    Must be true then.........................yea right

  58. Tony 34
    Paris Hilton

    Title, etc


    Normally I rate your articles because, they are a breath of fresh air. They are entertaining and reasoned. The off the wall stuff is peppered with wisdom and interesting jump-off-points for googling, and the factual stuff is factual - even if blatantly cherry-picked for fun, and the opinion stuff at least makes it's case in a way I can respect, even if I disagree, which I often don't.

    This article is a low point for lacking almost all the above-mentioned good qualities.

    Paris, because I wouldn't throw her out of bed for farting, and I am not going to do the same (metaphorically) with you, just because of this fart, you sexy old Lewis Page, you.

  59. MacroRodent

    How are the points scored?

    Just a honest question from one who knows nothing about aerial combat: How do you keep score about who kills whom in exercises like this? The obviously cannot fire real missiles or bullets at each other.

  60. JMB


    Did they ever get around to fitting guns to the RAF Typhoons? Wasn't it decided to not have them as an economy measure? If so then it might explain why the Pakistani Air Force were more successful in close combat.

    1. Mr Brush


      The Typhoon does not have a gun.

      It has a 27mm Mauser Cannon.

  61. Bram


    Thus has nothing to do with the kit, the Pakistani pilot was talking about training differences that led to an exercise win. BVR training means you destroy their planes before they get in the air

  62. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    pick n choose

    The pilot makes two main points.

    1. In one exercise, Pakistani pilots beat Eurofighters 3-0 in their F-16s

    2. They did so because they have more experience training in close quarters dog fights.

    Now read Lewis's conclusions where he accepts (1) at face value and then dismisses (2) completely and substitutes his own well-worn prejudice instead.

    Honestly, I wonder does Lewis have the editor's kids hostage or is he actually employed as a professional troll? I just cannot figure out why any publication of repute would continue to print such utter garbage.

    A professional pilot involved in the incident in question says it was better training and experience that prevailed. Lewis Page, sitting on the other side of the world with no information other than this pilots comments says it is the Eurofighter aircraft that is to blame. Who am I going to believe?

    A better conclusion would be to sack all our useless plumby-voiced handlebar moustache wearing RAF guys and hire the Pakistanis instead. Lot cheaper too.

    1. nichomach

      A better conclusion would be... note, as other posters have above that Lewis hasn't even done any basic fact checking, which fact checking would have revealed that the PAF have never faced Typhoons at Anatolian Eagle at all, making the entire article a load of rubbish.

  63. dsdetective


    So it appears the RAF were never even there, and nor were any eurofighters. If there was any integrity to this journal a retraction is clearly warrented. Unlesss of course, this really is all just about entertainment and there was never any serious intention at serious journalism.

    I too though would definitely echo the view that I have always enjoyed these articles. That's why I think it's such a shame this sneaked through the net, it rather undermines anything published in the future.

    In any case, I'll still look forward to reading the next Frigates are a Waste of Time rant as much as the next man. Never fails to make me smile :)

    1. Lewis Page 1 (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Retraction?

      RTFA gents. Pakistani PILOTS on exchange to the Turkish air force flying Turkish F-16s. There are always Turkish planes at Anatolian Eagle and - according to the pilot interviewed - in some cases these jets are flown by Pakistani exchange pilots.

      Do try and get beyond the headline before commenting.

  64. Dog@86G


    All facts have been ommitted from this report as they don't back up the authors opinion!

  65. Aggellos

    cut and paste reg, fancy hang some wallpaper at my house

    Let me clarify this story, 3 PAF pilots while using a SIMULATOR managed to shoot down 3 typhoon on guns only portocol.

    End of Story.

    What next Al Qaeda beat the U.S Marines (at L4D2).

  66. Matt Hawkins

    knomes, pixies and unicorns.

    "according to a Pakistani officer" who is unnamed.

    So a completely anonymous and unbiased then.

    If it was true why would he have to remain anonymous? There are certain countries that need to blow their own trumpet because their military, in general, sucks. Pakistan is one of those countries.

  67. Anonymous Coward


    That is all.

  68. Aggellos

    Rarely Edited Garbage.

    this is a silly story gone wild the Simulators that the PAF use where updated with the typhoon profile (only climb rate, thrust, turn speed and gun characteristics) will trying out the PAF F16 profiles against it they managed to down a few typhoons.

    The Typhoon profile was taken straight for Jane's and programmed independantly by PAF avionics techs as a pet project, just like the heathrow simulator that ran XWING.

    And i have shot down a blackbird with a Xwing glad you guys did not hear about that the mind boggles at the headline.

    Through what seems to be wishpers and extremely poor investigation be some this old story has once again new legs , tomorrow's article will be "man forced to marry goat" exclusive or "60 US. RANGERS killed by talilban in Counter strike soruce shocker".

    This story is few years old and a subject of much humour in RAF.

  69. Killraven

    Did anybody read....

    past the first couple paragraphs?

    Based on the majority of comments, probably not.

  70. John Hughes

    A poor workman blames his tools

    "But in general when the British forces perform badly it isn't because of a lack of skills and training. It's far more normal for them to be let down by their kit."

    Nah, it's 'cos they is crap.

  71. Paul 172
    IT Angle


    "But in general when the British forces perform badly it isn't because of a lack of skills and training. It's far more normal for them to be let down by their kit. "

    LOL - bad workman blaming his tools, there ?

  72. Anonymous Coward


    I've flown these planes - the F3 is aerodynamically atrocious for ACM, but I've still seen them gun F16s. Depends on the quality of the pilots, the setups, the choices made and luck. Three setups doesn't prove much, especially in the artificial visual fight described here. Real fights are much more complicated, more dynamic, and the winners will probably be the ones with the most situational awareness.

    Note also that Typhoons are G-limited for economic reasons - in peacetime.

  73. epocalypse
    Black Helicopters

    Unofficial Reply

    An unnamed senior officer from the RAF's 3 Sqn stated today, "Bollocks!"

  74. thumb_up_32
    Thumb Up

    Facts about Pakistan!

    I think PAF pilots are best in the world. They fight with their full strength, no fear at all. However, indian pilots are looser, they afraid of dying, thats why they loose every time.

    Wanna hear something interesting?

    On 7th September, 1965, in a number of interception missions flown by Squadron Leader Mohammad Mahmood Alam(pakistani pilot) against indian aircraft attacking Pakistan Air Force Station, Sargodha, Squadron Leader Alam destroyed five enemy Hunter aircraft in less than a minute, which remains a record until today. :P

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge

      RE: Facts about Pakistan!

      Suggest you find some new facts, then!

      "......On 7th September, 1965, in a number of interception missions flown by Squadron Leader Mohammad Mahmood Alam(pakistani pilot) against indian aircraft attacking Pakistan Air Force Station, Sargodha, Squadron Leader Alam destroyed five enemy Hunter aircraft in less than a minute....." Alam claims that he got airborne in an F-86 Sabre durng an Indian attack on his base, and shot down five of the attacking Hunters when they pulled through his sights in line astern. The Indians dispute the story on the following points; only three Hunters were lost in all actions on that day, of which one was lost to an engine failure; the Hunters that did fail to return that day came from different squadrons and were operating in different areas (27Sq and 7Sq); Alam's gun camera footage has never been released to back up the claim, despite the PAF claiming it has such footage; and Indian Hunters did not fly line astern during strikes on airfields but line abreast, so that rockets and cannon strikes could cover a greater area. Seeing as the Sabre was getting a kicking in the air from the Folland Gnats being used by the Indians, it's not surprising that the Ynaks seized on the Alam story as a sales tool to try and infer even older American jets were still better than British ones. All in all, it looks like the current story is just another in a long line of PAF falsehoods.

  75. Anonymous Coward

    Poor training in the RAF

    If we can get away from the usual fatuous and ignorant comments?

    The SA correspondent got it spot on. Training is the problem. The RAF simply don't think air to air warfare is their bag, incredible as it may seem. The Fleet Air Arm used to run Air Warfare Instruction courses, the basic tenets of which were used to set up "Top Gun" in the US, yes, they had to come to us for help. No doubt all this expertise has been gleefully dismantled by the RAF, after the demise of the Harriers. The RAF has always decried the AWI and never run anything like it themselves, preferring to concentrate on bombing , their only remaining strategic role. RAF pilots in the Falklands War who were seconded to RNAS squadrons came back much better pilots if they went through AWI. Again incredibly this sometimes caused their careers to suffer when they returned to the RAF. Cameron has effectively axed the wrong air force, and who ever is flying British aircraft in the future will have a desperate time the first time they come up against enemy pilots of any merit. Anyone who doesn't think this was a really bad idea has totally failed to grasp the magnitude of what has happened, and the consequences and losses of gallant young men to follow. Lewis Page and Sharkey Ward already know this to be true.

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