Aircraft Comparison

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by davemyrick, Dec 8, 2013.

  1. davemyrick

    davemyrick New Member

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    We hear lots of info about how the Axis aircraft matched up head to head with the Allied aircraft, but I have never heard or seen anything written about how the Allied aircraft matched up with their contemporaries. Specifically, I am curious how the Russian aircraft stacked up against the Mustang and Spitfire.
    Thanks,
    Dave Myrick
     
  2. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    I have a good spreadsheet on some of them, but no real way to post it.

    It is an Excel file and the "manage attachments" button doesn't DO anything ... and it is not a valid extension for an attachment.

    Good question, though.
     
  3. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    The early Soviet airforce was woefully outdated but towards the end of the war, the YaK-9 emerged as comparable to the P-51.

    The airwar in the east was fought on very different terms, so you'll see a difference in their aircraft reflecting that condition.
     
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  4. Jabberwocky

    Jabberwocky Active Member

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    There were a number of comparisons, both formal and informal, conducted by the Soviets of Lend Lease aircraft. Both TsAGI and the VVS conducted formal testing of the aircraft sent to them, there are some turn time, climb rate and level speed graphs floating about on this site, if you look hard enough. Try the 'Flight Test Data' section of the 'Technical' sub-forum.

    The Soviets operated a vast number of US and British types. Off the top of my head, they got Hurricanes (Mk I and Mk II), Spitfires (Mk Vs, Mk IXs, maybe some Mk VIIIs), P-40 of various stripes (mostly C and E, I think), P-39s, P-63s and P-47Ds (which they didn't care for at all). There was also one P-51A tested.

    The Soviets weren't particularly fond of the Hurricane, finding it slow in level flight, slow to pick up speed in a dive and even worse in the rolling plane. They weren't particularly fond of the all .303 armament, nor the 4 x 20 mm Hispano armament - the former because of its lack of firepower, the latter due to reliability issues.

    They liked the Spifire more, but found it not very suited to Russian airfields. The Merlin was also regarded as much more sensitive and highly strung than Russian engines, and it had a tendency to foul on lower grade Russian fuels. It was considered a little overweight and too slow at low altitudes (Russian theatre being generally fought at under 5000 m). They did like its horizontal and vertical maneuverability though. The Spitfire was considered a better fighter at high altitudes than most Russian aircraft.

    The P-40 seems to have been regarded as solid, but a little too large to be a real fighter. The Russians rated it better than the Hurricane and felt the Allison was more reliable. The liked the cockpit layout and radios.

    There was a similar sentiment with the P-47. The Russians saw it as huge and unweildy and only good at high altitudes, but pilots loved the modern cockpit and equipment, particularly the heater. It was generally tasked with rear area and high altitude defence, although some went to the Navy for use as fighter bombers, I believe.

    The P-39 and P-63 were much loved by the Soviets, although the 37 mm cannon on both comes in for a fair amount of stick in personal accounts. They were considered as good as, if not better, than the 109F/G at low altitudes through they war by the Soviets. Still, they did have some complaints about the aircraft being overweight/overengineered. The Russians often got rid of the wing guns and chucked out some armour and fuel tanks to shave weight down.

    There are plenty of personal accounts about how the VVS used and viewed their lend lease fighters at Lend-Lease on airforce.ru
     
  5. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Soviet aircraft have the same problem as Soviet tanks. Performance looks good on paper but they perform poorly in combat. Soviet Union tended to scrimp on details such as radios, weapon sights, crew ergonomics, ammunition quality, weapon quality control causing low service life and/or performance less then technical manual suggests etc.

    Which makes it tough to compare Soviet equipment to western equipment. Are you comparing paper values or demonstrated real world combat performance?
     
  6. davemyrick

    davemyrick New Member

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    I would like to compare actual performance, not paper to paper. Turn rates, roll rates, climb rates, dive speeds, and acceleration rates within the combat envelope, also the firing rates of the armament and weight of lead on target. These are what I am interested in. For this comparison it is irrelevant what the Soviet pilots liked or disliked.

    Dave
     
  7. Jabberwocky

    Jabberwocky Active Member

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    Given the significant variation between field aircraft and factory fresh aircraft for all sides, and also the performance variation between different Soviet production facilities, even for the same aircraft, that's probably going to be more difficult than you think.

    As far as I know, the only side-by-side comparisons of Soviet aircraft and Western allied fighters were conducted by the Soviets. Maybe the Finns did some side-by-side comparisons as well, but it might be limited to earlier types.

    As I said earlier, there are TsAGI tests and the NII VVS (Scientific Research Institute of the Air Forces) tests, which would be similar to something like the RAE/AFDU or TAIC tests in the UK and US. They measured speed and rate of climb of Soviet, Lend-lease and German aircraft. There is a bok that has the results of these tests, as well as turn time test, but I can't remember the name of it at the moment.

    Then there were the less structured tests by the Soviet Air Force and finally the pilots anecdotal accounts/opinions. More pilots opinions can be found here: Airmen - I REMEMBER

    Speed, climb, roll data alone is not going to give you the whole picture. Aviation was an inexact science in WW2, so aircraft had very different handling characteristics and quirks of operation that need to be taken into account.
     
  8. Jabberwocky

    Jabberwocky Active Member

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    On armament, you can look at these three atricles to see how Soviet weapons stood in comparison to the rest of the world:
    WORLD WAR 2 FIGHTER GUN EFFECTIVENESS
    CANNON OR MACHINE GUN
    IDEAL WW2 FIGHTER ARMAMENT

    Generally speaking, Soviet aerial MG and cannon were excellent. Their weapons were reliable, light weight and had high rates of fire with decent ammunition designs. The chief sacrifice they made was design/operational life, which wasn't really a concern given the expected lifetime of a WW2 airframe.
     
  9. Thorlifter

    Thorlifter Well-Known Member

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    #9 Thorlifter, Dec 10, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2013
    Completely agree. I would also throw in the La-5 and Yak-3, which were spectacular aircraft in there role.
     
  10. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    Add to that, the YaK-1 (comparable to the Bf109E and F), the La-7 (good high-altitude fighter) and the MiG-3 (solid early war front line defender) and the Pe-2 (good dive-bomber, heavy fighter and night-fighter)
     
  11. N4521U

    N4521U Well-Known Member

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    A good comparrison is ones with a relief tube, and them without.
     
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  12. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    #12 tomo pauk, Dec 10, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2013
    I'd disagree with honorable gentlemen that Yak-1 was comparable with Bf-109F, and with claim that La-5 was spectacular in something. Those Soviet fighters were fine low-alt fighter, though.
    Gordon and Khazanov point out that there were serious issues with mass production of LaGG-3 and MiG-1/3, reflecting to anything between low performance of those fighters, up to outright danger in flying some examples. It took almost a year for the factory (factories?) producing the LaGG to provide well performing fighters (the drive for M-82-engined air-frames is easy to understand), and even then the Yak-1 was better, due to it's lighter weight smaller dimensions. Compared to them, Yakovlyev managed to have quality of the production Yak-1s sorted out in timely fashion, so the performance of production Yak-1s was in the ballpark with performance of armed prototype.
    La-5 managed to cut a performance advantage between Bf-109F-4/G-2 and Yak-1 maybe in half in higher altitudes, while having at least the parity in lower altitudes. It's performance was comparable at higher altitudes with Spitfire V, albeit some 18 months later.

    I'd also note that Yak-9 was not, performance-wise, offering anything more than Yak-1 - same engine, heavier plane. It took until 1944, with advent of VK-107 engine, to turn the Yak-9U into a performer. Here is also easy to see that serial produced aircraft were slower than prototype, ~670 km/h (~415-420 mph) vs. 700 km/h.

    Unfortunately, Soviets never received the low-alt Spitfires, should've suited them well?
     
  13. Aozora

    Aozora Well-Known Member

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    I take it from this you have real world combat performance data to share, showing that all Soviet tanks and aircraft suffered equally from low service life and lesser performance than the technical manuals showed?
     
  14. Greyman

    Greyman Active Member

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    Any Russian readers have this book?

    book.jpg

    It's basically my only source for Russian performance data, and on page 36 as well as page 76 there are two slightly different speed curves for the Yak-1.

    I was wondering if anything in the text explained the slight differences.
     
  15. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    The captions under the RoC graphs might cue us to the approximate answer.
    The 1st graphs (both for speed and RoC, pg. 36 and 37) are for the fighters produced during May and June of 1941, ie. in the peace time. The second graphs (pg. 76 and 77, ie. speed and RoC) are for the fighter produced in September and October of 1941 - the war time emergency calling for more fighters, that causing shortcomings in the final finish of the produced examples. Hence the speed loss for some 20 km/h for the fighters produced in Sept-Oct 1941.
     
  16. Greyman

    Greyman Active Member

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    Very nice, thanks. Do you know what the captions say on page 92?

    Something similar (though in reverse) is happening there - the aircraft showing an improvement from 1942 to 1943.
     
  17. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    The caption says something along these lines:
    Improvement of speed capabilities of LaGG and Yak fighters with M-105PF [engine] between 1942 and 1943.
    A - aircraft from June 1942
    B - statistic average data, based on control flight testes conducted in 1943
    (end of 'quote')

    Soviets were getting the grip on their aircraft factories, LL help was arriving, so they were able to put more emphasis into fit finish.
    Please note that all Soviet fighters there (pg. 92) feature the M-105PF engine, the max speed was achieved at circa 4 km, vs. ~5 km for the fighters with M-105P/M-105PA engines. Under 4 km (no ram), the PF engine was providing up to 200 HP more, engine being beefed up so more boost was possible there.
     
  18. Greyman

    Greyman Active Member

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    Thanks. Here's a quick mash-up for those curious about what we're blabbing on about:

    yak.jpg

    Yak-1 (M-105P) early '41
    Yak-1 (M-105P) late '41
    Yak-1 (M-105PF) '42
    Yak-1 (M-105PF) '43
     
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