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The F-16 vs. MiG-29 Question: Which Fighter Aircraft Is Dominant?

A debate is underway about which superpower has the better fighter for aerial combat.

Calls from Ukraine for United States' air support in its struggle against the Russian invasion went unanswered, but it is worth examining the flagship fighter jets that would have been involved on opposing sides of the conflict.

Let's look at a video comparing the strengths of the F-16 and the MiG-29 submitted by TikTok user @theinfographicsshow.

WATCH VIDEO HERE 

Now here's a brief rundown on the F-16 Fighting Falcon from Military.com.

In an air combat role, the F-16's maneuverability and combat radius (distance it can fly to enter air combat, stay, fight and return) exceed that of all potential threat fighter aircraft. It can locate targets in all weather conditions and detect low flying aircraft in radar ground clutter. In an air-to-surface role, the F-16 fighting falcon can fly more than 500 miles (860 kilometers), deliver its weapons with superior accuracy, defend itself against enemy aircraft, and return to its starting point. An all-weather capability allows it to accurately deliver ordnance during non-visual bombing conditions.

And from Airforce Technology, let's get some background on the MiG-29 Fulcrum Fighter Bomber.

The mission of the MiG-29 is to destroy hostile air targets within radar coverage limits and to destroy ground targets using unguided weapons in visual flight conditions. The aircraft’s fixed-wing profile with large wing leading-edge root extensions gives good maneuverability and control at subsonic speeds, including maneuvers at high angles of attack. The maximum operational g-loading is 9g.

The F-16 is highly favored in the video comments.

"F-16 easily. Better aircraft, better training, better gear," writes one commenter.

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Another agrees: "The two wouldn't get close enough, the F-16 radar is more advanced could shoot it out of sky before ever seeing it."

This commenter takes recent experience in Ukraine into account when evaluating the two. "With the performance status of their tanks I’d be surprised if half of Russia’s jets even have all their parts," he writes.

Another video viewer has another point altogether: "Y’all keep comparing the planes when the planes are just a small part of an integrated battlespace and logistics train," he says.

"US has better pilots," asserts another commenter.

So there is a near-consensus on this question in the reactions to the TikTok video. We thought a comparison was nonetheless in order, and we embrace the opportunity to address the issue.

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