Talk:Fighter aircraft

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Noel Pemberton Billing[edit]

A vague, oblique and otherwise encyclopedic reference to this man (look him up!) was inserted years ago and sat down at the bottom the the Word War I section without apparently coming to anyone's attention. Billing was indeed a "grand-standing member of parliament" - in fact he had all manner of other strange characteristics - being a peculiar mixture of genius and right prat (but mostly the latter) - driven, as, alas, are many lesser minds, by obsessive doctrinaire ideology and totally lacking in common sense or, indeed, a working grasp of reality. On the other hand he did not invent (or even exaggerate very much) the debacle of Bloody April. His grand standing was in any case centred around the Fokker Scourge period anyway. I honestly don't think he merits a mention in this article at all, but if he did it would need to be by name, and have (unlike one of his own rants) some basis at least in fact. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 23:38, 16 November 2015 (UTC)

Pemberton Billing founded Supermarine. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:14, 22 February 2016 (UTC)
Not particularly relevant as he had no personal involvement with any of the fighters Supermarine produced - and the one aircraft he designed that could have carried the title was a complete dog and was never armed. - NiD.29 (talk) 03:14, 23 February 2016 (UTC)

Candidate new fighter weapons section and bibliography[edit]

It is noted on front page that additional references are needed. Thus, an expanded Bibliography has been added. The “Light Fighter vs Heavy Fighter” section has also been updated to be in agreement with the latest “Light Fighter” Wiki article.

A new suggested section on Fighter Weapons has also been added. There are many Wiki articles on various air-to-air weapons, but there seems to be no unifying article or section that reviews the “big picture” of the effectiveness and importance of these weapons. The entire purpose of the fighter is to deploy these weapons, so they have a very strong effect on fighter design and operational strategy. It thus seems important to give them a summary reviewing how they have affected the subject. Many of the references in the expanded bibliography were included to support this section and the light vs. heavy section, though those references have a lot of general applicability as well.

This important article has been rated as only C-Class for some time. Perhaps with some additional polishing, this new material can help with getting it promoted. PhaseAcer (talk) 07:20, 24 December 2016 (UTC)

It may be better to move the new material to a new article Air-to-air weaponry as an overview where the different eras (hand-held weapons/guns/missiles) can be better expanded on to link to the different articles, it would just need a small intro here. MilborneOne (talk) 09:36, 24 December 2016 (UTC)
I'd be fine with having it in a separate article that this article and others could reference, which would probably improve the full set of Wikipedia fighter related articles. However, in its current size it is about the same amount of text as is devoted to Gen 4/4.5 fighters, which also has a separate larger article. The original references were gathered and studied in support of the Light Fighter article, and I have a few hundred hours invested in studying that material. Based on that foundation I was able to write this example section for a modest additional time investment, but a full article would be a different story. I would need a few other editors willing to pitch in and help to get that done in a team effort. PhaseAcer (talk) 20:44, 24 December 2016 (UTC)

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Breaking Fighter Effectiveness and Light Fighter vs Heavy Fighter into Two Sections[edit]

The Light vs Heavy section has been separated into two sections, with the first section being devoted to the fighter effectiveness criteria, E-M theory, and OODA loop as an integrated modern design philosophy. This separation is suggested in order that other fighter articles can precisely reference the effectiveness criteria instead of fully describing the criteria in each article. This will allow somewhat shortening the light fighter article and any others that use the fighter effectiveness criteria. PhaseAcer (talk) 06:50, 2 March 2017 (UTC)

This article is already too large and you have added huge amounts of text. See WP:Article size; being larger than 100 kb usually means splitting off content. This article is 128 kb now. Summarizing the text can help a lot also. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia not a manual, directory, how to book, or the like. -Fnlayson (talk) 16:01, 2 March 2017 (UTC)
Yes, it is quite a lot of material recently added, but that is because fighter aircraft is an important military subject and this key material was missing. This material is regarded by the large body of modern literature as fundamental information to understanding fighter aircraft. Since the light fighter article now covers light vs. heavy quite well, that section could be compressed a bit more, though in truth I have tried to squeeze it down to essentials, and the resulting summary is already smaller than the summary of Gen 4/4.5. However, the sections on fighter effectiveness and fighter weapons do not have stand-alone articles to refer to. They might be expanded into worthy stand-alone articles, but as I probably have over 200 hours invested in gathering and studying all the references quoted over a period of several years, I can report that such expansion would be a real time investment. Also, exceptions on article length are common for important articles, and perhaps this article should be considered one of those. The subject has inspired a very large body of literature and is militarily important, and it cannot be done justice in a small article.PhaseAcer (talk) 16:51, 2 March 2017 (UTC)
Bit concerned that anything that takes 200 hours to put together is probably not at the right level for what is an overview in wikipedia. We really need to take a view on what "the large body of modern literature" actually says about the subject and how much is actually relevant to a general encyclopedia, as Fnlayson has already mentioned. We are not really here to publish your research material. MilborneOne (talk) 17:45, 2 March 2017 (UTC)
Milborne, it is not "my research material", but the summary of the modern literature. Wikipedia is in fact here to summarize the literature--that is the stated mission. If you authoritative sources that fundamentally disagree with anything stated here, those should also be described and referenced. I've searched hard myself, and as far as I can tell this fundamental material is completely sound.
In response to fnlayson’s deletion of new material based on his judgement it is too long, the light vs heavy section has been split into two parts with a net reduction in text. The fighter weapons section has also been shortened. This revised structure with a separate section on fighter effectiveness is superior in better supporting logical referencing from other fighter articles.
These changes reduce total article length from 128,023 bytes (where fnlayson left it at) to now being 125,909 bytes. That would not appear overly long based on the importance of the article in describing the history and military importance and effectiveness of fighter aircraft in general. For example, the Northrop F-5 article is 105,810 bytes to describe a single elderly low cost fighter (though it is a fine plane worthy of a longer article).
The fighter article is well written and has been fairly stable for a long period, so it is natural that there would be some resistance to major new material. But, this material is the foundational “what works and what doesn’t” of the literature of the field of the last few decades. It is well referenced, valid, and of high weight according to Wikipedia policy of emphasizing coverage for more important and more recent material which updates a technical topic. If it is desired to reduce article size further, perhaps some of the older and less relevant material could be reduced. For example, rocket fighters are a failed historical concept of near zero practical importance, and yet there is a section devoted to them. In contrast, this recently added material is of high importance due to its present day national security implications, and budgetary impacts of hundreds of billions of dollars. According to the literature of the field, there is no material of higher due weight with regards to fighter aircraft.PhaseAcer (talk) 20:20, 4 March 2017 (UTC)
I am just failing to find the relevance of most of the material you have added or want to add and perhaps you can explain what "In contrast, this recently added material is of high importance due to its present day national security implications, and budgetary impacts of hundreds of billions of dollars" has to do with an encyclopedia. MilborneOne (talk) 21:59, 4 March 2017 (UTC)
Sure Milborne, it is this simple. Wikipedia core policy is to honestly summarize published references, and given there are limits to coverage to do so according to weight of importance. Fighters are weapon systems, and how they are made to function efficiently as weapons and how good the results are is THE most important issue about them. Here is an example. For over 50 years I have been reading the arguments over which U.S. fighter was the "best" of WWII. A fighter is not a hobby machine to show pretty pictures of, it is a killing machine intended to win wars, so let's go to the winning numbers. The P-51 is considerably cheaper than both the P-38 and P-47, yet it achieved nearly twice kills per sortie of the P-38 and over three times that of the P-47. On a kills per dollar basis, each P-51 kill only cost about 20% that of a P-47 kill and 30% that of a P-38 kill (see the effectiveness summary now in the P-51 article). Since resources are always limited, your choice of planes here is how you win or lose a war of national survival. Jimmy Doolittle insisted on the P-51 to win the war, and nothing is more important than that either then or now. Saying "enclopedia" not only does not change that, it emphasizes that preference for that most important of life or death material should be given first in the limited space available. PhaseAcer (talk) 01:48, 5 March 2017 (UTC)
Nope dont understand this is a summary article about fighter aircraft it is not a how to design or select a fighter aircraft, that is not what this article is about. Just because stuff exists doesnt mean it is encyclopedic or needs to be discussed. Arguments about which was the best American fighter in the second world war are not what this article is for, we tend not to do comparisons. "most important of life or death material should be given first in the limited space available" is not relevant here and not what wikipedia is about. Perhaps your researched material may be better in some specialist website but sorry most is not relevant here. MilborneOne (talk) 08:55, 5 March 2017 (UTC)
Milborne, how can it be that how well military equipment performs its mission or function is of low weight in an article about the equipment? According to that philosophy, it would irrelevant if a warship sinks or floats, or if a rifle shoots or won't shoot. If there is something in core policy supporting that position, please point it out to me. PhaseAcer (talk) 17:57, 5 March 2017 (UTC)
This is not an article about "equipment" it is an overview about fighter aircraft, not how to design or instructions which is best to buy, try WP:NOT for a start. The article is not perfect particularly as it uses the made-up generation terminology but remember it has to cover nearly hundred years of development so it is a matter of balance or WP:WEIGHT on what is included. MilborneOne (talk) 18:57, 5 March 2017 (UTC)
Milborne, I read the "What Wikipedia is Not" you pointed out to me, and I see nothing in there to support what seems to be a position of denial of reality and ignoring of the main body of authoritative references. That seems to be a personal opinion of yours, and not a position taken by policy or in other military and technology oriented articles.
For examples of military equipment and technology articles that go into deep design and technical detail, see:
1. Tank, where there is a large Design section going into detail on effectiveness factors very similar to those for fighters. These include sections specifically on "Avoiding detection" (surprise), "Mobility" (maneuverability), "Offensive capability" (weapons effectiveness), and others. These have been in place for many years in this overview article whose mission is identical to the fighter aircraft article.
2. Jet engine, which goes extensively into principles and design.
3. Radar, which similarly goes much farther into principles and design than does the new material in the fighter article.
These and many other articles go deeply into how and why things work, and what the main principles are. That does not make them a "manual" or "guidebook", it is merely applying proper weight to issues in summarizing the references, which is exactly what Wikipedia is supposed to do. I'm really left baffled as to why you are objecting to important, interesting, and well referenced material that is very enlightening on the subject. PhaseAcer (talk) 02:19, 6 March 2017 (UTC)
But this is not the right place for this material and some of the previous material that has been added recently will also need to be pruned down and made more accesable to the audience. This is not a technical manual and a place for your research it doesnt belong here. MilborneOne (talk) 15:23, 6 March 2017 (UTC)
Milborne, it is natural for you to at first be somewhat allergic to this material, as apparently you are not familiar with it and it is a change to the status quo. But, this is not esoteric technical information, it is BASIC information with a profound effect on fighter aircraft. For example, the simple fact that a small fighter like the F-5 is not visible to the naked eye beyond about 4 miles, but large and somewhat smokey fighters like the F-14 and F-15 are generally visible to 10-15 miles range, has a huge practical impact. In the extensive 1977 ACEVAL trials, the U.S. Air Force predicted the F-15 with radar and heat seeking missiles would massacre the much cheaper F-5 with only heat seekers by a 78:1 kill ratio. The actual kill ratio was about even, a shock to much of the USAF leadership, and a fascinating and important point in the history and design of fighter aircraft. Now, if you could take the trouble to download and read the Sprey effectiveness report, you would feel much better about both the validity and appropriateness of this basic information. You can get it from PhaseAcer (talk) 16:28, 6 March 2017 (UTC)
Reading Pierre Sprey and the "Fighter Mafia" comments makes more interesting reading perhaps we shouldnt introduce material that is pushing a particularly point of view. MilborneOne (talk) 17:56, 6 March 2017 (UTC)
Milborne, I am recommending the Sprey report because it is free, can be immediately accessed, is full of detailed insider information, and is written by a world class expert. But, the basic material is covered in many other authoritative sources if you want to go to the expense of buying them. The books now in the bibliography by Stevenson (the most detailed of the books), Spick, Gunston and Spick, Huenecke, Ahlgren, Burton, Coram, and Hammond all cover and validate this material. I know you are a seasoned military aviation editor, but your ability to judge it is still very handicapped if you have not read the specific material. If you don't review the references, you will be putting yourself in the position of a judge passing sentence who has not even looked at the evidence. PhaseAcer (talk) 03:14, 7 March 2017 (UTC)
OK PhaseAcer, so far although you have been pushing your POV fairly forcefully and although I think you are suffering from a bit of I didn't hear that, you have stayed just on the right side of the line. However, this last comment strays well into personal attack territory with your fairly blunt ad hominem towards MilborneOne. Maybe you need to settle down and listen to what is being said to you. M1 is a very experienced editor, you would be well advised to take what he says seriously and consider that it may not be him that has the wrong end of the stick. You don't get to just barge in here and tell everyone that we're doing it all wrong and that you know what's best. Wikipedia simply does not work that way and continuing down that path might well be a short cut to an enforced Wiki-holiday. - Nick Thorne talk 04:08, 7 March 2017 (UTC)
Nick, I am focused on staying on task and on the material. But, it is difficult to do so when your fellow editor is advocating for ignoring the references and telling you "This is not an article about equipment". In that case I am forced to deal not just with the subject matter but with what seems to be a denial of logic, policy, and reality. Fighter aircraft are military equipment whose entire reason for existing is to perform their military mission. Description of this weighty issue has therefore been added to the article (just as nearly identical material has been in the Tank article for years), and that description has been properly taken from a large body of authoritative primary and secondary references.
There has not been a "not hearing" problem yet, since the discussion has been between Milborne and I, unless Milborne is considered to be so much in authority that disagreeing with him is an offense. Consensus to remove material means it will be removed, even though ignoring a major body of references describing the strong majority view of experts in the field would seem to be out of policy. But, if a group of other editors feels they so own the article that they can ban editors who are bringing more realism and strong references to the article, and are discussing that civilly on the Talk page, then that only harms Wikipedia. That attitude may be the result of an established and insular team of Wikipedia military aviation editors who are used to completely controlling content and are unpleasantly surprised when new editors use the bold policy to edit. For example, your statement that "You don't get to just barge in here and tell everyone that we're doing it all wrong and you know what's best" would appear to be rather emotional turf guarding that is out of proportion to my telling Milborne that fairness dictates the references should be reviewed before the material is rejected. I'm not telling you the article is wrong, Nick (except for the missing material, the article was quite excellent), but if you examine the references you will see that the major literature of the field is telling you that some key material was missing from the article.
Highly established teams have the benefit of long term stability to get work done, but due to the common and often negative phenomenon of groupthink they may also have the liability of not being open to new ideas. Note these three sentences from the introduction to the Groupthink article: "Groupthink is a psychological phenomenon that occurs within a group of people in which the desire for harmony or conformity in the group results in an irrational or dysfunctional decision-making outcome. Groupthink requires individuals to avoid raising controversial issues or alternative solutions, and there is loss of individual creativity, uniqueness and independent thinking. The dysfunctional group dynamics of the "ingroup" produces an "illusion of invulnerability" (an inflated certainty that the right decision has been made). Thus the "ingroup" significantly overrates its own abilities in decision-making and significantly underrates the abilities of its opponents (the "outgroup")." In this case there seems to be a strong instinctive resistance to new material, no matter how true, important, and well referenced.
I am promoting rationality and summarizing the references, which is Wikipedia policy. I therefore think you should consider whether being more welcoming to new editors and new ideas might not be beneficial to the quality of the military aviation articles. That new editor you are threatening to ban because you thought he wrote a sharp sentence to your colleague may be someone who has spent many years studying the material and has a lot to offer to the article. That said, I am completely open to working with full teamwork and mutual respect on the article. My goal is to be a good teammate and help get this good article raised to a higher level. I can see that a lot of good work has gone into it over the years, and with a little more complete view and referencing, in my opinion it should be quite worthy of promotion. PhaseAcer (talk) 06:37, 8 March 2017 (UTC)
There is nothing collegiate about insulting everyone involved in this article. Your defence of your own credentials makes the unspoken assumption that they are superior to those of the others here and that the others do not have experience and expertise in this area of interest. This is a mistake. You have no idea what experience the previous editors of this page might have (nor that of those like me that have it on their watch list.)

As for welcoming new editors, that is fine so long as those new editors don't think that they can simply impose their own POV by running rough-shod over the extant consensus. You don't get a free pass because you are new(ish). Show some respect and take it slowly and don't keep making the same arguments ad-infinitum when you don't get your way, we heard you the first time. Everyone here on Wikipedia at some time has had to learn that they do not win every argument. This may well be one of those times for you. - Nick Thorne talk 10:46, 8 March 2017 (UTC)

Nick, if an editor takes the position that fighters are not weapons and that their military effectiveness is not relevant, I have to disagree. Otherwise, I agree with everything you just said. PhaseAcer (talk) 17:07, 8 March 2017 (UTC)
Well, to be pedantic, with the exception of Kamikaze types of attack, fighter aircraft are not weapons, they are weapons platforms. Also, discussions about military effectiveness is of their very nature a form of comparison and as has been pointed out we don't generally do comparisons here. Finally, you said "fairness dictates the references should be reviewed before the material is rejected" this shows a lack of understanding how this place works. See the bold, revert, discuss cycle. If your addition is reverted it is then incumbent upon you to gain consensus for your changes in the Talk Page discussion before the changes are re-inserted. So far you do not appear to have gained any support for your position, maybe you should find another venue to publish your research. - Nick Thorne talk 10:10, 9 March 2017 (UTC)
Nick, I apologize if it seemed I did not do the BRD correctly. FNLayson had reverted an edit because he thought it was too large, so I redid that and made it still smaller than his reversion according to his noted preference. He also was not against the material, but just noted that a smaller summary and separate new article might be a better structure. I presume he meant on the weapons section that he has also made some edits to, because the light vs heavy has a separate article and only a summary is given here. Note the light vs heavy summary with effectiveness criteria has been in the article since July 2, 2016, without a single objection from anyone. Breaking the effectiveness material out of the light vs. heavy does not change the subject matter covered, nor make it any larger, so I don't know why that separation should be objected to. The weapons material has been in the article since Dec 24, 2016, with no objections. So, it would not seem correct to say there is "no support" for the material.
Please note that the additions made to the article were invited by the article. The Lead has been pleading for more references since 2007. The Talk Page lists the article as a "Level-4 vital article" and specifically asks for improvement. You asked me to not get "ad finitem" about the validity of the new material, but you invite that when you repeatedly characterize it as "your research". It is not my research or my opinion, it is what the literature says on the military performance of fighter aircraft and their weapons. I have scoured the literature looking for any significant minority views that differ, and they do not seem to exist. Even the F-35 is an attempt to comply with these principles through surprise (stealth and AESA radar), numbers (single engine cost control and economy of scale achieved by use over multiple services and multiple nations), and OODA loop (highly networked information awareness).
This important military article has been stuck on "C-Class" for many years, just one level above "Start Class" for a 16 year old article. It has also been well behind the current literature of the field--two probably related facts. Perhaps it is time for some new thinking on "what the article is about". Some energetic pursuit of newer and more interesting and illuminating material in understanding fighter aircraft could be just the thing to getting this article promoted on up the ladder. Why not have a fighter aircraft article that is "A-Class" or even better? PhaseAcer (talk) 23:21, 10 March 2017 (UTC)
I would argue that the additions that have already been made particularly the "Fighter effectiveness criteria, energy-maneuverability, and OODA loop" bit already breaks up the flow of the article, and they are rather technical and hardly makes sense to most readers. Not helped by the verbose "Light fighters vs. heavy fighters" section. Sure the article could do with being better but is is an overview of the nearly hundred years of fighter development and these two sections jar with the rest of the article like somebody has dumped a research paper in the middle. The addition of more material of the same ilk is being challenged and perhaps we need to take a pause and clear up the stuff you have already added. I feel I have said this before but this is an overview of the history and development of the fighter aircraft from the first world war to today, it is not a place for research material or how to design a fighter. Welcome any suggestions to improve the article but perhaps we need to clear up the now unbalanced article first. MilborneOne (talk) 14:26, 11 March 2017 (UTC)
The reason I have suggested adding this material is because it is fundamental to understanding the history, development, and military performance of fighter aircraft. Many aviation enthusiasts are very interested in actually understanding these issues. For example, despite years of being involved in aviation, private pilots I have discussed it with generally have a lot of misconceptions about fighter combat, such as thinking it is as simple as seeing an enemy plane on the radar and pushing the missile button to make him disappear. They are amazed to hear things like only 3% of enemy fighters were detected in Vietnam on radar, and that the missiles were of such poor reliability that a pilot could expend his entire load of them and then get shot down by an obsolete gun-only fighter. Clearing this up is slightly technical or at least numerical with its discussion of costs and ranges and kill probabilities, but many Wikipedia articles are far more technical. As an engineer, my colleagues and I use Wikipedia for basic technical information all the time, and we are certainly happy that it contains such useful articles that quickly allow sound basic understanding.
I had placed the material at the back of the article to not interrupt the article flow that has been arrived at over a period of years. If the other editors did not want it, it could then be deleted without affecting the article. If you review the Light fighter article you will see that basic information on effectiveness is up front, so that the reader is then aware of those basic facts in reviewing the history of light fighters that follows. The information then prepares the reader to understand major historical events, such as the United States suffering heavy losses early in the Vietnam War when it pitted complex heavy fighters against simple light fighters, and basically being fought to a draw by a third world country that never even owned a fighter plane until just a few years before. If the editors accept the material into the article, I do feel it could be structured better by being placed up front so that development and history can be considered in that light.
Let me explain a little more of what I mean about this material enhancing the promotability of the article. Certain brilliant designers like Willy Messerschmitt and Ed Schmued (chief designer of the P-51, F-86, and F-5) had a terrific instinctive understanding of what makes a great fighter plane. But, many other engineering and military leaders who were in authority did not. This led to a large number of mistakes, tremendous political struggle, military disasters, and wasting of many billions of dollars. It was really only corrected when the effectiveness criteria were formally elucidated and finally accepted and used in the design of 4th generation fighters. It is one of the most fascinating stories within the history of aviation, and has very high national security and budgetary implications today and into the future. It is a very prominent part of the more serious literature of the field of the last 30 years, a set of literature that has been unfortunately missing from the article until now.
It is a bit of editorial trouble to blend this material into the article and give it the full smoothness you desire. But, I think it is quite remarkable that it is actually as simple as it is. Principles that can be covered by one page of text, with explanations as simple as how far away you can see an enemy fighter depending on its size and engine smoke, having good visibility out of the cockpit, and how reliable the weapons are, actually do dominate fighter military performance and combat results. They also shine a very clear light on the history of fighter aircraft. I thus believe the material is a large improvement to the article, and if the editorial team decides to keep it, I would be happy to do the leg work of a first pass of fully integrating it into the article. If the team is unhappy with the results, it can always be rolled back. If the team is satisfied, then the more experienced editors could then fully polish it to meet all policy and editorial standards. At that point the article would be up to date with the references, with full consensus achieved, and probably be poised for a rapid advance to being "A-class". PhaseAcer (talk) 22:06, 12 March 2017 (UTC)
You have made several edits to your post above, including deleting an entire sentence and adding a significant amount of new text. The last edit was some 18 hours after the first. Please do not make non-trivial edits to your talk page comments, make new comments with new date time stamps instead. You might be best advised to take the guideline here under advisement. - Nick Thorne talk 02:17, 13 March 2017 (UTC)
OK, Nick. PhaseAcer (talk) 17:58, 13 March 2017 (UTC)

Arbitrary break[edit]

As there was no support for including this material in the above discussion, I've removed it. It's not suitable for a summary style high level article aimed at a general audience. Nick-D (talk) 22:23, 24 April 2017 (UTC)

Nick, in your opinion it is not suitable. In the opinion of the many professional references quoted it is of foundational importance, and thus entirely suitable according to Wikipedia policy. PhaseAcer (talk) 00:59, 6 May 2017 (UTC)
The Wikipedia community is not bound by your interpretation of what the authors of references say, nor by your interpretation of Wikipedia policy. You have not garnered support for your ideas, it is time to drop the stick. - Nick Thorne talk 06:15, 6 May 2017 (UTC)
Nick, I don't see a Wikipedia community consensus against this material being in the article. I see you and Milborne arguing against it without any references, and myself arguing for it with a ton of high quality references. "Consensus" is by policy not just raw numbers like two to one, but also the quality of the argument made. Furthermore, I am not "interpreting" these references, but honestly quoting their conclusions, which you would see if you reviewed them. The references take the position that the military performance of fighter aircraft is the most important thing about them, which by policy would then be THE most important thing for Wikipedia to summarize. You, for some reason I do not understand, seem to be taking the position that your unreferenced opinion is of more weight than the strong majority view of the professional literature, and that the literature summary should thus receive no coverage. Not just better written or limited coverage, but zero coverage. I fail to understand how that can possibly be within the letter and spirit of Wikipedia policy. PhaseAcer (talk) 17:27, 7 May 2017 (UTC)
PhaseAcer, you have already made basically that same argument several times already. Each time you have chosen to ignore that this is not the right article for the information you are trying to present. It is not that the information is insufficiently or inadequately referenced or that it should not be covered in Wikipedia at all (a completely different question, not appropriate here) or even that it is not interesting. This is a high level article intended for a general audience. The discussion of highly technical points, most of which would seem like gobbledygook to an ordinary reader (remember the reader, the intended audience of our work here?), is completely counter productive in an article such as this. Throwing in a whole lot of information of a highly technical nature here is not going to encourage the reader, rather scare them off as the subject will then appear too hard for the non aviation expert. If you have enough information to warrant it, consider writing a separate article about the subject and then link to it here in the appropriate place.

Finally, you are again straying into no personal attack territory with your comments about the "unreferenced opinion" of those who do not share your view about how this article might be improved. We do not need a reference to back up our views about how this place operates. I do not need reliabe sources for talk page comments. Any reference you might have for your material does not trump the view expressed by experienced editors that the material itself is inappropriate here, no matter the quality or number of those references. - Nick Thorne talk 06:43, 8 May 2017 (UTC)

There was no Consensus expressed for adding the material. As the German phrase goes Keine Antwort ist Eine Antwort ("no reply is still a reply"). But if you want specific expressions of opposition, I will supply mine - it's over-detailed for the article. In a high-level article, if a topic is mentioned, then the briefest explanation and a link suffices. If more content required, then a summary and a "main" link. GraemeLeggett (talk) 07:32, 8 May 2017 (UTC)
Nick, Graeme: I can put the material in a new article, though it may take quite a while to find the time. In the meantime, would you support me writing a one paragraph short summary on fighter effectiveness that temporarily points to the light fighter article for more detail? Then there would at least be notice to the readers that this information exists and is important to understanding the military performance of fighter aircraft. PhaseAcer (talk) 21:12, 8 May 2017 (UTC)


The article need a Urgent redo, lack of reference at the first half of the article. And SOAPBOX.Mr.User200 (talk) 15:56, 26 May 2017 (UTC)

Fighter_aircraft#Fighter effectiveness section?[edit]

What is the purpose of this section? It makes some vague statements about what "Fighter effectiveness" means, with a series of claims that conclude with "see Light fighter". What, only light fighters are effective? The section has sources, but I can't believe such a conclusion is universal.

Plus, this addition might be seen as an end-around of the consensus in previous discussions.

As it stands, I'm inclined to remove this section. Comments? --A D Monroe III (talk) 17:55, 21 July 2017 (UTC)

Yes, I think this paragraph is exactly an attempt to end-run around the previous discussion. Deleting it. - Nick Thorne talk 11:51, 22 July 2017 (UTC)
Nick, AD: As Nick had previously deleted the longer fighter effectiveness section, I asked above on May 8 if there was objection to a short paragraph on fighter effectiveness pointing to the light fighter article for more detail. After 2 months with no objection, a single paragraph was placed.
AD, I think you are aware there is nothing vague about it. The previous longer section gave plenty of examples and a large body of references to prove the point, and you have read it before and commented in the light fighter article. In this short pointer section I quoted 5 high quality references covering the fighter effectiveness material, and their importance is the majority consensus of the professional literature on fighter aircraft. There is no Wikipedia requirement that the information be "universal"--only that it is credible as given by at least a "significant minority view" of the literature. That is a standard that is far more than achieved for this material, which is of foundational importance in fighter design and history. There is also no claim that only light fighters are effective, though the majority consensus view of the professional literature is that well designed light fighters tend to be more effective.
In deleting this material you are suppressing the majority view of the professional literature covering what really works and has worked in fighter history and design. You do so with zero references and based only upon your negative personal opinion. In a way that is understandable, because there are NO references supporting your position that this material is either incorrect or unimportant, and you are thus reduced to getting a few guys together and claiming that weak "consensus" overpowers the literature. Since the entire purpose of Wikipedia is to summarize REFERENCES, when you insist that the personal preferences of a few editors who have apparently not read the literature takes priority over the entire body of published literature, you violate policy and you harm the quality of Wikipedia in general and this article in particular.
PhaseAcer (talk) 00:38, 23 July 2017 (UTC)
You've made these points before, and as I have said before, you don't get to come in here and tell everyone that we're doing it all wrong and that your interpretation of the sources and Wikipedia policy is the right way. Wikipedia does not work like that. You may not like it, but the onus is on you to build a consensus for the changes you wish to insert in the article, once they have been challenged. You have failed to do this. BTW, we have not been saying that this material is "either incorrect or unimportant", rather that this article is not the appropriate one for that information. You have been told this before. You are not doing your case any good by ignoring what has been said in discussion with other editors. You may not like working in a collegiate fashion with other editors, but that is how we do things here. - Nick Thorne talk 01:22, 23 July 2017 (UTC)
Oh, and please indent your comments so that who is responding to whom may be made clear. - Nick Thorne talk 01:24, 23 July 2017 (UTC)
Nick, Wikipedia policy says content shall be based on references and consensus. But, consensus is not just votes arranged among a few editors who back each other. By policy it is also dependent upon the QUALITY of the arguments made. My argument is based on the printed references of the finest experts in the field, professionals who are in some case giants in the field. Your argument appears to be based upon your opinion and the status quo, and not one single reference. For example, for some reason I cannot understand your opinion is that the fundamental nature of fighter aircraft and fighter combat is "inappropriate" in the article on fighter aircraft. So inappropriate that not only do you remove well referenced detailed work as being too much information, but erase even just a pointer to where this important information can be read by an interested reader. That is not "collegiate", and it is not good editing either.
As an example of the damage caused by your slash and burn editing, look at the first sentence of the "Fighter weapons" section, which reads "Weapon system effectiveness was fourth in the fighter effectiveness criteria only because their weapons have generally been adequate." Your thoughtless removal of any definition of the fighter effectiveness criteria leaves the reader wondering what that key introductory sentence is even referring to. When I try to fix the mess you have created, first asking your permission to which you do not grant the courtesy of a reply, you again just delete without consideration of consequences. I have attempted to be collegiate, but that fails with you because you will not read or acknowledge the references. You appear to have a strong desire to be the editorial leader, but you will not go to the trouble to understand the material and write content accordingly. Instead you delete the content of someone who has gone to that trouble.

PhaseAcer (talk) 04:24, 23 July 2017 (UTC)

Yes, it is abundantly clear PhaseAcer, that you consider your opinion to be superior to that of everyone else. Unfortunately for you, the burden still rests with you to convince others that your arguments are correct and that your proposed changes are an improvement to the article. You have failed to do this. Too bad, so sad. - Nick Thorne talk 08:07, 23 July 2017 (UTC)
Significant minority views must not be expressed in Wikipedia's voice, as was done here. Perhaps we could say "some consider light fighters to be effective", but to what purpose? There's no notable division between proponents here, only some budget constraints that all must deal with. We might also say the same for any sub-type of fighter. It yields nothing for the reader. --A D Monroe III (talk) 16:33, 23 July 2017 (UTC)
AD, your claim that this material is no more than a significant minority view disagrees with the literature. In the previous longer version of the fighter effectiveness section I quoted a dozen separate references (deleted by Nick on April 24, 2017) most of them professional publications, defining and describing the importance of the fighter effectiveness criteria and/or its impact on fighter combat. There does not appear to be one single reference that disagrees, so the definition and importance of the fighter effectiveness criteria must constitute the MAJORITY VIEW of the literature. Wikipedia defines it to be our main duty as editors to report the majority view, as well as the significant minority views, as based on references. I would be happy to have any significant minority views reported, but actually they do not seem to exist. I don't see how totally removing ANY mention of fighter effectiveness (not even allowing a pointer) from the fighter aircraft article can be viewed as anything other than out of policy censorship to promote a personal opinion. If you have any references that disagree, I would be delighted to review them. PhaseAcer (talk) 21:59, 23 July 2017 (UTC)
The view was expressed as the only view, in WP voice, with no hint of any possible opposing view. Offhand, I have no sources that comment on this universality either way. All I see are a few hundred multi-million dollar aircraft that don't adhere to this. I'd say that someone at least, with a whole lot of influence on aircraft selection, doesn't agree. Should we go through the sources at Fighter Mafia? --A D Monroe III (talk) 00:39, 24 July 2017 (UTC)
AD, I have heard objection to sources covering the American Fighter Mafia before, but actually such references are valid when written by reputable authors quoting valid data. Wikipedia policy recognizes this by noting that some of the best sources are non-neutral. However, most references I quote are professional literature who base their fighter effectiveness reports on military operations research data, such as the Sprey report. But, to reply specifically to your note on the assumption that nations must have good reason to buy more expensive $200M aircraft, let's compare the F-15 to the F-16. The F-16 is 54% the cost, but in all known trials has statistically got the better of the F-15. It does so through the element of surprise, being much harder to see and with a much smaller radar signature that leads it to typically defeat the F-15 not only close up, but also in BVR mode. The largest public trial of F-15 vs F-16 was the William Tell trials of 1994. Here two reserve F-16 squadrons and one Canadian F-18 squadron took on five regular Air Force F-15 squadrons in a statistically significant trial of many hundreds of sorties in a wide range of scenarios. The top squadron was the North Dakota Air National Guard, the 2nd place squadron was the Canadian F-18 squadron, and the 3rd place squadron was a Vermont Air National Guard F-16 squadron. ALL the regular Air Force F-15 squadrons, guys whose full time job was air to air, were defeated by the part time F-16 squadrons and the F-18 squadron. You can read this yourself at
However, the response of the USAF was not to publicly acknowledge the superiority of the F-16. It was instead to never allow the F-16 to again take on the F-15 in public trials. This prevented any such future embarrassment from occurring again. The Air Force considered it embarrassing because as an institution they were committed to the F-15 for the air to air role, and are equally committed to never admitting that the F-16 can do the job as well or better for half the budget. In combat, the F-15 is now 102-0. The F-16 is 76-1, flying air to air in a part time role. The single F-16 loss was a Turkish pilot who was caught napping. In both cases these lopsided win ratios mostly reflect better pilot training and air to air systems (AWACs, etc) for American and Israeli forces as compared to their less advanced competition. But, when comparisons are made by the military, obedience to the chain of command and Groupthink often dominate ops research data and the truth. That is the nature of politics in military procurement. When the majority of references and hard data are rejected by the Wikipedia military aviation editor community, groupthink conformance to the status quo is also probably the dominant reason why. PhaseAcer (talk) 01:45, 24 July 2017 (UTC)
So, everyone universally agrees that light fighters are the only fighters, except those who don't, who are wrong, which is proven because they don't agree, so we must not ever mention them in WP? I'm sorry, but that's blatant narrow POV thinking. No. --A D Monroe III (talk) 12:57, 24 July 2017 (UTC)
AD, exactly what is blatant narrow POV thinking? Because, reporting hard data and experimental results is not narrow POV--it is simply scientific truth. I have quoted a large body of professional references and hard data trial and combat results. They are in universal agreement on the definition and validity of the fighter effectiveness criteria. OUR JOB AS EDITORS IS TO REPORT WHAT THE LITERATURE SAYS. This is such a firm Wikipedia policy that it is explicit that we report VERIFIABILITY even if we don't believe it, though in this case it is the truth. I have asked you and Nick to come up with any references that disagree. You have not done so. If you insist on suppressing the literature without offering a shred of evidence, you violate Wikipedia's most core principle. And if it continues, then eventually it must be taken to arbitration as the policy violation that it is.PhaseAcer (talk) 15:28, 24 July 2017 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Oh, Be my guest. I should warm you though that I'm Australian and I'm well acquainted with the use of boomerangs. - Nick Thorne talk 16:13, 24 July 2017 (UTC)

Nick, I'm very familiar with the love Australians have for a fight. When I was in the Marines stationed on Guam, I was friends with three Australian frigate sailors. All were nice guys, but all three of them had their front teeth knocked out from the many fights they indulged in. In this case, I would rather avoid a fight and negotiate modest coverage of the fighter effectiveness criteria based on closely quoting professional quality references. I have no idea why you so strongly disagree with reporting the literature. All I am asking here is to follow policy. PhaseAcer (talk) 17:48, 24 July 2017 (UTC)
Apocryphal stories are all very entertaining, but they have no relevance here. I do not disagree with "reporting the literature", as you put it. I disagree with your interpretation of the literature and your interpretation of Wikipedia policy. Not the same thing at all. I have already said this multiple times, but you repeatedly fail to address the point. I suggest you acquaint yourself with WP:DUE. Oh, and it's high time you dropped the stick. - Nick Thorne talk 12:50, 25 July 2017 (UTC)
Nick, since you mention neutrality, I copy this from your pointer on Wikipedia neutrality policy: "Neutrality requires that each article or other page in the mainspace fairly represent all significant viewpoints that have been published by reliable sources, in proportion to the prominence of each viewpoint in the published, reliable sources. Giving due weight and avoiding giving undue weight means that articles should not give minority views or aspects as much of or as detailed a description as more widely held views or widely supported aspects."
The fighter effectiveness criteria is universally regarded in the professional literature as being valid and of fundamental importance in understanding fighter aircraft. After you deleted the well referenced section describing it, all I asked was to define it and give a pointer to the light fighter article for more information. When you delete that and insist on leaving nothing on this important issue, you directly violate the neutrality requirement quoted just above to fairly represent all significant viewpoints. If you continue to refuse to make a reasonable accommodation, then no alternative is left but mediation and possibly arbitration.
This is too important an issue to be dropped. Your position is that a few editors and a very localized consensus override all Wikipedia policy on neutrality and use of references. If we have to mediate/arbitrate to settle that issue, you may win. If you do, the integrity of this important article is destroyed by loss of neutrality and refusal to present the truth as covered by the references.

PhaseAcer (talk) 19:58, 25 July 2017 (UTC)

This is not about winning. It is supposed to be about building a consensus to improve the encyclopaedia, something you apparently refuse to do. I am not going to respond further to your attempts to bludgeon the conversation in order to right some perceived great wrong. Unless you come up with something new, I am unlikely to reply, this conversation is at an end. - Nick Thorne talk 00:46, 26 July 2017 (UTC)
Nick, when you decline further discussion, does that mean you refuse mediation and prefer to go straight to arbitration? PhaseAcer (talk) 11:59, 26 July 2017 (UTC)
No, I think an RFC is more appropriate, since it is not just a matter between you and me. Have started one. - Nick Thorne talk 12:55, 26 July 2017 (UTC)

RFC about fighter effectiveness section[edit]

There is no consensus to include this text as proposed. Burninthruthesky (talk) 14:04, 25 August 2017 (UTC)
The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Should a section on fighter effectiveness be included? - Nick Thorne talk 12:54, 26 July 2017 (UTC)

Section proposed by PhaseAcer:

Fighter effectiveness
A key design goal of fighter design is to well satisfy standard air-to-air fighter effectiveness requirements. These criteria in order of importance are the ability to benefit from the element of surprise, to have numerical superiority in the air, to have superior maneuverability, and to possess suitable weapon systems effectiveness.[1][2][3][4][5] Smaller fighters have tended to achieve surprise advantage over larger aircraft due to smaller visual and radar signatures, which is important since historically in about 80% of air-to-air kills surprise was the dominant factor. [6][7][8] The use of stealth technology in the latest fighters is a deliberate attempt to gain surprise advantage in the modern era of radar guided beyond-visual-range missiles. However, the higher cost of stealth has to be balanced against the lower cost and higher reliability of simpler fighters allowing greater numbers per budget at the time of combat.[9] Greater detail on the fighter effectiveness criteria is provided in the Light fighter article.
  1. ^ Stevenson, pp. 33–50.
  2. ^ Sprey, pp. 48–87.
  3. ^ Hammond, p.36.
  4. ^ Spick, 1995, pp.45–46.
  5. ^ Gunston and Spick, 1983, pp. 186–193.
  6. ^ Sprey, 1982, p.48.
  7. ^ Gunston and Spick, 1983, p.188.
  8. ^ Stevenson, 1993, p.33.
  9. ^ Huenecke, p.31

  - Nick Thorne talk 12:54, 26 July 2017 (UTC)


  • Oppose, Not relevant in an overview article. Material is probably appropriate as part of a separate, detailed article about fighter design if sufficient additional material can be sourced. - Nick Thorne talk 12:54, 26 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose As below seems to be too technical, and also (possibly) a bit subjective) for an overview article.Slatersteven (talk) 13:19, 26 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Support The definition and validity of the fighter effectiveness criteria is the strong majority view of the professional literature, with no literature located that disagrees. As it is both simple to understand and foundational to understanding fighter aircraft, it is perfectly suited to an overview article. It can be defined here in few sentences, with a pointer provided to the Light fighter article for more detail. PhaseAcer (talk) 14:01, 26 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose This article is supposed to be a fighter overview article; it is already very long and covers the earliest to current fighter aircraft. This fighter effectiveness info would be too detailed and probably slanted toward the last 2 generations of fighters. --Finlayson (talk) 14:09, 26 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose, this is one small aspect of fighter aircraft design and the criteria only mean anything in the context of the design tradeoffs between them. There is no room for that here (see also the discussion below). — Cheers, Steelpillow (Talk) 15:15, 26 July 2017 (UTC)
  • 'Support in principle, but not aw written. Superior numbers & maneuverability are not mandatory for success; the P-38 could not out-turn the A6M (AFAIK), & for a period after her introduction, was outnumberd, but does anyone consider her a failure? Speed & tactics also play a role. TREKphiler any time you're ready, Uhura 16:49, 26 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose Continuation of this editor's POV-pushing about how wonderful light fighters are. Nick-D (talk) 08:14, 27 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Comment – I was about get involved in this discussion, then I opened the article and saw an ugly Refimprove banner that is TEN YEARS old. I only wish editors spared a fraction of the energy they put into this discussion, into addressing the basics first. That is what lowers the quality of this article, rather than an extra section. --Deeday-UK (talk) 08:48, 28 July 2017 (UTC)
Agree. Sigh. --A D Monroe III (talk) 16:11, 28 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Section implies that only light fighters are effective. This is not the world-wide view, given that light fighters are only a subset of all fighters. Even if improved (rewritten completely with different sources), I don't see how such a section could be a benefit to the article in its current state. --A D Monroe III (talk) 16:08, 28 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose -- Actually, mixed, but since I think no immediate action should be taken I've logged a vote against. I'd support the section or the suggestion of a separate article. But the proposed content espouses a view-point that I would characterize as contentious, at best. I'd suggest building a broader consensus on proposed content, with a great many more sources and a broader range of views. Klaun (talk) 16:07, 30 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Comment. The proposed paragraph makes its point well – but gives no time frame. Was "smaller is more effective" true 100 years ago? Maproom (talk) 06:53, 3 August 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose I tend to disagree with the inclusion of this section as the history of fighters tends to elucidate any idea of effectiveness without getting into the weeds. That is to say, with each generation of aircraft (or with each major branch in design) some major feature was improved upon or developed that helps to shape the overall idea of its evolution. In this way, we can broadly see the changing landscape of "effectiveness" without diving into pedantic (though interesting) arguments about the components that may make one specific airframe desirable for a specific task than another. I had to try to find my own sources describing "Fighter effectiveness" as a specialized term but once I did I found myself agreeing with the view above that it could be it's own article as there is sufficient technical depth there to warrant a dive into the topic. Lizzius (talk) 20:24, 7 August 2017 (UTC)
  • Mixed The topic would be justified in principle, but could be put into another linked article if that proved more functional. However,even the current article is simplistic in structure, as if WWI fighters were uniform in context with WWII or Korean War or 21st century, in spite of changes in warfare, technology, circumstances, strategy, tactical developments, politics etc etc. Furthermore, there is hardly a topic on which there is not wide disagreement and discussion on almost every conceivable point. I reckon we should first get this house in order,then decide how any such extra topic should fit in. JonRichfield (talk) 05:01, 13 August 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose per my comments in "Breaking Fighter Effectiveness and Light Fighter vs Heavy Fighter into Two Sections". MilborneOne (talk) 10:03, 13 August 2017 (UTC)

Threaded discussion[edit]

  • I believe this subject raises issues that are too detailed and technical for this overview article. - Nick Thorne talk 12:54, 26 July 2017 (UTC)
  • In his vote above, Nick states his support for this material in a separate article. If such an article is written, it would no doubt be pointed to from the main Fighter aircraft article. However, the material is currently now covered in detail in the Light fighter article. What is requested here is to simply make that pointer now to the existing material, rather than deny readers access to that well referenced material. Finlayson notes the material may be too detailed to add to an already long article. But, only a short defining paragraph with pointer is requested. PhaseAcer (talk) 14:23, 26 July 2017 (UTC)
    I think that the light fighter article is an even worse place for this subject, as the criteria apply to all fighters. I'd suggest that a new article on Fighter aircraft design would be useful, and the material currently under discussion could form the basis of a stub to get it started. — Cheers, Steelpillow (Talk) 15:16, 26 July 2017 (UTC)
The material had greater detail here, but it was deleted by Nick. It started out in the light fighter article as the references generally quote the fighter effectiveness criteria as the reason light fighters show greater per budget effectiveness than heavy fighters, and sometimes greater per unit effectiveness as well. Now, for some reason reporting that is what the references say irritates some editors, but...that's what the references say. I would be happy to help with a dedicated article, but for now what we have on it is only in the light fighter article. If we don't want to take any room in the main fighter article, then a pointer to the light fighter article is all that currently exists within Wikipedia. Given that we are going to point to a dedicated article at some point, there seems no logical reason not to point to it now. PhaseAcer (talk) 01:05, 27 July 2017 (UTC)
My suggestion then would be to create Draft:Fighter aircraft design, restore your material there, and let us know (at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Aircraft and Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Aviation as well as here). With luck, some of us will be able to help improve it to a level at which it can be moved into the main article space. No guarantees you will like all our edits, though! And you might want to wait for the above discussion to close first, in case it tips your way and saves you the trouble. — Cheers, Steelpillow (Talk) 09:37, 27 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Nick-D, both here and in the light fighter article I have meticulously quoted from a neck deep stack of high quality references. I have not suppressed any significant minority views. In hundreds of hours of research into the fighter effectiveness criteria and its impact on combat results, I simply cannot find any. By Wikipedia policy, the core definition of "neutrality" is presenting the information in proportion to what is stated in quality references. If you can find any believable data based references that differ from any of the stated information, please bring them. In a year of asking that from you and other editors, not a single quality reference disagreeing with the definition, validity, and importance of the fighter effective criteria has been found. And, when you look back at the history of fighter combat, it is clear that from WWII to now these criteria have been a dominant factor. PhaseAcer (talk) 16:07, 27 July 2017 (UTC)
I'd like to see a greater spread of references. They are very much centred around the American experience of aircraft and the 'fighter Mafia'. What of Soviet, China and other nations experience in producing fighter aircraft. And also coverage pre WWII such as Spanish Civil War and Sino-Japanese war GraemeLeggett (talk) 18:51, 27 July 2017 (UTC)
Graeme, when you and I started hitting the light fighter article hard last summer it had less than 20 references and zero professional references--now it has more than 100 and dozens of professional grade references. Many of those have been been brought here as well to more than double the references in this article. So, we have done very well on the references here, none dispute the definition and validity of the fighter effectiveness criteria, and that is very unlikely to be altered by locating any related older or non-American references (policy is to give more weight to newer references anyway). So, it would seem the question is whether this fundamentally important tool of understanding is shown to our readers in the main fighter article. It is being argued not to even mention it because it is claimed to be too complex, when actually it is an enormous aid in cutting through the clutter and understanding why fighters perform poorly or well in combat. But, maybe I am completely wrong about the mission we are pursuing. I have been assuming all along that we want a more informative, useful, and interesting article that can be promoted above the C-class level it has been at for a decade. Maybe the preference is to keep the status quo of a C-class article that has comfortable consensus. The light fighter article was at the starter level for years, and the heavy fighter article with its total of 3 elderly references still is, with no real complaints from the editors. When there is no real demand for improvement, and when adding improvement actually draws sharp criticism and resistance, it seems likely it is because such improvement is simply not desired. PhaseAcer (talk) 06:57, 28 July 2017 (UTC)
PhaseAcer, please note that it is not necessary to respond to every post in a discussion. - Nick Thorne talk 07:53, 28 July 2017 (UTC)
Nick, I can't help but notice that when I point out that the heavy fighter article is grossly out of policy with its three references and no coverage of the modern literature, your response is not to support improving that, but to politely tell me to pipe down. The unintentional result of that situation is for Wikipedia to effectively function as the PR department of heavy fighter manufacturers by suppressing the modern literature that consistently states that a product that is half the price can usually do the same mission as well or better. As far as I understand, our job is not to fly top cover for them, but to report what the literature says. PhaseAcer (talk) 18:04, 28 July 2017 (UTC)
I'm looking at the proposed text more closely, & aside the P-38/A6M fail I mentioned, I'm seeing the absence of any mention of external forces on the results. Do smaller fighters gain surprise more often? In gunfights, yes; what happens when you face a BVR-equipped F-4 or F-14 that can kill you at 100nm or more? Being smaller ain't an advantage anymore. The high number of successes by smaller fighters is biased by results in Vietnam, where the U.S. ROEs required visual confirmation before an engagement; that bias isn't reflected here. Size also has correlations with complexity & cost, so a less-effective (overall) aircraft may appear in greater numbers. I'm also wondering about doctrinal & experiential issues; did the Red Air Force defeat the Luftwaffe based solely on smaller fighters, or did numbers play a role? Did the Luftwaffe's gutting of its training program early in the war, & an expectation of a short war, play no part? I doubt it. Did Luftwaffe policy of leaving men in combat units until they were killed, with (AFAIK) no rotation increase losses? I'd say so. If you're right, the AVG should have been readily wiped out by the Japanese. They weren't. And, let's see...the Israelis fly F-15s, don't they? And are routinely outnumbered? Yet they keep winning... I don't see this proposed piece reflecting any part of this--quite aside the influence of technology & superior training. If your sources aren't reflecting the impact of these factors, I suggest you need to throw them out & get better ones. If they are & you're cherry-picking from them... TREKphiler any time you're ready, Uhura 08:04 & 08:05, 29 July 2017 (UTC)
Trekphiler, I appreciate such an informed and logical comment. I don't want to clog up the discussion with a long response, as you can get fully referenced details in the Light fighter article. However, the bottom line on why light fighters perform surprisingly well per plane is the element of surprise, first in the four elements of the fighter effectiveness criteria. Historically about 80% of shoot downs occur by surprise, which favors smaller fighters both visually and in radar cross section. Numerous medical studies (available for download as referenced in the light fighter article, and deeply explained with graphs in the book "The Pentagon Paradox: the Development of the F-18 Hornet") have shown that larger fighters can be seen from 7 to 15 miles away. Smaller fighters are not visible to the naked eye until within about 4 miles. Heat seeking missile range is about 7 to 22 miles depending on missile and circumstances. This is a large advantage for small fighters on who sees each other first. When the pilot of a small fighter sees a large fighter and turns toward it to attack, head-on he cannot be seen until within about 2.5 miles, and his missile range allows him to ambush the larger fighter before its pilot knows he is in the same sky with him. Radar has a surprisingly limited practical effect here. In the Vietnam War the U.S. expected F-4 Phantom radar to be a big advantage. However, only 3% of enemy fighters were detected by fighter radar, and even then long range BVR was nearly useless (see the Fighter Weapons section of this article). 15% were detected by ground radar or AWACs. The other 82% were detected visually, and in the absence of ground radar or AWACs visual detection is extremely important even today. Even with better radar and AWACs today, smaller visual and radar signature still matter a lot. In the William Tell trials of 1994, the two F-16 squadrons flown by part time Air National Guard pilots defeated all 5 of the F-15 squadrons (the finest squadrons in the regular air force). After that the Air Force stopped allowing public trials of the F-16 vs. F-15, though numerous references report that after that the F-16 has continued to statistically get the better of the F-15 whenever they have crossed swords. Now, I know the F-15 is actually a fine fighter. But, the literature consistently reports that the F-16 is a little better plane for plane, at 54% the per plane cost. That cost difference is a huge strategic point.
However, the argument here is not actually light fighter vs heavy fighter. It is simply whether the fighter effectiveness criteria given by numerous professional sources can even be mentioned in the main fighter aircraft article. It is extensively covered in the literature, with no literature that disagrees. For some reason I don't understand, Nick is determined to suppress that literature. However, Wikipedia policy is that the definition of neutrality requires covering all major significant issues as described in the literature. I don't know what can be more "significant" to fighter aircraft that how well they perform their military function, which is simply but scientifically described by the fighter effectiveness criteria. Some editors are interpreting this as some kind of non-neutral or unfair favoring of light fighters. It is not--it is nothing more than reporting the literature as we are supposed to do. In cases of contentious arguments Wikipedia policy is explicit: "Wikipedia is not IN the argument, Wikipedia REPORTS the argument". But here there is an explicit effort occurring to NOT report the argument. PhaseAcer (talk) 14:18, 29 July 2017 (UTC)
♠I appreciate such a detailed reply, too. And as a fan of the F-16, I get a great kick out of it beating the vaunted F-15. My ultimate point is, it's not as simple as you're making it out, & when you start adding the other factors, as IMO you must, you get OT to existing pages. So, let me repeat the suggestion of a draft page on effectiveness, or subpage in your own sandbox. Let's see what we can come up with. If nothing else, it'll be a place to explain why the AVG & P-38 weren't the abject failures the underlying theory says they should've been, & maybe one where we see if Boelcke & Chennault & Blesse knew something the light fighter guys need to learn.
♠I'm not seeing censorship. I'm seeing page focus. Does the business done by Noorduyn's company belong on his bio page? No; it has a page. Do Lotus race reports belong on the Cosworth page? No, not even when the DFV powered the cars; the results, yes, but barest details. I'm trying to say, maybe not well, the effectiveness issue can't really be addressed on non-subject pages properly until there's a "master" page to link out to. TREKphiler any time you're ready, Uhura 15:54, 29 July 2017 (UTC)
Trekphiler, you're right that an article dedicated to the fighter effectiveness criteria that could be pointed to would lead to the most logical structure. However, this dogfight over referencing this literature has been going on for more than a year (see Light fighter talk page). I've read dozens of books and spent hundreds of hours on it to bring the literature of the field to Wikipedia. The response from many editors has been "Even though I have not read the expert professional literature you reference and don't know anything about it, I don't like it and so it should not be in Wikipedia". So, if a pointer to this material is not allowed now, why would the prejudice against it allow a pointer later just because the title of the article pointed to is different? That is why I am taking the stand NOW that neutrality policy should be followed. PhaseAcer (talk) 16:45, 29 July 2017 (UTC)
If I may say, the main problem seems to be where the material gets mentioned, not whether. This is why I suggested restoring it initially in the Draft namespace. If an unbiased treatment can be found (a secondary cause of disagreement, to date), then a suitable home for it in main article space should become apparent. — Cheers, Steelpillow (Talk) 18:16, 29 July 2017 (UTC)
I'm seeing the same problem. If there's already a page, a capsule (one 'graph) & a "main article" link out does it; otherwise, it's all OT. (BTW, I don't object to "Trek"; we're all friendly--on this page, anyhow. And Steelpillow, I got an EC with you... Just exactly the wrong moment.) TREKphiler any time you're ready, Uhura 18:25, 29 July 2017 (UTC)
Steelpillow, if you think I am exaggerating the illogical prejudice against this material, read Nick gloating "Too bad, so sad!" above when he thinks he has gathered enough editor support to keep this material from even being mentioned in the article. My bet is that no matter how valid, important, well referenced, and well structured this material is, that Nick will never agree to it being here. It is a crusade without purpose other than asserting dominance. That is why Nick keeps telling me "You can't tell us what to do!". He does not understand that it is not me telling him. It is Wikipedia policy, truth, relevance, and the literature that indicate this material should be here. PhaseAcer (talk) 20:16, 29 July 2017 (UTC)
Yeah, Wikipedia's community is full of illogical prejudice and bad manners. There are ways of dealing with it, but the fight has to be worth fighting in the first place. If such people follow you into draft space, let us know and we can take it from there. — Cheers, Steelpillow (Talk) 20:33, 29 July 2017 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── PhaseAcer, this last post strays waist-deep into personal attack territory. Continue in this vein and I predict a trip to AN/I in your future. - Nick Thorne talk 04:23, 30 July 2017 (UTC)

Nick, do you expect to throw taunts like "Too bad, so sad!" and have that go unnoticed by a serious editor you are poking with a stick? But, in the interest of fairness and cooperation, I will show nothing but respect and the utmost courtesy for you as a fellow editor if you can provide any logical reasoning for your position that the majority literature view of the validity and importance of the fighter effectiveness criteria does not even deserve a pointer in this article. Previous statements such as "Fighters are not military equipment and their military performance is not relevant here" are simply not believable. But, there may well be valid reasons. For example, has Wikipedia been subjected to threat of litigation if we are not even more conservative than normal here? There is a huge amount of cash flow and national security at stake, so as this is probably the most read article on fighters in the world that is not impossible. There is probably serious interest in this article in commercial quarters for its public relations effect, and many companies have been noticed trying to influence Wikipedia articles related to their business where there was a lot less money involved than the the literally hundreds of billions of dollars in the fighter plane business. Companies have tried every trick in the book, paid editors, threats of lawsuits, etc, so I would not be least surprised if Wikipedia÷ had been warned to be excruciatingly careful here. Or, have you located any viable references that disagree? Or, if the trouble to write a new article on the fighter effectiveness criteria is actually taken, would you commit to supporting a pointer to it then being placed here? I would be satisfied with anything that actually made any sense and did not seem to be just camouflage. PhaseAcer (talk) 06:34, 30 July 2017 (UTC)
Shelve that conspiracy talk now, this is not tin foil hat territory and AGF applies. GraemeLeggett (talk) 08:37, 30 July 2017 (UTC)
And if anyone in the defence business ≤or government departments of defence is using Wikipedia as a serious influence on their work or to influence others, then I think a talking to (at least 'interview without coffee'[1]) would be in order. GraemeLeggett (talk) 09:04, 30 July 2017 (UTC)
One last thing. As we can bring data to bear. Regarding influence, page views can be checked via 'page information'. This page had circa 36 thousand in last 30 days, Supermarine Spitfire page north of 100K views for same period. GraemeLeggett (talk) 09:11, 30 July 2017 (UTC)
PhaseAcer has lost all credibility with this last post. Not satisfied with personal attacks, quoting another editor out of context, nor with misquoting in classic straw-man fashion, he now resorts to conspiracy theory. I have had enough, one more outburst like the last and it's a trip to AN/I. Wikipedia is not the place to right great wrongs and I am finding it increasingly difficult to AGF. - Nick Thorne talk 12:14, 30 July 2017 (UTC)

Looking at the votes cast to date, this discussion is basically over. May I suggest that you both take a breather and let things run their course now? If the other posts again for the sake of having the last word, let him. — Cheers, Steelpillow (Talk) 13:18, 30 July 2017 (UTC)

Graeme, it is not an accusation of conspiracy. Nick, it is not a personal attack or an outburst. Publishers must often be very careful what they print due to the risk of litigation. Even frivolous litigation is very painful to deal with. So, that was a serious question asking if this subject is so delicate and fraught with risk that we must be careful beyond normal Wikipedia standards. PhaseAcer (talk) 20:25, 30 July 2017 (UTC)

No. Wikipedia will purge from its memory such things as; copyright infringements, unacceptable language and gross/libellous personal attacks on both editors and living persons, but the politico-industrial complex just has to put up with us. I don't know about still-classified documents found on Wikileaks, but thankfully I have never felt the need to go there. Trusting you haven't either. — Cheers, Steelpillow (Talk) 21:03, 30 July 2017 (UTC)
Steel, if it had been a legal risk situation, I could understand that, but in light of your answer I am back to being completely baffled. For years the light fighter article was under-referenced and blatantly wrong, and nobody cared. The heavy fighter article today has a total of 3 references, none later than WWII. Consider this statement from that article: "Although numerous modern fighters could be called "heavy", with regard to their weight, the term is generally no longer used. As missiles became the standard weapons for air combat any fighter of any size could be successful in combat against almost any target, making the distinction between heavy and light fighters less relevant." This unreferenced statement is completely wrong, as the fact that lighter fighters at half the cost can easily bring down heavy fighters with missiles is of enormous strategic importance. But again, nobody cares. Instead, when a case based on merit and a stack of professional references attesting to the validity and importance of the fighter effectiveness criteria is brought, the resistance is like storming the beach on D-Day. PhaseAcer (talk) 23:51, 2 August 2017 (UTC)
So, why the resistance to your changes?: I can assure you that the majority of Aircraft and Aviation project members seek to apply Wikipedia's policies on verifiabilty, sources, balance, original research, bias, etc. etc. We also follow the policy to assume good faith on each other's part. Based on that, one has to ask, if an editor is experiencing lots of resistance, is that editor really conforming to all those policies and guidelines, or is that editor missing something? Arguments here have been made here that you are indeed missing something in presenting your material in unbalanced fashion and in the wrong article/s. I pick up a sense that you cherry-pick sources to talk up the light fighter and that a more balanced approach would also draw on sources which advocate the big, complex beasts that so many high-budget air forces actually decide are better. I am saying nothing new here, it has all been said in the above discussions. Your puzzlement appears to arise from a failure to listen to criticism. And I repeat, a separate draft article would be a way to get your material up where it will not be summarily deleted but may be knocked into shape. My advice to you is to get on with that and stop banging your head against the past. Just type "Draft:Fighter aircraft design" or whatever into the search box and follow your nose. — Cheers, Steelpillow (Talk) 09:32, 3 August 2017 (UTC)
Steel, I don't want to beat a dead horse any further, but since you ask, the only explanation I have left for refusing to acknowledge the literature of the field is Groupthink. The professional military aviation author James Stevenson, for many years editor of "The Topgun Journal", reports that is the only explanation he has for the military leadership often rejecting more effective fighters. As to the accusation of cherry picking, I have challenged every editor who ever said those words to present literature to the contrary. None has ever been able to do so. PhaseAcer (talk) 14:27, 3 August 2017 (UTC)
Heavens above! I wasn't asking you. It was a rhetorical question which I then answered myself. It is for you to read, mark and inwardly digest. — Cheers, Steelpillow (Talk) 19:07, 3 August 2017 (UTC)
Stevenson has authored a number of articles with Sprey - perhaps the problem is that he's a fellow traveler to the Fighter Mafia. And he's partisan to that cause. GraemeLeggett (talk) 15:17, 3 August 2017 (UTC)
Graeme, if the professional writings of Sprey and Stevenson are incorrect, where is the literature that proves that or even disagrees? If there was any, we could quote it fairly. PhaseAcer (talk) 15:53, 3 August 2017 (UTC)
Steel, I note you have no response to the false concluding statement in the heavy fighter article. If blatantly false statements in direct conflict with the literature of the field are supported, what is the point of writing a separate article that will not be allowed to be referenced by the other Wikipedia fighter aviation articles? PhaseAcer (talk) 15:53, 3 August 2017 (UTC)
I recognise no logic in this last, only paranoia. I have said all that I have to say here. — Cheers, Steelpillow (Talk) 19:07, 3 August 2017 (UTC)
Steel, I am not surprised you decline to discuss it further. It must be very hard to logically defend embracing of false foundational statements and rejection of the facts and professional literature that would eliminate such false statements. It is particularly hard to defend that when it is a violation of all Wikipedia policy other than consensus. I have been publishing in engineering journals for over 30 years, and I have never before witnessed anything like it. I also would have no idea how to defend it. PhaseAcer (talk) 16:07, 6 August 2017 (UTC)
We seem to be going around in circles here, the RFC clearly gives no support so it might be time to WP:DROPTHESTICK. MilborneOne (talk) 10:05, 13 August 2017 (UTC)

OK, so what happens now? I assume the RFC is resolved in the negative, I also assume I cannot close this as I am involved. Help! - Nick Thorne talk 13:55, 25 August 2017 (UTC)

Happy to oblige. Burninthruthesky (talk) 14:04, 25 August 2017 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

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