GoPros, a MiG-29 and an Su-27

Some of the coolest footage I’ve seen of formation flying, straight from Russia featuring members of their two demonstration teams, the Knights and the Swifts. The Knights fly Su-27 Flankers while the Swifts fly MiG-29 Fulcrums. Both teams often perform in tandem.

About Ian D'Costa (240 Articles)
Ian is the editor-in-chief of the Tactical Air Network. His work has been republished and quoted in a number of publications, including The Toronto Star, Airsoc, Business Insider and The Aviationist. You can reach him at

2 Comments on GoPros, a MiG-29 and an Su-27

  1. Hi Matador,

    This is a nice site that you’ve set up here with your friends. I have read your article concerning the F-35 “vs” the CF-105 and I would not be surprised if your assessment was correct since its been a half-century for the F-35 to get some better guts. I am not however inclined to agree with the statement concerning F-35 being the future mainstay of the RCAF at all.
    That belief stems from the conception of the Su-27 that the Russian Knights fly, and manifests in recent, SIGNIFICANT achievements of modern variants of said aircraft.

    I am partial to this conclusion due to the following reasons:

    1 Marketeer A makes product A and wants to sell; Marketeer B makes product B and wants to sell. Purchaser C wants to buy, but what is the right choice? Marketeer A will say that product A is the best thing flying, and Marketeer B will say likewise of his product. The question remains: who do we believe?

    Enter Purchaser D (and possibly E) who have considered both options and decided on a purchase. (Or E who does not buy but sees how both products end up performing and concludes that one is better) Purchaser C cannot ask either marketeer for a good evaluation, and therefore asks D who did not originally have a vested interest (or E who retains no vested interests). D will make a verdict (as will E).

    That is why I have looked hard to find sources that are not (marketeer A) Russian or (marketeer B) US when I research about American or Russian fighters. In my search I have found two sites that are extremely intruiging: the well-known Air Power Australia and the Boresight Blog. I have studied some APA articles and all of those from Boresight.

    These sources do not underestimate the Flanker (Su-27) in any way, the Boresight has remarkable observations concerning the Flanker, while APA has comprehensive coverage of the F-35.

    Both agree that the F-35 is not the fighter one wants to pilot in 21st century.


    • Cameron,

      First off, I’d like to thank you for checking Milaviate out!
      With regards to the Lightning II, I’m in partial agreement with the assessments made on Air Power Australia and on Jane’s 360: the F-35 isn’t nearly as capable as some would have you believe, and its survivability against Russian and Chinese derivative fighter aircraft is highly questionable at the moment. For the RCAF, it would probably be more advisable to purchase a 4.5 generation fighter (see but that would deny them an all-stealth, 5th generation aircraft, right at the very same time the rest of the world steps into the next generation of fighter aviation.

      That being said, the F-35 hasn’t had much of a chance in air-to-air exercises yet, as the first model to achieve IOC within a year or so (the STOVL F-35B) was built as more of a ground attack/recon platform for the USMC to replace their current AV-8B Harrier IIs. Therefore, testing it in such circumstances at a Flag exercise wouldn’t be much of a concern as of yet. However, we should keep our eyes peeled for when the F-35A/C gets the opportunity to go up against modern MiGs and Sukhois (particularly from India and Venezuela), we’ll get a better idea of the F-35’s real capabilities.

      In addition, I think a more-apt comparison would be between the F-35A and the MiG-29, the Su-27’s smaller complementary fighter. Even then, I would still agree that the Fulcrum would likely be able to best the Lightning II in ACM. However, F-35s are designed with capabilities that allow its pilots to get the first shot off, hopefully changing the game in their favor before bogeys are alerted to their whereabouts. Apparently, that seems to be what Lockheed Martin’s representatives are banking on at the moment.

      If you have about an hour to spare and you’re interested, I’d recommend you check out the JSF panel at USNI’s AFCEA WEST 2014. It was composed of pilots who’ve flown the F-35 in addition to a number of other airframes. What they have to say about the Lightning II is quite interesting!



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