Hush-kit awards for best-looking aircraft in production 2014: Category 1: Fighters
Hush-kit readers voted for the best looking fighter aircraft currently in production. Silence please as we open the golden envelope.
Bronze award: Saab Gripen
Though somewhat anodyne compared with Saab’s earlier Viggen, the perky Gripen is well proportioned, with a pleasing canopy and nicely shaped canards. The petite jet nozzle is pleasantly dainty.
Silver: Dassault Rafale
The best-looking Western fighter is, of course, the Dassault Rafale. A distinctive Y-shaped cross section, sensual lines and a touch of the TF-102 combine in a stylish and predatory form.
And the winner is……………
Gold: Sukhoi Su-35
Bill Sweetman noted how the ‘Flanker’ “looks incomparably bad-ass, as if God designed a pterodactyl to go Mach 2.”, the latest member of the family continues this tradition. The bird-like bend to the ‘Flanker’s forward fuselage gives it a noble and almost living appearance. The fuselage/wing blending lends its shape an integrity that most other fighters lack.
It also helps that the Su-35 is unsurpassed at airshow gymnastics (though the MiG-29OVT may be on a par).
Booby prizes in this category goes to the F-35B which looks like somebody force-fed a filing cabinet to the runt of a F-22 litter.
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Nailed it on the head with the Su-35…predatory good looks, elegant and dangerous
I always preferred MiG’s design aesthetic over Sukhoi’s. The Su-27/30/34/35 family look like the airplane versions of anorexic supermodels, whereas the MiG-31 looks like it really means business.
Agree with the F-35B’s award, but I would not say the same to the A and C models. Those 2 planes look futuristic and masculine at the same time. I think I like the C a little more with it’s enlarged wings. Those 2 F-35 models deserve at least a silver medal on my list.
they’re not the skinny fragile machines that most 4th gen fighters look like.
I would like to point out about the “unsurpassed gymnastics” of the Su-35 in an airshow. And yes I admit it looks cool. But in my opinion as well as the opinion of many other aviation geeks. the F-22 wins the airshow competition hands down.
The Su-35 relies too much on “Balistics” where the aircraft is affected by outside forces like gravity and air resistance.
The F-22 on the other hand is sheer brute power and control. Just look at the take-off of the 2 birds. the F-22’s is more aggressive and obviously faster (it has 3,000 lbs more weight but 7,000 lbs more thrust)
the maneuvers done by the Raptor are done at greater speed and higher angles of attack. No time for slow speed maneuvers seen on Flanker demos, this is pure power