Fighter Performance in Practice: Phantom versus MiG-21
Belgrade, Serbia: Naucna KMD, 2009
Category: Aerospace Engineering
The Pavlovic brothers have assembled a comprehensive, back-to-back comparison of the performance of the F-4 Phantom and MiG-21 - two of the most important Cold War fighters throughout the 1960s and 1970s. Consisting primarily of tables and graphs, the book takes a minimalist approach to text and supporting equations.
This is the kind of engineering-derived assessment that is only rarely found in open publication - both due to the sensitivity of the data at the time that it was originally collected (back in the 1960s), and due to the lack of appreciation on the part of many readers for the implications behind the diagrams reviewed. Take-off performance, time-to-altitude, acceleration and turn rate are all assessed under this small, paperback volume.
The few weaknesses in the book revolve around the lack of supporting description and text - which may be an obstacle to many readers not already familiar with the topic and the format in which the graphs are displayed - as well as the lack of a bibliography with complete citations. Although the authors avow that "all data used are official and already available to public," they fail to cite the official publications (both Eastern and Western) from which the graphs are derived. Despite these shortcomings, however, for someone with even a limited aeronautical background, this book becomes a treasure trove for invaluable insight.