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I'm looking for reliable data on maximum instantaneous turn rates for jet fighters, something coming from reliable sources, ideally official flight manuals or specifications. I can't seem to find anything. I've seen reports of turn rates around 35°/s for some fighters (F-22, Typhoon, Rafale) but I don't know whether those can be trusted: https://defenseissues.wordpress.com/2014/01/11/comparing-modern-western-fighters/

If possible I'd like to have data on fighters with exceptionally high maximum turn rates, but really, anything would be welcome. Even information on old, retired fighters would be nice, and I guess that's more likely to be declassified. Failing that, a lower bound would be useful.

I don't know if turn rates make much sense for helicopters, but that information would also have some value.

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    $\begingroup$ I'm going to assume that most of that information is classified. Most governments go to great length to cover up the performance characteristics of their jets. You may be able to find some unclassified numbers if you dig around a bit, but I would suppose they would be well short of actual capability. Janes may be a good resource for this: janes.com $\endgroup$ – Jay Carr Aug 18 '16 at 14:42
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Imformation on the F-22, particularly performance and mission systems data remains classified, as with the F-35 airplane. To the best of my knowledge there isn't much technical data available to the public on those subjects.

Now flight manuals for older fighter aircraft are readily available to the general public. PublicIntelligence.net is a great source for these documents, as they have them for the F-14, F-16, F/A-18E/F, AV-8B, A-10, just to name a few.

Janes/IHS is not a great source for this stuff; their entries are more on the level of intelligence briefs and encyclopedia entries and are not likely to contain the information you ar looking for.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thanks, I'll dig around and see if I can find something on PublicIntelligence.net! $\endgroup$ – Alexko Aug 19 '16 at 13:14
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While it's an interesting question, the actual answers are not very meaningful. Max instantaneous turn rate is a corner condition where you will give up all your energy leaving you very vulnerable. The key to fighter maneuverability is energy management.
A good discussion on fighter maneuverability is available at this link.
Additionally, I would suggest researching Col, John Boyd, USAF. He did much of the early research in energy management.

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  • $\begingroup$ The mention of Boyd is very worthwhile, he came up with the idea of specific excess performance as a meaningful way of comparing fighter aircraft manoeuvrability and his biography is a fascinating, very well written book. SEP charts are a much better way of comparing manoeuvrability, as they show the advantage / disadvantage across the whole flight envelope, where as instantaneous turn rates can be chosen at a point in the sky (speed/altitude) that makes the given aircraft look favourable. $\endgroup$ – Penguin Aug 2 '17 at 12:28
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You need to look up Flight Data on the F-16. It was designed to be an Agile Fighter aircraft using specific formulas for aircraft energy Calculations. The flight data is also NOT Classified: NASA is a public organization and required to disclose it's information, and ran a series of High Performance tests with an F-16 and through a Wind Tunnel that are publicly available (but that I don't have a link to at the moment.

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