Fighting altitude and airspeed probabilities

Unread postPosted: 22 May 2018, 12:48
by zero-one
I noticed that when we talk about aircraft kinematics we select specific speed and altitude parameters to make a fair comparison. We can also manipulate the parameters to make certain aircraft look good.

If we want to make an F-16 look good, its around Mach 0.9 at 20K feet or lower
If we want an F-15 to look good its also around Mach 0.9 but the altitude goes up to around 30K feet where other planes struggle by comparison.
F/A-18 looks good at around Mach 0.7 and acceleration is respectable at low altitude
F-35A, is much like the F-16's numbers but can also play around like the F/A-18 at lower speeds.
The Raptor looks good anywhere but has significant advantages high up where most planes struggle

But what is more likely to happen?
How likely will an F-16 be in a fight while in its 20k, mach 0.9 domain?

Do F-16's fly around at 15k in combat when conducting CAP, or do they fly at 30k and simply drop down to 20k when engaging.

Do different air arms operate differently, like USN Hornets fly at 30k but Swiss flyers like to stay low or something .

Or does everyone cruise at Mach 0.9 at around 30k which may explain why the F-15 was designed to be so good in that area.