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Thread: Ask An Expert- Aviation

  1. #16
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    as a civilian FI I would be interested to know the procedure to perform this square your turn manoeuver. For example is there a airspeed or altitude limitations on entry (no need numbers), Rudder pedal forces, thrust lever applications before and after entry (no numbers), elevator pressure, heading changes, and maybe the aerodynamics behind it if you can be bothered. Is there a short stall (like snap roll?) wild
    We typically used canned 3000, 6000, 9000 foot setups (called "perch" setups) w/AIM-9P and gun load, for both offensive and defensive BFM practice. The longer the range, the greater the challenge for the attacker. Airspeed was usually near sustained corner, ~ 430 to 450 knots.

    At the "Fight's on" call, the defender breaks so as to create the maximum angular/overtake problem for the attacker. If these are not controlled, if the attacker simply points at the defender (which is the standard noob move), the defender will be able to neutralize the fight by forcing a gross overshoot to a reversal.

    I've got a huge 3-ring binder packed with my own notes when I was upgrading to flight lead. Referencing the 3,000' perch setup...

    *Primary problem is closure and pipper control
    *Two basic options if you plan to fight:

    1) Go for the throat, pipper buried
    Adv - quick kill, surprise
    Disadv - If he doesn't blow up, you may end up neutral, because your closure will be high.

    2) Lag manuever - quick, in (or slightly above plane) pull to lag. Rolls are unloaded, look to place lift vector at his extended 6, pull for 1 to 2 seconds, then roll your lift vector back in his turning plane. Pull to match bandit line of sight.

    Closure controlled with throttle. You "ride" him in a slight lag position while his energy decays. At 2,000 feet, pull adequate lead (bandit sees belly) and open fire between 1,000 and 2,000'


    Both jets will see 8 - 9 G for ~270 degrees. Airspeed decays. G-available then drops. Normal throttle will be full AB initially, then reduced, sometimes to idle, so as to avoid excess closure and overshoot. When closure is controlled, the bandit's energy depleted, the power is normally then fed back in as necessary to generate the lead required for a gun shot.

    6,000 and 9,000 foot setups are increasingly more difficult for the attacker, and require more finesse, but in all cases, by keeping your lift vector as close to his plane of motion as possible, you deny him turning room, you protect your own extended 6, and you keep the pressure on him.

    Hope this answers your ?? a bit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by USSWisconsin View Post
    Subject fighters:
    What is the largest A2A missile load (number of missiles) normally carried on a modern fighter?
    F-14's and F-15's would carry 8 fairly regularly 4 sparrow 4 sidewinder. The FA-18 Super Hornet often carries 6. Same with the F-16 in theory and testing all can carry more but it is rarely done for various reasons. I am not sure a heavy air mix load would be for the F-22 as those aren't something I have worked with nor talked directly with knowledgeable people about. 6 (4 amramm 2 sidewinder) is from what I have heard fairly common for the eurofighter.

  3. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Porsche917LH View Post
    What was the general ground attack doctrine during Vietnam and how did it differ from one during WW2?
    I'll let someone else handle this, as 95% of my experience was air to air, but off the top of my head, I doubt (until the advent of smart ordnance) that it was all that much different. Greater use of ALO/FAC (ground and air-based controllers)... but an iron bomb is an iron bomb.

  4. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chogy View Post
    6,000 and 9,000 foot setups are increasingly more difficult for the attacker, and require more finesse, but in all cases, by keeping your lift vector as close to his plane of motion as possible, you deny him turning room, you protect your own extended 6, and you keep the pressure on him.
    Wouldn't that turn into a rolling scissors? and if about to overshoot the bandit can you exchange altitude for speed, roll and dive placing the lift vector on his six or use a barrel roll to keep your energy?

    Hope this answers your ?? a bit.
    Actually more confused

  5. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ararat View Post
    Wouldn't that turn into a rolling scissors? and if about to overshoot the bandit can you exchange altitude for speed, roll and dive placing the lift vector on his six or use a barrel roll to keep your energy?

    Actually more confused
    It is hard to describe with only text. Too bad we can't use "jets on a stick" which really were helpful when instructing.

    Scissors result when an attacker does not control closure and line-of-sight. If I, as the defender, see a high line of sight across my 6 to the outside, and an obvious high velocity, that is the time to reverse and force a neutral fight. As an attacker, one must control these; if a defender reverses without attacker high LOS and closure, he dies.

    6,000 feet is about the size of the bandit turn circle. 9,000 feet exceeds it. At 9,000', the bandit has the capability to meet you with approx. 135 degrees of angle. While you're technically offensive, it's not by much, and there's a lot of turning to do to solve for 135 degrees.

    When you create turning room for yourself with out-of-plane maneuvering, you also create turning room for the bandit. As the setup distance increases, the use of the vertical (out of plane) maneuvering also increases, but it is double-edged; if you take it uphill excessively as an attacker, you expose your own extended 6 more. Out-of-plane maneuvering is essential as slant range increases, but it cannot be excessive.

    In these setups, everyone drags around behind them a volume of sky. Pilots maneuver in relation to that volume, rather than the physical airplane. If I, as the attacker, pitch hard into the vertical (for turning room), I swing my extended six right into his current lift vector. If I am excessive (picture a low-G zooming climb) he can continue his break right into that volume, and begin to threaten me. That is where modern jets with high thrust and lift shine. An F-86 after a 180 degree high-G break is going nowhere but downhill, and the attacker's high yo-yo is effective. An F-16 after a similar turn can re-orient his lift vector and simply chase you uphill, and you then become defensive.

    Get your jet to his extended 6, from 2,500 to 4,000 feet, control closure, and you can dominate and begin to drive the fight.

    Picture a left-hand break turn. An attacker at 7:00 or 8:00 is inside the turn circle; closure is high, and a snap (rather than a track) shot is the likely outcome. An attacker at an extended 6:00 or even 5:00 on a similar turn-circle has his nose in lag, but the defender has almost no options other than continue the break turn. If he reverses, he takes an AIM-9. If he changes the plane of the turn, it benefits the attacker, as it reduces closure and angle-off, tools of defense. This lag (opposed to lead) area is the controlling/riding position, and if closure is controlled, the defender is in a world of hurt.

    Each setups' methodology overlaps the next, so from 3,000 to 9,000 feet, techniques learned begin to merge. Much outside of 9,000 feet, the jets can meet 180 degrees out and it is technically a neutral fight.
    Last edited by Chogy; 14 Jan 11, at 18:54.

  6. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Porsche917LH View Post
    What was the general ground attack doctrine during Vietnam and how did it differ from one during WW2?
    From the fire support side, It was level of control.

    WW2, there was no general "This is how we do things" military wide so examples I give would apply to one theater of operation but not others.

    Marines had better (faster) support because we had been doing it since the Banana Wars and had doctrine in place. Liasons and the ability to request air support were down to the Regimental level. But the request could take hours and you got what the planes had, not what you wanted. Most support was preplanned but the MEF commander could task planes for support. These planes came off the "baby carriers" and air support wasn't continious.

    From the Army, AAF side most air support was preplanned and request for support would normally be based at the Division or higher level.

    Can't take hill X and need support? Tomorrow at 0930 we will task a 4 ship section to drop bombs there. Plan your attack around that.

    By Vietnam we had the ability to request air support down at the company/platoon level. We also had planes in the air/ on alert that did nothing but wait on those calls.

    Way more "User friendly" and responsive.

    By ODS, we were playing with CAS Stacks and 24/7 coverage.

    Hope this helps. Kind of hard to explain

  7. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chogy View Post
    It is hard to describe with only text. Too bad we can't use "jets on a stick" which really were helpful when instructing.
    Those visual aids sure would help and I am also new to the BFM terminology and concepts.
    Sounds like you have to nail your procedures bellow 9000 ft closure or it’s a neutral fight or worst, and if you are the defender, you don’t turn it around by 6000 ft then you are almost out of options and hope for a mistake from the attacker to get your angle. Thanks Chogy this really amazing stuff and a lot to digest.

    One question: In the lag maneuver after aligning your lift vector, how do you judge how much correction (Lead turn, or lag?) you must carry inside the break turn with the defender at those airspeeds as your closure distance decreases. Can you switch to trottles (riding)?

  8. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ararat View Post
    One question: In the lag maneuver after aligning your lift vector, how do you judge how much correction (Lead turn, or lag?) you must carry inside the break turn with the defender at those airspeeds as your closure distance decreases. Can you switch to trottles (riding)?
    I think an easier way to look at it would be to reference the bandit turn circle. If we imagine a bandit leaving an airshow smoke trail behind him while in his break, that will help.

    The attackers bid to lag is little more than getting to, and remaining on (or slightly outside) that smoke trail. Once the attacker re-orients his jet to "follow" the bandit around this smoke circle, stick (pitch) and G are applied as needed to match the turn. Closure is determined visually, or via HUD symbology if there is radar lock. A good Vc would be 50 to 150 knots at 4,000 feet. If closure is excessive, you have two options... modulate throttle, allow the nose to fall further into lag, or both. Properly done, the bandit will be high on the hud, or near the canopy bow, and have no option to reverse.

    If the Vc is too high, an overshoot and reversal possibility exists. If Vc is near zero (or negative) then the attacker risks being trapped in lag, physically unable to pull lead, gain controlled closure, and employ the gun. This latter is exactly what happens to an F-4 attacking an F-16, or an F-16 attacking an F-22. The Bandit simply out-turns the attacker and spits him well outside the turn circle.

    From this attacker control/riding position, you eventually need to pull lead to fire the gun. Very small bids down and into the turn circle produces a lead turn. The bandit starts to see your belly rather than back. Closure increases, and when in gun range, the attacker aligns fuselages and pours it on.

    Caveat... ALL of this describes an encounter between very similar jets. An F-16 attacking a MiG-23 would (if he was smart) realize that the MiG-23 cannot turn, but can accelerate like crazy, so the bid to lag need not be as hard, energy must be conserved, and if the bandit turn is weak, he is probably looking for the attacker's nose to come off in a bid to lag so he can unload and possibly escape. So every encounter is different depending on the players, but the fundamentals remain similar.

  9. #24
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    I would have thought that it would be more advantages to be on the inside of his Turn circle and anticipate a point (a moving reference off the radome to horizon) where he will end up at the 1500 to 2000 ft lead but there would be too much speed to bleed off, you never are really on target, you are never stabilized, you leave better chance for bandit to reverse, and you could have problems keeping a constant visual on bandit. What you say makes a world of sense (the parts that I can absorb).
    You guys got it down to a science, thanks Chogy.

    Do you get accurate altitude/airspeed/range information (with no radar lock) on bandit during such engagements and can it be used to help you judge your closure rate of 50 to 150 knots other than visual?

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    Quote Originally Posted by zraver View Post
    Question- Does the camo on tactical aircraft actually work? Does the grey underside/camo top make a noticeable difference in how far away you can put eyes on the target?
    Yes it does. couple of different examples

    1) RAAF AP3C Orions: paint is wavelength specific. I assume that USN Orions are the same although the RAAF paint mix is specific. wavelength issues which get considered are altitude, local likely atmospherics etc.....

    2) Canadian Hornets, at one point used false canopies painted on the underbelly to cause temporal dislocation in a dogfight..
    Last edited by gf0012-aust; 17 Jan 11, at 05:36. Reason: typos

  11. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ararat View Post
    Do you get accurate altitude/airspeed/range information (with no radar lock) on bandit during such engagements and can it be used to help you judge your closure rate of 50 to 150 knots other than visual?
    You are welcome, FWIW. It can be dry stuff at times, and with it comes a lot of odd terminology.

    Defender tools are angle-off and closure, and if an attacker is not experienced, the defender can and will turn the tables. Every single beginner (without exception) at "Fight's on" doesn't know what to do, and will always simply point at the target, and wonder why he is getting so big, so fast, before scooting through his 6 at high speed. So we discuss canned maneuvers, demonstrate with hands and sticks, demo it in the air, then let them try. It still takes about a year to get a new guy up to any decent proficiency.

    Radars have their auto-acquisition modes which do work very well, and it is rare not to have a lock, but the antenna can be gimballed or otherwise the lock can drop. The eyes tell much. When the bandit turn rate is extraordinarily high, he is cashing in his chips. When moderate, he is sustaining energy. When very low, he is either unaware of you, or inept. The Golden Rule is "maneuver in relation to the bandit" which means rote maneuvers don't always work, and you must analyze (project into the future) his energy, his nose position, and deal with those.

    With all this said, modern all-aspect ordnance, and helmet-mounted sights are definitely changing the game, making any sort of sustained turning very risky. That, and the fact that people don't fly alone. One must assume that there are unseen bandits in the vicinity.

    In Korea, the jets flew around with a 1,500 foot vulnerability bubble. Anything outside of that wasn't much of a threat. In Vietnam, it expanded to several miles. Now, one must deal with a bubble as large as 30+ NM. It's getting scary out there!

  12. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chogy View Post
    You are welcome, FWIW. It can be dry stuff at times, and with it comes a lot of odd terminology.
    I find it fascinating. I am glad you take the time to share this.....most won't even bother.

    Defender tools are angle-off and closure
    How does the defender judge when to increasing the closure rate (force an overshoot) while maintaing the break turn.

  13. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ararat View Post
    How does the defender judge when to increasing the closure rate (force an overshoot) while maintaing the break turn.
    The first step is obviously a hard break turn with the lift vector in the attacker's plane of motion. While in the break turn, one must watch the attacker and analyze his maneuvering, which is very difficult when under 8 to 9 G. Primarily, you analyze his nose position relative to your own jet. If he is simply pulling lead (you see the bottom of his jet; he is cutting across the turn circle) then you know he is going for a snap shot to a separation. The closure you create is going to be high, he will be unable to match your line of sight, and when he is in gun range, as the defender, you must change your plane of motion a bit to spoil the shot. Then, get ready to reverse, because he is definitely going to overshoot.

    If he repositions to lag, you will see the reposition, and then see the top of his jet... his nose is not in lead, and any gunfire would be hopelessly behind you. For the moment, he is not a threat.

    The decision to reverse is based upon closure (he is getting big, fast), the line of sight across your six to the outside of the turn, and most importantly, the range behind you that he crosses your flight path. If he crosses closely at a high line of sight, then a reversal will probably work. Too far back, and your reversal will simply solve all his problems for him. A poor reversal decision is common and results in a lost fight. Even a well-executed reversal usually results in some form of scissoring fight. In general, it is better to not reverse when in doubt... keep the turn on, keep the lift vector into him, and drive him hopelessly into lag. Once he's stagnated there, you can then work the vertical with some impunity, increase the angles, and separate, or perhaps force a neutral fight.

  14. #29
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    Subject fighters: Can A2A missiles ever be employed against ground targets with some effectiveness?
    Subject tiltrotors: Do you ever see tiltrotors supplanting helos and or the ac130 in slow CAS?

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    SAM's

    With the Russian S-300, S-400, and now the S-500, it seems that the US is lagging badly in this area. Is this really so or am I missing something?
    I want what I do not have.

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