BVR Combat

Discuss air warfare, doctrine, air forces, historic campaigns, etc.

How likely are we to see BVR missiles used at true BVR range?

100% - We wouldn't have them otherwise.
16
37%
50% - We might, but we'll probably need a visual ID before we fire on a target.
25
58%
0% - The enemy will be too afraid of us and will stay on the ground.
2
5%
 
Total votes : 43

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parrothead

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Unread post31 Aug 2004, 07:51

I know that this discussion is much older than this web site, but I have some concerns that I would like to discuss. I can't think of a better community to talk this over with as everyone here seems to be well informed and intelligent enough to give a well thought out opinion.

I agree that BVR combat would be an ideal scenario for fighter pilots. While it may be ideal, I can't think of many times in history when it has actually been employed in combat. Aircraft designed specifically around the strategy of long range missile engagements had problems in some encounters in Viet Nam. There were several times when a Phantom in a dogfight would have benefitted from a gun.

Thankfully, we seem to have learned our lesson and all of the fighter and attack jets around today that I can think of are equipped with a quality gun system as factory original equipment. US military pilots are well trained in the art of aerial combat.

That said, I've seen a lot on this site about how great long range missiles are today and how the future holds the promise of enemies being defeated before the US or allied pilots ever get close enough for a visual ID on the target. It reminds me of the mentality of the people who designed and built the F-4 without a gun. True, we have AWACS and other radars that can track most targets from the time they take off, but is the Chain of Command really willing to authorize the release of weapons without a 100% confirmation of the target? Do we trust the IFF systems that much? Just how likely are we to use BVR missiles at anything approaching their maximum range?

I don't want to get into sensitive areas of tactics, so I'm relying on the responsibility of the F-16.net community to keep the discussion "proper" in that respect. Thanks for your thoughts!!!
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parrothead

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Unread post12 Jan 2005, 11:06

I was searching through the archives and found this old topic of mine, still with zero replies after all this time. Thanks go to everyone who voted in the poll, but would anyone care to comment on their views? Thanks in advance!
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danhutmacher

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Unread post12 Jan 2005, 11:54

I think the pk of bvr missiles will depend on a lot of factors.the most important will be the training of the enemy pilots and then thier equipment.
After all during Vietnam we had the F4 phantom and at the start of the war it had a 3 to 1 exchange rate with the North vietnamese airforce. But by 1967 that rate had dropped in favor of the vietnamese.
And we all know how poorly trained the serbian and Iraqi air forces were.
I have heard rumors that during a recent excerise between the F-15 and the indian air force that the indians had cleaned the clocks of the F-15s. Unforchanitly tyhe air force has classifed the results so we won't know had if the rumors are true.
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parrothead

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Unread post12 Jan 2005, 19:49

danhutmacher, first off, welcome to the board and thanks for the reply!

I think you have your figures on the Phantom exchange rate wrong - I'm pretty sure the Fighter Weapons Schools developed by the US Navy and Air Force greatly improved the kill ratio of the US fighters over the North Vietnamese.

Yes, we know about those other air forces and I've heard alot about the USAF / IAF exercise, but we're still unaware of just what the Rules of Engagement were. I'm not saying that this is the case (I'm a mere civilian and not privy to the real info) but for example, the F-15 would be expected to do poorly if it was required to visually ID all targets while the opponents were allowed to fire from beyond visual range.

That's really my question - if we'll ever actually see BVR missiles used at ranges where a pilot simply cannot get a good visual ID? I don't believe the US allowed this in Vietnam and I'm pretty sure it's the reason the F-14 has a 10x magnification TV camera under the nose.

So will we ever see AMRAAMs used BVR? Without getting into any sensitive info, what situation would allow it? Would it ever happen in anything other than a WWIII scenario?

Thanks in advance!
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danhutmacher

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Unread post15 Jan 2005, 13:59

those figures I quoted on the F-4 were for from 1965-1968. During 1972 the air forces exchange rate stayed the same but navies jumped to 12-1 thanks to top gun. Although all but one of the navies 24 kills came with the sidewinder and within visual range.
The maddening part about the excerise with the IAF is I don't know what the rules of engagement were ethier.
Still with a modern rwr detector they can detect the radar BEFORE the one using the radar can detect its target.
their were several times in vietnam that the rules were relaxed enough to allow BVR shots. If you want to read an excellent account of air combat over vietnam you should find a copy of Clashes by Marshall Michel.
I think a couple of the kills over Kosvo were with BVR shots with the Amraam.
As for the scenario I think the most likely will be when China Invades Taiwain.
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parrothead

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Unread post15 Jan 2005, 18:59

Thanks for the reply! I'm much more familiar with Navy than Air Force when it comes to Vietnam. I'll have to do some more homework, and I might have to find that book :wink: .

As for the scenario I think the most likely will be when China Invades Taiwain.


The "when" makes me nervous! I just hope it never happens!
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Pumpkin

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Unread post15 Jan 2005, 19:27

parrothead, I believe the modern targeting pod is able to aid the pilot, to certain extent, in VID BVR air target. Together with the AIFF, I believe BVR missile can be employed to the full capability.

cheers,
Desmond
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parrothead

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Unread post17 Jan 2005, 06:15

Good points, Pumpkin! Thanks for the reply! I hope we never have the need, but I think you're probably right.
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TC

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Unread post18 Jan 2005, 05:33

If I could jump in on this and clear a few misconceptions up here...

First off, as to the advantage of the gun. Sure, every little thing you can have to your advantage could be helpful, but one must remember the last U.S. guns kill of an enemy aircraft was made by now retired USAF BGen (I believe 1LT at the time) Gary Rubus (an old acquaintance) back in 1972, flying an F-4E, against a MiG-21. It's been all missiles since then.

Secondly, only the Navy's A-A kill ratio was improved in Vietnam, thanks to TOPGUN. The Navy, employing a tactic known as "Loose Deuce" were able to trap a MiG, and he had nowhere to go, but down in flames. The USAF suffered from not getting away from the "Fluid Four" formation, and maintained around a 3-1 ratio for the duration of the war. USAF Weapons School, and RED FLAG did not come about until after Vietnam. RED FLAG began in 1975.

As far as BVR missile fights go, I'm all for it. We have already successfully employed the AMRAAM in combat (first kill was F-16 v. MiG-29). IFF works well enough, and provided some d**khead in the AWACS doesn't fall asleep again (OOPS! Did I say that out loud?) we hopefully won't have another "Blackhawk Incident".

And one more note: The Iraqi and Serbian AFs were not poorly trained, they were merely unable to employ inferior equipment and tactics against American pilots who had been training for that very scenario since the end of Vietnam. We also learned much from the Israelis, and their experience against similar aircraft and tactics. Hope this enlightened, and dispelled some myths for everyone.

Beers and MiGs were made to be pounded!
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parrothead

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Unread post18 Jan 2005, 06:57

TC, thanks for the clarifications and the info :D ! I learn more here than just about anywhere else.
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danhutmacher

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Unread post18 Jan 2005, 20:36

I agree with TC withn respect to the gun. The last time a gun kill was scored was in vietnam.
As for the BVR fight I think that if it works great. But it won't work all of the time.
As for the serbian and Iragi air forces being well trained. This may be true but the tactics they used were wrong. If they had been trained the way American pilots were the air war would have been VERY different.
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ram816

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Unread post19 Jan 2005, 01:52

TC wrote:Secondly, only the Navy's A-A kill ratio was improved in Vietnam, thanks to TOPGUN. The Navy, employing a tactic known as "Loose Deuce" were able to trap a MiG, and he had nowhere to go, but down in flames. The USAF suffered from not getting away from the "Fluid Four" formation, and maintained around a 3-1 ratio for the duration of the war. USAF Weapons School, and RED FLAG did not come about until after Vietnam. RED FLAG began in 1975.
!


Actually I hear the Air Force's Overall Kill ratio, a dismal 2.25 to 1 went down after the air war hiatus to 1.88 to 1.
And "Fluid four" (a bit of a misnomer for its time) was actually a problem due to the Air force's rigidity when it came to running an engagement. Ususally the guy in the frontseat of the lead plane woud be the one who would take charge, which caused many problems. One story I've heard was of a Squadron C.O. whou led a flight of Phantoms up north. they tangles with some MiGs, the C.O. firing off three missiles with no hits. The Fourth plane in the formation actually managed to get behind one MiG and radioed in "Boss, I got one in my sights, should I fire?" the C.O. then replies, "I'm running low on fuel, boys, lets go home." So the four Phantoms fly back to base, giving up the chance to bag a MiG.

Another story is one from March of 1970. BrigGen Robin Olds went up on a dogfight with the TOPGUN instructors at NAS Miramar. He flew with RIO instructor Lt. J.C. Smith in the back and had Mel "Rattler" Holmes as their wingman.
Duting one of the 2v2 engagements, Olds followed his own tactics and went off trying to down both bad guys while Holmes tried to keep him from getting his @55 waxed. When they got on the ground, the only reaction Olds had was about Smith.
"In my plane, the Backseater only does what I tell him to."
Smith replied Frankly with "We, we don't do that here."
Needless to say, Olds was pissed.

TOPGUN tactics included that in an engagement, the first one to get Visual on the Bogey could take charge of the intercept, that included the RIOs... The Air Force's Backseaters were just Pilots who ran the Radar, and were expected to remain subordinate to their pilots in front.
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danhutmacher

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Unread post21 Jan 2005, 05:49

Hey ram816, You are right on all counts. During the vietnam war the air force displayed a mentallty with regards to tactics that is very hard to belive. If one wants to read a couple of books about this I would suggest getting a copy of Clashes by marshall michel and striving for air superiorty by craig hannah.
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cru

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Unread post21 Jan 2005, 07:49

USAF Weapons School, and RED FLAG did not come about until after Vietnam


Correct bout RED FLAG, but I think that FWS at Nellis (USAF) is older than Miramar FWS (actually this one has moved to Fallon now). Anyway, John Boyd was an instructor ther at the end of the Korean War (1953), so at leat by '53 the FWS at Nellis already existed


As far as BVR missile fights go, I'm all for it. We have already successfully employed the AMRAAM in combat (first kill was F-16 v. MiG-29).


I believed it was a F 16 vs. Mig 25 in Irak, after the Gulf War.
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cru

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Unread post21 Jan 2005, 09:39

During the vietnam war the air force displayed a mentallty with regards to tactics that is very hard to believe.


I think that is more of a legend.

What about operation Bolo? And in general, the oustanding performance of 8 th Wing?
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