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Aerospace Dog fight

  1. Mar 1, 2005 #1
    What is dogfight? Is it still important for air-to-air combat ?
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  3. Mar 2, 2005 #2


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    Do a search on "Red Flag" and "Top Gun" and "ACM" and you will see it is still very widely taught and studied.
  4. Mar 2, 2005 #3
    Yep. It's still taught and still important, and probably will be until there's a weapon system out there that makes aircraft obsolete. The U.S went through a period during the early days of jets where the thinking was that all the opponents would be destroyed or driven off with long/med range air to air missiles. There was actually people thinking that the cannon on an aircraft was becoming an obsolete weapon and with that "dog fighting" tactics. Not the case when you consider that the enemy may get within your minimum missile launch distance (which reality proved happened quite often in aerial combat).
  5. Mar 2, 2005 #4


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    The US generally has absolute airspace dominance and in that situation, a dogfight is unlikely. However, in the military, you have to be prepared for every contingency. Especially in a situation where dominance is assumed, it is possible for a two-plane flight on a patrol to encounter a surprise-attack, or in the opening, chaotic moments of a war for a few enemy fighters to get within gun range.

    For countries more evenly matched or less technologically advanced, dogfighting skills are essential.
  6. Mar 3, 2005 #5


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    A dogfight is an air to air battle between fighter aircraft, generally involving intense manuverability tactics designed to give your fighter a "good shot" at your opponent.

    While historically, dogfighting has been an important part of Air Force training and technology, there is real dispute about the continuing importance of old fashioned form of dogfight based on manuverability and more or less direct fire weapontry (cannons and relatively "dumb" missiles).

    The new F/A-22 Raptor reflects this indecision. On one hand, it is designed to be the most manuverable jet in the world with the greatest ability to engage in sustained supersonic flight. On the other hand, the first look, first kill doctrine that goes with its design, and its stealth design, really isn't any different from the tactics for using the clunky and subsonic F-117 in combat. In theory, if you can see the other side first and kill him before he can react, the capabilities of your jet to conduct fancy flying is pretty much irrelevant. A stealth plane with the flight abilities of a Cessna that had the same sensors and air-to-air missiles as an F-22 ought to be almost as effective as an F/A-22 if first look, first kill technologies really work.

    As a result, Third World countries with limited budgets, which can't afford $200M+ a piece plus jet fighters, or even the latest models from Russia for 10-20% of that cost, are investing a lot of money in upgrading avionics and armaments in their existing 1950s to 1970s vintage fighters, instead of upgrading to newer model planes. But, since there have been so few air to air battles in recent history, there is no real way to tell how the theory of air to air combat is going to match up with modern realities. There have been about 70 air to air combat incidents involving the F-16, and maybe double that many for all forces since Vietnam. Many have involved clearly inferior and non-upgraded planes against a more modern F-16. Many newer model fighters and upgrades to older ones have never been tested in combat.
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2005
  7. Mar 3, 2005 #6
    The thing that is happening and has been for a while now is that jets can out handle a human's G force tolerance. Some of the manuvers that I make playing a Jet fighting game might seem impossible to some people, but the planes are able to do them except people can't withstand such forces. This is why there is a limit to in craft piloted planes.
  8. Mar 5, 2005 #7
    The reason that dog fights are still trained daily seems that there is nothing that feels as good beating a fellow getting at his six in firing range.

    Nowadays the game is BVR - Beyond Visual Range shots unseen, however, if the rules of engagements demand visual identification first, to confirm identity and to preclude fratericide, then at close range a dogfight may still devellop.

    But the best reason for training dogfights is, that it's also great to outmanoeuvre missiles with your name on it.
  9. Mar 14, 2005 #8
    There will always be a place for dogfighting in the air forces.

    Like everyone has said, it is a possibility, and also some of the older planes do not have the capabilities of the F/A-22. The F-14 is built for dogfighting, same as the F-15. They were built as interceptors against Russian aggressors, so they need to know how to dogfight.

    And again, nothing ruins your day like a dozen bullets in your engine.
  10. Mar 14, 2005 #9

    Ivan Seeking

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    I don't agree with much of this in that I think pilots and dog fighting are all but a thing of the past. The aircraft will perform to such a level that pilots could not survive the G forces. Computers will quickly calculate and implement the best escape strategy for any threat or attack.
  11. Mar 14, 2005 #10
    While computers can fly the aircraft and attack targets, pilots are still needed. Only pilots can make decisions about attacking an aircraft, only they have the skills needed to make judgement. You can do all you want with computers and cameras, but only a pilot can make a good judgement of the situation.

    A computer cannot because all the different thoughts you would have to program and all the decisions that would need to be programmed would require a computer greater than anything put into an aircraft.
  12. Mar 14, 2005 #11

    Ivan Seeking

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    Pilots will continue to fly by remote control for the foreseable future, but we already have robotic planes flying completely autonomous missions. The decisions required while under attack are best made by a computer that can respond a 1000 times faster than any human.
  13. Mar 14, 2005 #12
    I agree that we already use UAV's, however, those are used for recon missions where they fly without real chance of combat. I think only once did a UAV fire a missile, and that was at a ground target.

    What I am saying is that in air to air battle for air supremacy, a human can think better than a computer due to the reasoning that a human has. The greatest computer in the world is still the human brain. And in a dog fight, it is needed to have a human there because even if the UAV is being flown by a pilot at a base, it will take them longer to react because they must manipulate the cameras onboard in order to identify the bogey and engage.

    While in long range battle, a human isn't necessarily needed, they are in ACM due to the split second thinking needed, and a computer would take too long to execute its code.

    Regardless, I don't think we will see eye to eye on this, but don't expect the military to phase out pilots who can think and reason, ever.
  14. Mar 14, 2005 #13


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    UAV's are not autonomous. They are remotely piloted by a "pilot" in a trailer back at base.
  15. Mar 14, 2005 #14
    They can be made autonomous, but this is usually in a recon mission where the UAV is on station for 12+ hours.
  16. Mar 14, 2005 #15

    Ivan Seeking

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    I agree. To date I have only heard of fully autonomous missions wrt to recon missions. Of course, to date, I have never heard of public disclosure of our most advanced military technologies.

    The second point about time is a separate issue. Even with pilots onboard, the most dire threats will be met with automated responses. I'm not saying that we're there yet but it appears to be inevitable. As I said, I think pilots and dog fighting are all but a thing of the past.
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2005
  17. Mar 15, 2005 #16
    Ivan Seeking

    Your hypothesis would have the same value as if a team of human footbal / soccer / rugby or whatever players would be chanceless against a team of robot players.

    Dogfight is not a one versus one scenario. Modern air warfare is about composite air operations (COMAO) including multiple offensive and defensive tasks and support tasks in a complex system of sensors, information processing and shooters. The main process here is immediate and correct reaction on changes in the dynamic tactical environment. Not unlike a football match. Sometimes those courses of actions could lead to dogfights

    If you manage to execute all that unmanned, you have also managed to create a world in which humans no longer can exist, having lost the compitition with the robots that they have built.
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2005
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