Analysis Is dogfight still useful in modern battlefield?

Test7

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doghfight aggressor air combat
US Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcons from Eielson Air Force Base, train over the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex.

The use of the plane in battle dates back to the First World War (1914-1918) when the biplanes began to carry out the first reconnaissance missions. The pilots soon realized that they could win the enemy by firing their pistol. Thanks to this intuition, in 1915 France began to mount machine guns synchronized with the turns of the propeller on the aircraft and was immediately followed by the other nations. Thus was born the dogfight, ie close air combat, which consists in performing aerobatic maneuvers in order to bring one's aircraft behind the enemy's one in order to use short range weapons. The name derives from the circular maneuvers reminiscent of those of fighting dogs.

Initially the pilots did not use specific tactics, but over time two German aces, Oswald Boelcke and Max Immelmann, developed techniques and maneuvers still valid today. Under the "Dicta Boelcke" the first rules of dogfight have been codified, they provide for ensuring the best position before attacking (the sun behind), always attacking the enemy from behind, forming groups of four or six aircraft, attacking the same enemy with two planes.

Immelmann, on the other hand, gave his name to an aerobatic turn useful for quickly changing direction, displacing the opponent. These tactics enabled a pupil of Boelcke, Manfred von Richthofen, known as the "Red Baron", to score 80 victories.

Towards the end of World War II (1944), the Germans were the first to deploy a fighter jet, the Me-262, which could have turned the tide of air battles. This did not happen as this revolutionary aircraft entered service too late, when the Allies had already prevailed over Germany and due to the Luftwaffe pilots' lack of familiarization with the jet's high performance. Instead of taking advantage of the plane's high speed, they used the old tactics associated with the reliable Messerschmitt Bf-109s, which however had greater maneuverability. Furthermore, they were not prepared to face the consistent accelerations of gravity (G-force) which often led them to lose consciousness (G-Loc) with disastrous results.

doghfight aggressor air combat

A further evolution of dogfight took place during the Korean conflict (1950-1953) which was the first to include fights between fighter jets, such as the Russian Mig-15 and the American F-86. The United States achieved a great victory thanks to the superiority of its pilots, almost all with the experience of the Second World War. North Koreans lacked this experience, despite the support of Russian instructors.

The next turning point came in the early 1960s, when the two superpowers deployed air-to-air missiles with infrared and radar guidance as main weapons instead of cannons. During the Vietnam War (1965-1975), the US suffered greatly during Operation Rolling Thunder (1965-1968), which involved intensive bombing of the civilian and military infrastructure of North Vietnam. The operation was a serious failure for the nation due to the tough resistance of the anti-aircraft and enemy fighters.

The number of aircraft shot down by the United States dropped dramatically since the Korean War, so the US Navy decided to establish the United States Navy Fighter Weapons School, known as Top Gun, in 1969. The school, part of the Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center since 1996, teaches advanced dogfight tactics. Top Gun instructors, acting as “agressors”, simulate the behavior of opposing pilots by flying agile jets painted with the camouflage schemes of the enemies.

The USAF has also set up "aggressor" squadrons that it deploys during the "Red Flag" exercise, scheduled for one or more times a year since 1975 at the Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada. Other countries also have similar schools, such as Russia, where training currently takes place at the Lipetsk air base about 500 kilometers from Moscow.

From the Vietnamese conflict to the end of the Cold War, except for rare occasions, air combat has been limited. Technological innovations and strategic-tactical adjustments have further reduced the importance of dogfight, just think of the "Desert Storm" operation in Iraq (1991). Coalition forces did not struggle to impose their air superiority with missile attacks on command and control centers, combined with missions to suppress anti-aircraft defenses.

Despite this obvious trend, Russia still focuses on the "supermaneuverability" of its fourth generation fighters, with new versions of the Mig-29 Fulcrum and Sukhoi Su-27 Flanker family models. The Russians have invented some impressive aerobatic maneuvers, such as the "Cobra" and "Kulbit", the latter only possible for aircraft equipped with vector thrust. The US, on the other hand, has focused on stealthness, developing the F-22 Raptor and the F-35 Lightning II.

The importance of dogfight has diminished over the years and the likelihood of such an aerial battle is minimal. The development of drones, advanced surface-to-air missiles, increasingly effective stand-off weapons, electronic warfare and stealth technology make a difference in the modern battlefield and help avoid dogfight.
 

Cabatli_53

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Sensor fusion and state of art AA missiles of next generation fighters make them nimble to deal with enemy without any dogfight tactics. In modern air battles, I don't think Any enemy aircraft will have time enough to approach gun firing ranges of other side.
 

Test7

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Sensor fusion and state of art AA missiles of next generation fighters make them nimble to deal with enemy without any dogfight tactics. In modern air battles, I don't think Any enemy aircraft will have time enough to approach gun firing ranges of other side.


Competition will be between long range radar and AA missiles. Even simple aircrafts (maybe Uavs) with these abilities can be very effective.
 

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I think it does. In coming long range missile can be diverted by electronic counter measure and so far even South Korea has been able to test ECM in their helicopter while getting live short range missile from the ground.

This is the scenario for KFX/IFX combat simulation.

 

Test7

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The Future of the Dogfight​


  • The last time Israeli fighters participated in a dogfight was 35 years ago. If so, why is it still necessary for aircrew members to undergo air-to-air combat training? And how has the IAF adapted it to the current operational reality? "When our aircrew members master the dogfight, there is very little they can't do"

The last dogfight that IAF fighter jets stumbled upon took place in 1985 over Lebanon. 35 years later, air-to-air combat is still among the most practiced scenarios in the force. And yet, most aerial combat hasn't changed since the last time one took place - Thus, in recent years, the IAF's training department and the 133rd ("Knights of the Twin Tail") Squadron, which operates the "Baz" (F-15), have developed a new approach to train for aerial combat.

Photography: Amit Agronov

Essential Capabilities
"We believe that air-to-air combat training is the ultimate method for developing important capabilities that are crucial to every aircrew member in the battlefield", said Col. L, head of the training department. "These exercises train the crew to operate the aircraft under pressure, make split-second decisions, and divide their attention - all of which prepare aircrews for any challenges they may be required to face. That is the reason dogfighting is still taught and practiced so frequently, even as the likelihood of encountering one in operation decreases".

"The countries that surround us are arming themselves with very advanced fighter jets", continued Col. L. "In an operational situation, when the area is overrun with aircraft and electronic warfare systems, missiles can miss their targets and aircraft might be outside the radar range. In such cases, the aircrew can find themselves in very close combat with enemy aircraft; close enough to look each other in the eyes".

Besides the operational need, aerial combat training also meets instructional needs. "We see dogfight exercises as a shaping factor for the entire force, far more than just task training. It teaches pilots to be more decisive and sharp", explained Col. L. "These drills greatly improve the capabilities of each aircrew member. The standard of performance in the fighter division is very high. Once our people master the dogfight, there is little they can't do".

Photography: Amit Agronov

Modern Battlefield
Last week, Commander of the IAF, Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin led a seminar on the topic with commanders of the Fighter Division and Regional Control Units. The seminar was part of the program led by the Training Department and the 133rd Squadron. Throughout the month, aircrews from across the Fighter Division will take part in the program that will focus on aerial combat that is adapted to the modern battlefield.

"Despite the evolution of flight platforms and combat arena, we have been conducting the same dogfight training for decades. This monumental change will have an impact on the Fighter Division for years to come. The entire division is set to train in the exercises we created over the next month and focus on advancing the capabilities of our aircrews through modern aerial combat", explained Col. L.


Photography: Mike Yudin

"A Step Forward"
Col. L. explained that the organizational nature of the IAF focuses greatly on end results and precision, and dogfights are a perfect expression of that. "In a dogfight, there is a very clear outcome. There's a downing aircraft and a downed aircraft. The process requires extreme accuracy and focus - an entire battle can be decided by hundredths of a second", he described. "When our pilots and WSOs can make split-second decisions, and operate the aircraft smoothly, it influences our day-to-day activity as an air force".

The updated method of training differs from the former one in several aspects. "We now take into account the new and advanced weapons and electronic warfare systems of the twenty-first-century battlefield", said Col. L. "The training takes aircrews a step forward in operating the advanced systems and dealing with the enemy's platforms".

"The seminar is centered on the future of the IAF", concluded IAF Commander, Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin. "The quality of our aircrew members is our greatest strategic asset. We continue to improve no matter when or if there is another dogfight; we do it for our future".

Photography: Amit Agronov
 

Nein2.0(Nomad)

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I believe dogfights are a thing of the past nobody is going to risk fighting each other head on.

Its all about taking out planes before they can see you. Look at the missiles being made its all about taking that plane out before they know what hit them.
 
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