4.7. Offensive BFM
The primary consideration in offensive BFM is to kill the bandit by arriving in lethal weapons parameters as soon as possible and take the shot. Understanding the concept of turn circles is mandatory to assessing which BFM discussed in this chapter will work in which instances. It should be remembered that BFM is not a fixed set of maneuvers, but rather, combinations of rolls, turns, and accelerations that have been optimized for certain situations and named for the sake of discussion. Since the end goal of any offensive engagement is to kill the bandit, BFM is designed precisely to do just that with minimum time and energy expended.
4.7.1. Objectives of Offensive BFM
The first and primary goal of offensive BFM is to kill. In order to kill, the fighter pilot must recognize weapons parameters and employ ordnance once in those parameters. If he cannot shoot, he must reposition until he can employ ordnance.
· Gain and maintain sufficient energy to have future maneuvering potential against the adversary.
· Maintain nose/tail separation against the a dversary. Offensive maneuvers will position the pilot behind the bandit with sufficient energy to enable him to stay there.
· Allow the pilot to drive into a position from which ordnance may be employed against the adversary.
4.7.2. Outside the Turn Circle
Several things happen quickly/simultaneously (Figure 4.26):
· If able, point at the bandit and fire an AIM-9.
· Select AB.
· Point to where you want to enter the bandits turn circle. Do not pure pursuit the bandit during missile time-of-flight.
· Assess the bandits turn.
Figure 4.26 Outside the Turn Circle
188.8.131.52. TC Entry Cues
This is one of the most important aspect of flying BFM. You must recognize when you are in the bandit's TC, and what to do once you're there if you ever hope to arrive at an end game kill. Your primary reference should be the LOS across the horizon. If you never changed your initial aim point (assuming it was a good one) then LOS across the canopy works also. But that's not what you should look for because you control that somewhat by where you point and how hard you pull, so look at the horizon. Back to LOS rate. Initially you will see the bandit move very little across the horizon but he will be rotating in space. As you approach his TC, his aspect will begin to stabilize (rotation stops) and his movement across the horizon will pick up. You have entered his TC! The Bandit will probably slide out of the HUD FOV prior to your entering the TC, but it will happen at a low LOS. For the typical set-up this will occur about 10:00 or 2:00, (sounds like 40°- 50° on the locator line) but will vary depending on how hot your entry is. Range is dependent primarily on how hard the bandit breaks and a little on aspect, but 5000' - 6000' is again typical for what we do, (normally about 6 seconds from "fights-on" with the bandit normally through 120° of turn with aspect about 70.). Another technique for determining your position relative to the bandits TC is to evaluate the bandits present rate of turn. If this turn will bring you forward of the bandits 3/9 line, then you are outside the bandits TC. You are inside the bandits TC when you determine that his rate of turn will not bring you forward of his 3/9 line. Use the afterburner to gain airspeed. Because you're outside the bandits TC, the time it takes for you to get there is dead time. Every second the bandit generates 15-20° more angles you'll need to solve and you can't solve any angles until you get to his TC. Therefore you'll want to get there as quick as possible. However, once there you'll need to slow back down by getting out of A/B and/or use of S/B. A good trade off is about 500 knots at the TC entry. Faster and your radius is too large and rate drops off, slower and you'll quickly have to ease off the "G" to su stain corner. Power modulation in the Viper, especially against a thrust deficient bandit is all important, i.e. two- handed turns are a requirement.
184.108.40.206. Point at the Bandit
The TC entry point is a window from where he started (actually just inside) to just short of the center of his TC. Anywhere within this window is the correct solution, however, exactly where will determine the amount of vertical needed to solve the problem. The hotter the entry (i.e. the closer to the center of the TC) the more vertical required. This assumes you are fighting a bandit similar in capability to you. A good rule of thumb is to enter about 2/3 of the way out from the center. A ssuming a standard set-up, at the "fights on/Fox II" you need only to roll out and point to where the bandit was (or at the first flare) to hit this entry point. This is the conservative approach, but will enable you to see the TC entry more clearly. How about vertical? This is a wonderful concept, but too low and the bandit can keep his energy up by keeping lift vector on, too high and you delay getting to the TC. Again look for a wi ndow, within about 500' high or low is reasonable. If you go low, the bandit can create max angles with lift vector on as well as maintain energy by having his lift vector below the horizon. A level (or even a slight climb) will force the bandit to make a decision. If he keeps lift vector on he bleeds energy, if he keeps lift vector slightly below the horizon he builds you some vertical turning room. The point here is two fold; have a game plan, but realize the bandit may not be cooperative. Constant assessment of what the bandit is doing, and being able to adjust is a must.
220.127.116.11. Assess the Bandit
Look through the bandit at the horizon beyond. This gives you the best cues to determine the size of the bandits TC, (and therefore the center of it), the amount of altitude delta you have (space between horizon and bandit is vertical turning room), and most i mportantly, it will be the best cue for TC entry time.
18.104.22.168. Knowing When to Start Your Turn
You've arrived at his TC (Figure 4.27) but now you need to solve the other problems that have been created, such as angles and range; realize that the bandit will not be in your HUD at this point. Reference the previous discussion on airspeed at TC entry and power modulation. If you see greater than 500 (not likely with a PW motor) pull power to min AB, or fan the boards, you will slow down during your initial turn. Less than 500, leave power set in full AB. As the bandit's airspeed decreases, so does his TC size. When you enter his TC your turn circle will be a bit larger than his initially. Your initial move should be to make a loaded roll to set your lift vector on or slightly above the bandit, and pull. This is initially a limiter pull while you assess range and closure. During the maneuver, you need to asses what the bandit is doing, along with your range, closure, and heading crossing angle (HCA). This initial turn will take you through about 120° of turn. It is critical to keep your nose in check with the horizon as well as the bandit, + 15°. (Slightly more may be required if you chose to make your entry hotter due to higher aspect angles) Done correctly your flight path will take you slightly outside his, and you will always be looking at the top of his aircraft. What you do from here depends on what type of defense the bandit is doing. For this discussion two will be addressed: check and extend & continuous turn.
Figure 4.27 Turn Circle Entry
There are a number of different which cues the bandit is doing this (Figure 4.28). Probably the first is the ability to pull the bandit to your nose with relative ease. Next is a rapid change in aspect. During your initial turn you were continually looking at the top of his aircraft. As the bandit extends, the burner can becomes the focus of your attention. Another cue is LOS. When you entered his TC you saw rapid LOS across the horizon. As the bandit extends his LOS across the horizon stops. The last cue is range. During your initial you closed rapidly, but the extension will again increase range. When you see this the bandit is trying to get something you are trying to deny, energy and range. Your reaction should be to stay on the limiter and point at him as quickly as possible to threaten him. This should bring him back into a turn, if not shoot him with a missile. the bandits extension has opened up the range enough to place you outside his turn circle, so think about getting there again. Your move should be another TC entry the same as before, but it will quicker, and both the bandit's energy and your energy are diminished. Resist the urge to point directly at him. This typically happens with new BFMers, and though it can be a quick kill option, it's best left to be learned as experience increases. Your goal is to get to a position of control (the control zone, his elbow, etc.) and beat him down on energy until you decide to prosecute. Typically you will arrive there after 2 or 3 extensions by the bandit, provided you didn't let him extend too long each time. Transitioning to the eventual kill with the gun will be discussed later. Take your time, be patient, and the kill will happen quicker in the endgame.
Figure 4.28 Check and Extend
22.214.171.124. Continuous Turn
The cues you have that this (Figure 4.29) is the bandit's game plan are opposite of the check & extend. You may be able to pull him to your nose, but it will unnecessarily deplete energy require all you've got and is not the appropriate move. Your first cue should be the continuous LOS across the horizon. Also, you'll continue to see the top of his aircraft. Finally, the range between you and the bandit does not open up by virtue of the bandit's maneuvers. Depending on how well he flies this defense will determine how fast you beat him down on energy and kill him. He is presenting angle problems, and trying to force an error out of you (most notably bleed down your energy). Your BFM should not let this happen. You will need to threaten him to get him to bleed energy, but if you try to make it happen in one fell swoop you'll lose. When you detect this is his game plan, ease off of the turn to preserve range, position and energy. This will solve your angular problem by itself. As a target, try to close no closer than about 3000' in itially and maintain about 350 kts (300 as an absolute min). The 3000 is an approximation of his turn radius. As long as you are outside this, and you make a slight flight path overshoot (which will happen), he can't do anything about it. This also happens to be an approximation of your turn radius, and you will need tur ning room to threaten/prosecute. Preservation of range is critical here and the greater your HCA the more you'll need. As long as your HCA is within about 30° as you slide outside of his flight path this range is sufficient. If the HCA is greater than that you'll need more range, so shoot for about 4000' - 5000'. Maintaining 350 KTS will optimize your turn radius and your turn rate. The closer your nose is to the bandit the more threatened the bandit will feel, and force him to turn harder and deplete energy. Using a series of small high and low yo-yos will eventually bring your nose into lead thus forcing the bandit to do something. Do not get your nose too low, you'll be fighting Gods G and the bandit, and you'll lose. Along with the yo-yos, your turn circles will be slightly offset, so even if the bandit has equal energy initially, your nose will arrive in lead. Be patient!! Don't let your energy deplete until you are sure his is gone and you are ready to kill. Cross check your range and closure at the initial turn to avoid setting yourself up to pass too close to the bandit with HCA out of control ( i.e. setting up a reversal opportunity for the bandit).
Figure 4.29 Continuous Turn
· No AB: delays entry, overall energy is lower.
· Too hot of a TC entry: set up a reversal opportunity, best case delay the kill unnecessarily.
· Late TC recognition: flying out the back, letting the bandit get a good extension.
· Pulls too hard: range/closer problem, depletion of your energy.
· HUD BFM: develops closure problems quickly, sets up an overshoot.
· Being greedy: PATIENCE is the key to success.
4.7.4. Vertical Considerations
The concepts for a vertical fight (Figure 4.30) are similar to other BFM skills. Look for TC cues, cross check over the top airspeed, and prosecute the attack. When you follow the bandit up, it's not a limiter pull into the vertical. Perform a loop (like back in TR), except at the top you can pull harder to threaten the bandit. If your airspeed is significantly greater than his, you may be able to use that to prosecute across the top, but you may not have a free overshoot. Keys here are: cross check closure, and ensure his nose is committed down before you go for the kill. The biggest error made happens at the onset. If the bandit goes up and you immediately follow. Essentially you're cutting across the center of his TC, and creating problems talked about earlier. Remember to point to where he was and make a good TC entry.
Figure 4.30 Vertical Fight Entry
4.7.5. Closing for Guns
This section applies not only to perch sets, but also when you transition from the long range offensive sets and decide it's time to give the bandit a shower of 20mm (Figure 4.31) from the control position. If the bandit has 300 kts, he can generate tremendous problems and you probably wont maintain the control position. Normally don't try to gun him until he is 250 or less (there are a number ways to tell his airspeed: closure combined with aspect, and looking in the MFD). There are two options you have as the attacker at the "fight's on". The first is pull lead and gun him now, The second is to bid to lag and beat his energy down.
Figure 4.31 Closing for Guns
If you elect to pull lead and gun him from the start, prepare for the possible outcomes. If he's a duck and simply puts lift vector on and pulls, he dies, fight's over in 3 seconds provided your pipper control is on the mark. If not, or he jinks, you now have a closure problem and angle problem which you may not be able to solve very quickly especially if you continue to press the attack and follow his jink. The way to keep out of trouble here is to pull lead, if he even hints at a jink it's time to reposition while your still outside 2500'. If you decide to shoot, do so with a lethal burst, then reposition immediately. If the shot is good, call him dead. If it's not, you're already solving the closure problem before it gets out of control. The other option is to make a bid to lag (Figure 4.32) to beat the bandit's energy down before you gun him. This option is highly recommended for the less experienced, and should be your primary game plan until your proficiency increases. The bid to lag can be accomplished in a variety of ways. The simplest is to ease off of your turn to float back to the bandit's elbow. This will keep energy up so you can pull your nose to lead at your discretion. Power can stay in mil. It also keeps your nose in a threatening position to the bandit and prevents him from selecting AB (If he does shoot him with the missile). You may also elect to reposition using a slight out of plane maneuver, This is acceptable and does kill closure rapidly, but may also send a non-threatening message to the bandit by going out of plane while his energy is still up. Executed correctly this technique is fine, but make it quick, small, and crisp. Remember this is two handed BFM, AB may be required but not usually on the first move.
Figure 4.32 Bid to Lag
The bandit has a couple of options to try and force an error. If he continues his turn, think offset turn circles, and small yo-yos. He's on the down side of the Ps curves, so you're controlling the fight from the start. One of mistake is to bleed your energy before him. Ride the smoke trail, and monitor his airspeed. When he's down to about 200 kts you own him. Avoid being low and not in lead, you'll scrape off on the loor first. As long as you're slightly high, the bandit will have to flatten his turn to avoid the floor. When he does you can trade your altitude for turn rate and gun him. If the bandit reverses (Figure 4.33) in a nose counter or roll underneath, he's trying to cause several problems. First is to get your nose out of sync with his, and make you fly a shorter string causing a closure problem. You can control this with an appropriate reposition to his six. Idle / speedbrakes may also help. Either a yo-yo type maneuver out of plane or a lag roll will work, but be extremely careful not to bury your nose or it may stagnate the fight. The idea is to stop your forward movement to preserve range. If you keep a constant cross check of range and closure, and solve it early, you'll stay behind him all day. If you delay, you're sure to find yourself in a stack or defensive. As a rule of thumb at 2000' if you see 100 knots of closure, reposition, At 1500' if you see 50 knots, reposition. This is two handed BFM, using small crisp maneuvers. When in doubt, reposition! It can't hurt, and you'll preserve your offensive position.
· Poor Vc control; leads to overshoots, reversals, or stacks.
· Exaggerated repositions; allows the bandit extension and turning opportunities.
· Poor pipper control; dont waste your bullets.
Figure 4.33 Bandit Reversals
4.7.6. Slow Speed Fighting
If late recognition of undesired closure/range occurs, the bandit may reverse and force a slow speed fight. There are three common types of slow speed fights: flat scissors, rolling scissors, and high/low stack.
126.96.36.199. Flat Scissors
A flat scissors is the result of an in-plane overshoot. Given an energy advantage, exclusive use of the vertical may exist. If so, reposition high and loop the bandit. Be patient and drive to his six o'clock position prior to committing the nose back down. Without exclusive use of the vertical, a determination must be made in relation to the bandit's turn circle. At slow speed, turn circles may be very small (1200' radius or so). If outside his turn circle, pull with lift vector on and attempt a snap shot. If the snap shot is denied/defeated, attempt a lead turn to gain 3/9 line advantage. If the lead turn is denied or the scissors starts from inside the bandit's turn circle, forward velocity relative to him must be stopped to gain 3/9 line advantage. To do so, align fuselages and set the wings relative to the hor izon to stop forward motion. Power/drag can be used to slow forward velocity followed by max AB to maintain pitch attitude. When the bandit begins to move forward on the canopy, pull to his six o'clock to establish a 3/9 line advantage. If both of you are pulling for a high six o'clock position and neither establishes a 3/9 line adva ntage, a rolling scissors will result.
188.8.131.52. Rolling Scissors
In a rolling scissors, the pilot that can point, intimidate, and cause the other pilot to stop pulling should have the advantage. If unable to point and intimidate, then stop the rolling when the nose is above the horizon and the bandit's nose is below the horizon. By rolling out with the nose above the horizon, forward velocity is slowed. Because the bandit's nose is below the horizon, he should have a greater forward velocity. This should result in a 3/9 line advantage for you (Figure 4.34). If a rolling scissors continues, then both aircraft's airspeed will decrease so that the scissors trans itions to a vertical rolling scissors. In a vertical rolling scissors, the opportunity to stop the nose above the horizon may not occur. Therefore, attempt to pirouette in the vertical and point to intimidate the bandit. A vertical rolling scissors fight will lose altitude rapidly, maintain SA on altitude lost and terrain clearance. When a rolling scissors transitions to a horizontal fight (neither pilot having a 3/9 line advantage), the fight may result in a high/low stack.
Figure 4.34 Forcing the Bandit Forward
184.108.40.206. High/Low Stack
A high/low stack can result from an overshoot in the vertical or stopping a rolling scissors. If the high man, use power to gain turning room above the bandit. Keep sight by weaving slightly during the climb. Be sure to keep the nose above the horizon to prevent an increase in forward velocity. Attempt to get his nose out of synchronization (sync) to gain lateral as well as vertical turning room. At approximately 3000' of turning room (adversary outside the turn circle), mane uver to gain 3/9 line advantage. While the high man has a slightly higher potential energy, the low man has the a dvantage of an easy tally. Try to mirror everything the bandit does to force his loss of sight, but not to the point of losing lift. This will deny him lateral and vertical turning room, forcing the bandit to roll to regain sight. If he rolls excessively, his nose will drop increasing his forward velocity. Once the 3/9 line advantage is gained, maneuver to the bandit's six o'clock and attempt a gun shot.