4.8.6. Guns Defense
If you're in a gun fight, defeating the gun shot should be at the top of your thoughts (Figure 4.40), but the missile is still a threat at close ranges so don't forget IRCM. For the bandit to get a valid guns track he must be in plane, in range, and nose in lead. As a general rule give the bandit what he doesn't want. (i.e. if he tries for lead give him lag and visa versa)
Figure 4.40 Guns Defense
At the "fight's on" your first move must be out of plane. Rotate your lift vector down (about 20°) in the direction of the bandit and pull as if your life depended upon it, and watch the bandit. How long you pull depends on the bandit, but be extremely careful not to bury your nose and become predictable. He has only two options: make a bid to lag, or pull lead for a gun shot. If the bandit makes a bid to lag you'll see an aft movement on your canopy, and his nose come off of you. Your move can either be to keep turning to try and get him to stagnate, or nose counter to create closure problems. If you continue to turn be prepared to jink (Figure 4.41) as the bandit rates his nose to you. If you nose counter right off the bat, keep in mind that even though you're creating closure immediately, the bandit may still bring his nose through you in his next reposition.
Figure 4.41 Guns Jink
If initially bandit pulls lead for a gun shot you'll see forward movement on your canopy and the bandit's nose rating forward. (If you see belly you're too late on your move.) What you need to do is roll underneath or nose counter over the top in a worm defense. The bandit wants lead so give him lag. Basically both moves are similar as you're doing an unloaded roll to change your direction of flight. As you jink it is important to keep some energy on the jet. AB is probably out of the question or you'll offer the bandit a missile shot. So maintain mil power, flare when appropriate, and try to keep a slight downward vector of about 10°-15°. This will help you keep about 200 kts and ensure you still have the energy to jink. The unload at slow speed seems to take forever so really slam the stick forward and roll quickly the other direction. If your ve ctor is slightly down then repositioning your lift vector in the opposite direction is quicker if you roll underneath. But don't try it with less than 1000' of altitude until the floor in case you make an error. It is best to use a comb ination of both to avoid predictability. It is critical is to maintain the pull for a few seconds following each move to ensure you are getting out of the bandit's HUD. Your first goal is to give the bandit a closure problem, forcing him to reposition, and get his nose out of sync. The closure problem will develop by the bandit continuing to pull lead with each of your jinks. He will subsequently fly a shorter path than you, creating lots of closure at short range. You'll notice this by the size of his aircraft, and a nose off reposition. If his nose is in plane, get him out of sync. If his nose is out of plane, try to keep him in phase with you by putting lift vector on. If during your jinks you lose sight of the bandit, do not go into a single direction death spiral. If you jink and don't pick him up, then jink again. Search inside and slightly high first then high above. If no tally, jink again and search the same pattern. The bottom line is, if the bandit never makes an error, or you don't capitalize on those he does make, you'll have problems.
· Mis-timed jinks (Failure to accurately assess the bandit's range, and nose position).
· Jinking up.
· Loaded rolls (up and you bleed energy, down and you get your nose buried)
· Lose sight.
When does the opportunity for a reversal pre sent itself? Throughout the engagement you need to constantly assess the bandit's range, closure, and heading crossing angle. The time to reverse is when the bandit will pass close aboard at a high line of sight and high HCA. This is purely a judgment call on your part. But for a general rule of thumb you can assume close aboard is less than a turn radius. As for high LOS rate and angles, well that depends on the range and the capability of the bandit's aircraft. This all may sound fuzzy, but there is no clear cut formula for when to reverse. However, when the time comes and you make the decision to go for it, you have to execute quickly and decisively or you're toast. The execution must be violent and on the limiter. If you think of nothing but pulling for the bandit's high six, you'll do fine. The decision to reverse is made before the bandit actually passes you, but is committed to fulfill the above requirements. At that instant, select full AB and pull to the bandit's high six. This pull initially is in the same direction that you were already turning since the bandit hasn't passed yet. As he passes by rotate your lift vector to continue towards his six. You want turning room, so don't put your lift vector on him, it has to be behind. This move will result in a limiter barrel role around his flight path, and in essence stopping your ground track while he flies by. The rate at which you roll your lift vector is solely determined by the LOS of the bandit as he passes. If it works, put your offensive hat back on. If it doesn't, more than likely you're now in a scissors or a stack. One word of cautionif you're having to waiver on your decision to reverse or not, don't. What you stand to lose is far greater than continuing with your defensive game plan.