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      BFM Maneuvering Tactics

           Back in 1910, a few brave men from Germany, France, and Britain, met in the vast French sky in what was called "The War To End All Wars": World War I. At first, they just flew past each other and waved. Later, someone figured out that the information getting back to the enemy was hurting their side's efforts in the war. At first it was a pistol, then a rifle, then the flex-mounted machine gun. When the fixed mounted forward firing machine gun was added to the plane, fighting in the sky changed to become what we now know as dogfighting. They had to maneuver their aircraft into a position to deploy this newly placed weapon. Oswald Boelke, a German aviator found that haphazard flying was getting a lot of pilots killed. There was no consistency or rules by which a fighter pilot flew. Seeing the need for such rules, he created 8 rules of engagement. These rules gave birth to what we now call Rules of Engagement, Air Combat Maneuvering, and Basic Fighter Maneuvers. These words were written over 70 years ago.

      1. Try to secure advantages before attacking. If possible, keep the sun behind you.

      2. Always carry through an attack when you have started it.

      3. Fire only at close range and only when your opponent is properly in your sights.

      4. Always keep your eye on your opponent, and never let yourself be deceived by ruses.

      5. In any form of attack it is essential to assail your opponent from behind.

      6. If your opponent dives on you, do not try to evade his onslaught, but fly to meet it.

      7. When over the enemy's lines never forget your own line of retreat.

      8. Attack on principle in groups of four or six. When the fight breaks up into a series of single combats, take care that several do not go for one opponent.

      Captain Oswald Boelke, German Air Service, 1916, 40 Victories

           These words are just as true and applicable today as when they were written. They will set the stage for this whole module. See if you can see them in the rest of the sections. In the meantime, now the modern world's terms to define aerial combat training

      BFM (Basic Fighter Maneuvers) - Training designed to apply aircraft handling skills to gain proficiency in recognizing and solving range, closure, aspect angle, angle-off, and turning room problems in relation to another aircraft to either attain a position from which weapons may be employed, deny the adversary a position from which weapons may be launched, or defeat weapons employed by an adversary.

        Cool definition huh? Here's the deal. Your flying along in your shiny new F/A-18 Hornet and along comes a big bad bogey behind you. What do you do? If you fly straight and level, you will get some nice holes all in your beautiful new jet (and daddy will take a way your jet keys while you ride your silk elevator!). You must do something to keep his bullets (or missile) from hitting your jet. Actually, the best medicine would be to not let him get on your tail at all! The medicine needed for the job is called BFM or Basic Fighter Maneuvering. You must create problems for the bandit and using BFM creates those problems. This makes it hard for the bandit to get the kill. Usually the fight actually lasts only a few minutes. BFM encompasses many subjects, but we will concentrate on 1v1 maneuvering for offensive, defensive, and head-on BFM, and the energy fight. This is a pretty long module compared to the rest. I will start with the very basic of terms (some also found in your training videos) and then move on from there. Graphics are on the way, so please be patient!

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