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Attacker Overshoots In A Spiral Dive
When all other maneuvers fail, the spiral dive is a last-ditch attempt to shake off a resolute pursuer. This involves maintaining the highest possible rate of turn in a dive steep enough to retain manoeuvring airpeed. If the attacker follows the spiral the defender should throttle back. This tends to flatten out the spiral and reduces the rate at which height is lost. The defender will slowly lose speed. As it is extremely difficult for the attacker to notice early enough that his opponent has reduced power he may start to overshoot at this point. If he does, a hard rolling reversal and pull-up by the defender will force the attacker out in front.
Barrel Roll Attack
This maneuver differs from the defensive high-g barrel roll in that a great loss of speed to force an attacking fighter to overshoot is not necessary. The g forces can therefore often be quite small. Closely resembling the rollaway, the barrel roll attack is used to alter the angle of approach to the defender without losing a lot of speed. It is used when the attacker becomes aware that he is going to overshoot a turning target. He rolls the wings level, pulls the nose hard up, then rolls away from the direction of turn. This three- dimensional maneuver is completed by sliding in astern of the target.
The counter to a well executed barrel roll attack is for the defender to dive away and increase speed. While doing this he must keep a sharp lookout for a missile attack and be ready to evade it. If he reverses his turn, he will probably set himself up for a gun attack.
Breaking Stalemate In The Scissors
Scissoring can easily result in a stalemate. This can be broken by waiting until both aircraft are pointing away from each other, then rolling inverted and diving away. The dive regains the speed lost in the scissors, and can be followed by a steep climb, preferably into the sun.
Countering Low Speed Yo Yo
The main counter to the low speed yoyo is for the defender to wait until the attacker begins his pull-up from the bottom of the dive, then, easing his turn a trifle, he lifts his nose and rolls down into him. Much depends on the execution of the yoyo; if the attacker gets too low, or cuts too tightly across the circle, the defender can pull up and barrel down into him. Copying the yoyo can be used, to maintain the stalemate.
This is a method of reversing course without causing undue horizontal displacement of the formation. It can be used to meet a threat developing from astern, or to turn in pursuit after a head-on engagement. Each fighter breaks hard inward, the high man going low and the low man high or, where the tightest possible turn is needed, both men pulling high. In either case the high man at the end of the turn will be furthest from the Sun. The cross-turn, or inward turnabout as it is sometimes known, has the advantage that the pilots can clear each other's blind spots as they pass. The disadvantage is that they may briefly lose visual contact with each other.
For a pair in combat spread to reverse their direction of flight by traditional means would be a long and cumbersome affair, with large lateral displacement. To reverse course through 180° the aircraft cross-turn exchanging positions.
In the defensive split, the attackers have to choose between two targets. When they choose one they leave the other free as a potential threat to sandwich them. The defensive split is executed by a two-aircraft element in both horizontal and vertical planes. From the attacker's point of view it is preferable to follow the high man. The fighter that has split upwards will lose energy faster than the low man. Provided that the attackers entered the fight witha surplus of energy, the high man represents their best chance of a kill. Furthermore it will take the low man longer to get back into a fight high above him than it will for the high man to drop down. Also, the low man has more difficulty in spotting a fight above him than does the high man looking down. From the defender's point of view, the low man must be ready to pitch up into the fight as soon as it becomes clear that he is not menaced, while the high man must attempt to bring the fight down as quickly as possible to enable the low man to support him. Of course, it is possible that an attacker, faced with a defensive split, will break off and look for an easier victim, in which case the split has succeeded.
The defensive split is used by a pair to divide the ^ attention of the attackers. The split is made in both the vertical and horizontal planes. Whichever one the attackers choose to follow leaves them liable to counterattack by the other.
Forward Velocity Vector
In the scissors, both fighters are trying to reduce their forward velocity vector, which is their speed along a straight line around which they are both reversing. The winner will be the fighter with the slowest forward velocity as he will finish up astern of his opponent.
High G Barrel Roll
This maneuver is used against an attacker closing fast from astern. It starts with a break, then a roll in the opposite direction to the break. The fact that it is a high g maneuver means that quite a lot of speed is lost, up to 100 knots in some cases, particularly if performed "over the top".
If the attacker is closing fast and is caught by surprise he may easily fly through and end up in front, the positions reversed. If he attempts to follow the barrel roll, he will probably end up high and wide of the defender who can then turn in towards him, forcing him down and in front. But woe betide the defender who attempts a barrel roll in front of a slowly closing attacker who will follow him through the maneuver, ending on his tail in easy gun range. His only recourse in this event is to jink.
The High G Barrel Roll is a difficult maneuver to execute successfully, and is in fact easy for the attacker to counter. It will only work if the attacker has been led into, or is in, a high angle-off, high overtake situation.
The High G Barrel Roll can be very effective against an attacker closing fast from astern. Commencing with a break turn to put the attacker in a high angle-off position, the roll is then carried out in the opposite direction to the turn.
High Speed Yo Yo
When the attacker realises that he is unable to stay on the inside of the defender's turn, he relaxes his angle of bank a little, then pulls high. As he comes over the top he is inverted, looking down at his opponent through the top of his canopy. His speed falls due to the climb, and this diminishes his radius of turn. The Ig of gravity is utilised by turning in the vertical plane, which reduces the radius of turn still further. The attacker should then be well placed to slide down into a firing position.
The high-speed yoyo is a very difficult maneuver to perform well, and demands perfect timing and precise execution. If it is commenced too early, the defender can counter by pulling up into the attack. If started too late, the attacker is forced to pull up at an excessively steep angle to avoid overshooting. This allows the defender to disengage by diving away. A common fault in executing the high-speed yoyo is not pulling the nose high enough. This can result in the attacker ending directly above the defender. Some pilots find that they obtain better results from a series of small yoyos than one large one. A variant on this maneuver, used to prevent overshooting or to reduce the angle-off, is the rollaway.
This can be used when the primary cause of overshooting is excess speed. Basically it consists of maintaining position astern but outside the turn radius of the defending fighter. In this manner both speed advantage and initiative are retained, the attacker matching the defender's rate of turn in degrees per second while remaining concealed in the blind spot beneath the defender's tail. Lag pursuit is best countered by tightening the turn into a spiral dive. The temptation is to reverse and commence scissoring, but this is a good way to die if the attacker is on the ball.
[b style="font-weight"]LAG PURSUIT ROLL[/b]
This is used when at close range with a high overtake, high speed and high angle-off. The defender gets the nose high and rolls to the outside of the turn. He uses maximum g to pull the nose up and towards the target. This puts him in a ± 30° angle-off missile envelope.
When overshooting is mainly the result of excess speed, position can be maintained outside the radius of the defender's turn by matching his rate of turn, thus maintaining both speed and initiative. The pursuer is hidden beneath the defender's tail, which could cause him to make an error. This is called lag pursuit.
Low Speed Yo Yo
Another combat situation which can arise is a stalemate in either a tail chase or a turning match. To break the stalemate, a low-speed yoyo is used. This is based on the age-old concept of trading height for speed. If a pursuer finds that he is unable to close to within shooting range in straight flight, he can gain extra speed in a shallow dive. This will allow him to close the horizontal distance and takes him into his opponent's blind spot at six o'clock low. When a suitable position and overtaking speed have been attained, the pursuer can pull up and attack. The counter? Keep a good lookout behind!
The most widely used variant of the low speed yoyo is used in a turning fight to break a stalemate caused by lack of overtake. Dropping his nose to the inside of the turn, the pursuer can cut across the circle.
Low Speed Yo Yo Straight Pursuit
Two versions of the low speed yoyo exist. The first, illust- rated here, is based on trading height for speed. It is used to break a stalemate in a tail chase where the attacker is unable to close to within range. He unloads in a shallow dive, gaining speed. When the distance has been closed, he pulls up into the attack.
More often, the low-speed yoyo is used to break a stalemate in a turning fight. The attacker drops his nose to the inside of the turn, then cuts low across the circle before pulling up towards his opponent's six o'clock. The gain is often marginal, but repeating the process nibbles off a few degrees of angle each time, due to manoeuvring in the vertical plane. The pull-up should be started when a position of about 30 degrees angle-off is reached. It is important that the angle of cut-off is correct or the attacker will arrive in a fly-through situation with too much angle-off as he approaches the target. If this happens then he must endeavour to pull up into a high-speed yoyo.
Defence against the low-speed yoyo takes two forms. The first is to copy the maneuver while remaining in phase with the attacker. This maintains the stalemate. The second counter is more positive. The defender holds the turn until the attacker starts his pull-up. He then eases his turn a trifle, lifts his nose, and makes a rolling descending turn into his opponent.
If the attacking pilot has tried to lead the defender by too much or dived too low by being greedy, the defender can also pull up and barrel down onto the attacker.
A pair of fighters can carry out the "offensive split" maneuver in a variety of ways. In one version the nearest man is in combat spread, drawing the attention of the bandits, while his partner (hopefully unobserved) sneaks around the back either high or low, depending on relative altitudes at the start of the encounter. For example, referring back to the eyeball/shooter attack, when the lookout gains visual contact and clears the shooter to fire at the far bogey. The lookout will be visible to the enemy at much the same time, and the bandit will almost certainly react by turning towards him. The shooter, still low, still hopefully undetected, can swing across behind his leader, then reverse into a hard climbing turn which should bring him out into a good attacking position.
There are many variations of the offensive split. Here the leader visually identifies bandits, who turn towards him. Meanwhile his No. 2 has crossed under unobserved to pull up hard from underneath for a belly shot.
Offset Head On Pass
The off-set head-on pass may be used by the pilot of an extremely maneuverable fighter. Faced with a head-on attack, he can offset to one side to give himself space in which to use his superior turning ability.
For a pair, the "sandwich" is the oldest trick in the book. A fighter attacked from the rear quarter outside the formation breaks into the attack. If he is followed by an enemy, his wingman slots neatly into place behind the bandit for a rear quarter shot, taking great care, of course, not to fire a heat missile until his comrade has cleared the danger area.
This is a series of turn reversals performed with the object of forcing the overshooting attacker out in front to a position of disadvantage. The initial turn is reversed when the attacker has definitely overshot and has drifted sufficiently wide as to prevent him from pulling back into the cone of vulnerability when the defender reverses. Timing the reversals is absolutely critical. The basic rule is that if the attacker is overshooting fast, reverse early, but if he is drifting slowly wide, take time and make sure.
The scissors is the natural outcome of a successful break which has forced the attacker to overshoot. It consists of a series of reversals to get behind the attacker by forcing him out in front. The more manoeuvrable fighter has an advantage in the scissors.
Full power is used throughout the scissors but with the nose trimmed high to reduce the forward velocity vector. Airbrakes can be used to force the flythrough but if they are used too early they will advertise the defender's intentions. The scissors may turn into a stalemate with neither side gaining the advantage. The stalmate can be broken by one fighter rolling inverted when passing through the adversary's six o'clock and diving away to gain speed before pulling back up,preferably into sun. This will hopefully take him by surprise. Scissoring for more than a couple of reversals is not recommended against an opponent who is able to turn faster and/or tighter, and it should not be attempted if there is more than one attacker, either. Fighter pilots recommend that unless the advantage is gained after three reversals, the pilot should, aiming to pass head-on to the attacker, since this would put him at a disadvantage in having to turn back toward the defender as he runs out.
In this the defender rolls inverted and dives away vertically, pulling out in a direction opposite to that of his opponent.
Most defensive maneuvers are designed to counter an attack coming from astern, mainly by forcing an attacker to overshoot. What are the attacker's needs? Much depends on whether he is planning a missile or gun attack. As we saw in the attack phase, a missile attack should be fast, deadly, and conclusive. But, as World War I German Chief of Staff von Moltke observed many years ago: plans rarely survive contact with the enemy. The fighter pilot should be prepared for his attack to fail and know precisely what he will do next, either disengage or enter into manoeuvring combat.
If his attack is from head-on, much will depend on the maneuver potential of the two opponents. The more manoeuvrable fighter will have the edge in a turning fight. (The more manoeuvrable fighter at this stage is frequently the one travelling slowest rather than the most aerodynamically capable.) If this is the attacker he should endeavour to pass wide of his opponent to give himself turning room. If there is any doubt about relative maneuver potential he should pass close to deny his adversary turning room, then pull high in the turn. In either case he should pass down-Sun so that his next change of direction forces his opponent to look into the dazzle. If after a head- on pass both aircraft pull high a vertical ascending scissors may result.
A missile attack from astern is normally made at a high closing speed. If the attack fails the attacker must zoom climb to dissipate his excess speed if he wishes to continue the fight, although it is easier and probably safer to disengage at this point. A gun attack should be made with an overtake speed of about 50 knots (just under 90 feet, 2 7m) per second). This gives time to track the target in the sight, minimises the risk of overshooting and retains an energy advantage for manoeuvring combat.
The defensive maneuvers described earlier place much stres on forcing an attacker to overshoot It is obviously important to avoid overshooting, so how is it done?
An overshoot is caused by one or two factors. The first is an excessively large angle subtended between the fuselages of the respective aircraft. The second is excessive closing speed. This is difficult for the attacker to spot until he is fairly close in. Either way the attacker is faced with overshooting. His first remedy is the high-speed yoyo.
The Split S is a time-honoured method of disengaging from combat. Known to the Royal Air Force as the Half Roll and the Luftwaffe as the Abschwung, it uses maneuver in the vertical plane to evade attack.
This is used when an attacker is first seen approaching or is already in the cone of vulnerability. Its purpose is twofold: to spoil the attacker's aim and to force him to overshoot. The break is always made towards the direction of attack, This generates "angle-off" as quickly as possible which makes the defender a difficult target. The attacker may be able to cut inside the turn but he is forced to pull lead. To do this he must tighten his turn, which increases his angle of attack. It is difficult for him to pull his nose around at high angles of attack to achieve a firing solution. The defender should also alter his plane of flight to make himself a more difficult target.
Two forms of break are possible, depending on the circumstances of the attack. The defender can use a maximum-rate sustained turn in which he does not lose speed, or the hardest possible turn in which he almost certainly does. The speed loss attendant on the hard turn aids his chances of forcing the attacker to overshoot, as does the smaller radius of turn, but oft-quoted maxims such as "speed is life" act as an inhibitor. If the break succeeds in forcing the attacker to overshoot, the next maneuver is the Scissors.
The break is a life-saving maneuver. It is used against an attacker who is about to achieve a firing position (or already has). It consists of a hard turn into the direction of attack, to generate angle-off as rapidly as possible to present the most difficult target.
The Immelmann is essentially a maneuver for repositioning. Not to be confused with it's WWI namesake, its main value lies in enabling the fighter to reposition at any angle with almost no lateral displacement.
A pair working as a team is much more effective than two fighters working individually. They guard each other's visual blind spots and, as illustrated in the Attack Section, hunt as a co-ordinated unit. The wide spacing is dictated by two factors: the long reach of contemporary weaponry, and the large amounts of sky needed for maneuver at high subsonic or transonic speeds. There are few set maneuvers for the pair; just a few general tricks to meet certain situations, as follows.
Back in 1916 the original Immelmann turn was more akin to the vertical reverse than its present-day counterpart. The modern version of the Immelmann is a vertical climb or half loop, possibly aileron-turning during the climb, then rolling out into level flight at the top. Its main value lies in using the vertical plane to change the direction of flight in the smallest possible horizontal space. Horizontal turns at normal fighting speeds take up a lot of room laterally. Using the vertical plane enables the fighter to turn square corners in relation to its position above the ground. This maneuver makes repositioning for a further attack, or to meet a threat, much easier than would be the case using horizontal maneuver only.
The vertical reverse can be used when an attack or maneuver is completed with a vertical climb. The aircraft continues straight up until it loses flying speed. It is then ruddered around very sharply into a steep dive, gaining speed as it goes. This maneuver can be used at the top of a vertical ascending scissors either to disengage or to offer a pursuer a little head-on discouragement, but is mostly used to reposition for a further attack. Very few modern fighters are controllable at such low speeds; only those that are - notably the Harrier, F-16 Fighting Falcon and F-5 Tiger II - can carry out this maneuver.
The vertical reverse is only for the fighter with exceptional low speed handling. It is used at the end of a vertical climb when all flying speed is lost, the aircraft being ruddered around sharply into a dive.
Vertical Rolling Scissors
This is similar to the scissors described earlier but is carried out in either a steep climb or dive and the reversals are often carried out by executing a complete barrel roll. The ascending vertical rolling scissors places the fighter with the better zoom climb (or the higher initial energy state) at a disadvantage at first. Otherwisethe fighter with the best sustained rate of climb will have the advantage. If in a descending vertical rolling scissors the defender finds himself forced below his adversary he should attempt to place himself directly beneath his opponent and maneuver in phase with him. In this position he cannot be seen and can pick his moment to disengage with a splitS.