Fighter combat tactics and maneuvering pdf

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This isn't a book for the faint-hearted. This is a book for a hard core combat pilot, and not guys who play arcade-style flying games. It covers fighter combat tactics . and air-to-surface arenas. It presents a solid foundation on which effective tactics can be developed. .. AIR COMBAT MANEUVERS (ACM). Basic fighter maneuvers (BFM) are tactical movements performed by fighter aircraft during air In actual air combat maneuvering, variations of these basic maneuvers may become Create a book · Download as PDF · Printable version.

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2 Basic Fighter Maneuvers. Pursuit Curves Lag Displacement Rolls High Yo-Yo Low Yo-Yo Lead Turn Nose-to-Nose and Nose-to-Tail Turns. within a given nation, differ in air combat tactics as widely as they do in other areas. In fact Fighter Combat Tactics and Maneuvering. Pages·· PDF full book. Fighter Combat TACTICS AND MANEUVERING By Robert L. Shaw Naval Institute Press Annapolis, Maryland. Report File.

This type of engagement is known as "one-circle flow". These are often more complex, including energy saving maneuvers, such as the high and low Yo-Yos, and repositioning maneuvers such as displacement rolls. Naval Institute Press. Unlike the Immelmann, a pitchback depletes less kinetic energy and is harder for an adversary to track. Guns-D is a series of random changes in the defenders flight path, intended to spoil the attacker's aim by presenting a constantly shifting target, and, hopefully, to maneuver out of the bullet stream hose.

Write a customer review. Read reviews that mention air combat robert shaw fighter combat combat tactics combat maneuvering fighter pilot tactical intercepts highly recommended great book best book combat flight flight simmer basic fighter aerial combat fighter maneuvers fighter missions modern air know more about air shaw is the definitive book fighter weapons.

Top Reviews Most recent Top Reviews. There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later. Hardcover Verified Purchase. This isn't a book for the faint-hearted. This is a book for a hard core combat pilot, and not guys who play arcade-style flying games.

It covers fighter combat tactics applicable in basically every era of aerial warfare excluding probably stealth, though that's probably still covered under the same old rules of visibility. He talks about typical fighter weapons and the tactics for getting into a firing position. But, he also talks about some element tactics 2 pilots can use to get the jump on others out there just winging it.

The biggest thing I learned from this book is how unrealistic most movies make aerial combat look. Most pilots never even see the guy who shoots them down. A lot of the game is keeping your eyes peeled, sweeping radar for targets, and making sure no one gets the jump on you. I don't know the state of online simulators, but if you're a hardcore sim pilot who flies with a wingman, flight, or wing, you'll find a lot of this information very useful.

I found this book very informitive in what I do. I love flight combat sims like ants love sugar. But make no mistake, this book is nothing if you don't practice. It is for sure a very good reading book, the things a pilot real pilot must do and remember to keep alive.

Basic fighter maneuvers - Wikipedia

But because I bought this book for my flight simming, let's go that direction. What I found out is that this book implies to both prop and jet engine alike.

And the tactics you will learn will be to your advantage for sure. But all of this knowledge comes at a price, you must practice, practice and practice somemore to master these manuvures, you cannot just put them to use when you feel like it.

Even birds have to learn how to walk before they can fly. But I promise you if you love virtual flying, and you take the time to read this book, your results will be greatly noticed by your enemy. Survival is the key here and by reading this book, your survival rate will increase also. So do some reading, strap in and hang on, you will not be disapointed. Even though much of the information in this book is geared towards jets and modern weapon systems, I found a great deal of information that was directly applicable to WWII-era planes and weapons.

Understanding the principles of relative energy and angles is the heart of air combat doctrine, and Shaw explains both in great detail. The book is also sprinkled with exciting and educational real-life accounts from some of the greatest aces ever.

The majority of this book deals with strategies for 1-on-1 encounters, but there is also extensive coverage of team tactics. Some of the principles taught do require some thought to fully grasp, and I think my being able to try them out in a computer flight simulator was a big help in understanding them. But, while I approached this book with no real-life flight experience, I found the information presented was surprisingly accessible to a novice like myself. As complete as this book is, my experience fighting from my computer armchair has taught me that this is by no means an exhaustive treatment of the subjects presented here.

Still, I don't know of a better book. If nothing else, Shaw will help you appreciate what a thinking-man's game air combat really is. For the computer fighter jocks out there like me, this is an indispensible book for your library. Just the A,B,C, And that is just to name a few. One thing I criticize, despite just having it, is the lack of specific aircraft know-how applications, but that is not a big problem, specially to sim fans.

Real combat pilots will benefit more since they're in contact on daily basis with their aircrafts. But in terms of diagrams for explanation, I find it hefty. I have all DCS modules on the rig, and I will promise one thing, study the book by heart, and not casual read, and your sim evasion and tactics will improve dramatically, specially if you are new to combat sims. One person found this helpful. Not really for beginners, and not the most fun book to read, but very detailed in all topics covered, and ther is a lot of them.

Having applied and practiced what I read here helped me to get my first ace last night in a 22 plane battle. Hopefully that will now happen more often.

Thank you Robert Shaw for putting together such a well written, clear, and organized book, and thank you for your service, truly amazing the amount of training and skill our boys have! THE book to get on fighter combat. I fly in combat sims for fun, and this was a great primer on combat maneuvering.

A definitive guide to all things aerial combat.


Written and formatted like a textbook, with generous margins for taking ones own notes. Perhaps not for the absolutely-new, but concepts are presented in easy-to-understand concept and example fights, with excellent pictorial diagrams for maneuvers, so that even relatively inexperienced pilots or simmers can quickly grasp the topic.

A must-read for all interested in the subject. My husband used this just before doing a fighter jet experience. It was helpful and worth the read. See all 57 reviews. Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more about Amazon Giveaway. This item: Tactics and Maneuvering. Set up a giveaway.

Customers who viewed this item also viewed. Increasing the pitch or slice can quickly provide a change in speed, which can just as quickly be reversed by returning to the original plane of travel. Out-of-plane maneuvers are not only used to provide a reduction in turn radius, but also causes the fighter to fly a longer path in relation to the direction of travel.

A maneuver such as a high Yo-Yo is used to slow closure and to bring the fighter into lag pursuit, while a low Yo-Yo is used to increase closure and to bring the fighter into lead pursuit. During an out-of-plane maneuver, the attacker's nose no longer points at the defender. Instead, the aircraft is rolled until its lift vector an imaginary line running vertically from the center of the aircraft, perpendicular to its wings , is aligned either ahead of, directly at, or behind the defender, using roll rate instead of turn rate to set the proper pursuit curve.

The aircraft's velocity vector an imaginary line in the direction of motion will be pulled in the direction of the lift vector. A useful type of out-of-plane maneuver employed to decrease AOT are various barrel rolls called displacement rolls, in order to shift the aircraft laterally from its projected flight path onto a new flight path.

By controlling the roll rate the pilot can control the degree of displacement. By displacing the turn, the two aircraft's flight paths will eventually cross. The AOT will then decrease until the nose of the attacker's aircraft points momentarily at the defender, and then ahead of the defender.

There are three basic situations in air combat maneuvering requiring BFM to convert to a favorable result, which are neutral, offensive, and defensive.

Most relative maneuvers can be grouped into one of these three categories. Neutral positions generally occur when both opponents spot each other at the same time. Neither the pilot nor the opponent have the advantage of surprise.

Each is focused on converting to an offensive situation while forcing their opponent into a defensive. An offensive position generally occurs when the pilot gets sight of the opponent first. With the advantage of surprise, the pilot can maneuver into a better position to attack the opponent, making it more difficult for the enemy to evade the attack. This helps put the pilot in a dominant position, primarily concerned with prosecuting their advantage for a kill.

An offensive position is generally defined as the ability to get above or behind the enemy. The pilot is able to create an energy advantage, providing the ability to swoop down on the opponent and spray the area with bullets while using the speed to climb back to a safe altitude. The attacker also has an orientation-related advantage, being able to press the attack while avoiding the enemy's weapons.

A defensive position usually occurs when the pilot spots the attacker late. Usually below or ahead of the opponent, the pilot is in a weak position, primarily concerned with denying a shot to the opponent and converting to a neutral position. The secondary goal is either to escape or to achieve a dominant position. If the attacker is at an energy disadvantage, the defender will likely use the speed to disengage, but, if the attacker is moving much faster, the defender will usually maneuver in order to force a dangerous overshoot.

A dangerous overshoot happens when an attacker flies out in front of the defender, causing their roles to be reversed. Once an attacker gets behind a defender, there are three problems to solve in order to prosecute the kill. The attacker must be able to get into the same geometric plane as the defender, get in range without overshooting, and be able to lead the target. The defender will usually turn aggressively to spoil the attacker's solution. Aircraft turn in circular motions, following a circumference around a central point.

The circumference is often referred to as the "bubble", while the central point is often called the "post". Any change in the g-force load on the aircraft causes a change in the bubble's size as well as a change in turn radius, moving the post in relation to the fighter.

Basic fighter maneuvers

Because an aircraft turning at its maximum load cannot turn any tighter, any aircraft located between such a fighter and its post is momentarily safe from attack.

It is in this area where an attacking fighter will usually try to position itself. Once inside the defender's bubble, the attacker will be in lead pursuit and may have an opportunity for a lucky "snapshot" hit.

If the attacker can maneuver onto the defender's flight path before an overshoot occurs, the attacker will be able to stop or reverse closure rate. The most desirable position is, following the defender's flight path, a distance equal to one turn radius behind the opponent.

This position, from which the attacker will be able to safely maintain command of the fight, is termed the "control point". The control point lies in the heart of an imaginary, cone-shaped area, called the "control zone", and it is within this zone that the attacker will have both sufficient time and range to react to the defender's countermeasures. During a dogfight, the term "overshoot" refers to situations in which the attacker either crosses the enemy's flight path or passes the defender, ending up in front.

Passing the defender is referred to as a "wingline overshoot". Also called a " line overshoot" or a "dangerous overshoot", this occurs when an attacking aircraft approaches too fast and accidentally crosses the defender's wingline an imaginary line passing through the center of the aircraft at the 3 o-clock and 9 o-clock positions.

A wingline overshoot is usually referred to as "flying out in front" and causes "role reversal", putting the attacker in range of the defender's weapons, and the attacker suddenly becomes the defender.

When the attacker crosses the defender's flight path, the situation is called a "flight path overshoot".

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This happens when an attacker fails to control closure and crosses the defender's flight path from behind. Although not necessarily dangerous, it is possible for a flight path overshoot to cause the attacker to fly out in front of the defender.

More often, however, it greatly reduces the attacker's angular advantage over the defender. Flight path overshoots are divided into two categories, called "control-zone overshoots" and "in-close overshoots".

A "control-zone overshoot" occurs when the attacker crosses the defender's flight path from behind the front edge of the control zone. After a control-zone overshoot, the defender will continue turning in the same direction to retain the acquired angular advantage, trying to prevent the attacker from getting a good aim.

An '"in-close overshoot" happens when the attacker overshoots the defender's flight path ahead of the control zone. This gives the defender the opportunity to reverse the turn and possibly to cause a wingline overshoot, allowing the defender to move in behind the attacker and reverse their roles. Aircraft can turn either towards or away from each other.

How the opponent turns in relation to the other determines the flow of the fight. If two fighters meet head-on, they will usually make a very close, neutral pass, called a "merge". After the pass, both fighters may turn to engage. If the two fighters turn in the same direction i. This type of engagement is known as "one-circle flow". If the aircraft turn in opposite directions i. This is called "two-circle flow". One-circle flow will result in another merge, unless an angular advantage can be obtained.

During one-circle flow, the fighter with the smaller turn radius will have the advantage. Pilots will often pitch-up out-of-plane while increasing thrust, to help minimize turn radius.

Because it does not really matter where the two fighters meet in the circle, turn rate is of little importance during one circle flow.

Therefore, it is often called a radius fight. An out-of-plane maneuver, such as a displacement roll, is a viable option for reducing turn radius. Two-circle flow will also result in another merge. In two-circle flow, turn radius is of little importance, because what matters is which fighter can get back to the merging place first.

Two-circle flow is a turn rate fight, and the angular advantage usually goes to the aircraft with the higher turn rate at its corner speed. Pilots will often slice turn in order to maximize their turn rate. A third option is called vertical flow, in which one or both fighters turn toward the vertical plane.

If both fighters go up or down, the fight becomes one-circle flow. If one fighter goes up or down, while the other turns horizontally, it is really a modified version of one-circle flow.

However, if one fighter goes up while the other goes down, it becomes two-circle flow. In both types of flow, the closest possible merge is desirable to keep the enemy at an angular disadvantage. Although circle flow is often described using neutral merges, the concept applies anytime two aircraft maneuver in relation to each other and the horizon.

For instance, the "flat scissors" is an example of one-circle flow, while the "rolling scissors" is an example of two-circle flow.

Combat tactics and pdf fighter maneuvering

The combat spread is the most basic of maneuvers used prior to engagement. A pair of attacking aircraft will separate, often by a distance of one mile horizontal by feet vertical. The fighter with the lower altitude becomes the defender, while the wingman flies above in "the perch" position. The defender will then attempt to lure their opponents into a good position to be attacked by the wingman.

A pair of fighters encountering one or two attackers will often use a defensive split. The maneuver consists of both defenders making turns in opposite directions, forcing the attackers to follow only one aircraft. This allows the other defender to circle around, and maneuver behind the attackers. A sandwich maneuver begins with two defenders flying line-abreast side by side at the same altitude , with typically about a mile of lateral separation.

When an attacker maneuvers onto the tail of one aircraft, the defender will make a sharp turn away from the wingman. At the same time, the wingman turns in the same direction as the defender. When both fighters turn 90 degrees, they will come into single-file alignment with each other, "sandwiching" the attacker in the middle.

Because the attacker is distracted chasing the defender, this allows the wingman to maneuver onto the attacker's tail for an easy shot. Spotting an attacker approaching from behind, the defender will usually break.

The maneuver consists of turning sharply across the attacker's flight path, to increase AOT angle off tail. The defender is exposed to the attacker's guns for only a brief instant snapshot.

The maneuver works well because the slower moving defender has a smaller turn radius and bigger angular velocity , and a target with a high crossing speed where the bearing to the target is changing rapidly is very difficult to shoot.

This can also help to force the attacker to overshoot, which may not be true had the turn been made away from the attacker's flight path. The counter to a break is often a displacement roll called a barrel roll attack. A barrel roll consists of performing a roll and a loop, completing both at the same time. The result is a helical roll around a straight flight path. The result is a virtual 90 degree turn, using all three dimensions, in the direction opposite of the roll.

Rolling away from the defender's break, the attacker completes the roll with the aircraft's nose pointed in the direction of the defender's travel.

If the attacker has a significant altitude advantage, a high-side guns pass is usually prudent. Sometimes called a "swoop", "boom and zoom", "hit and split", plus a variety of other names, it consists of a powered dive toward the rear quarter of a lower flying opponent.

Shooting with the cannons in a single, high-speed pass, the attacker uses excess kinetic energy to disengage from the fight in a zoom climb back to a safe altitude, restoring the potential energy.

This allows the attacker to set up another attack and dive again. Surprise is often a key element in this type of attack, and the attackers will often hide in the sun or clouds, stalking their opponents until a good opportunity is presented. A high-side guns pass is a very effective tactic against a more maneuverable opponent, where the turning battle of a dogfight is best avoided. An Immelmann trades airspeed for altitude during a degree change in direction. The aircraft performs the first half of a loop, and when completely inverted, rolls to the upright position.

The Immelmann is a good offensive maneuver for setting up a high-side guns pass against a lower altitude, slow moving opponent, going in an opposite direction. However, an Immelmann is a poor defensive maneuver, turning the defender into a slow moving target.

The opposite of an Immelmann is the Split-S. This maneuver consists of rolling inverted and pulling back on the stick, diving the aircraft into a half loop, which changes the aircraft's direction degrees.

The split-s is rarely a viable option in combat as it depletes kinetic energy in a turn and potential energy in a dive. It is most often used to set up a high-side guns pass against a lower but fast moving opponent that is traveling in the opposite direction.

Also, the split-s is sometimes used as a disengagement tactic. A pitchback, also called a Chandelle, is an Immelmann that is executed in some plane other than the vertical. Basically just a pitch turn, the fighter will be at some angle of bank before performing the half loop and roll.

Unlike the Immelmann, a pitchback depletes less kinetic energy and is harder for an adversary to track. A wingover is a maneuver used to provide a fast, degree turn with a very small turn radius. It consists of a quarter loop into a vertical climb, letting the speed fall as altitude increases, and then a flat-turn over the top, diving to complete a quarter loop at the original altitude, but going in the opposite direction.

The wingover is similar to a stall turn, but the fighter does not actually stall, which makes the wingover more difficult for an enemy to track. Unlike an Immelmann or a split-s, the wingover also manages energy by conserving both airspeed and altitude.

The low Yo-Yo is one of the most useful maneuvers, which sacrifices altitude for an instantaneous increase in speed. This maneuver is accomplished by rolling with the nose low into the turn, and dropping into a steeper slice turn. By utilizing some energy that was stored in the vertical plane, the attacker can quickly decrease range and improve the angle of the attack, literally cutting the corner on the opponent's turn.

The pilot then pulls back on the stick, climbing back to the defender's height. This helps slow the aircraft and prevents an overshoot, while placing the energy back into altitude. A defender spotting this maneuver may try to take advantage of the increase in AOT by tightening the turn in order to force an overshoot. The high Yo-Yo is a very effective maneuver, and very difficult to counter. The maneuver is used to slow the approach of a fast moving attacker while conserving the airspeed energy.

The maneuver is performed by reducing the angle at which the aircraft is banking during a turn, and pulling back on the stick, bringing the fighter up into a new plane of travel. The attacker then rolls into a steeper pitch turn, climbing above the defender. The trade-off between airspeed and altitude provides the fighter with a burst of increased maneuverability.

This allows the attacker to make a smaller turn, correcting an overshoot, and to pull in behind the defender. Then, by returning to the defenders plane, the attacker restores the lost speed while maintaining energy.

A lag displacement roll, also called a "lag roll", is a maneuver used to reduce the angle off tail by bringing the attacker from lead pursuit to pure, or even lag pursuit. The maneuver is performed by rolling up and away from the turn, then, when the aircraft's lift vector is aligned with the defender, pulling back on the stick, bringing the fighter back into the turn.

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This maneuver helps prevent an overshoot caused by the high AOT of lead pursuit, and can also be used to increase the distance between aircraft. To prevent an overshoot, an attacker in lead pursuit may need to correct with an out-of-plane maneuver.

If the lateral separation is excessively high, the attacker will probably use a displacement roll. However, if the lateral separation is low enough, the attacker will likely use a high Yo-Yo.

The high Yo-Yo defense can be a good tactic in these situations. The maneuver is performed when the attacker rolls away from the turn to begin the correction. The defender will begin to relax the turn by easing off of the stick, called "unloading", which causes both turn radius and speed to increase, restoring the fighter's lost energy.

If the defender maintains the same angle of bank, the subtle maneuver will be very difficult for the attacker to spot. When the attacker completes the out-of-plane maneuver, the defending fighter has regained some of its energy. This allows the defender to, once again, turn harder into the attack, regaining an angular advantage over the higher energy attacker. If the attacker is surprised by the maneuver, a high Yo-Yo defense might even cause an overshoot.

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An unloaded extension is a disengagement bug out maneuver often used by the pilot whenever there is enough energy and separation. The maneuver consists of slipping into a steep, straight dive and applying full thrust. Removing all g-force load from the aircraft causes it to accelerate at a very high rate, allowing the pilot to vastly increase range, or "extend", and possibly to escape. If a defender breaks suddenly, causing the attacker to overshoot, the defender may reverse the turn and move in behind the attacker.

An unloaded extension is usually the attacker's best option, using the energy advantage to escape the slower moving defender. An unloaded extension is usually not recommended against a higher energy opponent.

However, in many circumstances, such as when an attacker performs a high Yo-Yo too steeply, an unloaded extension is a viable option for the defender. The scissors are a series of turn reversals and flight path overshoots intended to slow the relative forward motion downrange travel of the aircraft in an attempt to either force a dangerous overshoot, on the part of the defender, or prevent a dangerous overshoot on the attacker's part.

The defender's goal is to stay out of phase with the attacker, trying to prevent a guns solution, while the attacker tries to get in phase with the defender. The advantage usually goes to the more maneuverable aircraft. There are two types of scissor maneuvers, called flat scissors and rolling scissors. Flat scissors, also called horizontal scissors, usually occur after a low-speed overshoot in a horizontal direction.

The defender reverses the turn, attempting to force the attacker to fly out in front and to spoil aim. The attacker then reverses, trying to remain behind the defender, and the two aircraft begin a weaving flight pattern. Rolling scissors, also called vertical scissors, tend to happen after a high-speed overshoot from above. The defender reverses into a vertical climb and into a barrel roll over the top, forcing the attacker to attempt to follow.

The advantage lies in the aircraft that can pull its nose through the top or bottom of the turn faster. In battles with aircraft that have a thrust-to-weight ratio of less than one the aircraft will quickly lose altitude, and crashing into the ground becomes a possibility. Guns defense maneuvering, or "guns-D", is the last resort for a defender that fails to outmaneuver the attacker.

Guns-D is a series of random changes in the defenders flight path, intended to spoil the attacker's aim by presenting a constantly shifting target, and, hopefully, to maneuver out of the bullet stream hose.

It consists of arbitrary speed changes, yaws , skids , slips , pitch-ups , and rolls, and is often referred to as "jinking". Because the attacker must aim ahead of the opponent, the primary goal in guns-D is to disorient the attacker's aim by keeping the nose pointed in a different direction than the velocity vector the direction of travel , and is very effective at preventing the attacker from achieving a suitable guns solution.

However, guns-D maneuvering still leaves the defender susceptible to stray bullets and "lucky shot" hits, and does little to improve the relative positional situation. Thus, it is only employed as a last-ditch defensive effort when nothing else works.

A high-g barrel roll is a combination of a loop and a snap roll. A high g barrel roll is a last-ditch defensive maneuver, performed when the attacker has achieved a suitable guns solution, in order to cause an overshoot.

The high-g barrel roll is a violent maneuver which is performed much more aggressively than a normal barrel roll. Range is critical to the success of the roll, and the defender will usually turn very hard, or employ other measures to draw the opponent very close before performing the roll.

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The roll is executed by applying hard back-stick pressure, creating the high g-forces, and adding hard rudder input to assist the ailerons in rolling the fighter. A high-g barrel roll can be performed "over-the-top", or it can be performed "underneath", which is accomplished by rolling upside-down and beginning the maneuver from the inverted position. The high-g barrel roll is an energy-depleting maneuver that rarely causes the attacker to fly out in front, but usually will result in a flight path overshoot, a flat scissors, or, at the very least, will temporarily disrupt the attacker's aim.

A defender that fails to outmaneuver the attacker can quickly become "out of airspeed and ideas".