ACM tactics

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Air Combat Maneuvering ACM involves coordinated maneuvering between two or more fighters employing Basic Fighter Maneuvers (BFM) to kill, defend, or separate from bandits.

The priorities for an element as they enter a merge should be

  1. Survival,
  2. Lethality, and
  3. Mutual Support.

Learning Objectives

  • Develop proficiency in two-ship coordinated maneuvering.
  • Learn specific Engaged and Supporting Fighter roles in a visual fight.
  • Develop enhanced SA.

Learning Files

ACM Basics

Engaged and Supporting Fighter Contract

The heart of the “ACM Contract” is the establishment and adherence to ACM Roles. There are three roles:

  • Engaged (offensive or neutral),
  • Defensive, and
  • Supporting.

The division of responsibilities serves two basic purposes:

  • Killing the bandit and
  • Ensuring element survival.

ACM Roles

The term “ENGAGED” is used to establish the Engaged Fighter role in an ACM engagement. The other fighter by default is the Supporting Fighter.

While the Engaged Fighter executes his best BFM to survive and kill the bandit, the Supporting Fighter’s primary responsibility is to deconflict from the Engaged Fighter, and take Shots of Opportunity with a Clear Avenue of Fire.

During offensive maneuvering there can only be ONE actively Engaged Fighter (fighter that is maneuvering in specific relationship to the bandit) at a time.

When defensive, a Defensive Fighter must fly the best BFM possible and cannot be expected to maintain VISUAL and deconflict.

In the dynamic air-to-air environment, the roles may change rapidly from one to the other several times.

ACM Role Establishment

The order to determine who should be the Engaged Fighter is as follows:

  1. The fighter against whom the bandit appears to be maneuvering.
  2. The fighter in the best offensive position on the bandit.
  3. The fighter with the highest SA.
  4. The flight lead (default state until altered).