Air-to-air defense

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Learning objectives

  1. Understand threat ranges of different aircraft
  2. Defeat an IR missile
  3. Defeat a semi active missile
  4. Defeat an active missie
  5. Defeat a guns attack

Learning files

Missile defense

Put it out of range

Once a missile launch is discovered, you can simply run away from it by placing it on your 6'o'clock / Note this only works if the missile is fired at the edge of range (known as Rmax).

Confuse the guidance

Countermeasures - is you detect a missile on RWR - its radar guided (the f-16 cannot detect passive IR launches like the A-10C). Put the missle on your beam (3/9 o'clock), punch a bunch of chaff/flares, and split-s. Every time you do this, the missile detects you Countermeasures as well as your plane and its up to the computer's interpretation of radar/IR data which one it will go for. Hopefully, not you...


Can be a last-ditch or if you carry your balls in a wheelbarrow. Once the missile is acquired visually (don't try this BVR), you once again want it on your 12-3 (or your 9-12) o'clock. as late as your dare,change plane (i.e. if its coming at you horizontally, go vertical or vice-versa). Unless its quite a new missile, it will not have enough energy to maintain the turn and will (hopefully) zoom right on by you.

Best results: do all of these ( or as many as situation dictates)

Defense considerations

  • Types of threats and defenses
  • Concept of anti-aircraft artillery
  • In game: Defending AAA
  • Concept of radar guided missiles
  • Semi-Active missile defense vs aa-10a alamo
  • Semi-active missile defense theory continued
  • Active missile defense vs aa-12 adder
  • Semi-active SAM defense, sustained turn and basics
  • Kinetic missile defense
  • Overview and concept of masking and weapon envelope exit
  • Masking and weapon envelope exit defense
  • Heat seeking infrared missile concept
  • Heat seeking missile defense vs AA-11 archer
  • Defending manpads and threats below 15,000 (OCA strike)
  • Concept of ground fire
  • Proper ground attack while avoiding ground fire
  • Principles of Defense and conclusion

Enemy Weapons

  • AA-11 = (R-73 Archer) short range heat seeking
  • AA-12 = (R-77) long range active
  • AA-10A = (R-27R) medium range semi-active
  • AA-10B = (R-27T) medium range heat seeking
  • AA-10C = (R-27ER) long range semi-active
  • AA-10D = (R-27ET) long range heat seeking

Defending An Enemy Group

  • When an enemy group attacks your flight, elements should split and one element should maneuver to establish space and time to clear the other element.
  • Constant communication is key, when an opening presents itself, utilize the other element to get the upper hand.
  • A call of "element 1, strip left, element 2, strip right" is a simple way to accomplish this
  • Always stay with and support your wingman, you should never be by yourself. There are situations in which there will be no way to safely defend yourself against a threat without exposing yourself significantly to danger (a mig-29 on your six in close range); you need a wingman to support you.
  • Make sure you have a flares program activated when in a furball, migs like to shoot heaters.
  • In a situation in which the lead element is ambushed, the first actions of the 2nd element should be to support and rescue the defending element - do so without orders.

Good Air to Air Combat Examples

SU-24 Fencer

The SU-24 is a supersonic attack aircraft which can be easily confused for a MiG-23. It poses a significant threat as a SEAD, OCA and precision strike aircraft and is one of the few opfor aircraft to carry anti-radiation missiles (ARMs) effectively.

The SU-24 also carries AA-8 aphid missiles, heat guided short range missiles for self defense. They may also be carrying the AA-11 archer which is an extremely deadly heater. For these reasons you cannot treat a SU-24 like a SU-25, it is not a defenseless, slow moving hulk which can be gunned down with little threat posed to you. The SU-24 is nearly as manueverable as a MiG-23, can reach very high speeds and poses a threat in a circle fight. It is equipped with a gun. Kill them with missiles and don't try to be cocky.

The SU-24 is basically an F-111 with heaters.

SU-17 Fitter

The SU-17 is a ground attack aircraft which performs the same sort of duties as the SU-23 although is not as effective in the role. This is an earlier aircraft which is not as fast or maneuverable, but can still carry the AA-8 aphid and is more maneuverable than a SU-25 so should be respected. They are easy to confuse with MIG-21s due to the nose and fuselage design.

F-16 EAF

These are F-16s in the Egyptian Air Force (EAF). The main difference between the f-16 you are familiar with and these blocks is that they do not carry AIM-120 and will be using AIM7-m sparrow missiles. They also do not carry the AIM-9x and will be equipped with the AIM-9M and AIM-9P.

The AIM-7M sparrow is a missile most of you are not familiar with. It is what was used prior to the AIM-120 and is a fully semi-active missile with no active terminal phase. You will know you have been fired on if you hear a missile launch tone, but will not get a M on your RWR as with the AIM-120. If you kill the emitting aircraft, the missile becomes harmless. It's max range is about 30 miles (effective range 8-9 miles) and it can be defeated by performing the same procedures you would against an AA-10a alamo, 5-6 g sustained turn + chaff or split-s and drag. It is susceptible to chaff and aspect changes.

They are easy to identify visually versus Israeli jets due to their plain grey paint scheme. Although they do not have the AIM-120/AIM-9x, they are equivalent in capability and ordnance to a standard block 40 otherwise.