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Have Jet Figher Supermaneuvarability Capabilities Been Used Often in Air-to-Air Combat?

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posted on Sep, 28 2020 @ 03:17 PM
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Over the years, I've seen a number of videos (mostly from airshows I guess) that demonstrate various aerial movements that belong to the category known as "supermaneuvarability". My understanding is that supermaneuvarability describes certain aircraft that can execute movements relying on advanced characteristics of their propulsion system and airframe that are not possible relying on the craft's aerodynamic properties alone. My layman's understanding is that "thrust vectoring", basically changing the shape of the craft's exhaust outlet, is one of the most vital components of supermaneuvarability.

The maneuvers I've mainly read up on and seen video footage for are Pugachev's Cobra and "J-turns"





If you're an enthusiast or just casual fan of military aviation, these are pretty incredible spectacles to watch. I've been at airshows to witness demo teams like the Blue Angels perform wicked feats of maneuverability in formation, but I've never had a chance to see this manner of flying in person.

I was recently reading up on some aviation analysis and theory about supermaneuvarability, and it got me wondering: how useful, practically speaking, has it been in real-world dog fighting since engineering advancements permitted jets to be flown like this?

Again, I'm just a casually interested observer, but my understanding is that positioning and maneuvering your fighter are critical elements of winning a dogfight. Even in the age of guided missiles, you pretty much need have an adversary in front of you, between maybe a 10-to-2 clock orientation, to engage and fire cannons or missiles. I'm sure there's probably sophisticated armaments that can hit air targets 360 degrees around an aircraft, but that hasn't always been the case, and they're not something I know much about. So that said, if you find yourself in your adversary's sights (10-to-2), these supermaneuvers would seem like incredibly useful tactics. If you executed the Cobra, in theory someone on your 6, ready to shoot you down, would speed right past your aircraft, turning the tables and putting them in YOUR sights. Pretty tricky, and it just might make the difference between killing or being killed.

However.... do these supermaneuver tactics get used that often in real air combat? As was described in one article I'd read, a fighter performing a perfect Cobra braking movement might help immensely in one on one dogfighting, but if your adversary has wingmen, you're going to get nailed, because you just surrendered all of your velocity and thrust (you'll be a sitting duck for a while) to reposition the plane. Additionally, isn't it true that with development of longer range armaments and over the horizon guidance systems, the most crafty and tricky pilot moves are not going to help you much if your opponent can lock on and fire without either of you being within eyesight of the other.

To what extent are these properties of jet fighters just novelties that "wow" audiences at air shows? Were they really concrete attributes of air superiority at one time? Are they still vital for air superiority? Or have the modern aspects of aviation, radar and weapon technology made these maneuvers pretty much obsolete?




posted on Sep, 28 2020 @ 03:36 PM
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Dogfighting is pretty much a thing of the past with stealth - long range - medium range missiles Etc



posted on Sep, 28 2020 @ 03:37 PM
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a reply to: SleeperHasAwakened

Most fighters want you with a missile in your lap before you know they are near.
Those fancy maneuvers are at low speed making you an easy target.
I would think it would only matter in a close range cannon fight.



posted on Sep, 28 2020 @ 05:01 PM
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Pretty sure Supermanueverability has never played into a dogfight.Zaphod will knowa reply to: SleeperHasAwakened


edit on 28-9-2020 by ridgerunner because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 28 2020 @ 07:24 PM
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a reply to: SleeperHasAwakened

I remember reading how the Harrier would use it's vectoring nozzles to VIFF and let enemies bypass them. Pretty cool but tricky.



posted on Sep, 28 2020 @ 09:06 PM
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a reply to: SleeperHasAwakened

Supermaneuverability is great at airshows, and for wowing crowds, and may even be used in a dogfight some time in the future, but you're talking about WVR or Within Visual Range fighting. Most fights are at either the extreme end of WVR, or ambushes. Most training anymore concentrates on BVR, or Beyond Visual Range fights, which would involve locking on to a target at ranges beyond 15-20 miles, or well before you'll see your opponent. As one F-35 pilot put it, if an F-35 gets into a WVR fight, it's because the pilot screwed up badly. They still train pretty hard at WVR fights, because at some point it's going to happen, but WVR isn't their main focus anymore like it was once.
edit on 9/28/2020 by Zaphod58 because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 29 2020 @ 02:56 AM
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Whether it's an urban myth, or not, the Sea Harriers in the Falklands War apparently used their nozzels to brake hard. They achieved a 20 to zero dog fighting record. Good missiles also helped!!



posted on Sep, 29 2020 @ 08:23 AM
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originally posted by: Zaphod58
a reply to: SleeperHasAwakened

Supermaneuverability is great at airshows, and for wowing crowds, and may even be used in a dogfight some time in the future, but you're talking about WVR or Within Visual Range fighting. Most fights are at either the extreme end of WVR, or ambushes. Most training anymore concentrates on BVR, or Beyond Visual Range fights, which would involve locking on to a target at ranges beyond 15-20 miles, or well before you'll see your opponent. As one F-35 pilot put it, if an F-35 gets into a WVR fight, it's because the pilot screwed up badly. They still train pretty hard at WVR fights, because at some point it's going to happen, but WVR isn't their main focus anymore like it was once.


Thanks Zaphod; I had assumed WVR tactics had more or less been de-emphasized in recent times due to advancements that make BVR possible.

Interestingly, one article I had read claimed that Russian pilots tended to train harder for what was termed IIRC "low velocity" tactics, which I could only assume meant using supermaneuvarability, whereas US pilots tended to stick to tactics that didn't involve shaving off speed and thrust ("high velocity"). Don't know if that's accurate or not, but would signify a very stark difference in air-to-air strategy.



posted on Sep, 29 2020 @ 11:10 AM
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Moste stealth jets would have to fire of their missiles at a great distance if they want to remain undetected....per_say.

The missiles are not stealthy. A missile will be noticed when it locks onto to you from a great distance..

From a long distance it is not really that hard to counter a incomming missile. Pilots train on how to force the missile to run out of energy before it becomes a real threat. A stealthy jet would be most dangures at close distance. That would give the other jet less time to react to the incomming missile. But at close range not even the F-22 is stealth against a Russian or Chinese 4+++ jet.

And as soon as a F-22 or a F35 fires its missile it is no longer stealthy. If they really are stealthy at all. No one really knows its all propaganda... A stealth aircraft can be picked up by ground radars or satelite. And they can be so before the interaction between the aircrafts take place. That means they will probably know where they are.

People also have to keep in mind that if you dont have your radar pointed in the right elevation where the stealth is. You wont know it is there. But the same goes for any other jet of 4th gen. If your radar is not pointing towars the elevations any jet is at.... The radar wont pick up even a 4th gen jet. The radar must be searching in the right spector and elevation for it to pick up anything. Even a 4th generation jet. Even a 4th generation jet can be stealthy if the radar is not focused on the specific elevation it is in.

In many cases latly this is how they fool us to beleive that the F-35 is absolut stealthy....

If the F-16s radar is pointing in the worng direction/elevation and there is nothing there. It wont pick up a damned thing, not even a 4th generation jet.

Keep that in mind when you watch these things, or are being told about these things.








edit on 27.06.08 by spy66 because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 29 2020 @ 04:16 PM
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a reply to: SleeperHasAwakened

There's always been a difference in philosophy between the US and Russia. Russia has always focused on numbers and maneuverability, while the US has focused on long range combat. After the reunification of Germany, it was found that the MiG-29, at a certain range, with the right weapons load, was almost unbeatable, no matter what it went up against. Beyond that range, and it was almost useless. The goal was to integrate them into NATO forces and use them on patrols with other NATO aircraft, but it was found that between the range issues, and the sensor issues they had compared to other aircraft, they were incompatible with NATO forces.



posted on Sep, 29 2020 @ 04:18 PM
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a reply to: spy66

That would be why almost all modern long range missiles are semi-active radar guided. That means they aren't using their radar at long range, they're using the launch aircraft radar, which if it's LPI, is significantly harder to detect at any point in its use. The missile doesn't use its radar until the terminal phase, when it's much harder to avoid.



posted on Sep, 29 2020 @ 10:12 PM
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originally posted by: Zaphod58
a reply to: spy66

That would be why almost all modern long range missiles are semi-active radar guided. That means they aren't using their radar at long range, they're using the launch aircraft radar, which if it's LPI, is significantly harder to detect at any point in its use. The missile doesn't use its radar until the terminal phase, when it's much harder to avoid.


So the F-22 and the F-35 are capable of passivly traking targets with its sensors and guiding its missile passivly to its target. That meaning not sending a signal to the traking missile to guide it on its way to the target..?

I dont think that how it work's... You cant passivly guide a missile to its target. You have to guide it by sending a singal to it. That singal can be interupted or sensed by the targeted 4+++ defence mechanism... Every aircraft has a defence and the 4++ generation of Russia have as good of a defence as we have in our jets if not better.

edit on 27.06.08 by spy66 because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 29 2020 @ 10:58 PM
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a reply to: spy66

There's nothing passive about it, and I never said there was, so don't try to put words in my mouth. The datalink signal sent from the launch platform to the missile is very difficult to intercept. You're not sending a high powered signal out into the ether for other aircraft to intercept, and even if they did, they would have to intercept the signal, figure out where it's coming from, and then dodge the missile coming at them. It's still not going to be enough to do more than figure out a general area where the launch platform was, which you can already do with certain radar systems against current stealth fighters. The radar used on the F-22 and F-35 is also very difficult to intercept, as are other radars being developed by multiple countries.



posted on Sep, 29 2020 @ 11:52 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

It must be a powerfull signal do to that the missile is small and so is the reach of its sensors. The active sensors on the F-22 or the F-35 would have to find the tracking missile as it is on its way to its target, so that it can guide it. So the signal must be powerfull.....

Who are you man....




edit on 27.06.08 by spy66 because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 30 2020 @ 12:15 AM
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a reply to: spy66

The missile "listens" behind it, as well as using the radar from the launch platform. The launch platform helps to prevent countermeasures from being as effective, as well as guiding the missile using its onboard radar. Everyone uses semi-active missiles. The only active radar missiles are large, very long range missiles.



posted on Sep, 30 2020 @ 12:27 AM
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a reply to: Zaphod58


Peopel should look more into this before they think its all about the stealth platform. Because its not all about the platform that delivers weapons. It is also about how weapons are delivered and guided.

It's like saying the F-35 or the F-22 wont know if the SU 30SM or SU 35 have shot a misslie at them... Poeple have to start to think....



posted on Sep, 30 2020 @ 12:44 AM
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a reply to: spy66

People should learn how modern missiles work, before they talk about them too. It's like saying the SA-2 is still a modern SAM in frontline use.

You're the one that keeps bringing up stealth. Semi-active missiles are used on every platform flying. The big difference between a stealth and non stealth platform is that stealth, such as the F-22 uses LPI radar, that is much harder to detect and warn about. Non-LPI radar, which just about everything else uses, is easy to detect, and you can tell when it's locked onto another aircraft, or guiding a missile based on the signal changes required.



posted on Sep, 30 2020 @ 12:48 AM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

I rest my case.....

Let people figure this out for them selves.......


edit on 27.06.08 by spy66 because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 30 2020 @ 12:55 AM
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a reply to: spy66

Your case was rested when you claimed that modern missiles use on board active radar to guide them. That hasn't been used on smaller air to air missiles in decades. But hey, you're the smartest one in the room that knows everything, so what do I know.



posted on Oct, 8 2020 @ 01:51 AM
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The next time major powers engage in air war it will be critical to survival. Apparently China has under ground run ways - they could use them to attack as Germany used the Komet - wait until planes were over head - haul ass from below, attacking as you gain altitude and again on a return descent with low fuel weight to enhance acceleration and maneuverability. There a multitude of other examples where sophisticated counter measures make using missiles impossibile - something like Russias claimed use of plasma, or the measures used on the new 6th gen planes already in development, such as RAM and perhaps more sophisticated spoofing methods, where only close battle using guns or laser weapons is necessary. However experts say the planes can already exceed the pilots ability to withstand the forces they can generate, so planes may require Ai or remote control to be competant in the future.

The reality though the question is a matter of shades - the Japanese Zero had super maneuverability compared to earlier planes, as did the F4 and f14
edit on 8-10-2020 by circuitsports because: (no reason given)



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