Throughout my time in ATS I have heard many times of a Cobra maneuver.
Google is a wonderful friend and the last one contains minimovies.
To be fair, it is unlikely that the Russians are such morons as to 'invent something without a purpose'. And so it may be that the maneuver is at
least /representative/ of something done to screw up the proportional lead guidance of missiles fired in the forward quarter as much as anyone
'closing from behind'. Whether this is through 'doppler' (as a digital speed gradient as much as return effect) or some kind of phase
scintillance on radar guided weapons or something related to terminal (prox fuze etc.) spatial passage limits on smaller heat seekers is arguable.
It may also be done to help allay problems with missile weathercocking into the prevailing slipstream, particularly under conditions where you are
facing opponents in offensive-split conditions of => 2nm lateral and 5-10,000ft vertical separation. Your first plume is going to be a big cue to
everyone around and anything fancy you can do to rapidly align or recapture a given vector state may be worth...something. Compared to vast
flat-plated freebie you are handing out to everyone (effectively increasing your acquisition range from 2nm to 20+, instantly).
I have also heard of a Kulbuit (and have a great clip of a Su-35 doing them) and know what those are. But I don't know what a Cobra is
The Kulbit (circle or somersault) is an attempt to control vectorline state by playing out of plane without commiting to a banked index as a tell. It
preserves progression of the vector but alters timing.
The Bell is basically a combination of the Immelman and Split-S in controlling the total volume of airspace used in repointing of the vector while
maintaining the ability (through roll) to commit to another direction of pullout and thus another geometry of intercept curve. The difference being
that if you start slow, you don't have to 'run out of' airspeed (like an F-104 in the zoom) before coming back into the fight. If the Flanker is
anything like the F/A-18E and its Pirouhette maneuver, there may also be an application as a horizontal plane.
Cobras have been stated to be an element in fooling F-15+AMRAAM guidance loops into 'diving thru' the seeker acquisition or tracking cube. Since
almost all kills come from the FQ these days, it makes sense that there must be SOME element of utility beyond the tailgater overshoot defense but it
remains a bit of a mystery because monopulse will angle track through the conventional doppler notch and even that is minimalized (transiently)
through good PRF leaving and averaged autopilot conservatism.
My own belief is that most warheads are seekr/PF interlinked for rate gyro feeds through such sophisticated autopilot logic that getting slow is
asking to be in the bowl with the goldfish when the hand grenade goes off. Whether it is plunked in the water by your ear or merely close outside,
the likelihood is high that you will gain at least a little blast damage and quite possibly a facefull of tailored (directional entrainment) buckshot
It didn't always used to be so. There was a time when Eagles came in at 550+ and counted on sustained EM capabilities to shoot-shoot-extend. While
Hornets entered at 300 knots and took short Sparrow and medium 'Winder shots to get their noses off before honking across to deal with the wingman.
The difference being that the AIM-9L and early M were such narrow bore weapons with such pathetic motors that you had to 'help out' the kinematics
and practically handfeed the designated target volumes.
These days, the seekers have better cueing and handoff finesse than the radar does and helmets + 90` boresight values on the seeker, when allied to
6" motors, make it impossible to outrun the NEZ with speed. And unwise to think you can get a cued+widebore shot off before the other guy wakes up
and does the same to you.
WVR is just NOT a place to be doing anything but Russian Roulette Rules on throwaway assets.