Issuu on Google+

Dogfight Between U.S. Tomcats and Libyan MiGs 1989 By: M. Ross Shulmister Nov 25, 2015 Fighter pilots train, study, and practice for that unlikely time when they will confront a hostile enemy. A few of us had the heart-thumping opportunity to intercept one or more Russian aircraft. We and the Russians had a healthy respect for the consequences of engaging in hostile behavior. Third world countries and their military are not as circumspect, and certainly have relatively little respect for the superiority of Western aircraft and pilots. And so it was in the 1980s. Muammar Gaddafi had declared a 62 mile territorial limit (dramatically in excess of the 12 mile limit generally recognized in international law), and called the 62 mile limit a line of death to any ship or aircraft which dared to cross the line. The U.S. Navy had been penetrating the "line of death" on a regular basis, and our government had made it clear that we will not recognize a 62 mile territorial limit. There were encounters in the 1980's, but they mostly amounted to Navy fighters intercepting and escorting Libyan aircraft away from our Navy. The first Gulf of Sidra incident occurred August 19, 1981, when two MIG-22 "Fitters" were shot down by two US Navy F-14 "Tomcats". On other occasions, two Russian-supplied missiles were fired from Libyan ground bases – but did not have the range to reach their target. Two others encountered superior US Navy countermeasures, and also fell harmlessly into the Mediterranean. On January 4, 1989, perhaps frustrated by their previous ineffectiveness, the Libyan government ordered four MIG-23 "Floggers" to intercept and shoot down Navy F-14 "Tomcats", flying cover for Naval Carrier, USS John F. Kennedy. The link below is to the recently declassified camera footage (with sound) from one of the Navy F-14s, as they tried to avoid engagement with the first two MIGs, and finally had to take action to defend them-selves and their battle group. In case you're not familiar with the military jargon, "Angels 3" means 3,000 feet (etc.). "Come Starboard about 40" means turn right about 40 degrees. "Bearing 180" means "they're due south of you" (180°). A "jink" is a quick turn. Speeds are given in knots, so 430 knots equals 495 mph. A "bogie" is an unidentified radar target (usually an aircraft).

"Warning yellow, weapons hold" means try to avoid engagement, but you are cleared to fire if engaged, or if there is clear hostile intent. At 20 miles separation, lead commands "Master Arm ON" meaning turn on the master armament switch (weapons won't work if it's OFF). "Good light" means the weapons are armed. "Centered the dot" means the target (dot) is in the center of the aiming circle (exactly where an enemy does NOT want to be). After the first MIG is shot down, the lead (Fox 1) says shoot him Fox 2, and gets the response "I can't ... I don't have a tone". Sidewinder missiles use infrared heatseeking guidance, and when the missile is locked on to a target, the infrared signal in the crew member's headset is a growl. Shortly after he says that, you'll hear the growl, and the missile is launched. "Splash" means target destroyed. Check this video: Read the narrative of the below link first before watching the video!! At 1:51 min in the video the aircrafts camera will come on. Don't expect to see much, because the camera looks straight ahead, and enemy pilots rarely fly directly in front of an armed opponent.

Dogfight - US Tomcats vs Libyan MiGs by M. Ross Shulmister