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Guns on fighters?



 
 
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  #1  
Old August 9th 03, 01:58 AM
SKSvilich
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Default Guns on fighters?

All...I was wondering: have there been any guns-only air to air kills by US
aircraft since SE Asia?
As an aside, what are the thoughts of those who have been in combat? Are guns
on board nostalga, or, are they a practical weapon?

Thanks in advance.

Stefan
Humble Cessna Driver
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  #2  
Old August 9th 03, 02:38 AM
JDupre5762
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All...I was wondering: have there been any guns-only air to air kills by US
aircraft since SE Asia?
As an aside, what are the thoughts of those who have been in combat? Are
guns
on board nostalga, or, are they a practical weapon?


Duke Cunningham will tell you that if his Navy F-4 had a gun he might have got
three more kills in his famous day of fighting when he made ace. While not air
combat there were guns only strafing runs made in Afghanistan during a fight
over a downed helicopter.

While air to air and air to ground missiles are now far more reliable than
during Vietnam and far more capable than during Desert Storm I think history
shows us that whenever we think that some weapon is obsolete along comes a
conflict where that weapon is needed. Often the weapon is not used in its
original form but a good use is found for it.

In regards to combat aircraft guns there might come a time when the combat
arena is so circumscribed that beyond visual range weapons will not be
practical due to the chance of "collateral damage". Then only visual range
weapons could be used and the gun takes on a new importance. Imagine if in the
Balkans one of our opponents (I can't remember whose side we weren't on!) had
put up a decent aerial opposition, would we really have been launching a lot of
long range weapons in one of the most heavily air traveled areas of the world?

As in Afghanistan in a future conflict at the extreme of range for some
aircraft might make it necessary to use every weapon they brought along right
down to the guns when all other ordnance was expended. Not because they could
not loiter in terms of fuel but because it would take too long to return to
base and reload.

The gun will never again be a primary or even secondary weapon but as a
tertiary one it will have its uses and you can never be sure when that will be.

John Dupre'
  #3  
Old August 9th 03, 04:13 AM
Tex Houston
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Default


"SKSvilich" wrote in message
...
All...I was wondering: have there been any guns-only air to air kills by

US
aircraft since SE Asia?
As an aside, what are the thoughts of those who have been in combat? Are

guns
on board nostalga, or, are they a practical weapon?

Thanks in advance.

Stefan
Humble Cessna Driver


A-10 vs helicopter. Desert Storm.

Tex



  #4  
Old August 9th 03, 05:57 AM
Tex Houston
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"Tex Houston" wrote in message news:...

"SKSvilich" wrote in message
...
All...I was wondering: have there been any guns-only air to air kills by

US
aircraft since SE Asia?
As an aside, what are the thoughts of those who have been in combat?

Are
guns
on board nostalga, or, are they a practical weapon?

Thanks in advance.

Stefan
Humble Cessna Driver


A-10 vs helicopter. Desert Storm.

Tex



The more I think about this the more I think it may be wrong. I now think
they may have used bombs.

Sorry,

Tex


  #5  
Old August 9th 03, 08:55 AM
Guy Alcala
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Default

Tex Houston wrote:

"Tex Houston" wrote in message news:...

"SKSvilich" wrote in message
...
All...I was wondering: have there been any guns-only air to air kills by

US
aircraft since SE Asia?
As an aside, what are the thoughts of those who have been in combat?

Are
guns
on board nostalga, or, are they a practical weapon?

Thanks in advance.

Stefan
Humble Cessna Driver


A-10 vs helicopter. Desert Storm.

Tex


The more I think about this the more I think it may be wrong. I now think
they may have used bombs.


No, you're correct the first time. There were two helo kills by A-10s using the
GAU-8. The LGB kill was by an F-15E.

Guy

  #6  
Old August 9th 03, 02:12 PM
Pechs1
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Default

But to answer the question- As an aside, what are the thoughts of those who
have been in combat?
Are
guns
on board nostalga, or, are they a practical weapon? BRBR


Not been in combat but the onboard gun is a reliable and cheap weapon that is
essential if you find yourself close to your adversary or if you are armed A-A
only weapons-wise and you need to do some damage on the ground.
P. C. Chisholm
CDR, USN(ret.)
Old Phart Phormer Phantom, Turkey, Viper, Scooter and Combat Buckeye Phlyer
  #7  
Old August 9th 03, 02:15 PM
Pechs1
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JDupres- In regards to combat aircraft guns there might come a time when the
combat
arena is so circumscribed that beyond visual range weapons will not be
practical due to the chance of "collateral damage" BRBR

Just like nuclear weapons making the world safe for conventional warfare, long
range missiles and the need to VID, makes the gun essential.


P. C. Chisholm
CDR, USN(ret.)
Old Phart Phormer Phantom, Turkey, Viper, Scooter and Combat Buckeye Phlyer
  #8  
Old August 9th 03, 02:21 PM
Pechs1
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Lawrence- Some radars carried aboard fighters have the capability of ID-ing
an
enemy a/c simply from its radar-return. Hence it is considered safe to fire
from beyond visual range, which allows the avoidance of close-in
WWI-WWII-Korea dogfighting. BRBR

Sometimes...many friendly and foe A/C use the same engine, the basis of some
long range ID and it is not unusual for the good guys and bad guys to fly the
same A/C..Particularly after the fall of the Soviet Union...Flankers and
Fulcrums come to mind.

Nonetheless, most pilots desire to have some sort of reserve punch, just to
cover the odd case where missiles haven't done the job or have been
expended, and an opportunity to disengage successfully coud hinge on being
able to shoot your way out. BRBR

There hasn't been any actual swirling air battles for a while but if there is
another one, I don't think it will be an odd case at all..if the many v many
engagements I have seen in training is any indication...

Wandering around in a A-4, I was surprised how many really big fighters found
me in their rear view mirrors..
P. C. Chisholm
CDR, USN(ret.)
Old Phart Phormer Phantom, Turkey, Viper, Scooter and Combat Buckeye Phlyer
  #9  
Old August 9th 03, 04:34 PM
Ed Rasimus
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While I agree in principle with what is stated here, I have to point
out some errors.

"Lawrence Dillard" wrote:

Viet Nam warfare proved to be a learning experience for the US aviation
community, which had come to believe, by the 1960's, that guided missiles
were all that would prove to be needed to prosecute aerial warfare.


Let's note that there was really only one tactical jet procurred by
the "US aviation community" which was missile only. The F-4. In the
mid-60's when the Vietnam War expanded, the USAF was operating the
F-100, F-105, F-104. The USN was flying the A-4, F-8. All gun
equipped. Later (besides the F-4 B/C/D/J) there were the F-5, A-37,
A-1, A-7---all gun equipped.

Alarming, if not distressing reports were received fairly early on that a
number of US a/c downed over N Viet Nam had been shot down in error by US
missiles fired from beyond range of positive visual identification by other
US a/c.


ROE in MiG country until 1972--eight years into combat--always
required VID, except for a small number of Combat Tree,
close-controlled F-4s out of Udorn in '72. I can recall no
"distressing reports" of losses due to A/A fratricide. Simply didn't
happen.

That led to a belatedly-responded-to request, in which a redesign of the F-4
(which took over from the F-105) to include a useable integral cannon (F4E)
was accomplished.


While the F-4 was certainly deployed in-theater in '66, it didn't
"take over" for the F-105 which continued to carry most of the iron
into NVN until 1968 when it was finally attrited to the point of no
longer being combat effective.

The US aviation community learned that it had to be
especially careful in reaching the decision to fire a missile at another
a/c, if only because under the stress of "g"-forces, hurried identifications
of fleetingly-sighted targets, occasional failures of IFF squawks, and the
workload imposed on the friendly pilot team, enemy a/c were not so easy to
distinguish from friendlies as it appeared to be in training.


If "under the stress of "g" forces" it would certainly mean visual
conditions and tail aspect in '66, '67. Certainly not a player for
AIM-7 shots and with the AIM-9B of the period, the firing limit was
max of 2.5 G.

IFF squawk was irrelevant to missile firing or fighter-to-fighter ID.
We didn't have that kind of equipment until a limited number of Combat
Tree birds showed up in '72.

The solution was to close to ranges, before firing, at which a sound visual
ID could be obtained. That measure not only tended to reduce friendly-fire
losses, but also meant that rather often a US a/c would get so close to an
enemy that the minimum firing distance for the missiles carried might be
reached before the positive ID could be made. Under such circumstances, it
made sense to have an onboard cannon so as to deal with the situation.


It wasn't just tactically sound, it was ROE required. I agree
completely.

Missiles nowadays are far superior in reliability, and have much-improved
ranges. Some radars carried aboard fighters have the capability of ID-ing an
enemy a/c simply from its radar-return. Hence it is considered safe to fire
from beyond visual range, which allows the avoidance of close-in
WWI-WWII-Korea dogfighting. And that's good because it is hard enough to
maintain situational awareness even at a distance from an opponent with the
aid of positive control via AWACS, much less than in a complicated encounter
at close range.

Nonetheless, most pilots desire to have some sort of reserve punch, just to
cover the odd case where missiles haven't done the job or have been
expended, and an opportunity to disengage successfully coud hinge on being
able to shoot your way out.


More important than what you've said regard reserve punch is the
tactical practice of having a gun to threaten your opponent into
predictable action. Firing sequence wisely should be--BVR radar
missile, BVR/WVR all-aspect IR missile, then high angle gun shot as
you blow through the merge. Turn-n-burn should be avoided at all
costs.

If in a X-v-X engagement, your wingman maneuvers to insure the gun
threat on your adversary to allow for safe separation--i.e. keep him
turning as you break away to separate.

If we've got a man in the seat, we need a gun in the nose.





Ed Rasimus
Fighter Pilot (ret)
***"When Thunder Rolled:
*** An F-105 Pilot Over N. Vietnam"
*** from Smithsonian Books
ISBN: 1588341038
  #10  
Old August 9th 03, 11:04 PM
Red
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I have to add one thing to this discussion.

The R.O.E. will always require visual I.D. Why? Because somewhere there is
always someone with stars on his colar, (or who wants stars on his colar)
that is deathly afraid that someone will screw-up.


 




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