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TV Tropes Monday: Old-School Dogfighting


 

Tweet of the Day: Ghost in the Whitewash

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Old-School Dogfighting, the name, well it is not that glamorous, but the actual fighting is the stuff of many an war story, mecha filled anime, techno-thrillers, and space operas. Dodging enemy missiles at nigh impossible speeds, doing bombing runs down conveniently narrow canyons (either natural or man made) and facing down the gallant enemy ace. But in the real world, air combat maneuvering or ACM for short because them boys at the Pentagon love their acronyms is rare. Although it has always been true that whoever spotted the enemy first often shot down his quarry without much of a fuss, today’s engagements start at far away as one hundred miles away, with the first shot fired somewhere between seventy to thirty miles away. At those ranges the attacker might see a distant fireball in the horizon and not much else.

At least that is the presumption. Reality can be very different. The reason why western air arms have managed to dominate the sky is largely technological. Advances in airborne early warning and command aircraft, electronic warfare, and stealth give the western pilot an unparalleled advantage on the battlefield. But what happens when a handful of aircraft are outnumbered. They might shoot down several incoming enemies but then be forced into a classic turning dogfight with the rest. Or the political situation forces strict rules of engagement that prohibit engagements at beyond visual range. How about equipment failures that lead to missiles missing their targets or simply flying by (what pilots call, “Going ballistic”). And of course, technologies like advance decoys, electronic warfare, and stealth can even up the odds, again leading to old-school dogfighting.

So, don’t this miss this old trope just yet.

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