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View Diary: Gulf War Diaries - Command Decision (42 comments)

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  •  Actually Yes (15+ / 0-)

    B-52s had two confirmed two MiG kills in Vietnam.

    In Vietnam MiGs would often shadow the B-52 formations and transmit heading and altitude information to the SAM gunners.

    The guns were extremely accurate out to about a mile. They could hit anything in a 90 degree cone behind the airplane.

    Plus we had one cool trick. We could put our landing gear down at our maximum speed.

    If a fighter was smoking up behind you, you could go idle, airbrakes and landing gear down and practically stop.

    It was a good way to suck him into your gun range.

    It only worked once, however, and then you'd be out of airspeed.

    If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

    by Major Kong on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 12:32:27 PM PST

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    •  Thanks! I figured it would be in Vietnam (10+ / 0-)

      I should have Googled first, of course.  The tail gunner for the second of the two kills, Airman 1st Class Albert Moore, was about 19 years old at the time!

    •  It strikes me that this is likely to work better (6+ / 0-)

      when you're facing MiG-21s, rather than MiG-29s. Even considering that the North Viet Namese pilots were quite likely  better trained and more motivated than the Iraqi ones.

      In any case, not something to face if you don't have any operable guns...

      Glad everyone made it back OK from that.

      •  Probably so (5+ / 0-)

        Which I think is why they removed the guns sometime around 1993.

        The fire control system was very high maintenance and it probably wasn't giving much bang for the buck in terms of protection.

        The Iraqi pilots for the most part were not very good. Their Russian instructors called them "Rock Heads".

        Their very best got to train on the Mirage F1, and the French instructors didn't think very highly of those guys either.

        If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

        by Major Kong on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 05:38:19 PM PST

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      •  No doubt the NVA was more motivated (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        xaxnar, subtropolis, ER Doc

        than their Iraqi counterparts overall, but I would think the gap would shrink once you get up to the level of fighter pilot. They didn't have Kurdish draftees flying MiG-29's.

        You can do whatever you want to us, but we're not going to sit here and listen to you badmouth the United States of America.

        by Eric Stratton on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 05:39:11 PM PST

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        •  It's not so much motivation as aptitude (9+ / 0-)

          I trained Saudi and Kuwaiti pilots when I was a T-38 instructor.

          A lot of these guys are chosen based on political connections or social status.

          To be a pilot in the Saudi Air Force you had to come from one of the "right" families. Doesn't mean you had any aptitude for learning to fly. Their government would actually pay for extra training just to get them through the program.

          Then there's the matter of how much training you actually get at your fighter unit. Flight time costs money. A guy who flies a Mirage F1 maybe 10 hours a month isn't going to be very proficient. He'll be able to take off and land without killing himself and not a whole lot else.

          Iraqi fighter pilots didn't get to train very often and they were limited in the kind of training they did. They did very little night or low-level training, and those were my bread and butter.

          Even the Russians didn't get nearly as many training hours a month as a US pilot.

          In exercises I've penetrated airspace defended by F-16s. If I could get down in the terrain I'd have a good chance of scraping an Iraqi MiG jockey off on a rock.

          Doesn't mean I'd want to test that theory. My job was to put bombs on target. Anything else was a distraction.

          If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

          by Major Kong on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 06:59:01 PM PST

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          •  Sucked I won't argue with. (0+ / 0-)

            You can do whatever you want to us, but we're not going to sit here and listen to you badmouth the United States of America.

            by Eric Stratton on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 07:39:38 PM PST

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          •  I recently read much the same about Syria (0+ / 0-)

            Reports from defectors are that all pilots save for Allawites are grounded. (Because, of course, the regime is concerned that they'll defect.) And many of the Allawite pilots are there because of connections, and aren't necessarily very good at it.

            All things in the sky are pure to those who have no telescopes. – Charles Fort

            by subtropolis on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 11:42:17 AM PST

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