In the past, “Dog fights” shared characteristics such as shooting missiles with short distances between aircraft. Today, the systems are more advanced and air-to-air missiles can be launched dozens of kilometers away from the target. How is this done?

Nadav Shaham | Translation: Ofri Aharon

Today’s “Dogfights” are very different from the past. If once it consisted of short distance missile shooting and small distances between aircraft, with the help of advanced weapon systems, now, aircrew members don’t see their opposition and air-to-air missiles can be launched dozens of kilometers away from their targets.

Modern day Dog-Fights

Photography: Archive

Modern “Dogfights” training is called advanced air-to-air training in professional terms due to their use of weapon systems, missiles and advanced means. This past week, the “First Fighter” Squadron and the “Bat” squadron, who operate the F-16C/D, and the “Hammers” Squadron, which operates the F-15I, conducted such an exercise to prepare for the modern threats.

With that, the combat squadrons are still training for the older “Dogfights” in a training exercise called “Basics”, because even though there is a low possibility that such a fight would occur through their service, they are required to develop and maintain the skills that are considered complex and important for their squadron’s abilities.

Modern day Dog-Fights

Photography: Archive

Flying safe
Due to the fact that they are extremely complicated, advanced air-to-air training exercises have great safety risks such as aircraft passing one another in close distances at high speeds and short distances. Thus, there are clear safety regulations defined in the rules and regulations of the IAF. “In comparison to the past, in which the regulations were less clear which caused far more accidents and safety events throughout trainings, today the regulations are very clear”, stated Lt. Col. Ilan, Head of Flight Safety Branch in the headquarters.

Other than the written rules and regulations, the IAF is taking another step towards safety, the cultural side of flight. Within a new program called “flight control” which is being led by the “Knights of the North” Squadron, aircrew members are learning how to stay aware of everything happening around them. “Just like driving a car, when you see a car parked on the side of the road, there is no law that states you must move to the next lane, however, if you are cautious you would do so yourself”, explained Lt. Col. Ilan.
Using the advanced systems in modern aircraft which help the combat WSOs and pilots with the in terms of safety, it is possible to distinguish that in past few decades there has been a reduction in safety events in “Dogfights” trainings. “We’ve identified a reduction of 10% of safety events every year in the past 30 years. At the end of the day, maintaining our safety improves the level of trainings and advances the squadron in the operational sense”, concluded Lt. Col. Ilan.

Modern day Dog-Fights

Photography: Archive