This is not meant to be an exhaustive guide on air to air tactics, just enough so that if you read this, you will not be worthless.
This is an ultra-minimal list, representing the most common stuff you will hear and should use. For an exhaustive list see: http://en.wikipedia....ki/Brevity_code
Bogey: Unknown contact, treat as hostile but do not fire on it until you get visual or FCR interrogation PID.
Outlaw: Suspected hostile - treat as hostile and fire on it when you are sure its not friendly.
Bandit: Confirmed hostile.
Positive Identification (PID): You can confirm that the target is hostile by means other than AWACS, the best method is visual, but is also the most dangerous. The FCR can also interrogate (scan and classify) targets if you are close enough, in which case the top middle of your FCR will display the class of aircraft. This can be considered PID. PID is EXTREMLY important and required when friendly aircraft are within 20 miles of a target. Do not try to declare a target with AWACS when you are closer than 20 miles to it. Rely on your eyes, RWR or FCR.
(Nose) Hot: Target is turning into you on intercept.
(Nose) Cold: Target is turning away from you and (usually) running.
Beam(ing): Somewhat tricky to explain. When you are beaming a target it means it is on the gimbal limits of your radar just so you can keep it on your FCR but keeping it as far away from you as possible. This is ideal when you want to give some space from a target while still guiding a missile on it. You will see enemy AI doing this as well. You will always want to beam modern russian or chinese jets because you need as much space as possible to defend contemporary air to air missiles.
Notching left/right: Moving on beam away from a target, usually done after you fire a missile at a dangerous threat.
Stripping left/right/up/low: You are breaking formation to engage a target or pursue.
Visual/Blind: You see (visual) or do not see (blind) a friendly contact.
Tally/no joy(or tally): You see (tally) or do not see (no joy/no tally) a enemy or unknown contact.
Offensive: The contact in question is attacking
Defensive: The contact in question is defending a threat
Nails: I see a RWR contact, usually followed by direction "Nails 29, left 10" (I have a mig-29 on my RWR, from my nose left, 10 o'clock)
Naked: I don't see the RWR nail you are talking about
Low: Below 10,000 feet "scan low" means look at shit 10,000 feet or lower
Fox 1: AIM 7 or radar guided missile launch.
Fox 2: AIM9 or infrared missile launch
Fox 3: AIM120 or AIM-54 launch.
" " Inbound: Enemy missile detected on rwr or visually seen and incoming, as in "Adder inbound" or "fox 3 inbound"
Commit/committing: Contact is intent to engage a target. Usually this is called when you report a group and then are going to attack it, you let the rest of the package know.
Supporting: I am covering you while you attack.
High Cover: A common way of supporting a wingman, means you are breaking high and covering them from behind as they attack a target.
Tumbleweed: I have no idea what is going on and need help, implies you don't have good situational awareness
Raygun (bullseye/BRA): Requesting on broadcast if a contact is friendly after you lock them up. If no one replies, suspect it as being hostile.
Buddy Spike (bullseye, altitude): A friendly is locking onto me, stop that.
BRA (pronounced "brah"): Bearing range altitude (attitude). "Bogey Dope" is another brevity code which basically means give a BRA to the bogey you are talking about. Example: 040, 10 miles, 8000, hot.
Angels: Thousands of feet "angels 10" = 10,000 feet
Hound Dog: I see something I want to shoot/ I see the target you are referring to.
Furball: A dogfight involving multiple aircraft. Never fire a AIM-120 into a furball, you can easily kill friendlies.
Pitbull: AIM-120 has gone active, meaning it's going to lock onto the nearest target and kill it.
- The flight leader's job is to lead the 1st element, sort targets, navigate/maneuver the flight and assign shooters.
- You don't shoot until told to do so EXCEPT when threatened by a confirmed hostile aircraft.
- The 2nd element leader's job is to take over if the flight leader dies, lead the 2nd element and perform the flight leader's job when he is defensive.
- The wingmen's jobs are to remain in formation (specifically stay with their wingman AT ALL TIMES) and protect the respective element leaders, as well as to fire at threatening or sorted targets.
- Brevity (using the above terminology) is extremely important, if you don't you will not be able to communicate complex information quick enough. You shouldn't have to say "I don't think I see that on my RWR", it should be "falcon 12 naked." If you think its stupid or just role playing time yourself trying to say the same amount of information using everyday language - you will find its impossible.
- TO ensure maximum security only one element should be offensive at a time while the other element is supporting. There are exceptions to this (such as ambushing a enemy flight) but its a sound principle and rule of thumb.
- An excellent strategy to implement this basic tactic is called a "grinder" - both elements split up, separated by some miles and then engage/defend in alternating bounds. A good formation to accomplish this is a box, in which element 1 is spread, followed by a 5 mile gap and then element 2 in spread behind them.
- This also applies to within an individual element - one wingman should be attacking while the other supports.
- Only the flight leader declares using AWACS.
- All contacts should be declared with AWACS when performing BVR (beyond visual range) engagements (q on keyboard, and then 2).
- Do not fire an AIM-120 into a furball because you can kill friendlies, get PID on all targets within 20 miles of friendlies. In other words if you see a bunch of friendlies on your RWR, mixed with enemy nails, you MUST get PID before engaging.
- Use the datalink for situational awareness and assigning sorted targets. You can also assign stuff to the flight lead that you think might be hostile, rather than saying anything.
- When involved in a package operation, calls should be made on broadcast that you (The flight lead) are engaging, have contact, or defending an enemy or suspected enemy group.
- All members of a package should broadcast launches, "fox 3, bullseye 064 for 43" - this ensures that no one wastes missiles on the same target and aids situational awareness.
- ACM is important for individual defense and offense, but tactics governs group fights.
- Find an enemy group by using AWACS, detecting nose hot contacts on FCR and by interpreting RWR nails.
- Contacts which are nose hot and approaching with a large degree of closure (slam) are probably hostile. Declare these.
- Correspond/interpret the FCR to the RWR.
- At BVR (beyond visual range) ranges the flight lead should try his best to first survey the group, then come up with an attack plan based on a few factors:
- Time/Speed: How fast you are closing on the contact group.
- Space: How much range is between the shooters and the contact group.
- Threats: The behavior and type of the contact group. A enemy group which was hot then suddenly goes cold without an apparent reason may not be cowards, they may be drawing you into a SAM ambush. In such a case, added room between elements and speed is key.
- Capabilities: Weapons the flight has, skills of the pilots, contingencies and "actions on"
- Formation: An enemy group in spread is much more dangerous than an enemy group in trail in a merge (head on) situation.
- An ideal situation is PID of an enemy group at 30+ miles. This gives the flight lead enough time to sort out all the targets. The flight lead should go through every contact and assign them verbally and by using the datalink buttons on the right side of the FCR.
- The flight lead will declare which element is offensive, and which is supporting.
- The offensive element will engage until threatened (mig 29 about to go lethal on RWR for instance, or pop up group from another direction etc) , then go defensive.
- The support element will engage until threatened, then go defensive.
- The element which was originally offensive will now support as the other element goes defensive.
- The flight lead will constantly keep in mind the relation of threats to his flight, maintain a distance by which he can withdraw his flight and maintain cohesion of formation.
- If the bandits are too close for the lead to sort them all out, the 2nd element leader should sort while the lead element engages.
- The flight lead should keep giving maneuver orders to gain a positional advantage on enemy contacts - and keep communicating with the 2nd element leader.
- Basics of support: fly in loose formation with the aircraft you are supporting and ensure the surrounding contacts, terrain or air defenses do not threaten the engaging aircraft. My favorite tactic is to fly high cover, which involves:
- Breaking high and creating some distance between the supported aircraft and yourself (3000 feet-2 miles). Technically doing a "lag pursuit" on your wingman.
- Visually tracking the supported aircraft and looking for launches, AAA, conflicting terrain and other threats
- Glancing at radar and looking for threatening contacts, engaging them if need be
- Following the lead, taking the shot if he overshoots the target or otherwise requests for you to take it out (a hung store/malfunction etc)
- Rejoining on the lead's wing when the target is killed
- When an enemy group attacks your flight, elements should split and one element should maneuver to establish space and time to clear the other element.
- Constant communication is key, when an opening presents itself, utilize the other element to get the upper hand.
- A call of "element 1, strip left, element 2, strip right" is a simple way to accomplish this
- Always stay with and support your wingman, you should never be by yourself. There are situations in which there will be no way to safely defend yourself against a threat without exposing yourself significantly to danger (a mig-29 on your six in close range); you need a wingman to support you.
- Make sure you have a flares program activated when in a furball, migs like to shoot heaters.
- In a situation in which the lead element is ambushed, the first actions of the 2nd element should be to support and rescue the defending element - do so without orders.