Vietnam war-F-4 Frontal Sparrow Shots?

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armedupdate

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Unread post12 Nov 2017, 05:36

I've been reading a lot on Vietnam war F-4 Phantom tactics. And mostly they seem to be WVR and dogfighting to get in the enemy rear, then fire missiles.

Was it possible to ID frontally and shoot them with Sparrow? In Gulf of Sintra and also in Gulf War, there had been many BVR and WVR frontal shots with Sparrows, but not Vietnam. What was the limits? Was it that the MiGs in Vietnam were so low in the clouds they had to ID them by passing them? Or was IFF and communciation/coordination that bad? Or was it the radars weren't as accurate? Lack of NCTR? Lack of AWACS?
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basher54321

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Unread post12 Nov 2017, 15:57

You should find the ROE was in place because mostly there was no reliable way to ID an enemy aircraft - nothing like NCTR, and IFF by itself only confirms friendlies (not enemy).
Early forms of AWACs (EC-121 variants) had radar with no lookdown coverage so it was all fairly primitive - this improved a tad it seems after the MiG SRO transponders were compromised in the late 60s. Radar Picket ships in the Gulf (Red Crown) only provided look up over land as well. Even with all this finding let alone Identifying airborne MiGs was not easy.


AFAIK there was only 2 means to allow BVR shots:
1. When no friendlies were known to be in the area so F-4s could sweep ahead - IIRC all these attempts failed anyway.
2. As part of exploiting the MiG SRO IFF transponders in 1972 some F-4s carried Combat Tree equipment that would identify Migs and then putting symbology on the Radar scope for the Pilot/RIO.

Another tactic was to have an F-4 out front to ID the MiG so his wingman some distance back could take the shot - this doesn't account for the problem the follow up guy still has in locking up the right contact in n seconds!


The detail is vast - so don't know where to start but these books take the Red Baron data and put it together with more modern information:

https://ospreypublishing.com/usaf-f-4-p ... rs-1965-68
https://ospreypublishing.com/us-navy-f- ... rs-1965-70
https://ospreypublishing.com/us-navy-f- ... rs-1972-73
https://ospreypublishing.com/usaf-f-4-p ... rs-1972-73


Few years old now but a good overview:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Clashes-Combat ... 1591145198

Also worth searching here because there are a few who flew that era.
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armedupdate

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Unread post13 Nov 2017, 05:53

Didn't F-4 had IRST?
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madrat

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Unread post13 Nov 2017, 07:00

Tiger Eye
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basher54321

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Unread post13 Nov 2017, 09:10

armedupdate wrote:Didn't F-4 had IRST?


Kinda - the F-4B has an AAA-4 IR sensor on the bottom of the nose - which AFAIK was replaced by ECM gear quite quickly and totally removed from the F-4J - really don't have much info on it.
The F-4CD had the under nose pod but the AAA-4 was never installed that I know of - but not much help in Identifying Jets compared to combat Tree anyway.
As to why there is lack of information on something so apparently **** you must think can only be due to lack of interest to get it.

A squad of Rivet Haste F-4Es in 1972 carried TISEO in the wing which was an early TCS camera type thing that would have been useful in clear weather I guess - which there wasnt much of over Vietnam.
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armedupdate

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Unread post13 Nov 2017, 10:26

Why didn't ID integators allow for frontal shots? Or was it only available late war?
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basher54321

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Unread post13 Nov 2017, 13:26

armedupdate wrote:Why didn't ID integators allow for frontal shots? Or was it only available late war?


Not sure what you mean by that - but Combat Tree would (and did) allow a head on shot simply because of the BVR ID capability to give the pilot enough time to fire multiple AIM-7s above their minimum range. What would stop that is that some squads insisted on visual ID rules even with the Tree equipment.

You could say 1972 was late in the war really for the US.

Should also add that the difference in technology between Vietnam and the 1991 Gulf conflict was massive - literally night and day.
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madrat

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Unread post13 Nov 2017, 13:46

TISEO came out in time for the block 48 F-4E, and only ten of that block. The TISEO sensor was able to be slaved to radar and make a headon view. The problem was it was equivalent to a 320x240 screen and somewhat blurred by the non-interlaced nature of the lightray scan 'screen drawing' technology. Sharp by the standards of the 1960's, but very primitive compared to technology available a decade later. If you can only see the necessary detail at about 20km, how much time do you figure you'd have to launch at typical closing speeds? Remember, these were not illuminated pictures.

It wasn't totally useless. By Desert Storm crews figured out how to track F-111's at much larger distances when they ran war games. It was a sobering realization than if 1960's fighters could track F-111 flying nap of the earth, surely soviet fighters from the 80's with proper IRST could do it even easier.
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f-16adf

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Unread post14 Nov 2017, 03:08

Yes, here is an AIM-7 front shot (F-4D of Oyster flight) from "Air War Vietnam" by Drew Middleton (center of pg.263)
https://imgur.com/a/HZwql


Same description of that incident is on top of pg. 76 of "Phantom in Combat" and pg. 572 of "Great Book of Modern Warplanes."

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