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Jet Fighter School

Air Combat Simulator

Tactics and Maneuvers
Richard G. Sheffield

One of the ABC Publishing Companies

Greensboro, North Carolina

Cover photo and all inside photos courtesy McDonnell Douglas Corporation.

Illustrations by Lee Noel, fr.

Copyright 1987, COMPUTE! Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.

Reproduction or translation of any part of this work beyond that permitted by

Sections 107 and 108 of the United States Copyright Act without the permission of
the copyright owner is unlawful.

Printed in the United States of America

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2

ISBN 0-87455-092-0

The author and publisher have made every effort in the preparation of this book to insure the ac-
curacy of the information. However, the information in this book is sold without warranty, either
express or implied. Neither the author nor COMPUTE! Publications, Inc. will be liable for any
damages caused or alleged to be caused directly, indirectly, incidentally, or consequentially by the
information in this book.

The opinions expressed in this book are solely those of the author and are not necessarily those of
COMPUTE! Publications, Inc.

COMPUTE! Publications, Inc., Post Office Box 5406, Greensboro, NC 27403, (919)
275-9809, is part of ABC Consumer Magazines, Inc., one of the ABC Publishing
Companies, and is not associated with any manufacturer of personal computers. ACE:
Air Combat Simulator is copyright 1985 by Cascade Games. Amiga is a trademark of
Commodore-Amiga, Inc. Apple II is a trademark of Apple Computer, Inc. Atari and
Atari ST are trademarks of Atari Corporation. Commodore and Commodore 64 are
trademarks of Commodore Electronics, Ltd. F-15 Strike Eagle and MiG Alley Ace are
trademarks of MicroProse Software. IBM and IBM PC are trademarks of International
Business Machines, Inc. High Roller is a trademark of Mindscape Software. JET is
copyright 1985 by SubLOGIC Corporation. /et Combat Simulator is a trademark of
Epyx Software. Jump /et Combat and Flight Simulator is a trademark of Eurosoft Inter-
national. Macintosh is a trademark licensed to Apple Computer, Inc.
Foreword .. .. .... . ......... . ............. . . .... v

Author's Note . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . vii

Part 1. Ground School . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1

Chapter 1. Development of the F-15 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
Chapter 2. The Airplane
Learn to Turn and Burn . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
Chapter 3. The Pilot . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
Chapter 4. Weapons Systems ................... . 31
Chapter 5. The F-15 in Action . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49
Chapter 6. Air Combat
An Overview of Tactics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55

Part 2. Flight School . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67

Chapter 7. Basic Flight Maneuvers . .......... . . . .. 71
Chapter 8. Offensive Maneuvers .. . .............. 91
Chapter 9. Defensive Maneuvers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 115
Chapter 10. Bombing Techniques .. .. ............. 135
Chapter 11 . Two Versus One . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 143
Chapter 12. Playing the Game
Tips and Information . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 151
Chapter 13. The Missions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 163

Suggested Reading List . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 175

Index . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 176
Not many of us will ever fly a jet fighter. We may well have
the "right stuff," but that doesn't mean we're going to be
trusted with a multi-million-dollar piece of equipment.
Fortunately, that hasn't stopped tens of thousands of
personal-computer owners from experiencing the thrill of jet
flight, and the even greater challenge of jet fighter combat.
Using popular jet fighter simulators-like F-15 Strike Eagle,
JET, Ace, /ump /et, /et Combat Simulator, and others-you can
take your imagination for a jet flight just a few feet off the
ground, or into the highest reaches of the stratosphere.
Simply flying a jet in a simulator is one thing; flying pro-
ficiently is another; and surviving combat is ... well, difficult.
That's why you'll want to rely on /et Fighter School: Air
Combat Simulator Tactics and Maneuvers. To get the most out
of any jet simulator, you need one of two things: a huge num-
ber of "flying" hours, or a good instructor. Richard Sheffield,
an ace jet combat simulator pilot who's logged hundreds of
hours on a variety of programs, becomes your mentor and
guide as he shows you how to fly-and live.
F-15 Strike Eagle, the most popular of the jet combat simu-
lators now available, is the foundation of /et Fighter School.
Though much of the information, and all of the flying and
combat techniques, can be applied to other simulators, it's
with F-15 that you'll find this book especially valuable.
You'll read about the F-15 aircraft, its development, and
flying and combat history. You'll discover details of its opera-
tion and armament, and how both apply to simulator flying.
And you'll learn criteria for air combat effectiveness, steps in
the air combat process, and rules for successful aerial warfare.
The heart of /et Fighter School, however, is a series of jet
fighter maneuvers-each described and illustrated in detail-
that will make you a better jet simulator pilot, and make you a
jet simulator pilot who survives.
From a simple roll to the High Yo-Yo, all the maneuvers
are based on real jet fighter techniques. You can practice them,
learn them, and use them to devastating results.

Can't seem to shake that persistent opponent? Use a high-
G barrel roll to make him overshoot and put him in your sights.
Is an enemy aircraft heading right for you? Pull back on the
stick, pitch back into a loop, and then tum behind the target.
Once you know how to fly with the best of them, you can
try any of the F-15 scenarios outlined in ]et Fighter School.
Striking deep into enemy territory and returning home takes
skill and strategy. This book shows how to accomplish both;
winning methods for each scenario are included.
There's even an entire chapter of hints and tips on better
simulator "play," from accumulating more points to gliding
when you're out of fuel. Some of the information was gath-
ered from other F-15 Strike Eagle players, and from conversa-
tions with Bill Stealey, President of MicroProse Software, and
Sid Meier, the author of F-15 Strike Eagle.
If you like to do more than just sightsee when you fly a
simulator-if you like to climb into the jet cockpit and pit
your skills against the best computer opponent, you'll find ]et
Fighter School: Air Combat Simulator Tactics and Maneuvers an
invaluable partner.
Hit the afterburners, climb until you're pressed against the
seat, and keep your eyes open. With Jet Fighter School you'll
quickly be an ace.

Author's Note
I decided early on to develop this book with the F-15 Strike
Eagle simulation in mind. (F-15 Strike Eagle was developed
by MicroProse Software, 120 Lakefront Dr., Hunt Valley, MD,
I chose F-15 largely because of the high-quality in-flight
simulation characteristics and the variety of weapons avail-
able. This does not mean, however, that owners of other air
combat simulators cannot use the tactics and maneuvers de-
scribed in Jet Fighter School. In fact, most of the offensive and
defensive maneuvers translate very well to other jet and jet
combat simulations.
These other simulations include:

713 Edgebrook Drive
Champaign, IL 61820
This is a simulation of the Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon and
the Navy F-18 Hornet.
0 High Roller
3444 Dundee Road
Northbrook, IL 60062
High Roller is a simulation of the U.S. Marine Corps' Harrier
vertical-takeoff and -landing jet fighter.
0 MiG Alley Ace
MicroProse Software
120 Lakefront Dr.
Hunt Valley, MD 21030
MiG Alley Ace is a simulation of the F-86 Sabrejet, the C-119
transport, the F9F Panther, and the F80 Shooting Star. These
aircraft are used in simulated Korean War combat with MiG-15
and Yak-9 fighters used by the Koreans. Allows two players to
fly against one another or in support of one another against
two MiGs.

0 Jump Jet Combat and Flight Simulator
Eurosoft International
P.O. Box 2653
Westport, CT 06880
Jump Jet is a simulation of the Harrier jump jet used by the
Royal Air Force.
0 ]et Combat Simulator
1043 Kiel Court
Sunnyvale, CA 94089
This simulation uses the F-15 Eagle to protect a group of
friendly air bases from attack.
0 ACE: Air Combat Emulator
Spinnaker Software
One Kendall Square
Cambridge, MA 02139
ACE is a simulation of a fictional jet fighter used to combat air,
ground, and sea targets. Good two-pilot operation.
This, I'm sure, is by no means a complete list of all the jet
combat simulations currently available. I am, however, famil-
iar with the operation of these programs and feel confident
that users of these simulations will benefit from the infor-
mation in this book.

Richard Sheffield

Before a prospective jet fighter pilot steps into an aircraft, he
or she has already spent hundreds of hours in intensive flight-
training ground school.
It's here that the future pilot studies-and studies in great
detail-subjects ranging from aircraft mechanics to
The next few chapters will give you a brief overview of
the topics covered in ground school as they pertain to using
the F-15 Strike Eagle simulation:
0 Development of the F-15 Strike Eagle
0 Basic pilot considerations
0 Basic aerodynamics
0 Weapon systems
Proper use of F-15 weapons
Enemy threats
0 Theories of Air Combat

of the F-15
The F-15 design began as a swing-wing air superiority
fighter, was altered to its present appearance, and meta-
morphosed into a two-man dual-role fighter version. Here
we trace the history of the F-15.

The process of developing a military aircraft is a long and com-

plicated affair. Often the end product bears little resemblance
to the original concept. Such was the case with the F-15.
The F-15 program came out of the Air Force's experience
during the early 1960s, when it felt it needed a new fighter
plane to replace the aging F-4 Phantom. While the F-4 was
one of the most versatile aircraft ever developed, the Air Force
believed there was a need for a pure air-combat fighter in the
tradition of the P-51 Mustang and the F-86 Sabre.

The FX program (Fighter eXperimental) was the result. The
first FX proposals were very heavy (60,000 pounds) and em-
ployed the then-fashionable swing-wing design. This being too
much like the ill-fated F-111 design, the momentum swung in
the other direction, until in 1967 the conceived aircraft was
down to 30,000 pounds.
This 30,000-pound aircraft may have been developed had
it not been for the Soviet Domodedovo Air Show in July 1967.
It was there that the Soviets unveiled their new MiG-25, later
designated Foxbat by NATO. The MiG-25 was capable of
speeds up to Mach 2.8 and had an operational ceiling of
80,000 feet. It was immediately obvious that the current U.S.
aircraft-the F-4 Phantom-was no match for the MiG-25 .
The FX project was sped up, and bids to develop and build
this new jet fighter were received from many aircraft manufac-
turers. By December 1968 the field had been narrowed to Mc-


Donnell Douglas Aircraft Company, Fairchild Hiller, and

North American. The project aircraft was then officially desig-
nated as the F-15.

The name Eagle, however, wasn't immediately chosen. James
McDonnell, "Mr. Mac," as he was known, preferred names
derived from his interest in the occult-names like Phantom,
Voodoo, Banshee, and Demon. When he agreed to consider bird
names, Eagle was proposed. Since the F-15 was designed to be
an all-weather fighter, when someone read in a wildlife book
that the eagle was a bird that could hunt in bad weather, the
name was adopted.
It was during this period that the possibility of using a
modified version of the Navy's F-14 was first proposed. Con-
gress wanted the Air Force and Navy to use the same aircraft;
commonality was the latest buzzword. A number of studies,
however, drew some conclusions. The F-14 wasn't maneuver-
able enough and required a two-man crew, something unac-
ceptable to the Air Force. The idea of adapting the F-15 to
function as a Navy carrier plane was also scrapped-costs
would have increased while performance decreased with the
addition of systems to use the Navy's Phoenix long-range
In December, 1969, McDonnell Douglas was named the
winner of the F-15 contract. This contract called for 20 aircraft.
The program director said the purpose of the program was "to
efficiently acquire a fighter capable of gaining and maintaining
air superiority through air-to-air combat."
The designers' philosophy became not a pound for air-to-
ground. In other words, they were to build a pure dogfighter.
The design-concept paper for the F-15 stated that the gen-
eral mission of the aircraft was that of air superiority, broken
down into subheadings of escorting strike forces over un-
friendly airspace, fighter sweeps ahead of these strike forces,
combat air patrol, and tactical intercept/defense of friendly
The most difficult of these missions, and the one most
preferred by F-15 pilots, is the escorting or protecting of strike
forces over enemy territory. Here exists the threat of antiair-
craft artillery and surface-to-air missiles, as well as enemy
fighters directed by ground control.
Development of the F- l 5

Out the Door

On June 16, 1972, the first F-15 rolled out of the McDonnell
Douglas manufacturing plant in St. Louis. On July 27, 1969,
the plane made its first flight from Edwards Air Force Base in
The initial test program went fairly smoothly, mainly due
to the extensive wind-tunnel testing which had been
The main changes made consisted of increasing the size of
the airbrake and changing the pressure required to operate the
control stick.
Figure 1- 1. The F- 15 Eagle

Two F-15 Eagles flying in close formation. Note the AIM-9L Sidewinder
missiles beneath each aircraft's wings.

The initial weapons proposals also proved to be a prob-

lem. The F-15 was to have been fitted with the new GAU-7
25mm cannon which used caseless ammunition-there were
no metal shell casings which would have to be stored or
ejected. Also, the new AIM-82 infrared missile was to be uti-
lized. Both of these systems had numerous problems. The de-
signers decided that, since they were using a totally new
airframe, new engines, and new avionics, they'd do best to stick
to tried-and-true weapons systems.

The General Electric M61 20mm gun and the AIM-9L

Sidewinder missile were selected because they had been used
effectively for years.
F- 15 Versus F-4
The final design of the F-15 was a vast improvement over its
predecessor, the F-4. Many systems are much easier to main-
tain and service. The F-15 has 67 quick-access doors, for in-
stance-four times the number on the F-4. And the re-launch
turnaround time is 12 minutes-45 percent faster than that of
the F-4.
Head-to-Head: The F-15 and F-4
System F-15 F-4
Cockpit instruments 30 48
Black boxes 106 294
Flight control devices 9 16
Electrical connectors 808 905
Fuel system connectors 97 281
Lubrication points 202 510
Types of fasteners 1200 2800
Drag chute needed No Yes
The safety record of the F-15 is also extraordinary. It is
the only fighter to complete its first 5000 hours of flight time
without an accident.
The F-15 into Active Service
The first probation F-15 was delivered for active service to
Luke Air Force Base on November 14, 1974. Since then, the F-
15 has been deployed at United States Air Force (USAF) bases
around the world. It also has been sold to Israel, Japan, and
Saudi Arabia. Currently, the F-15 is being deployed to select
units of the Air National Guard.

The F- 15 Strike Eagle

After the development of the F-15 for air combat missions, the
USAF still needed a replacement for the aging F-111. The Air
Force sought a dual-role fighter (DRF). Ironically, the very
characteristics which made the F-15 an excellent fighter would
also make it a contender for the DRF program.

Development of the F-15

Multistage improvement programs began for both the F-

15 and F-16 aircraft. Modifying the F-16 to perform this dual
role required a new wing design, while F-15 modifications
were made more in the area of avionics and airframe strength-
ening. Based on the cost of the programs, the F-15 was cho-
sen, and on February 24, 1984, the Air Force Chief of Staff
approved $1.5 billion to be spent to upgrade 392 F-15s to per-
form the dual-role fighter mission. The F-15 ORF was desig-
nated the Strike Eagle.
Figure 1-2. F-15E Strike Eagle

The F-1 SE Strike Eagle has a two-man crew, advanced display systems,
and the ability to carry a wide range of air-to-air and air-to-ground

The F-15 Strike Eagle is a two-man aircraft, with many

changes to the cockpit. This redesign allo\Ved a new wide
field of vision heads-up display, automated navigation, and a
series of nondedicated screens which can be used for display-
ing moving area maps, weapons choices, radar mapping, and
FLIR (Forward Looking InfraRed). These screens can be used
for targeting weapons and navigation. Software enhancements
to the existing radar system allow use of high-resolution radar
ground maps and target detection up to 100 nautical miles


Figure 1-3. F-15 Strike Eagle Screens

This is a view of the front (top) and rear (bottom) seats of the F- l 5E
Strike Eagle displays and screens. Note that this is a simulator.

This new F-15E Strike Eagle can deliver a payload similar

to that of an F-111 and can defend itself in the process-
something the F-111 cannot do.

Development of the F- l 5

F- 15 Streak Eagle
Computer projections at McDonnell Douglas predicted that the
F-15 should easily beat many of the current time-to-altitude
records. In early 1975, the Streak Eagle program went into
At Grand Forks Air Force Base in North Dakota, a modi-
fied F-15 broke all of the existing time-to-altitude records. This
F-15 had been stripped of the gun, radar, some avionics, tail
hook, one generator, some of the hydraulic system, and flap
and speedbrake actuators. Forty pounds of external paint was
even removed.
After achieving the 30,000-meter (98,425 feet) record, the
F-15 continued up to over 102,000 feet before falling over and
starting its descent. This made it the obvious choice for deliv-
ering the ASAI antisatellite weapon.
Streak Eagle Records

Times in seconds
Previous Type of F-15 Percent
Altitude Time Aircraft Time Improvement
3000m (9843') 34.52 F-4 27.57 20
6000m (19685') 48 .79 F-4 39.33 19
9000m (29528') 61.68 F-4 48 .81 21
12000m (39370') 77.14 F-4 59.38 23
15000m (49212') 114.50 F-4 77.02 33
20000m (65617') 169.80 MiG25 122.94 28
25000m (82021') 192.60 MiG25 161.02 16
30000m (98425') 243 .86 MiG25 207.80 15

The Airplane
Learn to Turn and Burn
To be a successful jet fighter pilot, you must be able to
make your aircraft do what you want, when you want . This
chapter offers a basic understanding of how your aircraft
maneuvers and the forces which affect it in flight.

To effectively operate in the air combat arena, you must have

a basic understanding of how the aircraft maneuvers and of
the various forces which affect the aircraft in flight. A proper
understanding of these concepts will give you a "gut feeling"
for how your aircraft is operating and will let you make quick
and accurate decisions concerning what your aircraft can do in
a combat situation.

Maneuvering a Jet in Flight

The joystick controls the direction of the aircraft. In normal
flight, you pull back on the joystick to climb (gain altitude),
push forward to dive, and push left or right to bank (tum) left
or right, respectively. Holding the joystick to the right or left
makes the aircraft roll.
The aircraft performs these maneuvers by responding to
your control inputs and adjusting the various control surfaces:
the ailerons, the rudders, and the elevators.
The ailerons are located on each wing and control the
banking, turning, and rolling of the aircraft.
The rudders are located on the vertical stabilizer (tail) and
control the yaw (right and left) movement.
The elevators are the smaller winglike surfaces on the tail
section. These control the pitch of the aircraft, which produces
up or down movement.
Your F-15 simulator aircraft is controlled in basically the
same manner as an actual jet fighter which employs a fly by
wire system. In this system, the pilot's controls are not directly
connected to the control surfaces. Instead, the control com-
mands from the pilot's joystick are sent to a computer which


Figure 2-1 . Control Surfaces


Figure 2-2. Aerodynamic Forces


..-Drag Bd ~ J:=:> Thrust__,..


The Airplane

then adjusts the various control surfaces to change the air-

craft's flight path. The jet combat simulators work the same
way-you push the joystick in the desired direction and the
computer adjusts the control surfaces to point you in that
Basic Aerodynamic Considerations
An aircraft in flight is acted upon by a number of forces, the
most important being weight, thrust, lift, and drag.
Weight is the force which pulls your aircraft toward the
ground. This is affected not only by the weight of the aircraft
itself, but also by the weight of unused fuel and any weapons
which are carried.
Thrust is the forward power of the aircraft, produced by
the engines. This can be affected by altitude.
Lift is the force produced by the wings moving through
the air, which pulls the aircraft up. Lift is affected by the angle
of the wing and the speed of the aircraft.
Drag is the force which pulls on your aircraft and tries to
slow you down. This can be affected by an external load you're
carrying, such as bombs, missiles, or external fuel tanks.
Many hours of classroom training in military flight
schools are devoted to understanding these forces, but this
knowledge really doesn't help you fly your simulator better.
What does help is an understanding of how these forces affect
the various performance capabilities of your aircraft.

Aircraft Performance Capabilities

Energy Maneuverability
The concept of energy awareness during air combat is fairly
new. Wise use and conservation of energy during combat will
increase your chances of victory.
Your aircraft has two kinds of energy: kinetic and
Kinetic energy is related to speed. High levels of kinetic en-
ergy, or speed, are needed to perform many combat maneuvers.
Potential energy is related to altitude. If you have low
speed (kinetic energy) but high altitude (potential energy), you
can dive and pick up speed needed to perform a series of com-
bat maneuvers. Conversely, if you have high speed but low


altitude, you can convert this speed (kinetic energy) into alti-
tude (potential energy) by climbing.
To illustrate this concept, consider the following
Example 1. You're at low altitude, approaching an enemy air-
craft-which is at the same altitude-head on. You're flying
considerably faster than your opponent. As you approach, you
pull up into a steep climb, and your opponent pulls up after
you. This is called a zoom maneuver. Since you possess more
kinetic energy (you are flying faster), you're able to climb
higher and gain the advantage.
Example 2. You're following an enemy aircraft that's flying at
the same speed that you are. You're at a higher altitude. As your
enemy twists and turns in an effort to escape, he'll lose speed
(kinetic energy). If you follow him through those turns, you'll
lose speed, too. But, because you're at a higher altitude, you
have more potential energy, so you can dive to pick up speed,
catch the enemy, and maneuver into a good firing position.
What this means to you, a fighter pilot, is that you must
constantly keep an eye on your speed and altitude during
combat. A heavy-handed pilot who twists and turns the air-
craft around without paying attention to energy losses will
soon be unable to maneuver. Once lost, energy is hard to re-
gain-your only hope is to dive hard and regain some speed.
(This assumes, of course, that you've left yourself enough alti-
tude to perform the maneuver.) The lesson here is to avoid
low altitude, low speed conditions. If you don't, you're a sitting
duck for air-to-air or surface-to-air fire.
A good rule of thumb is to maintain a high cruise speed
(Mach .9 or so) and a good cushion of altitude (35,000 feet or
so) when entering a combat situation. With this speed and al-
titude, you have all the options-climbing or diving at will.
Climb Performance
The ability of your aircraft to gain altitude, or climb, is ham-
pered by weight and drag. The easiest way to improve your
climb performance is to get rid of any unnecessary equipment.
If you're going to concentrate on air-to-air combat, get rid of
any bombs you're carrying. All that air-to-mud equipment
only slows you down, making you more vulnerable.

The Airplane

If you have external fuel tanks that are empty (in the F-15
Strike Eagle, for instance, your external tanks are empty when
fuel remaining is less than 13,500 pounds), drop these, too, for
they increase drag, hurting your ability to climb.
The F-15 has excellent climb performance when not
loaded down with bombs or fuel. The F-15 is considered bal-
listic because it can produce more pounds of thrust than the
plane weighs and therefore can accelerate straight up at full
Figure 2-3. Balllstlc Cllmb
An F-15 in an air-to-air configuration (AIM-7 Sparrow
and AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles) in a ballistic climb.


For each aircraft, there's an optimum climb rate where

trading speed for altitude and altitude for speed is minimized.
When performing a sustained climb, keep your airspeed in
mind. If you climb too steeply, you'll use fuel faster and lose
air speed which will take some time to recover once you reach
your desired altitude. If your climb is too shallow, it will take
longer to reach your desired altitude.
Acceleration Performance
Acceleration is primarily affected by weight and thrust. Kick-
ing in the afterburner increases your speed somewhat, but the
best way to pick up a lot of speed in a short amount of time is
to dive.
The trick here is not to push hard on the stick in an at-
tempt to dive straight down, but to perform a maneuver called
unloading. In unloading, you're removing the weight of the
aircraft that slows acceleration.
To do this, push forward on the stick slightly to obtain a
10 dive. That starts a gradual dive and produces a zero G
condition. This is similar to going over a small hill with a car
or bicycle-as you go over the crest, you're momentarily
weightless and start to come out of the seat. The same thing
happens when you unload an aircraft. However, an aircraft
can continue to lose altitude and thus remain unloaded for
quite some time.
Without the weight of the airplane holding it back, the
speed of the plane can be increased rapidly. This can happen
so quickly, in fact, that you need to keep your eye on the air-
speed indicator to make sure you don't exceed the structural
design limits of the aircraft, or Vmax. The Vmax of an aircraft
is the maximum airspeed it can attain without ripping its
wings off.
The F-15 Strike Eagle simulator gives a visual warning
when you're approaching Vmax. When you see this warning,
you should immediately cut power, extend your airbrakes, or
pull up. (Make sure you already know which key operates the
airbrakes, because you won't have time to look it up.)
Another method of increasing acceleration is to use a very
steep dive. During a steep or ballistic dive, gravity greatly in-
creases your aircraft's acceleration. In this case, if two planes
are equal in all aspects but weight, the heavier plane will ac-
celerate faster and achieve a higher terminal velocity.

The Airplane

And if two planes are equal in weight but one has lower
drag (because its shape is more efficient or it's carrying fewer
externals such as drop tanks or bombs), the one with the
lower drag will have the acceleration advantage.
Even in this kind of steep or ballistic dive, it's best to per-
form the unloading maneuver first, then progress to steeper
dive angles.
Turning Performance
One of the most important performance characteristics of a
modern fighter plane is its ability to turn sharply and to main-
tain a tight turn for an extended period of time. In most con-
texts maneuverability and turn performance are synonymous.
The better an aircraft's turn performance, the better it maneu-
vers. That, of course, translates into a better chance of winning
a fighter/fighter contest.
Turn performance is generally divided into two types-in-
stantaneous turn performance and sustained turn performance.
Instantaneous turn performance is the ability of an air-
craft to turn at any given point in time. This is a function of
the aircraft's speed and altitude. As the term implies, this turn
doesn't have to be sustained for more than an instant. Some-
thing called maximum instantaneous turn performance is
achieved at very high speeds. Altitude is also a factor here
since, as you get higher, the density of air is reduced. The re-
duced amount of air passing over the wings reduces lift ca-
pability. This then reduces the turning performance.
Sustained turn performance is the ability of an aircraft to
maintain a turn for an extended period of time. Turn per-
formance is measured three ways:
0 Load factor, or G's (gravity units) pulled during the turn. In a
5-G turn, the pilot weighs five times as much as normal.
0 Turn radius. This is the area it takes to accomplish a com-
plete turn. Turn radius is normally expressed in feet or
0 Turn rate. This is how fast the aircraft is changing course
during a level turn. This is expressed in degrees of change
per second.
The maximum G force an aircraft can handle is set by the
manufacturer and normally allows for a significant safety mar-
gin. High-G turns can be performed at low and high speeds,


but keep in mind that any time you're performing a maximum

G turn, all available lift is used just to maintain the current al-
titude. If you must climb, you'll have to reduce the angle and
severity of the turn.
However, the aircraft's maximum-G turning ability is not
the most important factor to a fighter pilot. Turn rate and turn
radius are more important because they determine the ability
of the aircraft to turn inside another plane-either to escape or
to obtain the necessary lead angle for a shot.
Maximum turn rate and minimum turn radius can best be
obtained in high G, low speed turns. Normally the speed in
these turns is just slightly higher than the stall speed for that
aircraft. When turning this slow at maximum G, it becomes
imperative that you watch your airspeed-a stall will send you
rapidly toward the ground and disrupt any maneuver you're
attempting. Once your airspeed starts to bleed off in these
turns you must decrease the G load in order to increase air-
speed and prevent a stall.
Care should also be taken when you're increasing thrust
or decreasing G's during a turning fight. This can easily cause
you to overshoot your opponent and quickly change your pos-
ture from an offensive one to a defensive one.
Roll Performance
Roll performance is the ability of the aircraft to change its plane
(geometrically speaking) of operation, its ability to go from
level flight to inverted flight or into a steep bank maneuver.
Roll acceleration determines how fast an aircraft can get
into a steep banking maneuver or a continuous roll. This is a
good measure of the aircraft's "agility." The aircraft that can
roll the fastest has the advantage during a close turning fight.
Roll performance and roll acceleration are basically deter-
mined by the design of the aircraft, though roll acceleration
can be increased by unloading the aircraft before performing
the roll. Be sure to level out the plane after the roll to prevent
an excessive loss of altitude.
Inverted Flight Performance
The F-15 has excellent inverted (upside down) flight-performance
characteristics. It's very steady and can even climb while in-
verted. Sustained inverted flight is rarely necessary in combat

The Airplane



situations, but brief periods of inverted flight are necessary to

perform many of the offensive and defensive maneuvers used
in air combat.
Developing good inverted flight skills takes time and
practice. All controls are reversed when you're flying upside
down. To fly toward the ground, for instance, you pull back on
the stick; to go up, you push forward. To execute a bank to the
right, you must push the stick to the left. These skills should
be practiced and perfected so you don't make the mistake of
flying into trouble rather than away from it.
Jet aircraft wings are very efficient and provide a great
amount of lift. When you need to dive in a hurry, this lift ca-
pability can be used to pull you down toward the ground by
flying inverted and pulling back on the stick. This is an often-
used escape maneuver-you not only dive quickly, but when
you pull out you're heading 180 from your original course.

Fly by the Seat of Your Pants

It's not important that you memorize all the flight characteris-
tics of your aircraft and all the possible combinations of speed
versus weight.
What is important is that you develop a "seat of the
pants" feel for what effect these characteristics have on your
jet fighter, and, more importantly, that you're able to antici-
pate the result of a maneuver.

The Pilot
Being a winning combat pilot, whether you're flying a
computer simulator or a 30-million-dollar airplane, requires
confidence and aggressiveness. See how these two
personality traits-and other skills-can make you a
better combat simulation pilot.

In 1915, a young Dutchman named Anthony Fokker was de-

signing airplanes for the German army. Intrigued and inspired
by a clumsy British design, he was the first to develop a sys-
tem that could successfully fire a machine gun through turning
propeller blades. In many ways, Fokker ushered in the age of
air combat.
During World War I and World War II, dominance of the
air became a major tactical advantage, and sophisticated train-
ing courses in air combat maneuvering were developed.
With the advent of the jet age, training became even more
important-the speeds and distances involved increased dra-
matically. During the war in Vietnam, these speeds were
thought to be so great that the first F-4 Phantoms weren't
equipped with guns at all, but were only loaded with long-
and short-range missiles.
The theorists quickly learned, however, that many air bat-
tles were still fought at close range, and that missiles weren't
very effective in close quarters. Once again, heavy emphasis
was placed on training pilots in air combat maneuvering, and
guns were put back on jet fighters.

Your Own Jet Fighter

For the first time, anyone with access to a personal computer
can sit in the cockpit of a sophisticated jet fighter and expe-
rience a very real simulation of air combat. The designers of
simulations like F-15 Strike Eagle, JET, Jet Combat Simulator,
and others, have gone to great lengths to program accurate
performance characteristics of some of today's most advanced
aircraft and weapons systems.


But accurate aircraft performance doesn't automatically

turn the average computer user into a Top Gun jet fighter pi-
lot. In the area of training, most of the available simulations
are lacking. A first-time user of these programs is in the same
position as World War I pilots, learning air combat maneuver-
ing by the slow (and dangerous) process of trial and error. The
purpose of Jet Fighter School is to let the simulator pilot more
effectively use his or her aircraft and weapon systems.
With today's advanced technology, airplanes can acceler-
ate straight up and missiles can destroy an enemy aircraft 60
miles away-even before the pilot sees it. These capabilities
are only important, however, when they're in the hands of a
well-trained pilot. Now, as in 1915, the pilot is the most im-
portant part of the system.
Fighter pilots come in all shapes and sizes, but they gen-
erally exhibit similar temperaments and personality traits
when flying. Understanding and attempting to adopt the same
attitudes when using air combat simulators will improve your
performance and make the games more fun to play.
To be a successful combat pilot, whether you're flying a
computer simulator or a 30-million-dollar airplane, you must
have confidence and aggressiveness. These two traits form the
basis of a good fighter pilot attitude. All great combat pilots
have the confidence and aggressiveness to identify a target,
and to pursue and attack relentlessly until that target is de-
stroyed. In aerial combat, there are no points for second place.
Most dogfights last only a couple of minutes, so if you don't
constantly push the attack or totally disengage, you can be-
come a target very quickly. Your computer opponent makes no
obvious mistakes and is constantly trying to gain the advan-
tage for a shot. You must do the same.
The fact that you're only simulating combat gives you the
opportunity to disregard caution and feel the thrill of combat
without the consequences. In other words, take a chance on a
dangerous maneuver. What have you got to lose?
Actually, the United States Air Force and Navy use jet
simulators to teach pilots air combat maneuvering for the very
same reason: The best way to learn is to learn by doing.

The Pilot

The Fighter Pilot's Mission

The jet fighter pilot's mission is to intercept, engage, out-
maneuver, out-gun, and eliminate enemy aircraft. That's it,
pure and simple.
Any true fighter pilot will tell you that there are two kinds
of aircraft-fighters and targets.
An aircraft that has anything to do with delivering air-to-
ground weapons (bombs) is a target. Heavy bomb loads re-
duce maneuverability and speed, as well as causing your
aircraft to gulp fuel more rapidly. Whenever you're simulating
air-to-air combat, then, get rid of your bomb load at the first
opportunity. With your load lightened, you become a very
dangerous weapon, ready to go looking for trouble.
Fighters sent up just to look for trouble generally fly what's
known as the Combat Air Patrol (CAP). Fighters flying a CAP
are configured strictly for air-to-air combat. F-15s on CAP
usually carry Sidewinder short-range missiles, Sparrow medium-
range missiles, and a Gatling gun or cannon. This mission fits
well with the F-15 Strike Eagle simulator capabilities.

Pilot Training
Getting the most out of a combat aircraft and its weapon sys-
tems takes a very skilled and highly trained pilot. Jet Fighter
School offers a condensed and simplified pilot training course
covering the same topics discussed daily in military jet pilot
training centers all over the world.
First the pilot must learn aerodynamics and how to get
the best performance from the aircraft during a combat situa-
tion. The pilot should develop a gut feeling for flying-there's
very little time to concentrate on flying the plane during actual
combat. Flying must be instinctive.
Next, the weapons systems must be mastered. Fighter
planes exist only to bring weapons close to an enemy. The ad-
vantages and disadvantages of every weapon available, and of
those likely to be used against a fighter's aircraft, must be
learned and understood.
Finally, actual combat maneuvering must be learned. All
pilots learn the same basic maneuvers and tactics. The diffi-
culty is in knowing what maneuver to use in the ever-changing
set of combat circumstances. The complexity of air combat


precludes any set "correct" ways of responding to a given set

of conditions. Experience is the only way to master air combat.
It's here that simulators play an important role.
The U.S. military currently uses two kinds of simulators-
pilot against the computer, and pilot against pilot (twin tub)
In the pilot-versus-computer simulators, the pilot tries to
shoot down an enemy aircraft which is controlled by the com-
puter. Military simulators are far more sophisticated versions
of the simulation games you use on your personal computer.
The twin tub systems allow two pilots to fly against one
another with the aid of a computer. Currently, the only home
simulation with this capability is MiG Alley Ace.
Once the basics of one-on-one combat are learned, multiple-
aircraft fighting must be mastered. This is usually taught in
the air in mock combat drills. These skills are then refined at
the U.S. Air Force's "Aggressor Unit" or the Navy's "Top
Gun" school.
Attention to detail is the credo for military combat pilots.
Likewise, close attention to the details described in Jet Fighter
School will improve your scores and your enjoyment of your
air combat simulation, whether it's F-15 Strike Eagle, JET, or
any other.

Weapons Systems
Learn what weapons your F-15 carries, their capabilities,
and what decisions you need to make when flying
and fighting.

The F-15 is, as is any fighter plane, nothing more than a flying
weapons-delivery system. Great flying and maneuvering skills
are important, but they won't destroy the enemy. These skills
must be used to bring the weapons system close enough to
the enemy to be effective. The pilot then must decide on the
appropriate weapon for that particular situation.
To make a correct decision, all of the operational require-
ments for the available weapons must be understood. These
include the position and range of the enemy, and the speed of
your aircraft and of the target.
The F-15 Strike Eagle simulation employs three air-to-air
weapons systems which provide excellent close- to medium-
range coverage-guns, short-range Sidewinder missiles, and
medium-range Sparrow missiles.

Air-to-air guns were thought to be obsolete after the invention
of the guided missile. In fact, the first fighter planes sent to
Vietnam were equipped only with missiles. It was quickly re-
alized, though, that many fights took place at very close quar-
ters-too close, in fact, for air-to-air missiles. Guns have been
standard equipment on all fighters ever since.
The F-15 is equipped with a six-barrel Gatling-style can-
non which fires 20mm exploding shells at a rate of 6000
rounds per minute. Your Eagle is only equipped with 1000
rounds, so care must be taken not to use your ammunition too
quickly. Short, controlled bursts are recommended.
Gun combat takes place at close range, so it is the most
exciting combat and requires the greatest skill on the pilot's
part. Keep these things in mind when you try to down an op-
ponent using your aircraft's guns.


The enemy must be plainly visible to be within range of your
guns. You should be able to see clearly the wings and tail of
the enemy plane.
Range can best be determined by using your radar screen
in the short-range mode. Any time an enemy aircraft is within
one grid of you on the radar screen, you should be able to hit
it with your guns. The farther away it is, however, the closer
to the center of your gun sight it must be for you to score a hit.
When using the radar in the close-range mode, check it
frequently-surface-to-air or air-to-air missiles close very
quickly, and you'll have little time to react. If possible, switch
the radar view occasionally to medium or long range to spot
incoming missiles.
To score a gun kill, you must get close to the enemy. If you're
behind your target, this means you must be the one moving
faster. Don't close in too quickly, though, or you might over-
shoot the enemy aircraft and find yourself in front of your op-
ponent. The computer doesn't miss.
To avoid this, close in slowly. Once you're in proper posi-
tion behind the enemy aircraft, you can close in slowly by div-
ing slightly. This will increase your speed without your having
to increase power. When you're within good gun range, pull
up slightly to put the enemy in the gun sight. This usually
slows you down enough to prevent an overshoot. If the other
aircraft starts to pass underneath you, react quickly and extend
your speedbrake or execute a break turn.
Banking Angle
To keep the other aircraft in the gun sight once you've got it
there, you'll need to make the same maneuvers that it does.
This is best done by watching the enemy, not the radar screen.
Try to keep the wings of your aircraft in the same plane (geo-
metrically speaking) as that of your opponent (Figure 4-1 ). Do
this and you'll remain directly behind your opponent. From
that position you'll be able to score several hits and possibly
destroy the other aircraft before the opponent can lose you.
This attack is called a tracking shot.

Weapons Systems

Figure 4-1. Banking at the Same Angle

Both aircraft's wings are in the same geometric plane . The pursuing air-
craft (2) banks at the same angle to remain in a good gun position.




Lead Angle
When you're not directly behind your enemy and he's moving
across your screen, you'll need to fire early so that he is in the
gunsight when the shells arrive at his position. You can't wait
until he's in your gunsight to fire .
Proper lead-angle timing can only be acquired with prac-
tice. This type of quick passing attack is called a snapshot.

Figure 4-2. Lead Angle

The greater the angle of the two aircraft's paths, the more you must
lead the enemy.

Weapons Systems


The advent of the air-to-air missile has greatly changed the
nature of air combat. No longer is it necessary to get close to
an enemy to score a kill. The medium-range Sparrow missile
carried by your F-15 can hit an enemy aircraft while it's still
well beyond visual range.
The short-range Sidewinder missile is an excellent alterna-
tive to guns when you're in a fairly close-range fight.
Both of the missiles carried on your F-15 are all aspect
missiles. This means that they can track and destroy an enemy
coming toward you, going away from you, or flying across
your path. They can also be fired when your opponent is at
any angle to you. They'll lock onto the target and attempt to
follow and hit it. You can even fire at an enemy directly be-
hind you.
The most efficient method, however, is to fire directly at
or slightly ahead of your target. This provides the shortest
path to the target and allows more time for the missile to ma-
neuver and follow a turning enemy.
It's important to remember that once you've fired a mis-
sile, you can't fire another until the first has completed its
flight. You can, though, use your guns. An enemy trying to
evade a missile shot will sometimes maneuver into gun range,
so keep pressing the attack while your missile is in the air.
Heat-Seeking Missiles
Your F-15 is equipped with four AIM-9L Sidewinder heat-
seeking missiles. The effective range of the missiles is one-half
mile to ten miles. It's important to note the half-mile mini-
mum range. These missiles accelerate very quickly, so unless
you're directly behind your opponent, a shot fired at a range
closer than one-half mile will shoot right past your opponent
before it has a chance to maneuver.
The exception to the maximum range of ten miles is when
your opponent is flying directly toward you. Since he's coming
to meet the missile, it can be fired at a range of 15 miles or so.
Head-on missile attacks, however, are the easiest to avoid, so
make an effort to get behind your opponent.
When firing your Sidewinders, take note of the sun's po-
sition. The sun provides a more intense target than a jet en-
gine. (Remember, the Sidewinder locks onto a heat source.) So



Figure 4-3. Mlsslle Aiming

Two methods of leading an enemy aircraft when firing an air-to-air mis-
1 sile: Firing directly at the opponent (#1) gives the missile more time to
follow a twisting and turning enemy; leading the opponent slightly (#2)
w causes the missile to follow the shortest path to the target.

if your target is right in front of the sun, then turns quickly,

the missile will lock onto the sun and not follow the target.
Radar-Guided Missiles
Your F-15 is equipped with four AIM-7 Sparrow radar-guided
missiles. The effective range of these missiles is 10-60 miles.
Again, note and satisfy the minimum range requirement
before firing-the Sparrow needs several seconds to home in
on the target and will fly past a close target.
Like the Sidewinders, these medium-range missiles can be
fired at a target farther than their maximum range if the target
is coming head-on.
If an aircraft-indicator square appears on the HUD (Heads
Up Display), but is not yet on the radar when you're in long-
range mode, go ahead and fire. Assume that the enemy is fly-
ing towards you and will be within missile range when it
appears on the radar screen.
Sparrows can also be very effective against targets which
are some distance behind you. You can fire at this kind of tar-
get without turning, even though the most efficient method is
to turn a quick circle and fire directly at the enemy.

Defensive Options
Once you understand how to best use the weapons you have,
you should realize that your enemy is equipped with similar
weapons. And the computer is a good shot.
These are also the types of maneuvers and tactics the
computer will use to defeat your attacks, so learn to use them
and be prepared to see them used against you.
Defense Against Gun Attacks
For a gun attack to be successful, all the parameters of the sys-
tem-such as range and tracking-must be met.
The best defense against a gun attack is to stay out of range.
Sometimes this isn't possible, however, as when you've
fired a missile at one target and wish to attack a second while
the missile is in flight. Here your only choice is to move in
close for a gun attack; this, of course, places you within gun
range of your opponent.
If you can't stay out of range, the next best defense is to
prevent your opponent from getting a good shot. The best
way to do this is to keep the enemy from getting behind you.

Figure 4-4. Firing at a Target Behind You
Though you can fire a Sparrow medium-range missile at a
target behind you, you'll score a surer and quicker kill by rap-
idly turning to meet the enemy before releasing the Sparrow.
/ 0
/ en
A (./)
/ -<
......... -+
-- - -
/ <D
2 ~
~~ 1:t ~ \
1 ........ I
......... I
.......... I
,,.. /
- -- - - - -

Assume these methods haven't worked and there's an enemy

plane on your tail within gun range. Time is critical. It doesn't
matter so much what you do, as long as you do something and
do it quickly. Your best bet is to turn toward the attack, as this
forces the attacker to make a sharp turn to follow you.
Figure 4-5. Turning Toward an Attacker
Turn toward your attacker. This maneuver forces your opponent to
make an even sharper turn to follow.


If the enemy continues to track you, a series of quick

turns, or jinks, may be used with maximum power to put some
distance between you and the attacker. Once you're out of
range, an unloaded straight-line acceleration away from the
enemy should give you enough space to turn back toward him
and attack, or escape and return to base.
Other escape tactics involve various maneuvers combined
with reducing speed to make the attacker overshoot. This is al-
ways a problem for the attacker due to the close ranges involved.
If you manage to make your opponent overshoot, you can
easily get into a firing position of your own.

Weapons Systems

Missile Defense
Missiles, like guns, have certain parameters which must be
satisfied. If any of these parameters can be eliminated, then
the missile attack is defeated.
The first thing to do once a missile launch has been de-
tected is to determine what type of homing device it has-ra-
dar or heat-seeking. In F-15 Strike Eagle, simply check the
warning indicator lights located directly above the radar
screen. The first light on the left flashes if you're being tracked
by a radar-guided missile. The second light from the left
flashes if you're being tracked by an infrared (heat-seeking)
missile. The type of threat is important to know for several
First, you'll know what kind of countermeasures to em-
ploy. Your F-15 is equipped with decoy flares that can be used
to fool a heat-seeking missile. These flares only burn for five
to ten seconds, so wait until the missile is relatively close
before you release them.
Electronic countermeasures-radar jamming and foil
chaff-can mislead a radar-guided missile.
When you spot a missile, check your radar screen to see
how far away it is, how long you have to react, and the direc-
tion from which the missile is approaching. If the threat is im-
mediate, a good rule is to make an immediate break toward
the ground and release the appropriate countermeasure (pro-
vided you have enough altitude).
If you have several seconds, you have the time to use the
best defensive maneuver. Timing is important when evading a
missile-if you make your defensive break too soon, the mis-
sile will have time to recover and will still hit you. If you wait
too long before maneuvering, the missile will outmaneuver
you. The best distance from which to begin your defensive
maneuver is when the missile is approximately one mile away.
From the front. If the missile is approaching directly from
your front, break toward the ground.
From an angle. If the missile is approaching from an an-
gle, the general rule is to break toward it if it's in front of you;
break away from it if it's behind you.
From behind. Missiles fired from behind you can occa-
sionally be outrun if they're fired from a distance. You'll
usually need to use afterburners for this.
Heat-seekers and the sun. If the missile is a heat-seeker


and you're out of flares, an alternative is to break toward the

sun, then break to one side once you're aimed at the sun. Heat-
seekers can sometimes be fooled into locking onto the sun.
Take some care when you use your antimissile defensive
measures. You have a limited number of flares and your elec-
tronic countermeasures are less effective each time they're used.

The McDonnell Douglas F- 15 Weapons

The McDonnell Douglas F-15 is arguably the most versatile
fighter aircraft operating today. Although originally designed
as an air superiority fighter, its excellent performance charac-
teristics made it an obvious candidate when the armed forces
were searching for a replacement for the aging multipurpose
F-4 Phantom.
With only slight modifications the F-15 can deliver an ex-
traordinary range of weapons:
0 AIM-7M Sparrow medium-range, semiactive radar air-to-air
0 AIM-9L Sidewinder infrared-homing air-to-air missiles
0 AIM-120 Advanced medium-range air-to-air missiles
0 M61 20mm six-barrel gun
0 AGM-88A Harm antiradar missiles
0 AGM-65A Maverick TV-guided air-to-ground missiles
0 AGM-65 IIR infrared imagery missiles
0 AGM-65C laser-guided air-to-ground missiles
0 AGM-84A Harpoon antiship missiles
0 MK20 Rockeye bombs on multiple ejection racks
0 Matra Durandal runway denial weapons
0 MK82 500-lb. bombs in Slick (low drag) and Snakeye (re-
tarded flight) configurations
0 MK84 2000-lb. bombs in Slick, laser-guided, infrared-hom-
ing, and electro-optical versions
0 GE 30mm gun pods
0 Tactical nuclear weapons
0 ASAT antisatellite missiles
The F-15 configured for its usual air-to-air role of tactical
intercept or Combat Air Patrol is equipped with four AIM-7
Sparrows, four AIM-9 Sidewinders, and the 20mm gun. When
configured like this, the aircraft usually carries a drop tank

Weapons Systems

with 600 gallons of fuel to extend the operating range and

time in the air.
The AIM-9L Sidewinder and the AIM-7 Sparrow air-to-air
missiles have been the weapons of choice for most of the air
combat in the last decade.
Weapons In Recent Combat
0 In 1981, two Libyan SU-22 Soviet-made fighters were
downed by Sidewinders fired from U.S. Navy F-14 Tomcats.
0 In 1982, in a series of massive dogfights over Lebanon's Bekaa
Valley, the Israeli Air Force-flying F-15s and F-16s-shot
down 85 Syrian jets, plus a number of helicopters. Again,
Sidewinders and Sparrows were used extensively.
0 Later in 1982, 16 Argentine fighters were shot down by Brit-
ish Harriers using Sidewinders.
Clearly, these weapons work and are effective. Of the two,
the Sidewinder was credited with many more kills than the
Sparrow. The reasons for this are twofold. First is the problem
of identification of targets beyond visible range (where the
Sparrow is most effective). Visual identification of enemy air-
craft is the current order of the day in air combat (to prevent
shooting down an aircraft from your own air force). Conse-
quently, most jets are too close for Sparrows by the time
they're identified.
The second problem lies in the fact that Sparrows rely on
semiactive radar detection for homing in on the enemy. This
means that once the missile is fired, the F-15 must continue to
fly toward the target to bounce radar signals off it for the mis-
sile to follow. In combat with multiple opponents, it's not al-
ways possible to concentrate on just one target for any length
of time. The Sidewinder, on the other hand, is a fire and forget
kind of weapon. Once it's launched, the pilot is free to evade
or attack.
In F-15
The good news is that neither of these problems will plague
you when flying in F-15 Strike Eagle. Identification is never a
problem. You're by yourself over enemy territory most of the
time-you can safely assume that any other aircraft is unfriendly.
The Sparrow missiles used in the simulator don't require
attention once they're launched. (Remember that you can't fire
another missile until the previous one completes its flight.)

When the F-15 is used for attack or ground support mis-

sions, all the components of the basic air-to-air configuration
are carried, along with whatever additional weapon systems
called for by the particular mission.
Air-to-ground weapons could be television-guided, laser-
guided, infrared-guided, or unguided. Your F-15 Strike Eagle is
equipped with reliable MK82 500-pound bombs in the slick
(low drag) configuration. These normally would be dropped in
groups of three, with two groups loaded under each wing and
two more groups carried on the belly of the aircraft.

Countermeasures System
The F-15 Strike Eagle is equipped with electronic counter-
measures systems (ECM) to confuse and avoid air-to-air and
surface-to-air missile attacks. These systems are designed to
fool the two main guidance systems used to track your air-
craft-radar and infrared.
Radar Countermeasures
Your radar-warning indicator tells you when you're being
scanned by radar. To defeat a radar-guided missile, you must
defeat the radar. Three methods are used to do this.
Chaff consists of aluminum-foil strips, wire, and fiber-
glass which are cut to varying lengths to counter various radar
frequencies. This chaff is ejected by the pilot into the slip-
stream of the aircraft, which disperses the material into a large
cloud. This cloud can also cause radar-guided missiles with
proximity fuses (fuses that explode when near an aircraft) to
attack the cloud instead of the aircraft.
Active jamming consists of transmitting a very strong
signal-on the same frequency-back to the enemy radar.
This powerful signal overwhelms the radar and prevents it
from determining the exact location of the source.
Deception signals receive the radar signal, store it in
memory for a few seconds, and then transmit it back to the re-
ceiver. This gives the receiver incorrect range and altitude data
and is extremely effective against surface-to-air missile
Once you know you have a radar-guided missile coming
at you, you can begin to take evasive action and prepare to

Weapons Systems

use your ECM. Remember that ECM uses a lot of power, so

chaff clouds become smaller and jamming becomes weaker
each time it's used.

Infrared Countermeasures
In comparison to the radar countermeasures, the infrared
countermeasures system is very simple. High-temperature
flares are used to decoy the heat-seeking system away from
your aircraft. This system should be used as described earlier.
Currently, almost no published information is available on
Soviet ECM systems.

The Enemy Threat

When flying a mission in your F-15 Strike Eagle, you'll be op-
erating over enemy lines. The enemy threat comes in three
forms-jet fighters, air-to-air missiles, and surface-to-air mis-
siles. Understanding the operation and specifications of the
weapons systems will let you exploit their limitations.
Enemy Jets
The enemy jets which you'll be flying against are based on the
SU-22, the MiG-21, and the MiG-23. All are of Soviet design.
Unfortunately, these three aircraft look the same on the
screen. Some are more maneuverable than others, but the only
real way to tell is to try them one time in a tight turn. If you
can turn tighter than an enemy aircraft, pull behind it and use
a gun attack. Save your missiles for the more maneuverable
opponents. If you cannot out-turn your opponent, you can cer-
tainly outrun him in unloaded (zero G) acceleration. Your best
bet here is to disengage by accelerating, diving, or climbing.
Move away to a comfortable distance and maneuver for a mis-
sile shot.
All of the enemy planes carry a 30mm or 23mm gun system
which has similar operating characteristics to those of your
own 20mm gun. In other words, don't let them use their guns.
Enemy Air-to-Air Missiles
As you might guess, information regarding Soviet weapons is
limited. This simulator uses three Soviet air-to-air missiles:
0 AA-2 Atoll. The Atoll is a heat-seeking missile with operat-
ing characteristics similar to those of the AIM-9 Sidewinder.


The Atoll, however, is not a true all-aspect missile, and it

functions best when fired at close range from behind an
0 AA-7 Apex. The medium-range Apex comes in heat-seeking
and radar-homing versions. It is an all-aspect missile in the
radar-homing version.
0 AA-8 Aphid. The Aphid is a smaller, more maneuverable
heat-seeking missile when compared to the AA-2 Atoll. Due
to its smaller size, it has a very short range.
When you're attacked by an air-to-air missile, determine
which type of homing system is being used. Radar homing
missiles are always medium-range and very dangerous. Infared-
homing missiles could be one of several types-your best bet
is to drop a flare, or flares, when the missile is closing on you,
and not worry about the missile's range.
Enemy Surface-to-Air Missiles
The capabilities of the Soviet-made surface-to-air missiles used
in this simulator are described in detail in its manual. There
are a few things to add, though.
When you're in an area defended by radar-homing sur-
face-to-air missiles (SAMs), flying below 1500 feet will put
you below the guiding radar and in a safe zone. If they lock
onto you, the green radar-signal indicator will activate.
Flying low will not keep you safe from heat-seeking
SAMs. High speeds at low altitudes make you a more difficult
target and also make it easier to jink an incoming missile.
Heat-seeking SAMs have a shorter range, lower speed, and
lower operational ceiling. They can be outrun or climbed over.

The F- 15 in Action
A brief history of the F-15's combat experience
demonstrates its abilities.

When President Gerald Ford accepted the first F-15 on behalf

of the Tactical Air Command in November of 1974, the aircraft
was heralded as the best air-to-air fighter ever built. It's not
surprising, then, that the leaders of the Israeli Air Force were
interested in the F-15. A deal was struck, and in December
1976, the Israelis received their first shipment of F-15 figh!ers.
With the tensions and hostilities in the Middle East during
this time, it was probably inevitable that the Israelis would be
the first to use the F-15 in combat.

The Middle East

In the spring of 1979, the Palestinian Liberation Organization
(PLO) drastically increased its terrorist attacks on Israel. In re-
taliation, Israel began a new wave of reconnaissance flights
and bombing attacks on suspected terrorist camps and training
facilities in Lebanon. Syria, in support of the PLO, began to
fly air patrols over PLO camps in central Lebanon. The Syrian
planes, mostly MiG-21s, had come close to Israeli reconnais-
sance planes on several occasions, but had never moved to
within missile range or made any hostile moves.
F-15 Versus MIG-21
On June 2, 1979, Israeli F-4 Phantoms and A-4 Skyhawks flew
to attack suspected terrorist bases near Sidon in southern Leb-
anon. Flying cover for the attack aircraft was a force of six F-
15s and two Israeli-built Kafir fighters. All aircraft were guided
by an E-2C AWACS (Airborne Warning And Control System)
aircraft, a modified 747 which carried sophisticated radar and
tracking equipment.
At approximately 11:00 a.m., the attack force was
bounced by 8-12 Syrian MiG-21 aircraft. The F-15s and Kafirs
immediately identified and engaged the MiG-21s. Within a


three-minute period, six Syrian MiG-21s were downed and

several others were reportedly damaged.
Of the six downed MiG-2ls, four were destroyed by
infrared-homing missiles, one by a Sparrow radar-guided mis-
sile, and one by gunfire at close range. Five " kills" were given
to F-15s and one to a Kafir.
The Israelis continued their reconnaissance flights, and on
September 19, 1979, the MiG-23 made its combat debut when
a flight of these newer Soviet-made aircraft fired air-to-air mis-
siles at an Israeli F-4 Phantom. The F-4 was able to avoid the
missiles (probably AA-8 Aphid infrared-homing types) and re-
turn safely to base.
The Israeli intelligence service determined that a similar
attack was planned five days later. So, on September 24, 1979,
F-15s were again flying high cover when the controlling
AWACS aircraft detected a large group of MiG-21s approach-
ing. In this second brief air battle, four more MiG-21s were
shot down. Again there were no F-15s lost.
F-15 Versus MiG 25
These skirmishes continued through 1980. In March of 1981,
the F-15 and the newest Soviet-built machine, the MiG-25,
which was capable of Mach 3, met for the first time. On
March 13, 1981, a MiG-25 attacked an Israeli F-4 flying a re-
connaissance mission. An F-15 Eagle was vectored to inter-
cept, and shot down the MiG-25 with a Sparrow missile. This
was the first time that a MiG-25 had been successfully inter-
cepted and shot down.
The Iraqi Nuclear Plant Raid
Shortly afterward-on June 7, 1981-a group of F-15s flew
cover for a flight of eight F-16s which successfully destroyed
the Osirak nuclear reactor in Iraq. After the attack, the Israeli
planes returned by flying over Jordan. Despite this overt viola-
tion of Jordanian airspace, no aircraft were sent to oppose
them. Possibly the Jordanians were aware of the recent routing
of the Syrian Air Force by F-15s and did not wish to replay
the incident.

The F-l 5 in Action

Southern Lebanon
In the spring of 1982, tensions along the Israeli-Lebanese bor-
der again reached crisis level. Israel warned the PLO. Rocket
attacks fell on Israeli villages.
On June 6, 1982, operation "Peace for Galilee" began as a
large Israeli armored task force moved across the border into
southern Lebanon. The intent was to remove the PLO, other
terrorist groups, and the Syrians, from Lebanon. Israeli air at-
tacks faced strong resistance in the form of surface-to-air mis-
siles and Syrian MiGs.
The Israelis launched an immediate attack on the SAM lo-
cations, and quickly destroyed 17 sites. The attacking force
was met by more than 60 Syrian MiG-21 and MiG-23 fighters.
F-15s and F-16s were flying cover for the strike force and en-
gaged the MiGs in one of the largest air battles since World
War II.
Twenty-nine MiGs were destroyed without a single Israeli
loss. The Soviets were so shocked by the Syrian losses that the
Deputy Commander of the Soviet Air Force was sent to
Many air battles were fought over the next several days,
until June 11, 1982, when a cease-fire went into effect. During
the period from June 6 to June 12, approximately 86 MiGs and
5 helicopters were destroyed by Israeli F-15s and F-16s with-
out a single plane lost in air-to-air combat.
From the time the Israeli Air Force began flying the F-15
until the cease-fire in June, 1982, their F-15s scored 58 kills
with no losses against Syrian MiGs.

Air Combat
An Overview of Tactics
Learn about the four criteria for air attack effectiveness,
the five steps of aerial combat, and Oswald Boeleke's
eight rules of air combat.

The aerial chess game of move and countermove, one plane

against another, has been a difficult thing for experts to pin
down over the years. The rules are constantly changing; what
worked yesterday may not work tomorrow, or the latest tech-
nology may be defeated by an obsolete system in actual com-
bat conditions.
Regardless of the level of sophistication of the equipment,
however, the most important measure of a country's air power
is how well the pilots can tactically maneuver to utilize and
deliver the weapons available. It's been shown over and over
that flying skills and aggressiveness can overcome more re-
cently developed weapons and superior numbers.
Despite all these changes, certain basic principles have re-
mained constant over the years. The effectiveness of an attack
is basically determined by four criteria, which are listed here
in order of priority.
Although surprise is not often possible with the F- 15 Strike Ea-
gle simulation, it can be accomplished by firing medium-range
Sparrow missiles early, as soon as an enemy aircraft is de-
tected coming toward you.
Surprise can also occasionally be gained by detecting an
enemy with long-range radar and making a wide, slow turn to
position yourself behind your opponent. Once in the favorable
position, accelerate and close fast.
In actual air combat, surprise has always been the domi-
nant factor in victory. Four out of five defeated pilots didn't
know they were under attack until it was too late to maneuver
to safety.


Teamwork is the second most important factor. Unfortunately,
you're all by yourself when flying your F-15 Strike Eagle (or
when flying in any other present simulation with the excep-
tion of ACE). However, two-person play-with one flying the
plane and the other operating the keyboard-can greatly im-
prove your chances for survival.
Historically, only one out of five kills has been made by out-
maneuvering an opponent, but when you're involved in a
low-speed, turning dogfight, it suddenly becomes very impor-
tant. Develop and practice those maneuvering skills.
As the lethality of weapons used in air-to-air combat has in-
creased, the targets have become harder to hit due to their in-
creased speed and maneuverability. All things considered, the
current close-range missiles are not much deadlier than the
machine guns used during World Wars I and II.

Aerial Combat
Aerial combat can be broken down into five stages:
0 Detection
0 Closing
0 Attack
0 Maneuvering
0 Disengagement
Though in actual practice some of these phases may be
skipped, each needs to be examined and understood.
The earlier you detect the position and course of an enemy
aircraft, the more time you'll have to form a battle plan and
maneuver to a favorable position.
When you're not actively engaged in combat or on a
bombing run, always keep your radar in the long-range mode.
If nothing appears on the long-range radar, frequently check
your front and rear screens for target-designator boxes. It's
possible for your internal heat sensors to pick up a distant air-
craft before it appears on radar.
Air Combat

Once an enemy has been detected, a decision must be made
as to whether or not to close. You must evaluate the damage
condition of your airplane, the amount of fuel you have re-
maining, your current mission, and weapons remaining in or-
der to make this decision. In some cases it's best to continue a
bombing run or head for home.
If you do choose to attack, you should close as quickly as
possible. Your direction of approach will primarily depend on
the enemy's path in relation to yours. If the enemy aircraft is
flying across your path or away from you, try to get close be-
hind it as quickly as possible, before it has a chance to turn to-
ward you.
If the enemy plane is coming directly at you, you have lit-
tle alternative but to close head-on.
Getting off the first shot is important. With an F-15, this
usually means a Sparrow missile shot followed by an attempt
to get behind the enemy plane to follow up with a Sidewinder
missile or guns. Your best move is to attack from behind. If
this isn't possible, then the head-on approach is your next
You must also decide which weapon to use. Sparrows are
probably out of the question at this point due to the minimum-
range requirements. If Sidewinders are chosen, care should be
taken not to get too close during the attack.
If the first-shot attack is not successful, you'll move on to
the next phase of air combat.
If your long-range or rear surprise attack is not successful, you
must then try to outmaneuver your opponent. Decide before-
hand what type of weapons you want to attack with and what
type of flight plan you'll follow.
If you're at low altitude (below 10,000 feet), a dose-range,
turning fight is not recommended. The energy you lose during
this kind of flight can put your aircraft in a stall. You can
quickly find yourself out of altitude, out of energy, and out of
ideas. At low altitudes it's best to keep your speed up and ma-
neuver for a missile shot, then climb while the enemy aircraft
is trying to avoid the missile.


At high altitudes, a close-range, turning, gun attack is

possible. Your first move for this type of fight is to cut your
power to 75 or 80 percent, which gives you your best turning
performance. You may need to increase power during a sus-
tained turn to avoid stalling. Keeping your speed low also
keeps the enemy in front of you; you're less likely to
At this point, you'll probably be approaching the enemy
head-on. Your options follow.
Head-on Gun Attack. It's possible to get one hit on your
opponent shooting head-on. The trick is to center him in the
sight and fire early, letting him get into gun range at the same
time the shells arrive on target.
(In all the following figures, assume you are the Attacker.)
Figure 6-1. Head-on Gun Attack
Lead your target during a head-on attack. Fire when you're at position
#1 , even though the target is out of range. Your cannon shells hit the
target when you're in position #2 .

2 1
--' i ~ \_-.---------==----=-- ~ b 0 ,1.
Defender Attacker

Air Combat

Lead Turn. To perform this maneuver, put some lateral

distance between yourself and your opponent; then turn early
(before your opponent) toward the target. This will place you
in an advantageous position behind the enemy.
Figure 6-2. Lead Turn
When an enemy aircraft is approaching, turn before he does-chances
are you'll end up behind him .




Nose-to-Nose Turn. In a nose-to-nose turn you turn

away from your opponent at the time you pass.
Figure 63. Nose-to-Nose Turn
Turn away from your opponent to conduct a nose-to-nose turning


Air Combat

If you've sufficiently reduced your speed, you may be

able to reverse the turn once you spot the target so that you
can fall in behind it.
Figure 6-4. Reversing During a Nose-to-Nose Turn
Reduce speed, reverse your turn, and you should be in a shooting



Nose-to-Tail Turn. In a nose-to-tail turn you turn toward

your opponent at the time you pass.
Figure 6-5. Nose-to-Tall Turn
The aircraft with the best turning performance will be in the shooting


This puts you in a turning contest. The plane with the

best turning performance will eventually catch up with the
other and be in perfect position for a gun or short-range mis-
sile shot.
Maneuvering after the initial pass is discussed in detail in
Chapter 8.
In the F-15 simulation (and many of the other jet combat
simulations), there's no real disengagement. The enemy fight-
ers continue to follow you all the way back to the base or un-
til they're shot down. There are times, though, when it's
Air Combat

necessary to put space between you and your opponent, to re-

group or take a missile shot. These maneuvers are covered in
detail in Chapter 9.
In F-15 Strike Eagle, as it has been historically, the best
way to disengage from an enemy fighter is to shoot it down.

Oswald Boeleke and the Eight Rules of Air

Air combat has changed dramatically since World War I. Basic
tactics and rules established by Oswald Boeleke in 1916, how-
ever, have stood the test of time well. He gave new pilots
eight rules of air combat to help them survive and win.
0 Try to secure an advantage before you begin your attack.
This advantage could be altitude, position, or surprise.
0 Always carry through with an attack once you've started.
0 Fire only at close range and when your opponent is prop-
erly in your sights. When applied to missile attacks this
means shoot when in good position with a good angle and
within the minimum and maximum firing ranges. When ap-
plied to guns it means fill the screen with the enemy plane.
0 Always keep your eye on your opponent. Don't be deceived
by ruses. In F-15 this means be prepared for your opponent
to cut his speed to force you to overshoot.
0 Always attack from behind your opponent. This is not as
important now as it was in 1916, though it still applies to a
good gun attack.
0 When attacked, turn into the attack; don't try to evade. This
still holds true. Always be on the offensive.
0 When over enemy lines, never forget your own line of re-
treat. When your fuel and/or weapons are low, start think-
ing about how you're going to get back to base.
0 Attack in groups of four or six. Unfortunately, you're by
yourself in F-15 (at least the enemy planes don't cooperate
when attacking you).
This is the end of Ground School. Study this section and
be prepared for anything the enemy can throw at you.
Remember that air battles are lost, not won. The pilot who
makes the fewest mistakes wins.

Now the real fun begins. Before you can perform complicated
combat maneuvers, you must learn and perfect the basic flying
skills. Once you've done this, you can move on to offensive
and defensive combat maneuvers. Each has its own chapter in
this part of Jet Fighter School. Bombing techniques are also il-
lustrated, while another chapter covers the tactics and maneu-
vers you'll use when you're outnumbered.
Each maneuver described in the Flight School section in-
cludes step-by-step instructions on how to perform the tech-
nique, as well as any altitude or airspeed limitations.

Basic Flight
Learn and perfect basic jet fighter flying maneuvers-like
the Barrel Roll, Split-S, and Break Turn-before you go
head-to-head with an enemy aircraft.

Air combat maneuvering is the combination of a number of

simple maneuvers. These maneuvers must be learned and
mastered before you try more complicated offensive and de-
fensive tricks.
These maneuvers can be practiced during slack times
while you're on a mission, or you can set up the game just to
give you practice time. To get as much practice time as possi-
ble, set up F-15 Strike Eagle as follows:
0 Select the skill level Rookie
0 Select the mission number 1 (Libya)
0 Start the game
0 Arm and fire a short-range missile at the MiG which pops
up in front of you. If this doesn't destroy it, follow and fire
a second missile.
0 Fly the plane back out to sea. Either place the NAV cursor
over the base or use the Horizontal Situation Display (map)
to guide you.
0 On your way out to sea, drop all bombs. This will improve
the performance and handling of the aircraft.
0 You're ready to practice your maneuvers. Should an enemy
aircraft appear on radar or a target-designator box appear on
the screen, fire a medium-range missile immediately. If this
missile misses, grit your teeth and go after the target. Keep
in mind, the best way to learn to fight is by fighting.
In the procedures which follow, the numbers in parenthe-
ses refer to the steps of the maneuver shown in the accompa-
nying figure .


Aileron Roll
Minimum Speed 300 knots
0 Flying straight and level, pull the nose up slightly with one
quick bump back on the stick (1).
0 Apply full left or right stick and hold it. Don't pull the stick
back or push it away from you at the same time (2).
0 The horizon should begin to turn (3).
0 After the horizon has turned completely around, stop apply-
ing pressure to the stick (4).
0 You shoud try to pull out of the roll with your wings level
(5). Anticipate.

If you've done an aileron roll correctly, you should be on the same
course when you finish that you were on when you started.

5 I~<O



The Barrel Roll

Minimum Speed 400 knots
Minimum Altitude 1000 feet
0 Flying straight and level, pull back on the stick to achieve a
30 climb (third indicator line). As soon as a 30 climb is
reached, apply full right (or left) stick, still holding the stick
back (at the 4:30 position). Hold this position (1).
0 The plane should climb and roll inverted (2) .
0 You'll dive and roll out level (3).
0 Stop the roll with your nose and wings level. Some forward
stick toward the end of the roll may be necessary to bring
the nose down (4).

Basic Flight Maneuvers


_Q ".\



The Loop
Minimum Speed 415 knots (fully loaded)
320 knots (no bombs)
Minimum Altitude 2500 feet
(You'll lose approximately 1000 feet performing this maneuver.)
0 Flying straight and level, pull straight back on the stick and
hold it (1).
0 The nose will rise until a complete loop is made (2). At the
top of the loop, you're inverted, and the horizon is below
0 As the horizon nears level again, let go of the stick in an at-
tempt to stop straight and level (3).

Basic Flight Maneuvers


+- N


.0 '




The Break Turn

Minimum Speed None
Minimum Altitude None
(Watch your energy level-you may have to increase power to
maintain this turn for more than a second or two.)
0 Flying straight and level, apply full left or right stick (1).
0 Hold the stick until the horizon appears vertical. You're now
in a maximum performance turn at 90 (2).

Basic Flight Maneuvers

... '

To maintain a break turn for more than a moment, you'll have to in-
crease power. If you're already at l 00 percent thrust hit the


Split-5 or Descending Half-Loop

Minimum Speed None
Minimum Altitude 10,000 feet (fully loaded on
3,000 feet (no bomb load and 55%
0 You're flying straight and level (1).
0 Apply full left or right stick (2).
0 Stop the aircraft's rotation once you reach an inverted posi-
tion and are flying straight and level upside down (3) .
0 Pull back on the stick and hold until the horizon comes up.
Stop when the horizon is level (4).

Basic Flight Maneuvers




Vertical Half-Loop
Minimum Speed 415 knots (fully loaded)
320 knots (no bombs)
Minimum Altitude None
0 You're flying straight and level (1).
0 Pull back on the stick and hold (2).
0 Let off the stick when you're flying upside down (3).
0 Apply full left or right stick until the horizon comes around
level (4).

Basic Flight Maneuvers

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The Stall Turn

Minimum Speed 700 knots (fully loaded)
500 knots (no bombs)
Minimum Altitude None
0 Pull back on the stick and climb until no ground shows on
your screen (1).
0 As speed decreases continue to climb (2).
0 Cut power to 70 percent (3).
0 The plane should stall and put you pointing toward the
ground (4).
0 Apply 100 percent power and pull back on the stick to fly
straight and level, or continue to dive at your target. If you
approach Mach 2, be prepared to extend your speedbrake (5).

Basic Flight Maneuvers

You can stall your aircraft and use that 1

as an element in this turning

.. : ..


Inverted Flight Practice

Minimum Speed None
Minimum Altitude 1000 feet
0 You're flying straight and level upside down (1) .
0 Push forward on the stick to obtain a 10 rate of climb (2).
0 Pull back on the stick to obtain a 10 dive (3).
0 Push forward on the stick to obtain straight and level flight
(4) .
All stick commands are opposite during inverted flight. This
maneuver-as well as turning while inverted-should be prac-
ticed until the opposite commands become second nature. In a
dogfight, inverted flight is common, and you don't want to
turn the wrong way or dive into the ground.

Practice flying upside down to get comfortable with the way the aircraft responds to the stick.

1 2

-v== ~ <6"
~ -+



Speedbrake Extension
Minimum Speed 500 knots
Minimum Altitude None
Extended use of speedbrake at low speed or high altitude can
cause your speed to drop to the stall point.
0 You're flying straight and level (1).
0 Extend your speedbrake. Notice how your speed drops to
approximately 75 percent of its original level (2).
0 Remove the speedbrake and notice how the plane quickly
accelerates to its previous speed (3).

Basic Flight Maneuvers



Offensive Maneuvers
Learn and practice ten offensive maneuvers to put you
in the right place at the right time.

Now that you can do all sorts of incredible things with your
jet fighter, it's time to put them to use.
Once again, the best training mode in F-15 Strike Eagle is
with the Rookie difficulty level and the mission number 1 for
This scenario will give you a constant stream of enemy
fighters to battle, without having to worry about surface-to-air
Each maneuver described in this chapter outlines under
what conditions this maneuver should be used. This doesn't
mean that's the only time to use the particular maneuver. Ex-
periment and find out what works best for you. Most fighter
pilots have one or two favorite maneuvers that they feel most
comfortable with, so they try to force the battle to become the
kind of fight they fight best.
Be aware of your energy level at all times-especially
when you're at low altitudes, where it's best to use high-speed
maneuvers rather than hard-turning maneuvers which bleed
off energy and make you choose between disengagement or


Head-on Gun Attack

Situation: You are approaching enemy aircraft head-on.
Maneuver: 0 Line up with the enemy straight ahead, at the
same altitude (1).
0 Start firing when the enemy is approximately
11/2 radar screen divisions away. The target will
fly to meet the gun shells. If you wait until the
enemy aircraft is within normal gun range you'll
fly past before you get a good shot (2).
Note: A head-on attack presents a bad missile angle for
your opponent. If you make the enemy pilot
waste one of his four missiles during the head-on
pass, so much the better. Be prepared to jink,

Offensive Maneuvers

2 1
.e,Id ~ c=--======----~~
Defender . Attacker

Fire while the enemy aircraft is still out of range in a head-on cannon


Head-on Turning Attack

Situation: You are approaching an opponent head-on at
slow speed (400-500 knots). This speed allows
maximum turning performance.
Maneuver: 0 Head slightly to one side of your opponent to
get some lateral separation (1).
0 Tum hard toward your opponent as you pass (2).
0 Maintain this maximum G turn. You may need
to increase power during the tum to keep your
speed up to 400 knots (3).
0 If you can out-turn your opponent, you should
get a missile shot (4).
Note: This is not a long-term maneuver. If you don't
gain an advantage fairly quickly, be ready to dis-
engage or attempt another maneuver, such as a
low Yo-Yo.

Offensive Maneuvers

Your turning performance must be better than your opponents for this
manuever to work .


Low Yo-Yo
Situation: You're in a hard-turning, low-speed fight. You're
too close for short-range missiles but you can't
out-tum the enemy to line up for a gun shot.
Maneuver: 0 Let your upper wing come over and begin an
inverted dive (1).
0 Roll out in the opposite direction and pull the
nose up (2).
0 Repeat the process until you pull in behind the
enemy and can line up a gun shot (3).
Note: This maneuver should not be performed at low

Offensive Maneuvers





High Yo-Yo
Situation: You are closing rapidly on a turning target from
the side. You want to:
0 Avoid overshooting the target and losing your
offensive position due to your greater speed.
0 Obtain a better position behind the target for
improved heat-seeking missile tracking.
Maneuver: 0 Level your wings and pull up to gain altitude (1).
0 Begin turning toward the target, remaining
above and behind (2).
0 At this point, start an inverted roll and dive at
the target (3). You have two options here. You
can point your nose slightly ahead of the target
and make a diving guns pass, or come around be-
hind the target for a heat-seeking missile shot di-
rectly at the target's tailpipe (4).
0 If the target reverses its turn at position 5, you
should get a clean shot at its tail. If you fail to de-
stroy the opponent, or miss, another High Yo-Yo
or a Low Yo-Yo will return you to an attacking

Offensive Maneuvers


(3 "O
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Straight Yo-Yo
Situation: The enemy aircraft is making a break for it and
trying to outrun you. In this situation-if you
don't want to use your afterburners because your
fuel level is low-you can trade altitude for
Maneuver: 0 Obtain a position directly behind the enemy
aircraft (1).
0 Remaining directly behind your opponent, be-
gin a shallow (10-20) dive (2) .
0 Notice your airspeed rising. As you close on the
enemy, pull up to slow down and prevent an
overshoot (3).

Offensive Maneuvers

Trade altitude for speed by going into a shallow dive, then pulling up
when you're within range .


The Rollaway
Situation: The situation is the same as for the High Yo-Yo
maneuver. This is a modified High Yo-Yo and
will often yield better results, especially if you
have a considerable speed advantage.
Maneuver: 0 Pull up the aircraft's nose to gain altitude (1).
0 Instead of turning in the same direction as your
opponent, perform a Split-S in the opposite
direction (2).
0 Dive back toward your opponent (3).
0 Level out and turn with the enemy. You should
be in good firing position (4).

Offensive Maneuvers


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Barrel Roll Attack

Situation: You're approaching an opponent from behind.
The other aircraft turns hard and your speed ad-
vantage may cause an overshoot.
Maneuver: 0 The enemy aircraft breaks hard to the right.
You should pull up hard (1).
0 Immediately begin a roll to the left, away from
your opponent (2).
0 Finish the maneuver by sliding back in behind
the enemy plane with a hard right turn (3).

Offensive Maneuvers

Instead of overshooting, pull up and roll away from your opponent. Slide
back into firing position with another turn-this time toward the target.


Zoom Maneuver from a Turn

Situation: You're in a hard-turning fight. You can't obtain an
advantage and you're too close for a missile shot.
Both you and your opponent are at low speed.
The object here is to use your high thrust-to-
weight ratio to perform a steep climb so that you
can get enough distance between you and the en-
emy to use your missiles.
Maneuver: 0 Fire your afterburners (1).
0 Perform a very steep climb (2).
0 Continue until you've climbed 5000 feet or so.
Throttle back your engines and perform a stall
turn (3).
0 As soon as your opponent. comes into view, fire
a short-range missile.
Note: While climbing you may present your opponent
with a good missile shot, so take an occasional
look out the back.

Offensive Maneuvers

Your jet can perform a ballistic climb-

use this advantage to put some dis-
tance between you and the enemy.

~--~ _ ... ,,..... ,,, .. . :. : . :: ;.::: :.


Dive for Separation for Missile Shot

Situation: You're in a very close, hard-turning fight. You're
too close for a missile shot, but you can't line up
your hard-maneuvering opponent for a gun shot.
This maneuver puts distance between the two of
you for a better chance at a missile hit.
Maneuver: 0 Bank hard and try to pull inside the enemy's
turn (1).
0 Roll inverted, pull back on the stick, and dive (2).
0 Keep the stick pulled back until you pull out of
the dive. Locate the enemy aircraft and fire a
short-range missile (3).

Offensive Maneuvers

Another way to separate from the enemy (and thus hove enough dis-
tance to use a missile) is to dive away before firing .


Pitch Back
You're attacking your opponent head-on with at least 500
knots of airspeed.
0 You're in a head-on pass (1).
0 Pull up into a loop maneuver (2) .
0 At the top of the loop, keep the stick pulled back (3).
0 When you're heading straight toward the ground, start
to turn toward the enemy while pulling out of the dive (4).
0 Instead of finishing the loop heading in your original
direction, you've turned on the way down and should finish
in a hard turn behind your opponent (5).
This kind of maneuver is called an out-of-plane maneu-
ver-you're maneuvering in the vertical plane while your op-
ponent is in a flat turn.

Ott ensive Maneuvers

""'...""'--.....-~ __ :.< -~-??:--"'":"'."'.-:-::;:
.._..,.,__..,.,___ _.-. _--: . ::'::- - - - -, ,:::- : .~
:: '"" . -~---

This maneuver looks tricky-and it is. Pull back hard on the stick, loop,
and then turn behind the target if it's there.

Defensive Maneuvers
You'll need these maneuvers whenever an enemy fighter is
closing in for the kill. Eight defensive maneuvers provide
escape and a means to turn the tables.

This chapter offers you several defensive options you can use
in those tight spots. Don't be afraid to use the pause feature of
F-15 Strike Eagle (or whatever simulator you're flying) to re-
view your options if you find yourself in trouble.
Attempt various escape techniques and try to find one or
two that you feel most comfortable with. Practice and perfect
those maneuvers for best results.


High-G Barrel Roll

Situation: An enemy aircraft is close behind, closing for a
gun attack.
Maneuver: 0 Break hard into the attack (1).
0 Perform a barrel roll in the opposite direction.
This should bleed off some speed and make the
attacker overshoot (2).
0 Roll in behind the target for a gun or short-
range missile shot (3).

Defensive Maneuvers

Do a barrel roll away from the enemy; then roll back behind him for a
tailpipe shot.


Low-Speed Disengagement
Situation: You're in a low-speed, hard-turning fight and
cannot gain an advantage after several turns. You
wish to disengage and reposition.
Maneuver: 0 Roll inverted (1).
0 Pull back on the stick to start a steep dive (2).
0 Keep the stick pulled back until you pull out
right-side-up but heading in the opposite direc-
tion (3).

Defensive Maneuvers

Roll upside down and put your fighter into a steep dive. You'll end up
with a heading 180 from your original.


High-Speed Disengagement
Situation: You've made a high-speed attack, but your mis-
sile or gun shot missed and you want to
Maneuver: 0 Missed shot (1).
0 Pull out and turn away from the enemy air
craft (2) .
0 Perform an unloaded acceleration away from
your opponent (3).

Defensive Maneuvers

: .

:._:.. "
. ~ '

. ..


Speedbrake Reversal
Situation: An attacker is closing fast from behind.
Maneuver: 0 Level out your wings (1).
0 Pull up hard and extend your speedbrake (2).
0 As soon as the attacker appears on your screen
(overshoots), retract the speedbrake and be pre-
pared to turn hard to follow, or take a missile
shot and disengage.
Note: Using this maneuver with less than 400 knots of
airspeed won't leave you with much speed for
maneuvering. Use this with caution when flying
at low speed.

Defensive Maneuvers





Defensive Spiral Dive

Situation: An enemy aircraft has closed to within firing dis-
tance behind you. You have at least 15,000 feet of
altitude, and you want to (a) disrupt the enemy's
aiming process; (b) escape, and if possible, reverse
the situation.
Maneuver: 0 Roll to an inverted position (1).
0 Pull back on the stick to start the dive (2).
0 Determine the position of the attacker (3).
0 Begin rolling toward the attacker. In other
words, if he's to your left, push the stick to the
left (4).
0 As your speed builds, cut power to idle and ex-
tend your airbrake.
0 If the attacker followed you down, he may
overshoot at this point and allow you to take a

Defensive Maneuvers

There's a chance the attacker may overshoot

if you use this spiraling maneuver.


Jinking a Missile Coming Head-on

Situation: Radar shows a missile heading toward you from
in front.
Maneuver: 0 Determine if the missile is heat-seeking or
radar-homing. Head straight toward it (1).
0 When the missile is 1-1 1/2 radar-grid divisions
away (that's approximately 10-15 miles), release
the proper countermeasure (flare for heat-seeker,
ECM for radar-homing). Pull up hard (2).
0 Watch missile pass beneath you (3).
Note: Missiles fired from behind you will usually head
for a released flare without the jink maneuver.

1 / - - - - - - -, <"
0J I 111 0
~ ~~zy ::J
Missile Path CD
Flare/ECM <

~ You've got a good chance of dodging an oncoming missile with this simple maneuver.

Vertical Spiral
Situation: You're being out-turned by an enemy aircraft.
Your opponent is pulling around behind you. The
vertical spiral lets you take advantage of the ex-
cellent design of your aircraft-the F-15 can climb
while it's in a hard turn.
Maneuver: 0 Pull the nose up to a 30 climb (1).
0 Roll into the attack and light your afterburners.
Hold this climbing turn until you've gained 5000
feet or so in altitude. Most air-to-air missiles fired
at you will be from behind during this maneuver
and can be defeated with a properly timed flare (2).
0 Cut your afterburners. Locate the enemy and
take a missile shot (3).

Defensive Maneuvers


Climb and turn at the same time; then locate the target and fire or


Firing a Short-Range Missile at a Target

Behind You
Situation: There's an enemy aircraft behind you, flying at
roughly the same speed. You cannot outmaneuver
it. Your opponent is not closer than one-half mile
and not further away than two miles.
Maneuver: Fire a short-range missile; then break away hard
from the attacker.

It's possible to fire a missile at on enemy aircraft behind you.

Attacker Defender CD
Short-range Missile <

..... .-:,.-.
Bombing Techniques
You'll need to become a proficient bombardier if you
want to succeed in F- 75 Strike Eagle (or almost any other
jet fighter simulation). Learn how to evade and avoid the
deadly surface-to-air missiles and radar with two different
bombing techniques.

If air-to-air combat can be described as an art, then air-to-

ground bombing is more a science. Get the proper angle and
proper altitude, put the pipper (sight) on the target, and hit
the bomb release.
Bombing in F-15 Strike Eagle is much simpler than bomb-
ing with the real thing. Actual bombing runs are very precise,
with dive angle, airspeed, and altitude all predetermined by
the type of ordnance you're dropping. A little too fast and
your load lands long; too slow and you come up short.
With F-15 Strike Eagle, however, you can bomb at any
speed or dive angle and at altitudes up to approximately 3000
feet. You can drop bombs with your wings at any angle, even
while flying inverted (this is a real test of your inverted flying
skills). As long as you put the pipper on the target triangle,
you'll score a hit.
There are two basic techniques you can attempt when on
a bombing run. Whichever you choose, start your run at 100
percent power. Rapid maneuvering to avoid surface-to-air mis-
siles or enemy fighters can use precious energy. When you're
delivering bombs at 2000 feet you can't afford to let your en-
ergy level get low. A stall at low altitude can mean the end of
your mission.
During any bomb run, keep an eye out for enemy fight-
ers. Should one appear while you're on your approach, imme-
diately arm and fire a medium-range missile. This will keep
the enemy fighter busy and let you complete your run.
Note: You can drop more than one bomb load on a target
during a single bomb run to increase your point total. All must be
dropped before the target is destroyed, however, to count as hits.


Dive Bombing
The standard bomb delivery technique is dive bombing. A
dive bombing checklist should read like this:
0 Check that you're at 100 percent power.
0 Go to 4000 feet (1).
0 Line up on the NAV indicator on the screen (assuming
you've already positioned the NAV cursor over the target).
Place the NAV indicator as close as possible to the center of
your screen to reduce last-minute maneuvering.
0 When the blue target-designator triangle appears, arm your
0 Make any last-minute course adjustments and begin a 30
dive. The horizon should be level and on the third indicator
line (2).
0 When the bomb sight is well within the target area, release
the bombs (3).
0 Pull out of your dive (4).

Bombing Techniques

0 :
+- .
:0 :


Pop-up Bombing
The second method for delivering bombs is the low-level or
pop-up approach.
If there are no enemy fighters around, approaching the
target at approximately 1000 feet may give you some protec-
tion from radar-guided SAMs. The missiles should pass right
over you. Flying at this altitude takes constant attention,
though, since turbulence will constantly buffet your aircraft. A
pop-up bombing checklist should read like this:
0 Check that you're at 100 percent power.
0 Place the NAV cursor over your target. Line up on the NAV
indicator on the screen.
0 Set your radar to medium-range scale.
0 Descend to 1000 feet and arm bombs (1).
0 When target appears on radar, immediately climb to 2000
feet (2).
0 When you reach 2000 feet, or blue target indicator appears
on the heads-up display, start a 30 or 40 dive (whatever it
takes to place the pipper in the triangle) and release bombs (3).
0 At this point you can return to the 1000-feet level to attack
another target or light the afterburners and head for home
or the safety of high altitude (4).

Bombing Techniques


Two Versus One
Sometimes you'll face two opponents, not just one. Learn
how to handle them both and survive.

Occasionally, two enemy aircraft will appear on your radar.

Both may even fire missiles at you. What you do at this point
depends on a number of factors:
0 Your altitude
0 Your energy level
0 Your mission-are you closing on a bombing target?
0 Weapons available-don't attack two planes when you have
only one missile left
0 Number of bombs carried-speed and maneuverability both
suffer with heavy bomb loads
0 Fuel left and distance to base
Two against one is a serious situation and you must weigh
all these factors before choosing your course of action. De-
pending upon your situation, you'll take a totally defensive,
cautiously aggressive, or totally aggressive stance.

Totally Defensive
When entering into an attack on two opponents, you're violat-
ing Oswald Boeleke's first rule of air combat-always attack
with an advantage. Reconsider if you have several other fac-
tors against you, such as low fuel or control problems due to
previous missile hits. If you decide to make a run for it, here's
what you should do:
0 Drop all bombs.
0 Fire a missile at one of the targets, even if you're out of
range. You may get lucky.
0 If you have the necessary altitude, perform a Split-S and be-
gin an unloaded acceleration toward base (use afterburners
if you have enough fuel).
0 If you're at low altitude and have plenty of fuel, use your
afterburners to escape either at low altitude or go straight
up and hope they can't follow you.


Cautiously Aggressive
To attack two opponents, your aircraft must be undamaged,
and you should have adequate fuel and weapons. But maybe
you're still carrying bombs you'll need for a ground attack
later-now is a good time to consider a cautious attack.
0 Arm and fire a medium-range missile at one opponent (1).
0 Light the afterburners and fly head-on toward the second
aircraft, offering the worst possible missile target (2).
0 Pass beneath the enemy and try to obtain 10-20 miles of
0 Shut down the burners, but stay at 100 percent power.
0 Keeping up your speed, make a broad sweeping turn, stay-
ing out of short missile range but within range for your
medium-range missiles (3).
0 Keep firing Sparrows at your opponent until one strikes
0 Close in for a one-on-one with the other target.

Two Versus One

Figure 11-1. Cautiously Aggressive

Enemy Aircraft #2
<J Enemy Aircraft #1

.. .... -------""

#/ Sparrow
. .



Totally Aggressive
To carry out a totally aggressive attack on two opponents may
be exciting, but it's also very dangerous (or as dangerous as a
simulation can get). History, however, is full of successful one-
on-two accounts, so if the right opportunity presents itself,
don't hesitate.
To aggressively attack two opponents, your bombs should
be gone, and you should have plenty of fuel and at least two
Sidewinders and two Sparrows.
0 Fire off a Sparrow at one opponent to keep him busy for a
minute or so (1).
0 Head straight for enemy aircraft #2. You'll certainly have to
dodge missiles here, so keep an eye out. An extra pair of
hands and eyes here is very helpful (2).
0 As you approach #2, cut power and try to out-turn your op-
ponent for a gun shot (3).
0 Keep an eye on the Sparrow chasing # 1. If the missile hits
or runs out of fuel, fire a Sidewinder at #2.
0 If the Sparrow you first shot missed, and a Sidewinder shot
at #2 also misses, break off the attack. Disengage and build
up some airspeed; then repeat this procedure until one of
the targets goes down.
0 Move in for a one-on-one attack.

Two Versus One

Figure 11-2. A Totally Aggressive Attack

Enemy Aircraft #1 Enemy Aircraft #2

v. .. ,

Sparrow ', \

' \


1 ', I


Playing the Game
Tips and Information
These hints, tips, and techniques for playing a better
"game" can increase your score and make you a long-
lived jet fighter pilot.

Some of the following playing tips and bits of infor-

mation were gathered from other F-15 Strike Eagle play-
ers, and from conversations with Bill Stealey, President of
MicroProse Software, and Sid Meier, the author of F-15
Strike Eagle.

Accidental Ejection
In the Commodore 64 version of F-15 Strike Eagle only, it's
possible to accidentally activate the ejection seat. This can oc-
cur when you're pulling on the stick and trying to change the
radar scale at the same time. To avoid this, always let off the
stick when entering keyboard commands on the Commodore
64 version.

Air Combat Mode Only

At the beginning of play your F-15 is always configured in the
air-to-ground mode. The F-15, however, was designed as an
air superiority fighter. From time to time you may want to
simulate this mission.
The air superiority role can be simulated using any of the
seven missions except Mission 3-Haiphong-and Mission
6-Iraq-as enemy air activity over these areas is slight.
The first thing to do on an air superiority mission is to
drop all bombs. They severely affect your aircraft's per-
formance. Next, climb to 40,000 feet. This will give you plenty
of maneuver altitude and put you out of SA-7 SAM range
(which is 32,000 feet). Go looking for trouble by flying close
to an airbase.


Missions 1 and 2 are particularly good for this due to the

low SAM activity and multiple target possibilities.
Many F-15 pilots think that they could become an ace on
their first mission should a shooting war start. Becoming an
ace should be your goal for an air superiority mission.
Each time out you should collect at least five kills. Once
you accomplish this on a regular basis, try to become a double
ace each time-that's ten kills. Since you carry only eight mis-
siles, at least two kills will have to be made with your guns to
become a double ace in one mission.
As your dogfighting skills improve, work your way
through the various skill levels to increase your difficulties.

Accumulating Points
If you're competing against another pilot, you'll want to accu-
mulate as many points as possible. Points awarded for enemy
kills increase with the difficulty level, with destroying a pri-
mary ground target resulting in the most points. Though pri-
mary targets can be destroyed with one bomb, it's possible to
drop more than one on a target in a single bombing run, and
get point credit for all hits.
If you have a primary target lined up properly (and you
have the time, uninterrupted by SAMs or enemy aircraft), you
may be able to drop as many as four bomb loads before you
finish your pass. If all four hit you have quadrupled your
point total.

Don't be afraid to use the bail-out function when things get
bleak. Don't ride your airplane into the ground. At least try
the bail-out key-after all, you have a 50/50 chance of being
rescued and continuing your mission.

Bombing on Afterburners
Once you become proficient at bombing at 100 percent power,
you should learn to bomb while on afterburners. Though this
reduces your time over the target and lets you drop only one
bomb load, it does have advantages. You're most vulnerable

Playing the Game

to both enemy missiles and aircraft while making a bomb run,

so going in at maximum speed makes you harder to hit and
harder to catch.

Clear the Map

Once you've successfully completed all the scenarios, you can
go back and start with Mission #l and not only hit the primary
target, but clear the map of all targets. Remember that once all
primary targets have been hit you cannot continue if you return
to base. Save at least one primary target for the last strike.
Clearing the map takes a different plan from just complet-
ing the mission. Decide in advance what you want to do
first-attack the closest targets or eliminate the SAM threat or
air opposition.
The ultimate in map clearing is to start with Mission #l and
clear each map in one sitting without losing your aircraft. Give
yourself plenty of time, as this could take eight or nine hours.

Code Chart
It's helpful, not to mention time-saving, to go through the
simulation's manual and make a chart of the Authorization
Codes. Keep this with your manual or beside your computer
location for quick reference.

Completing Missions
The computer can't tell the difference between two bomb hits
on one primary target and one bomb hit on two primary tar-
gets. If the mission you're flying has two primary targets and
you hit the first with two bomb loads and return to base, the
computer will give you credit for successfully completing that
mission-and you won't be able to go after the second pri-
mary target.

Copy the Maps

One of the things that help keep F-15 Strike Eagle interesting is
the variety of ways to complete each mission. Plan your mis-
sion on a photocopy of the mission map and keep track of
successful routes-that's what real fighter pilots do, and it's a
good idea for you, too.


Navigation, fuel planning, and examination of enemy air

defenses is just as much a part of an actual military operation
as the time spent flying. It makes good sense for you to take
these items into account before flying a mission.

Don't Fly over Targets You Don't Intend

to Bomb
F-15 Strike Eagle is designed to operate so that the enemy can
detect your presence by radar and visual or audible contact. If
you fly over an enemy airbase, you'll be seen and heard.
Don't be surprised if you have company soon after.

Ease Off the Stick When Entering Keyboard

In the Commodore 64 version of F-15 Strike Eagle you can't
use the joystick and the keyboard at the same time. When you
want to activate a system controlled through the keyboard-
afterburners, weapons selection, or ejection seat-you must
ease off of the stick so the computer can recognize the com-
mand. Especially keep this in mind when you're trying to eject.

Finding the Ground

Sometimes when making a steep climb, you can lose track of
up and down. If this occurs, the ground can always be located
by activating the bomb sight. The line attached to the sight
circle always points down.

Running out of fuel is a problem with many of the missions.
When it becomes obvious that you're not going to make it back
to base before running out of fuel, start a gradual climb. The
extra altitude will increase the distance you'll be able to glide.
When out of fuel and gliding, try to keep the nose at a
level where you can maintain an airspeed of 240 knots. This
yields the greatest glide distance.

Playing the Game

Gun Fighting in Ace Mode

When attempting a gun kill in Ace mode, it can be very diffi-
cult to out-turn your opponent. In this case, instead of turning
nose-to-tail, try turning nose-to-nose, slowing up, and then re-
versing your turn and allowing the enemy to pass in front of
you. Be ready to shoot fast and be sure to lead your target.
Another tactic which may prove successful in Ace mode is
to turn in front of your opponent, and then perform a maneu-
ver that makes him overshoot. This will put you on his tail in
perfect firing position.

High-Altitude Dive Bombing

If you're coming up on a target you want to bomb at high alti-
tude, you don't have to pass it by. Such a target can be hit by
following these guidelines:
0 Cut power to 55 percent.
0 Line up the target directly in front of you.
0 Set the radar to the shortest range.
0 When the target appears on the radar, activate the bomb
sight and start a steep dive.
0 Keep track of your progress by watching the radar screen.
Adjust your dive if necessary to prevent passing the target.
0 The target triangle should appear on the ground as you pass
10,000 feet. If it doesn't appear, you've probably passed
over the target.
0 Drop bombs and/or pull up at 3500 feet.
If at any time during your dive you lose control, extend
the speedbrake to stabilize the aircraft.

Learn to Fly Low

Flying low causes the flight of the aircraft to be a little incon-
sistent due to programmed "turbulence." Though this may be
annoying, as constant joystick adjustment is required, it's a
skill well worth learning. Low-level flying lets you come in be-
neath the radar which guides some of the SAM missiles.


Limping Home
A damaged aircraft is often a fact of life in F-15. Nursing a
wounded bird back to the nest can take some doing. If you de-
cide that you're going to make a dash back to the base for re-
pairs, the first thing to do is drop any remaining bomb loads
and the external fuel tank. Set your navigational cursor. Either
hit the burners for a fast escape, or slow down, get low, and
try to sneak back.
The aircraft tends to handle best at low speeds (around
240 knots) when damaged, but if you're over enemy territory
you'll be an easy target at that speed.
Remember that the aircraft is much harder to handle at
high speed when damaged.

Missile Damage
The missiles in this simulation, like real missiles, are equipped
with proximity fuses . In other words, the missiles don't have to
actually hit your aircraft, but detonate when they're close. As
you begin to operate at the higher skill levels, enemy missiles
can detonate at increased distance from your aircraft and still
cause damage. Take this into account when planning your de-
fensive maneuvers.

Multiple Flights
In an actual strike against heavily protected targets, such as
those seen in the mission scenarios, an attack would usually
have several components.
You can simulate this using several flights from the base
with different objectives.
The first attack would be made by the "Wild Weasel"
squadron whose job it is to take out the enemy surface-to-air
missile launchers. Following that, strikes against air bases to
reduce air resistance would be conducted. Finally, the target
objective would be attacked.
To complete some of the missions in the simulation you
can do the same thing. On the first flight, attack SAM loca-
tions; then return to base. Fly again to take out the primary
target(s) or airfields.
When making a bombing run at SAM sites or the primary
target, you probably won't need more than one or two racks of

Playing the Game

bombs-drop the rest if they're not going to be used since

they'll slow you down.

Out of Fuel and Out of Altitude

When you're gliding toward base and it appears that you'll
come up short, a minor program glitch can help you out. By
repeatedly hitting the afterburner key you can get small bursts
of power which will increase your airspeed slightly.

Punch Out!
Surviving an ejection is dependent upon speed, altitude, dis-
tance from base, the proximity of enemy planes, control of the
aircraft, and luck.

Save Those Flares

When playing at the higher skill levels, it's a good idea to try
to jink incoming air-to-air missiles without using flares. Your
flares will better serve you when you're trying to avoid the
much tougher heat-seeking SAMs.

Simulated Landings
Although landing isn't a part of F-15 Strike Eagle, as it is with
other flight simulators, you can duplicate landing by being at
less than 500 feet and falling when you fly over the blue trian-
gle representing your home base. The ultimate is to go into
the triangle with your low-altitude warning sounding.

Skill Levels
Arcade. This level should only be used to familiarize yourself
or a new user with the plane's basic operation. The aircraft
won't bank in a tum in this mode. One gun hit destroys the
Rookie. (Easy) Beginners should start here. The plane operates
correctly and two gun hits are required to down an enemy
Pilot. (Moderate) Things begin to get more difficult here. The
opposing pilots are much better, but will occasionally attempt


to run after a long, turning fight, giving you a good missile

shot or guns opportunity. At least three gun hits are required
to score a kill. Bombing and returning to base must be more
precise. SAMs are more accurate.
Ace. (Tough) SAMs are very accurate. Enemy pilots are very
good and will not disengage. Keep an eye on your energy
level and altitude as enemy pilots will turn you right into the
ground if you're not careful. At least four gun hits are required
to down an enemy-often more. Bombing must be precise and
returning to base must be well under 3000 feet. Unless your
dogfighting skills are very good, stay away from turning fights
and use missile attacks only.

Spin Recovery
In both reality and the simulation, the F-15 isn't an easy air-
craft to spin. It is possible, however, to find yourself in a dis-
orienting spin due to damage to your aircraft, poor flying, or
both. If this happens, extend your speedbrake to slow or stop
the aircraft's rotation. Locate the horizon, level your wings,
and pull out of your dive.

Two-Player Team
Although the F-15 Strike Eagle manual makes only slight men-
tion of the two-player system, I feel this is very important.
The real F-lSE is a two-man aircraft, as is the Navy's F-14
Tomcat. The benefit is not only in the extra pair of hands for
operating complex weapon systems, but also in the extra pair
of eyes. These same benefits translate well to the simulation.
In a two-player simulation, one person operates the joy-
stick-functioning as pilot-and the other operates the key-
board controls-functioning as weapons officer, or GIB (Guy
In Back), as they're referred to.The pilot doesn't have to look
away from the screen to push buttons or check radar.
In this system the duties should be divided as outlined in
the following:
Pilot's responsibilities
0 Fly the airplane.
0 Choose and release weapons.
0 Give orders (someone must have the final say).

Playing the Game

Weapons officer's responsibilities

0 Watch the radar screen. Things happen very quickly in bat-
tle and the radar screen gives you the best clues as to what
is coming at you.
0 Watch the radar and infrared-scanning indicator lights. The
warning lights tell you what type of countermeasures to use.
When two SAMs are in the air, the weapons officer must
determine which is the infrared-homing SAM and which is
radar-guided. This can only be done by noticing which
warning light comes on first.
0 Deploy countermeasures and tell the pilot to break away
and in what direction.
0 Place the NAV indicator in the correct position.
0 Drop the external fuel tanks when the fuel level reaches
13,500 pounds. Continuing to fly with the drop tanks at-
tached reduces your fuel efficiency and performance.
0 Respond to pilot commands to operate the following
Throttle increase or decrease
Arming weapons
Bail out
Rear-view control
Reminding the pilot of altitude during combat
It's important to give the second player as much to do as
possible to keep him or her from getting bored and becoming
a spectator instead of a participant.

Use Your Afterburners

Afterburners can be useful in several areas. When you're mak-
ing a low-level bombing run, the extra-speed afterburners re-
duce the time you're in SAM range and make it harder for
them to hit you.
When involved in a tight turning fight you'll rapidly bleed
energy and airspeed. If you start to get stall warnings in a
tight turn, use your afterburners to increase your airspeed to
500 knots; then return to 100 percent power.
This may be necessary several times during a dogfight to
keep your airspeed up and to prevent stalls.

The Missions
Learn how to complete each mission in F- 75 Strike Eagle
with this collection of tactical and strategic tips.

You have a choice of seven combat missions-all based on ac-

tual incidents-in F-15 Strike Eagle. Completing those missions
can be difficult at times, seemingly impossible at others. That's
why I'm offering these tips and techniques. I hope they help
you end each mission successfully. Keep in mind, though, that
there are many other ways to accomplish the same thing. My
advice is not the only, or necessarily the best, plan of attack.

Mission # 1-Libya, 1981

Scenario. On the morning of August 19, 1981, two F-14 Tom-
cats of U.S. Navy Squadron VF-41 (Black Aces) were patrol-
ling 60 miles south of the carrier Nimitz in the Gulf of Sidra
near Libya.
Two Libyan SU-22 Fitters were detected and the F-14s
were dispatched to intercept. As the F-14s closed on the Liby-
ans, one of the SU-22s fired a missile (probably an AA-2
Atoll). The F-14s broke away rapidly to avoid the missile and
engaged the Fitters. In the short battle that followed, Squadron
Leader Commander Henry Kleeman and Lt. David Venlet,
Kleeman's RIO (Radar Intercept Officer); Kleeman's wingman,
pilot Lt. Lawrence Msczynski, and Msczynski's RIO, Lt. James
Anderson, each shot down an SU-22 with an AIM-9L Side-
winder missile shot.
Mission 1 is based on this incident, and more. You get to
do what the F-14 pilots could not-carry the attack to bases in
Since this is the first mission, it's also the easiest. You
won't encounter SAMs during the flight.
Tactics. To complete this mission, quickly do away with
the enemy plane you find in front of you as the simulation be-
gins. A Sidewinder or several quick gun bursts should do the


Next, place the NAV cursor over the primary target, de-
scend to 3000 feet, and fly toward the target. Use medium-
range missiles to keep other enemy aircraft busy while you
make your bomb run.
Drop as many bombs as possible on the target and pull
up. With the main target destroyed, you can continue to attack
ground targets or drop the rest of your bomb load and head
back to the coast where you can engage enemy planes until
you run out of ammunition or fuel.
When your fuel falls to 5000 pounds, it's time to head
for home.

Mission #2-Yom Kippur War, 1973

Scenario. In October of 1973, hostilities between Egypt and Is-
rael again reached the boiling point. On October 6, 1973,
Egyptian tanks crossed the Suez Canal. At the same time 100
Syrian tanks moved into the Golan Heights area of Israel.
During the Yorn Kippur War many large-scale air battles
were fought between Israeli F-4 Phantoms and Syrian and
Egyptian MiG-21s and MiG-17s.
The Israeli Air Force (IAF) estimated a kill ratio of about
40 to 1. The Israeli F-4s downed 164 Egyptian aircraft in air
combat while losing 4. On the Syrian front, meanwhile, 3 Is-
raeli jets were lost while destroying 95 Syrian aircraft.
Tactics. Take advantage of the limited capabilities of the
Egyptian SA-7 SAMs. Flying above 32,000 feet puts you out
of SAM range; using afterburners lets you outrun any air resis-
tance on the way in.
Go toward the primary target at high altitude and high
speed, pass over the target, and begin your descent. Turn back
toward the target, approach at 2000-3000 feet, drop as many
bombs as possible in your single run, and continue on toward
the base at high speed and altitude.

Mission #3-Haiphong, North Vietnam, 1972

Scenario. Following a North Vietnamese incursion across the
Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) in late March, bombing of North
Vietnamese targets was again authorized.
This mission is based 9n the missions flown by F-4 and
A-6 pilots during the bombing campaign codenamed Line-
backer I.
The Missions

Tactics. Take advantage of the poor, low-level per-

formance of enemy radar used to guide the SA-2 and SA-3
Immediately after starting the simulation, descend to be-
low 1500 feet and stay there. Enemy MIGs weren't active dur-
ing the first stages of Linebacker I and shouldn't be a problem.
Place the NAV cursor over the first target and make your
bomb run. If you don't have another person helping as weap-
ons officer, it's best to pass over the second target, then
Place the NAV cursor and turn around, making your
second bomb run so you will be heading out to sea once it's

Mission #4-Syria, 1984

Scenario. When the Syrians started moving modern Soviet-
built SA-9 SAMs near the border, the Israelis decided to act.
The locations of the emplacements were determined using
RPVs (Remotely Piloted Vehicles). These small unpiloted
drones carried cameras and accurately located the targets.
F-15s and F-16s then flew a number of successful bombing
missions. The Syrians used heavy smoke in an attempt to hide
the locations of the SAMs, but the Israeli preflight homework
paid off.
Tactics. This is the first mission with all the threats work-
ing against you. The Syrians have radar and infrared-homing
SAMs, MiG-21s, and MiG-23s. Your primary target is a long
way from home-the distance can be a very real threat in itself.
This mission is best handled in two phases. First, take out
the two closest SAM and airport locations. This will make it
easier to get in and out during the second phase. After taking
out the first four targets in phase 1, return to base to re-arm,
refuel, and repair. You can fly more missions to soften up the
path to the primary target, but the mission can be completed
on the second flight by flying in fast toward the target with a
light load of two or three bomb loads. If you're really confi-
dent take only one. (The fewer the better, because fuel con-
servation is important.)
Afterburners can be used for a while, but not for the
whole trip. Go straight in, make your bomb run, and head


straight home. Heading home can be done at high altitude if

you've cleared out most of the radar-guided SAMs. If you do
run out of fuel, don't bail out immediately, since the plane
will glide a considerable distance with no bomb load.
Figure 13-1. Mission 4
The numbers indicate the first-phase targets in the order of attack.
Target #2 is an infrared-homing SAM site; target #4 is a radar-homing
SAM site.

J_ x
J__ 1x 1 J__
~ x
J__J_ x

The Missions

Mission #5-Hanoi, North Vietnam, 1972

Scenario. On May 10, 1972, United States aircraft first used
laser-guided bombs in an attack on North Vietnam. These
highly accurate devices could be guided to within several feet
of a target, which was illuminated by a laser beam from an
aircraft off the target.
The F-15 Strike Eagle manual lists both primary targets as
oil depots; one of the main targets for the May 10 strike, how-
ever, was the Paul Doumer Bridge, a major link in rail and
road traffic in and out of Hanoi. A small strike force scored a
decisive victory by landing 12 direct hits on the bridge with
laser-guided bombs.
Tactics. In this simulation, unlike the real event, SAMs
will not be a factor. Since you don't have to worry about
SAMs, the best approach is to take the targets one at a time.
Go for the closest target first-climb to 10,000 feet, set the
NAV cursor, and hit the afterburners.
Drop all but two bomb loads to increase your speed and
range. Fire Sparrow missiles at any enemy planes which come
up against you and keep heading straight for the target. You
should be able to outrun the enemy planes if necessary.
Fly directly over the target and past it for about ten miles;
then cut off the afterburners, perform a Split-S maneuver back
toward the target, and make your bomb run heading back to-
ward base. Note that if both your bombs land on target, the
mission counts as completed and you won't be able to go back
out after the second target.
To attack the second target, similar tactics are used. Fol-
low a path north along the coast at 85 percent power carrying
two bombs. When you're almost even with the target, cut in
and head toward it. Keep your power level at 85 percent as
long as possible, but hit the afterburners once you're attacked.
Go straight in for your bomb run, drop your bombs, light the
burners, perform a vertical half-loop, and head straight for home.
You should be able to outrun most of the enemy air traffic.
Climb to 20,000 feet just in case you run out of fuel and
need some altitude to coast back to the carrier.


Figure 13-2. Mission Five

The flight plan for mission 5 shows how you can successfully strike at
both primary targets.

x J_
x J_


Mission #6-lraq, 198 l

Scenario. Etzion Air Base in the Sinai Desert is normally a
very busy place. On June 7, 1981, it was even busier than
usual. Early that morning, a group of Israeli F-15s and F-16s
began a highly controversial mission.
The Iraqi nuclear reactor south of Baghdad was about to
become operational and the Israelis believed it was capable of
producing weapon-grade fissionable material. In anticipation
of its completion, the Israeli Air Force had been practicing an
attack on the reactor for over a year. The time had come for
the plan to go into action.
The Missions

The attack force flew around Jordan, through Saudi Ara-

bia, and into Iraq low and fast. When questioned by Jordanian
air controllers, they convinced them that they were Saudis on
a training flight. The attack was carried out so quickly that
neither SAMs or Iraqi aircraft had time to react. The one-ton
bombs carried by the F-16s were extremely accurate. The reac-
tor and surrounding buildings were destroyed.
Tactics. When flying the simulation, you won't have the
benefit of reality-you'll experience heavy SAM and occa-
sional MiG opposition.
This mission can be completed in one flight with a little
luck and a lot of jinking to avoid SAMs. Again, fuel conserva-
tion is very important, so immediately drop all but two bomb
loads and shoot off half your missiles.
Descend to below 1500 feet and head straight toward the
target. You'll receive a lot of attention from the SAM oper-
ators, so be prepared to respond with jinks and brief after-
burner spurts to avoid the infrared-homing missiles.
Make your bomb run; then perform a vertical half-loop
and hit the afterburners. Set the NAV cursor for home base
and climb to 35,000 feet to avoid the infrared-homing SAMs.
Continue on afterburners until you're out of range of SAMs;
then keep your speed up over 1500 knots by losing altitude as
you approach base.
Be sure to lose altitude fast enough because fuel will be
critical at this point. Also be alert for enemy aircraft. There
won't be many, but they can show up at the worst time.

Mission #7-The Persian Gulf

Scenario. Several times a year the U.S. Navy conducts maneu-
vers in the Persian Gulf to show our determination to keep
this vital shipping avenue open. This mission pits your F-15-
flying on Combat Air Patrol-against attacking Iranian jets
and missiles.
Tactics. Since this is the final mission, you probably ex-
pect it to be the toughest. You won't be disappointed.
There's no easy or best way to complete this mission. All
the possible threats are waiting for you with expert-level oper-
ation. Skill and patience will be necessary to destroy all three
primary targets and return safely to base. You'll probably take
a hit or two in the process.


Once hit you should immediately determine the handling

capabilities of the aircraft and return to base if necessary.
This mission can be broken down into two, or possibly
three, steps.
1. The first flight is the optional one, and consists of a
"Wild Weasel" style raid on one or two SAM locations on the
western bank of the Gulf. Destroying these targets will make
the flight up to the northernmost target much safer, but will
expose you to heavy missile fire during your bomb run and in-
crease your exposure to Iranian aircraft also in the area. You'll
have to make this decision: Do you want to complete the mis-
sion in two highly dangerous trips or three only slightly less
dangerous steps?
To fly this optional mission, first decide how many targets
you intend to bomb: one or two. The southernmost SAM site
on the western bank shouldn't pose a threat, so concentrate on
the other two.
If you decide to attack only the middle SAM site, this can
be done fairly safely by approaching low on afterburners,
bombing, then heading back to ship on afterburners. If you in-
tend to destroy both targets, you'll need to conserve fuel and
use the afterburners only sparingly to avoid SAMs.
2. I recommend attacking the northernmost target first
since it's the most difficult. It's very frustrating to fight your
way in and out, destroying the first two targets, only to fail in
your attempt on the third. By attacking in this order you can
rack up several bomb hits on each of the lower primary targets
and increase your point total. If you got more than one hit on
these targets on the first part of the mission and returned to
base, the mission would be over.
To attack the northernmost target, fly up the Gulf over
water at medium altitude (at least 35,000 feet). Proceed with
only two bomb loads and at 85 percent power once you reach
altitude. Fuel will be critical on this leg of the mission. When
you're slightly south of the target, cut in toward land, between
the two SAM sites. Use a steep descent to keep your speed
over 1000 knots. Make your bomb run (dropping both bombs)
and return by the same path at high altitude on 85 percent

The Missions

Figure 13-3. Mission 7

Mission 7 requires at least two, and possibly three, strikes against the
various targets.

Optional Flight Targets

First Flight Target

Second Flight Target



power. Remember to drop the external tanks as soon as you

reach 13,500 pounds of fuel-the extra drag and added weight
reduce your speed and fuel efficiency.
3. Once you've successfully completed the first part of
your mission, the second part should be no problem. Set the
NAV cursor on the first target and hit the afterburners. Fly at
about 3000 feet straight toward the target, cut back to 100 per-
cent power once the target appears on medium-range radar,
and make your bomb run. If your first bomb misses and you
can't accurately drop the second, don't go back-head toward
the second target with the afterburners lit.
Repeat the process at the second target. Make your bomb
run going in so that if you miss, you can return to the carrier.
If you missed the first target you can try again on your way
back to base.
A total of four bomb loads is recommended for this leg of
the mission-two for each target.

Reading List
If you want to learn more about air combat or the F-15, I sug-
gest you take a look at the following books.

Books on Air Combat

Franks, Norman. 1986. Aircraft Versus Aircraft. New York:
Gunston, Bill, and Mike Spick. 1983. Modern Air Combat. New
York: Crescent Books.
Nordeen, Lon 0 ., Jr. 1985. Air Warfare in the Missile Age.
Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institute Press.
Shaw, Robert L. 1985. Fighter Combat: Tactics and Maneuver-
ing. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press.
Sims, Edward H. 1972. Fighter Tactics and Strategy 1914-1970.
Fallbrook, CA: Aero Publishers.
Spick, Mike. 1983. Fighter Pilot Tactics : The Techniques of Day-
light Air Combat. New York: Stein and Day Publishers.

Books on the F-15

Drendel, Lou. 1985. Eagle. Carrollton, TX: Squadron/Signal
Ethel, Jeff. 1981. F-15 Eagle. London, England: Ian Allan Ltd.
Gething, Michael. 1983. Vol. 1. Modern Fighting Aircraft: F-15 .
New York: Arco Publishing.

acceleration 20 electronic countermeasures systems
" ACE: Air Combat Emulator" viii (ECM) 46
ace level 160 elevators 15
ace mode 157 energy awareness 17
aerial combat 58-65 Epyx viii
afterburners 154, 161 Eurosoft International vii
aileron roll 72 F-4 Phantom 5
ailerons 15 F-14 Tomcat 6, 160
air combat, eight rules of 65 F-15 Streak Eagle
air combat mode 153-55 compared to F-4 8
all-aspect missiles 38 records 11
Apex, AA-7 48 weapons capability 44
Aphid, AA-8 48 F-15E 160
arcade level 159 F-16 9
Atoll, AA-2 47 F-86 Sabre 5
attack 59 F-1115, 8
authorization codes 155 fighters 29
AWACS (airborne warning and control flares 159
system) 51 flight performance 22-24
bail-out 154 fly by wire system 15-17
ballistic climb 19 Fokker, Anthony 27
ballistic dive 20 forward-looking infrared (FUR) 9
barrel roll 74 FX program 5
barrel roll attack 106 gliding 156
Boeleke, Oswald 65 gravity units (G's) 21
bomb sight 156 ground 156
break tum 78 gun attacks, defense 40-42
cautiously aggressive attack 146 guns 33-37
chaff (foil) 43, 46 guy in back (GIB) 160
clearing the map 155 head-on gun attack 60, 94
climb 18-20 head-on turning attack 96
closing 59 heads up display (HUD) 40
Combat Air Patrol (CAP) 29, 44 high-G barrel roll 118
damaged aircraft 158 " High Roller" vii
deception signals 46 infrared countermeasures 47
defensive options 40-44 infrared missile 43
descending half-loop 80 instantaneous tum performance 21
detection 58 inverted 22
disengagement 64 inverted flight practice 86
high-speed 122 "JET" vii
low-speed 120 "Jet Combat Simulator" viii
dive bombing 138 jinking a missile 128
high-altitude 157 jinks 42
dive for separation 110 joystick use 156
drag 17 "Jump Jet Combat and Flight
dual-role fighter (ORF) 8 Simulator" vii
Eagle 6 keyboard use 156
ejection 153, 159 kinetic energy 17-18

landing 159 radar jamming 43, 46
lead tum 61 range 34
lift 17 remotely piloted vehicles (RPVs) 167
Linebacker I 166 roll acceleration 22
load factor 21 rollaway 104
loop 76 roll performance 22
low-level approach 140, 157 rookie level 159
maneuverability 21 , 58 rudders 15
maneuvering 59 Sidewinder missiles 33, 38, 45
maximum instantaneous turn skill levels 159-60
performance 21 snapshot 36
MicroProse Software vii Sparrow missiles 33, 38, 45
MiG-21 47 speedbrake extension 88
MiG-23 47 speedbrake reversal 124
MiG-25 5 spin recovery 160
" MiG Alley Ace" vii, 30 Spinnaker Software viii
Mindscape vii spiral dive, defensive 126
missile defense 43 spiral, vertical 130
missile, firing short-range 132 split-S 80
missiles 38-40 stall tum 84
enemy, air-to-air 47 Strike Eagle 9
enemy, surface-to-air 48 SU-22 47
heat-seeking 38 SubLOGIC vii
radar-guided 40 surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) 48
Mission #l , Libya 165-66 surprise attack 57
Mission #2, Yorn Kippur War 166 sustained tum performance 21
Mission #3, Haiphong, North Vietnam targets 29
166-67 teamwork 58
Mission #4, Syria, 167-68 thrust 17
Mission #5, Hanoi, North Vietnam totally aggressive attack 148
169-70 tracking shot 34
Mission #6, Iraq 170-71 tum performance 21-22
Mission #7, The Persian Gulf 171-74 tum radius 21
nose-to-nose tum 62-63 tum rate 21
nose-to-tail tum 64 unloaded acceleration 47
out-of-plane maneuver 112 unloading 20
P-51 Mustang 5 vertical half-loop 82
pilot level.159 vertical stabilizer 15
pilot's responsibilities 160 Vmax 20
pipper 137 weapons 58
pitch back 112 weapons officer's responsibilities 161
points 154 weight 17
pop-up bombing 140 yaw 15
potential energy 17-18 yo-yo
proximity fuses 158 high 100
radar countermeasures 46-47 low 98
radar intercept officer (RIO) 165 straight 102
zoom maneuver 18, 108

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