WWI AIR COMBAT – WHAT IT CAME DOWN TO

What is more natural than looking back over major aviation innovations of the Great War today, the anniversary of the Armistice? Here is a very interesting video posted by the BBC on how the fighter pilots dealt with reconnaissance, bombing missions and dogfight techniques. Primitive flight controls are well explained as is the interest of performing missions with a triplane aircraft – three sets of wings are necessarily more narrow, providing the pilot with a better visual field.

From the flimsy Blériot XI to Sopwiths and Fokkers, the first aces developed early methods that are always taught in fighter schools even though beyond-visual-range air combat has taken over since. Major Charles Tricornot de Rose was considered by many as the father of air fighting as early as 1914. Then as shown in this video, the German ace Oswald Boelcke laid out a first set of rules for dogfighting called the Dicta Boelcke. Pilots’ life expectancy was not measured in years but in weeks.

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RAF fighter aircraft – TORNADO GR4s at RIAT 2011

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RAFALE omnipresent at Paris Air Show 2011

RAFALE Le Bourget Airshow
RAFALE Le Bourget 2009 – Xavier Cotton https://www.passionpourlaviation.fr

No other fighter aircraft will be as omnipresent at the Paris Air Show as the Rafale as it has been shorlisted for India’s MMRCA (Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft) tender along with the Eurofighter. The IAF (Indian Air Force) is to order 126 multirole fighter aircraft for a deal of up to $10 billion. The French Dassault Rafale is still in competition with the Swedish SAAB JAS 39 Gripen, and the American F/A-18E/F Super Hornet in Brazil.

The Rafale also remains with the Gripen, and the Eurofighter in the Swiss NAC competition in order to replace the Swiss Air Force F-5s. The French Air Force has already demonstrated through the Rafale its combat readiness in Afghanistan, and over Libya. Its brand new reconnaissance pod Reco NG is now flying, and it managed to strike moving targets with its laser-guided AASM – Air-to-Ground Modular Weapon – beyond all expectations.

Its new Thales RBE2-AA AESA radar is still being developed. It has already been tested, and should be fully operational next year.

ToT (Transfer of Technology) has been pledged for the Rafale if the Indian government were to make its procurement decision.

Special thanks to Xavier Cotton, an aviation geek who provided the top left picture. Please visit his website https://www.passionpourlaviation.fr/ full of fantastic posts about aircraft of all time as well as from everywhere.

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Sukhoi Su-35BM vs Eurofighter Typhoon

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Video – SAAB 35 DRAKEN tested as an interceptor

Austrian AF Draken - Saab J 35 - Photo © HoHun (2003)

The Swedish-made Saab 35 Draken was a second generation jet fighter. 644 of them were built. This fighter aircraft used to fly during the Cold War as early as 1955, and entered in service in 1960.

Maybe her particular double-delta shape was worth calling it « Draken » which means « kite ». She was more an air defense aircraft than a dogfighter aircraft.

She retired from the RDAF, the Royal Danish Air Force in 1993; from the SwAF, the Swedish Air Force in 1999; from the FIAF, the Finnish Air Force in 2000; and from the AAF, the Austrian Air Force in 2005.

Hereafter an interesting video featuring a Saab 29 Tunnan (Flying Barrel); a Saab 32 Lansen (Lance); and a Draken momentarily as an interceptor; with her rate of climb nearing 35,000ft/min, she could reach FL650 – more than 20 kilometres above the earth – to hit her target:

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