ENGAGED/FREE FIGHTER ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
Anytime the section is engaged with a bandit, lead and wingman formation roles and responsibilities
are exchanged for engaged and free fighter tactical roles and responsibilities. The engaged fighter
is the fighter actively pursuing the bandit or forcing the bandit into a predictable flight path (offensive/
defensive). The free fighter is the fighter maneuvering to protect the engaged fighter and to obtain a
clear shot at the bandit.
As the engaged fighter, your primary responsibility is to kill the bandit. To do this, you must keep the
bandit in sight and either attack him or defend against his attack. In either case, the engaged fighter
must force the bandit to maneuver hard enough to deplete his energy, thus making him predictable.
It is essential that you communicate with the free fighter to coordinate your tactics effectively.
As the free fighter, you are also responsible for killing the bandit. Analyze the fight to predict the
bandits flight path and maneuver for a shot while maintaining sight of both the engaged fighter and
the bandit. Use descriptive comm to inform the engaged fighter of your position and directive comm
to provide tactical recommendations to target the bandit. The free fighter should constantly manage
his energy package.
Clear, concise radio communications of a tactical, directive, and descriptive nature will optimize the
sections effectiveness. You must learn to fly, think, and communicate simultaneously. Typically,
initial communications are of bandit sightings. However, immediate movement of the section utilizing
directive communication is the highest priority radio call made to avoid being targeted by a bandit.
The directive call would be followed immediately by descriptive communication to ensure both
aircraft acquire the bandit and establish the fighter tactical game plan.
The basis for an air-to-air kill is flying the aircraft to the firing parameters necessary to employ a
selected weapon system successfully. Those parameters define the weapons envelope (Figure 3) in
terms of range and angle off the tail (AOTfighter position off the bandits tail). A weapons
envelope around the bandit is three-dimensional and dynamic based upon fighter and bandit
airspeed, altitude, g, and specific weapons capability. Firing from within the envelope greatly
The weapons firing envelopes for CNATRA are rear quarter envelopes only for snap guns, raking
guns, tracking guns, and sidewinders (FOX-2). Figure 3 illustrates maximum and minimum ranges
and angle off. The hot and cold sides are functions of angle off and bandit direction of turn (intercept
geometry). The hot side refers to the area in the direction of turn relative to the bandits longitudinal
axis. The cold side refers to the area away from the direction of turn. Hot and cold do not refer to
the heat source of the target; they are only a function of intercept geometry. The heart of the IR
envelope is 1 nm at the bandits six.