The exercise begins with the fighter (thats you) on a 45-degree offensive perch, at 300 KIAS, with
1,000 ft of stepup on the bandit. When you have announced that you are speed and angels
(aircraft airspeed and altitude is established), the bandit will clear you in. Now what?
If you have familiarized yourself with the CNATRA missile parameters, youll realize an immediate
shot opportunity exists once you bring your nose to bear. Take it! Aggressively dig to put the
waterline on the bandit and shoot him! Since the bandit is unlikely to sit there and take the shot
without some type of defensive counter, we can assume that he will survive this shot. What next?
It is here that we need to define the control zone. This is a cone running from approximately
2,000 ft aft and 20 degrees either side of the bandits flight path to 4,000 ft aft and 40 degrees either
side. It is comprised of many little control points defined as one turn radius aft of a max-performing
bandit (the length of the radius varies with airspeed giving us multiple points). Ill let you in on a
secret. If you can manage to establish yourself inside this control zone with fuselage alignment,
there is very little the bandit can do to shake you. In fact, once you have established yourself here,
driving into a gunsight tracking solution is easy. But unless your bandit is a grape of the feeblest
kind, you have to get to his control zone before you can track him steady state.
If youll recall, there are essentially three types of pursuit curves: lead, pure and lag. The intelligent
use of these pursuit curves (along with a willingness to max perform your airplane) that allows you to
reach 1,000 ft in trail of the bandit sending a steady stream of tracers up his can.
As long as there are angles between you and the bandit, closure will be determined by the pursuit
curve you choose. Your nose position will define the pursuit when in the same plane-of-motion
(POM) as the bandit, and your lift vector will perform the same function when in different POM.
Given the set, you know that youre pretty close to the bandits control zone, but youre not there yet.
You must perform some type of lag pursuit maneuver to get there. If you put your nose on or pull
lead pursuit on this break-turning bandit immediately following the Fox-2, you will probably get a
shot, but it will not be a tracking shot. However, holding the nose on initially is not a bad idea. It
allows you to assess the quality of his break turn and forces him to move his lift vector off of you for
as long as you are attempting to gun him (therefore, limiting the angles being developed). The range
at which you move to lag pursuit should be early enough to allow for entry into the control zone with
tactical airspeed. Well touch on this a little bit more in a second.
If youll refer to your gun envelope, it becomes apparent that the longer you pull lead or hold the nose
on, the more aggravated the angles become. At anything inside 2,000 ft, what youre more likely to
see is a fleeting snapshot. While youre holding the pipper on the bandit, salivating at the prospect
of real cool HUD footage to show your friends, the bandit is generating angles. If he brings you into
minimum range (1,000 ft), there is no lag maneuver known to man that will prevent your T-45A from
overshooting the bandit.
In case you werent already aware, in-close, high track-crossing rate (TCR) overshoots are bad. At
best, you lost the opportunity for any follow-on shots. At worst, you still have the opportunity for
follow-on shotsbut it will be the bandit taking them.
Lets go back to your initial lag maneuver and put you back where you belongaggressively driving
to that bandits control zone. The lag maneuver you choose should be one that preserves your