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From: (Ed Rasimus)
Newsgroups: rec.aviation.military
Subject: Re: Question about Wingman
Date: Fri, 31 Jul 1998 17:25:08 GMT

"Brent" <> wrote:

> What is a wingman doing when the lead aircraft is manuevering for a shot against an
>enemy? Does he engage the other aircraft or stay on
>your wing? If he stays on your wing, what proactive things can he do to keep the
>other aircraft from shooting you down?

Today the wingman's job is considerably different than it was in WW II
or Korea. Then, the position was called "fighting wing" and it meant
you occupied the space about 1500-3000 feet back from your leader in a
60 degree cone around his tail. There you were supposed to "clear" for
other attackers and keep him advised about threats while he
concentrated on engaging the enemy. Actually you simply hung on for
dear life while occupying the shooting space that someone would need
to kill him.

Since the mid-60's there has been a drastic change in tactics with
various styles including Loose Deuce, Fluid Attack, Detached Mutual
Support, Hooks and Eyeballs, Split Plane, Free/Engaged, Shooter-Cover
and more.

Basically upon engagement a "contract" is established in which one
fighter is the attacker or engaged aircraft (this could be offensive
or defensive), and the wingman (he could have started the day as
leader) is supporting or free.

Some generalities depending upon the weaponry, aircraft, mission, etc
are that the engaged aircraft makes the enemy predictable while the
supporting aircraft operates out of the engaged aircraft's plane of
maneuver, clears the area, advises of other threats and positions to
press the attack if/when the engaged aircraft overshoots or loses the

There are lots of options, it takes lots of practice, it changes
almost daily, and there is not a simple answer to your question.

 Ed Rasimus                   *** Peak Computing Magazine
  Fighter Pilot (ret)         ***   (
                              *** Ziff-Davis Interactive
                              ***   (

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