Evolution of the Soviet Air-to-Air Training and Doctrines, from the 50s-today.


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28 December 2005
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The title says it all!.

This is a quote of an extremly nice article on the topic by Pilot 1st Class, Colonel Pyotr Kartashev at Istoriya Aviatsiya: "Metamorphosis of the Air Combat training of the Soviet Air Force in the Post-war period"

[...]The sum of work in 1971 by 4 TsBPiPLS became development and running-in of the program, content of which became the collection of the combat maneuvers, used in the close battle by single fighter, by pair and components, and also the procedure of their mastery by the crew of the units of front fighter aircraft. One of the special features of this program was the training of officers for combat control (OBU), on equal divided with the pilots responsibility for the outcome of battle and therefore prepared together with them for each flight to the air battle. For the first time the officer for combat control actively participated in combat dynamics in all his stages. This circumstance made it possible to use in combat maneuvers with breaking of the pairs and it was sectional, with which occurred the temporary loss of visual contact between the pilots of one subdivision with its subsequent restoration. OBU could tactically competently govern its crew, orienting its with respect to the enemy and prompting the most expedient in combat dynamics maneuvers and the directions of their fulfillment.
By this time exactly arrived in time the means of guarantee, among which the main role belonged to ground RLS P-40 (still called “range-finder”), which, besides the significant detection range, still and very rapidly scanned space, which was ensured by the significant antenna scan rate in the azimuthal plane. This, in turn, made it possible to obtain on the plan position indicators (IKO) as now they would say, the almost “frozen” image of the trajectories of the motion (“paths”) of aerial targets. Specifically, because of the appearance of P-40 began the development of the methods of combat control of air battle from the earth, and into the field manual of fighter aircraft it was recorded, which “for the outcome of air battle to the equal degree answers crew and the officer for combat control”.

Thus, to the middle of the 70s close maneuverability battle acquired the following new features:

- the presence or the absence of the tactical superiority of that attacking began to be evaluated not as far as possible to prove to be near the neighbor boundary of the region of effective shooting due to the advantages in the maneuverability, but due to the possibility to attack the missiles of the energetically maneuvering enemy, in this case barely maneuvering;
- continuous radar control of the position position of sides in all stages of battle;
- breaking pairs it is sectional with the temporary loss of visual contact between the crews;
- active participation OBU in combat dynamics in all its stages and its responsibility for the outcome of battle on the level with the crew.

For the first time this program began to take root by the spring of 1972 on the collections of crew in the associations VVS, at the same time it was called its exotic name “korrida”.

Why nevertheless “korrida”?

Most likely because perception the crew of those requirements for the individual pilotage, which were the basic content of these exercises, they were to a certain extent akin to attitude of spectators toward toreador and so that it made in the arena. Indeed if flights in the program “Caucasus” differed from the usual, first of all, in terms of the range of the conditions for piloting — by low altitude, maximum in terms of the values by speed and by overload, i.e. with the intensity of piloting, then by the basic criterion, on which were evaluated the formation flights to the pilotage and the air battle according exercise “500”, and the solution about the fulfillment of assignments also started, there was the intensity of piloting each participant in the formation flight.

The intensity of piloting was evaluated according to the load factors and speed to, i.e., relative retention time on the maneuvers, carried out with the high overloads and the speeds (G>4 and V>800 km/h). In the second place was placed the completeness and the sequence (not to pass and not to destroy the priority of the acrobatic maneuvers and combat maneuvers) with fulfillments of assignments. By the way, pilot, who carried out maneuver with breaking of battle formation and not maintained the assigned parameters of maneuver, as a rule, became the culprit of the fact that the pair or component after breaking simply was not assembled into the previous battle formation. Besides the intensity of piloting, the flights on “500” strongly were differed from the usual tasks of — all of the master of air battle it had to master acrobatic maneuvers {dual figures singly and the figure of the aerobatics of — in the pair).

How to estimate this load from the point of view of purely physiological? First, on 500 exercises and in the period of collections it was permitted to carry out not more than three flights in the flying change, but flying changes there were three in the week. The result in the month of such flights to pilot during the first flying day (Tuesday) to fly on 500 exercises greatly was desirable, on Thursday it flew already without the enthusiasm, and on Saturday, if that to reasons they did not take place, it to feel sorry flights on what about this did not begin!

As a whole, the program of 4 TsBPiPLS contained all features of pilot training and officers for combat control for the very folded configuration of the flight training of destroyers. High demands for the level of the personal technology of piloting, intensity of maneuvering, the quality of the execution of formation flights and the estimation were its distinguishing features. In particular, pilot carried out the majority of acrobatic maneuvers, moreover in the formation flight and in the air battle retention time at the speed of 800 km/h and more, and also to overload 4 and more than ones, had to comprise not less than 60% and 40% of the total time, spent on the fulfillment of entire complex of pilotage. Otherwise task was considered incomplete.

Reality was such, that exercise 500 forced within the framework preparations even for the single free air battle “to sketch” for each of the enemies 15—20 versions of beginning and continuation of the forthcoming battle. Combat training VVS, attaching special importance to the level of the tactical training of the crew of the air group of 1521 base, required from each pilot even with the flights for the personal improvement “to sketch” its content of final flights to the combat employment, without using standard and moderately-priced developments.
This became the beginning of turning in the procedure of combat training.

Already at the beginning 1972 all units of front fighter aircraft had the prepared on MiG-21 instructors for the preparation of crew for the fulfillment of exercises according to the program of air battle. It goes without saying, the reader is right to present the question: and to what extent did change after the passage “korrida” their intrinsic level of combat training? About this it is possible to write for long and much, but one feature for such pilots of — it was characteristic nevertheless as whom to fly in the group, and as the slave it could fly to the air battle with any, even first counter pilot!

Pair or component, which mastered “korrida”, boldly and confidently it was opened in the dynamics of free maneuverability air battle and wonderfully was oriented with respect to each other even of in the absence visual contact with each other and “enemy”.

As a whole, because of the appearance of “korrida” the crew obtained initial kavyki in the skill to plan air battle and to simulate the content of its stages, the methods of the professional analysis of the results of flights into the zone and for the air battle. However, it is necessary to note that to that moment, as pair (to say nothing of component) obtained permission for finalizing of maneuverability battle, it had to master a number of methods (“cockleshell”, hook”, “crab” and other).

The organization of standard training air battle in the size “pair to the pair” appeared now as follows. Each of two entering the zone pairs of destroyers had their radio channel of combat control. In this case the element leader each negotiated with its officer for combat control, with what periodicity that will report the data about the position of the aircraft of enemy.

Duel could last to 10 minutes. If someone from “the enemies” went in the tail to other, then it reported to its officer for combat control that observes the purpose, after which transferred RLPK into the regime “seizure” and it passed to the radio channel of enemy, reporting to the latter “I see. I attack!”. If he did not succeed in throwing out persecutor from the tail immediately, then battle ceased, since victory was obvious.

It is understandable that taking into account radar support from the earth the rapidity and, as a result, in many respects the inevitability of the first attack disappeared, and together with it and the element of unexpected contingency. , however, it was intended to ensure the latter in the course of the studies (for example, after beginning to operate the directed aircraft of interferences)[...]

This is only a fragment of such an article, I would like to know:

Was "Korrida" tactics implemented on Warsaw Pact Air Forces? like LSK/LV's MiG-21 units and similar from Bulgaria, Czechoslovaquia and so?, if so at wich extent?, and when?, what was the attitude of the pilots from those air forces that mastered "Korrida", and the level of homegrown development of such tactics?.

Did Warsaw Pact pilots ever attended Exercise 500 at Mari?
For Bulgaria -in the mid-1970s, there were selected ggroups of pilots flying the MiG-21 trained in Exercise 500 maneuvering course at the Krasnodar trainig centre, and then they used to unstruct the BuAF fighter pilots, and thus in the late 1970s/early 1980s it was a routine (albeit one of the most difficult) types of training mission to be flown.
Hi Airsande, thanks for the details, let me ask you some questions if you don't mind ;)

a) I have heard that after Bekaa Valley debacle since 1983-1984, most Warsaw Pact Air Forces begin to train more air-to-air combat (ACM should we call it) in spite of the lessons derived from those events on 1982. Did that "renewal emphasis" on ACM in WP AFs touched the "Korrida" pair/zveno tactics (allowing more flexible versions of it, revamping it to new platforms or anything more) or was something else?. What was the attitude of the pilots of your country (or other WP countries) toward the training given by "Exercise 500"?, and how can we compare the effectiveness of "Korrida" against such sections (2 aircraft) tactics of the west like "Loose-Deuce", "Double Attack" and so?.

b) How much time was reserved for BulAF pilots to train air-to-air combat and how much of this reflected "Korrida" tactics?. Were those units using the MiG-23MF/ML/MLD training under different Combat Employement Manuals/Regulations to made more emphasis on BVR combat capabilities of the aircraft?.

This is an interesting german page about the MiG-21's use on LSK/LV by a former JG-8 pilot. He names the different missions of his "Ausbildungkurs" (similar to soviet KBP) for the MiG-21, including VFR and IFR phases, and Air Combat, Air-to-Ground and training for becoming two-seater instructor. Any similarities on BulAF training patterns?


c) Was KBP IA-86 (Course of Combat Training for Fighter-Aviation 1986 edition) made by VVS FA IA, introduced on BulAF or any other Warsaw Pact Air Force?. Did the service enter of the MiG-29 on BulAF bring any sort of doctrinal revolution toward the attitude for training and operating the aircraft? and what was the background of the selected MiG-29 pilots?, ex-MiG-21/MiG-23? any BVR combat experience?.

Thanks for answers!

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