US Helicopter Air-to-Air Programs

Dynoman

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Joined
Jul 29, 2009
Messages
755
Reaction score
23
After discussing the issue of air-to-air helicopter combat in another thread I thought the topic needed a separate page, especially when considering the amount of information and photos available on the USAF and US Army's attempts to develop and understand the role of air-to-air helicopters and tactics. I start the thread with information of the two year study known as J-CATCH (Joint Countering Attack Helicopters) in which the USAF's 20th SOS's UH-1 and CH-53 from Eglin AFB flew an adversarial role against US Army AH-1 and OH-58's from Fort Rucker, AL.
615069

Monitor in helicopter from gun-camera

615070
 

Dynoman

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Joined
Jul 29, 2009
Messages
755
Reaction score
23
J-Catch was from January 1978 through 1979.
 

500 Fan

CLEARANCE: Confidential
Joined
Jul 16, 2010
Messages
82
Reaction score
4
In 1987, the US Army's Aviation Applied Technology Directorate held an exercise called "Air-to-air combat tests Phase IV". It took place at Patuxent River Naval Air Station and involved simulated air-to-air encounters involving the AH-64A Apache, an MD530F Defender, a Bell 406CS, an AH-1 Cobra and an Aerospatiale SA365N-1. If anyone has any details on the registration or identity of the MD530F involved in this test, I'd love to see them. Thanks.

500 Fan.
 

Dynoman

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Joined
Jul 29, 2009
Messages
755
Reaction score
23
The Air Combat Tests (Phase I-IV) aircraft were:

April 1983 ACCTI: OH-58A, AH-1S
July 1983 ACCTII: UH-60A, S-76, OH-58A
Dec 1984 ACCTIII: MD530, OH-58A, AH-1S, BK-117
April 1987 ACCTIV: AH-1S, AH-64, BHT 406, SA-365N
 

Dynoman

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Joined
Jul 29, 2009
Messages
755
Reaction score
23
J-Catch, beginning in May 1978-1979 with a simulator study as Phase I is broken down as follows:

Phase I NASA Langley Differential Maneuvering Simulator study used to examine armed and unarmed helicopter maneuvers.
Phase II Field studies to examine helicopter tactics conducted at Ft. Rucker. Using AH-1's and OH-58's versus UN-1H and CH-3E.
Phase III Field studies to examine helicopter vs fixed wing aircraft encounters. Fixed wing aircraft were F-4, A-7, A-10, and F-15.
Phase IV/V/VI Continuation of Phase III with lessons learned and a new combat doctrine for air-to-air helicopter combat versus helicopters and fixed wing aircraft.
 

yasotay

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Oct 19, 2006
Messages
1,935
Reaction score
29
If you can find them there were several AATD videos of the last test. Made for some very interesting viewing. Mya be non-existant now.
 

Dynoman

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Joined
Jul 29, 2009
Messages
755
Reaction score
23
Does any one have the US Army Field Manual FM 1-107 Air to Air Combat available electronically? This manual was written in 1984. It was solidified during a workshop in January 1984 to address helicopter air to air activities.
 

yasotay

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Oct 19, 2006
Messages
1,935
Reaction score
29
Doubtful that it is available online. It was arguably to shortest lived Field Manual in the history of the Army. It was pulled less than a year after being published by the Army because they did not want the "damned fool Aviators" killing themselves trying to learn how to do "wipperdills" instead of finding and killing tanks. The Army Safety Center was in league with the Army Staff on this. I have seen a few available on ebay and such now and again.
 

Dynoman

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Joined
Jul 29, 2009
Messages
755
Reaction score
23
Thank you Yasotay. Your explanation certainly makes sense. I'll keep a look out for the manual online. The contents that are described in the manual are:

Chapter 1. Intrduction; Chapter 2. Air-to-Air Threat; Chapter 3. Air-to-Air Combat Operations; Chapter 4. Principles of Air-to-Air Combat; Chapter 5. Air-to-Air Tactics; Chapter 6. Air Combat Maneuvering; Chapter 7. SEMA Air-to-Air Tactics; Appendix: Sample Training Program
 

500 Fan

CLEARANCE: Confidential
Joined
Jul 16, 2010
Messages
82
Reaction score
4
The Air Combat Tests (Phase I-IV) aircraft were:

Dec 1984 ACCTIII: MD530, OH-58A, AH-1S, BK-117
My first source had an incorrect list of helicopters from ACCTIV. The 530F was indeed involved in the 1984 test. Apparently the BK117 and 530F were fitted with "laser weapon simulators" to represent forward-fixed 20mm guns during the course of these trials.

500 Fan.
 

Dynoman

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Joined
Jul 29, 2009
Messages
755
Reaction score
23
Although outside of the scope of US helicopter ATA programs, for reference, the Soviets had an ATA program as seen here in this video.

 

Dynoman

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Joined
Jul 29, 2009
Messages
755
Reaction score
23
Last edited:

quellish

I am not actually here.
Senior Member
Joined
Aug 6, 2007
Messages
2,049
Reaction score
4
J-Catch, beginning in May 1978-1979 with a simulator study as Phase I is broken down as follows:

Phase I NASA Langley Differential Maneuvering Simulator study used to examine armed and unarmed helicopter maneuvers.
Phase II Field studies to examine helicopter tactics conducted at Ft. Rucker. Using AH-1's and OH-58's versus UN-1H and CH-3E.
Phase III Field studies to examine helicopter vs fixed wing aircraft encounters. Fixed wing aircraft were F-4, A-7, A-10, and F-15.
Phase IV/V/VI Continuation of Phase III with lessons learned and a new combat doctrine for air-to-air helicopter combat versus helicopters and fixed wing aircraft.
From what I’ve heard phase 3/4 included test flights against threat systems near TTR. This included ground systems and fixed wing aircraft. 79-81 timeframe.
 
Top