overscan (PaulMM)

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27 December 2005
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View on the development VVS OF THE USSR 80- X -90 X of the years

Sergey Burdin

Excellent Topic!
I have been researching this topic (but centered on the 80s) since some time ago, I need any help anybody could give, so I would be more than happy to discuss this at lenght

There is a lot of good info on A.Zuyev's book "Fulcrum: A Top Gun pilot's escape from the Soviet Empire" anything I would be happy to share and discuss, there is info on undergraduate training, training on fighter units, training on Mari Combat Center, and some basics about Soviet pilot's perception of their training, morale, doctrine and so...

Here is a short list of articles I have from Aviatsia i Kosmonavtika from the 80s, they're classified by topics:
(List is far from complete I expect to have the complete list soon, anybody interested on article, please told me, all in english)


Helicopter training for assault discussed......................9.....7-1981
Raising Pilot, navigator qualifications Discussed.............19.....7-1981
Officer Training at Barnaul Pilot Training School.............30.....7-1981
Importance of Navigation Training for Helicopter cadets.......38.....7-1981
Fighters: Intercept Training Discussed.........................1....11-1981
Bombers: Tactical training for "in-depth" bombing..............3....11-1981
Fighters: Night Tactical Intercept Training Discussed.........11....11-1981
Flight Schools: Graduates of Armavir Pilot School Discussed...12....12-1981
Fighters: Planning and Flight Safety Discussed................15....12-1981
Flight Schools: Fabritius Flight Engineers' School Discussed..26....12-1981
Flight Schools: Current State of Air Force Schools discussed...3.....1-1982
Transport Training: Flight Safety Discussed...................11.....1-1982
Bomber Training: Radar Avoidance Tactical Training Discussed..17.....1-1982
Flight Schools: Fighter Tactical Training at Chernigov........21.....1-1982
School for Combat pilots
Helocopter Training: Flight Engineers Discussed...............26.....1-1982
Flight Training: Emergency, Gear Up landings discussed........35.....1-1982
Flight Training: Simulator for Aerial Combat Discussed........39.....1-1982
Combat Training: Role of "Zapad-81" reportage Discussed.......42.....1-1982
Fighters: Problems in Command Post Discussed...................3.....2-1982
Fighters: New Pilot Training Discussed.........................7.....2-1982
Fighters: Intercept Tactical Training Discussed...............10.....2-1982
Fighters: New Pilot Training..................................17.....2-1982
Flight Training: Lecture on Meteorology.......................36.....2-1982
Flight Training: Improving Air Control Discussed...............3.....3-1982
Fighters: Tactical Ground Attack Training Discussed...........12.....3-1982
Fighters: Interceptor Tactical Training Discussed.............15.....3-1982
Flight Training: Training: Trainer Provides Objective.........19.....3-1982
Pilot Evaluation
Fighter-Bombers: Flight Training Discussions...................3...4-5-1982
Fighters: Attack Training for Vertical Maneuvers..............10...4-5-1982
Fighters: Intercepter Tactical Training Discussed.............16...4-5-1982
Fighters: Psychological Training for Complicated Flight.......24...4-5-1982
Situations discussed
Role Of Flight Instructor Discussed...........................36...4-5-1982
Col Gen Avn S. Golubev on Summer Flight Training...............1.....6-1982
Fighter Commander Interviewed on Summer Training Goals........10.....6-1982
Preflight Training: Use of Simulators Discussed...............29.....6-1982
Helicopters: Tactical Training Gor Ground Support..............9.....7-1982
Helicopters: Flight Training for Helicopter Units.............25.....7-1982
Flight Schools: Cadets' Tactical Training Discussed...........31.....7-1982
Helicopters: "Zapad-81" Tactical Training Discussed...........10.....8-1982
Flight Training: Cinc Moscow MD Air Force Col Gen Avn.........15.....8-1982
V. Andreyev on Aerial Combat
Educational, Training needs in Academies Dicussed..............3.....9-1982
Tactical Modeling of Reconossaince Flights....................20.....9-1982
Support For Airborne Assault Training Discussed...............23....12-1982
Manning Requeriments for Long-Range Aviation Discussed........34....12-1982
Regimental Commander Discusses Training Year Successes........41....11-1983
Advanced Learning Methods for Pilot Cadets Described..........46....11-1983
Patience Important in Training Novice Pilots..................68....11-1983
Fighter-Bombers Hit Tank Column in Exercise at Night Strike....4.....5-1984
Thorough Ground Preparation for Training Sorties Essential....26.....5-1984
Correct Way yo Train Tactical Contro Officer Outlined..........6.....6-1984
Importance of Continous Unit Combat Readiness Stressed.........3.....6-1984
Importance of Pilot-Instructor Contribution Noted.............28.....6-1984
Suggestions for Faster Fighter-Bomber Waypoint, Target........61.....6-1984
Coordinate Plotting
Combat Pilots Must Master Precision Formation Flying...........4.....7-1984
Beneficial Dissemination of Training Know-How at Pilots........8.....7-1984
Schools Urged
Cockpit Simulator Training Allows Students to Solo Sooner.....22.....7-1984
Gunship Pilots Urge to Be Prepared for En-Route Retargetting...4.....8-1984
Pilots Show Dangerous Cavalier Attitude Toward Cockpit........29.....8-1984
Helicopter Stundet Pilots Taught Importance of Constant.......40.....8-1984
External Visual Scan
Fighter-Bombers Attack "Agressor" Airfield.....................5.....9-1984

Fighters: Reader's Question on Tactical Application of Fighters Answered...23...11-1981
Fighters: Fighter Support of Ground Forces Discussed........................3...12-1981
Bombers: Unit's Indices Decline............................................31....2-1982
Fighters: Tactical Value of Fighter Pairs Discussed........................20..4-5-1982
Fighters: Tactical Flight Maneuvers Discussed..............................33..4-5-1982
Bombers: Importance of Precision Navigation Discussed.......................3....6-1982
Fighters: Tactics, Methods of Aerial Combat Discussed......................22....6-1982
Fighters: Discussion of Value of Pairs of Aircraft Continues...............26....6-1982
Fighters: Paired or Single Fighter Dicussion Continued.....................19....7-1982
Flight Training: Combat Flight Tactics Dicussed............................25....7-1982
Fighters: Close Contact With Ground Controller Necessary...................21....8-1982
Fighters: Reader's Comments on Tactical Value of Pair Vs. Single Ac........30....8-1982
Fighters: Discussion on Tactical Value of Paired Vs Single Ac continues....34....8-1982
Readers' Comments on Tactical Value of the Pair vs the Single ac continues.17....9-1982
Importance of Visual Contact in Aerial Combat Stressed.....................34...12-1982
Importance of Innovation, Realism in Mock Air Combat Emphasized.............9...11-1983
Changes in Third-Generation Fighter Tactics Considered.....................12....9-1984

Eqiupment and its use on training
Fighters: Use of Electronic Sighting Devices Discussed.............27.....11-1981
Flight Training: Use of RSNB-6S navigational device discussed......29......1-1982

Dr. William F. ScottHarriet Fast Scott

THE total number of Soviet officers, their pay scales, and the size of student bodies in military schools are considered military secrets. Even a sketchy career profile of an active-duty senior officer is seldom found in the Soviet press.

One unexpected fallout from the Chernobyl nuclear disaster was information about a Soviet Air Forces general, published in Krasnaya Zvezda (Red Star), the daily Ministry of Defense newspaper. "In the Hour of Trial"1 was the headline. Under the rubric "Military Character," a special military correspondent published his interview with General Major of Aviation (one-star rank) Nikolay Timofeyevich Antoshkin, chief of staff of Kiev Military District Air Forces.
The interview appeared six weeks after the 25 April explosion ripped off the roof of the building housing the Chernobyl nuclear plant. The Soviets, after not even mentioning the accident n the press until 30 April, slowly began to publish "success" stories. The first picture appeared in Krasnaya Zvezda only on 15 May, three weeks later. Antoshkins story was one of a flood of PR stories published to stem the "fallout that resulted from the initial Soviet attempt to cover up the real fallout from the radioactive cloud that spread over Europe.
BORN in 1942, Nikolay Timofeyevich Antoshkin was one of eight children. In the "Great Patriotic War," as the Soviets call that portion of World War II in which they participated, his father was severely wounded. Young Nikolay was commissioned as an Air Force officer upon graduation from the Orenburg Higher Military Aviation School for Pilots, named for I. S. Poibin. Of the thirteen Air Force schools for pilots, Orenburg is one of the best known. Yuriy Gagarin, the world's first man in space, was an alumnus. Antoshkin graduated near the top of his class.
Lieutenant Antoshkins first assignment as an officer was in the Belorussian Military District. As a new pilot, he was tested in both airplanes and helicopters. In 1969, at the age of twenty-seven, he was posted to the Far Eastern Military District. While stationed there, he applied to and subsequently passed the entrance examinations to attend the Gagarin Military Air Academy near Moscow. Three years later, he graduated with distinction.
His next assignment was to the Odessa Military District as a squadron commander. Two years later, he was assigned to the Turkestan Military District to command an air regiment. According to the Krasnaya Zvezda write-up, each unit Antoshkin commanded became "outstanding." His abilities were noticed and soon he was selected to attend the Military Academy of the General Staff. This selection was a sure indication that he was being considered for even higher advancement. Officers, generally colonels in rank, come from all the Soviet services Strategic Rocket Forces, Ground Forces, Troops of Air Defense, Air Forces, and Navy. Each previously has completed the three-year academy of his particular branch or service. The length of this senior-level academy is a mere two years. Colonel Antoshkin again was an honor graduate.
In 1984, Antoshkin, age forty-two, was promoted to general. And suddenly, it was 26 April 1986. With his son Sergey, daughter Lena, and his wife, Nikolay Antoshkin was eating dinner when the phone rang. He was told to report immediately to the commanding general of the Kiev Military District. General Lieutenant of Aviation N. P. Kryukov, commander of the districts aviation units, was already there. Antoshkin was ordered to go to Pripyat, near Chernobyl, and take charge of the helicopters that were to dump tons of sand directly on top of the burning reactor. The rest of the interview described this action. From 27 April to 2 May, 5000 tons of sand and other material were dropped "down the throat" of the smoldering reactors before the fire was contained.

This brief sketch of Antoshkin's career highlighted the minimum professional training and education requirements for an officer making general or admiral first the four or five years at a "higher military school," three years at a service or branch academy, and another two years at the Military Academy of the General Staff. In addition to this professional education and training, an officer probably will attend one or more "courses," which could last for an entire year.

THE Soviet Union did not reach its military superpower status with military equipment and manpower alone. A highly trained professional group of officers was required to recommend the weapon systems needed and to help formulate the military doctrine and strategy that have placed Soviet military power and presence from Central America to the Indian Ocean. These officers were educated and trained in a professional military school system that is more than double that of any other nation.

Much is written in our press about the quantity and quality of Soviet weapons, and comparisons are made with those of our own. Some attention also is given to Soviet military organization and concepts and to numbers of military personnel. Less interest is paid to the Soviet officer corps.

Some indication of a nations scientific and technical capability can be determined by an examination of its educational establishment, in particular its universities. In like manner, an indication of the competence of an officer corps can be gained by examining the schools in which they obtain their professional education and training. The Soviet military school system that supports those officers is as important to the Soviet military buildup as are the MiG-29 Fulcrums and the SS-25s.

A Problem of Making Comparisons

The U.S. Air Force equates to far more than just the Soviet Air Forces. The Strategic Rocket Forces, part of the Troops of Air Defense, and portions of the troops of the Tyl (Rear Services), Building and Construction Troops, Chemical Defense Troops, Signal Troops, and Engineering Troops must also be considered. Any examination of the Soviet officer counterparts of the USAF officer must take these Soviet services and troops into account.

There are other differences. The Soviet Armed Forces are a cadre force in which a large number of professional officers supported by a lesser number of warrant officers and extended-duty sergeants prepare the manpower of the nation for military duties through compulsory military service. Every six months between 800,000 to 900,000 eighteen-year-old youths report for military service and two years later (or three years later, if sailors) are "discharged into the reserves," each receiving a new uniform as he returns to his home. They will remain in the reserves, subject to call-up at any time, until they reach age fifty. Approximately three-quarters of a million officers are required to train and command this constantly changing military force.

To provide the initial inputs into this massive officer cadre, the Soviet Union has approximately 135 "higher military schools," which serve the same purpose as the three U.S. academies at West Point, Colorado Springs, and Annapolis. Graduates are commissioned as officers and at the same time receive a "higher education" degree.

For additional professional education and training of officers, there are seventeen military academies. These stand somewhere between our command and staff colleges and war colleges, insofar as rank of students is concerned. A major difference is that the course length of these academies is three years, with but few exceptions. At Zhukovskiy Military Air Engineering Academy, the course length is five years. At Vorshilov General Staff Academy, the course is two years, but there is one catch. Before being accepted at this academy, the officer first must have completed one of the three-year academies. The course of study at the nearest U.S. counterpart schools is one academic year.

In addition to these seventeen academies, there are numerous other training facilities for officers. At some, the course length is twelve months.

Soviet Youth and Military Training

A nation's officers are products of the social order. In a nation where military might is not a major issue, the armed forces receive little attention. This is not the case in the Soviet Union. There are few days when Soviet television does not show scenes from the Great Patriotic War. From early childhood, Soviet youth are taught the glories of the Soviet Armed Forces. As Pioneers, the nationwide organization of youth ages eight to fifteen, both boys and girls receive rudimentary military training. In the summer, between twelve and sixteen million Soviet Pioneers participate in Zarnitsa, their major military-sport game.2 Part of the game requires wearing gas masks while crossing "contaminated" areas. The Komsomol (Young Communist League) sponsors another game, Orlenok, for boys and girls ages fifteen to seventeen.3 This is a more advanced exercise, which features small-arms firing and civil defense work. Four to eight million youth participate in this game each year.

From ages fifteen to seventeen, young people are required to take 140 hours of "beginning military training," which covers basically the same areas that a U.S. recruit receives in the first few weeks after induction. Males also are supposed to attend two periods of summer camp. At age seventeen, males are given an additional year of "specialist" training by DOSAAF. Sometimes this is as simple as driver's education but may go as far as soloing in a trainer aircraft. While this training is spotty, all male youth have received some military training by the time they reach eighteen years of age.
Komsomol organizations and other groups in the Soviet Union are charged with identifying youth who show an aptitude for military service and encouraging them to seek entry into one of the Soviet military or higher military schools, roughly the counterparts of the U.S. military academies.

The Higher Military Schools

The higher military schools accept civilians and servicemen between ages seventeen and twenty, extended duty servicemen to age twenty-three and warrant officers to age twenty-five.4 Certain of the higher military engineering schools accept officers for special courses. Civilian applicants for these schools must have completed their secondary (eleven-year) education. Entrance is by competitive examination, with a few exceptions.

Applicants are permitted to take the examination only for one specific school. Authorities would like to have a minimum of two servicemen, or four civilians, compete for each vacancy. For youth on active military duty, troop cadre agencies select candidates to take the examination. For civilian youth, the local military commissariat makes the initial selection, with a selection committee making the final choice.
Special preparatory training is recommended for those taking the entrance examinations. For those on active military duty, special classes of study are held at officers' clubs (dom ofitserov). This facility also is open to civilian youth in the vicinity. For those living near a higher military school, special two-year "patriotic courses" are conducted to assist those preparing to take the examinations. The Orenburg School, for example, ran a "Young Cosmonauts" program for boys to persuade them to become officers.

Officers in the U.S. Air Force come from a variety of sources: the Air Force Academy, ROTC, OTS, and flying schools. The Soviet officer counterparts come primarily from the Soviet higher military school system. Full identification of the schools may give a better appreciation of the scale of officer education and training than merely listing the number of schools in the various categories. Soviet approximate equivalents of the U.S. Air Force Academy are Strategic Rocket Forces, Soviet Air Forces, and Troops of Air Defense. Strategic Rocket Forces has four higher military schools. (See Table I.) In the U.S. Air Force, those Air Force Academy graduates who elect to become pilots may attend one of the six Air Force flying schools. In the Soviet Union, thirteen flying training schools (listed in Table II) under the administrative control of the Air Forces provide pilots for both the Air Forces, Navy, and possibly for a few pilots for the Troops of Air Defense as well. Course length at these schools is four years. Soviet navigators are training in two schools. (See Table III.) The Air Forces have seven higher military aviation-engineer schools, all with five-year courses. (See Table IV.) There is an Air Forces signals school. (See Table V.) There are seven Air Forces military technical schools, which are only three years in length. (See Table VI.) Graduates are commissioned as aviation-technical officers and are awarded a diploma, not a degree.
Prior to 1981, the Troops of Air Defense had three flying training schools. Two of these were transferred to the Air Forces. The one remaining flying school for PVO is Stavropol' Higher Military Aviation School for Pilots and Navigators (named for Marshal of Aviation V. A. Sudets).

Radioelectronic schools of the Troops of Air Defense (listed in Table VII) have six higher military schools for "Zenith Rockets" (ground-to-air missiles), plus another five schools which were transferred from troops air defense of the Ground Forces in 1981. The Cherepovets Higher Military Engineering School for Radioelectronics and Kiev Higher Engineering Radiotechnical School of Air Defense have five-year courses.

Table I. Strategic Rocket Forces
Kar'kov Higher Military Command and Engineering
School of the Rocket Troops
--Named for Marshal of the Soviet Union N.I. Krylov
Perm' Higher Military Command and Engineering
School of the Rocket Troops
--Named for Marshal of the Soviet Union V.I. Chuykov
Rostov Higher Military Command and Engineering
School of the Rocket Troops
--Named for Chief Marshal of the Artillery M.I. Nedelin
Serpukhov Higher Military Command and Engineering
School of the Rocket Troops
--Named for Lenin's Komsomol

Table II. Soviet Air Forces
Armavir Higher Military Aviaton School for Pilots
--Named for Chief Marshal of Aviation P. S. Kutakhov
Balashov Higher Military Aviation School for Pilots
--Named for Chief Marshal of Aviation A. A. Novikov
Barnaul Higher Military Aviation School for Pilots
--Named for Chief Marshal of Aviation K. A. Vershinin
Borisoglebsk Higher Military Aviation School for Pilots
--Named for V. P. Chkalov
Chernigov Higher Military Aviation School for Pilots
--Named for Lenin's Komsomol
Kacha Higher Military Aviation School for Pilots
--Named for A. E. Myasnikov
Khar'kov Higher Military Aviation Schools for Pilots
--Named for S. I. Gritsevets
Orenburg Higher Military Aviation School for Pilots
--Named for I. S. Polbin
Saratov Higher Military Aviation School for Pilots
Syzran' Higher Military Aviation School for Pilots
--Named for Sixtieth Anniversary of the U.S.S.R.
Tambov Higher Military Aviation School for Pilots
--Named for M.M. Raskova
Yeysk Higher Military Aviation School for Pilots
--Named for Cosmonaut V. M. Komarov
Ufa Higher Military Aviation School for Pilots

Table III. Soviet Higher Military
Schools for Navigators
Chelyabinsk Higher Military Aviation School for Navigators
--Named for the Fiftieth Jubilee of the Komsomol
Voroshilovgrad Higher Military Aviation School for Navigators

Table IV. Soviet Air Forces Higher
Military Aviation-Engineer Schools
Daugavpils Higher Military Aviation Engineering School
--Named for Yan Fabritsius
Irkutsk Higher Military Aviation Engineering School
--Named for the Fiftieth Jubilee of the Komsomol
Kiev Higher Military Aviation Engineering Schoool
Khar'kov Higher Military Aviation Engineering School
Riga Higher Military Aviation Engineering School
--Named for Ya. Alksnis
Tambov Higher Military Aviation Engineering School
--Named for F. E. Dzerzhinskiy
Voronezh Higher Military Aviation Engineering School

Table V. Soviet Air Forces Signals School
Khar'kov Higher Military Aviaiton School of Radio-electronics
--Named for Lenin's Komsomol
Table VI. Soviet Air Forces
Military Technical Schools
Achinski Military Aviator-Technical School
--Named for the Sixtieth Anniversary of the Komsomol
Kaliningrad Military Aviation-Technical School
Kirov Military Aviation-Technical School
Perm' Military Aviation-Technical School
--Named for Lenin's Komsomol
Vasil'kov Military Aviation-Technical School
--Named for the Fiftieth Jubilee of Lenin's Komsomol
Lomonosov Military Aviation-Technical School

Table VII. Soviet Higher Military Schools
(Troops of Air Defense)
Krasnoyarsk Higher Command School of Radio-
electronices for Air Defense
Vil'nius Higher Command School of Radio-
electronics for Air Defense
Pushkin Higher School of Radioelectronics for Air Defense
Zhitomir Higher School of Radioelectronics for Air Defense
--Named for Lenin's Komsomol
Cherepovets Higher Military Engineering School of Radio-
Kiev Higher Engineering Radiotechincal School of Air Defense
--Named for Marshal of Aviation A. I. Pokryshkin
The Military Academies

In order to attain the rank of colonel or higher, a Soviet officer must first attend the appropriate service or branch academy. (Those officers who are to make general or marshal must attend the Academy of the General Staff.) Since entrance to these academies is primarily by competitive examination, the officer should begin studying for the examinations after only three to four years service. Senior officers recommend that the prospective student put in more than 2000 hours of preparatory work, which would be in addition to normal duties!

Officers graduating from a higher military school with a gold medal may be admitted to an academy by passing only one examination with a "good" mark. Commanders of units that have been given "good" or "excellent" ratings may be selected by merely passing the entrance examination. These modifications to the competitive examination process give a selection board considerable leeway.

Examinations are both written and oral, but all are in the Russian language. This makes it more difficult for an officer from a non-Slavic group, whose native language is not Russian, to gain admittance. At the Gagarin Military Air Academy, written entry examinations are required for Russian language and literature, with oral tests for mathematics and physics.5

Three tries for the entrance examinations are permitted. Reserve officers who have volunteered to become regular officers or who have had two or three years of active duty have the same rights as regular officers to take the examination.
As USAF officers may receive credit for certain schools by correspondence, Soviet officers may do the same for a military academy (except the Academy of the General Staff). Once permission is given to take the correspondence course, the officer must be freed of after-hour duties in order to study. He is also authorized time off from regular duties to prepare for and to take the required examination.

It is expected that an officer seeking admission to an academy will be either a member or a candidate member of the Communist Party. A part of a Soviet officer's effectiveness report is made by the unit's political officer. Due attention to party affairs is one of the points noted. There are many assignments throughout the Soviet Armed Forces that can only be filled by academy graduates. It is unlikely that an individual without party credentials would be permitted to assume these nomenklatura positions, that is, positions on a special list, subject to party approval.

The academy attended will depend on the officer's branch and service. The approximate Soviet counterparts of the United States' Air War College and other courses of the Air University are the following.

The Gagarin Military Air Academy is located at Monino, northeast of Moscow, in an area closed to foreigners. Almost all the senior officers in the Soviet Air Forces will have attended this academy. It is charged with the preparation of " command cadres of various aviation specialties and is a scientific center for working out problems of operational art of the Air Forces and tactics of branches and types of aviation."6 Part of the course involves developing new techniques in the operational use of the aircraft.
The Gagarin Military Air Academy boasts that more than 70 percent of academy graduates are distinguished pilots of the U.S.S.R. and distinguished navigators of the U.S.S.R. This academy has played a major role in the development of the Soviet Air Forces. In the 1960s, when the "third generation"7 of Soviet aircraft first appeared, the academy was directed to study how the new equipment could best be utilized. Basic air tactics, combined with the theories of combat effectiveness and decisionmaking, were made a separate discipline. Specialized studies were made of tactics for each type of aircraft. In addition to providing the basic three-year course for Soviet officers, the academy also offers courses to prepare the teaching staffs of the various higher military aviation schools. Faculty members also write many of the textbooks used throughout the Soviet Air Forces.8

Much attention is given to correspondence courses. This program is exactly the same as for full-time students. One-third of the study time must be spent at the academy at special sessions while the other two-thirds is done independently wherever the officers are serving.9 This means that even for officers taking the course by correspondence, at least one year must be spent at the academy. Soviet officers insist that, for career and promotion purposes, completing the academy by correspondence counts as much as being a full-time student. The present head of the Soviet Air Forces, Marshal of Aviation A. N. Yefimov, completed the course in this manner.

On the instructional staff of the Gagarin Military Air Academy are 13 doctors of science, 233 candidates of science (a degree somewhat higher than the master's degree in the United States), 10 professors, and 170 associate professors and senior researchers. (The total would only be about 250 since most professors are doctors of science and most associate professors are candidates of science). Its library has more than 500,000 books. The academy is qualified to award both the advanced degree of candidate of sciences and doctor of sciences.10 (This degree has no exact equivalent in the United States. Individuals receiving it are required to be a recognized authority in their field and to have defended a dissertation.)

The academy is a leading scientific center of the Soviet Air Forces.

Not a single problem, not a single complex theme connected with the combat use of aviation is decided without the active participation of the scientific strength of the academy. In most cases, it acts as the leading performer of complex research in the sphere of tactics and operational art of the Air Forces.11

Research tasks are assigned by the Minister of Defense, the General Staff, the CINC Air Forces, or the Main Staff of the Air Forces. Joint research is conducted with the Zhukovskiy Military Air Engineering Academy, the Voroshilov Military Academy of the General Staff, the Zhukov Air Defense Academy, the Frunze Military Academy, the Malinovskiy Tank Academy, and similar bodies. Between 1975 and 1980, "the Gagarin Academy participated in more than fifty scientific conferences and about sixty exercises."12

During the summer months, both faculty members and students go to the field to participate in maneuvers and exercises. Rated personnel are assigned on temporary duty to flying units or flying schools.

The present head of the academy, Marshal of Aviation N. M. Skomorokhov, graduated from the Academy of the General Staff with a gold medal, earned the degree of doctor of military science, was an ace in World War II (forty-six kills), and was twice awarded the gold star of "Hero of the Soviet Union."

More information is available on the Gagarin Military Air Academy than on the other approximate equivalents of Air University components. It is reasonable to assume that many of the conditions at the other academies, such as award of advance degrees, are the same.

The Zhukovskiy Military Air Engineering Academy is located in Moscow, on Leningrad Prospekt immediately across from Central Airfield. Course length is five years. In addition to being an institution of higher learning, it also is a scientific center for working out problems in the areas of aviation technology, its technical exploitation, and combat utilization.

The Zhukov Military Command Academy of Air Defense is located on the banks of the Volga River in Kalinin, a city between Moscow and Leningrad. In addition to its educational and training tasks, this academy is a research center for studying problems of operational art and tactics, as well as command, communications, and control (C3) on air defense matters.
The Govorov Military Engineering-Radiotechnical Academy of Air Defense is located in Khar'kov. As any tourist to the Soviet Union can note, the nation appears blanketed with radars and communications facilities. This academy prepares officers of the Troops of Air Defense in these two areas. Faculty members engage in research, and their technical publications are known throughout the Soviet Union.

The Dzerzhinskiy Rocket Forces Academy is located next to the Rossiya Hotel on the embankment near the Kremlin. Formerly the Artillery Academy of the Red Army, it was moved from Leningrad to Moscow in 1958, the year before the Strategic Rocket Forces were formed. Officers in command positions in the Strategic Rocket Forces would seek admission to this academy. All information about this academy is highly classified. Its two major faculties are "command" and "engineering."

A rigorous schedule is maintained at all the academies. Classes start at 0800 and continue until 1400. A two-hour lunchtime follows, but there is little time for relaxation or study. Officers eat in a cafeteria where they stand in long lines. At 1600 students return to classrooms. Lecture notes must be entered into notebooks, and practically all material is considered classified. At 2000 they leave classrooms. During the summer months they, together with their instructors, take part in field exercises and maneuvers.
All of the academies at this level are three years, except for the Zhukovskiy Military Air Engineering Academy, which is five years. Many officers enter in the grade of captain and are majors when they graduate.

After completing the academy, officers later may attend the "Higher Courses for Air Forces Officers" or the "Central Radiotechnical Officers' Courses of Troops of Air Defense." These courses are usually for one year. There probably are classified higher courses for officers in the Strategic Rocket Forces.

The Voroshilov Academy of the General Staff is located in Moscow, on Khol'zunova Pereulok, Dom 14, not far from the Frunze Military Academy. The "best and the brightest" officers of all the Soviet Armed Forces are selected to attend this senior and most prestigious of all the Soviet academies. Most are colonels or newly promoted generals. Officers selected for this academy first will have attended the appropriate service or branch academy. Graduates who are not already generals or admirals usually are promoted to this rank a short time after completing the course. Length of the academy is only two years, in contrast to the three years for the branch and service academies.

Three of the primary kafedras (departments) are the kafedra of strategy, kafedra of operational art, and kafedra of history of wars and military art.13 All three are headed by general lieutenants. Faculty members may be of one-star rank. Before admittance to this academy, it is expected that the students will have a sound basis of military history, to include the writings of strategists such as Clausewitz and Suvorov. Students receive operational-strategic training by studying strategic actions in theaters of military actions (TVDs), not just in theory (about one-sixth of the time is given to lectures) but also through war games and exercises on maps to which is given more than one-third of their time. Nearly half their time remains for independent work.

The armed forces of "capitalist" nations receive considerable attention. At least one general officer lectures on this subject. Graduates go into nomenklatura slots that can be filled only by those who have completed the Voroshilov Academy. Generals and admirals may return to the academy for refresher courses, some of which last one year.
The Soviet military academies are much more than institutions of higher learning. They also are the Soviet military think tanks and research centers. They do the type of research and studies for the Ministry of Defense that the Pentagon would contract out to research institutes such as Rand, the Hudson Institute, or one of the dozens of other groups.

The importance of the academies can be seen by the rank and prestige of their personnel. By Soviet law, heads of the academies are of the same rank as commanders of military districts. Their promotions appear just as frequent. The most important academies are headed by marshals, admirals of the fleet, or four-star "generals of the army." Regulations stipulate that department heads at the military academies are equivalent to division commanders, and they are promoted to the appropriate rank.
More than seventy generals, admirals, and marshals have been identified as serving at the Academy of the General Staff at one time, which comes directly under the General Staff. More than thirty generals have been on the faculty of the Frunze Military Academy. Numbers of generals and marshals at the Gagarin Air Academy are unknown, but in all probability they are in excess of what might be expected.

Soviet strategists may serve for years at one academy. For example, many of the contributors to Marshal V. D. Sokolovskiy's Military Strategy were on the General Staff or the faculty of the Academy of the General Staff. The first edition of this work appeared in 1962 and the third in1968.14The contributors listed were the same, except for one who had died. In 1966, the Tactics, written by faculty members of the Frunze Military Academy, appeared as one of the "Officers' Library" series of books. A second edition of this same work appeared in 1984, eighteen years later, also in another "Officers' Library" series, written by the same authors, all of whom were still at Frunze.
General David Jones, former Chief of Staff, USAF, and later Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, stated that "if Clausewitz were alive today and living in the United States, he would have retired as a colonel and then would have gone to work in a think tank.15 The system is very different in the Soviet Armed Forces. In the Soviet Union, a Clausewitz would be a general or marshal, serving either in the General Staff or as department head in one of the academies.

Practically all of the significant Soviet books and articles on military matters are written by members of the Military Science Administration of the General Staff or by faculty members of the military academies.

Soviet Academies and the Military Role of Space
A photograph in the Soviet book, Voyenno-Vozdushnaya Akademiya imeni Yu. A. Gagarina (the Military Air Academy named for Yu. A. Gagarin) demonstrated an interesting relationship. In the front row were Marshal of Aviation I. N. Koshedub (a leading World War II ace); Marshal of Aviation A. N. Yefimov, at that time deputy CINC Air Forces; Colonel V. V. Tereshkova, first female cosmonaut; and Chief Marshal of Aviation of the Soviet Air Forces P. S. Kutakhov, CINC Air Forces, now deceased. In the rear row were General Lieutenant of Aviation G. T. Beregovoy, cosmonaut and chief of the Gagarin Center for Cosmonaut Training; Marshal of Aviation N. M. Skomorokhov, Commandant, Gagarin Military Air Academy; and cosmonaut General Lieutenant of Aviation V. A. Shatalov, Director of Training of Soviet Cosmonauts.16

The connection of the chiefs of the Soviet cosmonaut program to the Gagarin Military Air Academy and the CINC, Soviet Air Forces, should warrant serious study in the United States.

At least fifteen of the Soviet cosmonauts have completed the Gagarin Military Air Academy.17 Some have completed the course by correspondence, but even this method required at least one year "in-house" attendance. Military strategists and tacticians, both faculty and students, can work with the cosmonauts studying the role of man in military spacecraft.

Another thirteen cosmonauts have attended the five-year Zhukovskiy Military Air Engineering Academy. The cosmonauts taking this course could be expected to work with scientists and engineers for the "military utilization" of manned spacecraft as well.
Lieutenant General Richard C. Henry, a previous commander of the USAF Space Division, once stated that the best way to discover the military application of man in space is to place a manned space station in orbit. The Soviets have been doing precisely that for well over a decade, keeping men in orbit for months at a time. General Henry might have added that follow-on steps also would be necessary. The experience gained in manned space flight would need to be related to military requirements. Cosmonauts attending the three-year Gagarin Air Academy or the five-year Zhukovskiy Military Air Engineering Academy are placed in the ideal Soviet environment to do just that.
The Kremlin leadership attempts to convince foreigners that their space program is "for peaceful purposes only," directed by the Academy of Sciences. Facts tell a different story. Approximately 80 percent of Soviet space launches have been for military needs. Details of this program are among the Kremlin's most closely guarded secrets. All evidence suggests that the military academies are playing their traditional role in "working out problems of operational art and tactics" for the military use of space. At the Academy of the General Staff, it should be expected that they also have studied the role of space in military strategy.

Soviet cosmonauts are an integral part of the Air Forces. All remain on active duty. Three are general lieutenants of aviation (two stars), seven are general majors of aviation (one star), and at least twenty-two are colonels. They are on a fast promotion track.

Much of the use of unmanned space vehicles in a defense role may be worked out in two of the military academies of the Troops of Air Defense. The Zhukov Military Command Academy of Air Defense is charged with "working out recommendations for building a modern air defense." This includes antimissile and antispace defense. As a previous commandant of this academy, Marshal of Aviation Georgiy V. Zimin, doctor of military science, noted in 1976:

Now victory or defeat in war will depend on how well the state will be able to reliably protect important objectives on their own territory from destruction by strikes from the air and from out of space.18

The Govorov Military Engineering Radiotechnical Academy is a major think tank for determining types and locations of radars and related means of identifying and tracking both missiles and spacecraft. Close ties are maintained between the academy's faculty and the Academy of Sciences.

Self-Study Requirements

The Soviets do not have the up-or-out system for officers. A captain, for example, may remain in that grade until age forty. But those who do get to the top are expected to have a sound understanding of military fundamentals, from military strategy to tactics. Much of this is learned in the classroom. At the same time, the officer will not likely reach the classroom unless he has taken advantage of the available professional military journals and books.

In the 1960s an "Officers' Library" series was produced by Voyenizdat, the Ministry of Defense Publishing House. Its purpose was for the "self-study" of officers. Books in the series, based on Marxist-Leninist philosophy, were not objective in any sense. Nevertheless, as military textbooks for explaining a concept of war, they were unmatched by anything written by active-duty military officers in the United States. Another "Officers' Library" series was introduced in 1980.

Officers are expected to read the professional journals of their particular service. For the Air Forces, this is Aviatsiya i Kosmonavtika (Aviation and Cosmonautics); for the Troops of Air Defense Vestnik Protivovozdushnoi Oborony (Herald of Air Defense). Voyenno-Istoricheskii Zhurnal (Military History Journal) is read throughout the Soviet Armed Forces and is perhaps the best written of the military publications. Voyennaya Mysl' (Military Thought) is the restricted journal of the Soviet General Staff.
In certain cases, active debates and differences of opinion are permitted in Soviet military journals, and at times may be encouraged. For example, in the 1960s, Voyennaya Mysl' carried an article by a general officer on the tactical use of nuclear weapons. A number of readers disagreed with his conclusions and their views were published. One of those dissenting was a colonel. Voyenniy Vesinik (Military Herald), the Soviet Ground Forces' journal, at times calls for different points of view and debates on specified themes. However, it should be recognized that no open debates or differences of opinion are permitted on matters such as military doctrine, which is determined by the party leadership, or on military strategy, which is common to all of the Soviet services.

The Unknown Equation

In the United States, the focus is on weapon systems. In comparison to the leadership of the Soviet Armed Forces, the Pentagon pays little attention to the professional military education and training of its officers. Emphasis at our military academies is on science and engineering. Only lip service is given to teaching military history, strategy, operational art, and related military subjects. For further academic training, officers are sent to civilian universities to study subjects ranging from business management to nuclear physics. When national security issues are studied, the professors are most likely to be individuals whose knowledge of war is purely theoretical.

Even if the study of war were the primary subject taught at the Air War College and the Air Command and Staff College, only a bare start could be made. One year simply is insufficient for the topics that need to be covered. At present, military subjects must compete with a variety of other courses, from personal finances to community relations.
On occasion, efforts are made to make the U.S. war colleges as centers of military thought and to develop new military concepts. Some progress has been achieved. The Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, now is experimenting with a two-year course. In general, however, within the U.S. Armed Forces, serious top-level support is lacking for increased professional military education of officers or for use of the war colleges as military intellectual centers.
Should studies be needed on matters of military strategy or operational art, the civilian hierarchy in the Pentagon would most likely go to a "think tank" or perhaps to some civilian considered by them to be a military strategist. As General Jones implied, there is little requirement within the U.S. military services for an officer interested in military concepts such as strategy.

Ironically, the individuals in the United States today most qualified and concerned with military strategy may be such persons as Senators John Warner and Sam Nunn, key staff members on committees such as the Armed Forces Committee, and members of groups such as the Committee on the Present Danger.

In the 1930s, much of the "thinking" in the Army Air Corps was done at the Air Tactical School at Maxwell Field, Alabama. There was some effort in the postwar period to revive this practice. Instead, however, civilian institutes were established to chart the future development of the Air Force, to include matters of strategy and force development. Alumni of the "think tanks" now occupy many of the military decisionmaking positions in the Pentagon and throughout the U.S. government.
In the Soviet Armed Forces, the purely military "thinking" is done by military personnel. Their professional military education has not made all their officers military geniuses. But Soviet colonels will have received a minimum of three years in a branch or service academy and Soviet generals and senior colonels another two years at the Academy of the General Staff. This education, with its emphasis on Marxism-Leninism, may leave much to be desired. However, it is this leadership that now controls the world's largest military force. To judge their concepts and understanding of war, one need only read books such as Marshal Sokolovskiy's Military Strategy, General Colonel Reznichenko's Tactics, or some of the declassified editions of Military Thought, the official journal of the Soviet General Staff.

In an effort to prevent the Soviet Union from achieving a position of military superiority, within the past few years the United States has spent hundreds of billions of dollars on new weapon systems. While these systems are necessary, a primary aspect of the danger is being overlooked. The Soviet Union not only is building up its weapon stockpiles, it also is paying increased attention to the professional education and training of its officer corps. Courses are being lengthened, and the study of war continues to be emphasized. The United States has not given equivalent attention to its military leadership.

These differences in professional education between U.S. officers and their Soviet counterparts should be of concern. In the final analysis, this could be the determining factor in the military balance between the two nations.
McLean, Virginia
1. "In the Hour of Trial," Krasnaya Zvezda, 7 June 1986, p. 3.
2. Krasnaya Zvezda, 24 June 1983. Also see Sovetskaya Voyennaya Entsiklopediya (Soviet Military Encyclopedia), vol. 3 (Moscow: Voyenizdat, 1977), p. 409.
3. Ibid., vol. 6, 1978, p. 115. Also see, L. Pesterev, "It Is Not a Vacation in Orlenok," Voyennyye Znaniya #4, April 1975.
4. I.A. Kamkov and V.M. Konoplyanik, Voyennyye Akademii i Uchilishcha (Military Academies and Schools) (Moscow: Voyenizdat, 1972), p. 46.
5. A.G. Gornyy, editor, Spravochnik po Zakonodatelstvu Dlya Ofitserov Sovetskoy Armii i Flota (Handbook on Legislation for Officers of the Soviet Army and Navy) (Moscow: Voyenizdat, 1976), p. 205.
6. N.M. Skomorokhov, "The Military Air Academy Named for Yu. A. Gagarin," Sovetskaya Voyennaya Entsiklopediya, vol. 2, p. 199. Emphasis added.
7. N.M. Skomorokhov, Voyenno-Vozdushnaya Akademiya imeni Yu. A. Gagarina (The Military Air Academy named for Yu. A. Gagarin) (Moscow: Voyenizdat, 1984), p. 161.
8. Ibid., p. 170.
9. Ibid., p. 173.
10. Ibid., p. 178.
11. Ibid., p. 176.
12. Ibid., p. 177.
13. Compiled from V.G. Kulikov, editor, Akademiya General-nogo Shtaba (Academy of the General Staff) (Moscow: Voyenizdat, 1976).
14. See V.D. Sokolovskiy, editor, Soviet Military Strategy, third edition, with commentary by Harriet Fast Scott (New York: Crane, Russak and Company, 1975), pp. xxiv-vii.
15. Told by General David Jones during a reception hosted by Air Force magazine on 2 March 1982.
16. N.M. Skomorokhov, p. 128. (Note: Pages containing photographs are not numbered. The photograph referenced is on the page following p. 128.
17. Compiled from Aviatsiya i Kosmonavtika (Aviation and Cosmonautics), March 1985, pp. 42-43, Voyenno-Vozdushnaya Akademiya imeni Yu. A. Gagarina and other files.
18. G.V. Zimin, Razvitiye Protivovozdushnoy Oborony (Development of Antiair Defense) (Moscow: Voyenizdat, 1976). p. 191).

William F. Scott (USMA; M.A., Georgetown University; PhD., George Washington University) is a consultant to the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency and to a number of research institutions. Before his retirement in 1972 from the U.S. Air Force, he served in a variety of flying and staff assignments. Dr Scott spent four years in the U.S.S. R. as a senior air attach? and air and defense attach?.
. . . Harriet Fast Scott is a member of the General Advisory Committee on Arms Control and Disarmament and a consultant on Soviet military affairs to several major research organizations. The Scotts are joint authors of The Armed Forces of the USSR (1984), The Soviet Control Structure (1983), and The Soviet Art of War (1982). They maintain one of the largest private libraries in the United States of Soviet military writings.

Our most important advantage [over the Soviets] is our personnel.
General Creech, Armed Forces Journal, 1983

U.S. tactical forces retain a qualitative advantage over those of the Soviet Union both in aircraft and weapons and—more important—in personnel and training.
Soviet Military Power, April 1985

There seems to be a general consensus of opinion today that in a comparison of strength between the Soviet and U.S. tactical forces, the Soviet advantage in numbers is counterbalanced by the U.S. advantage in technology, personnel, training, and tactics. Since Soviets have been successful in narrowing the technology gap, some U.S. policymakers have put even more emphasis on the perceived U.S. advantage in personnel. In fact, some would argue that the U.S. fighter pilot, his training, and his tactics are so superior that even if the Soviets could catch up in technology, the U.S. fighter forces would still have an overall edge in combat capability.

This article examines that argument and provides some answers to difficult questions surfaced by this issue. Is it true that the U.S. fighter pilot is inherently better than his Soviet counterpart? Are U.S. training programs and tactics better? If the comparisons are true, how much of an advantage does the U.S. pilot maintain, and how does one measure the difference? Is this advantage widening or narrowing? Finally, and most important, once the advantage is determined, how does one go about improving the fighter force to ensure an even greater advantage?
To begin a comparison of two countries' fighter pilots' capabilities is not an easy task. While it is quite common for an analyst to compare fighter forces based on the number of aircraft and quality of weapons, it is very rare to find an objective study of pilot capabilities. In fact, most analyses quantify combat capability as a product of numerous factors, such as aircraft, logistics, maintenance, munitions, etc. But the human factor (pilot ability, training, and tactics) is rarely included because its measurement is very subjective and its impact on the equation so little understood. Few will argue, however, that differences in pilot capability do exist, and some aspects of the human factor should be included in the equation if we are to achieve accurate comparisons.

The human factor, as it relates to Soviet and U.S. combat capability, constitutes three main variables—the inherent ability of the individual pilot, his training, and his tactics. These three variables, when added together, produce a pilot or "human factor" input to the overall effectiveness of a sortie or mission. Let's look at each of these variables in turn.

The first variable is the inherent ability of the pilot, or put another way, the quality of the individual as a fighter pilot, given equal training and tactics. The pilot's inherent ability is a product of the pilot selection process and the personnel system that assigns and maintains the rated fighter-pilot force. Relative to other air forces, the U.S. Air Force does very little preselection testing of personnel prior to their entering pilot training. In other air forces, especially Israel's, numerous psychological, motor skills and other screening tests are given to measure inherent fighter pilot ability prior to selection for pilot training. By contrast, U.S. Air Force pilot selection is based on a relatively antiquated system of undergraduate academic grades, officer qualification test scores, and 20/20 vision. The pilot selection process does not differentiate between skills necessary for fighter pilots and other pilots such as airlift or bomber pilots. This distinction is made much later in the training cycle, is usually subjective, and can only select from those who have already been admitted into the program. The USAF pilot selection system still suffers from the "universally assignable pilot" concept that has been around for years.

When comparing the U.S. pilot selection system with the Soviets, one could safely say that the Soviets' competition for pilot training slots is more competitive than ours. The benefits after attaining the status of fighter pilot in the Soviet Union are some of the highest in the society. The higher aviation schools are considered among the best schools in the country, and military aviation is a highly sought-after profession. The Soviet pilot is at the top of the economic and social scale so that selection to one of the higher aviation schools is a ticket to the upper echelons of society. Lieutenant Viktor I. Belenko, the Soviet MiG pilot who defected in September 1976, related that more than 4000 applicants tested for only 360 slots to his freshman class at the Soviet Air Defense Command flight training program at Armavir in the Caucasus. And, out of the 360 that began, only 258 graduated—a 30 percent attrition rate. Thus, while it can be argued that the average Soviet high school graduate is probably less technically oriented than his U.S. counterpart, the Soviets have the advantage of large numbers of applicants to military aviation schools from which they can choose the cream of the high school crop.

When our pilots graduate, they are assigned to specific unit aircraft and are managed by the rated officer personnel system for subsequent assignments. Here again, we do not do a very good job of rated officer management if enhanced combat capability is the final objective. The personnel rated management system attempts to maintain the fighter pilot rated force at a level based on many factors, such as unit manning levels, training levels, and unit experience levels. Many reasons are used for moving fighter pilots from one air base to another, from one aircraft type to another, or from rated duties to a staff position. These reasons include, but are not limited to, the "fairness" of personnel moves, remote assignment eligibility, career broadening, manning levels, and career progression. Rarely has the personnel system explained a move by stating that it is in the best interest of increased combat capability. In fact, the rated management system would be hard pressed to move individuals based on pilot capability since there is no formal system that rates pilots according to their relative individual capabilities. Promotions are not made on pilot capabilities, but rather on officer effectiveness reports, and most assignments are made on professional career progression rather than combat capability.

The Soviet rated management system is not much better than ours, but because of their restrictive system, a fighter pilot is not moved as frequently. The Soviets, therefore, experience less turbulence in their force, and a pilot may fly the same aircraft or mission for twenty-five years. However, their promotions and assignments are based more on political reliability than pilot effectiveness. In the end, their progression is probably as equally nonrelevant to combat capability as the U.S. system.
If it is generally accepted then that the USAF has better pilots than the Soviets, it certainly is not due to any preselection criteria, screening, competitive testing, or rated management system. In fact, the individual Soviet pilot, when compared to the Soviet society as a whole, is probably one of the most highly qualified and capable individuals. He certainly seems comparable in inherent abilities with his American counterpart. It seems safe to assume that any advantage we maintain is not due to the inherent abilities of our fighter pilots. However, if one were to get serious about upgrading the pilot force and in gaining or increasing an advantage in the human factor, the pilot selection and rated management areas would certainly be good places to start.

The second variable affecting the human factor is training. If there is one area where the United States Air Force leads all countries, it is in fighter training. In the past ten years with the advent of Red Flag, Aggressor training, and Dissimilar Air Combat Training (DACT), the USAF has made gigantic strides toward realistic fighter training. From the lessons learned in Vietnam and the Red Baron report, U.S. fighter forces have developed the most realistic and ambitious training program in the world. However, these "new" training programs are more than ten years old now, and they have reached a plateau in progress with stagnation setting in.

The Soviets, on the other hand, were late in realizing that new generation fighters need new generation training philosophies. As stated in Soviet Military Power, published by the Department of Defense in March 1983, "the Soviets have recently made significant changes in their air combat tactics and training programs. Pilot independence and initiatives are now stressed. The continual, technological upgrading of equipment and increasing proficiency in combat employment of that equipment have resulted in greatly increased Soviet aviation capabilities." Thus, even in the area of training where the USAF fighter pilot has always excelled, Soviet initiatives dictate new and aggressive U.S. training initiatives if the United States is to maintain its present advantage in the training variable.
The third variable in the human factor to be discussed is tactics. Although tactics are not a specific human quality, they are designed and employed by the pilot and therefore impact upon how well the pilot can employ his aircraft. In 1972, the Fighter Weapons School at Nellis AFB, Nevada, began experimenting with new fighter formations and tactics. These formations and tactics, called Fluid Two, were a composite of lessons learned in air-to-air combat in Vietnam, the U.S. Navy’s "loose deuce," and formations flown in the F-104 and other aircraft called "double attack." Although the formation was different from the old Fluid Four tactic, the most significant difference was the philosophical change in the wingman's duties. Fluid Two detached the wingman from a very restrictive cover position ("fighting wing") on the leader to a more active role, maneuvering independently, yet in coordination, with the leader. For the past ten years, the tactical air force has been training with and refining fluid attack tactics. In principle, U.S. fighter pilots are free to design, test, and fly almost any variation of formations and tactics that they or their squadron wish to try. However, in practice, due to limited sorties, safety restrictions, and a rated management system that always requires training to the lowest denominator, tactics development today is in fact spotty and often neglected.

As noted earlier, the Soviets are attempting to improve their tactics with each new generation of aircraft, and they are just beginning to give their pilots more independence. On the surface this appears to be a ten-year lag in tactical development. However, when one considers Soviet historical doctrine of mass, breakthrough, and strict command and control, the idea of large, inflexible, and slow maneuvering formations may be more design than simple lack of progress. What may look to the U.S. observer as an unimaginative tactic may to the Soviet commander be as sophisticated and advanced as his doctrines, force structure, and mission would dictate. And who is to say that fluid attack and independent maneuvering would work better than regimental control in their battle schemes? In either case, suffice it to say that both the U.S. and Soviet tactics will change with the advent of new aircraft, missiles, and radars. What worked yesterday in the F-86 will not work in the F-15. The tactic used to defeat the MiG-21 will probably not be the best tactic to defeat the Flanker. The USAF has always been willing to change tactics, however, tactical development, evaluation, and implementation seem to be taking more time, money, and effort these days. And the Soviets are not standing still. With their new equipment, they are experimenting with new tactics. So even in the tactics variable, the U.S. advantage has become questionable and possibly is slipping away.

Thus, in a brief examination of the variables that make up the human factor, it can be seen that although in each case no quantitative measurement can be made, there is reason to believe that the United States is equal to or slightly ahead of the Soviets. However, whereas five or ten years ago this advantage may have been quite large, the Soviets seem to be narrowing the gap in all cases. U.S. pilot selection and rated management policies have not changed, and training and tactics initiatives, while dynamic after Vietnam, have pretty much stagnated. In the meantime, the Soviets have been plodding along in their inimitable way, slowly increasing their training realism and testing new tactical philosophies to match their weapons improvements. If the United States is to maintain any advantage that it may have in the human factor, drastic steps need to be taken soon.

We can increase tactical combat capability vis-?-vis the Soviet Union in a number of ways: buy more aircraft, build newer aircraft, radars, and missiles, increase the spares, etc. The one factor, however, that could have the greatest impact, and yet is probably the least expensive and most easily changed, is the human factor. By launching an aggressive and dynamic program to upgrade the fighter pilot force, the USAF could drastically alter the combat equation in its favor for years. Simple initiatives and policy changes affecting the human factor variables could make U.S. fighter combat capability increase exponentially.

The inherent ability of the fighter pilot is one of the most important variables in the human factor, the easiest to change, and yet the most neglected. As an old fighter pilot once eloquently remarked, "You can train a hamburger, but when you're through, you still get hamburger." Fighter pilot training today is a demanding process and without a good product to start with, no amount of excellent training will produce a quality fighter pilot. Therefore, the selection process must be changed to be more aggressive, competitive, and highly selective. Large groups of candidates should be screened with sophisticated, modern testing procedures. Large attrition rates should be experienced in the early phases of training. Needless to say, specialized fighter training should begin early. At every stage of training, competition, and ratings based on fighter pilot performance should be used for selection to top fighter pilot positions.
The rated management system needs a thorough review. Personnel assignment policies need to be changed so they can respond to the needs of combat capability and not to an arbitrary "good deal/bad deal" list. In other words, if a forward air controller job needs filling, you don't take the best F-15 pilot to fill it just because he's due a "bad deal." More sensitivities need to be paid to the policies that force early rotations and create turbulence in the units. In today's fighter force, it takes two to three years to upgrade a flight lead and another two to three years to get good at it. Most new fighter pilots don't stay in their first squadron more than two to three years, and many don't remain in their first assignment aircraft longer than five years. The result is that most operational fighter squadrons are continually upgrading new pilots, and very few squadrons reach a level of high combat capability. What is required by the rated management system is a conscious effort to keep good fighter pilots in the same aircraft, same mission, same unit for longer periods of time. Gone are the days when we can afford a universally assignable pilot, or even a "generic fighter pilot."

To make these changes in the pilot selection process and rated management system requires major policy changes but should cost relatively little. When it comes to improving the training variable, however, costs do enter into the picture. Quality training is expensive, but expensive training is usually cheaper in the long run due to increased combat capability and a more efficient and effective fighting force. New, innovative methods of training need to be developed to stay ahead of the Soviets. State-of-the art combat simulators that rival the most advanced air-to-air training are available today. More air combat maneuvering instrumentation and electronic combat ranges are needed. More flying time, range time, realistic scenarios, and composite force training are all high priorities. Combat is not the time to discover that you need more training.
At first glance, one would assume that tactics, unlike training, would be very cheap to change and would simply require a tactics manual change. However, tactics like the other variables are very difficult to measure, and in order to quantify the advantage of one tactic over another, testing is required. In-depth tactics testing is very time-consuming and costly. Conducting a valid tactics evaluation may take up to two years and hundreds of sorties. Here again "state-of-the-art" combat simulators can be extremely helpful in speeding up this process. The combat simulator used in evaluating the AMRAAM is a prime example of how combat simulators were used to simulate realistic combat engagements better than could have been done in the real aircraft because of range and safety restrictions. Tactics development, testing, and evaluation are too important to continue in the slow pace of only live mission testing. A realistic state-of-the-art combat simulator similar to the one used in the AMRAAM tests should be devoted full time to tactics testing and evaluations. Like training, tactics development is expensive, but it needs to be improved if the USAF is to increase its advantage over the Soviets.
THE U.S. fighter pilot community is at a critical crossroad. While the Soviets outnumber the United States and are slowly catching up in technology, our one remaining advantage is our fighter pilots. As has been shown, however, that human advantage is very fragile and even here the Soviets show signs of progress. Unfortunately, the human factor is one of the factors of the combat capability equation that has gained little attention in the U.S. Air Force and also little support in the budget battles. I believe that with some renewed high-level interest and a moderate infusion of money, the human factor can be significantly altered in the proper direction. It seems only natural that a fighter force with the most highly advanced aircraft, missiles, and radars should also have pilots to fly them who are second to none. In the air-to-air arena there is an old saying, "there is a time for energy and time for action." It's time for action!

Zaragoza, Spain


Colonel Michael C. Press (B.S., University of Oregon; M.S., Army Command and General Staff College) is Deputy Commander for Operations, 406th Tactical Fighter Training Wing, Zaragoza, Spain. He is a fighter pilot with more than 4000 hours and 480 combat missions in Vietnam who has served as the 65th Aggressor Squadron Commander at Nellis AFB, Nevada, and as Chief of Fighter Requirements, Hq USAFE, Ramstein AB, Germany. Colonel Press is a graduate of the Army Command and General Staff College and the National War College.
Interception of Recce Aircraft. Mari'.Fedorenko a. a.

Mari’… What destroyer does not know this base? Some were there repeatedly, others - heard from those occurred. Specifically, there sharpens craftsmanship and is conquered the flying authority of air soldier. Legends about the air victories there be born, and sometimes - is placed cross at the authority of pilot, the quarry, the life. For this very reason “old men” do not get tired of repeating young, that are torn in the battle: class they do not give during the studies, during the studies it is possible to be deprived it. You will do nothing - the truth of the life of combatant pilot is such.

Air battle - not my element. To me on the soul a strict geometry of distant battle with only output in ZPS and destruction of target. Therefore during the sequential studies to my component it charges to intercept intelligence officer. Experienced pilot knows that this task conceals many unexpected contingencies, although it seems simple. In contrast to the destroyers, when enemies must unavoidably join, mutually approaching destruction, intelligence officer tries to avoid battle. Therefore, the persecutor of intelligence officer must possess the vigilance of eagle, perseverance and grasp of bulldog, wolf skill to distribute the efforts of associates.

Without hoping for the sight, plan on the millimeter graph paper drafted, accurately calculated the beginning of turn for 180 degrees with the output in ZPS to the distance of work from the gun. It coordinated its actions with the officers for combat control and slave. Concept was such: to leave in PPS, at the calculated distance to be developed simultaneously with the slave to the course of intelligence officer so that it would prove to be between us, visually to reveal and to attack. It is simple, but how many introductory could prove to be in each stage of interception!

Expectation… Our departure in the third flying in. First dispatch formation air fightings and we whiled away time, hearing out radio traffic of combat and controlling the selections of flights on the earth. Expectation whetstone soul as rust iron, mandrazh by waves it made smooth and made smooth, harassing nerves. It was desirable to obtain outstanding estimation for the task, another - not to the person to Major and the captain, the first-class pilots by already participating repeatedly in similar studies. In the regiment there was especially because much young people, which it thus far was necessary to control “old men”.

Small pause between the departures. Now our turn. With the impatience we await command to the departure with KP. Here already took off “our” intelligence officer, but there is no command everything. Stress grows. On the loud they finally gave readiness to us. We rush slomja head with The the lekhoj By kopylovym to the aircraft, rapidly let us inspect, we are painted in ZHPS.

- Comrade Major, sight does not work in you, reports technician after painting.
Dully I look at the distant tent, where remained my second of para- time it will leave much for the organization of its departure, and intelligence officer already goes to the object.
- Lekha as you have sight?
- It is normal!
- Then search for on the sight, and I is visual.

We take off. Stress fell, mandrazh left. The customary state of hunting ardor mastered me. With difficulty I hold in control itself in order not to jerk on the afterburners into the zone of interception. It is necessary to economize fuel-, intelligence officer, according to the information of that obtained in local pilots, the fellow of young and zealous. It means it will be twirled above the desert as features on the broom.

Aim designation begins to enter. Slave occupies the distance of 10 km from behind and is included sight. I attentively listen to commands and hold course strictly to the purpose. Especially I do not strain sight, still far. Weather against us. The haze will hang above the desert, we go against the sun. Slave keeps silent, it means the matter concerning the detection on the sight not past, it is necessary to strain eyes. However, everything goes according to the plan. Intelligence officer left to the maximal- small height, he maneuvers, preserving direction to the object.

Officers for combat control fine people! They give to me the calculated distance of the beginning of turn, I command slave: - They began… I introduce my MiG-29 into the left half-roll and begin to fumble by eyes under itself on the barkhans. About, no, I do not search for MiG-23 our purpose, I search for his shadow on the sand. Young, and it became to be - little experienced, “enemy” does not apparently know that the lower you fly, the clearer the shadow on the earth's surface. But to me this is known and I wanted he to go below, hiding from the ground-based locators. So it made!

Large shadow covers my cab. It is mechanical to ditch knob to the right… First thought: - Really I rushed by under the intelligence officer?! The aircraft with the dirty belly is carried past me from top to bottom with the crash. I derive aircraft from the bank and I look at my potential ubivtsa. - Ah you, horseradish walrus, did not maintain nevertheless distance, was transported Lekha with the sight. Promukhal since the beginning of the turn and nearly ugrokhal of its commander.

It is agreeable, be frightened there is no time, explain relations we will be on the earth. Living- they are healthy and glory to god, we war further. All the more, here is it - kurepchik, below, only it is in front, kilometer of one-and-a-half. It is more accurate, this is its shadow. I rapidly put slave in place, without forgetting shadow. When Kopylov it reports, that sees me, I wholly am thrown to purpose. I make correction for the sun and for the height and without the special labor reveal that covered with drawings “near the desert” of migar. He already understood that he did not succeed in rushing by on the counter, that we settle to the tail and established maximum sweepback in the hope of being detached away from us on the afterburner. However, speed we held decent on the turn, left at the launching range, and aircraft poshustree. So that alas…

My slave in no way can reveal intelligence officer either from the sight or it is visual. For it it is necessary to still follow me in order not to encounter. “Our” intelligence officer of beginnings energetically to maneuver on the direction and the height, attempting to be detached and to be lost in the desert. I did not approach closely to it in order not to fall into the sight To lekhe. Itself could not work, since the indication of sight generally disappeared. Time went, intelligence officer nevertheless moved to the side of object, but we could not make a final film FKP. Patience my broke, I decided to draw together on the maneuver close with the purpose in order to facilitate its visual detection To kopylovu. Enemy, after seeing sharp rapprochement, zanervnichal began energetic turn with the climb. After noting its lit from the afterburner nozzle, I also mechanical thrust RUD to the support of full afterburner. And here me as if by boiling water it poured! Fuel-! I has long ago not looked at the remainder! Hand here removed RUD to the small newspaper past me it was pulled out my slave with the triumphant cry: - I see purpose! I attack! - Turn off afterburner, end of battle! - by some sat down unknown voice it gave an order 4.

- Yes I see! - was not stopped Lekha.
- The end of battle, along the straight line, I will leave to the left, I already irritatedly began to bawl in the ether.
Fuels it was the minimum -minimorum, only crawl home. We settle on “the lamps”. However, this us separately and did not disturb, to this our commanders in the Mari’ shut eyes. Disgrace! They brought “neud”! To gladden commander was something. To associate not with whom it was desirable. By component they went away into storonku, both they again and again investigated flight… There was no justification.

To the selection of flights dispatch as to the penal servitude. Shameful it was to rise before face of entire regiment, especially before the young people. They sat as on the needles, expecting the selection of departure.
- The pair of Major Fedorenko, commander it made a pause, searching for us view.
We rose, both crimson from the shame, after lowering views under faces of pilots and officers of ground-based services turned to us.
- Worked out on “excellently”, fine people! We did not believe to our ears!

- Although they did not intercept intelligence officer, so him they forced, that it manufactured fuel- and the assigned object did not reach. By the command decision of studies the work of pair is evaluated by the highest mark.

In me zashchipalo of eye from happiness, Lekhiny of eye also suspiciously they shone. Pilots happily flapped down us on the arms and spin.

Next day we again used our plan and again they conquered. This time everything is past without the twig and zadorinki.

Fedorenko a. a.

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