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* Why was the final dogfight fought at knife fight visual range, when the F-14 has Beyond Visual Range missiles? It is because of the characteristics of the BVR missiles the Tomcats carry. The AIM-54 Phoenix is an extremely long range (100 Miles) Bomber killer easily outmaneuverable by jinking Migs. The other long range missile at that time would have been the AIM-7F Sparrow missile. These missiles are Semi-Active Radar Homing, meaning that they are guided to their target by the aircraft’s radar. Therefore, a pilot needs to maintain a continuous radar lock on a target for a Sparrow missile to successfully hit it. This precludes the Sparrow from being used in a dogfight, as an enemy aircraft needs to remain within the Tomcat’s boresight in order to obtain and maintain radar lock. Since these Migs are more maneuverable than a Tomcat, radar lock would have been lost, turning that Sparrow missile into an unguided bottle rocket. And we see that the Migs fly close in bunched together, then split as the range closes. If a Sparrow had been fired at that initial radar signature, radar lock would have been lost when the Migs split off. Rendering the Sparrow useless again. The heat seeking Sidewinder is fire and forget - and therefore perfect for close range dogfights.

! FridgeLogic

There was no way that Cougar could have safely landed his Tomcat after being shook up like that during the opening dogfight. The manner in which Cougar was hyperventilating and trembling would have left him well short of the concentration and fine motor skills needed to fly “by the ball” and catch an arresting wire. Night carrier landings in particular are very difficult very precise near stall speed flaring maneuvers that require a pilot’s full attention to even minor movements of the aircraft. That and a rather complicated communication protocol between the pilot, carrier and LSO would all but disallow someone as shaken up as Cougar from even attempting a landing. This is actually explained by the fact [[WhatCouldHaveBeen Cougar was originally supposed to suffer a ramp strike and die, thereby allowing Maverick to take his slot]].

to:

* Why was the final dogfight fought at knife fight visual range, when the F-14 has Beyond Visual Range missiles? It is because of the characteristics of the BVR missiles the Tomcats carry. The AIM-54 Phoenix is an extremely long range (100 Miles) Bomber killer easily outmaneuverable by jinking Migs. The other long range missile at that time would have been the AIM-7F Sparrow missile. These missiles are Semi-Active Radar Homing, meaning that they are guided to their target by the aircraft’s radar. Therefore, a pilot needs to maintain a continuous radar lock on a target for a Sparrow missile to successfully hit it. This precludes the Sparrow from being used in a dogfight, as an enemy aircraft needs to remain within the Tomcat’s boresight in order to obtain and maintain radar lock. Since these Migs are more maneuverable than a Tomcat, radar lock would have been lost, turning that Sparrow missile into an unguided bottle rocket. And we see that the Migs fly close in bunched together, then split as the range closes. If a Sparrow had been fired at that initial radar signature, radar lock would have been lost when the Migs split off. Rendering the Sparrow useless again. The heat seeking Sidewinder is fire and forget - and therefore perfect for close range dogfights.

! FridgeLogic

There was no way that Cougar could have safely landed his Tomcat after being shook up like that during the opening dogfight. The manner in which Cougar was hyperventilating and trembling would have left him well short of the concentration and fine motor skills needed to fly “by the ball” and catch an arresting wire. Night carrier landings in particular are very difficult very precise near stall speed flaring maneuvers that require a pilot’s full attention to even minor movements of the aircraft. That and a rather complicated communication protocol between the pilot, carrier and LSO would all but disallow someone as shaken up as Cougar from even attempting a landing. This is actually explained by the fact [[WhatCouldHaveBeen Cougar was originally supposed to suffer a ramp strike and die, thereby allowing Maverick to take his slot]].
dogfights.


* Why was the final dogfight fought at knife fight visual range, when the F-14 has Beyond Visual Range missiles? It is because of the characteristics of the BVR missiles the Tomcats carry. The AIM-54 Phoenix is an extremely long range (100 Miles) Bomber killer easily outmaneuverable by jinking Migs. The other long range missile at that time would have been the AIM-7F Sparrow missile. These missiles are Semi-Active Radar Homing, meaning that they are guided to their target by the aircraft’s radar. Therefore, a pilot needs to maintain a continuous radar lock on a target for a Sparrow missile to successfully hit it. This precludes the Sparrow from being used in a dogfight, as an enemy aircraft needs to remain within the Tomcat’s boresight in order to obtain and maintain radar lock. Since these Migs are more maneuverable than a Tomcat, radar lock would have been lost, turning that Sparrow missile into an unguided bottle rocket. And we see that the Migs fly close in bunched together, then split as the range closes. If a Sparrow had been fired at that initial radar signature, radar lock would have been lost when the Migs split off. Rendering the Sparrow useless again. The heat seeking Sidewinder is fire and forget - and therefore perfect for close range dogfights.

to:

* Why was the final dogfight fought at knife fight visual range, when the F-14 has Beyond Visual Range missiles? It is because of the characteristics of the BVR missiles the Tomcats carry. The AIM-54 Phoenix is an extremely long range (100 Miles) Bomber killer easily outmaneuverable by jinking Migs. The other long range missile at that time would have been the AIM-7F Sparrow missile. These missiles are Semi-Active Radar Homing, meaning that they are guided to their target by the aircraft’s radar. Therefore, a pilot needs to maintain a continuous radar lock on a target for a Sparrow missile to successfully hit it. This precludes the Sparrow from being used in a dogfight, as an enemy aircraft needs to remain within the Tomcat’s boresight in order to obtain and maintain radar lock. Since these Migs are more maneuverable than a Tomcat, radar lock would have been lost, turning that Sparrow missile into an unguided bottle rocket. And we see that the Migs fly close in bunched together, then split as the range closes. If a Sparrow had been fired at that initial radar signature, radar lock would have been lost when the Migs split off. Rendering the Sparrow useless again. The heat seeking Sidewinder is fire and forget - and therefore perfect for close range dogfights.dogfights.

! FridgeLogic

There was no way that Cougar could have safely landed his Tomcat after being shook up like that during the opening dogfight. The manner in which Cougar was hyperventilating and trembling would have left him well short of the concentration and fine motor skills needed to fly “by the ball” and catch an arresting wire. Night carrier landings in particular are very difficult very precise near stall speed flaring maneuvers that require a pilot’s full attention to even minor movements of the aircraft. That and a rather complicated communication protocol between the pilot, carrier and LSO would all but disallow someone as shaken up as Cougar from even attempting a landing. This is actually explained by the fact [[WhatCouldHaveBeen Cougar was originally supposed to suffer a ramp strike and die, thereby allowing Maverick to take his slot]].

Added DiffLines:

! FridgeBrilliance
* Why was the final dogfight fought at knife fight visual range, when the F-14 has Beyond Visual Range missiles? It is because of the characteristics of the BVR missiles the Tomcats carry. The AIM-54 Phoenix is an extremely long range (100 Miles) Bomber killer easily outmaneuverable by jinking Migs. The other long range missile at that time would have been the AIM-7F Sparrow missile. These missiles are Semi-Active Radar Homing, meaning that they are guided to their target by the aircraft’s radar. Therefore, a pilot needs to maintain a continuous radar lock on a target for a Sparrow missile to successfully hit it. This precludes the Sparrow from being used in a dogfight, as an enemy aircraft needs to remain within the Tomcat’s boresight in order to obtain and maintain radar lock. Since these Migs are more maneuverable than a Tomcat, radar lock would have been lost, turning that Sparrow missile into an unguided bottle rocket. And we see that the Migs fly close in bunched together, then split as the range closes. If a Sparrow had been fired at that initial radar signature, radar lock would have been lost when the Migs split off. Rendering the Sparrow useless again. The heat seeking Sidewinder is fire and forget - and therefore perfect for close range dogfights.

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