Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Eagle Dropping Flares Over Afghanistan

The F-15 Eagle was originally designed to be an air superiority fighter, that is, a fighter which would shoot down all the fighters from the other side. We're using it, however, as a ground attack aircraft, at least in this configuration--F-15E Strike Eagle. To keep from being shot down by a heat seeking missile, modern fighters drop flares from time to time in the hope that the missile, if one is coming, will track one of the flares rather than the exhaust of the plane.

Our sale of FIM-92 Stingers to the Mujaheddin fighting the Soviet invaders in the 1980s was the turning point in that war and the beginning of the end of the Soviet Union; but for every good result in an action, there is sometimes also an unintended bad consequence. But perhaps this Strike Eagle is defending itself from a different missile. I don't know for sure.


I think it's common practice in ground attack missions to drop flares during ingress to the target area, and then again when pulling off the target. But this guy looks kinda high, so it may be a shot staged for the camera.
I agree it might be staged.
Who the heck is taking the picture?
That's a good question...at that apparent altitude, I have a hard time picturing some USAF public affairs photog hanging out the back door of a C-130 to get the unobstructed shot. But with an oxygen mask I guess it's doable.

I can ask my former fighter pilots friends but i thought the flares are not released until the planes radar detects a missile.

Fighters do have sensors that detect both IR and radar guided missiles (as well as sensors for opposing fighters' search radar), but they don't always wait for the warning to go off before releasing chaff or flares.
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?