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