Cold War Jet Combat, Air-to-Air Jet Fighter Operations 1950-1972

Always a pleasure to review a book by this author, who is building a formidable portfolio of aviation titles. This book covers a period of aviation that has seen enormous changes but strangely been under-reported. Here is a book to correct this. Most Highly Recommended.


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NAME: Cold War Jet Combat, Air-to-Air Jet Fighter Operations 1950-
1972
FILE: R2477
AUTHOR: Martin W Bowman
PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword
BINDING: hard back 
PAGES:  256
PRICE: £19.99
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT: Air war, bombing, night fighters, Korea, Vietnam, Suez, 
Cold War, jet fighter, trans-sonic, super-sonic, range, radar, 
missiles, rockets, guns, infrared

ISBN: 1-47383-773-1

IMAGE: B2477.jpg
BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/mq66s4j
LINKS:  
DESCRIPTION: Always a pleasure to review a book by this author, who 
is building a formidable portfolio of aviation titles.  This book 
covers a period of aviation that has seen enormous changes but 
strangely been under-reported. Here is a book to correct this. Most 
Highly Recommended. 

The jet fighter saw action before the end of WWII in Europe but 
British and German jets never met in battle. After WWII, British and 
German technology was acquired or copied by many other countries and, 
by the Korean War, saw an explosion of designs coming into service 
for a new kind of war, the Cold War. Performance advanced very 
rapidly, the range of fighters was extended in many ways and new 
weapons systems and detection systems were introduced. Why this period 
has been so under-reported is something of a mystery. The flood of 
WWII histories may be a reason, and also a series of books about 
individual wars fought since 1945, but a comprehensive coverage of the 
period from 1950 to 1972 has been notably missing in literary inaction.

The first generation jets lacked range and often suffered reliability 
problems, but the first challenge was in developing tactics to fully 
exploit the new technology. The gun was still the primary weapon and 
the few missiles available were unguided rockets. However, the guided 
missile was already about to enter service, even if the early models 
suffered a number of problems. The American Sidewinder was using 
infrared technology based on German research and although it was built 
as a munition designed to be taken from the box and mounted on the 
aircraft when required its relative high reliability of firing was not 
matched by its guidance system. The first Sidewinders stood little 
chance of killing the target unless the fighter was pointing away from 
the sun and directly up the enemy's jet tail pipe. The British 
Firestreak had a much more effective infrared guidance system, but was 
designed as a miniature rocket aircraft that required significant 
routine maintenance. The result was that successful launches had a 
considerably better kill rate than the Sidewinder, but a much lower 
rate of successful launches. This meant that several early jet 
fighters had guns and unguided rockets, rather than guided AAMs.

The Royal Navy adopted the Sea Vixen, originally built to meet the RAF 
requirement for which the Javelin was to be ordered. The two seat Sea 
Vixen was fast, relatively small, equipped for four Firestreak guided 
missiles, but also equipped with two retractable rocket batteries 
either side of the nose wheel in space originally planned for the RAF 
mandate of four cannon. The Sea Vixen was the first fighter built 
without guns. Although the rockets were not equipped with guidance, 
they were effectively guided by radar because the radar operator 
navigator in the 'coal hole' ( a seat to the right of the pilot and 
at a lower level with only a tiny side window) was able to take over 
guiding the whole aircraft by radar and firing at massed Russian 
bomber formations.

The many fantastic developments are all traced in this book with 
lavish illustration. A very enjoyable read.