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When did Hawk stop being used as fighter in Cold War?

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When did Hawk stop being used as fighter in Cold War?

Old 21st Apr 2022, 15:27
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I have vague recollection of an exercise in, I think, 1978. Possibly a Mallet Blow ? I watched the height finders at Boulmer nodding up & down, then a colonial F111 came thundering across the site at uber low level and a Hunter jumped it over Lynemouth Bay. I reckon the Hunter claimed the kill, but Boulmer was probably counted as being compromised in the process. I think the Hunters were based at Newcastle Airport for the exercise and were from TWU.
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Old 22nd Apr 2022, 01:35
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Originally Posted by CAEBr View Post
His ears might be ringing from the rear MDC going off but his MDC and canopy would be intact. The front and rear MDCs are separate and triggered on ejection by the seat movement.
Interesting - didn't realise they were separate.
Just remember the liney saying "be really gentle and don't slam the canopy shut..."
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Old 22nd Apr 2022, 08:03
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Originally Posted by tartare View Post
Interesting - didn't realise they were separate.
Just remember the liney saying "be really gentle and don't slam the canopy shut..."
Yes, it was normal practice for the ground crew to turn around while the canopy was shut just in case. In reality though, the bigger issue was closing the canopy on shutdown. It was not unknown for something to be left or trapped in the cockpit that then triggered the mechanism on closure. I remember one being blown on a delivery flight, in Bangkok I believe it was, when a damp flying jacket hung over the headbox was trapped by the mechanism and blew the canopy. Luckily, without staging, it largely went over his head or it could have been serious. Mind you it was still a sudden shock and getting a replacement delivered - as dangerous air cargo - was another story.
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Old 22nd Apr 2022, 18:38
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Originally Posted by ORAC View Post
Nickname of Wedge (simplest form of tool known to man). Swore blind he never touched the handle.

MB spent millions dredging for the seat to prove otherwise but it was never found.
To be fair, a fatal accident many years later revealed that this incident, as the ejectee described, was technically plausible.
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Old 22nd Apr 2022, 21:08
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I cannot say whether Wedge did or did not pull the Y&B, but my initial view (based on statistics as much as anything else) was that an uncommanded ejection seemed extremely unlikely.

However, at a rare School of FC lunch one day at Boulmer (mid-90s), the man himself was unexpectedly called upon by the assembled masses to tell his tale and he did so lucidly and pretty convincingly.

The one message I took away was that he was just as pissed off about MB's (?) failure to locate the seat as they were, but for the opposite reason.

The failure subsequently to give him a tie seemed to me to be a bit mean, though I don't recall him being particularly bothered by it - I doubt he would have worn it in any case.

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Old 22nd Apr 2022, 23:43
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Originally Posted by CAEBr View Post
Yes, it was normal practice for the ground crew to turn around while the canopy was shut just in case. In reality though, the bigger issue was closing the canopy on shutdown. It was not unknown for something to be left or trapped in the cockpit that then triggered the mechanism on closure. I remember one being blown on a delivery flight, in Bangkok I believe it was, when a damp flying jacket hung over the headbox was trapped by the mechanism and blew the canopy. Luckily, without staging, it largely went over his head or it could have been serious. Mind you it was still a sudden shock and getting a replacement delivered - as dangerous air cargo - was another story.
Something similar happened to a Red Arrow many years ago on arrival at a wet Leuchars (I think). Luckily SEngO and the crew stood nearby weren't hurt.
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Old 23rd Apr 2022, 23:58
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Back to the topic, MFF had its place. It was just a matter of understanding how to use (or not to use) the concept. I did it as both the fighter and the little guy trying to hang on.
The first problem was guys just glancing through the “SOPs” without giving much thought to the practicalities. It worked best when the fighter(s) took their Hawks into an engagement with due consideration to the speed and acceleration differences WITHOUT COMPROMISING THE OVERRIDING FIGHTER TACTICS. Depending on the threat being engaged, there were opportunities to get the Hawks to a position where they could employ AIM9 bringing more missiles to larger formations; the fighters could either press or separate as they saw fit.
At the other extreme (e.g. High Flyers or Super Sonics) the fighters simply had to ditch the Hawks and fly the appropriate profile.
There was always the option to leave the Hawks behind to set up a Vis CAP or for them to continue to follow the fighters to the intercept using GCI, AWACS or (rarely) commentary from the fighters.
When doing it as one of the Hawks, we just had to accept that we may get an engagement with the fighters, we may get an engagement behind them or we may be a (rather poor) chaff bundle for the fighters.
The concept was as flexible as the fighter crews were willing to be and how much effort we put into it.
It ended the at the same time as the Cold War - it wasn’t seen as necessary and other factors meant that there were fewer Hawks that could be spared from their primary role to practice it.
The greatest benefit was that the Tankers didn’t seem to recognise that not all the aircraft from one formation were AAR capable. My challenge was to see how long a Victor would let me sit just behind the drogue before being told to “go away”.
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Old 24th Apr 2022, 08:59
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Loyal Wingman

Interesting to hear of the problems MFF experienced because of the gap in performance; as the ‘Loyal Wingman’ concepts now being touted seem to have the same sort of gap?
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Old 24th Apr 2022, 09:25
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Don’t seem the issues as being the same.

LW will be of comparable performance and radar equipped carrying BVR weapons - the aim being to deploy them forward to vastly extend engagement range, and ideally tangle the enemy in a fur ball whilst the manned fighters keep out and engage using their own weapons.

If L16 had been available to the Hawk releasing them from the F3 apron strings, maybe it would have been more productive. But, as with Bader’s big wing, the logistics of actually getting everyone in the right place and right time were so difficult it never seemed to work well enough to produce any of the claimed gains.
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Old 24th Apr 2022, 14:47
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Putting a formation together to practice MFFO was simple. Vector the Hawks to join a fighter CAP, launch the Hawks behind the fighters or, occasionally, form up as part of a COMAO package. We even tried it once as part of a HVAAA exercise just to make the HVAAD job even more difficult. If by “in place” you mean basing, deploying a handful of Hawks to a fighter base for an exercise was a regular and easy occurrence - often arranged through a couple of phone calls or through including a few lines during the exercise planning. Especially easy when the Hawks and the fighters were in the same Group.
As I said yesterday, MFF only works where it is not allowed to become an impediment to the overriding fighter tactics, thus avoiding the negative consequences of Leigh-Mallory’s Big Wings.
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Old 24th Apr 2022, 20:16
  #31 (permalink)  
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No, I mean actually getting them airborne and joined up in a formation at the right time and place to engage an enemy formation.

They only times it worked were when it was preplanned, something with which the real enemy would have presumably have been reluctant to cooperate.

In live exercises I can’t remember a single occasion it worked. And I was an FC/MC on most of the occasions we tried it through the 80s and early 90s.

Personally I found a pain in the ass and operationally ineffectual. As I say, Bader’s Big Wing comes to mind.
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Old 25th Apr 2022, 12:45
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ORAC, I think you’ve missed my point. The baseline is that as an operational concept it is a bolt-on, not a discrete tasking. Setting up MFFO as as a discrete exercise comes with the problem of coordinating the fighters and the Hawks to conduct that particular exercise - that wasn’t such a big deal. Launching aircraft just to practice MFFO defeats the object of it not having an adverse effect on the fighter tactics because, by definition, nothing meaningful is going to happen until all the assets are in place, the same as the artificiality of not starting an engagement until the attackers, defenders, GCI/AWACS, airspace, sometimes tankers are all ready to start.
in my opinion the best training value was simply adding an extra asset to a rolling battle by simply launching a number of Hawks to an existing CAP, which is why larger scale scale exercises were always the best opportunity to practice it - that was not difficult with the Hawks on hand (and forward deployed) - administratively no different to scrambling fighters to CAP replacement. As I said before, the Hawks had to be an option and accept that they wouldn’t be taken to every engagement - that in itself offered alternative training opportunities by allocating them to fallback vis CAPs to attack leakers from any engagement that they didn’t make it to.
For sure, everyone benefitted from conducting it as a canned exercise, but in reality everybody only needed to do that once to become competent - even the ex-jag pilots that I used to take to the MOBs to do it worked it out after trying it once.
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