In 1978/79 US Army and US Air Force conducted a joint experiment called Joint Countering Attack Helicopter (J-CATCH). J-CATCH focused on dissimilar air combat between jet fighters and attack helicopters. As already explained, to the surprise of many involved in the program, the helicopters proved extremely dangerous to the fighters when they were properly employed, racking up a 5-to-1 kill ratio over the fighters when fighting at close ranges with guns.
Something similar happened 30 years later during Load Diffuser Exercise in 2008.
‘During “Load Diffuser” exercise in June 2008, ten F-15C Eagle fighters from the Louisiana Air National Guard [159th Fighter Wing Bayou Militia] participated in a two-week long exercise in Hungary, together with the Hungarian Air Force,’ says pilot and flight instructor Thomas Kolb on Quora. ‘The Hungarians were flying two Mi-24V Hind helicopters playing the role of bush-flying enemy aircraft that the F-15’s were tasked to take out. The Eagles were equipped with AIM-9X Sidewinder training missiles with helmet-mounted sights, while the Hinds had only their onboard guns.
‘The F-15’s were pretty successful locating and engaging the Hinds, but soon the helicopter crew learnt how to hide in the ground clutter and among the rolling hills where the Eagles simply couldn’t find them. At the same time, they were constantly given tactical info from AWACS so they knew what the Eagles were doing.
‘A few times, Lt. Éva ‘Vivi’ Horváth, the female pilot of one of the Mi-24V’s was able to keep a firm “target lock” on an F-15 in the gunsight, while the pilot of the Eagle (as later confirmed in the debriefing sessions), was completely unaware of being directly aimed at.’
‘Being a peacetime exercise, no shots were fired of course, but if it had been a real situation, the Eagle would most likely have sustained a crippling damage from the Hind’s cannons. Presumably not enough to blow it out of the sky, but definitely enough to punch a few holes in its wings and force it out of the engagement.
‘The Hungarian pilots were later joking whether or not the Louisiana Eagle pilot got some heat from his buddies about having been shot down by a helicopter flown by a girl.
‘According to the Hungarian team, several additional hits would have been possible if it hadn’t been for the rules of the practice engagement (hard deck, max speed, etc.). Also, had the Hinds been equipped with IR-missiles, they could have taken out the fighter completely (the Hungarian Air Force did not use R-60M missiles on their Mi-24V’s so it was never an option).’
‘The “hits” were honored (just for fun and to mock the Eagle pilots) by painting “Eagle Down” silhouettes on the helicopter.
‘“We weren’t informed that this is impossible, so we just did it”’
Source: Info taken from this Hungarian article.
Photo credit: Hungarian Air Force and Aldo Bidini via Wikipedia
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