Tactics 101 – Pure and Lead Pursuit

by Ed “Skater” Lynch

 

Ok, we left off last time with a description of the Lag Pursuit, and how to make it work for you. Now let’s discuss the two other general types of pursuit flying.

Here are a few more fighter-speak words and acronyms to add to your sock drawer…

DICK: Verb. To get waxed (killed) in general. Ex: “Don’t let the strike flight get dicked.”

LCOS: Lead Computing Optical Sight. A type of gunsight that takes into effect many variables such as wind, lead, aircraft speed, projectile velocity, etc. for accurate aerial gunnery deployment.

PIPPER: The focal point of a gunsight or a HUD weapons mode. Also known as “The Kill Dot” to Mud Hen drivers.

3/9 LINE: An imaginary line running through your aircraft from the 3 o’clock position through the 9 o’clock position. This line denotes the forward and rear hemispheres.

Lesson Two – 06 JUL 98 – Pure and Lead Pursuit or “How I spent my Summer Vacation”

Pure Pursuit is basically flying directly at or directly behind your bogey, and staying there. For example, when you and your wingman are flying in an extended Lead-Trail formation, the wingman is basically flying Pure Pursuit on you. And, as with all fighter maneuvers, the most basic goal is to keep the baddies in front of you, exhaust baking the paint on the glare shield. There is simply nothing more disheartening for a bad guy than a Western-built aircraft sitting in deep six. Revel in that, and flip him the bird for good measure! :-)

The main use of Pure Pusuit is to close the range or to decrease the angle-off on your bandit, in order to close to within weapons firing parameters (the ultimate goal IS to kill the bandit after all), or to get to a position where the bandit is of less threat to you or other allied aircraft. Generally, if you are already in the bandit’s six, you will have already have shot him, if you need to be told to do this, then Tactics 101 will not help you, you need to fly C-5’s and haul Dixie cups to La Paz and back, not fly fighters. You types may leave the classroom now.

For the fighter-types still left in the room, we’ll continue…

Now let’s talk a little about Lead Pursuit. Lead Pursuit is basically an intercept course to your bandit. Again, this type of pursuit course is mainly used to close range to the bandit or angle-off from the bandit. It is also used when maneuvering for a guns kill. For example, while maneuvering in lag behind your bandit, you manage to pull the nose across the bandit’s plane of motion and put your nose out in front of him and begin firing. The lead that you pull on the bandit allows your rounds to reach the same airspace as the bandit at the same time. In many modern fighters, the gunsight is of the lead-computing type or will have a LCOS mode. In those cases, maneuvering to put the gunsight pipper on the bandit will actually have you flying a lead pursuit course in order to accurately deploy the gun onto the offending bandito (almost all bandits are quite offensive, disgusting, vile things).

Lead Pursuit is most probably the most common form of pursuit flying, and also the most commonly unrecognized. You probably already fly this type of pursuit quite well and do not even know it. If you ever fired in front of an aircraft in order to make bullet and airframe meet in WarBirds or Air Warrior III, you have been flying Lead Pursuit. If you have ever flown at an off angle in order to close the distance on a bandit and end up sliding in behind him by simply pointing your nose out in front of his nose and flying straight in Jane’s F-15, you have been flying Lead Pursuit. Congratulations Tiger, you are well on your way to becoming a Sim Ace.

In the next installment of Tactics 101 we are going to discuss some more complicated maneuvers and tactics. Stay strapped in to your ACES II …

DLO: The Desired Learning Objective for today is basically to keep the bandit in front of you and to keep you in control of the bandit. Keep the bandit forward of your 3/9 line. Use Lead Pursuit to chop the distance between you and the bandit, and use Pure Pursuit to calculate a course to slide in behind him and to stay there. Use Lead Pursuit to put the pipper on the target and start rocking and rolling. Pretty soon, you can show the bandit what 4th of July in the good old USA is like from a first-person perspective!