Taken out of context, Stephen Hawking’s comment, “all we need to do is make sure we keep talking,” does not apply to aerial engagements. In complex and dynamic scenarios with multiple opposing fighter elements—closing on each other at well over 1,000 knots—more is decidedly not better. Instead, clear, concise, standardized (and minimal) communications are essential to ensure situational awareness and, thus, success.
On this episode, U.S. Navy Commander Alan “Niles” Schiaffino discusses air-to-air fighter engagement communications. As an E-2 Hawkeye Naval Flight Officer. A US Navy commissioned officer assigned to non-pilot-in-control aerial duties such as weapons control, radar intercept, or electronic countermeasures. and former aircraft carrier operations officer, Niles has a unique perspective on battlegroup communications from the tactical to the strategic. He also answers listener questions on the West’s octal IFF system and foreign intrusion flights.
During the listener question segment, the hosts describe their favorite missions (see Sunshine’s Tomahawk chase flight here) and why some aircraft, such as the F-16 Fighting Falcon, have gold-tinted canopies.
Episode artwork by Janek Krause. Bumper music by Jaime Lopez / announcements by Matt Rierden.