An OCA mission where fighters act autonomously without being tied to any other fighter elements or strike package., A DCA mission where fighters defend a very small asset, such as a downed aircrew., An OCA mission where fighters operate as part of a strike package in close proximity to the A/S strike aircraft., high-value airborne asset protection…
These are just a few of the many air-to-air missions modern US fighter pilots may be required to perform in the course of their duties. Each requires significant pre-mission planning to analyze how various constraints and limitations might affect execution.
Here to describe these missions and associated planning factors is former enlisted US Marine, then naval flight officer, now pilot and fighter attack squadron commander—Lieutenant Colonel Mark “SNOTY” Bortnem, US Marine Corps. He offers not only a fascinating explanation of each mission and planning factor, but a sobering overview of the mindset he imbues in each of his pilots.
During the listener question segment we address the importance of simulators, the presence (or not) of aircraft manufacturer representatives on deployment, and how to avoid shooting down the wrong aircraft during a heated, multi-aircraft dog fight.
Holiday-themed bumper music by Jaime Lopez. Episode artwork by Janek Krause.