This title reveals how the jet engine revolutionized aerial combat. From the end of World War II to the 1991 Gulf War, fighters have become ever more complex and expensive machines. Yet some tactics remain as valid today as they were over Germany in 1945. "Fighter Combat in the Jet Age" explains which aircraft have had the most influence on aerial warfare, why Germany developed jet fighters before Britain or the USA and how less capable Russian aircraft were able to defeat US fighters over Vietnam. Different fighters are compared and the operational methods of major air forces contrasted.
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An overview of the operational level of air-to-air combat
This book is an introduction to air-to-air operations since 1945. It is aimed at both the mid-level military or defense professional as well as the serious enthusiast, wargamer, and airplane buff (and the author certainly counts himself as all three). This focus differentiates FIGHTER COMBAT IN THE JET AGE from the many books dealing with aircraft, tactics, or pilots. This focus is how technology and policy changes meshed when the bullets and missiles were live, from World War II to the Middle East to Vietnam and the Gulf War. Those who have enjoyed other books or games on this subject will find this book provides the larger context for what they have learned. Military professionals whose PME will include a staff college course will also find this treatment of how fighter planes and fighter pilots fit into the larger picture of both war-fighting and national security.
FIGHTER COMBAT IN THE JET AGE
Before the end of World War II it was obvious that the new technology of the jet engine would make obsolete all previous combat aircraft. The Germans turned to the immature technology represented by the Junkers Jumo 004 turbojet in an attempt to counter the weight of numbers against them. The Me-262 and other jet and rocket propelled fighters offered hope of redressing some of the advantage of Allied numerical superiority. Despite the strategic bombing campaign, and conflicting manufacturing priorities, the Germans succeeded in getting their jets into combat before the Allies.
While the Me-262's jet engines made it a revolutionary change in the story of light, it was unable to claim a similar advance in the history of air combat operations. The jet engine would not revolutionize air combat in 1944-45. It would take a generation to do this and required technologies unavailable in 1944. Nevertheless, many of the lessons gained in how the Germans used the Messerschmitt Me-262 and how the Allies defeated it remain valid today.
'Fighter Combat in the Jet Age 'reveals how a new generation of jet airplanes fought over Korea and in the Middle East, and how, by the 1960s, more powerful engines were allied to air-to-air missiles and effective airborne radar. David Isby investigates how US and Russian-built aircraft clashed over Vietnam in battles where political limitations often cancelled American technological superiority. He describes the fighters and weapons developed during the Cold War and how in the 1990s, multiple targetting fire control, missiles capable of beyond-visual-range engagement and emerging 'stealth' technology are transforming fighter combat once again.
David C. Isby is a Washington-based attorney and defence consultant. Special correspondent for 'Jane's Intelligence Review', he has contributed to many military and aviation publications and written extensively on the Russian armed forces.
From the first clashes between Allied piston-engine fighters and German jets in 1944 to the beyond-visual-range engagements of the 1991 Gulf War, 'Fighter Combat' reveals how jet fighters and their weapons have improved. David Isby explains the key technological developments of the Cold War: the fighters built to intercept nuclear bombers and to dominate European skies in a third World War, and how political restrictions often cancelled out US technical superiority in the air battles over Vietnam. With combat examples from SE Asia, the Falkland and the Middle East, 'Fighter Combat' compares and contrasts the fighter aircraft of different nations and manufacturers.
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