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Viggen

Top Gun question

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I just rewatched Top Gun and that got me wondering. Did the school continue to train F-4 pilots after the F-14 became the primary fighter? How late into the F-4's career did pilots continue to be sent to the school?

 

 

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Yes.  Main reason I say this with high confidence is that in "Bio" Baranek's autobiography, he mentioned that they still had F-4 instructors into the 1980's.  You have to recall that the transition to the Tomcat took effectively 10 years or more, squadrons like VF-74 and -103 not transitioning until 1983 with their first Tomcat cruise in 1984.  The Navy wouldn't have cut them off from Top Gun just because they weren't in Turkeys!

 

Come to think of it, "Hawk" Smith's biography mentioned that in the 1970's they had A-6 and A-7 bubbas out there more specifically for DCM type training, and this well predated the change to NSAWC/SFTI!

Edited by Caesar
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I really gotta start reading more books. Thanks Caesar! You also answered my next question which was going to be about the strike aircraft.

 

I imagine RF-4Bs underwent similar DCM as well?

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I'm not certain all of the airframes involved, but services have and continue to cross-train, so it wouldn't surprise me if Air Force frames wound up at TOPGUN exercises, just like USN, USMC and other frames participate in Red Flag (among others). 

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You're Army Viggen, you can't read. :lol:

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You're Army Viggen, you can't read. :lol:

 

Ok, fine what I meant was look at the pretty pictures.

Edited by Viggen
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CVW-5 sent crews to Topgun in 1982 and 1983 at least. The airwing transitioned to F-18's shortly thereafter so I would say that as long as we had Phantoms, we sent crews to Topgun.

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The original Top Gun syllabus was heavily influenced by exchange officers from the Royal Navy, who were at that time transitioning from a fleet of Sea Vixens to the F-4K. The original RN equivalent was the Air Warfare Instructor (AWI) qualification, for which flight commanders would routinely be selected for rotation before assuming a role as a senior squadron pilot. The AWI course would involve DACT against a variety of threat aircraft operated by RN or Contract pilots. The typical threat aircraft would be represented by a Hunter GA.11 (not far off the MiG-17 in flight performance), while supersonic threats could be represented by RAF Lightning units, which were typically more capable than the then MiG-21 threat. It would be normal practice to have at least two and possibly three AWI-qualified crews on an F-4K squadron, although as the RN fleet wound down, there was a concentration of very senior experienced aircrew/. 892 NAS in 1978 would have been a very formidable set of men.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/military-obituaries/naval-obituaries/8873213/Brigadier-General-Dick-Lord.html

Edited by stephenmcparlin

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VMFA-232 sent its last F-4N crew through TOPGUN in 1985 or 86.


I'm not certain all of the airframes involved, but services have and continue to cross-train, so it wouldn't surprise me if Air Force frames wound up at TOPGUN exercises, just like USN, USMC and other frames participate in Red Flag (among others). 

Air Force assets have flown during the TOPGUN course, mostly as adversaries, but also as blue assets during larger sorties.  TOPGUN used to have an Air Force Weapon School graduate as an exchange instructor.  I am not sure if they still do.  The big difference between TOPGUN and Red Flag is that TOPGUN is a school for individual pilots to become tactics instructors, while Red Flag is a training exercise for units.

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