Air University Review, January-February 1983

Air War Vietnam:
What the Soviets Learned


Yossef Bodansky

LOCAL wars such as the one in Indochina have unveiled the real face of contemporary warfare. That war drove the imperialist countries into rearmament. It also proved and fortified certain aspects of Soviet tactics, effecting changes and the development of others.1 Learning the lessons of local wars and their implications points out the direction of developments and changes in military matters and affects future developments of new tactics and weapon system,

American specialists who have worked to summarize the experience of the war came close to the truth when they remarked that the ‘‘birth of new tactics has always begun with the enemy.’’ By constantly improving methods of operations and battle, North Vietnamese pilots posed complicated problems for the aggressors. In attempting to solve these problems the aggressors suffered great losses. The rejection of the commonplace in tactics has always entailed success in aerial battle. American fighter pilots, who were unable to achieve tactical superiority in the airspace over the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, learned of this firsthand in their initial expenencc.2

The prime lesson on the air-to-air activity over North Vietnam was the revival of the maneuver air combat.3 The changes were thorough and included both aircraft and armament. In view of their anticipation of "the Soviet threat’’ and the ‘‘political tactless speculation permitted by the American military establishment," the Americans train and develop their new equipment on the " . . . basis of performances of the MiGs . . . [but] neither side has a large quantitative edge. As is known, interceptors of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam actively defended the airspace."4

The new U.S. fighters display a completely new set of priorities in the field of envelope of performance and in their weapon systems.

…maximum speed and service ceiling of the F-15 and F-16 airplanes which are intended to win air superiority and which arrived to replace the F-I "Phantom" type of tactical fighters increased insignificantly. At the same time, primary attention was turned to increasing the thrust-to-weight ratio and maneuverability necessary for the conduct of aerial battle of the classic forms…. Thus, tactics influenced the formation of requirements for new aviation equipment.5

Both the F-14 and the F-l5 are, generally speaking, more interceptors than fighters. Both are equipped with a large number of long-range air-to-air missiles (AAMs) and are expected to fulfill their missions before the need to dogfight arises. The F-15, however, is highly maneuverable. (". . . military circles believe that now light supersonic ‘inexpensive’ fighters are necessary. They should have minimum electronic equipment and a comparatively simplified sighting and navigation system. Their mission is support of troops on the battlefield and to engage the aerial enemy.")6 The F-l6, now mass produced for use by the NATO countries as well as the U.S. Air Force, is the solution that the Americans present for the post-Vietnam fighter-bomber. (". . . the F-16 fighter has better turning characteristics at subsonic and transonic speeds. At the same time, the smaller dimensions of the F-16 fighter are also tactical advantages which decrease the probability of the aircraft’s detection by radar.’’)7

The revival of the dogfight also posed new requirements on the air-to-air weapon systems. The nearly complete reliance on AAMs, developed during the pre-Vietnarn period, was found to be erroneous. (". . . guided missiles of this type were intended for interception, . . . with a straight-line attack of the target. But it was difficult for the pilot to use them in maneuver battle. [Thus], cannon were hastily installed on the ‘Phantoms’ . . .; they are close range weapons.") 8

Despite disappointing performances of AAMs, their development continues with an eye on their eventually becoming the core of air-to-air weapons.

Foreign military experts believe that achievement of air superiority would depend on aircrew proficiency, the combat capabilities of airplanes and, in particular, their armament. It is no accident that projects aimed at heightening the effectiveness of armament systems, especially of air-to-air guided missiles, are gaining increasing scope in capitalist countries, making up an important part of the arms race.9

Aerial activity above Vietnam proved that the regions in which AAMs are of most value are the long- and medium-ranges. Thus, radar-guided missiles are the most common. "A guidance system in which the target is constantly illuminated by the onboard radar . . . is sufficiently effective when a fighter must strike a single aerial target from long range. But continuous target illumination restricts the fighter’s capabilities [against] numerically superior forces."10

Infrared (IR) guided missiles which serve that purpose are both air-superiority missiles and capable of operating in close air combat.

Meanwhile, close combat remains a most important component of the fight for winning air superiority. Those abroad took to adapting guided missiles for close combat. . . . But foreign specialists still did not succeed in substantially improving the characteristics of these missiles and especially in obtaining the necessary minimum range of fire and increasing their effectiveness and reliability. [Then they concluded] abroad that guided missiles were not capable of completely crowding out cannon weaponry. . . . aircraft cannons retain their importance even under modern combat conditions.11

However, conditions and performances involved in modern air combat imposed new requirements on both aircraft and cannon. Modern fighter aircraft exceed the speed of sound by two or three times and have significantly better maneuverability. In addition, present aircraft cannon weaponry meets "new capabilities and demands of tactics, especially in close aerial combat."12 The expanded performance envelope in which aerial combat might erupt and the increasing importance of aerial combat as a component in total warfare have caused American flying forces not to show preference for just one type of aircraft armament. In addition to new missile systems, ". . . they also are seeking more effective cannon weaponry which would meet the demands of tactics of modern aerial combat." 13

Air-to-surface activity was at the core of the air war in Vietnam. The majority of the sorties in the local wars were of this type. Under this term come both close and direct air support, deep bombing, as well as the defense suppression and electronic warfare activities that supplement deep bombing. The main problem in American defense circles was the wide gap between their anticipation of aerial warfare above Vietnam and the actual results. "… peacetime strategists often play at fabricated, unrealistic warfare, especially when they are confident that their armed forces are the most powerful. They [envision] an enemy who offers resistance only in the direction which they want." 14

The whole aerial activity over North Vietnam was shaped by the growing intensity of the PVO (U.S.S.R. antiaircraft defense) system. The relative success in the intensifying duel between the PVO system and the American electronic warfare (EW) activities determined the altitude at which the majority of U.S. bombers flew. Attempting to fly low, below the lethal envelope of the surface-to-air missiles (SAMs), the Americans were prevented from doing so by the growing efficiency and lethality of the antiaircraft artillery (AAA). Therefore, they were compelled to fight their way in at midaltitude.15 The growing reliance on electronic defense, either carried by special EW fighters or on each bomber, increased the dependence of the general completion of the mission on the efficiency of the EW equipment and its use.16 As an integral part of the tactic of evasion, the role of electronic warfare was to create a camouflaging interference under which the various formations could either fly to their targets deep inside the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV) or organize to attack the air defense (AD) systems themselves. Despite the growing number of EW fighters in an average assault formation, the loss of bombers mounted steadily. "The dynamic nature of this ever more complicated struggle does not permit either side to gain a final or long-lasting advantage." 17

The governing factor in the efficient functioning of an AD system, or penetrating formation, is speed. Formations attempted to penetrate hostile airspace before the AD system discovered them or was able to fix their position and direct SAMs against them. PVO systems should be able to obtain a fix before being exposed to massive jamming or fire tactics. With regard to this trend and since airspeed cannot grow indefinitely, camouflage measures may soon again be the key to successful penetration and evasion tactics. "Therefore, it is considered . . . important to build and make intensive use of radio and radar countermeasure systems."18 On the other hand, the growing variety of anti-AD means—weapon and EW systems—creates a new compulsion on the PVO system: the integration of a whole system. "The fundamental principle has become one which states that various antiaircraft defense forces and means should be used in such a manner that they mutually supplement and reinforce one another, forming . . . a system capable of parrying the air attacks under difficult combat conditions."19 Aid to successful penetration can be found in meticulous preparation before takeoff. The survival rate of attacking bombers that saw the target was higher than that of bombers limited to "blind bombing." The availability of up-to-date and accurate data concerning the AD system is essential to relatively safe penetration—either through evasion or fire tactics. An assault operation requires constant attention and initiative from the crew despite fatigue, which is inevitable even where flying conditions are not complex.

The greatest probability of "survival" is envisioned where all methods and procedures to evade battle with air defense weapons are employed together: low flying elevation; anti-aircraft and anti-missile maneuvering; electronic countermeasures. It is recommended that these methods be varied skillfully depending on the situation and nature of the battle mission. For example, to achieve surprise it is sometimes better to use low elevation only, without support groups or jamming. In other cases the situation will demand that the assault group’s flight along the "corridor" toward the target be supported by neutralizing air defense means beforehand. A third variation may envision a diversionary maneuver to mark a false attack direction or it may have actions by diversionary groups combined with jamming done from the battle formations or from patrol zones in the air. American military specialists feel that correct selection of the variation is an art which must be learned by all aviation specialists who are involved in planning assault operations.20

The trend in EW development is to provide the individual bomber with a minimum of integral electronic equipment such as a "survival kit" but in a way that will not degrade its capability to carry bombs which is its main task. In the long run, a fully integrated PVO system cannot be completely neutralized. "When discussing the results of 'electronic warfare' in Vietnam, all foreign experts give a high assessment to radio counter-countermeasures conducted by the DRV antiaircraft system. It is noted, for example, that addition of early warning to surface-to-air systems decreased the time radar stations needed to detect and track targets, owing to which their vulnerability to all types of interference decreased. Rapid deployment of radar stations, launching sites, and missile control systems from region to region promoted concealed deployment and unexpected commitment to battle of these resources." 21 Experience gathered during the Vietnam War indicates several promising techniques of electronic counter-countermeasure and other means of fighting attacking bombers. False electronic signals indicating a surface-to-air missile launch drive the bombers into executing an evasive maneuver, eject their bombs, and abort the mission. Concentration on nonradar guided AD weapon systems to cover the approach path of bombers on their way to attack a radar site. These means brought the problem of correct timings and execution of the preplanned tactics to a degree of utmost importance, the success of the mission depending not only on correct use of EW systems but also on the timing of their use.

One of the most important PVO concepts to emerge from the Vietnam War is the combined air defense system, a cooperative effort of the various antiaircraft detection and weapon systems and the fighters and interceptors. What started as a mere mutual acknowledgment of moves and fields of fire to avoid friendly losses turned into using fighters to augment the AD system. Fighters were sent to areas where U.S. bombers concentrated before or after fighting their way through the AD system. Later, fighters were used to replace AD systems that were temporarily inactivated by United States fire tactics. With the introduction of the Shrike air-to-ground missile, one of the most efficient defensive measures was a ". . . periodic shutdown of stations prior to [U.S. bombers’] entrance into regions into which fighter-interceptors are sent." 22

Under present military conditions, every PVO system has to include an integral force of fighter-interceptors that not only augments the AD system but also carries out independent tasks of its own.

The combat use of antiaircraft defense means in the theater of war, in conducting defensive operations, is organized by lines. . . . The interceptors should operate at the distant approaches to defended objectives, that is 100-120 kilometers away [approx. 62.5-75.0 miles]. They have the mission of destroying a portion of the enemy aviation, and above all the low flying targets. The air defense fighters should disrupt the battle formation of the enemy air forces, that is, thwart the purpose of the strikes, and thereby create better conditions for the combat use of the SAM complexes.23

The fighters and interceptors are not only an integral part of the AD system but also fulfill the independent missions allocated to them as part of the defense of the country.

An analysis of the experience of "electronic warfare" in Vietnam permitted foreign experts to make three principal conclusions. First, the expenses of creating resources for radio reconnaissance and for producing radio and electronic interference are paid back by reduction in the number of aircraft lost to antiaircraft fire. Second, the role of aviation in limited warfare and its achievement of tactical superiority in the air depend in many ways on the effectiveness with which radio countermeasure resources are employed. Third, lack of coordination in providing interference would only decamouflage the assault aircraft, and they would not improve their survivability, while weak interference would make it possible to take a DF bearing on the source which would cause danger to the radio countermeasures aircraft itself .24

The growing intensity of attacks and the improving of the air defense system are the major reasons for the use of fire tactics. Bomber formations attack the AD system either as part of a greater raid or as a mission in its own right. In both instances, the attack is delivered by bomber formations flying in various paths and performances. "It is assumed that the attacks by tactical aviation will have a massed character, although strikes by small groups and even individual aircraft are not excluded. The actions of the assault groups, in turn, will be supported by the actions of groups which provide cover, neutralize the air defense airfields, create jamming as well as diversionary groups."25 One of the most important factors that affect the outcome of the attacks on AD systems is the achievement of a certain degree of surprise, which can compensate for lack of firepower or ECM.

A correct combination of weapon systems and the surprise factor is the key to the neutralization of a PVO system.

The very existence of various types of aircraft, equipment and ordnance, all of which are interchangeable, allows in broad limits the change in the structure and character of the strikes. The experience of local wars shows that every attack of aviation was carried out in an exclusive manner. Strikes were not similar to one another, neither by the structure of forces nor by altitude or directions. Apart from that, various tactical methods were used: false ingress to the target, ingress to dummy targets, activation of diversion groups of aircraft and deception groups by imitation of flight of heavy bombers by tight formations of tactical interceptors. Strikes were launched in various hours of the day, including the second half of the night. Jamming was being operated in a similar way.26

It was only natural that during a prolonged conflict like the Vietnam War, a new generation of ordnance would enter into operational use. However, unlike in previous wars, its entrance did not stop the active use of older systems. The most noticeable was the introduction of "smart" munitions. Their use, however, did not eliminate the use of general-purpose bombs.

Conventional weapons—aerial bombs—were used most extensively in strikes against air defense facilities in Vietnam. It was only by the end of the war that the use of guided rocket missiles of the Shrike type with homing devices zeroing in on radar stations were used on an intensified scale. This is explained by the fact that the new means of destruction of increased accuracy (with laser, television and radio command guidance) required that the pilot, in approaching the target, maintain a steady flight regime over a rather large sector of the path. The vulnerability of the aircraft which does not perform missile or antiaircraft fire evasive maneuvers is sharply increased. In addition to that, aerial guided bombs could be used only under conditions of visual observation of the target, which likewise limited the selection of a variant of bomb suspension. In connection with the widespread utilization of conventional bombs, it was necessary to constantly perfect the old attack methods with application to the counteraction of new air defense systems. The use of conventional bombs not ensuring a high density of hits required the allocation of a large contingent of forces for the purpose of destroying one air defense installation. The number of attack aircraft in an attack could be decreased only with the organization of reliable guidance (target designation) or with the ability of the personnel to fire and bomb accurately. In order to facilitate the designation of the subject of the strike and to determine the aiming mark, it was first necessary to designate the target using signaling devices and aircraft with more perfect navigational systems.27

An important factor in the success of an attack of tactical fighter-bombers, however, is the ability to choose the correct tactic and weapon system to reduce the vulnerability of the attacking bomber. This factor manifests itself in the timing of formation flight and the execution of single fighter-bomber maneuvers. Another component  is the choosing of a weapon system in order to achieve the highest degree of tactical surprise. Surprise has a growing importance in long conflicts such as the Vietnam War, when both sides get to know each others’ major weapon systems and basic maneuvers. Since each weapon system implies the execution of an optimal maneuver, the choice of weapon system affects the degree of tactical surprise directly. Tactical aviation has adequate means for achieving surprise, and no doubt the possibilities will increase as aircraft equipment and ordnance become more perfect.28 Still, despite a growing variety of weapon systems, even without the growing efficiency of the PVO, experience improves the effectiveness of PVO crews and forces tactical aviation to look for improvements, too. ". . . fire tactics must be changed periodically, . . . [for] delay in the introduction of new tactical techniques or attack methods was always accompanied by a sharp increase in losses in aircraft."29 Thus, one of the most important lessons of local wars in general and of the Vietnam War in particular teaches that there is a trend toward the drastic reduction of the periods in which a certain tactic or weapon system of tactical aviation would be regarded as either tactical surprise or a problem with no feasible solution. However, the range of variations available to tactical aviation is far larger than that of the PVO.

The wide range of weapon systems and tactics employed in the Vietnam War makes it a prime source for future developments of air warfare. No wonder, then, ". . . that conclusions made on the basis of local wars are frequently utilized by reactionary circles in capitalist countries for a further development of the arms race." 30

The losses inflicted on U.S. tactical aviation by the Democratic Republic of Vietnam PVO, and especially by air defense systems, indicate that at the moment the PVO seems to be on the winning side. "The extensively developed system of detection and guidance, including both mobile and stationary radar stations for anti-aircraft missile complexes, considerably complicated the execution of strikes by attack aircraft for the purpose of neutralizing air defense facilities."31 The efficiency and lethality of the AD system grew not only as a result of the introduction of new types of SAMs but as a result of growing mobility and flexibility of the system without hurting the integration and performance of the system. Thus, the initial condition in the conduct of efficient electronic warfare, the detection of components of the AD system became more difficult and more demanding.

On the basis of the experience of "radio electronic warfare’’ in Vietnam, urgent measures in the USA are being taken to increase the zone of operations of onboard systems of radar detection and warning of crews of the threat of destruction by gunfire or by fire from interceptors.32

The most promising tactics are low-level strikes. In spite of disappointments and relative inefficiency in Vietnam, it seems that future bombing raids will be flown in at very low level, thus enabling the pilot to fly below the lethal envelope of the SAM system while eluding the AAA by using high speed during the penetration. The deployment of F-111As to Vietnam should be regarded as a case study for low-level interdiction missions. During the first deployment in 1968, the F-111As performed a small number of missions and suffered a high loss rate. The fighter-bombers could not make use of the two governing tactical elements of low-level interdiction: high speed and low-level flight. During the first sorties, it was discovered that fuel consumption was far greater than predicted and, additionally, that the periods of use of afterburner were longer than anticipated. Thus, periods of "supersonic dash" were curtailed drastically. Electronic equipment also proved to be inadequate and unreliable as far as terrain-following flights were concerned. Pilots did not use the automatic pilot and preferred to fly as high as 90-150 meters (300-500 feet), thus entering into the operational zone of the air defense radar system. During its redeployment in 1972, 48 F-111As flew some 4000 sorties, losing 6 aircraft.

"In accordance with the American ‘scorched earth tactics’ on targets in the DRV, 7400 aerial bombs were dropped."33 The majority of the sorties were deep penetrations performed during adverse and night conditions at very low altitude, with the F-111As using their terrain-following equipment. Aircraft safety was maintained by use of camouflage, nap-of-the-earth flying, and penetrations by a single F-111A or a pair without fighter cover. In spite of the shortcomings of the F-111As in Vietnam, it is clear that with the improvement of electronic and fuel-saving systems, a low-level bomber becomes a potent weapon system. The follow-up models and especially the new U.S. bomber— the B-l—are designed along these lines.

The B-1 is a supersonic, heavy strategic bomber designed to penetrate air defense systems and to carry out nuclear strikes at the most important targets in the enemy’s rear area. . . . The radio electronic counteraction system has been given prominence in the development of the aircraft. Providing it with the possibility of flying long distances at extremely low altitudes was another important element for making the aircraft less vulnerable.34

The PVO system also considers the low-level penetration bombers its most challenging adversaries. At present the supersonic dash enables the bombers to elude the AAA while the terrain-following radar and other ECM systems enable them to fly below the lethal envelope of the SAMs. "At present the countering of low-flying targets is considered to be one of the most complex tasks of antiaircraft defense . . . [because] the effectiveness of weapons designed for countering these targets substantially lags behind the combat capabilities of modern aviation."35

Another aspect of air-to-surface activity is close air support and participation in ground battle. "Postwar history does not know of a case in which aviation has not been used in local wars and military conflicts. Combat operations in Vietnam and in the Near East have shown that almost half of the combat flights were accounted for by direct ground support."36

The lessons of local wars, and especially the war in Vietnam, were the direct cause of the second birth of the shturmovikiy (ground support aircraft). The conditions of the modern battlefield made the previous attack planes too vulnerable while the supersonic fighter-bombers could not make use of their bombload or speed. A single sophisticated fighter-bomber that was shot down cost far more than the tanks it destroyed in its operational lifetime. The high losses and relatively small results of the attack aircraft made it clear that some thorough changes are inevitable.

The maintenance conditions of existing attack aircraft do not fit the requirements of the present-day battlefield. "Since in today’s battle, the situation changes rapidly, flight time from base to target is an important factor. The shorter this time, the more effective the strike."37 Contemporary attack planes require elaborate base facilities and thus cannot accompany the advancing troops. Within a short time, the period of flight to the battlefield grows alarmingly, which is actually the period that the data the pilot has on the position of the ground forces and their requirements is not up-to-date. Lack of up-to-date data imposed the need for visual identification of the target before strikes.

The airplane did not have sufficient maneuverability to ensure the pilot a strike from his first and subsequent approaches without the loss of visual contact with the target. Heavy assault planes overcame that anti-aircraft zone rapidly but were slow in deploying to the target. Light planes, on the other hand, were able to change their flight direction rapidly, but came out of the antiaircraft zone slowly . . . Assault planes’ pilots were given an impossible task—to perform three operations at the same time: seek the target, avoid anti-aircraft fire, and not lose sight of the front line. Under these conditions, pilots frequently made strikes against their own troops.38

Analysis of combat operations in Vietnam led to the development of a new generation of ground support attack aircraft. One of these, the A-7D, saw some combat service in Vietnam, while the other, the A-10, is an entirely new airplane. Their task is only direct and close air support to the ground troops. The basic requirements for assault planes are defined:

—A high level of maneuverability, simple piloting equipment and a good view from the pilot’s cabin which ensures a maximum visual search sector;

—Effective weapons for small and mobile targets;

—An acceptable combat action radius and flight duration which ensure the provision of direct ground support and patrolling in the zone for an hour before proceeding to the object of attack;

—Servicing simplicity under field conditions with a minimum expenditure of time for preparing the aircraft for a new flight;

—The possibility of being based on a small dirt airfield.39

The new deployment system of the West, using the new attack aircraft, has gone a long way toward meeting these requirements.

The proof that deployment locations are brought closer to the combat activity zone is the reduction of the flight time above "enemy" territory to 30 minutes, as compared with the 50 minutes characteristic to Vietnam. This diminishes the possibility of meeting fighters and increases the survival chances in the fire zone of the PVO means.40

Due to these improvements, ground support attack planes are gaining larger and more substantial tasks in the ground battlefield. "Tactical aviation. . . .will perform important tasks in the continental theater in the future. Furthermore, it is attributed the role of one of the primary means for achieving the surprise component of the attack."41

The aerial warfare above the DRV was of utmost importance. It was an air war of unprecedented scale and intensity.

Until December 31st 1972, when the destructive air war ended, the [North] Vietnamese Air Force participated in more than 400 air battles. Over 320 American warplanes of 17 different types, including the B-52, were destroyed.* As many as 88 pilots were captured . . . The Vietnamese Air

Editor’s note: The United States lost 67 aircraft in air-to-air combat while shooting down 137 North Vietnamese planes. No B-52s were lost to intercepting fighters.

Force together with the entire population and other branches of the Army delivered a mortal blow to the enemy and destroyed a large portion of the strategic and tactical aviation of the American invaders, and in this manner disproved the so-called "absolute advantage" of the USA Air Force. The crushing of the offensive carried out by the USA strategic bombers—B-52s—on Hanoi and Haiphong towards the end of October 1972 became an aerial Dien Bien Phu for the Vietnamese People. . . . Thus, Vietnamese aviation, together with the people and army, won a victory in the American war against North Vietnam. The defense of the Socialist Motherland supported the struggle of the courageous South Vietnamese people and fulfilled its international obligations. Numerous examples of pilots’ bravery prove their determination to win this hard war as well as their willingness for self-sacrifice. Day by day, the skill of these flying warriors increased, and they won more, and more frequent, victories in air combats and in strikes the armies on the land and in the water.42

The war in Vietnam set a pattern for local wars, and it will undoubtedly shape the future conflicts that must, inevitably, erupt. "The experience of local wars testifies that the imperialists surreptitiously develop plans of invasion, and secretly prepare the forces which will carry out the surprise attack with huge forces of aviation and tanks. Hence the great importance of permanent vigilance in the armed forces, and of their high preparedness to repel the aggression."43

School of Advanced International Studies
Washington, D.C.

Editor’s note: We are grateful to Captain Don Rightmyer for editorial assistance with this article.


1. General-Major Aviatsia L. Mikryukov and Polkovnik V. Babich, ‘Development of Fighter Aviation Tactics since World War II," Voenno-istoricheskii zhurnal, May 1977.

2. Polkovnik V. Babich, "US Aviation in the Mirror of the Press," Part 2, Aviatsia i Kosmonavtika, June 1973.

3. Mikryukov and Babich.

4. Polkovnik V. Dubrov, "Modeling of Combat Activities," Part 1, Aviatsia i Kosmonavtika,, May 1979.

5. Mikryukov and Babich.

6. Engenier Ye. Aleksandrov, "According to the Aggressive Plans of the Pentagon," Kryl’va Rodiny, May 1977.

7. Ibid.

8. Mikryukov and Babich.

9. V. Yefimov and A. Sadovnjkov, "For Air-Air Rockets," Aviatsia i Kosmonavtika, September 1978.

10. Ibid.

11. Engenier-Polkovnik Konstantinov, "Military-Technical Thinking Abroad: Aircraft Cannon," Krasnaya Zvezda, March 12, 1976.

12. Ibid.

13. Ibid.

14. Polkovnik V. Babich,"The Tractic of Evasion," Part 2, Aviatsia i Kosmonavtika, October 1974.

15. Babich, "The Tactic of Evasion," Part 1, September 1974.

16. Babich, "The Tactic of Evasion," Part 2.

17. Ibid.

18. Ibid.

19. B.T. Surikov, Raketnyye Sredstva Bor’by s Nizkoletyashvhimi Tselyami (Missiles against Low-Flying Targets) (Moscow: Voyenizdat, 1973).

20. Babich, "The Tactic of Evasion," Part 2.

21. Polkovnik V. Babich, "The Tactics of Radioelectronic Warfare," Part 2, Aviatsia i Kosmonavtika, April 1975.

22. Ibid.

23. Surikov, p. 157.

24. Babich, "The Tactics of Radioelectronic Warfare."

25. Surikov, p. 145.

26. Polkovnik A. Anikeyenko and Podpolkovnik V. Pimenov, "Surprise in the Activity of Tactical Aviation," Voyenniy Vestnik, February 1980.

27. Polkovnik V. Babich, "Fire Tactics," Part 2, Aviatsia i Kosmonavtika,October 1975.

28. Anikeyenko.

29. Babich, "The Tactics of Radioelectronic Warfare."

30. Ibid.

31. Ibid.

32. Babich, "The Tactics of Radioelectronic Warfare," Part 1, Aviatsia i Kosmonavtika, March 1975.

33. Polkovnik R. Klyuyev, "F-111 and Its Modifications," Aviatsia i Kosmonavtika, January 1980.

34. Engenier-Polkovnik (Res.) S. Petrov, "Yet Another Carrion-Crow for the Pentagon," Voyennyye Znaniya, June 1977.

35. Surikov, p. 178.

36. Engenier-Polkovnik B. Fedorov, "New Ground Support Aircraft," Znamenosets, December 1978.

37. Ibid.

38. Ibid.

39. Ibid.

40. Klyuyev.

41. Anikeyenko.

42. General-Major Dao Din Luen (CO VNA), "Guarding the Skies of Vietnam," Aviatsia i Kosmonavtika, April 1980.

43. General-Major V. Matsulenko, ‘‘On Surprise in Local Wars,’’ Voenno-itsoricheskii zhurnal, April 1979.


Yossef Bodansky is a visiting scholar with the Security Studies Program, Johns Hopkins University/School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins Foreign Policy, Institute, Washington, D.C. He was the technical editor for the Israeli Air Force magazine and did research for the Israeli Defense Forces/Air Force. Bodansky is completing a book on the influence of the fighting in Afghanistan on the Soviet military.


The conclusions and opinions expressed in this document are those of the author cultivated in the freedom of expression, academic environment of Air University. They do not reflect the official position of the U.S. Government, Department of Defense, the United States Air Force or the Air University.

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