US and Russia planes in Syria – Business Insider

“The record is stark,” Hoffman writes. “For every six enemy aircraft air force pilots shot down in Korea, the United States lost one. In Vietnam, the United States lost one airplane for every two enemy planes shot down.”Thus, the kill ratios went from six to one in Korea, and two to one in Vietnam, to 48-to-zero for the air force in the wars in Iraq and the Balkans.”As a partial result of Tolkachev’s espionage, “The United States has enjoyed almost total air superiority over Soviet-built fighters for more than two decades,” he writes.

Source: US and Russia planes in Syria – Business Insider

Of course, it’s not solely due to espionage. One major factor is that an entire community of the Air Force, the F-15C crowd, is entirely devoted to air-to-air. That’s a situation that didn’t exist in the 50s and 60s.  When all you think about is how to kill enemy planes, you tend to develop some good tactics and techniques. Of course, having valid information on the threat aircraft makes developing those tactics and techniques a lot easier.

4 thoughts on “US and Russia planes in Syria – Business Insider”

  1. Business Insider seems to publish a number of poorly researched articles. That one fails to mention the a/a kill ration in Vietnam changed significantly after the USAF and Navy put emphasis and training on air-to-air. It also ignores the opponents the US faced in the air after Vietnam were not exactly the first string and tended to use Soviet derived tactics. Those tactics were based on ground controllers directing an intercept and not on pilots making their own decisions – or at least that’s what the tactics were back when I was flying.

  2. There may have been some other factors involved in our lopsided advantage in Iraq, Libya, etc. Inferior training of our opponent’s pilots, our AWACS capabilities, the downgraded capabilities of Soviet export equipment to name three.

  3. I think the Israeli IAF had similar success ratios aginst the Egyptian and Syrian planes in their declared wars and not declared wars. During the years after the 1967 six day disaster, the Egyptian AF tried to take on the IAF over the Suez Canal. After the Egyptians lost badly, their Russian instructors tried and also lost badly. The Syrians got froggy in the 1980’s and I think the ratio was 98-0(?) just one day.

    I do not think it was equipment alone. I think the training and ability to choose their tactics made the IAF and USAF successful.

  4. The reason why the kill ratio of Korea and that of Viet Nam differed so much is simple: Risk Management. Prior to the Korean War, you have a bunch of aviators who beat the sky up against each other on a regular basis and if someone screwed the pooch and went in, it was considered the cost of doing business. Not being inconsiderate, but thats the way it is. After the Korean War, the Air Force and Naval Aviation entered the missile age and real risk management. After all, the next war would be all missiles, right? We didn’t need to do air combat maneuvers anymore, nor did we have to worry about accidents from the same. Business best practices said to be risk averse, let the missile do the job. Now we get to Viet Nam and the severe restrictions placed on the aviators. All of a sudden these men are back to knife fight in a phone booth and they were NOT trained for it. The Ault Report for the Navy led to the establishment of the Fighter Weapons School and a wide array of wholesale changes. For starters, we not only didn’t know the right parameters to shoot missiles, we also didn’t know how to maintain them on ships in the ocean. That might a lot of missiles did not work. There was also dissimilar air combat training (yes, I know about the Mig in the desert). All of that led to the tactics learned in southern California and getting trained personnel on the carriers who knew how to test and check and fix Sparrows and Sidewinders. And thus, a 1.1 to 1 kill ratio went to an 13:1 ratio.

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