Air To Air Gunnery - Theory and Application, Part Two
by Andy Bush
MiG Kill 1973
In Part Two, I’ll discuss the various types of
air to air gunsights from the point of view that the better you understand their
operation and inherent limitations, the better you will be able to effectively
use them in your simulations. The emphasis in this article will be on real
world theoretical concepts and how well those concepts are modeled in today’s
The thought came to me that I might try a
different approach in explaining this subject than is commonly found in sim
manuals or other references. This approach will focus on this
question. How much, if any, does the particular sight know about the
target’s position? Here’s the reason for this. The gunsight
computer system needs to know two things to arrive at a valid solution. It
needs to know your conditions of flight in order to compute the correct
ballistics. And then, it needs to know as much as possible about target
behavior in order to compute the lead for target motion.
It is the question regarding target behavior that
is the ‘fly in the ointment’…the major variable that is so hard for
gunsights to get a handle on. The ballistics problem is secondary…not
insignificant…just secondary. Let’s keep our focus then on target
behavior as we look at each type of sight. The major aspects of target
behavior that we will consider are target range, range rate (closure), and line
of sight rate (angular motion across our gun line).
We’ll take a look at three types of gunsights…the
fixed sight, the disturbed reticle sight, and the director sight. At this
time, I must emphasize one thing to the max!!
The air to air gunnery problem is always the
same. The only thing that changes is the way we look at it through our
HUD. All gunsights try to do one thing…show the pilot where he should
aim. While gunsights may look different and may operate with different
inputs and assumptions, the bottom line is that they are designed to allow the
pilot to point his gun line in the correct direction. For a given
situation, there is only one aiming solution.
With that firmly in mind, we’ll move on to the
various gunsight types. In each category, we’ll look at two issues…basic
operating principle and system implementation. We’ll start with the
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