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IFF (Introduction to Fighter Fundamentals) info

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Guest Mouse

Terrible idea, IMHO. Based on aircraft that IFF grads are going on to in the future, there would be absolutely nothing gained by doing that.

Remember that the whole benefit of IFF is teaching in an aircraft that students are all ready familiar with, so they can go right to the tactical portion without having to waste time/fuel/money learning a new aircraft.

Plus, the turn circles, energy, overall performance, etc, would actually be negative training.

Hacker,

Thanks for your input. IMHO too many decisions are made based on opinion, rather than facts. All we're proposing here is RESEARCH. If you're right the data should back you up. Nothing would change (and you know how hard it is to change anything) unless the research finds that we can produce a better fighter pilot at equal or lower cost. Hard to argue with that...isnt' it?

Regarding the difference in aircraft performance, exactly which FTU fighter does the T-38 replicate? In fact, there's something to be said for having to manage energy more carefully early in the learning process, and for smaller turning circles that make maintaining sight easier. The stud's not learning much if he/she can't see the bogey. ;) Lower sustained G levels also make for a better learning environment. After all, we don't generally learn to drive in a Ferrari.

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In fact, there's something to be said for having to manage energy more carefully early in the learning process, and for smaller turning circles that make maintaining sight easier. The stud's not learning much if he/she can't see the bogey. ;) Lower sustained G levels also make for a better learning environment. After all, we don't generally learn to drive in a Ferrari.

Managing energy in the -38 is a surprisingly difficult thing to do. It is under powered and bleeds airspeed like a mo-fo. Trying to maintain 410 +/- 10 in a rate fight isn't the easiest thing for a guy trying to figure out TC entries and not over-g.

Keeping sight in the -38 isn't that big of an issue. It is a small jet but fairly easy to see at 6-9K'.

I agree that you can learn BFM principles easier at a lower sustained G Level but I think opting for a low G replacement for IFF would be a bad move. The viper world is averaging about a stud per class washing out due to G tolerance issues. Lowering the G-Levels in IFF would only make that number go up IMHO.

All that said, I'm curious to see what your research produces.

Edited by osulax05

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All we're proposing here is RESEARCH. If you're right the data should back you up.

What research, specifically, is it that you're looking to accomplish, outside of asking opinions on an internet forum? Are you polling IFF and FTU IPs -- they're going to be your best source of opinion on the matter.

which FTU fighter does the T-38 replicate?

In terms of speeds, general handling, avionics, E-M diagram, stick-and-throttles muscle memory, when compared to a Marchetti or CJ-6 -- all of them! The T-38 "generally" performs more like the fighters than any other reasonably available aircraft currently available. Nearly every speed the T-38 flies is within 5 knots of the F-15E, FWIW.

That's not the point, though.

Look back at the genesis of the LIFT program to see what the real value is. In the late 60s and 70s, the Fighter RTUs were having trouble with pilots learning fighter concepts (tac form, basic fight geometry, fighter pilot wingman admin) at the same time trying to tame the fighters of the day. There's a good discussion of some of these challenges in Ed Rasimus' When Thunder Rolled relating specifically to the F-105 RTU. The solution was to have that information taught in a separate TAC program using an aircraft that students all ready understood how to fly This meant that they were able to spend all of their effort on learning the fighter concepts, rather than learning that information simultaneous to learning their first fighter. It was better for the students, and ultimately it meant that the product entering the RTUs was better prepared (which meant their training time/dollar went further as well).

In fact, there's something to be said for having to manage energy more carefully early in the learning process

As was all ready mentioned, the T-38 has a steeply-pitched E-M diagram, meaning that energy management is the CORNERSTONE of being able to execute any energy gameplan in BFM. It's FAR less forgiving than any other fighter grads will go on to fly, thus it is an excellent teacher.

Energy management in a small piston aircraft doesn't even begin to relate to how it will work in a big fighter. Not only that, the completely different techniques of operation for the piston engine, as well as significantly differing power and throttle responses are where there would be negative training. Going from a 400-knot afterburning jet T-38 in SUPT Phase III, to a 200-knot piston Marchetti in "Mouse IFF", then back to a 400-knot afterburning jet in their FTU would involve a huge amount of negative transfer in both of the transitions.

and for smaller turning circles that make maintaining sight easier. The stud's not learning much if he/she can't see the bogey. ;) Lower sustained G levels also make for a better learning environment. After all, we don't generally learn to drive in a Ferrari.

What is the turn circle of a Marchetti at max G? The T-38's max rate turn has a 4,500' radius, which just happens to be very similar to the big gray fighters. That allows very similar G and very similar maneuvering cues (ergo, control zone size and shape) to those big gray jets. Again, a Marchetti or CJ would have neither similar G performance nor similar turn geometry to the big gray jets. As was mentioned, keeping tally is rarely a significant issue in the '38. Neither is learning under G. Both issues, by the way, are things the students HAVE to learn to cope with for their continued success in the fighter world. Don't forget that students are all ready flying tactical formation and sustaining G in the T-38 during their undergraduate course, and there is not a whole lot new to adapt to in those areas when they transition to IFF.

So, given that...

What, exactly, would the benefit of a Marchetti/CJ IFF course be?

More importantly, you need to look into what the vision of the future of IFF is, based on the requirements of the fighter fleet for the next 20-30 years. Currently, the thinking is that the T-38 is not adequate in terms of G, energy, or avionics to teach students who will go on to fly Raptors and Lightnings. They're looking at aircraft like the KAI T-50 as potential replacements -- aircraft with better performance and avionics that can simulate the systems studs will find in Raptors and Lightnings.

If the T-38C isn't sufficient, you have to ask yourself why you think stepping back to a small piston aircraft would be better.

Again, this is what the AF has decided it wants in an IFF replacement...after nearly a decade of inputs from Raptor units, studies, and analysis of current IFF grad performance.

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Guest Mouse

What research, specifically, is it that you're looking to accomplish, outside of asking opinions on an internet forum? Are you polling IFF and FTU IPs -- they're going to be your best source of opinion on the matter.

This forum is just a way of gathering some early opinions to give us a feel for the probable reaction to these ideas, and to bring to light any issues we haven't thought about. Thanks for your help with these. ;)

At this point we're thinking of proposing to request 3 graduating classes from IFF, and run each of these groups through additional BFM courses in one of the 3 alternative training methods (i.e., fixed-base sim, centrifugal sim, or prop trainer) before they go on to FTU. Our thought at this point is a research syllabus of 4 OB, 4DB, 4HA sorties each. Instructors for these research courses might be either IFF instructors or qualified contractors. We would then follow the students' progress through the FTU BFM syllabus. Data would probably include gradesheets from IFF, our research course, and FTU; Mission Essential Competency ratings from all 3 courses; questionnaires from all the instructors and students; and cost data from IFF, our research, and the FTU. The goal would be to determine whether any of the alternative training methods might be more cost effective than the T-38. Ideally we'd like to substitute one of these methods for the IFF BFM syllabus for these 3 classes, but we don't think AETC would buy off on that.

Again, this is what the AF has decided it wants in an IFF replacement...after nearly a decade of inputs from Raptor units, studies, and analysis of current IFF grad performance.

I'm more concerned that in the likely future budget and political climate, IFF is more likely to go away altogether if we don't document (with hard data) that it's cost effective. After all, Predator pilots don't need IFF. ;) You can bet the priorities are shifting away from training manned fighter pilots.

As was all ready mentioned, the T-38 has a steeply-pitched E-M diagram, meaning that energy management is the CORNERSTONE of being able to execute any energy gameplan in BFM. It's FAR less forgiving than any other fighter grads will go on to fly, thus it is an excellent teacher.

Energy management in a small piston aircraft doesn't even begin to relate to how it will work in a big fighter. Not only that, the completely different techniques of operation for the piston engine, as well as significantly differing power and throttle responses are where there would be negative training. Going from a 400-knot afterburning jet T-38 in SUPT Phase III, to a 200-knot piston Marchetti in "Mouse IFF", then back to a 400-knot afterburning jet in their FTU would involve a huge amount of negative transfer in both of the transitions.

Can't argue with you that the T-38 is closer to a fighter than a prop trainer, but the negative training tranfer element needs to be demonstrated rather than assumed. It's hard to justify teaching pursuit curves and hi/lo Yo-Yos in high-performance jets when they work essentially the same in any aircraft. I've taught BFM in all the suggested prop trainers (and others) and in a number of fighters (F-4, A-4, F-14, F-16) and didn't consider that I got any negative training from ANY of them. We're talking BASICS here (geometry, physics, concepts, etc.) not details. The details are different with each aircraft type and need to be trained in that aircraft, but the basics are universal, and transfer from one aircraft to the next.

Besides, we've only been discussing the prop trainer option. If you want realism you can have an accurate fighter cockpit/weapons system and pull 9Gs till you puke in a centrifugal sim...which I've also flown. So most of your arguments don't apply to that training system...although I'm fairly certain there will be others. ;) Except for the G, the fixed-base sim is equally high fidelity. If we use those methods, we don't get "negative transfer" from the T-38. Also, if there's concern about "learning a new fighter," we could just as easly substitute a T-38 cockpit and flight model.

What, exactly, would the benefit of a Marchetti/CJ IFF course be?

TBD

What is the turn circle of a Marchetti at max G? The T-38's max rate turn has a 4,500' radius, which just happens to be very similar to the big gray fighters. That allows very similar G and very similar maneuvering cues (ergo, control zone size and shape) to those big gray jets. Again, a Marchetti or CJ would have neither similar G performance nor similar turn geometry to the big gray jets. As was mentioned, keeping tally is rarely a significant issue in the '38. Neither is learning under G. Both issues, by the way, are things the students HAVE to learn to cope with for their continued success in the fighter world. Don't forget that students are all ready flying tactical formation and sustaining G in the T-38 during their undergraduate course, and there is not a whole lot new to adapt to in those areas when they transition to IFF.

For info the turn radius for most of the trainers we've been discussing is on the order of 500 ft, so the whole fight can remain within 1-2K'. At those distances it's much easier to maintain sight and to detect the bogey's attitude and changes in maneuver. Reduced closure rates also allow the safety bubble to be reduced greatly.

More importantly, you need to look into what the vision of the future of IFF is, based on the requirements of the fighter fleet for the next 20-30 years. Currently, the thinking is that the T-38 is not adequate in terms of G, energy, or avionics to teach students who will go on to fly Raptors and Lightnings. They're looking at aircraft like the KAI T-50 as potential replacements -- aircraft with better performance and avionics that can simulate the systems studs will find in Raptors and Lightnings.

If the T-38C isn't sufficient, you have to ask yourself why you think stepping back to a small piston aircraft would be better.

Again, this is what the AF has decided it wants in an IFF replacement...after nearly a decade of inputs from Raptor units, studies, and analysis of current IFF grad performance.

I'm more concerned that in the likely future budget and political climate, IFF is more likely to go away altogether if we don't document (with hard data) that it's cost effective. After all, Predator pilots don't need IFF. ;) You can bet the priorities are shifting away from training manned fighter pilots.

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IFF is more likely to go away altogether if we don't document (with hard data) that it's cost effective. After all, Predator pilots don't need IFF. ;) You can bet the priorities are shifting away from training manned fighter pilots.

Reduced closure rates also allow the safety bubble to be reduced greatly.

I think you are missing the point.

We will likely see quite the opposite, IFF will get more intense (both syllabus and jet performance/avionics) before it goes away. The AF is scared to death of a recent UPT grad morting himself in a Raptor or F-35 because he GLOC's or becomes too fixated on all his new toys. As more and more UPT grads start going to 5th Gen Fighters the risk of this happening is only going to go up.

The step from a T-38 to a new fighter is already big enough, why would the AF opt to make it bigger?

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It's hard to justify teaching pursuit curves and hi/lo Yo-Yos in high-performance jets when they work essentially the same in any aircraft.

Pursuit curves and yo-yos are taught in the T-6 syllabus and T-38 syllabus all ready. A graduated SUPT T-38 student all ready knows, is comfortable with, and has demonstrated proficiency with this.

I don't bother going point-for-point with you on every detail, because I think there are two larger issues with your proposal:

1. You've misidentified the problem.

2. You lack an understanding of what is currently being taught AND what the needs of the FTUs are.

First off, I think you're providing an answer to an imagined or non-existent question. In fact, seems to me that the entire fundamental basis of your business proposal (that IFF is in danger of falling victim to budget cuts, and you want to provide a lower cost alternative) is a logical fallacy: I've never heard anyone, anywhere, in the last 5+ years, mention IFF going away. There are lots of discussions about how the AETC training pipeline is going to adapt to reduced budgets, and that's not something I've ever heard advocated. In fact, quite the opposite is true: I've heard and participated in lots of official NAF-level discussion about what the next generation IFF will look like, and what aircraft it will be performed in.

Unless you know of some actual higher-level plans to eliminate IFF that you're not talking about, you are maneuvering in relation to a phantom bandit.

Second, I don't know that you're familiar enough with either the SUPT T-38 syllabus or the IFF Syllabus to know what IS being taught currently. Without an intimate knowledge of what the status quo is, I don't see how it's possible to intelligently propose an alternative. I also don't see that you have a firm grasp of specifically what the "fundamentals" are that are being taught at IFF. The fact that you're focusing on BFM, your thoughts that large turn circles, difficult tallies, and high G are in some way negative, the idea that you want to staff this training with contractors, etc...all leads me to believe that you are way off base with your "target" that your business is designed to aim for.

In all seriousness, before you even start legitimately thinking about this endeavor seriously, I think there is a lot more thought that needs to be put into the "what if..." stage.

I'm happy to discuss this more with you offline (send me a PM and I'll be happy to discuss more by phone or email), but IMHO (as someone who has both been an SUPT T-38 IP and an IFF IP, AND someone with experience flying high performance pistons) this idea is a non-starter.

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Fighter fundamentals course leaves 2 bases

In (actually 3): Randolph, Columbus, Sheppard

Out: Vance, Laughlin

"The move is expected to save $55 million over eight years and reflects the Air Force’s reduced need for fighter pilots, said David Smith, spokesman for Air Education and Training Command."

So, do we suddenly have a reduced need for fighter pilots (David Smith) or a fighter pilot shortfall (Gen Welsh)? If you start with 3 locations, (Randolph, Moody, Sheppard), open up two unnecessary detachments, and then 4 years later close two detachments, somehow that *saves* $55 million? What kind of idiot logic are we working with here?

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If you start with 3 locations, (Randolph, Moody, Sheppard), open up two unnecessary detachments, and then 4 years later close two detachments, somehow that *saves* $55 million? What kind of idiot logic are we working with here?

Originally, it was 3 (RND, CBM, SPS).

In 2001, RND and CBM consolidated to VAD.

The 2005 BRAC eliminated VAD, and returned the 49th to CBM, the 435th to RND, and opened up the 434th at DLF and the 3rd at END. That was a BRAC decision, not a USAF decision. There were LOTS of USAF people who opposed moving IFF from VAD, and who opposed opening up the two new squadrons -- but it had to be done, anyway.

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I think you are missing the point.

We will likely see quite the opposite, IFF will get more intense (both syllabus and jet performance/avionics) before it goes away. The AF is scared to death of a recent UPT grad morting himself in a Raptor or F-35 because he GLOC's or becomes too fixated on all his new toys. As more and more UPT grads start going to 5th Gen Fighters the risk of this happening is only going to go up.

The step from a T-38 to a new fighter is already big enough, why would the AF opt to make it bigger?

The T-38C does nothing to prevent GLOC (the damned thing only pulls ~6Gs) and avionics fixation (even the T-38C is not a modern marvel or anything). This is why they were sending the first Raptor B-course dudes to Vipers first or a mini-spinup at Luke then to the Raptor B-course.

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The T-38C does nothing to prevent GLOC (the damned thing only pulls ~6Gs) and avionics fixation (even the T-38C is not a modern marvel or anything). This is why they were sending the first Raptor B-course dudes to Vipers first or a mini-spinup at Luke then to the Raptor B-course.

Sure it does. 5-6 sustained G's plus bad ergonomics, plus keeping a tally on a small jet, plus challenging energy considerations. No, it's not a modern marvel. But when someone trys to re-invent the wheel 50+ years down the road, and G level is their only consideration....sorry, the T-38 is still a darn good IFF trainer.

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Sure it does. 5-6 sustained G's plus bad ergonomics, plus keeping a tally on a small jet, plus challenging energy considerations. No, it's not a modern marvel. But when someone trys to re-invent the wheel 50+ years down the road, and G level is their only consideration....sorry, the T-38 is still a darn good IFF trainer.

This.

My post was in response to Mouse's suggestion that IFF could/should be accomplished in a turboprop a/c. I wasn't suggesting that the -38 is great at preparing a stud for that first TC Entry on BFM-1 at the RTU. I was simply saying that studs are already having issues at the RTU, so why opt for an a/c with less performance?

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Sure it does. 5-6 sustained G's plus bad ergonomics, plus keeping a tally on a small jet, plus challenging energy considerations. No, it's not a modern marvel. But when someone trys to re-invent the wheel 50+ years down the road, and G level is their only consideration....sorry, the T-38 is still a darn good IFF trainer.

Challenging energy considerations? What do you fly and what does the T-38 come anywhere close to bridging good habit patterns for? It sure as hell isn't the Viper. I'm sorry, but an AB level break turn trying to hold 415 knots is not a realistic (or good) BFM teaching tool. Nor is training to an AIM-9P. Honestly the only thing that had any carry over from that jet was BSA, and from I hear the B-courses are now shitcanning most of those rides in favor of more medium altitude TGP work. Are you going to throw a pod on there too now? Maybe add a CAS ride?

G-level isn't really a consideration at all. Isn't that the whole point of the fuge? You can do everything IFF does with a much cheaper platform (or shitcan the whole program).

Edited by Buddy Spike

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Sure it does. 5-6 sustained G's plus bad ergonomics, plus keeping a tally on a small jet, plus challenging energy considerations. No, it's not a modern marvel. But when someone trys to re-invent the wheel 50+ years down the road, and G level is their only consideration....sorry, the T-38 is still a darn good IFF trainer.

Don't forget dealing with CRAZY instructors! Those who have flown with him, I'm sure, will never forget it! Great dude!

NSFW, I guess...

Edited by SocialD

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Time for my annual post to this forum.

Far too much thinking is going into this topic. IFF is not trying to replicate any fighter. It is also not a G-tolerance course, although physiological adaptation is a big part of it for the WSO students who don't have any experience in a fighter-type aircraft yet. IFF is not there to build BFM monsters. The goal of IFF--as stated directly by the syllabus--is to ensure it graduates only students "who show the potential to succeed in follow-on training." The FTUs out there fill their classes based upon zero attrition from students. IFF serves as the link between SUPT and the FTUs by analyzing a student's ability to adapt to more dynamic training. For example, when a student is taught BFM, it is not the BFM the instructors are focusing upon. Rather, the BFM is a subset of the higher level goal which is a student who has his priorities as a fighter wingman correct and demonstrates the ability to adapt to a much more complex cross-check than flying ILSs at an out base. While SUPT does a pretty good job of analyzing which students belong in fighters, their syllabus does not allow for the same level of scrutiny as the IFF syllabus does. It is certainly not uncommon for a student to finish number one or two in his class based upon intense study, chair-flying for each sortie, and having a high class commander rating. But these skills don't necessarily a good fighter pilot make, if the level of necessary skill is lacking.

Secondly, the money factor. As stated before, FTUs anticipate zero attrition. That being said, every student who washes out of an FTU leaves a hole (sts) for that community until the next fiscal years comes around. On the other hand, if a student washes out of IFF on his way to F-16s, another F-16 will be dropped in a SUPT class later on. If a student washes out of IFF on the final sortie, it cost way, way less to find out than it would have been if he washed out halfway through any FTU.

Finally, there is the SNAP factor. SUPT is a very different learning environment than the FTUs, as any fighter pilot can attest to. It is a more stressful, grown-up program than SUPT. One of the goals of IFF is introduce these new stressors to a student before he gets to the FTU and finds himself struggling for reasons unrelated to flying.

The arguments of "what fighter are they trying to replicate?" and "BFM isn't flown like that anymore" are moot points. We get it. The T-38 isn't a Raptor and the bomb triangle gets more ancient everyday. But the ability to adapt to a new level of learning, in a short time period, under increased stress, for a much lower price tag, is just as important as it's ever been.

There it is. Standing by for spears.

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IFF "Squadrons" have been a waste of money for years. 12 IP's for 4 students (DLF example, and thats being generous), SUPT T-38 flights have WAY (17) more students than that and it's run by a Captain (with less IP's). I guess they are doing something better by closing some of the squadrons, it's still a waste, make them flights in a UPT squadron and end it. IFF is a haze, what can you learn with 4 flights in a phase, next to nothing. I guess its a good deal though, lots of CT/direct support, 8-3 hours, no nights, and I wonder why they defend themselves. I hope the generals are watching.

Edited by matmacwc
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IFF "Squadrons" have been a waste of money for years. 12 IP's for 4 students (DLF example, and thats being generous), SUPT T-38 flights have WAY (17) more students than that and it's run by a Captain (with less IP's). I guess they are doing something better by closing some of the squadrons, it's still a waste, make them flights in a UPT squadron and end it. IFF is a haze, what can you learn with 4 flights in a phase, next to nothing. I guess its a good deal though, lots of CT/direct support, 8-3 hours, no nights, and I wonder why they defend themselves. I hope the generals are watching.

I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you either 1) are drunk or 2) did not read one bit of my prior post. What can a student learn in four sorties? How to prep for a fighter brief and act during it. Wingman priorities. How to take a lesson learned and apply it to the next sortie. Notice I did not mention one thing regarding taking that particular skill and applying it in the future. And I can tell you a lot about the abilities of a student over the course of four rides. Also, your prayers have been answered. The generals are watching and the syllabus keeps growing. Apparently there are some folks with a little bit of experience in fighters, a basic arithmetic calculator to add up the costs, and lack the chip on the shoulder you so conspicuously display. The FTUs don't want IFF to go away and they don't want us to be a flight in a SUPT squadron. Believe it or not, they have a say in the process.

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I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you either 1) are drunk or 2) did not read one bit of my prior post. What can a student learn in four sorties? How to prep for a fighter brief and act during it. Wingman priorities. How to take a lesson learned and apply it to the next sortie. Notice I did not mention one thing regarding taking that particular skill and applying it in the future. And I can tell you a lot about the abilities of a student over the course of four rides. Also, your prayers have been answered. The generals are watching and the syllabus keeps growing. Apparently there are some folks with a little bit of experience in fighters, a basic arithmetic calculator to add up the costs, and lack the chip on the shoulder you so conspicuously display. The FTUs don't want IFF to go away and they don't want us to be a flight in a SUPT squadron. Believe it or not, they have a say in the process.

Not drunk (dammit) and still have my opinion, most IFF instructors still have their opinion that IFF matter's, like I said. I can go on and on about AB break turns, 400 some knot rate fights and even the argument of a center stick (guess its Eagle IFF, A-10 is much different). I just don't think IFF needs it's own entire squadron at the current level, maybe after the changes are made, but they been talking about changing the current squadrons for years and the latest proposal is just that, a proposal. And really, you don't want them talking any particular skill you are teaching and applying it in the future, whats the purpose? I've seen the growth in the IFF syllabus, ACM rides, really? AB, 6 degrees nose low and loosing sight, thats a great gameplan. Maybe the FTU's want it, then they should get it, but I know where to cut waste, make 1 IFF squadron at RND and ship everyone there, or make it a flight at a UPT base.

I am open to a change of opinion on the subject, cause a lot of my bro's teach at IFF and it seems like a good deal, for the IP's.

Edited by matmacwc
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Not drunk (dammit) and still have my opinion, most IFF instructors still have their opinion that IFF matter's, like I said. I can go on and on about AB break turns, 400 some knot rate fights and even the argument of a center stick (guess its Eagle IFF, A-10 is much different). I just don't think IFF needs it's own entire squadron at the current level, maybe after the changes are made, but they been talking about changing the current squadrons for years and the latest proposal is just that, a proposal. And really, you don't want them talking any particular skill you are teaching and applying it in the future, whats the purpose? I've seen the growth in the IFF syllabus, ACM rides, really? AB, 6 degrees nose low and loosing sight, thats a great gameplan. Maybe the FTU's want it, then they should get it, but I know where to cut waste, make 1 IFF squadron at RND and ship everyone there, or make it a flight at a UPT base.

I hear where you're coming from, I'm a hawg driver by trade. There are a lot of IFF guys who agree with you on combining into one IFF factory like it was a few short years ago. Remember, the consolidation, separation, and now quasi-consolidation have been BRAC moves. On paper, making IFF a flight in SUPT makes sense. However, one of the biggest arguments for IFF is the transition from a UPT mindset into a fighter FTU mindset. The argument, and my opinion, is this would be impossible to do if IFF and UPT were in the same squadron. It would be difficult to tell a student "you are no longer a student, you are a fighter wingman with pilot wings, now change your outlook and approach to training" while their surroundings and patches haven't changed from UPT. I believe they need to be separated from the UPT world in order for IFF to be effective. My two cents. Now I'll sit back and be a passive baseops participant for another year or so. Cheers

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FWIW, this is part of the PM exchange I ended up having with Mouse regarding "the point" of IFF and his criticisms of the current program:

The most important concept that I think you're missing is that the focus of IFF is not teaching BFM or bombing. Although those are certainly new concepts that are introduced in the course, and accomplishment of those tasks are the bulk of the tactical portion of the sorties, that is NOT the primary focus of what a student is actually expected to learn in IFF. Of course, teaching bombing and BFM does have the added benefit of introducing basic concepts, cues, and techniques that apply to follow-on fighters, and in an aircraft that generally has the same the parameters and requires most of the same stick-and-throttle techniques to apply.

What an IFF student IS supposed to learn and be able to execute is all aspects of wingman admin (ergo, all of the stuff “around” those tactical portions of the mission). The BFM and bombing is literally “something to do in between the admin”. Of course, that something just happens to be challenging to learn and challenging to execute, but most importantly it serves to give the student a task which takes most of his SA to handle…and the REAL expectation is that the student can be a good, safe, disciplined wingman while he’s task saturated.

Can he be in formation position…can he “be there” on the radios….can he execute the setup mechanics as per the standards…can he comply with setup parameters or “terminate” if unable….can he maintain positional awareness (not fly out of the airspace or bust the floor)….can he maintain awareness of his weapons state and fuel state while his fangs are through the floor flying BFM. If on the bombing range, can he comply with the basic range procedures for switch actuations, fly the pattern while keeping sight of other formation members. Can he comply with rules of when to continue or abort a pass…can he execute valid safe escape maneuver procedures and mechanics. Of course, can he do all of this at fast speeds and under the physiological strains of high G.

The answer to MOST of that above is “no” for a student who is a fresh graduate of UPT and new IFF student.

A UPT graduate is perfectly capable of flying close and tactical formation, of maneuvering in relation to a somewhat benign ‘bandit’, of flying the T-38 under sustained G, etc. What they’re not capable of is performing all those admin tasks as “second nature”…they still have to dedicate brain power to doing it…and that will not work in IFF. In IFF, their top level brain power has to be used to learn, practice, and execute the tactical tasks (BFM, bombing). What that usually leads to are students who fly the BFM with their “fangs through the floor” and completely miss when they’re flying through the floor…or miss that they’re inside the 1,000-foot bubble…or miss that they’re overflying bingo fuel, etc.

Those basic safety-of-flight things are the REAL lessons that are learned in IFF, and that’s what makes an IFF graduate easier to teach at the FTUs. The FTU IPs all ready know that their students will have “good admin” beat into their skulls with savage ferocity, and that the students will be able to handle the safety of flight concepts while learning a new task-saturating task, which in turn will make their job of teaching the tactical concepts much easier.

The reason why it's important to have a program like IFF flown in an aircraft like the '38 which relatively closely mimics follow on fighter aircraft, is that the specific techniques that students use to cope with the challenges presented have direct application to the follow on fighters that they will fly. So that it is the actual stick and throttle muscle memory, it is the actual cross check items that they are looking at, it's the specific location that their are eyes are looking in the heads-up display, or at a specific range and aspect...it's those similarities to the bigger follow-on fighters which most significantly help an IFF graduate cope with the tactical challenges he is presented in the FTU.

Don’t forget also that there’s an additional portion of training that takes place on the ground for an IFF student – it teaches him the professional and behavioral standards expected of a fighter pilot. Unfortunately, the undergraduate training environment just doesn’t (and can’t, because of the varied backgrounds of the instructors) teach those standards well, so this is mostly new in IFF. As such, the USAF ensures that only fighter pilots who have at least been 4-ship/experienced flight leads qualify to become IFF IPs. This means that the cadre of IPs is highly motivated and experienced, and can best pass on the standards, expectations, and traditions of fighter pilot culture. This last portion is no small factor…as you read in the thread on BaseOps, at various times certain factions in the USAF desired to move the IFF mission under the umbrella of existing undergraduate training T-38 squadrons, and the idea was resoundingly rejected and scoffed by the fighter community because they felt that it would water down this “before and after the sortie” training experience to the detriment of fighter wingman development.

If you think you have a better (or equal), cheaper way of accomplishing these tasks using a light piston aircraft, well, then best of luck trying to sell it to the AF.

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Rumor has it the PIT syllabus is getting shorter. Is the same happening to IFF? And does anyone know what will happen to IFF with half the fighter squadrons standing down.

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Rumor has it the PIT syllabus is getting shorter. Is the same happening to IFF? And does anyone know what will happen to IFF with half the fighter squadrons standing down.

Not sure about the syllabus question but the training pipeline will stay at normal ops through the FTUs. So IFS, UPT, IFF and B courses are all fenced, at least as of today. These days, who knows what tomorrow holds...

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Rumor has it the PIT syllabus is getting shorter. Is the same happening to IFF? And does anyone know what will happen to IFF with half the fighter squadrons standing down.

In some ways, yes. My class was the first B-track (as of late) to start a new syllabus that did not require ACM. The craptor dudes had their syllabus significantly shortened (I heard a rumor they just made them hold their breath on the last flight to see how long they could fly!)

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