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Question about performing a CAP


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Probably a stupid question but here I go...in real life, how do planes do a CAP correctly?, I mean, given a "line" between alied and enemies forces, when you are facing them all is ok, you have your radar looking forward, where the danger is suposed to be BUT...how do you come BACK without being a total "candy" for enemies??, I mean, there is a point where you have to turn back to start the loop again but all the time you were looking forward, now you have to be looking in the oposite direction to come back to the starting point and thus being totally vulnerable to enemies as you're giving your back to them right?...so how are we supposed to stay as much time as possible iluminating the enemy zone with our radar but at the same time doing "loops" to stay in the designed placement for the cap?...notching maybe?

 

I guess in real life here is where "wingmans" are important as well as strategies but what if flying alone? what would be the better way of doing a single plane CAP and being as awared as possible of what is going on in the other side of the enemy line?...sorry if it's stupid but couldn't find a "clear" answer to this, but maybe there are some "established" patterns or something like that to help in "general" situations.

 

 

thanks!!


Edited by watermanpc

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What Canadianbaken said has been true for some years now, but it depends on the era of combat aviation you're referring too. Today, In the West, the Air Operations Center [AOC, usually a Joint AOC (JAOC) or Combined AOC (CAOC)] plans out the whole activity in the Area of Operations (AO) on a 72 hour cycle called the Air Tasking Cycle (or Wheel of Death). Everyday a new cycle starts, so there are 3 cycles at various stages of planning and execution each day. The final product they produce is the Air Tasking Order (ATO). In real life, you are never alone in the air. Everything is planned, including your CAP direction of orbit altitude and controlling authority (most likely an AWACS, or ground CRC). Control in the real world is very tight unlike DCS where it's a freaking free for all like atmosphere...


Edited by mytai01

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So basically there is no a "common" way to do this right?, I mean, you are supposed to expose your six to the enemy forces when coming back from the loop, just you are not alone in case something goes wrong I guess...about the specific question of "patterns" when performing a CAP of 2 planes, I guess a logic way would be one making the facing way while the other is coming back and so on so they cover each other for example right?...but in case of fliying alone is a different story...guess , as you said, no one would do a single plane CAP.

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The CAP is just a waiting spot. You want to point your radar at the likely direction of approach, so that is how you orient your race track pattern. AWACS should give you any contacts that are approaching you long before they are a threat.

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Question about performing a CAP

 

At minimum you would want a four ship composed of two (or more) elements.

 

One element turns cold to bandits, the other turns hot to cover them. Mutual support, always. When one element gets close to engagement range the timing and spacing can change so that while one element is engaging the other can press in trail, supporting or waiting for the drag and bag.

 

 

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Edited by =Buckeye=

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Well well, this only applies to the recent, David vs. Goliath engagements.

 

I wonder if this held true if 2 equal power forces collided and planes dropped from the skies like rain, as in WWII. Then, I am sure, this "we got you covered" becomes questionable pretty soon.


Edited by BitMaster

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When you are facing away from the threat you are also moving away from it at almost equal speed so range between you and the possible bandit stays about the same. It could be that there's a high speed bogey coming at you but as it takes relatively long time and distance and high altitude to accelerate to a significantly higher speed for it to really matter you or GCI/AWACS will notice this from far away.

 

But as has been stated already, having single plane flying CAP means even in the best case scenario you will be fighting a 50/50 fight (1vs1) which automatically means that you failed in tactics. You would need a very good reason to engage in that kind of situation like having superior technology or being well trained yourself while facing noobs.

 

Engaging in a fight with 50% chance of winning is irresponsible use of forces. It will mostly create losses for both sides without results. In order to avoid this kind of situation you would rather leave yourself open somewhere (space or time) and possibly take some damage in order to deal even more damage to the enemy somewhere else. This is where strategy and creativity comes in to play in order to create/find an opportunity for favorable asymmetric results.

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thanks for all the answers mates!!

 

It was more or less as I expected, as Buckeye said, I guess being a 4 ships CAP would be ideal as 2 of them can "cover" the other 2 ships while coming back and turn back if neccessary inmediately to face the threat...of course, all this is subject to change depending of the situation, the shape of the cap and the use of an AWACS as you already said.

 

Also found very interesting the point of Bushmanni about speeds.

 

One mission that made me think about all this is the first one in the F-15 Red flag campaign, where you have to "loop" in the CAP spot and at the same time be aware of the threats along the fiba...a problem I have is that some times I lost/miss contacts because I'm just not facing to them in that moment and when I turn it's too late.

 

thanks again!:thumbup:

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