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Flight formations

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I have been playing LO for a while now and I have always been confused by the flight formations you can call your wingmen to form up.


My reference is some picutres that I have seen and some other literature, maybe someone has a better source.

In LO you can call upon a (regardless of close or open fromation)

-ECHELON formation (on the flight menu, eventhought the voice command calls for a something else can't remember now) your wingmen then go to your right slighty one behind the otherr maybe 45° or less. I have known this to be a Heavy right(see pic is from army helicopter but is it the same?) and source http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/policy/army/fm/3-21-38/ch4.htm


-LINE ABREAST formation; your wingmen go to your right aligned as a wall so I guess that is why the voice command calls for a "go wall". That I know as a


-TRAIL is of of course a follow up behind formations there is no doubt


My question is; why there is no VEE, with Wingman No. 2 to your right and Wingman 3 to your left?


Why they call Heavy right or heavy left the echelon formation? in USAF your usual echelon formation is a VEE formation.


and finally why all the AI big planes and bombers can't form up the usual formations? is not common to have NATO or Russian fly in big close formations? like VEE or ECHELON or whatever? they always like to fly in very separated trail formations in different flights where you can't add more than one plane. (B-52, TU-95, C-17, C-130. IL..etc.)


What should be the standard engament and normal navigation formations for US or Russia?

Where should and scort flight should be traveling along side a strike package?


This thread should make a good reading...








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Echelon is actually a cavalry formation. What you call "heavy right", I call "degree right".

VEE is British formation, but it features wingmen spread out in front of the leader. What you call VEE, is a "Wedge" formation ("Kette" in Luftwaffe in WW2).

Delta features filled wedge aka "diamond", etc,...

All in all, I think uniformity is a prime motive here...

Edited by CHola

Cheers, CHola

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Vee is an old formation not used much due to a lack of flexibility.


The current basic formation is a two ship element usually formed joined with another pair (that is, two two-ship elements make a four-ship flight). This is was originally developed by the German ace Werner Molders in the Spanish Civil War and the two-ship was called a "Rotte" and the four-ship was a "Schwarm". This was eventually adapted by other airforces during World War II (read: The Great Patriotic War for some of you) and was often called 'Finger Four' (the aircraft positions were similar to the spacings of your finger tips - but only four of the fingers on the one hand if you come from Alabama, lol).


Within each two-ship element there is a designated leader and wingman. In combat though they dynamically change roles between 'shooter' and 'cover' (engaged and free fighter). While one aircraft engages the second maneuvers for their next attack while clearing the attacking aircraft of rear quarter threats. The shooter and cover exchange roles throughout the fight as they progressively deplete the total energy state (and maneuvering options) of their opponent. When traveling in hostile airspace the basic pair formation is the 'combat spread' (line abreast with some horizontal separation and one aircraft 1000 foot higher).


The formation dissolves when fighters maneuver for their meeting engagement (left, right, hook, drag etc), subsequent maneuvering (box etc) and resume combat spread after the engagement. Note that attack aircraft use different formations when engaging a target (often attacking from different directions) - if they don't have stand-off weaponry.


For reading I suggest the F-16 or F-18 flight manuals (USAF and USN have slightly different emphasis and names for things). They also have excellent descriptions on how to maneuver as a formation (simple turns are harder to coordinate than you think when multiple aircraft are involved!). Robert Shaw's book "Fighter Combat:Tactics and Maneuvering" is an excellent (although slightly technical) read for the engagement phase.

Edited by Moa
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