The war in the skies of North Vietnam became the largest and most dramatic clash of air since 1945. On both sides it was attended by 10 s aircraft types. But, as in the Korean War 1951-1953 years, the brunt of the conflict in the air, «lay on the wings» 2-main types of combat vehicles, the final battles between which are defined in the main course of the struggle.
On the American side was the main fighter McDonnell Douglas F-4 «Phantom II». This languid double two-engine car (normal take-off weight of more than 20 tons), made in 1958, initially intended to provide air defense of U.S. aircraft carrier connections. Top 19b0’s «Phantom II», which won a number of global high scores in speed, was perhaps the most popular on-site South American combat aircraft. By indisputable pluses F-4 should include outstanding for its time flying characteristics (maximum speed of 2260 km / h, service ceiling 16600-17900 m, the practical range without mounted tanks 2380km), the powerful on-board surveillance and attack radar (radar), and a unique set of weapons, including missiles air-to-air short-range AIM-9 «Sidewinder» (common ammunition — four units), and all-weather, all-aspect SD AIM-7 «Sparrow» medium-range (four missiles were located on the semi-recessed in the fuselage of the nodes of the outer suspension ).
South American naval aircraft entered the war with a carrier-based fighter F-4B, in the upcoming fight kerf improved aircraft carrier-based F-4J. U.S. Air Force for the war fighters had F-4C. During the war, they complemented the improved aircraft F-4D, and the final step battles Air Force received a better modification of the «Phantom» — F-4E.
The main competitor of «Phantom» — the front-line fighter, the MiG-21 — was also created in 1958. Unlike the South American aircraft Russian machine designed to operate on the front line, on a small distance from the base airfield, belonged to different «weight class» (normal takeoff weight of the modifications applied in Vietnam — least 8 tons) and had significantly shortest range — about 1500 km. But for the rest of the flight traits (maximum speed of 2175-2300 km / h, service ceiling — 18,000 — 19,000 m) was not inferior to his own MiG South American competitor. Armament of the MiG-21 was also significantly weaker than the «Yankees» — two (in the coming — four) missile air-to-air medium-range R-Sc with an infrared homing (Russian «pirated» copy of the American AIM-SD 9 «Sidewinder») as one (on a number of modifications absent) gun caliber 23 or 30 mm.
As we see, the MiG-21 and F-4 — a very different planes, which were created to solve different problems.
After the «Tonkin incident» — combat engagement of American destroyers «Maddox» and «Turner Joy» with Vietnamese torpedo boats on August 2, 19b4 year — the U.S. decided to launch an air war against the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV), aiding the rebels of the South Vietnamese government which, in turn, supported by the U.S.. August 5, 1964 at the base of the torpedo boats Vince collapsed first South American bombs. Covering the shock produced fighter aircraft F-4B aircraft carrier «Constellation» (CVA-64). It was the first combat sorties «Phantoms.» But over the years 19b4 against North Vietnam was applied only a few limited-capacity Strike up a full-scale air war the U.S. needed to regroup and build up forces in the region. By the beginning of February next year off the coast of the DRV was centered three aircraft carriers with 238 planes and 33 ships escort. February 8 from Okinawa to South Vietnamese Da Nang Air Base Wing began the first transfer of the U.S. Marine Corps, which is composed of 15 fighter jets F-4B. Immediately to the South Vietnamese and Taiwanese air bases began deploying squadrons of U.S. Air Force planes filled with F-100, F-105 and F-4C. March 2nd U.S. began large-scale air operation «Rolling Thunder», which lasted until October 31, 1968.
In the first step of hostilities «Phantoms» Air Force recruited as fighters to accompany and to attack ground targets. Marine F-4B were used, in the main, to escort decked stormtroopers — «Skayreyder» and «Skyhawks» — and fencing air defense aircraft carrier connections from possible counterattacks Vietnamese and Chinese aircraft.
In the initial period of the war air force and air defense forces of North Vietnam had only 25 subsonic fighter J-5 (MiG-17F Chinese production), several Russian MiG-15 bis, and IL-28 bombers. These minor force could have severe anti-Yankees, who flew in the skies of Vietnam, just like at home. But with the Russian and Chinese military professionals Vietnamese soon developed a strategy for the use of their own fighters that allowed even in the criteria of the numerical advantages of repeated enemy attacks inflict tangible. Small groups of MiGs circled at low altitude, out of sight of the enemy’s radar (Americans used planes distant radar picket — prototypes of modern «AWACS» aircraft control stations also featured on the ships, kreysiruyuschih off the coast of North Vietnam and having a massive radar station). In the event of enemy aircraft MiG suddenly stormed his battle formations, shooting cannons heavily laden with bombs impact machines.
For the first time, «Phantoms» met with enemy fighters — Vietnamese MiG-17 — April 2, 1965, but the collision ended without result.
First real fight with the role of the F-4 was held on April 9. According to the American version, he then proceeded properly. At 8 hours and 40 minutes Fighter U.S. Navy F-4B, taking off from an aircraft carrier «Ranger» was attacked by the sea with 4 Vietnamese MiG-17. One of them was shot down by a missile, «Sparrow», but soon another MiG went to the tail «Phantom» and struck him with a burst of cannon. The crew of a South American plane — the pilot and the operator T. Murphy, R. Fagan — were killed. There is another, the Chinese version of this battle. In accordance with her South American air patrol, which consisted of eight F-4B, invaded the air space over the territorial waters, but not Vietnam, as followed from the South American posts, and China (in the region of Hainan Island, which lies in the Gulf of Tonkin). Maybe Americans specially provoked the Chinese side to take decisive actions, hoping to teach them a lesson and make more accurate in the military support of the DRV. But the lesson was not didactic, first bout crew Lieutenant Murphy really managed to destroy one of the MiGs missile (which, but it was not shot down, and returned safely to the base and in the next was put back into service.) Another «Phantom», firing «Sidewinder» by another Chinese fighter, mistakenly hit the F-4B, manned by Murphy, and sent him to the bottom of the Gulf of Tonkin.
May 12 twelve F-4B invaded the air space of Yunnan (southwest China) and shot down a J-5, carrying out, in the Chinese version of «training» mission. In response to the protest of Chinese Americans announced that the MiG was destroyed over the territory of the DRV, in a combat zone (check this fact, in general, no one try).
June 4 link MiG-17F over the city of Wu-Ban stormed three F-4B. One «Phantom» and declined to fight, smoking engines, working for the " ;Max», went to the east. Two other U.S. aircraft have been drawn into the melee on bends where more maneuverable MiGs had dignity, and the Vietnamese were not slow to use it. After turning 180 degrees leading Vietnamese executives from a distance of 1000-1200 m opened fire on an American car. Soon he became close with the enemy by 700 meters and opened fire again. F-4B, trying to get out of fire, vigorously maneuvering altitude and course. 2nd south american fighter, to follow their lead, made a desperate attempt to rescue the commander trying to rear, from a distance of 400-500 m, to «get» MiG (quite an impossible task, because the small allowable range missile launch AIM-9B «Sidewinder» considerably more). Driven by the MiG-17 has opened a barrage of cannon fire and the second South American fighter was obliged to get out from under bombardment by doing a U-turn down. Behind him followed immediately and the first F-4B, which received several injuries (according to the Vietnamese command, this «Phantom» failed to reach its own airport, and he fell to the area of Laos).
Subsequent dogfight with the role of «Phantoms» occurred on June 17 over the city of Ninh Binh. During his four MiG-17F stormed the enemy from the rear hemisphere with a range of 100 — 600 m They managed to shoot down two F-4B,, with all this, the Americans did not show particular activity rather chaotic and out of combat. The Vietnamese suffered no losses, although their order of battle was also broken, and the control link is lost. When returning to the airport two Vietnamese pilot had to bail out due to the total fuel consumption, and one MiG-17 made a landing at the airport of coercion Haiphong.
On the same day started their own battle through and «Phantoms»: F-48, launched from the deck of an aircraft carrier «Midway», shot down over Haiphong MiG-17. July 10, 1965 won the first F-4C from the U.S. Air Force shot down two MiG-17.
In the upcoming meeting in the sky and the North Vietnamese MiGs «Phantoms» have become commonplace. So, September 20, 1965 over the railway station Kep (north of Hanoi), there was a group of American planes that had been found Vietnamese radar P-35. Part of the «Phantom» Bombings weapons stormed the station. They provide cover for another pair of F-4B, circled at an altitude of 3000-4000 meters in the air on duty link Vietnamese — four
MiG-17F, which was imposed on the enemy by commands from the ground. Leading the first Vietnamese pair dived from a height of 6000 m and stormed the F-4B, it is executed at the time set for the bombing, when the Yankees found visually. From a distance of 500 m Vietnamese pilot opened fire, then «Phantom«Left turn to go down under the firing began. MiG continued to» sit on the tail «of the enemy, and from a distance of 400 m has released the second turn.» Phantom «began to smoke, but continued flying. Third longish queue of 200 meters, he was eventually shot down. South American pilots eject failed. second pair of MiGs tied the bout at an altitude of 3000 m, when one of the American aircraft out of the dive after the attack, and the second — only went into a dive to approach bombing. commander of the Vietnamese stormed the level 1 Ground plane, several previously opened fire from a distance of 1200 m South American pilot who find themselves on the tail of the MiG, including Fast and the Furious came out of the fight.
In general, it should be emphasized that as long as the scene does not come out the MiG-21 and began a general application of anti-aircraft missile systems S-75, South American aircraft in the skies of Vietnam behaved quite happily without considering a few MiG-17 as a severe threat. For example, the «Phantoms» who performed the role of an escort is often loaded with bombs. The Vietnamese also sought to keep the MiGs at low altitude, where their small camouflaged aircraft were the least visually perceptible and virtually invisible to radar onboard the Yankees. At one point attacking fighter-bombers, the Vietnamese pilots forced them to get rid of the bomb load and moving closer to a small distance, shot from guns. Escort fighters, occupying more than the highest air corridor, often simply do not have time to engage the MiGs. This led the Yankees to change strategy and reduce the group to cover the low-altitude (being on the same level or lower than the Vietnamese fighters, «Phantoms» they could «build up» with their own radar or visually against the sky). Using a higher speed, F-4 approached the enemy and hit its missiles, then just as quickly out of the fight. If the fight poured in «Carousel» in the turns, then the advantage goes to the Vietnamese, who promptly approached the enemy at a distance of least 1000 m, where the F-4, which had only Missiles were virtually helpless.
But soon the Americans once again improved their strategy: a couple of «Phantoms» perceived melee, with all this, one of the units allowed himself to tighten grips on corners, and the other is rapidly gaining height and distance of several kilometers stormed the MiGs missile «Sparrow.» Having lost in the same situation 6 fighters, Vietnamese fled to the previously tested strategy of unexpected one-time shock «ambushed» with the following high-spirited way out of the fight.
At the end of 1966, on the advice of Russian military aviation professionals DRV pushed the limits of the interception specifically to the borders of the country where the South American aircraft followed a tight battle formations, which prevented the conduct of maneuver battlefield. Another innovation was the practice of ambush on earth, developed with the role of the Chinese: the MiG-17 flew on a hop aerodromes and stormed the enemy en route in close formation, then promptly went down and camouflaged by the terrain, vorachivalis the airfield.
Since February 1966 the main opponents of the F-4 were the supersonic MiG-21F-13 (most of them — made in Czechoslovakia) and MiG-21PF-B (all-weather option, in other words, equipped with a radar sight MiG-21PF in the «tropical» execution), so well as the South American aircraft kitted aircraft guns — SD-R-Sc with CBC or blocks with a 55-mm unguided rockets (NAR), C-5. The Air Force and the U.S. Navy continued to lay down great expectations on the F-4, assuming that the massive arms, the perfect on-board radar, the highest speed and acceleration properties, coupled with the new tactics will provide «Phantoms» an advantage over the enemy aircraft. But in collisions with lighter MiG-21 F-4 began to suffer defeat after defeat. From May to December 1966 the U.S. air battles lost 47 aircraft, destroying all of this only 12 fighters. Say a big load on a wing and a few smallest (especially at medium altitudes) angular velocity reversal of American fighters (Americans then acknowledged that «Phantom» generally inferior Miguev cornering), restrictions on operating load (6.0 vs 8.0 in MiG-21PF) and the allowable angle of attack, as the worst American car maneuverability. Did not have the F-4 and the advantage thrust-weight ratio: at normal take-off weight, it was 0.74 in F-4B, and the MiG-21PF — 0.79. By the shortcomings of «Phantom» at first attributed to poor snap property. There was the possibility of getting into a thin spin, out of which the pilot of average skill in fact failed. It was reported that up to 1971 due to falling into a tailspin lost 79 «Phantoms». Onboard RLSamerikanskogo fighter though and had a long-range detection and capture, but had a relatively low noise immunity. Cockpit and operator were saturated with countless devices and switches. At the same time, to the pros, «Phantom», manifested in Vietnam, to include several b est overclocking features (F-4E accelerated from a speed of 600 to 1100 km / h in 20 seconds, while the MiG-21PF — for 27 s), more the highest rate of climb, the best view of the cockpit and the availability of the second member of the crew, who watched the traffic situation and in time to warn the commander of the danger from the rear hemisphere.
By the shortcomings of the MiG-21 should include short range radar sight (less than 10-12 km Target type fighter), a great time for a complete cycle of the review board radar, do not take the blip on the indicator in the cockpit, the missing view from the cockpit. To switch the options of weapons to shoot the pilot was one of the hands with the arms control aircraft. The engine fighter in separate modes of operation is very smoked that unmask plane (in clear weather MiG-21 can be found at a distance of 30 km).
First fight with the role of the MiG-21 took place in Vietnam April 23, 1966 and ended without result. And on April 26 «Phantoms» was able to knock down the first MiG-21, opened the scoring in the match these fighters, continues on many fronts in local wars over more than 2-decades.
The emergence of new MiGs led the South American command extensive lure «Phantoms» to escort strike aircraft, eventually refusing to equipment escort F-4 Bombings weapons.
MiG-21 is usually stormed the enemy at supersonic speed, carrying rocket launch from the back of the hemisphere and rapidly breaking away from a possible prosecution. Such a strategy, which demanded the highest training of pilots and ground commanders guidance officers Fri, Yankees was hard to oppose anything. And began to practice as a joint act «dvadtsatpervyh» with the MiG-17, supersedes the enemy with small to medium altitudes, where he stormed the MiG-21.
In 1967, the Americans were able to slightly increase the piloting and tactical training of their own fighter pilots. In the Air Force combat squadrons began to receive new aircraft F-4D, modernized with the military experience. June 5 fighter F-4D opened combat aircraft due to this modification, shooting down over Hanoi MiG-17. High gain of U.S. fighter aircraft led to the fact that for the first half of the year 19b7 during air combat aviation DRV only managed to shoot down 15 U.S. aircraft. But in the upcoming Vietnamese fighters once again to increment its effectiveness (affected the acquired combat experience, as the transition to the new and upgraded machine types — the MiG-21PF and MiG-17F with guided missiles R-AP). In the first half of 1968 in 40 fights Vietnamese managed to kill 25 enemy aircraft. Only the first step of the air war, from April 1965 to November 1968, over North Vietnam was conducted 268 air battles in the course of which were shot down 244 U.S. and 85 Vietnamese aircraft. Including 4b battles loss amounted to 27 F-4 and 20 MiG-21.
In May 1968, began the Vietnamese-American talks in Paris that resulted in cessation of the bombing of the DRV from November 1, 19b8 year. In the skies of Vietnam established a relative lull, military action shifted to the south tropical undergrowth. From December 1968 to April 1972 proizshlo only 5 dogfights over the border regions of the DRV and South Vietnam, including four fights — in 1971 (shot down one fighter F-4 and MiG-17, also a South American plane of best avianavedeniya OV- 10A «Bronco»). Formed pause was used by both sides to gain a high-quality fighter groups. With 19b8 year the U.S. Air Force in Vietnam began receiving fighter F-4E, with improved maneuverability properties built cannons and the latest radar. In 1970, the fighter air wings 366 and 588 Air Force featured on Da Nang Air Base, were virtually one hundred percent re-equipped with new aircraft. U.S. Navy aircraft carriers participating in the hostilities, were armed with advanced carrier-based fighter F-4J. Russian side of the Vietnamese Air Force were transferred to MiG-21PFM with mounted cannon container GP-9, and a little later — the MiG-2SHF and MiG-21MFL with integrated gun GSH-23. In addition, China in 1968-1969 he has given Vietnam 44 fighter J-6 (licensed version of the MiG-19).
Convinced of the impossibility of kutsee time to reach advantages over the enemy fighters, the Americans concentrated its main efforts to improve the combat skills of its own pilots. U.S. Air Force organized a special training courses on the program there, «Red Flag,» during which practiced aerial combat with the squadrons of «aggressor», specially designed for fighters, «Northrop» F-5, simulating aircraft MiG-21. For the pilots of Naval Aviation at the initiative of Captain Frank AULT 19b9 in the year was also organized «School Navy fighter weapons,» popular «as the school» Top Gun «(familiar to us from the same movie with Tom Cruise in the lead role), where for 5 weeks occurred intense training of pilots in the criteria, it is very close to the fighting.
In June 1971, the U.S. resumed raids on North Vietnam.
In March-April 1972 began a massive and very successful coming of the armed forces in the south of the DRV. In an effort to prevent the complete military defeat of the Saigon government and to influence the course of the negotiations in Paris, Americans stepped up the bombing of the North. In the spring of 1972 the United States, increasing the composition of aviation to 1000 combat aircraft, conducted a large-scale air campaign «Freedom Trane» (April 9-May 7), in the process by which the North Vietnamese communications and airfields was applied to the general difficulties of about 40 well-planned massive bomb attacks, which led to a significant reduction of collisions between «Phantoms» and MiGs.
April 16 two MiG-21MF entered the fray with a 12 «Phantoms», and the two Vietnamese aircraft were shot down.
April 27 link F-4 will meet with a pair of MiG-21 and in the ensuing battle lost one aircraft.
May 6 pair of «Phantoms» seize the two MiG-21 ground attack aircraft attempted to storm the A-7, one MiG was shot down.
On the same day the link F-4 went into battle with the four MiG-21, with all this on one of the MiGs were fired 6 missiles, but an experienced pilot was able to dodge them. Then the subsequent volley of 3 more American missiles MiG-21 still was struck, but the pilot ejected safely.
May 8 Americans began to air «Operation Linebacker», which lasted until October 23. The culmination of the struggle in the air in the spring of 1972 was May 10, when the aircraft DRV completed 64 sorties, spending 15 air battles in which seven were shot down «Phantoms.» Those, in turn, managed to kill two MiG-21s, two MiG-17s and one J-6.
During the 1 st of May 10 fights link MiG-17 rose on alert to unlocking the adjacent airfield. MiGs covertly, to the maximum low altitude reached the target with the first attack and shot down one «Phantom». The second pair of managers was involved in air combat maneuvering with the four F-4, the loss ended the 1st MiG-17. But the involvement of «Phantoms» in the air «carousel» has allowed the Vietnamese to lift off from the airfield blocked two MiG-21, which are from a hill at an altitude of 2 km stormed the same number of F-4 and knocked both «Phantom» all alone with 2 missiles R -Jc.
May 11 two MiG-21, who played the role of «bait», brought the four F-4 to 2-circled at low altitude MiG-21. MiGs quickly stormed the «Phantoms» and 3 missiles shot down two enemy aircraft.
June 13 MiG-21 unit intercepted a group of «Phantom.» Wedged in the order of battle the Yankees, two Vietnamese fighters caused panic among the enemy, «Phantoms» violated the order and started to maneuver erratically. At this time, the second pair of MiGs made a missile attack and was hit by two F-4.
Ma y 18 Vietnamese aircraft made 26 sorties and spent eight air combat, which cost the Yankees 4 «Phantoms». Vietnamese fighters on that day did not suffer losses. During the 1st Battle of two MiG-21s intercepted the link «Phantoms.» Leading Vietnamese couple, Captain urbi with poluperevorota assaulted and shot down the F-4 with one rocket.
In the summer of 1972 the intensity of air combat began to decline, mid-air collisions have acquired episodic nature. So, on June 12 Link «Phantoms» had a fight with 2 MiG-21 and lost one plane. The next day came two more combat aircraft, which cost the Yankees more 2-F-4 (the Vietnamese side suffered no losses).
As a result, «the air coming» undertaken by the Yankees in the spring and summer of 1972, to illumine the theater of war 360 tactical fighters of the U.S. Air Force and 96 Navy fighter, a great number of which were «phantoms» of recent modifications, opposed only 187 DRV fighters (MiG-17 , MiG-21, J-6). It should be noted that out of that number, only 71 aircraft (including 31 MiG-21) was a militant.
In September 1972, there was only one air battle, in which with the Vietnamese side against the «Phantoms» acted Russian pilot. On a double training aircraft MiG-21US, who had no weapons, Vietnamese Pilotfighter Russian instructor and practiced steering technique. At a distance of 8 km from the airport of its own, they were warned of the approach of a low altitude level «Phantoms.» By this time in the tanks MiG had only 800 liters. fuel. In an effort to escape the blow, fighter pilot performed a barrel to slide than thwart the attack of the first American couple. Then MiG-21US was twice attacked by airplanes second pair to beat, but forced to bend it once again gone from the blow, and the rocket went by. Third attack Yankees also was without result, but vigorous maneuvering near the ground MiG-enabled afterburner ate the last remnants of fuel, and the crew made the only right decision — to eject. During the climb-engine plane braked suddenly, and at this point in the MiG hit by a rocket fired from the F-4. Fortunately, the crew managed to land safely by parachute.
In December, the Americans launched the latest large-scale operation «Linebacker-2» aimed at making bargain at the negotiations in Paris certain conditions. During the operation was planned forthcoming destruction of the infrastructure of North Vietnam and the disabling of its military sites by massive air strikes, involving a huge number of strategic bombers, the Boeing B-52.
But the training is so massive strike as «Linebacker-2» failed to make imperceptible, and it gave an opportunity to the Vietnamese side to create a series of countermeasures. A surprise for the Yankees was the introduction of the MiG-21 with camouflaged jump pads where aircraft were delivered to the outer suspension languid MI-6, and started using the powder accelerators.
Within 12 days of the operation «Linebacker-2» (18-29 December) during the eight air battles were shot down seven U.S. aircraft (including four «Phantom») and three Vietnamese MiG-21. With all of this «first 20» tried not to get involved in a fight in the turns, and after the interception to the «supersonic» (regardless of outcome) promptly left the battlefield. But, bound in some kinds of cases still being sucked into the «dog dump», the MiG-21 remained at medium altitude advantage over the upgraded F-4E and F-4J, losing its only land.
December 22, 1972 to intercept the Yankees were raised two MiG-21, one of which was hit by a «Phantom». December 23, climbed into the air four MiG-21 shot down one F-4. December 27 Vietnamese fighter aircraft re-entered the battle with South American aircraft, killing two «Phantom.» December 28 from Noi Bai airport to intercept a group of American planes found by radar posts, took off two attendants MiG-21. When a close with the enemy at low altitude (300 m), and the team received guidance from the ground through two minutes after takeoff, the Vietnamese have included afterburner and moved their cars in the climb. During the ensuing then turn to rebuild the slave visually found at a distance of about eight km link, «Phantoms» and requested permission from the lead storm. Americans later saw the emergence of the enemy and did not have time to start a defensive maneuver, in the end one F-4 was shot down by a missile. After performing the attack started to get a job slave to the master, at which point the commander of the Vietnamese couples saw two more «Phantom.» Energetic maneuver he had violated the order of battle the Yankees and «bay» self-driven, which at that time had lost sight of by enemy aircraft. Ensued two separate maneuverable combat. Lead Miguev managed to break away from the F-4, abruptly stepping down to the ground, and the slave, pivoting on corners, knocked out another «Phantom», but trying to get out of the battle, his plane was damaged by shrapnel U.S. missile exploded a few meters away from the fuselage. Vietnamese pilot safely ejected.
During the raids languid B-52 bombers to Hanoi F-4 a couple of times to play the role wrong purposes: link F-4, which had a good group sletannosti, went tight formation. Judging by the evidence of Vietnamese radar, flight was a one huge target class «bomber». While on a contrived-52 interceptors have imposed. target disappeared in the air, divided into four planes, which are themselves counter-attacked Vietnamese fighters.
A total of 1972 between South American and Vietnamese planes took 201 air battle, eventually lost 54 Vietnamese fighters (including 36 MiG-21s and one MiG-21US) and 90 American cars (including the F-74 fighter and 4 two spy RF-4C. makarom So, the MiG-21 enemy aircraft killed B7).
The last victory in the Vietnam War (by South American data-197th in a row) was won by «Phantom» 12 January 1973. F-4J (commander — Lieutenant Viktor Koval-ski), taking off from the deck of an aircraft carrier «Midway» rocket «Sidewinder» fighter shot down a MiG-17. The drama of fate F-4J Victor Kovaleski was also the last «Phantom» shot down in the skies of Vietnam after a day or two (pilot and the operator managed to escape).
January 27, 1973 the United States announced the withdrawal of troops from Vietnam, practically admitting his defeat in this war.
The war has spawned its own heroes. More efficient crew «Phantom» in Vietnam became the pilot and the operator S. Ritchie C. Bellevue, MiGs shot down by 5 (in addition, another aircraft Ch Bellevue knocked off another pilot). A typical record was a pilot in the middle of the Vietnamese Ha Wan Tuke, which came on their own MiG-21 combat with 36 enemy aircraft and shot down the plane with all this South American Fighter Wing Commander Colonel D. Folin.
It should be recognized that the rivalry MiGs and «Phantoms» in the skies over Vietnam in general defeat of the American machine: the F-4 for the entire period of operations from 1966 to 1972 year managed to shoot down 54 aircraft MiG-21, over the same period of the «first 20» killed 103 «Phantom». In addition, the loss of the 1st South American aircraft, usually leads to death or capture of 2-crew members. Besides «Phantom» costing South American taxpayers amount to a couple of times greater than the price of the 1st MiG-21.
In general, the F-4 had to deal with in Vietnam is not typical of their tasks: designed as a heavy interceptor, designed to defend the strike aircraft carrier connections from the high-speed bomber raids and anti-ship cruise missiles, «Phantom» was used in the struggle for the conquest of the air, confronting more adapted to this role MiG-21. Because the Yan kees defeat the designers explained in the errors office «McDonnell Douglas» smogshih make outstanding for its time combat aircraft, and the lack of U.S. special light fighter air combat, able to withstand an equal MiG-21. Despite the fact that there were USAF fighter «Convair» F-102 and F-106, «Lockheed» F-104 and «Northrop» F-5, a number of these machines greatly inferior characteristics as MIG-21 and F -4 and were not used in aerial combat over the territory of the DRV. Easy supersonic carrier-based fighter «Vought F-8» «Crusader», which initially pinned great hopes (to the beginning of the war the ratio of these aircraft and F-4B on the decks of U.S. aircraft carriers deployed in the Gulf of Tonkin, was approximately equal to), also failed to meet expectations , second MiG-21 on the main features of the flight.
But as a tactical strike aircraft F-4 proved to be amazing. «Phantoms» is widely employed for the impact on especially the principal objects (bridges, electric stations) and rail transport of the enemy. To meet these challenges, aircraft, usually svobodnopadayuschih armed with bombs and rockets caliber 70 and 127 mm. Since April, 196 5 years above the steel and highways Vietnam practiced «free hunt» pairs or chains of the «Phantom». Planes without annoying combing of the enemy, sometimes a hundred percent paralyzing traffic in the daytime.
The experience of the Vietnam War had a tremendous impact on the military aircraft industry in both the U.S. and the USSR. Americans reacted to the defeat of the «Phantom» in the creation of highly-air combat fighter fourth generation — F-15 «Eagle», F-16 «Freedom Fighter» designed to outshine the MiG-21 in dogfights (MiG impact on the U.S. military was so great that the formation of species languid F-15 fighter at the highest level offered quite entirely abandon the medium-range missiles, «Sparrow» and the radar, focusing efforts on improving the maneuverability characteristics). At the same time, the «universal soldier» F-4 had an effect on the brain and Russian aviation theorists that found a reflection in the third-generation fighter aircraft modifications.
But after the end of the Vietnam War confrontation MiGs and «Phantoms» in the sky has not ended. MiG-21 and F-4 converged in air battles over the Suez Canal, Sinai in the sky, over the delta of the Nile, and Syria in 1973, in Lebanon in the late 1970s — early 1980s, during the Iran-Iraq War, 1980 — 1988.