Enemy Intercept

Aviation Video library, Freepost, Kelly House, Warwick Road, Tunbridge Wrells, Kent TNI I BR. Running Time 48 minutes, £12.99.

THIS PRODUCTION solely concerns the F-16 Falcon, F-15C Eagle, F-14 Tomcat and F/A-18 Hornet, and appears to have been compiled almost entirely from USAF, USN, and news library footage (including the Gulf War). At the same time, the sound track comprises of interviews with various pilots over the telephone, which adds nothing to the poor sound reproduction. What scripted commentary there is, is more congratulatory than informative, and as air crew are not TV presenters, the language is rich in jargon and difficult to follow.

The film opens with a look at the four aircraft types, with particular emphasis on the F-15. The descriptions are non technical and fairly general. They all have a predominantly air-to-air combat role, but they tended to merge with one another.

There then follows a fairly lengthy section on air-to-air tactics with some impressive photography of four aircraft formations. Again the presentation is more like a collage than a structured explanation of what is involved.

Finally attention turns to types of enemy interception and the systems used to provide the pilot with providing ‘Situation Awareness’ as they call it. The ‘real thing’ is illustrated with footage from the Gulf War but, as is always the case with film of genuine combat, explanation is needed before you can follow the progress of the tiny dots and Rashes of light on an otherwise blank screen.

Overall, I was not particularly impressed. Sequences of high-performance jets in action are always captivating to some extent and there is certainly plenty of it here. As a production, however, the video surfers from its ‘thrown together’ feel — it’s a great shame, because these pilots and their aircraft deserve much better presentation.

Patrick Mitchell

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