by Richard Sheffield
Almost all air-to-air combat boils down to identifying the advantage you have over your opponent and exploiting it. This is especially true when fighting helicopters due to the short duration of the fights. You'll generally get only one good firing opportunity, so make it count.
The Head-On Missile Attack. This tactic is best employed when fighting a Hind in a heavily defended area where you must keep moving to avoid enemy fire.
The enemy is located on your threat display. A look in that direction shows that the opponent is behind a hill.
Start to accelerate towards the Hind as it comes out from behind the hill.
When you're sure that the enemy has cleared the hill, fire a missile. Remember that you don't have to get a TADS lock to target a Sidewinder missile. Locking onto any ground target to activate your weapons will allow you to fire the missile, which will seek out air targets on its own. Immediately after firing the missile break hard away from the Hind.
If your first shot misses, turn back towards the target and fire a second shot. (You could also use rockets with this tactic if you're out of Sidewinders.)
Figure 8-2. The Head-On Missile Attack
The Hovering Missile Attack. In situations where a Hind appears while you're over safe territory, you might want to wait for the enemy to come to you. If so, use this tactic.
A Hind appears on your threat display, and you aren't threatened by enemy ground fire.
Move to an area where you have a clear field of fire in the direction of the Hind and hover. Get as low as possible; 12 feet is not too low. Use your tail rotor to scan the area where the enemy is until you can lock on with the TADS. A TADS lock will probably be necessary if there are no other targets in the area. Scan over a wide area, as the threat display is only approximate. Once you locate the Hind, fire a missile and move away immediately.
If your first shot misses, turn back to the target and take another shot.
Figure 8-3. The Hovering Missile Attack
The Waiting Gun Ambush. Unfortunately, you do not have an endless supply of Sidewinder missiles. There will be times when you will have to face a Hind with your gun only. This is a good tactic for those situations.
The Hind is spotted at long range on the threat display, and you're out of missiles and rockets but not under immediate enemy fire.
Locate a hill and position yourself as close as possible behind it in a hover. Watch the threat display to determine which way around the hill the Hind is coming and turn in that direction. If you've positioned yourself correctly, when the Hind comes into sight it will also be in gun range—so be ready to fire as soon as it turns the corner.
Figure 8-4. The Waiting Gun Ambush
The Head-On Gun Attack. There will be times when you are out of missiles but cannot hover and wait for a gun ambush due to low fuel or enemy ground fire. In this situation, a dangerous head-on attack may be your only hope. If flown skillfully, this tactic will work—but expect to take some hits.
The target is sighted heading towards you. Turn towards it, accelerate, and start a series of zigzags to avoid the Hind's guns.
When the range closes to less than 1 kilometer, bank hard to the left and then pull up and bank hard back to the right while slowing down.
The Hind will not be able to turn as well as you can, so as you turn back towards it, you should get a chance for one quick shot at the side of the Hind as the enemy overshoots you.
Figure 8-5. The Head-On Gun Attack
The Side-Flare Quick Stop. Even the best pilots occasionally get so caught up in a battle that they let a Hind sneak up on them. The worst position you can find yourself in is to have a Hind in your six o'clock position at close range. If this should occur, the best thing you can do is perform a side-flare quick stop.
Your threat indicator shows that a Hind is behind you and closing fast. Often, the first indication you get that it's there is the sound of cannon shells hitting your aircraft. Immediately pull back hard on the stick to slow down your aircraft as fast as possible. Don't worry if you gain some altitude, that's OK.
The larger and heavier Hind won't be able to stop that quickly. Watch the threat display. Once the Hind passes you, bank into its six o'clock position and dive to pick up speed.
When you pull in behind the Hind, nail it with your gun as soon as possible. The Hind is faster than you and will soon pull out of gun range if you do not act quickly.
Figure 8-6. The Side-Flare Quick Stop