Hunting aviation

Hunting aviation . Military aircraft designed in principle for air combat against other airplanes are thus known, contrary to the functions of bombers or ground attack aircraft whose primary task is to attack targets on the ground by means of bombs or other weapons; The name hunting precisely refers to its possibilities of “hunting”, “exterminating”, “chasing”, or whatever its missions are told to destroy any type of enemy aircraft.


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  • 1 Terminology
    • 1 Spanish
    • 2 Portuguese
    • 3 Americans
    • 4 Russian
  • 2 History
    • 1 Beginnings
    • 2 Between wars
    • 3 Armament of the fighters
    • 4 World War II
    • 5 Battle for England
    • 6 Soviet fighters of World War II and their Western similar
  • 3 The reactive era
  • 4 Cold War
  • 5 Designations
  • 6 In Cuba
    • 1 FAEC
    • 2 Revolutionary Armed Forces (FAR)
    • 3 The Soviet technique
    • 4 Models of Soviet fighters in service in Cuba
  • 7 See also
  • 8 Related Articles
  • 9 Sources



The term hunting in Spanish, refers to the same as in many languages ​​to “hunt”, and this is how combat aviation is called whose priority is to take air control of a certain area by destroying similar aviation or from any other of the enemy, protecting the troops to which it belongs from the attack of that one or leaving the way free so that the own ground attack airplanes can fulfill their missions without being destroyed in turn by the hostile fighter planes.


In Portuguese they are called “caça”, in Italian “caccia”, and in French “chasseur” which literally means “hunter”. However, some pioneers of aviation initially did not call it that, the British, who were the first to use them called this type of aircraft “scouts” until the 1920s, and the reason was that the first aircraft converted to fighters They were light and fast biplanes designated for recognition and exploration.


The Americans named their fighters as “chase” planes (pursuit) until the late 1940s and were designated with the letter P since 1916 , being for this reason that their fighter planes from World War II carried the P sign as per example the Mustang P-51 long range escort fighter, and they continued to designate them until their first reactive device, the Lockheed P-80 Shoting Star which was later called F-80 and is therefore known as P / F-80, from here the North American hunting series are designated with the letter F of “Fighter”, as the North American F-86 Saber , North American F-100 Supersabre ,McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II , McDonnell Douglas F-15 , etc., while the attack ones are designated with the letter A of “Attack” as the Grumman A-6 Intruder , LTV A-7 Corsair II , Fairchild-Republic A -10 Thunderbolt II , etc., and bombers with the letter B of “Bomber” such as the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress , the Rockwell B-1 Lancer and Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit among others.


In Russian this type of aviation is known as “истребитель” (Istrebitel) and means “exterminator”, although the Soviets denominate their planes according to the patronymic of their main designers without differentiating the type of aircraft, since practically the companies of each are They specialized in different types of mills, hence the famous MiGs come from Artióm Mikoyán and Mikhail Gurévich , the SUs from Pavel Sujoi and the Yak from Alexander Sergeevich Yakovlev among the most famous fighter builders, Tu by Andréi Tupolev specializes in heavy bombers and Il deSergey Iliushin on heavy-duty airplanes, among many other manufacturers, although this does not mean that the boundaries between types of aircraft and companies are perfectly defined.

MiG for example has designed airplanes with primary capacity for ground attack such as the MiG-27, Sujoi has manufactured as a ground support aircraft close to the SU-25 with similar performance to the American A-10, Tupolev built the long-range interceptor fighter Tu-28/128 aimed at destroying American heavy bombers such as the B-52, and IL built the Il-2 known as the flying tank, which served so well in World War II on ground attack missions.

Yakovlev Yak-9D latest development of the piston fighters of the AS Yakovlev builder who fought in the SGM and Korea

In any case, today most of the fighters of all manufacturers have some degree of ability to attack the ground, so they are considered multi-purpose or multi-roll.


the beginning

From the very beginning of the First World War, participants realized the importance of the use of airplanes and airships for aerial reconnaissance and ground attack tasks, the Italian, British and North American FF AAs began to carry out strategic bombings, Germans also armed their air fleets to bomb the allies and it didn’t take long to realize that the best weapon to destroy a plane or prevent its action on its own troops was another plane.

As the air war was rapidly gaining importance, so was the control of the airspace and airplanes were destined to fight against other airplanes, Initially they were two-seater carrying a pilot next to another crew with a machine gun. The first of these “fighters” was experienced by the British company Vickers, which after several trials presented the FB5 in 1914, a not very successful model due to its low speed since the pointer being behind the pilot with the machine gun mounted on a rotating spindle had limited coverage area mainly to the rear hemisphere, and the maneuvers of the pilot with the aim of the gunner, being finally relegated this variant to the ground attack or reconnaissance aircraft as a defensive measure from 1915 .

Bristol Scout , one of the initial British scout planes that were initiators of hunting aviation

The conclusion of the first experiences was that in order for a plane to destroy another of its kind in the air at least it needed to be fast enough to reach its prey, and there came out another type of military plane that should serve the basis for a more effective “hunting” in the modern sense of the word, this was a small and fast aircraft developed before the war for air racing. And that at the time he carried out missions of exploration or military recognition, and was not prepared to carry important weapons, but rather he relied on his speed to be able to reach the position he wanted to recognize and then return quickly, by The same reason was a difficult target for anti-aircraft artillery or enemy armed planes. British aircraft “explorers” in this sense they included the Sopwith Tabloid and the Bristol Scout; Among the French equivalents, the light and fast Morane-Saulnier N. stood out.

In practice, the pilots of the exploratory airplanes in their missions were armed with guns, carbines, grenades, etc., with which they attacked the enemy airplanes they encountered, so the air war strategists began to think that arming the “explorers” would be the formula for the success of airplanes to destroy other airplanes, and manufacturers were tasked to find the right design.

Several systems were tested one was to build the plane with the propeller mounted behind the pilot but this had the disadvantage of high aerodynamic drag which meant being slower than another similar tractor-shaped aircraft.

Another option was to mount the machine gun in a way that allowed the pilot to fire it outside the sweeping area of ​​the propeller, for example, to mount the machine gun on the upper wing to shoot over the propeller, which was effective in offensive combat, since the pilot could move and aim the weapon in unity with the plane, this location made it more difficult to determine the right sight.

The need to arm the exploratory biplanes with front-wheel drive with a precise weapon whose projectiles passed between the blades of the propeller was evident and its approach motivated the inventors of both France and Germany to implement the idea of ​​a synchronization mechanism that would prevent the gun from firing when the propeller was in front.

French aircraft designer Raymond Saulnier patented a practical device in April 1914 , but the tests were not successful due to poor reliability of the ammunition of the machine gun used. In December 1914, French aviator Roland Garros asked Saulnier to install the synchronization mechanism on his plane, a Morane-Saulnier L. monoplane.

The machine gun installed, a Hotchkiss had a firing cycle that caused the bullet to leave the weapon too late to effectively and consistently synchronize the shots with a moving propeller. Because of this, the propeller blades were shielded, and metal wedges were added to the blades to protect the pilot from bullet bounces.

The modified Garros monoplane flew for the first time in March 1915 and began combat operations shortly after, Garros won three victories in three weeks before being shot down on April 18 , his plane – along with the synchronization system – was captured by the Germans.

Fokker Dr1 triplane who became famous during the 1GM being one of the pilots by the red male the most successful pilot of this confrontation

They also did not sleep either and the engineers of the firm of Anthony Fokker devised a synchronization mechanism for the Parabellum MG-14 air-cooled machine gun that did not need armored propellers, which is considered from several points of view the true birth of a fighter plane for military aviation. This is how the Fokker DR triplanes. 1 of 1917 with two synchronized machine guns became the most successful fighter aircraft of the 1GM, in one of them and in an Albatros biplane with the same system the pilot Manfred Albrecht von Richthofen known as the “Red Baron”, managed to shoot down eighty English aircraft, before being shot down and died on April 21 , 1918 in the north ofFrance .

Combat aviation gained so much relevance during World War I that if at the beginning of it, the fleet of all participating countries did not exceed three hundred teams, by the end of it the inventory reached about 150,000 aircraft of different types.

Between wars

The development of the fighters slowed down between the wars, even some designers who were later classics in the development of hunting aviation retired just as Marcel Block, the founder of the later world-famous Dassault Aviation , even towards the middle of the In the 1930s , the vast majority of these planes continued to be biplanes.

Designs such as the British Gloster Gladiator , the Italian Fiat CR.42, and the Soviet Polikarpov I-15 were common until the end of that decade and some came to fight in World War II, but significant changes began to reach the end of that period, when the drums of the war were announced with imminence about Europe , the classic biplanes of the First World War began to give way to mostly metal monoplanes and cantilever wing structure, also called cantilever wings.

Fighter Armament

The armament of the fighters began to be mounted inside the wings, outside the area of ​​rotation of the propeller, although most of the designs conserved two machine guns synchronized on the engine since they offered greater precision, the machine guns with caliber (7.62 mm) were preferred since those of greater caliber 12.7 mm (.50 North American) or higher and the automatic guns were considered an “exaggeration” since many airplanes were constructed in a similar way to the designs of the First World War ( wood although with aluminum frames), the first retractable landing gear also began to appear.

The rotary engine of the First World War disappeared, replaced mainly by the stationary radial engine and the in-line engine. The debate began between the in-line cylinder engines versus the radial models, each with advantages and disadvantages with respect to the another and according to experts while naval air forces preferred radial engines, land-based forces used to choose models online, but they all multiplied the power several times in the period.

One of the conflicts where the new hunting aviation designs were seen was in 1936 during the Spanish Civil War , when the Soviet Polikarpov I-16, revolutionary design aircraft, the first monoplanes in the world with wings were measured in Cantilever and retractable landing gear, the Messerschmitt Bf 109 and the Italian FIAT CR.42, resulting in the performance of the first already tested in Jaljin Gol against the Japanese very satisfactory and the designs began to drift towards the Soviet model.

Polikarpov I-16


First monoplane in the world with the wings in cantilever and retractable landing gear , fought in the war of Spain and in the 2GM, with one of them the pilot I. Ivanov rammed the Heinkel He-111 with the propeller cutting his tail by executing thus the first spur of the conflagration.

During the 1930s, two different currents of thought about air combat began to emerge, resulting in two different approaches to the development of monoplane fighters.

In Japan and Italy especially, there was still a strong current that highly maneuverable and lightly armed single-seater fighters would continue to play a key role in air-to-air combat. Airplanes like the Mitsubishi A6M “Zero” in Japan, and the Macchi MC200 Saetta in Italy summarize a generation of monoplanes designed for this concept.

The Japanese is said to be the first air superiority fighter in the world being able to fly great distances, about 3,000 kilometers by ferry and it was very light and maneuverable, but its lightness was also its weak point because then the Americans (who were receiving real beatings at hands of these) when capturing by a stroke of luck one could take away his secrets discovered that such lightness and maneuverability was achieved at the cost of the pilot’s lack of protection since it lacked completely armor and the aluminum plates that formed the cabin were easily crossed because of the 7.62 mm caliber, it was not possible to overcome certain pitting speeds because it was simply destroyed.

The other current of thought, which arose mainly in the United Kingdom, Germany, the Soviet Union and the United States, was the conviction that the high speeds of modern fighter jets and the G forces imposed by air combat meant that the fighting Closed airplanes in the classic sense of World War I would be impossible.

Fighters such as the German Messerschmitt Bf 109 , the British Supermarine Spitfire , the Soviet Yakovlev Yak-1 and the American Curtiss P-40 Warhawk were all designed for high speeds and a good ascent regime, good maneuverability was considered convenient, but it was not the main objective.


Supermarine Spitfire , one of the technological heroes of the battle for England, considered one of the best fighters of World War II

During the war, the power of the piston engines and the weaponry carried by the fighter aircraft increased significantly, the Germans pawned as their frontal fighter to the Me-109 that fought on the eastern, western and African fronts with a maximum speed close to 600 km / h armed with machine guns and a cannon that fired through the center of the propeller.

The English had as a workhorse the Supermarine Spitfire Mk I and II armed with eight machine guns but with limited range, the Americans introduced long-range fighters capable of escorting their bombing planes to Germany, where they destroyed at the end of the war unnecessarily cities to the foundations, an example of this was the North American P-51 Mustang also with the same powerful Spitfire in-line engine , the Rolls-Royce Merlin II that allowed it to reach 710 km / h with an operational radius of 2,400 kilometres.

Far from what they proclaim countless sites on the Internet, where it seems that the fundamental weight of the war was carried between Anglo-Saxons and Germans, the fundamental actions throughout the conflagration, happened on the eastern front, the greatest battles of all weapons except at sea were carried out on that stage and that was where the backbone of the German war machine broke. Comparative chart of the number of German divisions and their satellites on the Soviet-German front and on the other fronts:

06/22/41 04/41 11/42 04/43 01/44 04/45
Soviet-German front 190 219 266 233 245 214
Other fronts together 9 eleven 13 fifteen twenty-one 60

The air force was no exception and most of the air armies were concentrated on the east front, including that on the same June 22 , the day of the German attack on the USSR, a powerful GAMS (Mass Surprising Air Strike) was held with thousands of bombers, on all Soviet airfields to a depth of 250 to 300 kilometers and about 900 aircraft were destroyed on the ground.

Soviet fighter pilots performed unparalleled feats by none of those who engaged in the war, on the same day of the invasion a patrol of the 46th IAP (Istrevitel’nye Aviatsion’nyi Polk, Hunting Aviation Regiment), at command of the first lieutenant I. Ivanov engaged in combat with the German bombers, when the ammunition ran out, Ivanov rammed the propeller of his Polikarpov I-16 into a Heinkel He-111 and cut his tail, this being the first aerial spur on the history of the war, the low height did not allow Ivanov to parachute so he lost his life, on August 2, 1941he was posthumously granted the title “Hero of the Soviet Union”. Likewise, on the first day of the war, the pilots L. Butelin, A. Danílov, D. Kókorev, A. Mokliak, E. Panfílov and P. Riábtsev carried out spurs.

Battle for England

The so-called Battle for England between July and October 1940 , where the Germans dedicated themselves to trying to destroy the RAF to gain air superiority, as a guarantee for a hypothetical landing in the British Isles of their forces and where air fighting between the Messerschmitt Bf 109E and the Spitfire, gained legendary relevance, hardly seems to be a tiny chapter in the face of the intensity of the fundamental battles on the east front, many historians perhaps for lack of a deep study claim the aerial actions in that period as the most intense of The whole history of aviation.

However, in the operation “Eagle Day” only 1,000 bombers and about 700 fighters were used by the Luftwaffe while only between July and August 1941 when the battle for Leningrad the Germans engaged 4,300 airplanes between bombers and fighters and the Soviet defense was so effective that only 508 managed to fly over the city at some time, while 312 aircraft were shot down in air combat. The same happened in the rest of the scenarios, for the attack on Moscow , in that direction alone the Germans concentrated 950 aircraft more than half of the total of those who engaged in the great battle for England.

Messerschmitt Bf 109 , the front fighter of the Luftwaffe in almost all World War II stages

The main contribution of English aviation to the development of military aeronautics in those years and that had a significant weight in its victory, was the application of radar, invented a few years earlier by the British physicist Robert Watson which supposed an important tactical advantage to your strength For their part, the Soviets, as the war passed, modernized their hunting fleet and the Yak-1 began to enter service, with which many female regiments were equipped, including the 586th female, which included the only two female aces of the war, Katya Budanova (11 victories) and Lydia Litvyak (12 victories), and that together with their modernizations Yak-3 (considered one of the best fighters of the war and with which the French Normandie-Niemen Squadron was equipped), Yak- 7and Yak-9 were the most produced fighters of the entire 2GM with 36,000 units; The high altitude MiG-3 interceptor fighters were also received with a practical 12-kilometer roof where fundamentally from one of them the pilot Alexander Pokryshkin was raised as the second Ace of Soviet aviation with 59 well-documented victories.


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