USN F/A-18C A2A kill

With so many knowledgeable people here, I’m guessing this is the place to ask…

With the DCS Hornet about to turn final, I came to think about a Op. Desert Storm Hornet kill.

My google fu unearthed two kills by Hornets, in Desert Storm. Pilots Fox and Mongillo. From what I understand it happened on the same sortie?

Where can I find more info?
About the engagement.
Which airframes.

GO! :sunglasses:

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Here’s the HUD tape of the engagement

Here’s a cheesy Discovery channel documentary on it.

This video also has the HUD tape and a fair account in the description, but the poster decided to cover it over with Bon Jovi and random, unrelated HUD video for reasons that I don’t understand. If you watch to the end, it actually has the HUD footage of them transitioning from A/A mode to AUTO release mode and dropping. Sadly the HUD doesn’t display weapon information, but it was definitely a bomb of some sort.

Here’s your BUNOs, They’re both F/A-18Cs


I’m sure @Hangar200 has a pretty good take on it.

The Tl;dr is the two Hornets from VFA-81 are part of a strike mission. They get tipped off that there are two bandits ahead of them, hot aspect. They pick them up 7 miles ahead at 28,000 feet, and proceed for a VID. They positively ID the contacts as a MiG-21s. The guy in the video (Mongo) shoots fires an AIM-7 (damn near Rmin’d it), and scores a kill. Wiki says Hornet wingman (MRT) scored a kill on the second bandit with an AIM-9.

From the HUD footage you can see the leader was carrying two AIM-7Ms and two AIM-9Ms, and fighter lore is that they didn’t drop their bombs as part of the engagement.

My understanding is the go to loadout for the period was Two AIM-9s on the wingtips, two AIM-7s on the fuselage cheeks (or some combo of AIM-7s and target pods). Two Fuel tanks on the inner wing stations, and generally four bombs (usually Mk-83s) on twin ejector racks on the outer wing stations, with an optional fifth slung under the fuselage. Mk-82s and Mk-84s are also possible.

If desired, we can also go over what’s going on in the HUD throughout the engagement.


That’s Discovery for ya…
Cheesier than an Emmentaler, and just as many holes. :wink:

Yes please!

Also, what does the BuNo’s tell me about block and mods?

Any pics of the jets, from the period?

Oh! :heart_eyes: “Talk Airforce to me!”

From the top of my head I seem to remember reading somewhere that the A-G loadout was four Mk-84 per jet.

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Well if we consult our handy dandy NATOPS manual

Both aircraft are Lot 10, Block 25 F/A-18s.

This is a nice write up of the early Hornets.

Tl;dr Sparrows, Sidewinders. Very rudimentary TGP with no self lasing capabilities. Same radar and engine as the F/A-18A. Could use NVGs. Primarily moved mud with dumb LDGP bombs, with some specialized precision weapon capabilities oriented towards antiship work (Walleyes, Mavericks, Harpoons). I’d imagine it could also sling HARMs.

Beyond that, I’m not so knowledgeable about the super gritty minutiae of block from block, at least as far as Hornets are concerned.

Surprisingly, possibly.

Perhaps not the same jet, but same squadron while deployed on that cruise.

Also I guessed incorrectly. Apparently they were packing a 4 x Mk-84 loadout. Riyadh or CAG was super pissed at someone that afternoon.


I was gonna do photoshop, but it’s 2:30. I’m not doing photoshop.

We’re all familiar enough with jet hud to pick out the hud ladder, the airspeed, altitude, and heading tape.

The chevron and blade underneath the airspeed box are indicators to meet time on target. The information block below that are in order from top to bottom, units of AoA, current Mach, current G. Below that is the current time.

Outboard of the altitude block you can see the flashing symbol of the ghosted flight path marker, which is showing the actual flight path of the aircraft (heck of a crosswind). the “1090 VC” is the currently selected radar contact’s closing velocity in knots. The range is, well, range to target. Below that the number that counts down is the missiles estimated time of flight (TOF). It flips to TTG when Mongo fires the missile, indicating that it is now estimating the missile’s Time To Go (before estimated impact). Bottom number is the range to waypoint.

Bottom of the HUD shows the type and number of the currently selected weapon (you can see the pilot switch to the AIM-9 as he merges, just to be sure).

The real active thing here is the big circle-y thing in the center. That’s the NIRD (Normalized In-Range Display). The triangle at the bottom is the missiles’s RMax for the currently selected radar target. The triangle at the ~2 o’clock position is the RMin indicator. The intermediate triangle is Rne (No Escape, yeah right). RMax and RMin are fixed, while Rne rotates around the circle depending upon the current engagement parameters. The rotating line inside the circle is the current range as relative to Rmax and Rmin. The circle itself is the ASE (Allowable Steering Error) Cue. This is used in conjunction with the steering dot (the dot in the middle), which gives intercept steering to the target. The steering circle needs to be inside the ASE for the computer to consider it a valid (or at least high probability) shot. Because the dot is in the circle, and the bandit is (well within) Rmax, the shoot is flashing above the target box (diamond), kindly reminding the pilot that he’s allowed to kill stuff now. It’ll probably work too!

Because the pilots waited until VID, you can see the MiG passes well within RMin after the shot. Once it slides passed the Rmin triangle, the breakaway X begins flashing, which is meant to remind you that you’re too close for (that) missile, and you need to switch to guns.

Two things I’m unsure of.

  1. Not entirely sure why the TD Box transitions to a diamond at the beginning of the clip. My gut says the pilot switched to STT in preparation for the sparrow shot, but that’s mere supposition.

  2. A line appears on the outside of the ASE just before the clip ends. Not really sure what that is, but it seems to coincide with the AIM-7 launch.

You’re very correct.


I really think that Desert Storm was the most interesting action that the Hornet participated in. I intend to center my Hornet playtime around this period.


Obviously you don’t know about their partecipation in the Independence war against the aliens! :smiley:


Score…!! :slight_smile:

Thanks, @near_blind!
Will read up on your post a little later. Need som coffee and silence, to comprehend. :wink:

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You sir, are not making the wait for hornet early access release any easier! Thanks for those two posts, I <3 that stuff.

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time for the NTTR map to shine with a canyon run in the hornet


I kept expecting a crab boat to come splashing through the video…

The VID part is cool. It must be an insanely high adrenaline moment that is rife for self doubt. Sometimes we see what we expect to see or want to see and the stress of making sure you aren’t shooting a friendly on accident (with all the ramifications of that) must be super stressful.


Must… fly… HORNET!!! BAHHHHHH!!!


I met this guy twice (he was an Admiral at the time). A very cool guy.

His son is a naval intelligence officer and worked for me for a couple of years when I was the Director of Intelligence at USEUCOM’s theater intel center, aka “JAC Molesworth” (google it). A great officer.

For his first tour of duty, young Ensign Fox was assigned to one of the same squadrons as his father had served in previously. (We are a small community and its something we can do that assignment-wise…kind of a frat “Legacy”.) FYI, each squadron is assigned at least one Aviation Intelligence officer or “AI”

In the squadron we all get a callsign–aviators and us “ground pounders”–Ensign Fox was assigned a rather ingenios monicker, “Winder”

As I am sure many you know, in the US armed forces, when you fire an AIM-9 you call “Fox 2” over the radio. Also as you all know the AIM-9 is called a “Sidewinder”, sometimes shorted in casual conversation to “winder”… as in “I shot a winder, saw it track and then went into a Hi Yo-Yo…” (with appropriate hand motions)

Since Ensign Fox was the second “Fox” assigned to the squadron, they considered him “Fox the second” or “Fox 2”…I think you get it from there.:sunglasses:


Not as good as one might think. I spent Desert Storm at the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) in Monterey, CA. I can’t expand any more that all that has been done above–spot on and great commentary! If you would like to hear about all the golf I got in during my time at NPS, I can wax poetic on that subject…just let me know.

In addition’s to @near_blind’s post that Bunos show the Lot, Block of any Navy or Marine aircraft, BuNos are used by enthusiastic “plane spotters” in the UK to officially tally an aircraft that they have “spotted”…I kid you not.

In 1994 USS GUAM had a port call in Southhampton and was open for visitors. There was a section of the flight deck with a number of helos behind a roped off section (so they could undergo maintenance). The rotation of Marines “guarding” this area had to memorize the BuNos of all the aircraft behind the rope so they could tell the plane spotters, who then dutifully logged the info in their notebooks.

If you think about it…as a hobby, its cheaper than flight sims…just say’n.


I wonder if that’s born out of the British Royal Observer Corps, kind of an unofficial staying in practice or something?

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I think you are correct - will have to power up my VRS Hornet to be sure - HUD symbology should be the same.

I think that is an estimate/calculated of missile range to target. As you indicated, It pops up just as the missile comes into view (which means its away from the jet by probably a few hundred yards) and it is inside the range to target line (inside the ASE).

With a close shot like this and essentially a head-to-head engagement, it doesn’t do you much good. Firing from BVR and then doing an offset heading as the missile flys (to maintain some separation from the target) its probably a good indicator to have…i.e. the line gets to 0, you haven’t seen a flash and the target is still locked…probably time to try again…turn back in, center the dot and pull the trigger.


The TD box is an IFF indication. The box is unknown or friendly with FRIEND at the bottom, the diamond means hostile. Most likely since he had a STT and a hot bandit, he probably got a NCTR print from the radar confirming MIG-21. He says “Good sniff MIG-21”, I "sniff " sounds like a brevity term for confirming an aircraft ID outside of VID.

EDIT: Sniff: Passive sensor indication of a radar
emitter. So he saw that the bandit in front of him, hot, came up on the RWR as a 21 confirming the ID.

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