Post–World War II air-to-air combat losses

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The last moments of a U.S. Air Force recon C-130 Hercules in gun camera of the Soviet MiG-17. 2 September 1958.
Gun camera sequence photo showing a North Vietnamese MiG-17-fighter being hit.
Gun camera sequence photos showing a North Vietnamese MiG-17 being hit and shot down by 20 mm shells from a U.S. Air Force F-105D Thunderchief during the Vietnam War 3 June 1967
Nguyễn Văn Cốc, the most successful pilot of the Vietnam War. He shot down 9 aircraft[1]

Air-to-air combat is the engagement of flying machines in warfare in which one or more aircraft tries to destroy one or more other aircraft. The Korean War saw the greatest amount of air-to-air combat since World War II. During the war the United States claimed to have shot down around 700 fighters.[A 1][3] After the war the USAF reviewed its figures in an investigation code-named Sabre Measure Charlie and downgraded the kill ratio of the North American F-86 Sabre against the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15 by half from 14:1 to 7:1.[3] One of the factors inflating US numbers was that most dogfights took place over enemy-controlled area. The only way to confirm kills was through gun camera photography. USAF pilots were credited with a kill if the gun camera showed their guns striking the enemy aircraft even if no one actually saw it go down.[4] However, Soviet kill claims were also highly exaggerated, based upon inherent flaws in their film grading procedures. For instance, the S-13 gun camera was not aligned with either the gunsight or either cannons' ballistics. It ran only while the firing buttons were depressed. Film graders commonly included unit commanders and political commisars who would confirm a "kill"—sometimes even if one had not been claimed by a pilot—when the camera's crosshairs touched the target for two movie frames. During the first 16 months of combat Soviet V-VS units claimed 218 F-86s destroyed when only 36 (35 to the two elite IADs and one to the 50th IAD) had been lost. This results in a 600 per cent inflation rate in victory credits over actual Sabres destroyed. However, these figures are complicated by the fact that the Americans routinely attributed combat losses to landing accidents and other causes.[5]

The Vietnam War saw a move away from cannon fire to air-to-air missiles.[6] Although US forces maintained air supremacy throughout the war, there were still occasional dogfights and US and North Vietnamese aces. The North Vietnamese side claimed the Vietnam People's Air Force had 17 aces throughout the war, including Nguyen Van Coc, who is also the top ace of Vietnam War with 9 kills: seven acknowledged by the United States Air Force.

During the 1947 conflict over Jammu and Kashmir, the Indian Air Force did not engage the Pakistan Air Force in air-to-air combat; however, it did provide effective transport and close air support to the Indian troops.[7] The Indo-Pakistani War of 1965 was the first time the Indian Air Force actively engaged an enemy air force.[8] By the time the conflict had ended, India lost between 65 and 75 aircraft and Pakistan lost 20 aircraft.[9][10] The Indian Air Force lost 45 aircraft during the Indo-Pakistani war of 1971 and the Pakistani Air Force lost 75 aircraft.[11]

During the Iran–Iraq War of 1980–88, there were nearly 1,000 air-to-air engagements between Iran and Iraq, including the only known instances of helicopters dogfighting and shooting down other helicopters.[12] The Falklands War of 1982 witnessed air combat between Argentine and British military aircraft. The Falkland Islands' runways were short and thus unable to support fighter jets, forcing Argentina to launch fighters from the mainland, which had an adverse effect on their loiter time. The Argentine forces lost 23 aircraft in air-to-air combat, out of a total of 134 fixed wing aircraft and helicopters lost during the conflict. During the 1990–91 Persian Gulf War 33 of Iraq's 750 fixed wing aircraft were claimed as downed (23 were confirmed), compared to 14 coalition aircraft claimed as downed (4 losses are confirmed, one F/A-18 Hornet and three UAVs[13]).[14][15]

Aircraft lost to air-to-air combat[edit]

Conflict Air Force Aircraft lost to air-to-air combat Reference
US incursions into Yugoslav airspace (1946) United States United States Air Force 2[A 2] [16]
Indonesian National Revolution British Raj Royal Indian Air Force 2 [17]
Arab–Israeli War (1948–1949) United Kingdom Royal Air Force 5 [18]
Israel Israeli Air Force 7 (Western claim); 0-1 (Israeli claim) [19][20][21][22]
Egypt Egypt Air Force 15 [19]
Syria Syrian Air Force 2 [19]
Korean War (1950–1953)[A 3] China PLAAF 379 (Chinese claim); 792 (US claim)[A 4] [23][24]
North Korea North Korean Air Force 270 (US claim)
United States US Aircraft 78 (US claim) [23]
United Nations UN Coalition Aircraft 1,097 (Soviet claim), 139 (UN claim)[A 5] [25]
South Korea South Korean Air Force 135
US incursions into Soviet airspace (1950–1970) United States US Aircraft 16 [A 6]
Soviet Union Soviet Air Defence Forces 3 [A 7]
Catalina affair Sweden Swedish Air Force 2
Avro Lincoln shoot down incident United Kingdom Royal Air Force 1 [26]
Air battle over Merklín United States USAFE 1[A 8] [17]
Bombing of Plaza de Mayo (1955) Argentina Argentine Naval Aviation 1 [27]
Suez Crisis (1956) Egypt Egyptian Air Force 7–9 [28]
Israel Israeli Air Force 1 [29]
Secret electronic surveillance missions United States US Navy 2 [30]
Second Taiwan Strait Crisis[A 9] China PLAAF 32 (ROC claim); 5 (PRC claim) [31]
Taiwan ROCAF 14 (PRC claim); 3 (ROC claim) [31]
Vietnam War (1959–1975)[A 10] Vietnam Vietnam Air Force 131 (North Vietnam claim); 195 (US claim) [32][33]
United States US Aircraft 128 (US Claim), 266 (North Vietnam claim) [34][35][36][37]
South Vietnam Republic of Vietnam Air Force 72 [33]
Taiwanese incursion into Burma airspace Taiwan ROCAF 1 [16]
Dutch–Indonesian Conflict Indonesia Indonesian Air Force 1 [17]
Project Dark Gene (1960–79) Soviet Union Soviet Air Force 1 [38][39]
Iran Imperial Iranian Air Force 6 [38][40][41][42]
Bay of Pigs Invasion Cuba Brigade 2506 10 (Confirmed) [43]
Six-Day War (1967) Israel Israeli Air Force 12 (Israeli claim); 20 (ACIG claim) [20][21][44][22]
Egypt Egypt Air Force
Syria Syrian Air Force
Jordan Royal Jordanian Air Force
64–72[A 11] [45][46]
Indo-Pakistan War of 1965 India Indian Air Force 60–75 [47]
Pakistan Pakistan Air Force 20 [10]
War of Attrition (1967-1970) Egypt Egypt Air Force 60 (Egyptian claim);113 (Israeli claim) [45]
Israel Israeli Air Force 4 (Israeli claim) [22]
Football War[A 12] El Salvador Air Force of El Salvador 3 [48]
Indo-Pakistan War of 1971 India Indian Air Force 45 (neutral claim) [49][50]
Pakistan Pakistan Air Force 75 (neutral claim) [50]
Turkish invasion of Cyprus Turkey Turkish Air Force 1 (Greek claim) [51]
Yom Kippur War (1973) Israel Israeli Air Force 5 (Israeli claim) [22]
Egypt Egypt Air Force
Syria Syrian Air Force
277 (Israeli claim) [22]
Libyan–Egyptian War (1977) Libya Libyan Air Force 4–5 [52]
Egypt Egyptian Air Force 1 [52]
Iranian and Soviet airspace incursions (1970s) Iran Imperial Iranian Army Aviation + IIAF 2[A 13] + 3 [42][53][54]
Soviet Union Soviet Air Forces 1 [55]
Soviet–Afghan War Afghanistan Afghan National Army Air Corps 8 [56]
Pakistan Pakistan Air Force 1 [56]
Iran Islamic Republic of Iran Army Aviation 2[A 14] [57]
Mojahedin 4 [58]
Nicaraguan Revolution Nicaragua Nicaraguan Air Force 2 [59]
Iran–Iraq War (1980–1988) Flag of Iraq (1963–1991); Flag of Syria (1963–1972).svg Iraqi Aircraft 234 (confirmed) [60][61]
Iran Iranian Aircraft 73 (confirmed) [62]
Soviet Union Soviet Air Forces 3 (Iranian claim); 0 (Soviet claim) [63][64]
Syria Syrian Air Force 3 [65]
Algeria Algerian Government Aircraft 1 [65]
Turkey Turkish Air Force 1 [66]
South African Border War Flag of South Africa (1928–1994).svg South African Air Force 1 [67]
Angola National Air Force of Angola 2 [67]
US Freedom of Navigation operations near Libya (1980–1989) Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Libyan Air Force 4 [68]
Salvadoran Civil War FMLN supply aircraft 1 [69]
Falklands War Argentina Argentine Naval Aviation/Argentine Air Force 23 [70]
United Kingdom Army Air Corps 1 [71]
1982 Lebanon War Syria Syrian Air Force 82–86 (Israeli claim) [72][73][74]
Israel Israeli Air Force 1 (Israeli claim); 42 (Syrian claim); 3 (ACIG claim) [75][76][77][22]
Sri Lankan Civil War (1983–2009) Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam 1 [78]
Tanker War (1984–1988) Iran Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force 1 (Iranian claim) 2 (Saudi claim) [79][80]
Persian Gulf War (1990–1991) United States United States Navy 4 (US claim)[81][82]; 12 (Iraqi claim) [14][15]
United Kingdom Royal Air force 1 (Iraqi claim) [83]
Italy Italian Air Force 1 (Iraqi claim) [83]
Saudi Arabia Royal Saudi Air Force 1 (Iraqi claim) [84]
Iraq Iraqi Air Force 23 (Iraqi claim); 44 (Coalition claim) [14][15]
Iraqi no-fly zones enforcement United States US Aircraft 3[A 15] [85]
Iraq Iraqi Air Force 5
Croatian War of Independence (1991–1995) Italy Italian Army 1[A 16] [86]
1992 Venezuelan coup d'état attempts Venezuela Bolivarianos 3 [87]
Operation Deny Flight Flag of the Republika Srpska.svg Republika Srpska Air Force 5 [88]
Cenepa War (1995) Ecuador Ecuadorian Air Force 1 (confirmed), 2 (Ecuadorian claim) [89]
Aegean dispute (1996) Turkey Turkish Air Force 1 [90]
Eritrean–Ethiopian War (1998–2000) Eritrea Eritrean Air Force 2–6 [91]
Ethiopia Ethiopian Air Force Up to 7 [92][93]
Operation Allied Force Serbia and Montenegro Yugoslav Air Force 5 + 1 heavily damaged, later destroyed on the ground [94]
NATO NATO Air Force 1 + 1 Tomahawk [95][96]
Atlantique incident Pakistan Pakistan Navy 1 [97]
2001–02 India–Pakistan standoff India Indian Air Force 1 IAI SearcherII drone[A 17] [98][99]
Iran–Israel proxy conflict   Hezbollah UAVs 2 [100][101]
2008 Georgian spy plane shootdowns Georgia (country) Georgian Air Force 1 [102][103]
Iraq War (2003–2011) Iran Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force 1[A 18] [104]
War in Afghanistan United States United States Air Force 1[A 19] [105]
Syrian Civil War Syria Syrian Air Force 4 [106][107][108][109][110]
Russia Russian Air Force 1 [111]
"Pro-Syria regime" forces 2[A 20] [112][113]
Iran–Israel proxy conflict  Iran 1 [114]
War in Donbass Ukraine Ukrainian Air Force 1 (Ukrainian claim) [115]
2016 Turkish coup d'état attempt Turkey Peace at Home Council 2 [116]
2019 India–Pakistan standoff India Indian Air Force 1 (Indian claim); 2 (Pakistani claim) [117]
Pakistan Pakistani Air Force 0 (Pakistani claim); 2 (1 aircraft+1 drone as per Indian claims); 0 (US claims) [118][119][120][121]

See also[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ During the Korean War experienced Soviet pilots flew against USAF forces.[2]
  2. ^ Two US C-47s shoot down by Yugoslavian Yak-3 over Northern Yugoslavia.
  3. ^ First combat instance of a jet shooting down a jet happened during this war.
  4. ^ Differences in numbers is attributed to Soviet vs US claims of planes shot down
  5. ^ Soviet claim of planes shot down
  6. ^ See the US Soviet air-to-air combat article
  7. ^ See the Air-to-air combat losses between the USSR and US article
  8. ^ US F-84E Shootdown shoot down by Czech Mig-15 over Merlín.
  9. ^ First combat use of guided air-to-air missiles occurred during this war.
  10. ^ First combat instance of a manned aircraft shooting down a UAV happened during this war.
  11. ^ Numbers include unconfirmed losses
  12. ^ The last war in which piston-engined fighter planes fought each other.
  13. ^ In 1978, a Soviet Mig-23 Flogger intercepted 4 Iranian CH-47 Chinook helicopters over Karakum Canal inside Soviet airspace, shooting one of them down and damaging another. The damaged helicopter managed to land inside the Soviet Union and its crew was captured by Soviet forces. Later, the crew was released and the helicopter was allowed to be repaired and return to Iran.
  14. ^ In 1988, two Soviet Mig-23 Floggers shot down a pair of Iranian AH-1J SuperCobra attack helicopters over western Afghanistan.
  15. ^ The 1994 Black Hawk shootdown incident, sometimes referred to as the Black Hawk Incident, was a friendly fire incident over northern Iraq that occurred on April 14, 1994 during Operation Provide Comfort. The pilots of two United States Air Force (USAF) F-15 fighter aircraft, operating under the control of a USAF airborne warning and control system (AWACS) aircraft, misidentified two United States Army UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters as Iraqi Mil Mi-24 "Hind" helicopters. The F-15 pilots fired on and destroyed both helicopters, killing all 26 military service members and civilians from the United States, United Kingdom, France, Turkey, and the Kurdish community. The third loss was a UAV Predator shot down by a Mig-25 in December 2002.
  16. ^ An Italian Army Bell 206 helicopter was shot down by a Serb Mig over Novi Marof, near Varaždin, Croatia, on 7 January 1992. One French and four Italian military observers were killed. The incident prompted the resignation of the Yugoslav Minister of Defence. The helicopter was part of a European Community mission in Croatia.
  17. ^ On the night of 8th June 2002, a pair of IAI SearcherII UAV of Indian Air Force were detected inside Pakistan by "mobile observation units". Pakistan Air Force scrambled 2 Mirage III's and 4 F-7P fighter jets which failed to detect and intercept the drones. Finally a pair of F-16 B's of Pakistan Air Force succeeded to intercept and shoot down one of the drones using their Aim-9Ls.
  18. ^ According to U.S and Iraqi sources, in February 2009 a USAF F-16 intercepted and shot down an Iranian UAV that had violated Iraqi airspace.
  19. ^ According to U.S sources, in September 2009 a USAF fighter intercepted and shot down an out of control armed MQ-9 Reaper UAV, near Afghan border.
  20. ^ On June 8, 2017, an American F-15E shot down a Shahed-129 UCAV, which the US military said was attacking American-backed forces. The US military said the drone, which appeared to be made by Iran, was being operated by "pro-Syria regime" forces.[112] A second pro-regime Shahed-129 was shot down by an American F-15E on June 19.[113]

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

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  2. ^ Brune 1996, p. 215
  3. ^ a b Dorr & Thompson 2003, p. 186
  4. ^ Zhang 2004, p. 153
  5. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20130604071241/http://www.acig.org/artman/publish/article_315.shtml
  6. ^ Boyne 2002, p. 2
  7. ^ Barua 2005, p. 192
  8. ^ Pradhan & Chavan 2007, p. xiv
  9. ^ "The Sunday Tribune - Spectrum". Tribuneindia.com. Retrieved 2013-08-09.
  10. ^ a b Thomas M. Leonard (2006). Encyclopedia of the Developing World. Taylor & Francis. p. 806. ISBN 978-0-415-97663-3. Retrieved 14 April 2011.
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  13. ^ Desert Storm Air War: The Aerial Campaign against Saddam's Iraq in the 1991 Gulf War. Jim Corrigan, Rowman & Littlefield, 2017. P.59
  14. ^ a b c Davis 2002, p. 300
  15. ^ a b c "The First Night" by Cooper, Sadik (IAPR, Vol.26)
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  17. ^ a b c http://www.acig.org/artman/publish/article_303.shtml
  18. ^ Aloni 2001, pp. 18, 22
  19. ^ a b c Aloni 2001, pp. 6–22
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  35. ^ ACIG Team (16 September 2003). "Vietnamese Air-to-Air Victories, Part 2". Indochina Database. Air Combat Information Group.
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  45. ^ a b Cordesman 2006, p. 168
  46. ^ "Israeli Air-to-Air Victories in 1967". acig.info. Retrieved 6 May 2018.
  47. ^ The Sunday Tribune – Spectrum. Tribuneindia.com. Retrieved on 2011-04-14.
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  75. ^ Arab MiG-19 and MiG-21 Units in Combat by David Nicolle and Tom Cooper(2004) p. 77
  76. ^ MiG-23 na blijnem vostoke. Vladimir Ilin
  77. ^ לבטאון חיל-האוויר הישראלי, July 1984, №141, p. 12
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  81. ^ 1 F/A-18 and 3 UAVs are confirmed
  82. ^ Desert Storm Air War: The Aerial Campaign against Saddam's Iraq in the 1991 Gulf War. Jim Corrigan, Rowman & Littlefield, 2017. P.59
  83. ^ a b Aviatsya i Vremya 5/2005, Ahmad Sadik & Diego Fernando Zampini " The third day (and beyond...)"
  84. ^ Cooper, Tom. "Operation Samarrah", October 2010
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  96. ^ Military Mi-8 HIP helicopter to fly alongside a Hunter UAV and then have the Door Gunner blast the UAV with his 7.62mm machine gun from Dixon, J.DR (2000) UAV employment in Kosovo: Lessons for the Operational Commander. Naval War College, Newport, p. 10.
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  104. ^ "Iranian drone 'shot down in Iraq'". BBC. 16 March 2009. Retrieved 6 May 2018.
  105. ^ "Air Force Shoots Down Runaway Drone Over Afghanistan". popsci.com. Retrieved 6 May 2018.
  106. ^ Fahim, Kareem; Arsu, Sebnem (16 September 2013). "Turkey Says It Shot Down Syrian Military Helicopter Flying in Its Airspace". The New York Times. Retrieved 6 May 2018.
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  108. ^ [2][dead link]
  109. ^ "UPDATE 4-Turkey says shot down helicopter, while Syrian TV says it..." reuters.com. Retrieved 6 May 2018.
  110. ^ "Navy jet shoots down Syrian warplane that attacked US-backed rebels". foxnews.com. 18 June 2017. Retrieved 6 May 2018.
  111. ^ "NATO-Russia Tensions Rise After Turkey Downs Jet". The New York Times. 24 November 2015. Retrieved 6 May 2018.
  112. ^ a b Gordon, Michael (8 June 2017). "U.S. Says It Shot Down Drone That Attacked Fighters in Syria". The New York Times. Retrieved 18 June 2017.
  113. ^ a b Browne, Ryan; Starr, Barbara (20 June 2017). "First on CNN: US shoots down another pro-regime drone in Syria". CNN. Retrieved 22 June 2017.
  114. ^ "Sirens, clashes in north after IDF shoots down infiltrating Iranian drone". timesofisrael.com. Retrieved 6 May 2018.
  115. ^ "Russia 'shot down Ukraine jet'". BBC. 17 July 2014. Retrieved 6 May 2018.
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  117. ^ https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-02-27/pakistani-jets-violate-indian-air-space-in-kashmir-pti-reports
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  119. ^ https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/how-indias-legacy-fighter-jet-downed-pakistan-f-16-10-things-to-know-about-mig-21-bison-2000291
  120. ^ https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/defence/su30s-scramble-after-pakistan-drone-intrusion-on-rajasthan-border/articleshow/68263827.cms
  121. ^ https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/defence/us-count-of-pakistans-f-16s-fighter-jets-found-none-of-them-missing-report/articleshow/68733231.cms

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]