HAF Mirage 2000 vs TuAF F-16.
The clip below was filmed by the HUD camera of one of the two Mirage 2000-5EG Mk2 jets belonging to the 331st Mira “Thiseas” during a close encounter with Turkish F-16C Block 40 jets over the Aegean Sea.
According to the Greek reports, the video was filmed on Sunday, May 3, as HAF Mirages were dispatched to intercept two Turkish F-16s which were allegedly harassing a Greek NH-90 helicopter carrying the Minister of National Defense Nikos Panagiotopoulos and his staff.
“I have him” says the Greek Mirage 2000 pilot who is chasing one of the Turkish F-16s.
Βίντεo από την αναχαίτιση τουρκικού F-16 στο ανατολικό Αιγαίο στις 3 Μαΐου 2020. Ο χειριστής του Α/Φ Μirage 2000-5 Mk2 της Πολεμικής Αεροπορίας έχει πετύχει τον εγκλωβισμό του εχθρικού Α/Φ σε παραμέτρους βολής. (ΠΡΩΤΟ ΘΕΜΑ, 05-05-2020) pic.twitter.com/AOZVkMYBYj
— ΙΣΟΖΥΓΙΟ ΣΤΡΑΤΙΩΤΙΚΗΣ ΙΣΧΥΟΣ (@isozygio) May 5, 2020
Here’s a translation of what the pilots say in the video (courtesy of @e_amyna):
PILOT 1: FOX 2
PILOT 2: I have him
PILOT 2: The other one is coming (…)
PILOT 2: I have him on tape
PILOT 1: Nice
PILOT 2: Stable (or steady) at GUNS
PILOT 1: SAME
What you can see in the clip is the engagement (or at least the part of it we can see in the footage) starting at FL260, with Mirage pointing at the F-16 in a steep (almost vertical) climb or “pull” ended with a half aileron roll, moderate descend and subsequent displacement turn. The clip ends with the two aircraft around FL130 in a gentle (> 2g) left turn at less than 300 KIAS. The whole scene does appear to be just some kind of aggressive maneuvering rather than a real dogfight: the range of speed and the g-load show that the two aircraft are fighting but not as hard as one would expect in a real aerial engagement. In fact, due to the low energy involved in the engagement (or maybe because of a poor energy management) the defender is not able or does not maneuver as aggressively as you would expect in such a defensive condition.
“It looks more like a training engagement with a somehow cooperative target than a real dogfight” says our own Alessandro “Gonzo” Olivares, fighter pilot and IP.
The HUD symbology is in dogfight mode that should allow the pilot to use both the gun and the FOX 2 (IR-guided air-to-air missile): in fact, you can clearly see the CCIL (continuously computed impact line) of the gun as well as the stadiametric circle, while hearing at the tone of the IR seeker.
While interesting, the video is just the latest of a long series of HUD clips showing tense intercepts over the Aegean Sea: every now and then this kind of footage surfaces fuelling national pride and excitement on one or the other side.
Greece claims 10 miles of air space around a chain of Greek islands lined up along the Turkish west coast, part of those are in very close proximity to the mainland, while Turkey recognizes only six miles (that is to say the extent of the Greek territorial waters, recognized by each other).
Many of the incidents take place within the four-mile radius, which Athens considers its sovereign airspace and Ankara considers international one; however, according to several reports, there are a number of unauthorised Turkish military flights directly over Greek islands themselves.
An article published last year reported that according to the the Greek General Staff, the number of incidents of Turkish aircraft violating the country’s airspace over the Aegean in the first ten months of 2019 had reached 3,954.
A previous article, published by Politico in 2014 reported figures from research at the University of Thessaly, according to which there had been 2,244 incursions of Turkish fighter jets and helicopters in 2014. Although it’s unclear how many of those +2,000 occurred within the contentious 4NM airspace (nor do we know the figures of the Greek violations logged on average by the Turkish Air Force besides this data from 2012), it’s quite clear that a border incident is always around the corner over the Aegean Sea. Like the one that led to dogfight and subsequent a mid-air collision in 2006 (causing the death of a Greek pilot).