The Harrier and 'viffing'

maguire

LE
Book Reviewer
#1
I've heard constant reference to this over the years, but can any resident sky gods please tell me if it's ever been suggested as a serious tactic in an engagement (insofar as you might use it to slow down very quickly) - or as I've also heard, that there is no way in the world you would deliberately let an adversary get behind you in a dogfight, no matter what tricks you had up your sleeve?
 
#2
Viffing? sound like something a "furry" fan would do!
 
#3
I've heard constant reference to this over the years, but can any resident sky gods please tell me if it's ever been suggested as a serious tactic in an engagement (insofar as you might use it to slow down very quickly) - or as I've also heard, that there is no way in the world you would deliberately let an adversary get behind you in a dogfight, no matter what tricks you had up your sleeve?
I recall that a pilot in the Falklands claimed to have used it but I have no reference. I also thought that the official position was that it would tear off the wings.

Choice: do you die from a missile strike or losing your wings? You have 1.2 seconds....

I was based in Hohne in the early 70s and we had a Garrison Fete at which the star turn was a 10 minute long dancing and hovering session by a Harrier. No ear-muffs, no barriers; just this beauty pirouetting in the air some 30 yards away from us.

They also had an exercise party trick of following the fire-breaks in the forests below tree-top height. You could hear them but couldn't see them!

Litotes
 
#4
As I understood at the time of the Falklands,vectoring in forward flight? was quite commonly used by Harrier pilots against the faster dago jets,with some success.Remember being totally baffled on a low level air defence course at Stamford by Harriers hiding under the treeline making loads of noise while another one blitzed us from behind.Me & the mrs were on a bike cruising down to Ramsgate at 70 or so from Maidstone and a Harrier cruised alongside for a while till the pilot got bored & waved 'bye.Fantastic plane!
 
#5
I was always led to believe that VIFF (it's not viffing) was an approved a practiced capability.

Gone now though.
 
#6
I'm not a fast jet chappie, much less a Harrier mate, however, ViFFing is a technical and credible capability of the Harrier family. Nevertheless, it has only ever been considered an absolutely last ditch manoeuvre.

It was never employed in the Falklands or indeed any other op UK Harriers have been involved in simply because its use immediately bleeds all energy and leaves the aircraft wallowing and vulnerable to missile (the defeat of which is largely predicated upon speed combined with defensive aids) or even a guns kill. ‘Energy management’ (ie maintaining sufficient speed and energy to retain maximum options not turning off the light in the crewroom) is probably taught on Day 1, Basic Air Combat at Tac Weapons Unit. This is the same reason that height has bestowed an advantage in air-air engagements since WWI because aircraft can dive (thereby building energy), engage and then disengage (the ability to disengage when required in combat being as important as engagement, especially when fighting superior opposition) with greater freedom. In contrast, the lower aircraft has less energy to potentially defend or follow.

SBD,

Harriers will not have been ‘hiding under the treeline’ per se on your AD course. They would simply have been using the same terrain masking low flying as a conventional fast jet.

Regards,
MM
 
#7
I'm not a fast jet chappie, much less a Harrier mate, however, ViFFing is a technical and credible capability of the Harrier family. Nevertheless, it has only ever been considered an absolutely last ditch manoeuvre.

It was never employed in the Falklands or indeed any other op UK Harriers have been involved in simply because its use immediately bleeds all energy and leaves the aircraft wallowing and vulnerable to missile (the defeat of which is largely predicated upon speed combined with defensive aids) or even a guns kill. ‘Energy management’ (ie maintaining sufficient speed and energy to retain maximum options not turning off the light in the crewroom) is probably taught on Day 1, Basic Air Combat at Tac Weapons Unit. This is the same reason that height has bestowed an advantage in air-air engagements since WWI because aircraft can dive (thereby building energy), engage and then disengage (the ability to disengage when required in combat being as important as engagement, especially when fighting superior opposition) with greater freedom. In contrast, the lower aircraft has less energy to potentially defend or follow.

SBD,

Harriers will not have been ‘hiding under the treeline’ per se on your AD course. They would simply have been using the same terrain masking low flying as a conventional fast jet.

Regards,
MM
Absolutely right MM. Around the time of the Falklands, everybody raved about viffing (vectoring in forward flight), however, as soon as you lose speed, energy is gone and you're a sitting duck. When at Tactical Weapons Unit (TWU) many moons ago we ran a 10 ship of Hawks against 4 x Harriers, 2 x F4 and 2 x F3 (plus a C130 for a bit of fun). The Harrier mates viffed and despite the lead callsign overshooting, yer No 2 achieved an easy kill. Last ditch yes; routine tactic, I'd suggest otherwise.
 
#10
I was once a crab but the docs put paid to my flying career and so I ventured into the world of armour. Hans von Luck was a remarkable individual whom I admire, apart from being on the wrong side and all that...
 
#11
Harry_Hesh said:
I was once a crab but the docs put paid to my flying career and so I ventured into the world of armour. Hans von Luck was a remarkable individual whom I admire, apart from being on the wrong side and all that...
Roger.........yeah totally agree, met him back in about 92 during a 'Bottle Field Tour' of Normandy where he gave his version of events during Op GOODWOOD. When asked why he'd spent most of the battle dressed in his best kit he said he'd been in Paris shagging and had to get back to Normandy schnellish and didn't have time to get changed!!!
 
#12
I was over running an Op GOODWOOD tour last year with a chap from the Micks Guards' Armoured. He is great friends with Richard von Rosen who commanded the Royal Tigers in Sannerville and is trying to introduce me to. It's not that I am an ardent Panzer fan, I just love a good tank battle, and GOODWOOD was a corker!
 
#13
Harry_Hesh said:
was over running an Op GOODWOOD tour last year with a chap from the Micks Guards' Armoured. He is great friends with Richard von Rosen who commanded the Royal Tigers in Sannerville and is trying to introduce me to. It's not that I am an ardent Panzer fan, I just love a good tank battle, and GOODWOOD was a corker!
On the one I went on we had Maj Bill Close who commanded our A Sqn during the battle, Lt Robin Lemon who was in Recce Tp and obviously Hans who commanded the Battle Group holding the area that 11 Armd Bde were trying to break through. With not much success it has to be said!
 
#14
Bill Close, what a legend. Thread drift, but Harriers as CAS on GOODWOOD would've been a huge asset and with no air threat, no viffing! (See what I did there - talk about joined-up thinking!)
 

maguire

LE
Book Reviewer
#15
thank you gents. and pmsl re herr von luck.
 
#16
Not sure I understand all the bollocks above, but I watched a Harrier GR9 (I think?) flying about 2 feet off the ground at the top end of Dishu and it gave me the horn - more than the wife has been able to do for the last 10yrs. Is this very wrong?
 
#17
Regarding my earlier comment about LLAD at Stamford,the Harriers were certainly hovering behind the trees,as they popped up for a laugh after we'd been blitzed.As for no combat kills using VIFF,load of absolute bolo-check combat reports for dago losses before the landings.At least 2 jets by 1 pilot as I remember
 
#18
The only time it could potentially be used was if enemy was directly behind you very close and within gun range, in the early 80s it may have been use with the older sidewinders that had to be directly being the aircraft to work (hence NATO provided AIM-9Ls to the UK secretly for the Falklands).

Or potentially for ground attack.


Either way it was probably suicide!
 
#20
Regarding my earlier comment about LLAD at Stamford,the Harriers were certainly hovering behind the trees,as they popped up for a laugh after we'd been blitzed.As for no combat kills using VIFF,load of absolute bolo-check combat reports for dago losses before the landings.At least 2 jets by 1 pilot as I remember
Harriers masking behind trees??? Like an Apache???

Waste of fuel!
 
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