Watch an F-22 Raptor Take on an A-4 Skyhawk in a Dogfight
Footage posted online shows an Air Force F-22 Raptor dogfighting with an A-4 Skyhawk above the Nellis Test and Training Range as part of a training exercise. The video is just under a minute and a half long and shows the F-22 descending from around 40,000 feet to engage low flying A-4s in a valley.
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The scene was captured near NAS Fallon in Nevada, which is not far from where the famous Top Gun scene featuring the dogfight between F-14 Tomcats and A-4 Skyhawks in the mountains was filmed.
The A-4 Skyhawk is considered a formidable foe when training in dogfighting, even if it isn’t the most advanced aircraft available today.
As reported by The Aviationist, an F-35 pilot touted the A-4’s relevancy based on some of the aircraft’s technology, like jammers that can disrupt radar, and a sensor performance similar to the upgraded F-16.
The tactical knowledge of the other pilots also plays a role, particularly if they possess a deep understanding of “fifth generation” weaponry and tactics.
Further, the A-4 Skyhawk is relatively tiny, especially when compared to the majority of the fighters used by enemy forces. By training against A-4s, US military pilots can refine their skills against a smaller target, making real-world engagements seem easier by comparison.
The video doesn’t provide information about the surrounding circumstances before the encounter began. For example, it isn’t clear whether another F-22 Raptor may have driven the A-4s towards the F-22 featured in the video, a form of aerial combat trap, or if a single Raptor was waiting for the Skyhawk to come into range prior to engaging.
The training mission associated with the video involved four F-22s and four F-15s performing combat air patrol (CAP) functions and clearing the surrounding airspace. Two A-4s flew in low, requiring the F-22 featured in the video to descend from 40,000 into the valley to engage the two Skyhawks.