To Build Naval Aviators Who Can Fly And Fight In The Air You’ve Got To Start Somewhere

Official US Navy Photograph

When the Navy’s TOPGUN program began teaching advanced air combat maneuvering (ACM) at Naval Air Station (NAS) Miramar in 1969 the sweeping changes introduced there eventually touched nearly every part of Naval Air in one way or another. The Naval Air Training Command (NATC) needed to play catch up. Teaching student Naval Aviators the basics of tactical formations and basic fighter maneuvering (BFM) became a part of the training syllabus at places like NAS Pensacola in Florida, NAS Corpus Christi and NAS Kingsville in South Texas, and NAS Meridian in Mississippi as well as at air stations where fleet squadrons were based like NAS Oceana in Virginia and NAS Miramar in California.

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The training film “Air Combat Maneuvering: Tactical Formation” was produced for the Navy by Bray Studios during the mid-1970s and was intended to familiarize Naval Aviators with standard tactical formations and US Navy air combat tactics. Shot primarily using VT-21 Redhawks Douglas TA-4J Skyhawks in non-specular paint schemes for demonstration purposes, the film goes through such basics as the combat spread formation and different types of coordinated turns. It’s an entertaining look at some material that may not be common knowledge to the public. There is an issue with sound tracking on the film for the first couple of minutes but it clears up. The HD visuals are priceless. Thank goodness the film is UNCLASSIFIED! And thanks to PeriscopeFilm for uploading another nostalgic aviation film!

A Douglas TA-4J Skyhawk assigned to VT-21 Redhawks. Official US Navy Photograph