The skies over Ramstein Air Base, Germany, were abuzz with activity recently as NATO pilots participated in Ramstein 1v1, a unique exercise focused on honing basic fighter manoeuvres (BFM).

This first-of-its-kind event, hosted by U.S. Air Forces in Europe – Air Forces Africa (USAFE-AFAFRICA), saw 37 aircraft from nine NATO countries engage in simulated dogfights, pushing themselves and their machines to the limit.

With top speeds of over 1,500 miles per hour, modern fighter jets routinely pull up to 9 Gs. “In a fighter jet, you’re sweating, you’re breathing through an inch-wide oxygen tube, balancing a gamut of controls and devices, all while pushing your body to its absolute limits,” explained Col. (ret.) Cesar “Rico” Rodriguez, a former United States Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II and F-15 Eagle pilot.

“The threat of passing out at the controls is incredibly real.”

Rodriguez, known as the “MiG Killer” for downing three Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21s during his career, attended the exercise, linking the storied eras of aerial combat to its future. The event, held on 6 June 2024, included aircraft and crews from the U.S., United Kingdom, Norway, Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, and Germany. The participating aircraft ranged from F-35A Lightning IIs to Dassault Rafale Cs.

According to Lt. Col. Michael Loringer, chief of weapons and tactics for USAFE-AFAFRICA and mission planner for the exercise, “Working with peer nations not only sharpens shared tactics but ensures any deficiencies in each nation’s pilot training curricula can be identified and corrected. What we’ve done with this exercise is we’ve pitted the best of Germany, Norway, France, the U.S., all these countries against one another in simulated dogfights—air-to-air engagements. Iron sharpens iron, so when these pilots finish the exercise, they’ll meet on the ground and discuss their fight. It’s not about winning. It’s about learning.”

Rodriguez emphasised that humility is a key quality for great fighter pilots. “The best pilots I’ve known are the ones who, no matter how good they were or how much knowledge they had, were still looking for ways to improve,” he said. “Once you feel you’ve mastered your airframe, the technology is upgraded. Once you feel you’ve nailed a certain manoeuvre, it then becomes about perfecting that manoeuvre in coordination with other aircraft.”

While readiness was the main goal, the exercise included friendly rivalries and camaraderie. French Air Force Lt. Col. Guillaume Veuille, commander of the 3/30th Fighter Squadron, shared a friendly rivalry with Loringer.

“Friendships like ours are common among our ranks and make it both a pleasure to work together and a reason to bring your best efforts to these types of engagements,” Veuille said.

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Lisa has a degree in Media & Communication from Glasgow Caledonian University and works with industry news, sifting through press releases in addition to moderating website comments.
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Frank62
Frank62 (@guest_826168)
1 month ago

How many RAF fighters were there?

Rob Richardson
Rob Richardson (@guest_826185)
1 month ago
Reply to  Frank62

All of them, —- 3 i think 😂

dc647a
dc647a (@guest_826231)
1 month ago
Reply to  Rob Richardson

Sorry I think you are wrong we haven’t got enough pilots for 3 aircrafts

Wyn Beynon
Wyn Beynon (@guest_826265)
1 month ago
Reply to  Frank62

I can tell you quite definitely that there at least 92 flying Typhoons today. I monitor ADS-B. This includes aircraft that were recently at Shawbury in store reappearing on exercise.This silly talking things down is just that – silly. I see the evidence of the numbers every day. Unless there is some elaborate hoax, which would probably cost more than flying the aeroplane, let’s stick to facts, eh? Whether 100 flying Typhoons is enough is a good question, but there ARE approx 100, not 3!

Frank62
Frank62 (@guest_826285)
1 month ago
Reply to  Wyn Beynon

Hi Wyn. I didn’t say there were only 3, someone else did. It’s good 92+ Typhoons flew today. What I asked was how many RAF aircraft attended this exercise so we get a better idea how much the RAF benefits from it. I wasn’t angling in any way as to wether we had too few or too many, just if anyone had any further details that would inform the RAF experience/value of the exercise. Rather than “talking the country down” I seek to discus highlight HMG failings in providing the forces, kit & strategy we need to stay strong &… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_826343)
1 month ago
Reply to  Frank62

His reply was correct, mind. He directed it at the wrong poster.
The negativity and endless UK bashing does my head in too, and is either bots, trolls, or some with another agenda which we can all guess.

Frank62
Frank62 (@guest_826476)
1 month ago

Yes 92 Typhoon sorties is a good effort. We just need to take care not to create a climate where legitimate criticism of government policies isn’t tolerated, whatever the political hue of HMG.
What’s more unpatriotic: Running forces down below safe. sensible levels or making those cuts & expecting even more down the line?

Last edited 1 month ago by Frank62
Wyn Beynon
Wyn Beynon (@guest_826383)
1 month ago
Reply to  Frank62

Frank, I absolutely apologise – I should have posted that in the comments below your post. You are absolutely right in what you say. 92 may be available but we patrolling (with others admittedly) from Iceland to Yemen and a 4some down in the Falklands. And are we required to turn up in SE Asia? It’s the carping thing about numbers that don’t look at the actual facts that irritate me. We still pack a punch. But how many rounds could we go? The Russians are still happy to pour cannon fodder onto the battlefield with little concern for casualties.… Read more »

Frank62
Frank62 (@guest_826481)
1 month ago
Reply to  Wyn Beynon

Bless you Wyn, apology accepted. Bringing less every year to NATO only weaken NATO, diminishing its voice & ours too. We’ve shrunk down to below peacetime levels with the prospect of major war at hand. Despite all the sacrifices made by the many through austerity, we’re more in debt than when we started.

Wyn Beynon
Wyn Beynon (@guest_827531)
1 month ago
Reply to  Frank62

Thank you! Indeed we’ve borrowed on on grandchildren’s future. i hope it all works out for them. It’s not looking good just now.

GR
GR (@guest_826276)
1 month ago

Is there even any point in knowing how to dogfight any more or is it like being a cavalry soldier spending an inordinate amount of time how to fight with a sabre on horseback?

Robert Blay
Robert Blay (@guest_826286)
1 month ago
Reply to  GR

BFM is a very complex skill and needs to be practiced regularly. But it’s also true that most real world engagements take place at BVR ranges.

Frank62
Frank62 (@guest_826290)
1 month ago
Reply to  GR

Yes, it’s essential. Even if your fighter(s) kill an enemy aircraft with every missile you carry, if there’s still enemy jets left coming to attack you or other types of enemy aircraft to destroy, you need to be skilled at dogfighting with your auto-cannon to save your life & the eyewateringly jet you’re flying(plus the millions spent training you). Plus those skills also help you evade enemy missiles locked onto you.

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF (@guest_826304)
1 month ago
Reply to  Frank62

Ummm…er…yes, except that RAF/RN F-35Bs are apparently missing said autocannon, unless plans have changed. Once ASRAAMs launched, strongly recommend graceful withdrawal from combat ASAP.

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF (@guest_826306)
1 month ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

Actually, after rereading article, it does not specifically state UK F-35Bs participated in the exercise, only F-35As from unidentified country(ies). The general point remains valid however, all F-35Bs should be equipped w/ autocannon for close BFM. Saving a few £ by deleting autocannon may not be deemed a wise decision by after action reports.

Frank62
Frank62 (@guest_826311)
1 month ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

I agree. There is a canon pod for the F35B & C versions(The A has it built in internally, for those who don’t know), but I don’t know it we’ve bought any for ours.

Awac
Awac (@guest_826338)
1 month ago
Reply to  Frank62

The F-35B, as I understand, is not an aircraft capable of dog fighting with a cannon. It has a lower g rating than the A variant. I would imagine the undisputed best airframe for WVR aerial combat in NATO right now is the F-22 followed very very closely by the Typhoon. Following that would be the F-15EX, thanks to it’s carefree FBW system. Then the Rafale, Gripen, F-16, F-35A, F/A-18E/F. Russia/China may actually have the edge when it comes to WVR dogfights, with the Flanker. It will be interesting to see if the 6th generation fighters maintain any dog fighting… Read more »

Louis G
Louis G (@guest_826386)
1 month ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

The F-35B doesn’t lack a cannon for cost/weight reasons, it’s because of the lift fan taking up space. A gun pod can of course be added to the wings to add that capability back but then there’s the question of how the gun pod affects the radar cross section of the aircraft (not that that information would be made public).

Frank62
Frank62 (@guest_826482)
1 month ago
Reply to  Louis G

From what I read(Wiki, no further) the pod has been specially designed for the F35B & Cs & is at least semi stealthy, so compatability should be assured.

JohnOne
JohnOne (@guest_826752)
1 month ago
Reply to  Frank62

From TheWarZone:”The GPU-9/A is the only gun presently available for the F-35B, as well as the U.S. Navy’s F-35C variant, which is designed to operate from Catapult Assisted Take-Off But Arrested Recovery (CATOBAR) configured aircraft carriers. The pod contains a four-barrel 25mm GAU-22/A Gatling-type cannon with a rate of fire of around 3,300 rounds per minute, along with 220 rounds of ammunition, or enough for around four seconds to total firing time. The F-35A version of the Joint Strike Fighter, which the U.S. Air Force, among others, operates, has an internally-mounted GAU-22/A gun. Though designed to have as little impact… Read more »

Frank62
Frank62 (@guest_827916)
1 month ago
Reply to  JohnOne

Interesting, thanks JO. The A10s were supposed to be v good at dogfighting due to theit manouvrebility, they used to practice right over our heads over the coast here in E Suffolk when based at Woodbridge & Bentwaters.

The opoen question is wether we have any gun pods at all for our RAF F35Bs.

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF (@guest_826815)
1 month ago
Reply to  Louis G

Ummm…er… actually, no. USMC F-35Bs are equipped w/ the Terma (Danish firm) multi mission pod equipped w/ the GAU 22/A 25mm Gatling gun w/ 220 rounds. The pod is a centerline mounted, monocoque, carbon fiber structure. Your contention that although “stealthy” shaped, the pod does induce some RCS degradation may be correct, though the same claim can be stated re any external stores or structures. 🤔