By Journalist 2nd Class (SW) Christopher C. Fowler, USS John C. Stennis Public Affairs
ABOARD USS JOHN C. STENNIS (NNS) -- Soviet-designed MiG-29s flew against F/A-18C Hornets, F/A-18E Super Hornets and F-14D Super Tomcats Sept. 7 during joint air-to-air combat exercises over the South China Sea.
The joint Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 14/Malaysian Royal Air Force (RAF) exercise began with Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 115 flying the F/A-18E Super Hornet, and Fighter Attack Squadron VFA-25 flying the F/A-18C Hornet against the RAF MiG-29s with four one-on-one engagements, each practicing within-visual-range air-to-air combat exercises with the historically-adversarial MiG.
The second part of the exercise involved VFA-113 flying the F/A-18D Hornet, and Fighter Squadron (VF) 31 flying the F-14D Super Tomcat, conducting mock “dog fight” engagements in a beyond-visual range exercise.
Lt. Dave Faehnle, training officer for VF-31, said the exercise was a great opportunity to fly against an aircraft that presents a real-world threat.
“We flew two, two-on-two runs against the MiG-29s,” said Faehnle. “We achieved our mission objective, to see their aircraft on radar and to engage a dissimilar aircraft. It was a great opportunity to observe some of their tactics and to exercise some of our own radar systems.”
The exercise was controlled by CVW-14’s Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 113 "Black Eagles," flying E-2C Hawkeyes.
Lt. Jill Dougherty was the air intercept control officer during the exercise and provided battle space situational awareness to the MiG to find their adversaries.
“It was fascinating,” said the Lexington Park, Md., native, “to control and interact with one of the most significant threats to U.S. military aircraft today.”
Lt. Stephen Dean flew a Super Hornet against the MIG during one of the morning engagements. According to Dean, one of the most impressive things he saw was when “his” MiG pulled a high performance, nine-G turn. A nine-G turn is a turn that causes the aircraft and the pilot to experience nine times the force of gravity.
“One of the qualities of the MiG-29 is its superb maneuverability,” said Dean, of Oak Harbor, Wash.
According to VFA-115’s Operations Officer, Lt. Cmdr. Keven Harms, the exercise was considered a success.
“The opportunity to fly against the aircraft that is considered Naval Aviation’s percentage threat, the MiG-29, was truly a once in a lifetime event and is sure to be the highlight of the cruise for everyone who participated,” he said.
Stennis is currently on a scheduled deployment to the Western Pacific and is scheduled to return to homeport in San Diego this fall.