#Reviewing Tiger Check

Brian D. Laslie and Tyson Wetzel


Tiger Check: Automating the US Air Force Fighter Pilot in Air-to-Air Combat, 1950–1980. Steven A. Fino. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2017.


This truly is a different type of book about aerial combat, written by a pilot who examines the myth of his own profession, and examines the ever-changing interplay of fighter pilot and machine.

The mythical figure of the fighter pilot has long held sway in the imagination of the average American. Every generation seems to have their hero represented in books and films such as Hells Angels, The Hunters, even Flight of the Intruder. For the authors’ generation it was Top Gun. The new book, Tiger Check: Automating the US Air Force Fighter Pilot in Air-to-Air Combat, 1950–1980, successfully challenges preconceived notions of both the public and pilots about what it means to be a fighter pilot. The author, Colonel Steven A. “Munch” Fino, is a command pilot, a graduate of the US Air Force Weapons School, and holds a PhD in Engineering Systems from MIT. Fino successfully weaves together a highly technical, heavily footnoted, and what some might call dense academic writing into an extremely readable narrative. This is no mean feat given Fino’s proclivity for detail. This truly is a different type of book about aerial combat, written by a pilot who examines the myth of his own profession, and examines the ever-changing interplay of fighter pilot and machine. 

Fino focuses on the three decades of aerial combat, from the beginning of the Korean Conflict through the end of the Vietnam War. During this age of automation, technology advanced exponentially, fundamentally changing the role of the fighter pilot, and as an extension, the skills required of a fighter pilot. Tiger Check follows this transformation and shows that the automation of fighter pilot tasks does not eliminate the need for a great pilot, but rather redefines the skills necessary.

In the beginning, being a fighter pilot was all about having what later came to be called the right stuff: good eyesight, excellent hand-eye coordination, good stick and rudder skills, and aggressiveness. Fino goes to great lengths to demonstrate that over the course of next three decades these skills did not necessarily change, but they did evolve as pilots had to contend with increasingly complex aircraft systems. The history of fighter aviation rapidly became the struggle to understand automation, as we see in the three distinct ages that mirror Fino’s chapters: Sabres over Korea, Phantoms over Vietnam, and Eagles over Nellis.[1]

The Myth of the Fighter Pilot and the Great Pilot and Great Machine Narratives

Fino traces the origin of the myth of the fighter pilot to World War I, and describes how the myth has remained relatively unchanged throughout the age of flight. To the public, the myth endured, but was quite misleading. Fino lays out the three tenets of the myth, that “air warfare represented honorable combat fought by honorable individual warriors; that it was the unique skill of the pilot that dictated success; and that the tally of aerial victories recorded by the pilot…was an appropriate measure of his success.”[2]

There were no gentlemen’s agreements to aerial combat, nor any white scarves in the wind.

The myth, however, ignores historical reality and fighter pilots have stubbornly clung to the myth throughout the generations, unfortunately with very real negative consequences. Pilots resisted new technology and tactics if they were perceived as threatening the great pilot narrative in favor of the great machine narrative. In reality, all three of the tenets of the myth were exaggerated, or just plain false. There were no gentlemen’s agreements to aerial combat, nor any white scarves in the wind. It was brutish, nasty and often fatal.[3]

The notion of fighter pilots as knights of the sky is quickly dispelled as Fino notes most engagements did not involve two aircraft meeting followed by a friendly wave before doing battle to the death. Rather, most engagements involved duplicity and cunning in the hopes of sneaking into position behind an unsuspecting enemy and then unceremoniously gunning him in the back hearkening back to a fighter pilot truism: “lose sight, lose the fight.”

The myth of the fighter pilot brought two competing narratives into conflict. The Great Pilot narrative stresses the importance of the pilot as knight waging honorable aerial combat. The Great Machine narrative stresses the importance of the aircraft, its avionics, and weapons. Fino argues that rather than competing, these narratives actually have a symbiotic relationship.[4]

As Fino writes, the effects of the enduring myth—mythology might be an apt phrase—are still felt today: “The pilots’ continued enchantment with the fighter pilot myth, however, had a pernicious side effect.” When the tactics were based on technology changes, “the pilots proved exceedingly stubborn in adjusting to them.”[5] Improved technology fundamentally changed the role of the fighter pilot, and how pilots dealt with these changes is what Fino explores in three sections.

Sabres over Korea

Aerial combat changed little in the half decade between the end of World War II and the beginning of the Korean conflict. Even the advent of jet fighters did not fundamentally alter air-to-air combat, the aggressor still needed to visually identify their target, close to very short range, and shoot the adversary down with aerial cannons. The myth of the fighter pilot remained strong, “Korea air combat, the men were told, demanded pilots who were aggressive ‘tigers,’ aviators who possessed the requisite ‘guts’ needed to brave unenviable odds for a shot at ‘glory.'"[6] The highest praise a fighter pilot could receive during this era was being called or being known as a tiger.

A flight of F-86 SABREs over Korea in 1953 (Senior Airman Victor J. Caputo/USAF Photo)

New technology, specifically the A-1C(M) radar ranging gunsight did emerge during the conflict, presaging a new age of automation. The A-1C(M) gunsight promised to make the F-86 Sabre pilots more lethal by automating much of the aerial targeting process, but it also threatened to replace the knightly, warrior image of the fighter pilot with that of a scientist, or worse yet, a push-button missileman operative.

Older pilots—the veterans of World War II—were less likely to accept new technology. These pilots also had higher kill ratios, which gave their opinions credence. The fighter pilot myth made the older generation shun technical knowledge and ill-inclined to adapt their previously learned skills to the new equipment. Younger pilots however, learned to work with technology to better position themselves for a kill, and came to realize that knowledge equaled increased lethality. They became technical and more adept at using this new technology which, paired with their aggressive spirit, increased their kill ratios. By the end of the conflict in Korea the spirit of the tiger was alive and well and Sabre pilots realized that they were more lethal when they worked with their machine. However, the technology and design of the next front-line U.S. Air Force aircraft would threaten the fighter pilot myth in new ways.

Phantoms over Vietnam

Aerial combat underwent a dramatic shift between the Korean Conflict and the Vietnam War, and continued to evolve throughout the Vietnam conflict. The Air Force procured and deployed huge numbers of the F-4 Phantom II, which relied on the promise of improved avionics and air-to-air missiles to kill at long-range, obviating the need for the dog fights of yesteryear. The first versions of the F-4 did not even carry a gun. The discrepancy between the myth and the actual fighter pilot experience was exacerbated following the introduction of advanced fire control systems and their associated missile weapons after 1950.[7]

Phantom drivers also had to learn how to operate as a team. Whereas the fighter pilot myth emphasized the valiant knight fighting by himself, the F-4 diverged from previous Air Force air superiority aircraft by placing a second qualified pilot in the back seat. According to Fino, the new technology and weapons on the F-4 led to pilots questioning their role as fighter pilots, were they the flying knights of the fighter pilot myth, or had technological advances turned fighter pilots into flying scientists?[8] These questions were exacerbated by the results of aerial combat in Vietnam.

Unlike in previous wars, the Air Force did not quickly gain and maintain air superiority. In the Vietnam experience, kill ratios paled in comparison to Korea, and aircraft and aircrew losses were unacceptably high. Poor pilot training, inexperienced aircrew, and advanced surface and air threats all contributed to the high loss rates. There were a plethora of reasons for the Air Force’s lackluster performance in Vietnam, including poor training, equipment ill-suited for the conflict, and poor personnel decisions. Even as the war ground on, plans were let for a new fighter aircraft, one that solved all aforementioned problems into a single-seat aerial fighter, but it was yet to be determined how fighter pilots would react to it.

Eagles over Nellis

The hard-earned lessons of Vietnam played a major role in the development of the most successful aerial combat fighter in history, the F-15 Eagle.[9] The F-15 housed a revolutionary radar that could find, track, and, in conjunction with vastly improved missiles, kill an adversary at long range. This automation, while undoubtedly increasing the lethality of Eagle drivers, threatened to relegate the fighter pilot to the automated missile men that they so feared becoming.

An F-15C EAGLE fires an AIM-7 SPARROW air-to-air missile (Master Sergeant Michael Ammons/USAF Photo)

Central to the F-15’s concept of operations was its large and highly capable radar that could detect and track multiple targets at long range. The radar made superb eyesight less vital; now the radar and not the eyeball provided the first look. Additionally, the radar and associated long-range missiles allowed and even encouraged the pilot to kill an adversary beyond visual range, vastly reducing the occurrence of the iconic dogfight. Fino makes a critical point when discussing how the Eagle’s radar changed the role of the fighter pilot: “[t]he new radar equipment had not obviated the operator and his skills; it had redefined them.”[10] Pilots went from being systems operators to information integrators. Successful pilots needed to integrate information from their radar and other sensors, and use that information to maneuver to a position where they could employ a weapon and kill their adversary before they could even see the other aircraft.

In addition to the radar, the F-15 significantly improved cockpit layout and functionality via what is known as hands on throttle and stick (HOTAS) which allowed pilots to keep their eyes up, looking outside the cockpit while they used this new technology to work their avionics and weapons.[11] This automation did not eliminate the need for a skilled pilot, but it did change the necessary skills.

The F-22 Raptor, with its sensor-rich, data-driven processing, continues to redefine the pilot.

Finally, the capability jump provided by the F-15 necessitated new tactical employment doctrine, standards, and training. The welded wing formation of the Korean and Vietnam wars would limit the effectiveness of the F-15. To maximize their radar coverage, firepower, and mutual support, F-15 formations moved away from close formations in favor of a more fluid tactical formation that empowered each pilot, even the least experienced wingman, to find and engage targets.[12] With all the advantages the F-15 now offered, pilots now needed technological knowledge. Pilots could no longer be the Red Baron of old.[13]

Though the scope of his study ends in 1980, Fino briefly touches on modern aerial combat as a means to show how technology and automation will continue to redefine the role of the fighter pilot. He defends the oft-derided unmanned aerial vehicle pilot as a pilot who utilizes a different, but still vital set of talents. The F-22 Raptor, with its sensor-rich, data-driven processing, continues to redefine the pilot. Just as the integrated avionics concept of the F-15 changed the role of fighter pilots to information integrators, the sensor fusion concept of the F-22 again modified the role of the fighter pilot. Fino argues that real time planning has now become a critical pilot skill, as Raptor pilots are essentially battle managers that can build situational awareness on the battlespace and maximize the effectiveness of air assets.

Conclusion

Tiger Check is an academic analysis of a critical period in the history of aerial combat and a unique examination of the origins, falsehoods, and even harmful effects of the myth of the fighter pilot. Fino takes his readers through three generations of aerial combat from 1950-1980, an era defined in large part by amazing new aircraft, avionics, and missiles. This age of automation fundamentally redefined the skills required of a great pilot. Unfortunately, “[e]ven today, many fighter pilots neither understand nor appreciate the evolving nature of their tasks, their changing relationships with their technologies, and the implications therein. The effects can be pernicious.”[14] Tiger Check provides historical proof that automation does not mean the end of the great pilot narrative, and actually makes pilots more lethal. Fino argues fighter pilots must understand the symbiotic nature of pilot and machine and not shun new technology and tactics, but rather embrace the changing nature of aerial combat and the role of the pilot in it.

If the Sabre pilots were tigers, then today’s fighter pilots are tigers in lab coats. 

During the Korean War fighter pilots were told to be tigers in the air, just as their forefathers had been during the first two World Wars. New technology and automation made pilots and observers question if the aerial knights of the past were giving way to scientists whose job it was to act as automated missile operators. Fino argues that regardless of the aircraft, avionics, and weapons, a great fighter pilot still must rely on tenacity and an aggressive spirit to be successful in the deadly game of aerial combat. He concludes that pilots are not, and never were aerial knights, and though they may be highly technical systems operators now, they should not be thought of as aerial scientists either. Fighter pilots of today and the future are, best thought of, as they always have been, as tigers.

Fino has truly written a very fine and well-researched academic book that will appeal across disciplines and military services. Tiger Check proves that aggressiveness and being a good stick, are still the hallmark of being of fighter pilot, but adds switchology and scientific skills needed to the traits necessary to operate a modern fighter aircraft. If the Sabre pilots were tigers, then today’s fighter pilots are tigers in lab coats. Fino should be mandatory reading for fighter pilots, especially those who are not familiar with the genesis of the tactics and tradecraft that they ply today. Though highly technical in some sections, it is an imminently readable tome that will also appeal to air power and technical aficionados, and those who seek to understand the origins and the changing nature of air-to-air combat.


After reading and reviewing his book Tiger Check: Automating the US Air Force Fighter Pilot in Air-to-Air Combat, 1950-1980, we sat down (virtually) with Fino to discuss the origins of Tiger Check, how being a fighter pilot prepared him for the academic rigors of researching and writing a dissertation, and a host of other subjects related to aerial combat.

Laslie and Wetzel: How did you conceive of this project? What was its genesis?

Three experiences shaped this book. The first was my decade’s-worth of flying and instructing in the F-15C Eagle. I knew firsthand how F-15 pilots used their aircraft and associated missile technology, but I didn’t know the lineage of why we did what we did in the air. My interest in that history was triggered when I was studying at the Air Force’s School of Advanced Air & Space Studies (SAASS). There, I researched how fighter pilots during Vietnam successfully engineered a way to use an external gun on the F-4C during air-to-air combat. I found the case study to be fascinating. It not only revealed the dynamic interplay between the technical and social influences that contributes to innovation, but it also illuminated how the Phantom pilots’ experiences reverberate in present-day fighter squadrons. Later, my time at MIT provided me with the opportunity to investigate complex socio-technical systems from a multi-disciplinary perspective, combining engineering systems, security studies, and the history of technology. When I subsequently started searching for a research topic, exploring the human-and-machine dynamics embedded within fighter aviation seemed a perfect fit.

I ended up assembling the history backwards, though. My original plan was to pick up where I left off with my SAASS thesis and focus on the fighter pilots’ transition from the F-4 to the F-15, with a special emphasis on a set of joint Air Force-Navy air combat tests (AIMVAL-ACEVAL) conducted in 1977. The historical evidence revealed a significant shift during this transition in the pilots’ attitudes toward their advanced weaponry, but it was also much more nuanced than I originally thought. Moreover, it begged the question, was the shift unique to that particular aircraft transition, or had similar shifts occurred before? Consequently, I started looking at pilots’ attitudes toward their aircraft technologies during the transition from the F-86 to the F-4, which then required me to also investigate the shift from the propeller-driven fighters of World War I and II to the jet-powered F-86.

During this process, I stumbled across an eight-page illustrated spread in a 1952 issue of Life magazine. Forecasting that a pilot would soon use his aircraft’s “electronic ‘brain’” to steer a rocket-powered missile toward his foe, the editors at Life wondered who would fly these new futuristic aircraft—would they be “aces” or “flying scientists”? Reflecting on this article and its simple question, I realized that the story of the fighter pilot is also a story about how humans cope with technologies that, by changing what people do, ultimately threaten who they are. That idea became the organizing theme for my MIT dissertation and for this book. And I think it’s a theme that has relevance for us all as we confront increasing levels of automation in our daily lives.

You are both a fighter pilot and an academic. How does being one aid in being the other?

To be a successful fighter pilot, you must be able to think critically—to assimilate and prioritize bits and pieces of information while developing an appropriate, situation-specific solution. You must then be able to communicate that solution to those around you effectively and efficiently. Fighter pilots devote countless hours to mission planning, briefing, and debriefing, with each sortie honing these skills. In fact, inculcating in its graduates these critical thinking and communication skills is a key mission of the USAF’s Weapons School. Being a fighter pilot therefore provides perfect preparation for becoming an academic, in my opinion. However, most fighter pilots aren’t afforded the opportunity to dedicate a few years of their life to researching and writing a dissertation (if they wanted it).

For this project in particular, I certainly appreciated my background as a fighter pilot. I’m not sure I would have been able to finish the research in a reasonable timeframe if I wasn’t already familiar with the fighter pilots’ lingo, tactics, and many of their technologies. Hopefully I was able to translate the subtleties of these unique terms and concepts for the lay reader. Of course, another challenge with being a fighter pilot “participant observer” during this project was the requirement to remain objective. All I can say on that front is that I did my best, and hopefully readers will judge me successful.

What lessons do you want your readers to get from Tiger Check? Who would most benefit from it: academics, fighter pilots, or those with an interest in the history of technology?

Today, we are routinely confronted with bold prognostications touting how tomorrow’s automated, electronic equipment, enriched with new machine learning algorithms and artificial intelligence (AI) designs, will upheave entire industries, unleashing unprecedented productivity, while simultaneously replacing millions of human operators. I tend to disagree with these forecasts, because they suggest that automation is a zero-sum struggle between humans and machines. As David Mindell has said, a “machine that operates entirely independently of human direction is a useless machine.” We must therefore search for, identify, and then carefully craft those human interactions that ultimately give meaning and purpose to our purportedly automated machinery.

The history of the fighter pilot provides a useful example of how skilled operators can shape, and are shaped by, the automated equipment designed to perform the humans’ essential tasks. They may not have recognized it at the time, but as the engineers and pilots labored to design and then use their automated fire control systems, they were in fact wrestling with the notion of human agency in an automated workspace. It’s one of the great ironies that during this period of fighter aviation, the systems that pilots once feared would push them out of the cockpit instead became increasingly reliant upon skilled pilots remaining in the cockpit. That, to me, makes it a fascinating and relevant story for us all today.

For pilots in particular, the text offers important lessons about evolving definitions of skill and heroism. Hopefully, the book dismantles the notion of a timeless fighter pilot—what I term the “myth of the fighter pilot”—that has propagated through the ages. From its inception during the First World War, the myth has never been grounded in reality, yet it continues to exert a powerful influence over the public’s and pilots’ conceptions of what a fighter pilot is and what he or she does. Regrettably, this myth too often obscures how changing technologies have altered the human-machine relationship within a cockpit, as well as the social relationships that link pilots with one another across formations. Because pilots sometimes lack this historical appreciation, they’re susceptible to viewing new technologies, whether they be a new radar-ranged gunsight in the F-86 or sensor fusion in the F-22, as a potential threat to their profession, with the automation robbing them of their classically-defined means of demonstrating skill. The Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) enterprise represents an acute example of this tendency today. The fact that RPA pilots do not fly an aircraft in the traditional sense does not render them unskilled, as some have suggested; they are just differently skilled, as has been every generation of pilot since World War I. I believe, based on the history, that a modern fighter pilot’s tasks are more akin to that of an RPA operator than an F-86 pilot of the Korean War.

For the academic, the book hopefully underscores the value of adopting a human-and-machine perspective when studying the effects of technology. Narratives tend to privilege either the human or the machine, especially within the aviation history genre. Consequently, the preponderance of studies tend to overlook some of the more interesting and useful insights, which are found in the iterative processes of negotiation and renegotiation that shape the technologies and the humans tasked with using them. This book hopefully helps fill that void in the literature.

Finally, I also tried to craft a narrative that would appeal to the general aviation/technology enthusiast. So, in short, my hope is that all three communities will find something beneficial within the book.

Your work profiles three iconic fighter aircraft-the F-86, F-4 and F-15 - are there other aircraft or aircraft types worthy of similar study?

The Air Force’s 1954 Interceptor was going to be a marvel of automation. After take-off, the pilot would relinquish control of the aircraft to the MX-1179 fire control system, which would interface with the autopilot to steer the aircraft along an optimum intercept profile against a specific target, assigned to it via computer datalink from a SAGE ground control center. When appropriate, the fire control system would automatically activate the radar, lock the enemy target, and fire the missiles. Then, the aircraft would use the autopilot to fly back to base and land via an automatic ground-controlled approach. According to one Air Force report, the pilot aboard the 1954 Interceptor was “merely” needed “to maintain surveillance over the maze of gadgetry which surrounded him.” Alas, the 1954 Interceptor never materialized as envisioned (the first iteration was the F-102 Dagger Dart; the more mature version became the F-106 Delta Dart), but I’m curious what the interceptor pilots thought about this proposed arrangement. The Air Force report made no mention of that.

More broadly, I’m interested in understanding how the interceptor pilot experience differed from that of the fighter pilot, and how those experiences shaped the different pilots’ perspectives on aviation technology.

You brought up the different skills of RPA pilots. Do you believe there are mission sets that can or should be executed by unmanned aircraft? Conversely, are there mission sets that you believe cannot or should not be executed by unmanned aircraft?

In my opinion, questioning whether a mission should be manned or unmanned is the wrong approach. The physical presence of the human operator is a poor proxy for his or her level of involvement in the system or the criticality of the mission. Even in unmanned platforms, there are distinct human interactions that are absolutely essential. Similarly, within manned aviation—and fighter combat, to boot—there are several tasks that are highly automated, requiring no human interaction at all. Rather than advancing the discussion, I’ve found the “unmanned-manned” question tends to perpetuate the “all or nothing” view of automation, overlooking the vast space that separates the two poles.

Instead of focusing on where the human is physically located, we should be asking what we need the human to do during a mission. When does the mission rely on his or her distinct humanity? In these instances, how do the human and machine interface to function as a team to accomplish the task? How would different methods and modes of human-machine interaction affect task execution? These types of questions help us identify areas where automation can be purposefully introduced to enhance the mission, rather than just introducing automation for automation’s sake. I think the Pentagon often deceives itself into thinking that it’s doing the former while it’s actually doing the latter. From my own experience flying and instructing in the RQ-4, I was frequently left wondering why engineers had chosen to automate certain functions of the aircraft while leaving others for the pilots to execute “manually.” The human operator has only finite cognitive capacity, but it’s also a capability that cannot be replicated by today’s (or tomorrow’s) AI and machine learning algorithms. We need to make sure we’re using our uniquely human capabilities in the most efficient and effective manner possible.

Sometimes, that requires the human operator to be physically present. Other times, they may provide greater utility by not being physically present. For example, freed from the stringent weight and space constraints that govern aviation, the early Predator operators seized a unique opportunity to alter their workspaces and human-machine tasks. Foregoing the “babysitting” role they were initially assigned, the pilots and sensor operators instead became information integrators extraordinaire, capable of assembling disparate visual, textual, and auditory feeds from multiple sensors, networks, and systems into a coherent scene, and then leveraging their aircraft’s unique position over the battlefield to get the right information and the right effect to the right location. It’s a task no machine could be programmed to do; it’s also a task that a human could not do in the air, because he or she would never have access to the volume and variety of information available on the ground.

If we didn’t need to be physically co-located with our machines, what other opportunities would emerge to showcase our uniquely human skills? I believe that’s a more interesting question.

In the book you dedicate a significant amount of time indicting the inaccurate aspects of the “myth of the fighter pilot,” and the potential pernicious effects of the myth. How has this point been accepted by your fellow fighter pilots?

We’ll see what they say when this review hits the street. Honestly, I haven’t received too much feedback on the book yet. My goal is to stimulate dialog so that we can better understand how automation affects our lives. Hopefully the book and your review contribute to that end.

Ultimately, I think most fighter pilots would acknowledge that the myth doesn’t accurately characterize fighter aviation. From the myth’s inception during World War I, it’s always forsaken the gritty realities of air combat in favor of a simpler, more romantic narrative. Pilots have, throughout history, recognized this. Yet the myth continues to influence popular (and military) culture. There’s never been a compelling reason for pilots to try to dispel the myth, because historically it has contributed to their privileged status within society and the military. Problems arise when people and organizations rely on the myth to imagine what fighter pilots do, and then design systems that appeal to the mythology, rather than devoting the time and effort to study what pilots actually do.

Another aspect that makes the fighter pilot history so interesting is that the fighter pilot myth, and the professional identity that it attempts to reflect, has proven remarkably durable over the past century. Despite technology transforming the tasks that fighter pilots perform in the air, the myth has persisted, suggesting that professional identities may be much more malleable than we tend to believe.

What's next for you?

I’ll be leaving the Pentagon this summer to serve as the Vice Commander for the 1st Fighter Wing at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia…so no new book projects on the horizon for me.


Brian D. Laslie is deputy command historian at the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and United States Northern Command (USNORTHCOM). He is the author of The Air Force Way of War and Architect of Air Power. Tyson Wetzel is an Air Force intelligence officer, a graduate of the United States Air Force Weapons School where he was also an instructor, and the U.S. Marine Corps Command and Staff College. The views expressed in this article are the authors’ alone, and do not reflect the official position of the U.S. Government, the Department of Defense, or the U.S. Air Force.


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Header Image: Lt. Bobbi Doorenbos, USAF Iowa AANG climbs into her F-16, Kuwait, SOUTHERN WATCH 1998. (Photo by USAF TSGT James D. Mossman Wikimedia)


Notes:

[1] Steven A. Fino, Tiger Check: Automating the US Air Force Fighter Pilot in Air-to-Air Combat, 1950–1980, Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2017, p. 271.

[2] Fino, Tiger Check, p. 18-19.

[3] Ibid, p. 23.

[4] Ibid, p. 8.

[5] Ibid, p. 197.

[6] Ibid, p. 108.

[7] Ibid, p. 115.

[8] Ibid, p. 157.

[9] The F-15 has an undefeated 104-0 kill ratio, unmatched by any fighter in the history of aerial combat, https://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/aircraft/f-15.htm.

[10] Fino, Tiger Check, p. 255.

[11] Ibid, p. 225.

[12] Ibid, p. 247.

[13] Ibid, p. 259.

[14] Ibid, p. 271.