This is an engaging combination of an adventure story and a case study in military reform. The Vietnam War showed the U.S. Air Force's neglect of air-to-air combat training in the belief that it was outmoded by nuclear war. Repairing that damage required a training system using Soviet bloc planes as well as air-combat tactics. Davies, a freelance expert on military aviation, explores fresh sources to begin telling how the U.S. acquired the aircraft, put them into flying condition and established a top-secret program that gave generations of young pilots something approaching experience in the realities of dogfighting. Davies eloquently describes the forceful, colorful personalities at the sharp end of this high-risk maverick operation. The book provides a perceptive analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of mid-generation Soviet MiGs that significantly expands understanding of the Arab-Israeli and Indo-Pakistan encounters involving those aircraft. Davies's major achievement is his demonstration of the Red Eagles' role in facilitating the USAF's development into a potent instrument of air supremacy that remains important even in the current era of antiterrorism. (Sept. 23)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Red Eagles: AmericaÂ?s Secret MiGsby Steve Davies
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From the mid-1960s until the end of the Cold War, the United States Air Force acquired and flew Russian-made MiG jets, eventually creating a secret squadron dedicated to exposing American fighter pilots to enemy MiGs. In this program, MiGs were secretly acquired and made air-worthy, before selected ace pilots were trained to fly the assets as they were flown by America's enemies. This book tells the fascinating story of the Red Eagles, using recently declassified information and firsthand accounts from the pilots who took part in the program.
"...a notable achievement ... a powerful survey." -California Bookwatch, November 2008
"...the book benefits from recently declassified information. ...[The stories of] over 30 pilots and crewmen that participated in the unit ... makes [for] an interesting read." - Air Classics
"Every once in a while, one runs across a book that simply sucks one into the story from page one until the end of the book. This is one of those ... So good is this book that if you buy only two or three aviation books a year, this one needs to be one of those." -Scott Van Aken, modelingmadness.com (October 2008)
"This is an engaging combination of an adventure story and a case study in military reform...Davies' major achievement is his demonstration of the Red Eagles' role in facilitating the USAF's development into a potent instrument of air supremacy that remains important even in the current era of antiterrorism."- Publishers Weekly (July 2008)
From the Hardcover edition.
Meet the Author
Steve Davies is a freelance military and commercial aviation photojournalist based in Cambridge, England. He began writing in 2001, and has since authored six critically acclaimed books and co-authored three more. His freelance writing includes a plethora of articles penned for the world's leading monthly and quarterly aviation publications, and he has also worked on a range of aviation 'partwork' magazines that have sold millions of copies globally. He has also worked as a subject matter expert for a range of military aviation documentaries commissioned by terrestrial television channels in the UK and North America, and by the History Channel. His photography has been used not only by the aviation press, but also by leading defence contractors and aviation corporations.
Steve Davies is a military aviation photojournalist based in Cambridge, England. He has authored ten critically acclaimed books and co-authored five more, and he's written for the world's leading monthly, quarterly and partwork aviation publications.
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A nice look into the secret MiG squadron that flew in the 70's and '80's out of Tonopah, NV and Area 51 by Air Force, Navy and Marine pilots. Told in nearly chronological order there is a lot of information, with a huge cast of characters that is sometimes difficult to keep straight (booking the index page at the end with the list of pilots helps). The narrative flow isn't all that great with lot's of quoted storytelling from the participants rather than the author. There are also a lot of acronyms that someone outside of the military will have to adjust to. But, the information presented is extremely interesting. Planes flown included the MiG 17 Fresco, MiG 21 Fishbed and MiG 23 Flogger. From the technical specs and playing computer games such as Harpoon, I always thought the MiG 23 was a more dangerous plane. But, from this book none of the pilots really liked it and preferred the MiG 21. The eBook was formatted well, but with several spelling errors. There are also several photos in two different sections of the book
I am about a third of the way through and it hasn't "grabbed" me yet. A little on the dull side with too many details on funding of the program, etc. I would rather have a little more meat about how the Russian jets were to fly and how they were to fly against. Maybe that is yet to come?