Red Eagles: The USAF's Cold War Secret Squadon

Red Eagles: The USAF's Cold War Secret Squadon

3.8 9
by Steve Davies
     
 

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From the late 1960s until the end of the Cold War, the United States Air Force acquired and flew Russian-made MiG jets, culminating in a secret squadron dedicated to exposing American fighter pilots to enemy technology and tactics.

Red Eagles tells the story of this squadron from the first tests of MiGs following the Vietnam War when the USAF had been

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Overview

From the late 1960s until the end of the Cold War, the United States Air Force acquired and flew Russian-made MiG jets, culminating in a secret squadron dedicated to exposing American fighter pilots to enemy technology and tactics.

Red Eagles tells the story of this squadron from the first tests of MiGs following the Vietnam War when the USAF had been woefully under-prepared in aerial combat. These initial flights would develop into the "black" or classified program known internally as Constant Peg.

At a secret air base in Nevada, ace American fighter pilots were presented with a range of differnet MiG jets with a simple remit: to expose "the threat" to as many of their brethern as possible. Maintaining and flying these "assets" without without spare parts or manuals was an almost impossible task, putting those flying the MiGs in mortal danger on every flight.

Despite these challenges, in all more than 5,900 American aircrews would train against America's secret MiGs, giving them the eskills they needed to face the enemy in real combat situations.

For the first time, this book tells the story of Constant Peg and the 4477th Red Eagles Squadron in the words of the men who made it possible.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Davies' Red Eagles is a fitting tribute to [the pilots who died flying the Mi-Gs], and to all those who flew and supported the MiG training effort. His is a wonderful tale, superbly told, unveiling one of the last great unknown cold war stories." -Richard P Hallion, Air & Space (March 2009)

"...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)

Publishers Weekly

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.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781846033780
Publisher:
Osprey Publishing, Limited
Publication date:
09/23/2008
Series:
General Aviation Series
Pages:
352
Product dimensions:
9.38(w) x 10.88(h) x 1.31(d)

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