Declassified dogfight footage: F-14 Tomcat vs. Libyan MiG-23

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Daniel Robbins : A little explanation may help for some of you. Angels is altitude expressed in thousands of feet. Angels 10 is 10,000 feet. Angels five is 5,000 feet. Fox One means that the speaker (pilot) has launched a radar guided or semi-active radar homing missile. If I remember correctly these two F-14s were armed with four AIM-7 Sparrows semi-active radar homing and four AIM-9 Sidewinders heat seeking missiles. Fox 2 was the other F-14 pilot referring to firing an AIM-9 Sidewinder. When one pilot says, "There he is, shoot," he responds with "I can't, I don't have any f(^$*%$ tone," he is referring to an audible signal that the Sidewinder seeker head sends to the pilot. That is the growling noise that you hear a few seconds later. That tells the pilot that the Sidewinder seeker head has picked up the target. This was the second of two air-to-air engagements between Libyan air force fighters and U.S. navy fighters during the and Reagan administration. Moammar Quadaffi had claimed the Gulf of Sidrah as Libyan territory in violation of United Nations agreements. President Quadaffi proclaimed a "Line of Death" between Tripoli and Benghazi across the opening of the Gulf of Sidrah. President Reagan refused to recognize it as Libyan territory and ordered US navy assets to patrol inside the gulf while respecting the US (and international) recognized limit of 12 nautical miles from Libyan shoreline. In 1981 two F-14s flying combat air patrol (I forget the name of the carrier, I think it was the USS Nimitz) reacted on two Su-22 Fitters and downed them both with AIM-9 Sidewinders. It appeared to be an easy shoot because the Fitter is a ground attack fighter, not well suited for air-to-air combat. In this video the F-14s shoot down two MiG-23 Fencers, not much better suited to air-to-air combat. The MiG-23 was an air defense fighter designed to attack heavy bombers such as B-52s. Its capabilities were poor compared to US fighters such as the F-14 and US air force F-15. Quadaffi used to spoil for a fight with the United States, at least he said he did. After surviving a couple of near misses he kind of shut up.

Harambe : Those that are saying that America had no right to blow them out of the sky didn’t pay attention to the video. The F-14s tried 5 times (he says it) to divert their course and all 5 times they were followed by the migs when, if I heard correctly, they were locked on to. They had every right to obliterate those dumbasses

Dennis Croak : Angels = altitude in 1,000 of feet; Angels 8 = 8,000 Feet Jink = erratic movement, meant to obtaining firing solution difficult Bogey = unknown aircraft Fox 1 = Semi active missile (needs firing aircraft support) Fox 2 = IR Missile (heat seekers) Fox 3 = Active Missile (self supporting, like AAMRAM) FLOGGER = NATO designation of MiG 23

TheSoloAsylum : Can we send a few F14's to deal with the Indian tech support scammers?

Rob Axl : The lybians only attacked because Doc from Back To The Future stole the plutonium from them

Jerry Oswald : I remember this encounter in the news back when it happened. Libya tried to extend the international recognized 200 nautical mile limit from its shores to 500 miles. The American planes were sent to challenge that by flying just outside of the 200 mile limit and the Libyan Air Force was sent to respond. So no, the F-14s were not on routine patrol, they were on troll patrol.

David Gagliardo : Back when this happened, President Reagan said it best....."They counted on America to be passive. They counted wrong."

Ruku Austin : I actually really appreciate the restraint these guys showed. No one wanted to blow the shit out of the MIG's.

Curtis Brechter : I was on the USS John F. Kennedy in Crash & Salvage the day this happened. It was my birthday and I worked nights at sea (7pm-7am). When I came up from the coop to work that night everyone was laughing and smiling and talking about the Tomcats shooting down the Migs. A few days later after the video was edited to remove info on the video the all of ships company got to see and hear this very video. It's been 30 years since I've heard this. I'm a lil emotional about this cause ...GOD DAMN IT that was my shipmates and my ship that did this and made all of us damn proud to be a American sailor that day. Good shooting good hunting you hot dogs in those Tomcats!!!

Raymond Mars : If I can remember, an incident like this incident caused a stir about President Reagan and when to wake him up. His reply was classic, "If they had knocked down one of ours, then it would be right to wake me up. Since it was theirs shot down, why wake me up?".

RustyHeels06 : Pretty sure I saw a documentary about this starring Tom Cruise.

F-14B Tomcat : I don't care what you say or believe in, neither pilots of the f-14's should be at fault. They were only doing their job. The Libyan MIG's had shown aggression to the tomcats. (At around 7:21 you can hear one of the F-14 pilots or RIO's say, "he got a missile off".) And that goes to the user @MiG23 Flogger

Rockme Raynes : Hey, those migs didnt have to play the game. They chose to.

heather lane : Hi. I'm from Canada. Thank you to the wonderful U.S.A. Fantastic American fighter pilots. Good work! Without America the world would be a terrible place! To all the people leaving bad comments I suggest you go live in Libya! Hey, what's that? You don't want to go live in Libya? Hmmmm. Love from, Heather.

mr funkybuttlovin : I guess those MIGs flew into......THE DANGERZONE

Dave Z : when the pilot starts breathing hard you know its getting real....

Chris Shelton : Wow. Aren't there any regular people on the internet anymore? Or is everyone a Russian political troll? RIP comments section.

Mach1Airspace : The Mig pilots simply had no clue what they were up against. They were out flown and outgunned from the start. Shouldn't have gone into the lions den. Bad day to be a Mig Pilot over the Medi Sea.

Tsar Chasm : Moral of the story is, if you’re a weak African nation, do not waste your entire Air Force on two Tomcats

The Fuzzy Vulpine : Answer this: If the Americans were being the aggressors in this situation, then why did they hold their fire for so long and make multiple attempts to disengage?

Joseph Johnston : if that don't get u pumped up u ain't a American. let'ssss go

Libs Hate Montesquieu : This was my father's battle group. He wrote to me in a letter that I got weeks later explaining that his ship sounded general quarters and after the tomcats stopped the threats his shipmates were cheering on board his cruiser.

Allen Hughes : Mess with the bull and you'll get the horns.

BossKing : You fly at US fighters and they give you FIVE chances to avoid contact you better believe you’ve just confirmed your death wish. Doesn’t matter what part of the world that’s in!!!! Great video!!

JOWNZ88 : The Mig was the agressor here. The f-14 changed course 5 times before attacking. You can not do that unless you want to fight. They probably should have thought it through a little better.

John Galt : They came they saw he died hahahahaha

texknight67 : Going against American Pilots is not a good idea. It's tantamount to strapping on a bomb and blowing yourself up. But, they do enjoy doing that kind of thing.

Christopher Carr : Angels is the height. Angels 10 is 10,000 feet.

knowplay : As an Direct Action Intel officer for the NCS/DO, I worked Tunisia. We control the southern Med. Period. We have a strict no-fly policy outside sovereign airspace of north African countries unless flight plans have been logged and approved with AfriCom. This pertains to military flights and some private air traffic. We have a "secret" joint USN/USMC base very near the city of Tunis. From here, we control the southern Med. The Tunis base has several squadrons of USN and USMC aircraft utilized in various roles. In this case, IFF beacons were not found on incoming bogeys and no flight plans had been filed. The US was in loose state of diplomacy with Libya and every possible chance was given to the incoming aircraft as it was thought Libyan or Algerian aircraft may have ventured off course by accident. Several attempts to contacts the incoming aircraft were made with no response. With relations as tentative as they were and the bogeys matching every attempt to avoid conflict, the CFO gave the Tomcats a weapons free and clear. They tried to give them a chance and every attempt was made to avoid conflict. In the end, the Tomcats could no longer take a chance.

Edge : just another day playing with the toys.

Carolina Trucker : MiG23 Flogger just gonna put this out there...... since you seem to have convinced yourself that Americans are cowards or weak or fags or any of the other things you’ve called numerous posters in these comments, I would like to extend a heartfelt, genuine invitation to you, to come out from behind your keyboard and come stand toe to toe with ME and express your views and call me whatever you like. If you genuinely feel that we are cowards, this shouldn’t be a problem whatsoever. And the logistics are not a problem, say the word and we can iron out specifics. This offer does not expire and is open for any and all friends, accomplices, comrades, family, goats and/or camels to accompany you. Please RSVP........ SOON

Timothy Gilliam : A bit confused. I was a crewmember onboard NIMITZ, CVN 68. We were in transit as a “Freedom of Navigation Exercise,” in the Gulf of Sitre. I believe the F-14s were from our ship. I do know that a major press briefing was held onboard Nimitz when we sped north and hosted many international journalists in what I recall was Naples. This event was hosted by then Rear Admiral James Service. Here is the information I recall: 1 each VF-41 "Black Aces" and 1 each VF-84 "Jolly Rogers", flying F-14 Tomcats from Nimitz. I was Chief of OP Division and recall the pride and pace of producing that media package. Anyone that wishes to add to this, go for it. I am sure there are many others who were there. Note: VAdm James Edward Service passed on February 10, 2017 at the age of 86. He was a great leader who inspired many to their success.

Pierre LeDouche : What I find interesting, and what I didn't know until I saw this video was that the American pilots made a point of confirming the Libyan pilots ejected and had good 'chutes before leaving from the area. I guess nobody wanted to punish a couple of Libyan pilots who had the guts to go on a suicide mission against superior planes and pilots, even though they were forced to do so by a loony-tunes nutcase dictator. That speaks well of the Libyans, for their courage, and for the Americans who sounded relieved that the Libyan pilots appeared to survive the lopsided encounter. And of course nutcase Qaddafi never openly confronted American air power in international airspace ever again. So much for the Line of Death. Dumbass.

sofia lizzy : Heh!!! I have a tshirt on this dogfight... my uncle is retired navy - on the back the graphic shows the tomcats and has a score board Libya 0 US 2... Down the sleeve it says "Anytime baby!" MY FAV TSHIRT EVERRRRRRRRRRRR

matty d : I would put my money on an American pilot flying a cessna shooting a .22 revolver out the window against a libyan pilot flying a mig

Daniel Harris : Which pilot was news anchor Brian Williams?

mission man : CNN reports aggressive Air Force tomcat pilots shooting down defenseless Libyan migs.

English Patriot : The other migs are bugging out and going home.

rotorheadv8 : The Lybian grounds crews were like “Where’s Sahid and Ackabar? They should have been back an hour ago! “

Dustin Platt : Hold on Command.. I want another shot at it.. Eagle 1 FOX 3! wait.. wrong movie.

Sacred Raisin Cakes : There's a delightful lack of kebab in the comments.

Rob Billeaud : Right off the bat, the narrator is wrong, he calls it a supersonic dogfight but you can clearly hear the pilots call out the speed as 430, 450 and 500 kts., well below supersonic speed.

Phrog Chief : So many stupid comments on here... But hey it's youtube...

David S : Now that the US is starting to pull out of 'other peoples' countries' (eg Syria), it's funny how so many hardened critics of the US are squealing for the US not to leave! It's also very funny how so many people (eg Mexicans) are so desperate to get into the 'evil' US. I don't think the wall is intended to keep US citizens from fleeing! If the US interferes in the affairs of another country, it gets criticised. If the US declines to interfere in the affairs of another country, it gets criticised. If anything bad happens anywhere, US policy (past or present) gets blamed. Spot the contradictions anyone? And have you noticed how those who demonise the US the most vociferously have one thing in common: they're LOSERS. Characteristically, losers seek to blame others for their own failings. I'm no particular fan of the US, and they're certainly far from perfect, but I'm sure of one thing: as far as superpowers go, the US is the most benign there's ever been. If you don't agree, try living in Iran for a while. Make sure you are loudly critical of anything you don't like about its rulers and government. Send me a postcard while your head's still attached to your shoulders. And don't forget to squeal for the US to come and get you out of the shit when it all goes wrong.

Giggitygoo : Fox 1! Oh jesus! 6:25 That's when he realized there was going to be alot of paperwork

Chris Tyler : Good kills boys!

RizzNice : I was on this MED Cruise with the Marine A-6 squadron when this happened... seems like 100 years ago. no internet, no cell phones, just a lotta long days and nights

Benjamin Holmes : To everyone saying that we killed inosent men, the F-14 took evasive action to get out of their line of fire 6 times and were reingaged 6 times, 4 to many if i was in those sets. Look at it like those who carry guns, only carry of you intend to use. That went down exactly like it should have. You don't wait to get shot at in a fighter jet or you die. You shoot first.

Zandy Klaus : Hold up a minute.. The date is wrong.... It was in '81, my ship was the closest Navy vessel when this went down and we went to GQ. The next port we hit vendors were selling tshirts depicting two F14s flying away and two MIGS going down in flames. In bold lettering was the proclamation "US 2, Libya 0"

Kaotic404 : *F-14 Tomcat, the sexiest*