Bogeys, Red Eagles and Gun Dets: US Navy Topgun Instructor

It is 50 years since the founding of the worldfamous US Navy Fighter Weapons School (NFWS), better known as ‘Topgun’. Retired US Navy CDR Jim ‘Jambo’ Ray (ret’d) shares some of his experiences as a Topgun instructor with Dr Kevin Wright.

A VF-101 F-14 Tomcat formates on an NFWS F-5E. Topgun gave US Navy and Marine aviators the chance to train with dissimilar aircraft that simulated potential real-world adversaries.
LT Dave Baranek/US Navy

The US Navy’s relatively poor airto- air combat performance in Vietnam and its apparent inability to capitalise on its technological advantage over the enemy required action. A detailed report by CAPT Frank Ault led directly to the creation of the Navy Fighter Weapons School (NFWS) on March 3, 1969.

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