When you first encounter a flight of enemy fighter-craft, they will almost always be flying in formation. Once initial contact has been made, they will break formation, in pairs, at roughly four-second intervals. Generally, you should likewise break formation to match and engage them.|
All of this leads to the question of what to do once you've engaged the Kilrathi. The Book has something to say about that, as we discuss immediately below.
Twenty years of fighting the Kilrathi have shown us some basic maneuvering tactics which im-
--------- 20 Years Ago ---------
On 2634.186, war is formally declared by the Terran Confederation on the Empire of Kilrah for countless acts of piracy and unwarranted assault.
On 2634.228, Confederation cryptographer Ches M. Penney partially decodes the current Kilrathi cipher. The intercepted message refers to a punitive strike being launched against the Confederation, starting with the colony on McAuliffe and the space station Alexandria in orbit around it. Confederation High Command launches a couter-offensive twice the size of the anticipated enemy fleet; it is to reach McAuliffe first and ambush the attackers.
On 2634.235, the Kilrathi fleet reaches McAuliffe. It is four times the predicted size; the incomplete translation of the intercepted message had underestimated the size of the Kilrathi offensive. So begins the McAuliffe Ambush engagement.
In several days of bloody combat, the Terran fleet is all but obliterated, leaving a still-sizeable force of fuctional Kilrathi spacecraft. But the Kilrathi, momentarily daunted by the ferocity of teh Terran resistance, turn back to regroup and repair. The first large-scale Terran-Kilrathi engagement ends with the Kilrathi spearhead momentarily broken.
prove your chances of survival. In other words, until your personal flying instincts give you a tactic for every situation, go with these "by-the-book" maneuvers and you'll have a better chance of making it home in one piece. All the Book can do is tip the odds a bit in your favor, but the record shows that this slight improvement in your chances is worth the embarrassment you may feel about doing something the way you were taught at the Academy.
You learned all of these in basic flight training, but let's review them here. Inaddition to standard turns, rolls, dives, and climbs, you became familiar with these:
Burnout: Hit the afterburners and increase speed until your pursuer is no longer gaining on you or the afterburners finish their burn. Then perform as tight a 180º turn as you can handle; if your target is within your cone of fire, open up on him.
Fishhook: Calculate the new heading you want. Turn to a heading which is at a 180º angle off that figure, then almost immediately make a 180º turn to your course of choice. For instance, if you are on a 0º course and want to make a 90º left turn, you first make a 90º right turn, then follow up immediately witha 180º turn.
Hard Brake: Reduce forward velocity as quickly as you can. If you brake sooner, harder, and better than your pursuer, he will overshoot you and enter your cone of fire. Open up on him.
Kickstop: Make a hard 90º turn in any direction and hold your new course for a moment. If your pursuer overshoots and doesn't turn in your wake, do a