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Onboard Weapons Radar

After a mellow quarter hour sight seeing Mark started playing with the onboard radar. There are 3 separate 6" by 6" screens in the instrument panel that perform a variety of functions. One function is a forward looking infrared radar (FLIR) display. This is quite handy when locking a weapon onto a ground or airborn target. We used the system to locate other aircraft a couple of times and one time Mark had some poor guy in an RV going south on the 395 near Lone Pine fully locked on target. We were at least 10 miles away from the guy, could not see him with the naked eye but he was about a 1/16" smudge on the screen and a computer driven square slightly larger than him wiggled on the screen staying on top of him even if we pitched and rolled. It was very reminiscent of the CNN reports we got during Desert Storm. Big Brother sure can keep an eye on you if he wants to.

Shortly after the radar lock-on demonstration our radar caught another F-18 about 10 o'clock and about 4 or 5 K below us. Mark took over and did a nice 130 degree left roll and dove at about .85 mach as we did what he called an intercept. It's a shame we didn't have someone to play with in a mock dog fight but this came close for a few seconds. The unknown F18 was doing about 400 mph I figured at about 3 or 4 K agl above Owens Dry Lake in a 45 degree left hand 360. We intercepted on his outside doing easily 80 to 100 mph faster and after we passed him Mark did a rapid pullup climbing at about a 45 degree angle with a sweet series of rolls. Yup... we left him in the dust. ... I was in heaven.