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Wild Weasel
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David


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Wild Weasel is a nickname for an aircraft of the United States Air Force specially equipped with radar seeking missiles used to remove radars and SAM installations of enemy air defence systems. The techniques used with Wild Weasels in the Vietnam and the Yom Kippur War were later integrated into the Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses (SEAD) a plan used by US air forces to establish immediate air control, prior to possible full scale conflict. Initially known by the operational code "IRON HAND" when first authorized on August 12, 1965, the term "Wild Weasel" derives from Project Wild Weasel, the USAF development program for a dedicated SAM-detection and suppression aircraft. Originally named "Project Ferret", denoting a predatory animal that goes into its prey's den to kill it (hence: "to ferret out&quot, the name was changed to differentiate it from the code-name "Ferret" that had been used during World War II for radar counter-measures bombers.



In brief, the task of a Wild Weasel aircraft is to bait enemy anti-aircraft defenses into targeting it with their radars, whereupon the radar waves are traced back to their source so that the Weasel or its teammates can precisely target it for destruction. A simple analogy is playing the game of "flashlight tag" in the dark; a flashlight is usually the only reliable means of identifying someone in order to "tag" (destroy) them, but the light immediately renders the bearer able to be identified and attacked as well. The result is a hectic game of cat-and-mouse in which the radar "flashlights" are rapidly cycled on and off in an attempt to identify and kill the target before the target is able to home in on the emitted radar "light" and destroy the site.



The technique (or a specific part) was also called an 'Iron Hand' mission, though technically the Iron Hand part refers only to a suppression attack that paves the way for the main strike.



The unofficial motto of the Wild Weasel crews is YGBSM: "You Gotta Be Shittin' Me". This appears prominently on the logo patch of some squadrons. As the story goes, this was the response of Jack Donovan, a former B-52 EWO (Electronic Warfare Officer):



This was the natural response of an educated man, a veteran EWO on B-52s and the like, upon learning that he was to fly back seat to a self-absorbed fighter pilot while acting as flypaper for enemy SAMs.



The "WW" tailcode of the 35th Fighter Wing derives from its Wild Weasel heritage.
· Date: Wed October 28, 2009 · Views: 5895
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