EB-66 Destroyer Vs MiG-21 Fishbed (Irby Terrell)

As explained by Peter E. Davies in his book B/EB-66 Destroyer Units in Combat, orbiting at the edge of heavily-defended territory, during the Vietnam War the vulnerable EB-66 Destroyer electronic warfare aircraft identified and jammed the enemy’s radar frequencies with electronic emissions and chaff to protect the American bombers. Their hazardous missions resulted in six combat losses, four of them to SA-2 missiles and one to a MiG-21, and they became prime targets for North Vietnamese defences when their importance was realised.

The Vietnamese People’s Air Force (VPAF)’s determination to eliminate the highly disruptive effects of EB-66 jamming increased their efforts at interception. Air Defence Command gave the MiG-21 units a special ‘non-combat mission’, tasking them with developing tactics to attack EB-66s. MiG controllers soon began to direct MiG-21s towards EB-66 orbits, despite the fighter cover provided to the Destroyers.

USAF fighter protection effectiveness

On Nov. 19, 1967, MiG-21 pilots Vu Ngoc Dinh (given special responsibility for EB-66 interception) and Nguyen Dang Kinh left Noi Bai air base to intercept a Destroyer near Than Hoa. The pilots split up, one attacking from a high ‘perch’ and the other from low altitude behind the EB-66. Kinh evaded the F-4 escort and fired two R-3S missiles at the ECM aircraft, claiming that he hit an engine and destroyed the EB-66.

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