John Boyd, opinions?

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Acheron

Airman 1st Class
231
167
Nov 16, 2019
Out of curiosity, do people here have opinions on John Boyd? I understand he is revered among some, but also quite divisive among others?
 
Father of Energy Maneuverability Theory for fighter combat, author of the Aerial Attack Study, which is the fighter tactics manual, helped develop the OODA Loop, used in litigation. All around a pretty smart and intense guy. The F-15, F-16 and the F/A-18 are all around and in use due to him, and Riccioni for the most part,
His detractors claim, among other things, that his work regarding "Energy Maneuverability" to be largely taken from "Energy Approach to the General Aircraft Performance Problem" from one Edward S. Rutowski. Sadly, I know nothing of neither the work nor the man.
 
I have the book, and I've tried to read it, but I just can't get into it for some reason. From what little I have been able to read, Boyd was revered by the Marines and that's the limit of my knowledge of the man. Maybe the book will take at some point.
 
Reason I was bringing it up, recently saw a video by some British youtuber and he got really nasty with Boyd, going so far as to call him an outright fraud. The youtuber in question has previously attacked the "fighter mafia", at best accusing their design philosophy of being terrible (arguing that all these expensive gadgets actually brought considerable combat capability) and at worst accusing them of taking credit where credit was due to other people (according to him, some Alexander Kartveli was a designer who is to this day lacking the recognizing he deserves because of them).

I am reluctant to just post the video, because it is rather inflammatory and I neither want to start a flame war, nor post what would be considered in bad taste here. However, I found his arguments in the past rather compelling and frankly, I feel the same about the video in question, so I am quite curious what people more knowledgeable than me have to say about what he says. Think I should post it? He also swears a lot I should add.
 
While I think the Fighter Mafia's concepts had issues the OODA loop from Boyd is extremely relevant. I use it all the time in business.
 
From my earlier comments;

"John Boyd and Everest Riccioni were the real deal - they served in the USAF, Boyd served a short tour in Korea and both wrote many papers and manuals about air combat and energy management during combat. They made valid points and their influence eventually saw the F-16 and F/A-18 develop, credit is due there. Their heyday however was in the 70s and 80s with regards to consulting and lending their combat experience and knowledge to aircraft manufactures."
 
From my earlier comments;

"John Boyd and Everest Riccioni were the real deal - they served in the USAF, Boyd served a short tour in Korea and both wrote many papers and manuals about air combat and energy management during combat. They made valid points and their influence eventually saw the F-16 and F/A-18 develop, credit is due there. Their heyday however was in the 70s and 80s with regards to consulting and lending their combat experience and knowledge to aircraft manufactures."
Agreed.
 
Reason I was bringing it up, recently saw a video by some British youtuber and he got really nasty with Boyd, going so far as to call him an outright fraud. The youtuber in question has previously attacked the "fighter mafia", at best accusing their design philosophy of being terrible (arguing that all these expensive gadgets actually brought considerable combat capability) and at worst accusing them of taking credit where credit was due to other people (according to him, some Alexander Kartveli was a designer who is to this day lacking the recognizing he deserves because of them).

I am reluctant to just post the video, because it is rather inflammatory and I neither want to start a flame war, nor post what would be considered in bad taste here. However, I found his arguments in the past rather compelling and frankly, I feel the same about the video in question, so I am quite curious what people more knowledgeable than me have to say about what he says. Think I should post it? He also swears a lot I should add.
He's Scottish. And quite drunk.
 
Acheron: Rutowski wrote a paper while at Douglas, but his application was time to climb performance for general aircraft usage and therefore economize the required fuel to get to altitude. Boyd took that general approach and applied it to all axis while in combat.

Boyd was a substantial part of the initial plans of the Gulf War. Dick Cheney had known about Boyd for years, after being briefed about "Patterns of Conflict" and the need to break enemy OODA loops to become the victor on the battlefield. Even the Marine Corp took "PofC' and reshaped their doctrine off of it. Boyd has been called the top military theorist in SU history by some people. Would be an interesting read of his major papers and books.
 
He never published any books. You can see a copy of his "Patterns of Conflict" presentation here:

thank you for posting this - very interesting stuff
 
He never published any books. You can see a copy of his "Patterns of Conflict" presentation here:
Aerial Attack Study, while classified as a monograph, is long enough to be considered a book.....over 150 pages. Semantics in reality on how long something has to be, move into being classified as a book vs monograph vs pamphlet. :)
 
Boyd shouldn't really be credited with the F-16 and F/A-18 as they were actually built... if he had had his way they would have never been capable of carrying any air-ground weapons at all, and would never have had any air-air radar past a radar ranging gunsight.

He was furious when the F-15 was designed with air-ground capability.
Remember his motto: "Not a pound for air to ground"!

In his view BVR missiles were a perversion of what a fighter should use... and Sidewinders were barely acceptable, as he felt the gun was the be-all and end-all of jet fighter weaponry.

He felt there should be ground-attack aircraft and air-air aircraft, with NO overlap in capabilities.
 
Boyd shouldn't really be credited with the F-16 and F/A-18 as they were actually built... if he had had his way they would have never been capable of carrying any air-ground weapons at all, and would never have had any air-air radar past a radar ranging gunsight.

He was furious when the F-15 was designed with air-ground capability.
Remember his motto: "Not a pound for air to ground"!

In his view BVR missiles were a perversion of what a fighter should use... and Sidewinders were barely acceptable, as he felt the gun was the be-all and end-all of jet fighter weaponry.

He felt there should be ground-attack aircraft and air-air aircraft, with NO overlap in capabilities.
And there was the "old school" side of him. I don't think he or Riccioni would ever comprehend that modern combat aircraft had the capability of fighting beyond BVR effectively.
 
What good is BVR if the pilot must have a visual to avoid friendly fire? He must still fly to the merge.
 

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