RTotD: Movie Question

My wife and I have watched a couple of movies lately (Air Force One and Independence Day), and I noticed something while watching them. Both of them have aerial battles in them, although the dogfight in Air Force One is only a couple of minutes long. During these battles, every time an American fighter pilot shoots a missile, he announces it by giving his call sign and the number of his missile, (for example, “Eagle 7, Box 2”). Is this something that actual pilots do, or is this only a movie thing?

I only ask because, especially in the case of Independence Day, it seems like it’s a waste of time. In the command center, they can see when a pilot shoots a missile and where it goes. If they can tell when you fire a missile, then why do you have to announce it? I could see this happening in the Vietnam War, or even in the time when Top Gun came out, as the computers in those times weren’t advanced enough to track missiles being fired by the pilots. I just don’t understand it.

8 comments on “RTotD: Movie Question

  1. Null says:

    It’s Fox, not Box, and the purpose is to announce the type of weapon launched:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fox_%28code_word%29

  2. Villify Me says:

    They don’t announce it quite like that. But they are trained to speak pretty much everything they are doing that is mission related. This is pretty much because they get the audio logs for archiving purposes. And in the event of a catastrophic mission failure or complication, they have some sort of transcript. I am pretty sure that they don’t say which pod the armament comes from, but rather some form of ‘I’ve got a lock, firing!’ or the way we do it in simulators and such, if we are working in tandem with someone else engaging the same target ‘one away’ or something similar.

    • I can kind of understand wanting an audio back up, but I guess I just figured that with how things are almost completely computerized now, it wouldn’t be necessary.

      • Villify Me says:

        I know exactly what you mean. But my time with the military, being in or affiliated with every branch, I have learned that the key to everything military operations is redundancy. Basically breaking it down to its basest level, they teach soldiers and marines to never just shoot the enemy once. It’s always a double tap

  3. Lord Raulious says:

    Independence Day is the best movie of all time! I know every line in that movie. Well as far as a reason during the dog fight the Marine general is informed that “all missles have been fired.” President replies “We’re not done yet!”

    It must be because they are calling out their missle fire for accountability of fire power. So then central command can monitor the battle. Another scene the air force is calling the squadron leaders for a weapons check. Has to be for accountability that’s what we do in the marines with our “weapons count”.

  4. The Hook says:

    Good point to bring up! What’s the deal?

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