When you fly one of our Air Combat missions, you will hear “FOX 2, Fight’s On” to initiate our canned setups. “FOX 2” is a brevity code used by fighter pilots to declare a weapon’s release (sorta like “bomb’s away” from WWII). The Vietnam conflict was the first real emphasis on air-to-air missiles; in fact, the (then) premier F-4 aircraft purchased for the US Navy did not include an internal gun and relied strictly upon air-to-air missiles, a first for the US Military. (Note: the US Air Force corrected this shortcoming when they procured the F-4E with an internal 20mm gun mounted in the nose.)
At that time “FOX 1” signified a semi-active radar missile (such as the AIM-7 Sparrow). “FOX 2” signified an infrared missile (such as the AIM-9 Sidewinder), and “FOX-3” indicated you had switched to guns. With the advent of active radar guided missiles in the 1980’s, such as the AIM-120 AMRAAM, they were designated as “FOX 3” and use of the cannon became “FOX 4,” which has been basically dropped in favor of “GUNS-GUNS-GUNS.” So when you hear “FOX 2 – Fight’s On,” that callout signifies that an infrared missile was fired at you, and you should turn to defend against the attacker on your tail (your six-o’clock). Why don’t you come out and join us at Fighter Combat International and see how fast your heart starts pumping when you hear “FOX 2 – Fight’s On”!