Concept

United States Navy Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor program

Summary
The United States Navy Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor program (SFTI program), more popularly known as Top Gun (stylized as TOPGUN), is a United States Navy training program that teaches air combat maneuvering tactics and techniques to selected naval aviators and naval flight officers, who return to their operating units as surrogate instructors. The program began as the United States Navy Fighter Weapons School, established on 3 March 1969, at the former Naval Air Station Miramar in San Diego, California. In 1996, the school was merged into the Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center at Naval Air Station Fallon, Nevada. An earlier U.S. Navy air-to-air combat training program, the U.S. Navy Fleet Air Gunnery Units, or FAGU, had provided air combat training for Naval Aviators from the early 1950s until 1960. In June 1956, Fleet Air Gunnery Unit Pacific held the Navy Fleet Air Gunnery Meet at NAAS El Centro. In April 1957, Naval Air Weapons Meet 1957 was held at NAAS El Centro. In April 1958, Naval Air Weapons Meet was held at NAAS El Centro. From 30 November to 4 December 1959, the last Naval Air Weapons Meet was held at MCAAS Yuma. Signage called it "Top Gun". Fleet Air Gunnery Unit Pacific and Marine Training Groups were closed, as an economy, and a doctrinal shift, brought on by advances in missile, radar, and fire control technology, contributing to the belief that the era of the classic dogfight was over, leading to their disestablishment and a serious decline in U.S air-to-air combat proficiency that became apparent during the Vietnam War. The pilots who were part of the initial cadre of instructors at Top Gun had experience as students from FAGU. In 1968, Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Admiral Thomas Hinman Moorer ordered Captain Frank Ault to research the failings of the U.S. air-to-air missiles used against the Vietnam People's Air Force during the then-ongoing Vietnam War. Operation Rolling Thunder, which lasted from 2 March 1965 to 1 November 1968, ultimately saw almost 1,000 U.S. aircraft losses in about one million sorties.
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