Why do military planes always pop flares after doing a run

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Why do military planes always pop flares after doing a run

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So chances are being that close to the front line, there might be Manpads (shoulder mounted anti air missiles). They pop flares to evade any heatseakers as they can’t tell they are being fired on as there is no in cockpit warning. The flares burn higher than the engine nozzle so attempt to trick the missile into changing course after it.

In an active warzone where you’re fighting an enemy known to have anti air weapons, that knows you have ground attack aircraft, there’s a pretty good chance that by the time you’ve finished flying in a straight line long enough to make your attack, *somebody* on the other side has launched something at you, whether you’ve detected it or not.

So it’s a pretty good idea to pop flares as you pull away to confuse whatever might be homing in on your tailpipe.

3 reasons:

1. It’s for a photo op and it looks cool

2. It’s for a show of force to the enemy to make their presence known

3. It’s a countermeasure against heat seeking missiles to confuse their sensors.

IR seeker missiles are passive, do not emit radar waves. Most missile detection/warning can pick up radar missiles pretty well but really struggle with IR missiles. Most ground man portable anti aircraft missiles are IR seeker.

Being so close to the ground, there is too little time and too little chance their plane can detect the missile before it hits them.

Launching flares preventively is one of the best tactics to protect the plane.