Scramble time is basically how fast an Air force can get its fighter planes in the air in case of an emergency, like an attack from enemy aircraft or in similar other mission critical scenarios. To “scramble” combat aircraft means to get them started, the crews aboard, and in the air as fast as possible. Scrambling an aircraft means to get them into the air as quickly as possible and into formation in order to defend, interdict, intercept the enemy aircraft.
In earlier times scrambling an aircraft perhaps meant to get them off the ground as quickly as possible to keep them from being destroyed regardless of formation. Presently the procedure of a Scramble includes , Pilots being ready with their G-suits on and always in a ready mode. Then the phone rings , siren goes off and pilots pick up their helmets , dash to their aircraft , jump in the cockpit , quickly strap out , taxi out , line up and take off with full after burners to intercept the enemy aircraft’s . The average Scramble time in case of any emergency should take around 4 to 5 minutes.
We also have something called as cockpit standby time which has an average of 3 minutes. When a radar picks an aircraft that is lurking close to International border but not a threat yet , the pilots are ordered to sit in the cockpits with radios on and wait for the instructions. If the aircraft becomes a threat, then a scramble is ordered and can be carried out within 3 minutes as pilots were already sitting in cockpit.
During warfare a cockpit standby time also lasted for hours and in intense weather conditions it becomes extremely difficult for the pilots to sit in that cramped space of cockpit with helmet and G-suit on for hours. But at the same time during cockpit standbys, there is a certain level of excitement and anticipation in the minds of pilots and they would be waiting for some real action for which they have been training for years.
In critical locations and situations, the military commanders keep airplanes ready with ground crews on standby and flight crews ready to get in the air as quickly as possible in the event of an emerging threat. Thus we conclude by saying that Scramble time it of utmost importance to any Air force in-order to make them more effective against enemy aircraft.