The Marine describes the village as a built up area, sized 2 x 1 km, with the squad located in its eastern extreme. The insurgents have a truck-mounted AAA gun south of their position and would be visible when approached from the east.
As I approach the town from the northeast, I start turning southeast, keeping the village on my right and avoiding getting to close to it. A moderate left bank is great for keeping the targeting pod on my right wing clear of visual obstructions (airframe, wingtips, the fins of the Sidewinder missiles).
|Below the cloud deck. The village I am observing with the targeting pod is NOT the one seen near the water bodies in the background but one located a bit farther.|
|Target acquired. I mark it with the laser so it becomes a mark point in the navigation system and its position can be stored and used by the inertially-guided JDAMs.|
I put the target on my rearand I fly away from it in a shallow climb. After gaining altitude I am going to turn into the target and drop the JDAM through the clouds.
|I have done my area ingress checklist some minutes before, but it I like to double check my weapons selection. The stores management system shows I have selected the GBU-31 on station 5.|
|Altitude comes at a high price for a bomb-loaded A-10 and he pays in time and airspeed. I am now above the clouds, at 6,000 feet and 248 KIAS. I can't imagine doing this in a conventional battle zone infested with radar guided missiles.|
|I now turn into the target. The pod has gone blind, but it is still pointing to the target. 15 nm to go!|
My waypoint 6 is the US Marines' position. Have to make sure that waypoint 6 is not selected.
With no JTAC to clear me hot I rely on the authorization given by the ASOC a few minutes earlier. I contact the Marines to report the impending strike.
I pickle and wait for the computer to do its thing. Release!
It feels surreal ... The bomb drops towards the clouds deck in search for its target. I can't avoid to marvel at the technology behind all this.
|My altitude at the point of release is 8,000 ft.|
|The JDAM gliding towards its target.|
|Final seconds before utter destruction.|
|The JDAM falls a few meters off the insurgent truck ...|
|But the destruction radius of the bomb makes it up for the lack of accuracy.|
I will be posting some notes about this scenario.