Saturday, August 27, 2011

Falcon 4 Allied Force - Sortie #`1093 - Debrief

Lt. JC ... Cowboy 11 ... Mission number 1093 foxtrot ... Six AGM-65Ds ... Two AIM-9s ... Two AIM-120s ... Take off time is 0900 ... Date is 13Jul11 ... Tail number is 582.

Another mid-morning take off from Brindisi airport. This time I'm carrying the 300 gallon drop tank instead of the big two mammoth ones I hauled yesterday. I'm flying with just a wingman. The F/A-18s have been fitted with AGM-88 missiles (high speed anti-radiation missiles that almost drive themselves towards enemy radars) at Lecce airbase and they should be airborne by now.

Climbing after taking off from Brindisi airport (in the background). For one I don't have to wait for a full flight of four to form up, so I climb slowly and the wingman rejoins quickly.
Across the pond again. The weather on this side of the Adriatic is fantastic. Here is to hope that it is like this in Albania. But I have other and more important worries, like where the f*ck is the Serbian air force.

Buddy spike! The F/A18's radar emissions are caught by my RWR (yellow arrow). Good to know these guys are on their way to take out the aerial defenses near our target.

This is the view over my shoulder somewhere in our way towards steerpoint 2. The big aircraft is my wingman and the other two dots (yellow arrows) are part of the F/A-18s SEAD flight. [Note to self: awesome gaming moment!]

The ATO and its flight plans are not that well formulated, unfortunately. The least thing we want is to arrive to the target area before the SEAD flight. I decided to lock onto one of the F/A-18s in order to check their speed and position (left MFD, left yellow arrow). With the aid of the horizontal situation display (HSD, right MFD and arrow) I can see their position relative to the target area. Getting familiar with the terrain features of the area should be done during the mission planning, but alas I'm doing it here aided by the F/A-18s position in the HUD (center yellow arrow). 
Somehow comforted by the sight of those F/A-18s ahead of my flight, I start to work on target acquisition. The range is a bit high for the ground radar to pick up anything yet. The mountains don't help either.

Around 50 miles from the target area, the ground radar (ground moving target mode) picks up two strong signals (left MFD). Time to power and warm up the AGM-65's!
The AGM-65's seeker head can't catch up anything so I align my flight with the ground moving target radar signals in hope for a better acquisition at a shorter range. This is when I hear one pilot from the other flight going "Magnum!" (code name for the AGM-88 HARM missile launch). What the hell? This was supposed to happen well five minutes ago.  My RWR chirps ... I am getting painted by an SA-6 search radar. My wingman goes "SAM launch north!".  The automatic countermeasures program is spitting metal and fire like there is no tomorrow. In all this mess, I see tracers flying up from below. I guess I found the f*cking tanks after all. Two more calls from the other flight ... Magnum ... Magnum! In the image above, the spaghetti smoke trails coming out of the enemy SA-6 site.
Spooked by the sudden change of plans, I chicken out behind a massive mountain peak. Somebody in the other flight goes "I see a chute!". Damn it, one F/A-18 has been shot down (yellow arrow). Right after that, my RWR relaxes to almost silent, awakened sporadically by my wingman's  radar and the tank battalion's air defense systems.
With the SA-6 system out of the fight, I can now focus on the tanks. Note the target-rich environment in the right MFD (small white dots are enemy tanks and IFVs). I am flying too fast at this moment, so I air brake the Viper and manage to fire 4 missiles before breaking. My wingman is having a hayday too. Rifle, Rifle, Rifle!
Turning for another tank-killing pass.
We are both winchester after two passes and we re-form and return to base.

RTB. I can't take out of my mind that poor F/A-18 pilot. The weather on the Italian coast is ... Foggy ... Again.
Another tricky instrument landing at Brindisi airport.
My flight destroyed 8 tanks and 2 BMPs. Two of our AGM-65s went ballistic and missed their target. The other flight completely obliterated the SA-6 site. Regrettably, one pilot is missing from that flight. 



Silent Hunter said...

Very interesting post. No video by any chance?

JC said...

Hi SH,
That would be great. But I suck at video editing. :)