Monday, November 21, 2011

DCS Black Shark 2 - Sharks Go Downtown

Irregulars. The ragtags are outgunned and outnumbered, but they still have the luxury of choosing when and where to fight.

0500. Kutaisi, Georgia. The Russian Army is consolidating the gains of a blitz invasion. The Georgian Army has been almost overrun but hostile irregular forces keep popping up everywhere. The forward reconnaissance elements of  a Russian forward detachment are at the outskirts of Kutaisi. Me and my wingman are attached to this reconnaissance patrol. We didn't expect to fight this morning.

A reconnaissance patrol (red arrow) is about to perform a route reconnaissance on one of the main avenues leading to one of the crossings over the Rioni river. A flight of Ka-50s (yellow symbol) is to provide fire support in case the reconnaissance party meets trouble.
Atmospheric conditions are terrific, but the twilight will be barely enough for our TV-based SHKVAL targeting system.
The dim ambient light is too much for the night vision goggles (is there a way to adjust the NVG's sensitivity?).

Totally devoid of radio communications with the ground troops, following the reconnaissance party with the SHKVAL was impossible. Only the enemy tracers pouring into our troops (right of the targeting circle) gave us a clue of where they were. The reconnaissance party was still 1.5 km west of Kutaisi and obviously targeted by heavy weapons.
The enemy tracers also gave us a target reference point to shoot at. We started a 30 mm cannon attack run from west of the reconnaissance patrol, following their direction of advance. The burning wreck of one reconnaissance vehicle served as a quite visible "no cross line" for the attack run. 
I stabilized the SHKVAL targeting system on the roof of a multi-story building from where the tracers came from. I could not lock or see any enemies there. I just moved the targeting reticle from side to side to cover the whole width of the roof. I kept a close eye on where the tracers were falling into (rounds tend to disperse very badly when the Ka-50 is on an attack run with a shallow angle). Pure spray and pray. The above screenshot was taken seconds before breaking left (note the range to the building, just 1.8 km).
After breaking from our attack run and not receiving any type of enemy fire from our original target point, we flew to steerpoint 3 (see map above) to support the reconnaissance vehicles with fire. Unfortunately, my hover was not precise enough and I slowly slid into the northern outskirts of the city.
Yet again, I could get a visual on the reconnaissance party after the last two vehicles were destroyed (see fire and smoke slightly left and down the center of the above screenshot). The clutter of the city landscape makes it difficult to find things. The low lighting doesn't help either.
As a result of drifting into the city, I was shot at by a MANPAD (likely a Stinger). The missile exploded just a few meters off my right cheek. 
Completely shocked after the close call, I order my flight to bug out full speed, low level. I couldn't believe I was still flying.
The reconnaissance vehicle that was first destroyed, as seen from the cockpit during our flight back.
Inbound for landing at the nearest airbase.

During the debrief (in-game debrief screen) I found out that my "spray and pray" on the roof of that building has destroyed an anti-aircraft gun (ZSU 23-4) and enemy troops armed with RPGs. Not bad for blind shooting.

Gun attacks: from a run or from a hover? I'm finding the attack run more and more attractive. It gives me airspeed that I can translate into extreme evasive maneuvering. It also gives me some sense of safety that if I get my engines shot, I will be able to autorotate the bird into a crash landing (instead of just a crash). It's hard to resist not flying too close to the enemy. Also, it takes a longer time to re-engage after the break.

Acquiring targets was impossible. For this type of mission, the Ka-50 should have been equipped with a FLIR system, or get targeting data from a AFAC helicopter equipped with such a target acquisition system.

Urban terrain and attack helicopters ... What a challenge. More is coming about this. Stay tuned for when the forward detachment storms the city. Coming up next.



kylania said...

You can change the intensity of the helmet mounted device via the BRT knob just under the weapons console as shown here. You can also use the crazy key commands:

Brightness Down = [ + RShift + RCtrl + RAlt
Brightness Up = ] + RShift + RCtrl + RAlt

That's why I find using the knob in the cockpit is so much easier :)

RangerX3X said...

Nice AAR for what seems to be an extremely difficult sortie. I would not look forward to such a mission as the prospect of blindly flying into MANPAD Avenue and AAA Blvd does not excite me. I would have called in sick that day.

JC said...

Ah, thanks Kylania. I also see that the HUD brightness needs adjustment too.

Ranger, LOL. Yes it's a tough assignment.