Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Strike Fighters 2 North Atlantic - Escort Mission Failure

Some flight sim-lite action for today, folks.

The sim is Third Wire's Strike Fighters 2 North Atlantic. The mission was to escort a flight of A-6s in an anti-ship mission. I am leading a flight of four F-14A armed with AIM-54s, AIM-7Ms, Sidewinders and the good ole Vulcan gun.

I managed to bring my entire flight back to the carrier. All of us beyond bingo fuel and flying on fumes, but safe. But we failed to protect the A-8s.

After taking off, a view of the carrier group. Our flight's name is ASP.

This is no way to fly a detached escort mission. For starters, the A-8 flight (Oyster), didn't hold after take off and darted towards the next way point.

It took us a precious amount of fuel to put our flight in a detached position ahead of the A-8s (Oyster). The grids of this map are 25 miles.
Furthermore, we were just one flight and there were no friendly aircraft flying CAP missions ahead of us. The threats to the anti-ship mission were from multiple directions. From the target (an enemy carrier group, east of the IP, rectangular waypoint in the map above) and two enemy airfields in Iceland (north of the IP). Our airborne early warning and control was flying seemingly close to the enemy carrier group and started calling out for bogies pretty much everywhere.

After detaching ourselves some 40 miles from the Oyster flight (to keep enemy threats out of missile range), we started to periodically turn to scan north with our radars. This is when I noticed some bogies flying south in an interception course.

Flying north to preempt a likely interception by enemy fighters.

The bogies became bandits, and they were at least eight of them. I planned to use our long range AIM-54s, but by then the enemy fighters were just too close.

I dilapidated an great opportunity. The AWG-9 radar can home multiple AIM-54 missiles onto multiple targets, all at the same time. I couldn't work it out with the closest threat at less than 20 miles from my flight.
After a few BVR missile salvos from each side, the whole affair degenerated into a visual range fur ball. Several enemy fighters were downed, but three of them evaded us and continued their way towards the A-6s.

Our flight (ASP) lost a lot of energy in the engagement, but the acceleration of the F-14A is just phenomenal. We couldn't make it up in time, though (note the two enemy fighters near the Oyster flight). We spent too much time in our own fight, leaving the A-8s to their own devices.. One A-8 was downed because of our failure to keep our eyes on the ball. Note the straggler enemy fighter near our next way point. I wanted this one for me.
I engaged and destroyed this MIG with my guns. Gun kills are always thrilling.
The mission targets were not damaged. We lost one A-6. My flight scored 8 air to air kills (3 kills with AIM-9M Sidewinder, 2 kills with AIM-7M Sparrow, 2 kills with AIM-54 Phoenix and 1 gun kill). Of all these kills, I claimed the 2 kills with the AIM-54, one with a AIM-9M Sidewinder and the gun kill.

This mission was a bit wacky. Not enough aircraft or flights for a genuine detached escort to cover the multiple threat axis, the A-8s departed way ahead of us (usually they would hold in wait for their escort) and finally no possibility to establish CAP stations while the A-8s were busy delivering their missiles onto the targets.



Dimitris said...

Hey JC, nice writeup!

Couple of things:

1) Were all enemy fighters Yak-38s?

2) Did the F-14 seem too much like a hot-rod? (Re: your comment on acceleration). IIRC the era modelled in this sim is 1979 & 83, that would make it an A variant. Pre-A+/B Tomcats were notoriously underpowered (and compressor-stall prone) due to their TF30 engines.

Nitpick mode off :-)

Matt said...

At least you avoided going into a flat spin out to sea.

JC said...

Hi Dimitris! Nice to see you around. 1) There was at least a flight of MIGs. The one I downed with my guns was one of these. 2) Yes, a bit overpowered in my opinion. One of my favorite abuses of the F-14 flight model in Strike Fighters is to dive some few thousand feet and voila, I'm supersonic again.

Hi Matt. LOL. Gooooooose!!!! According to my wife I am not as hot as Tom Cruise either. :) Fortunately, not as divorced ...


Jayson Ng said...

Did you try calling for additional fighters? You just need to ask AWACS and she will vector some help if available.

JC said...

Hi Jayson,

Doh! I didn't remember to do that ... I was complaining about how weak the escort was, but now that you mention it, I was flat out wrong in that.


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