Friday, March 1, 2013

Insurgency in the North Caucasian Federal District - War Stories From the Front Lines: # 10 To Catch a Predator (Part Two)

This is a continuation of a previous entry.

I entered the engagement area (the vicinity of the Kodori Gorge) with the hope of acquiring the drone with the radar. However, I was not able to get even the most nimble radar return with my intensive scanning of the are. After some tense minutes, the AWACS vectored me towards the target. The drone has either gained some altitude or it was suddenly unmasked from the cover of the mountains.

The vector provided was useful and I locked on the drone one first time. Unfortunately my high airspeed of approach threw me too close to even fire one radar-guided missile. In the picture above, I am zooming out of the area of operations, just to lock and fire from a higher distance.

During the time I spent zooming out, the AWACS lost track of my target and I was left to myself to acquire it again. I took a bit of a leap of faith to fly in the general direction where the drone was last reported. But the most faint radar return I ever seen gained strength until I could lock onto it. I found the drone flying back towards Georgia, but it turned around in all defiance ...

It took just one radar-guided missile to bring the drone down (see smoke in the center of the picture). I nervously checked my position and realized that I have crossed the border into Georgia. My RWR didn't sound even once: the Georgians likely have their air defenses down to not make us suspicious of their US-assisted surveillance.

The cockpit during my return to base. Some 60 km ahead ...

The involvement of the US in this incident were not good news. For years the US has backed Georgia politically, but always fell short of providing any meaningful military aid. An insurgency in the North Caucasian District and the beans spill outside the Russian border ... This can't be good.

On final approach, testing the autopilot system which can guide your glideslope to nearly a couple of hundred meters before the runway. I've had issues getting my aircraft to a correct angle of attack/airspeed before, but this time everything worked like a charm.
I always get a kick of opening the braking chute, even when I don't need it. I've landed on the right side of the runway, force of habit of being wingman for so many years.



Anonymous said...

i follow your stories now since the beginning - i like it aload - keep it up.

JC said...

You have endured all these?

Thanks for reading!