Monday, November 25, 2013

Falcon 4 BMS - Debrief: Sortie 25929

Is the late afternoon of the first day of hostilities and we take off to a battlefield air interdiction mission.


The skies are clear and we don't expect too many surprises.



Right click and open in a new window/tab for a better view. This is the flight plan. We will take off from our airbase in Kunsan and attack the North Korean 3rd Mechanized Brigade. Distance from Kunsan to the target area: 140+ nm.
The default loadout included air to air radar guided missiles (AIM-120B) and I happily left those untouched. I changed the cluster bomb units to Maverick air to ground missiles (AGM 65G), though. In addition to that, I loaded the aircraft with an additional 330 gallons of fuel in a centerline external tank.
Take off from Kunsan and quick climb to a staging area.

Waiting for the other elements in the flight to join the formation.
The customary over the shoulder pic of the airbase a few minutes after resuming the route towards the target area.

Turning off all external lights (big brown switch at the bottom of the image).

Midway towards the target area, we power up our AGM 65 missiles. In this picture, the seekers are still being cooled down.

The proximity of Seoul (city in the background) to the FEBA always amazes me. 
A self-portrait, somewhere north of Seoul.
Double checking for the position of the other flight elements (note the comms menu), some 45 nm south of the target area.
The target area is rich in enemy vehicles, as judged by the ground radar in "moving target" mode. 
After a quick descent to 8,000 ft, the aircraft gets very difficult to control. I have not been hit, so I suppose it is turbulence (?). Controlling the aircraft becomes so difficult that I am forced to abort the approach and start over.

With much effort, I turn and realign for a two missile volley against ground targets below. My flight elements have been given orders to engage ground targets at will.

The enemy AAA fire confirms we are on top of something worth destroying. By this time, flying is like being inside a hurricane. I order my flight to RTB and I prepare to egress myself.

But the chagrin of having two unused missiles takes over me and I turn back onto the target area and fire two more missiles upon the enemy. Now I can get out of this with my pride intact.
Not even the autopilot can keep the bird on a steady path. After checking my fuel and my flight computer I find out that I can reach the Kunsan airbase with just 600 lb of fuel left. I quickly make the decision to land in a divert airfield. The AWACs vectors me to one just 10 nm away.
When you are in need, there is nothing more comforting than the sight of a runway, no matter how humble. 

The shaking was so severe that I had to mentally block the flight path marker and focus on where I felt the aircraft was flying into. Most tense landing in a long time.

A dozen feet above ground, the shaking ends abruptly and the aircraft touches down so gracefully that only the sound of the tires rumbling down the runway alerts me that I have landed.
Right click and open in a new window for a better view. Although I have landed at a divert airfield, I was awarded a mission success. Fortunately all the missiles hit their targets.

Cheers,

4 comments:

Murad Özer said...

Another nice bms after action report, thanks!

A reminder tho, G mavs are for hardened structures or ships. If you want to go against vehicles prefer B for day/good weather, D for the rest.

Cheers.

JC said...

Thanks for reading and your comment Murad. I didn't know that. :)

Cheers,

Johan said...

Did you find out what the shaking was all about? Seems strange, if the aircraft wasn't damaged somehow.

JC said...

Hi Johan,

Could not figure out what was that shaking ... I am blaming weather (?).

Cheers,