This was played as a custom-made single player mission in Black Shark 2 (DCS World).
The news caught me in the hangar. The insurgents struck again, this time so close from us and so afar from their usual turf. An Army colonel briefed us on the situation: an insurgent team has seized a pigging facility located "somewhere north of Mineralnye Vody".
The whole thing was not as much surprising as it was embarrassing. First, the news about the insurgents running amok in this place came from the oil company who was contracted for the maintenance of the now in disuse Baku-Novorossiisk pipeline. Second, our maps showed no such facility. We had some idea from the locals that the pigging station was a few hundred yards east of route P262, near a popular youth hangout, but that was it. Third, with the arrival of the Su-25s to the airbase, my two Ka-50s have been stripped of missiles and rocket launchers. While we waited for our ammunition to arrive, all we had was those hideous and unreliable KMGU cluster munition dispensers.
When it rains, it pours.
Literally. Since the past evening the weather was atrocious. Low hanging clouds, continuous rain and winds of up to 50 km/h.
Under our new tactical guidelines, we were to counter any insurgent operation at once, with the maximum force available. The Air Force was on point for this as the quickest reaction force. The low cloud ceiling left any fast mover or fixed wing CAS aircraft out of the equation.
|My wingman (no weapons but his cannon) and me (cannon and two KMGU dispensers) taking off from Mineralnye Vody Airbase.
|The winds were gusting pretty bad and we had to skip the short hover we conduct to check if the engines are up to the task ahead.
|In poor weather, the control tower requires that any flight should resume its own navigation only after crossing that creek below.
|We steadily climbed to +700 m to fly above the weather.
|The low hanging clouds over the entire valley offered a rare spectacle. Only the summit of the tallest peaks and mountains ripped apart the monotony of an immense blanket of clouds.
|Nose up, slowing down near waypoint #5.
|Check and double check the targeting control system (lower left panel).
|At waypoint #5, after a weapons and targeting system check, we start a vertical descent through the clouds.
|I marked the target and fed it into the navigation system as navigation target #1.
|I used the "en route" mode to navigate precisely to the target. In order to avoid possible IR-guided missiles, I climbed to well above the clouds (~1,000 m).
|After slowing down right on top of the target, I released the first round of anti-personnel bomblets.
|Another view of the first weapons release. Note how I was flying above the clouds, at around 1,000 m above ground level.
|The first round of anti-personnel munitions fell exactly on the treeline where I observed the dismounts back from steerpoint #5.
|The second round extended the destruction to the entire tree line.
|We left the target area without conducting any type of battle damage assessment. Our flight was officially out of ammunition and Russian troops were on their way.
|Landing at the airbase was complicated because the weather conditions continued to deteriorate.
|Taxiing back into the hangar.
- This was the first insurgent operation against infrastructure. It is noteworthy that the location of the insurgent strike was so far from the previous locations and that the facility was known to be in disuse for years
- The helicopter attack killed 6 insurgents, two of them were carrying IR-guided missiles
- The clouds likely masked the targeting system of the IR-guided missiles and allowed the Ka-50 helicopter to overfly the target at a very low speed
- The pilot had to rely on a weapons release at an extremely low speed because the Ka-50 lacks a targeting system for free-falling ordnance (CCRP). The high resolution of the ABRIS moving map (down to 3 meters per pixel) and the precision of the targeting and navigation system allowed the pilot to know precisely when his aircraft was on top of a target obscured by the clouds