From a custom-made mission edited in DCS World.
Mayór Vitaly Studitsky, 6971st Aviation Base (temporarily operating from Mineralnye Vody, 4th Air and Air Defence Forces Command).
My wing man and me (a two aircraft flight of Su-25Ts) were on a holding pattern at the border between Russia and Abkhazia. The original mission was to join a flight of Abkhazian Su-25s for an early morning joint exercise at the Kodori Gorge. As a part of the exercise, a Beriev A-50 (AWACS) was flying on the Russian side of the border. The Abkhazian Su-25s were late to the rendezvous, but we could hear their intermittent radio chatter (probably masked by the mountains).
|Mount Elbrus (far background) is always a great landmark for orientation in this mountainous region.
|At 0521, I requested and was granted permission to enter the Kodori Gorge in order to establish radio contact with the elusive Abkhazian allies. I was asked to leave my wing man on the Russian side of the exercise area.
|The Abkhazian Su-25s were nowhere to be found.
|A couple of minutes later, a tiny dot at 10 o'clock low flying along the gorge caught my attention. It was rather small and flying too slow to be an Su-25.
|I closed in to obtain a visual ID, but the low speed of the bogey (green cross, using the in-game padlock view) made me overshoot in the first attempt. At this point, AWACS didn't have this bogey in its radar screens.
|Two IR-guided missiles going downrange, as seen from the cockpit.
|The drone (the aircraft on top) turns on a dime and towards my direction. Both IR-guided missiles missed their target (one shown here, the other one can only be guessed by its smoke trail).
-The Kodori Gorge is a true thermometer of the tensions in the Caucasus region. Whenever something is about to happen, you can be sure it will be reflected in this area of Abkhazia
-The low speed and maneuverability of the Predator drone made it difficult for pilots without extensive air-to-air combat training to keep up with the situation. The Su-25T relies on the pilot's sight to acquire airborne targets and this target acquisition always materialized too close to the lower limits of the weapons envelope.