Sunday, November 6, 2016

DCS World 1.5 Mig-21bis - Flares That Lit the Fires Inside

June, 1980 something. Col. Evgeny Nudler has been deployed to the Vaziani Airbase (near Tiblisi) as a first responder to a political crisis that is spinning out of control. After a successful strike on separatist vehicles bivouacking at the Dinamo Arena, the commander of the Soviet forces placed a priority on the agitators that were about to move into Tiblisi proper for a massive demonstration downtown. It was an unusually hot, dark-pitch night and no less than 34 buses were observed in the April Garden park  (a few hundred meters west of the Mtkvari river) along with thousands of demonstrators camping under the trees. HUMINT, always easy to get from civilians, indicated that the demonstrators were to transported by bus via the Saarbruecken bridge early the next day.

Time of take off: 2300. Flight: 1 Mig-21 piloted by Col. Nudler. Mission: destroy the Saarbruecken bridge in order to disrupt demonstrations in Tiblisi. Loadout: S24B rockets.

Support: 1 Mi-8 helicopter armed with S-80M illumination rockets.

Below, the lights of Tiblisi helped Col. Nudler to keep a relatively low altitude without colliding with the ground. The Mi-8 helicopter was to illuminate the bridge with the S-80M illumination rockets. Nudler was lucky that the Mi-8's engineer was a local and very knowledgeable of the city itself. Otherwise, in an era when GPS was not common issue among the Soviet Air Force, the mission execution would have been impossible.
Nudler trimmed his Mig-21 for a relatively low speed and scanned frantically the city below for the illumination rocket to go off. With great relief, he spotted the intense circle of  light at his 10 o'clock low. 

Each illumination rocket has a burning time of 35 seconds and there were intermissions between the burning time of each round. Nudler was very aware that these intermissions would have an impact in target acquisition and weapons delivery. 

With a lot of patience and no less skill, Nudler aligned his Mig-21 for the weapons delivery run. He visually acquired the bridge and then noticed that the light from the rocket was dimming out. Still far from a good delivery position, he could have aborted. But he carried on, confident that the next rocket would make in time. He saw the street lights and the buildings closing on him. He was almost blind, but he kept his cool. At the last possible second, a new rocket lifted the darkness and Nudler saw the bridge, a tad below his target piper. He tried to correct this by pushing the stick, very gently, but the increasing airspeed overtook his attempt. The Mig-21 had a mind of his own and didn't want to crash, it seemed. In a split second, Nudler released his two rockets, who trailed right into the west end of the bridge.
A quick battle damage assessment revealed not a single dent in the bridge or the road leading into it. Just two craters on the banks of the river.

Winchester and with a target still alive, the one bird flight of Col. Nudler returns to Vaziani and lands with that wavy approach that always pisses off the control tower personnel. 
And with that, Col. Nudler put his bird to rest for the night. The aircrew was waiting for him and their jet. The Colonel was a skilled pilot who felt miserable when a target was missed during missions commanded by him.

But tonight, he had a big grin on his face.


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