Read It – Do It
After a long and exhausting low-altitude flight to the target area, all eight Israeli F-16s put their bombs into the reactor site with only one pilot slightly missing his mark. The Iraqi defenses were caught completely unaware and while they put up a significant amount of fire in the form of AAA and surface to air missiles, the damage had already been done.
“Yadlin dropped his nose and cut in beneath Raz’s plane, heading straight down “the chute”, hurtling 480 knots at the target. He focused complete attention on the HUD, careful to keep the bomb fall line across the target. He was in the zone: The threat receiver, the engine, the noise of the Iraqi defenders on the ground-everything just faded away. Five thousand feet. The dome raced toward him; the pipper on the display screen creeped ever closer along the bomb line to the target icon. Forty-five hundred feet. Four thousand. He was almost at the predetermined bubble of the frag pattern. The death dot at the end of the bomb- fall line, like a pendulum, crept toward the target icon.” – page 192
Once the bombs had been delivered, there remained the question of whether the strikers would have enough fuel for the return flight to Etzion Airbase in Israel.
“Raz climbed to 38,000 feet, where the intelligence forecaster had predicted the weakest headwinds. He checked his computer readout: indeed, there was virtually no air currents. But at this altitude, the F-16s’ exhaust would leave behind contrails in the cold, moist air, making the planes easier to spot. The squadron still had to cross Jordanian airspace, where MiGs could well be waiting for them.” – page 207
When it was all said and done, the first ever strike of a nuclear reactor had been accomplished. International condemnation of the act was swift, vigorous and fairly universal among both enemies and allies alike. Even still, there was a grudging respect for the boldness of the attack, and the precision by which it was carried out. The strike was purposely planned for a Sunday afternoon to assure that very few foreign workers would be on the site during the attack. Indeed, “only” ten Iraqi soldiers and one French technician were killed in the attack. When the U.S. president Ronald Reagan was advised of the attack this was the exchange:
“Yes?” Reagan said.
“Mr. President, the Israelis just took out a nuclear reactor in Iraq with F16s,” Allen said.
“What do you know about it?”
“Nothing sir. I’m waiting for a report.”
“Why do you suppose they did it?” Reagan asked, then, not waiting for a response, answered the question himself. “Well,” he shrugged, “boys will be boys.” – page 218
The book is not only a fascinating look at the internal workings of the strike on Osirak, but an interesting history of that time period of Israeli foreign relations. Indeed, it is a small slice of history in a region that seems forever in flux. The country that is your friend one day, is your enemy the next. Selling weapons, destroying the weapons you sold, keeping your friends close and your enemies closer is all a part of politics and warfare in the Middle East. Near the end of the book is an interesting passage with an account of how the international arms dealers who were cozied-up to the Iraqi government reacted in the lobby of Baghdad’s Palestine Hotel after learning of the attack:
“By late Monday afternoon, however, the dealers had all learned the truth of their Iraqi hosts’ sudden anxiety. The rumor of the destruction of Osirak ran throughout the hotel. The salesmen were quick to commiserate. It was a dangerous and unjust world they all lived in, they consoled. But then, all was not lost. Iraq could always rebuild. After all, the oil was still flowing. Now, more than ever, Iraq needed the latest in Western technology and defenses. In fact, as the French arms dealer pointed out, they were selling an entirely new generation of advanced early-warning radar defenses. France could deliver within the month.” – page 224
The search for a suitable platform to accomplish the “Do It” part of this article was long and frustrating. Falcon 4 was the obvious choice for duplicating the Osirak mission, but the wide array of Falcon choices can be daunting. OpenFalcon, Red Viper, Falcon 4, F4AF, FreeFalcon… where to start?
After searching far and wide I eventually settled on Falcon 4: Allied Force with the PMC Tactical Operation Desert Storm v0.7 theatre and a custom made mission by “16th Speed”. It would have been nice to use something like FreeFalcon with the availability of IAF skins and even the ability to fl the F-16A, but technical problems and instability with all of the other versions of Falcon squashed those hopes.
Many thanks to the various community members and forums that helped me sort out the best way to accomplish the duplication of the Osirak strike mission.
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