Taking up a heading toward the strike waypoint some 70 miles distant I go through the motions of assuring my A2G weapons are set correctly. It is a good thing I do too because when I enter the A2G mode the weapon selected is a CBU instead of the LGB on pylon #7. I quickly make the correction, slave the TGP pod to the ground radar steerpoint and wait for the target site to emerge from the haze ahead.
I think this Su-27 is on our side, but whatever the case that is a cool paint job he is sporting!
Finally the depot emerges from the haze with the TGP set on maximum zoom (NARO). Again I’m not sure if this is a recent addition with FF3, but a nice feature in the TGP image is the target distance information located just above the WPN push-button. The target distance read-out changes as you slew the cursors around, another nice touch.
Flying toward the target I wait for the release timer to drop to zero I keep the steering lined up when all of the sudden I hear a tearing sound through my head-phones. I know that sound well! The ripping sound is the threat warning audible sound for an active radar homing missile! A glance at the RWR scope verifies the MiG-29 symbol, which wasn’t there a second a go.
Giving up on the bombing run I roll inverted and split-S toward the ground, picking up a southerly heading as I pick up speed. I can only hope that the missile was fired at maximum range and that I can outdistance it. I select afterburner and gulp the newly acquired fuel as I keep pointed downhill away from the threat.
I pop continuous flares and chaff as I run and pretty much give up on my wingman, hoping he has the wits to evade on his own. Much to my amusement the AWACS controller comes on the frequency and warns me that “new threats are airborne” and gives me a bearing and range. Like I didn’t already know!
The AA-10 follows me down and I can see my aircraft spitting flares and chaff as it stays locked on me.
The missile is really close now and despite hearing things ripping and groaning from my airframe I know it is better to bend the airplane aerodynamically that suffer the fate of getting hit by an AA-10. The pylons moan and multiple warning lights illuminate as I pass through the sound-barrier. The Bitchin’ Betty wails multiple warning but I don’t let up. We bottom out of the dive at Mach 1.11 as we scream south over the former DMZ.