A Lock On: Modern Air Combat Mission Report
So, my friends, it is another day and again you find us here at Sochi after another sortie, for Muqtadeh is still out there and his plans for the freedom-loving Georgian people are nefarious.
Things go badly for Muqtadeh, and we are pleased to be a small part of this. The Islamists who control Turkey have taken her into an unpopular war with us. The death of Muqtadeh’s lieutenant at our hands has hurt his cause. Turkish airmen have been slain, aircraft lost, and the deaths of the HAWK battery soldiers in one of our missions to Sukhumi caused a vote of no-confidence in the Turkish parliament that was only narrowly defeated. Many in the Turkish military believe their efforts are wasted, and they do not support the war. And our Western allies also do not want to kill the Turks, who are supposed to be in the NATO too. The mullahs who now govern them had hoped that Georgia’s own Islamic population would rise, but by and large this has not happened. Only in the south is Muqtadeh supported. In Red Star, we read that perhaps the Turkish armed forces will stage a coup! We must provide more failures for the Turkish mullahs to ponder, and to encourage their enemies.
We have returned to Sochi from Sevastopol with our new MiG-29 fighters. These are the 9-12 variant, older, less capable than the 9-13 that Frontal Aviation flies now, thus they come to the arena of battle because they are expendable. They are not our beloved Su-27P swans, but they are hardy combat aircraft. They are rough equivalent to your F-16 in the West. I am back with the squadron now, and have not heard that I am to return to the Americans just yet, though I was told they have asked for me. This is an honor. But my brothers and sisters here need my small skills for now.
Unlike our missed Su-27, the MiG is a multirole aircraft. It carries the R-60, R-73, and R-27R1 missiles for air combat. Though I miss the R-27TE and RE high-energy missiles, these will suffice at shorter range. Particularly the R-73, deadly inside 20km range. We have no jammers, and this is a problem. Should enemy air defenses continue to be problematic, we may have to upgrade to the 9-13 MiG, if the V-VS wishes us to stay in the fight. We do have all needed bombs and rockets, though, and this is good.
The evening before this mission, Vasily and I took the evening meal with the Commander and his staff. There, we were briefed on today’s mission. He took a sip of Vodka, and handed to me a sheaf of reconnaissance photos taken by a MiG-25RBT aircraft the previous day.
“Sacha, Vasily. Look at these. Here, you see the town of Tkvarcheli, where the old weapons range used by the Americans to train Georgian forces was located. Look closely at this train station. This station is located east of the city center, on the inside of a hill. It makes approach from the east, over the sea, difficult.”
Vasily thoughtfully chewed on the remains of his dinner.
“Are we to ride a train, sir?”
The Commander smiled, lighting a contraband Turkish cigarette.
“In a manner of speaking. I intend for you and our Sacha here to blow up the train!”
He waited for a moment for this to sink in, and continued.
“Look at this, my little eagles. See how the IRLF stores its supplies? They are mobile, and kept on the train. The Turks resupply the IRLF dogs by rail, well camouflaged. Here, a train is on the siding at the station. Look well, this film was exposed only this afternoon.”
The photo sequence showed a cargo train, with armored vehicles on flatcars and boxcars containing unknown munitions.
“Where do they get their vehicles? They are made by us!”
The Commander blew smoke rings, assuming a sour expression.
“The Iranians. The American Navy is exacting a price upon them for their impertinence even now. But where they come from is not important. They are here, and we must show the IRLF that we know it and we will not tolerate this new insult to the sovereignty of our brotherly Georgian comrades.”
(Note: See the SimHQ F/A-18 Forum for boNes’s continuing account of the Gulf campaign!)