The Voice of the Prophet Page 5

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“Vasily, can you see the launcher?”

“Da. Seaward of the building. Recommend you approach from the east, Sacha. He will not be able to see you.”

“Two, see if you can distract him while I position.”

I crank into a tight turn, noticing as I do what looks like a military convoy on the Suhumi highway.

I radio it to Vasily, who looks through his binoculars and confirms — it was the source of the radar contact.

I line up on the radio tower again... I line up on the radio tower again taking care to select the FAB bombs this time, and approach carefully, at speed.Again, I choose the Aeronautical sub-mode. This allows the pilot to set a drop location, and the bombs will fall when the aircraft is in position.
Again the tone sounds, and cuts as the bombs thump loose. Again the tone sounds, and cuts as the bombs thump loose.
As my bombs begin their flight, I am tense. The mujahid is there, somewhere, waiting. His Igla antiaircraft missile is shoulder-launched and deadly to low-flying aircraft. With it in the hands of Muqtadeh’s despised IRLF, any ground attack below three thousand meters is dangerous in the extreme. One must keep her speed high and her wits about her to survive.
I follow through carefully to ensure that the aerodynamic FAB bombs fly true. In Aeronautical mode, one does not have release permission yet, when she first engages the system. Rather, one has designated where she wants to strike, and holds the trigger down. When the tone begins, you are on the bomb run and must not deviate. When the tone stops, the bombs come free.
The trick is not to be caught in what Col. Andy Bush, the A-10 instructor with the Americans, calls the “frag pattern.” If one flies too low, one will die with her target! I nearly did this with PB-250 bombs some months ago. Were it not for their parachute-brake, my story would not have ended so happily that day! I remember my mistake well.
Immediately I execute a hard break turn... So, immediately I execute a hard break turn and pop APP-50 canisters against the missile that is sure to come.

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