Into Abkhazia, over the 41st Division staff at Gantiadi. Gudauta is five minutes south, so close. We cross over Gudauta airbase and with the Gumista river in sight Sugar and I begin to curve a lazy circle that will enable us to cover the Canadian flight. Suddenly, we hear a new, deep bass voice, over the GUARD distress frequency!
“What the hell was that?”
Sugar sounded more exasperated than apprehensive.
“I am certain that it is the cursed mujahids, trying to frighten us.”
“Oh, yeah?” Sugar came up on GUARD herself. “Yo’ mama didn’t teach you what lil’ grrrlz ‘r made of? Lemme ‘splain it to ya. We’re made of sugar and spice and everything nice!”
“Colt 1, Captain Scarlet-cut the chatter!” One of the AWACS controllers, excited. “Snap 195! Bandit bandit, flight of two, bullseye 095, range 29 nautical miles, low, hot.”
Sugar sounded excited too.
“You have the lead.”
I smacked down my tinted visor and pushed the comm. switch for the E-3.
“Colt 1, request clearance to target.”
“Colt 1 cleared hot.”
“Roger. Colt 12, master arm on. Weapons free. Start the music.”
I set the Westinghouse APG-63 radar’s dedicated display to 20 nautical miles and select TWS mode. Using the F-15’s excellent hands-on stick and throttle, I narrow the azimuth scan for faster target updating and thumb the radar beam down to cover a volume of sky from ground to approximately 15,000 feet.
“One, what’s your status?”
“I see them now.”
My TEWS is chirping enemy search radar, identified as the RP-29 radar of two MiG-29s. It is as the general suspected.