F/A-18C Loft Bombing Mission
This is a post mission report for a Loft bombing mission designed by near_blind for our “Wednesday Night Fibre” multiplayer group.
|Personality||Nose Markings||Role||Aircraft Origin|
|@near_blind||302||Mission Lead||Eisenhower (CVN-69)|
|@Bogusheadbox||25||Life Lesson Coach||Eisenhower (CVN-69)|
|@DeadMeat||301||Alternative Flight Stylist||Eisenhower (CVN-69)|
|@chipwich||311||Doesn’t Wanna Loft||Eisenhower (CVN-69)|
|@Andrew116||311||Alternate 311 SAM decoy||Eisenhower (CVN-69)|
|@Fridge||313||RCAF CF-188 Fanboi||Al Minhad|
unDramatis Personae: Absent from the Mission for ‘Reasons’
|Personality||Nose Markings||Role||Aircraft Origin|
|@fearlessfrog||n/a||Airport Integrity Checker||n/a|
|@Tankerwade||n/a||Squadron Designate Cold/Flu Lad||n/a|
|@AeroMechanical||n/a||Frequently Late Airman||n/a|
We are all gonna die. It’s always safe to start off that way because it is safe to set your goals and keep your expectations low, but when it isn’t, oh man can you feel that surprise!
Our mission was relatively simple; at least it will ‘sound’ simple but for most of us who are not near_blind, and who do not practice these things very much, it will be more complex to actually execute. We are to enter Iranian territory to the north, circle around and approach the Bandar Abbas International airbase from the north, attack and destroy via loft bombing some support buildings in an elaborate international insurance fraud scheme.
Here are the way-points handed out. We would use these map markings to generate Lat/Lon way-points that we would enter into the 18C computer and use on our own terms. I modified the way-points that were already in the system while others added new way-points.
Target assignments were distributed as well. Again, using the same systems above, we entered these into the system manually. near_blinds target was the building between those of chipwich, DeadMeat and I (Fridge).
We also determined a flight assembly point over Sirri Island were we could all meet up and push to way-point #1.
The loft bombing is critical. As you would expect, the airbase is defended and overflying it is generally consider ‘dangerous’ or at least that is what the intelligence analysts who were assigned during the planning have been telling everyone. Who knows? It’s not like near_blind likes to hide surprises in his missions, it’s just not normal for him to tell us about them.
From: Basic Emplyment Manual AFTTP 3-3 Vol 5;
So the Loft Bombing is, again, relatively simple. Let me check my notes from last Wednesday because even though it’s ‘simple’, I’m old enough to need notes and reminders. Here is what I wrote:
Transcription: MIL -> 6nm -> AB + 4G/45° -> Pickle
In long form: Push in to the target with proper line-up at MIL power, at 6nm go to afterburner, pull 4G on the jet up to 45° nose high, when release cue moves down then press and hold pickle button, roll away, dive and run fast like across the desert.
This is easy to say but hard to remember in the moment. It gets you all tunnel visioned during the run in and loft while trying to keep everything else going in the right direction.
Taking off from the carrier is sexy. Really sexy. I mean, look at it!
[Fanboi rant]I know a lot of people see all the negatives in this game and I seriously can not understand that attitude. I’d say this all throughout this AAR but how can you not look at what we have and marvel that we have it!?! Is it perfect? No. Will it ever be perfect? Ha! No. What we have is an amazing feat of development and engineering that does not get the respect and appreciate that it is due.[end Fanboi rant]
There is not enough space on the carrier for us to all launch from without a significant carrier deck-dance, so I elected to take off from Al Minhad AB instead and save us (mainly me) the confusion. I tend to dislike crowds anyway.
We delayed at this point to away the arrival of our fearless (frog) leader but he was detained by an integrity check that was difficult to diagnose when you are in VR (and get that nice headache inducing hourglass and crosseyed (to me) static display). That gave us all time to go through the waypoint entries and set up the weapon profiles.
Soon enough it was time to get underway. I know it was probably frustrating for fearlessfrog to try working through his issue while we were all entering coordinates and profiles and it probably felt like we were abandoning him but I hope not.
I pre-pologise (a preloaded apology before I start doing something that I probably should apologize for after it is done): prepare for some DCS 2.5 F/A-18C screenshot spam. Seriously it’s hard to edit these down to just a few.
We all arrived over Sirri Island in one piece and pushed on. I was very slow in rejoining on the formation on the push to way-point 1. I was nursing my thrust (and gas) but was able to catch this picture.
It’s hard to see but that was #311 (Andrew116) impacting #301 (DeadMeat) in dramatic fashion through the fault of, well, no one really. There was a lag spike that caused #311 to become stationary and slide back into #301.
Doh! Down two aircraft in the middle of ingress is a PitA, not for those who survive but it brings a abrupt end to a mission for those who put all that time into getting to that point and now can’t continue. Sorry guys! We pressed on!
At least there is only one #311 aircraft now, so it’s easier to figure out who I am looking at.
We pressed on from way-point 1 to way-point 2.
Just prior to reaching way-point 2 we switched to a trail formation which would make the dive to the deck easier and less prone to pilot error induced collisions.
The roll into the dive was spectacular!
The run from way-point 2 to the IP was fast and low as we made sure that none of us was going to draw swift attention from any SAM assets that would make a guess at our plot.
It was here that I made my mistake. I had been planning to drop the tanks to give me a little more ‘freedom’ on the IP (less drag, weight, etc). Unfortunately, I selected the correct stations for my ‘Selective Jettison’ but I hit the wrong button.
No Fridge! Don’t hit the yellow button! Replay me didn’t listen.
Doh. Well, now I had a disturbingly clean aircraft to strike at the airfield with. I guess that is why we brought so many extra jets on the mission. We are down to 3 target-effective jets at this point.
near_blind hit his loft trigger distance first.
Bogus was next. I was still following through on my plan even though I had that dangerously clean jet. I was ahead of him by a smidge and judged my rollout/dive away point while Bogus pressed on. I was hoping that I could at least get the attention of any SAM assets that might be watching our airshow.
Sure enough. Someone was down there and they were hungry for western jets!
near_blind announced a SAM (SA-6) shot shortly after this.
You can see near_blind in this shot just off to the right of the SAM-smoke-elbow. My (preemptive) flares can be seen in the upper right corner.
Bogus finished his loft. Delivery on it’s way!
We did end up drawing a Tunguska shot as well. Upper arc of flares were mine. Lower and to the left are those of near_blind. Not pictured: at this point the SA-6 had tried to lead near_blind far enough that it impacted the ground just off the runway of Bandar Abbas International.
It had me targeted but doesn’t have the smash to get close enough as near_blind sprints along the desert. Out of frame, Bogus is behind finishing his loft and chipwhich is beginning his run in to the target.
near_blinds bombs hit close to their target (off, likely, do to the dynamic weather and temperature calculations that are not currently handled by the 18C’s computer.
Bongus had his bombs hit just long as well. All in all, both profiles look good and were executed good.
We egreseds as fast as we can.
chipwich was, however, still over the target. A couple of Tunguska shots can’t make the final turn to follow him.
Or maybe they were distracted? You be the judge but I account the misses to his superior jet handling.
Now came the real test. Instead of the in-close Tunguska shots, the SA-6 had gotten mad and after some yelling among the crew over whose fault it was that the stations were not manned in time, they elected to try to take their revenge out on chipwich.
That angle was not looking good.
Not good at all.
Sorry chipwich! We pressed on to RTB reporting no chute in sight.
Bogus looked goof (that’s a typo but I’m gonna leave it ) on the egress.
It was all quiet until our AWACS controller (now Deadmeat) called out a pair of bandits lifting off from Tunb Kochak or Tunb Island AFB. We turned nose hot and worked to get the air-to-air systems up and running. Well I did, as a expect near_blind and Bogus were already properly configured.
Pressing on to the RWR contacts, Bogus picked up the challenging tones from another SA-6 along the cost. He was forced defensive.
near_blind and I continued to press on to the bandits. I had trouble getting them on the radar at the ranges near_blind was able to, likely because of inexperience and me not understanding HRF, etc.
We launched while Bogus maneuvered clear of his problems.
The MiG-23’s were fast! They detected the launches and turned tail. Unfortunately it looks like near_blind and I had fired on the same target.
The remaining -23 had an interest in me. A potentially fatal interest.
I picked up the launch and appropriately freaked out. I put some G’s on the jet (capital G’s) and pump chaff. I got lucky and the maneuvering paid off, robbing the Apex (R24R) of it’s energy near the end of it’s range.
Bogus took a shot on the closest offensive guy while near_blind pulled in bind him for a follow-up shot. Both hit but near_blind had the kill with the follow-up shot.
Meanwhile, the remaining MiG-23 runner turned back into the fray. Bogus and near_blind were able to follow up on this bandit quickly. I was struggling to get my situational awareness under control and get in the general area of the engagement, but it proved unnecessary to the outcome. near_blind shot a AIM-9M off that damaged the bandit.
Finished off by a guns kill while Bogus’s AIM-9M shot goes blind off of the rail.
Nicely done! We pushed on to the boat.
near_blind in the pattern with chipwich doing some practice trapping … and maybe giving the carrier a nice black smoke trail; really, he was afraid we wouldn’t make it back and decided to ‘mark the target’ for us.
Bogus was next.
Took him a moment to remember that you had to let the engine spool down and let the wire pull you back a little before it would disengage
I was last in the pattern. Started to get some anxiety with all of those eyes on me!
I was all over the ball but I managed to salvage the approach and got her down.
I would call it a partially successful mission. We hit the target but we had a lot of ‘mission casualties’ along the way. I am glad that everyone was able to make it and I hope we had as much fun as possible considering the difficulties that we encountered.
Our Bomb Lofting Effectiveness
From looking at the TacView track, here is what I can find about our bomb effectiveness. This was more time consuming than I hoped
Here is the target plan again:
And my notes at the start of the mission:
Going back into the DCS mission editor, it looks like the targets were:
near_blind: 27 14’ 36" N - 056 23’ 04" E
Bogusheadbox: 27 14’ 38" N - 056 23’ 15" E
Fridge: 27 14’ 39" N - 056 23’ 66" E
DeadMeat: 27 14’ 42" N - 056 23’ 02" E
chipwich: 27 14’ 37" N - 056 22’ 59" E
@Bogusheadbox’s loft start:
Impacted at or near the end of the pink arrow:
Impacted at or near the end of the pink arrow:
Using this handy calculator: https://www.movable-type.co.uk/scripts/latlong.html
@Bogusheadbox was ‘off’ from my measurement in DCS by 185m
near_blind noted that the weather conditions were likely not accounted for my the bombing computers in the F/A-18C (ie: not modeled yet) and that likely accounts for the bombing runs to appear long.