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    Retired pilot Eddie's Avatar
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    Recoil 11, a Grizzly Story

    I took off from Senaki as a single ship and headed towards killbox delta on a BAI sortie, armed with 2 AGM-65K, 2 CBU-87, 2 Mk-82, 7 M151 and 1150 30mm combat mix. There were several other flights in the airspace over the FLOT, who would soon be heading home, so I decided that operating at medium level would be the best way to go in light of the fact I was without a wingman. The cruise to the AO was without incident and I quickly located and engaged an EWR site.

    Operating at medium level over KB delta I then saw Beslan airport on my 11 o'clock so quickly slewed the TGP to the area and rapidly identified a single SA-19 at the airfield with AAA and multiple armoured vehicles and parked aircraft.

    Having one AGM-65K remaining, 2 Mk-82 and Gun remaining I decided to take out the SA-19 with the Mav and then press in to engage the AAA with Gun before employing any remaining ordnance on the armour and aircraft.

    The SA-19 was despatched without incident, as was the Zeus. I then performed a 30 degree DB with the 82s on a group of 3 MBTs parked on the ramp, successfully destroying 2 of them. During the recovery and while extending for another attack I came under fire from a AAA emplacement on the roof of one of the airfield buildings, after defending against the incoming fire I repositioned and ran in for a gun attack on the AAA.

    About 2 seconds before firing the MWS screeched into life alerting me of a missile launch at 9 o'clock (oh ****), with a clear RWR and in light of the fact that I'd already made 2 passes over the same area it could only be a MANPADS located in the nearby town (serves me right for not considering the town when choosing my attack direction). I mashed the CMS sending 24 balls of white hot magnesium in to the sky between me and the incoming missile, and simultaneously performed and orthogonal roll to the right as didn't have the altitude, airspeed or distance for any other manoeuvre to even hope to be effective. About 4 seconds after the MWS screamed at me, bang, an SA-18 detonated below and to the left of my tail sending shrapnel flying into the left engine and other systems including the avionics bay.

    I broke low right after my roll and extended north from Beslan, more flares flying from the dispensers in the hope of defeating any following missiles, which fortunately didn't come. Once I'd extended from the threat I began to check my systems, immediately I dealt with the failed left engine which was now on fire and began a sweep of other systems. I had damage to the right engine resulting in a loss of thrust (the engine was operating at 75% fan RPM, due to the ITT amplifiers limiting fuel flow to prevent an overheat) and faults with other systems including the EGI, resulting in failure of the HUD airspeed and altitude indications and the cockpit altimeter ELEC mode as well as EAC. I switched the altimeter to pneumatic mode and received a good altitude indication and carried on flying using the primary cockpit instruments.

    With the immediate threat behind me, I began trying to climb to a safe altitude in order to egress from hostile airspace but due to the limited thrust I was getting from my one remaining engine my best climb rate was only 500 ft/min. I had just reached 7000ft when the MWS screamed into life again, this time there was a missile on my nose below me. More mashing of the CMS ensued and I broke hard right and began a dive away from the threat (there was no may I could manoeuvre otherwise), but again my attempt to defeat the missile failed I it hit me. Thankfully the only fault was a re-ignition of the left engine fire, which was quickly extinguished.

    Now I was left with a problem, I was deep in hostile airspace, alone, single engine and unable to climb safely above any threats or the mountains between me and home. There was only one possible action, get low and run for the FLOT. I reduced throttle on the right engine and flipped the fuel flow switch to override, hoping to coax some more power out of my one remaining motor (engine longevity was no longer a concern, I needed to get home). Unfortunately I had not reduced throttle enough however and as soon as I flicked the switch the ITT spiked, fortunately I recognised my mistake instantly and was able to slam the throttle closed before the engine was destroyed. But less fortunately the engine shut down as well. Now I was at 4000 ft, 50 miles behind enemy lines and flying a glider.

    Without altitude to attempt a windmill restart I flipped the APU switch, it spooled up and I was thankfully able to restart the right engine and it didn't appear to have suffered any further damage from my mistake. I was now flying on HARS, with no navigation references (not even TACAN down at this altitude) I continued my decent down to 300 feet and referenced west, being familiar with the AO and having a old fashioned map handy enabled me to get myself heading the right way using just the compass.

    Now down in the weeds I was able to use terrain masking to (hopefully) avoid any further threats, I just had to make it the now 40 miles back into friendly airspace. Fuel wasn't an issue, especially on a single motor, so my only concern was avoiding any hostile ground forces and there was no way I'd be able to defeat another missile. So the weaving began, ensuring I flew in between any urban areas or forests that may conceal a threat, and scanning ahead in trying to pick out and ground forces in the open in time to turn to avoid them (trust me there are thousands of hostile ground forces in the AO, and you only seem to find them when you're trying not to).

    After some 15 minutes I made it to within 5 miles of the FLOT, I could almost spit into friendly airspace now, but I had one last hurdle to contend with. The FLOT itself, a line of densely packed hostile ground forces, including air defence was in between me and salvation. I began flying south, toward a area of open terrain which was the safest place I could find to cross the FLOT. It was at this point that the RWR picked up a Zeus at my 1 o'clock, fortunately there were some low hills to my left I could hind in so I snapped left and headed for the hills (literally), no sooner had I done this than the MWS screamed out again, this time a launch on my 6. Thankfully I was just about to fly over a ride, so I dropped down an managed to mask myself defeating the missile (phew), and extended a few miles through the hills.

    With my intended egress point now on my 3 o'clock I turned right and headed towards safety, the only problem was I could see a column of BMPs at the southern edge of the town that would be passing to my left, and I just knew there would be something in the town to my right as well. Still no choice now, if I'd turned to go and find anther way across the FLOT I'd have only brought myself closer to one of the threats, so I was committed. As I crossed the "line" the BMPs and some AAA nearby opened fire, thankfully the modest jinking I could manage was enough too avoid their fire and I was able to make it over the hills and out of hostile airspace.

    Now I was able to start a slow climb in order to get over the mountains and back home to Senaki, but there was no way I could climb fast enough to take a direct route so I'd have to continue flying west until I had gain enough altitude to cross the lower mountains north of Gali.

    Now I was able to trim the jet and maintain a stable course, and take my hands off the stick, I could start an in-flight EGI alignment and carry out a full check of the aircraft systems. I found no further faults, thankfully. At this point I decided to see if I could coax some more thrust from my remaining motor, so I throttled back (enough this time) and moved the right fuel flow switch to override. I advanced the throttle until the ITT gauge indicated 875 degrees and saw the fan was now at 80%, that'll do nicely.

    I continued my course until the EGI alignment had finished, and I had reached 15,000 feet, then I turned south and headed for Gali. It was at this point I was finally able to take some screen shots.

    The caution panel

    And the outside of the jet, not pretty.

    The flight to Gali and then onto Senaki was without incident. Once I reached Senaki the lack of main wheels meant I was going to be coming in for a gear up, single engine landing and the airframe damage meant no flaps either. Despite the faults it proved to be an uneventful landing (thankfully, I'd had enough excitement by now). I put the jet down on 27, and got it stopped then quickly shut down the engine and electrics and pulled the emergency canopy jettison and left the aircraft.

    Another damn enjoyable (albeit for the wrong reasons) mission.

  2. The Following 11 Users Say Thank You to Eddie For This Useful Post:

    Baxter (29Aug12), Comrade (30Aug12), Coyote (30Aug12), Energy (29Aug12), Hammer (29Aug12), Joyride (30Aug12), Markeebo (29Aug12), Mohawk (09Nov12), Noodle (30Aug12), Rat.NL (29Aug12), wildbillkelsoe (08Nov12)

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