The Yemeni government has recently received intelligence indicating that the insurgents have acquired new AFVs, and is desperately looking for them. The contract calls for a reconnaissance sweep over the conflict area, with recon pods to investigate six areas of insurgent activity.
Operation start- 0500 Lima, 0200 Zulu. Flight launched without incident. XO infiltrated Homeplate tower for final brief, possible international incident.
This isn't the first time, apparently...
0600 Lima- flight feet dry, fuel expendure higher than expected for Mike-3 and Juliet-35, will discuss with MG. C and Bw move south to ID sites Charlie, Delta, and Foxtrot. Bu and Bn move north to ID remaining sites (Alpha, Bravo and Echo) No bandits detected, no spikes detected. 0605 Lima- C leads runs on Charlie and Delta, engaged by Allen over Delta, minor damage sustained.
Bw ID's Charlie, breaks off from run on Delta. Bu leads Bn to Alpha, spiked and engaged by Sarah. Bn engages and destroys launcher, and ID's Alpha. Bu sustained major damage from Sarah SAM ID'd as an SA-8, AA was likely a ZPU system.
0610 Lima- C attempts suppression of Allen at Delta, sustains critical damage, C wounded, disengages. Bw succeeds recon pass with no damage. Bu disengages, Bn makes photo pass of Bravo and disengages. Bw engaged by unknown Allen en-route to Echo, minor damage sustained, disengages. Bu and Bn escort C to Homeplate, W following Eastern sites, Echo and Foxtrot, not scouted- flight encountered heavier than expected AA and low fuel, especially Webber
0735 Lima- Flight arrives without incident, Foxtrot-7, Mike-3 and Juliet-35 land safely. MikeGolf-21 suffered critical damage on finals, crash resulted in C KIA Believe damage to engine resulted in flameout, damage to airframe resulted in wing seperation, injuries and bloodloss likely resulted in Dawsons confidence in riding it out instead of ejecting Mission complete, low pass of Alpha, Bravo and Charlie, high pass of Delta, Echo and Foxtrot unknown.
Probable kills on SA-8, ZPU systems. Damage sustained- Bu- heavy damage, repairable W- minor damage, full leak C- crashed, KIA
Intel debrief confirms kill on a pair of 57mm AA systems and an SA-8, in addition to several AFV's. Dawsons strafing run also caused damage to a mosque, roughly a dozen civilian casualties. Part of his insurance payout from Showtime is going towards keeping this quiet. Given the situation as described, the only critique is Dawson and Webber should have co-ordinated their runs better. In all other regards, I can put no fault on his decision or flying skills. Damage to LaCroix's craft due to SA-8 hit, no fault of the pilot- tactical systems like that are hard to spot without Wild Weasel tactics. Fortunately the counter attack by Connolly destroyed the launcher. No critique for either pilot. Operation shows that flight is capable of interdiction sorties, but not suited for them. Dedicated anti-radiation missiles and stand-off weapons would have improved success rate. Likely decision will be to solely bid on interception and CAP sorties. SAM engagement also showed need for ECM- recommend modifying Webbers craft for this role.