The DPRK have a busy day scheduled however, and I’m shocked and pleased to see yet another 3-ship, long distance radar contact appear on the radar scope. Like fish in a barrel the unescorted bombers work their way south (or perhaps the J-7s were the advance fighter screen..so much for that tactic!).
I choose one contact for myself and turn the other two contacts over to the element, giving them their first taste of blood on the mission. It only takes 30 seconds for me and the element to wipe the Tu-16s from the skies leaving behind several trails of smoke and a sky full of parachutes. I joke to my wingman that the new Chinese method of inserting paratroopers is effective, but hell on equipment:
Five minutes later we are approaching Wonsan when AWACS gives a “new threats airborne” call inside of 10 miles! I’m hoping that doesn’t mean that Wonsan is back in business again but whatever the case DPRK MiG-21s are airborne and heading right for us. I give the entire flight the weapons free command in order to get the most missiles on the threat in the least amount of time. Inexplicably, wingman #3 crashes 30 seconds later. I’ve seen this occur a few other times when the threat aircraft is at extreme low altitude and the attacking aircraft is at high altitude. In an effort to put their nose down onto the target the AI craft will occasionally enter a dive that is so steep they cannot pull out of it in time. I suspect that is what happened to #3.
Wingman #4 kills one of the MiG-21s:
For some reason I can’t get my radar to find the remaining MiG and later I realize that I had the scan volume set too high. We are now down to 11-thousand feet and closing fast on the MiG who is sending my threat warning receiver into fits. I know we are probably getting very close to his radar missile range so in desperation I use a trick that Deathscythe suggested on a previous mission and I release an AMRAAM “Maddog” without missile lock. The missile goes active right off the rail and acquires whatever it first sees in front of it using this technique:
I hold my breath and hope that a friendly fighter hasn’t somehow snuck out in front of me and watch the missile track in for a kill on the remaining MiG-21:
Wow! A bunch of action there for awhile! The after action report will later show a total of 9 kills for our flight for only 1 loss which wasn’t even a shoot-down. The flight worked really well together.
Climbing back up to around 20-thousand feet I scan the airspace north of Wonsan and see no contacts whatsoever on the radar. Double checking with AWACS confirms the airspace has been “sanitized”. Since the strike portion of the flight will take us at low altitude into a known SAM location I elect to send the element (#3 and #4) back to base since they can only get shot down at this point without contributing anything to the strike.
Turning to my weapons page I set my 6 Durandals to come off the rack at 990 foot intervals which should give me a pretty good dispersal down the length of Sondok’s relatively short runway:
Coming up on Sondok I spy the airfield from altitude and as I enter the SA-2 engagement cone I take us down to the deck with hopes of running under the radar scan altitude:
Approaching the airfield I make a last second line up correction, switch to CCIP mode now that I have a visual on the runway and try to settle my steering:
Running down the runway I hear my Durandals releasing and the “kahrump” of the rocket motors slamming into the runway and exploding. Though not a perfect “down the center-line” pass I think the damage is sufficient: