We have word that attack aircraft are headed towards friendly ground unit at the front lines. Me and a wingman scramble, this time carrying some long-range AIM-54 Phoenix missles. I've been waiting to try these babies out in a proper mission.
On our intercept course, we are told about bandits ot our south, heading NW, angels 16, and given the go-ahead to engage. I adjust my heading and turn on the radar. Two blips at 50nm and 16.5K feet, that must be them. I lock onto the lead aircraft with a Phoenix, with nearly a 90deg. aspect. Let's see what this missle can do. Pointing the radar crosshair to the handy little optimum firing direction box (what's it called?), I let it fly.
Switching to the missle cam, I follow the AIM-54 along it's ballistic arc to the target to see what I'm shooting at.
And see a pair of Parani Blinders. The Phoenix works well against big dumb targets. The first is knocked out of the sky.
Then I lock on and fire at the second Blinder. I would have assigned it to my wingman, but he was unable to lock on. You can only assign visual targets to your wingman, or give "attack all air targets" orders to your other flights. A real shame when flying an interceptor... The second Tu-22 goes down. These were not, however, our primary targets. We continue our mission, heading towards the next waypoint.
Approaching the coast of Paran, we hear that bandits are 12o'clock 10 miles at a lower altitude. Primary targets are still far away, so I decide to engage the enemy aircraft. Looks like 2 Floggers heading towards us at an angle. I figure we'll swoop in, fire a couple of sidewinders and continue towards our objective. I began a shallow dive, lining up on an intercept course. Suddenly, 4 more Floggers pop up from a low altitude, and before we know it, wingman and I are outnumbered in the middle of a furball. I radio for help and all I'm told is that fighters are on the way. How soon they will arrive, who can say?
After some jinking and a nice high yoyo, I drop down and get into a good position and fire a Sidewinder.
The Flogger is damaged, so against my better judgement I stay with him for a quick gun kill, even though I know there are at least 2 others trying to get a shot off at me. Better to take him out and not let him get home for repairs if possible. He goes down with one small burst, and I check my six just in time to see a Mig-23 behind me disintegrate. The cavalry is here! Four F-15 dive into the fray, more than evening the odds.
I check on my wingy, he's 8 miles away engaged defensive. I point towards him and hit the burners. Then he calls out "Taking damage!" Not good. I franticaly cycle to TWS radar mode, 10 miles, lock onto the aircraft pursuing, hoping its the Mig, lock on a Sparrow, cross my fingers and "Fox one". A few seconds later, another Flogger down. You can see my wingman was in a bad position and in bad shape.My wingman and the destroyed Pursuer
We turn and run for home. Though battered, he makes it home to fight another day.
Mission failed, but we are alive, and I took out 4 planes, wingman got one. Not bad. That will help in the days to come.