I thought I would replay this mission to see what "randomness" takes place between each iteration.
Well I can tell you - Wow.
Firstly the mission package was the same except our fighter escorts were 4 Tomcats. More of that later.
So 12 A7E's for the Ship strike, but only 4 A7E's for SEAD.
flight deck getting ready
This guy was out there trying to find our fleet at the same time our recon. had found the Kiev
At the same time , radio comms from the mainalnd indicated that seaborne russian fighters were patrolling over the south of Iceland.
This turned out to be a blessing as our SEAD package in the previous mission played had been "bounced" at their lauch point and
though the phantoms had fought them off, the strike had been ineffectual.
We felt very confident, with this news, and Tomcats as Air Cover.
Adversaries over Iceland
Our Tomcat top cover, they received the AWACs call that the Kiev was launching fighters so they hit the gas a pushed forward.
As the Tomcats engaged the russian fighters, the SEAD strike commenced launching unapposed.
first salvo of radar suppression missiles from SEAD team
As the missiles launch we turn into the final run in
The second salvo of missiles, we are on our own now.
These shots show some of the damage from the missile launches. This first shot shows a frigate in the background burning
( also the smoke trail in the sky of a downed russian fighter from a hit by a Tomcat). The second shot shows a Sam launcher disabled.
My arrival over the fleet
I'm dead, whilst the missile launches seemed to much less that the previous mission ( only about 30%)
due to the great success of the SEAD team, I got unlucky. I'm now a spectator to what happened next
hits, near misses and fires on a destroyer and frigate
Here you can see in the bottom right corner, a ship has exploded and sank with just the oil slick left.
Note also the smoke trail and splash of an A7 hitting the water
The Kiev takes a massive hit
As the kiev starts to slow, smoke and settle, a frigate on its starboard side takes a direct hit and explodes.
The frigate sailing ahead of the Kiev doesnt have long to live
The whole Fleet has been decimated. So why the different result.
1/ The Kiev was only able to deploy a few fighters as the rest were off on other missions.
2/ The Tomcats were able to keep the fighters off our SEAD strike
3/ All 4 A7s were able to fire all their missiles in 2 salvos of 8. That had to hurt. ( Note I saw no evidence of these missiles "sinking" any ship , just fires on radar systems and missile systems)
4/ Much less Sam launches due to this success so our losses ( 4 of) were over the fleet often after bomb launch
5/ As each ship was hit there is a dramatic reduction in AAA and SAMs so 3 of the 4 losses ( including myself) were as we just hit the fleet
So the "scoreboard" was 4 A7's from the strike group lost, 1 SEAD A7 from a SAM from the fleet
The russians lost most if not all of the fleet , I could see 1 destroyer limping away but looked terminal, all of the launched fighters to the Tomcats ( I think only 4 launched but not sure)
Total Victory and played out very differently to the first time
The 4 SEAD package left first, so as to strike before we arrived over target