Knowing just enough to be a hazard to myself and my wingmen, Iíve decided to attempt my first ever DCS A-10C campaign. You may remember Iíve flown the A-10A in The Valley Campaign
in Flaming Cliffs 2, but Iíve yet to try my hand at flying the much more complex A-10C in a campaign. I always figured that the Black Shark would be the pinnacle of difficulty, but in many ways, the Ka-50 is a fair bit simpler in both design and implementation. The luxury of retreating and hovering to assess the situation is a big advantage (you may proceed with Apache development please ED!). The A-10C has extremely capable and complicated avionics and Iíve only just skimmed the surface of learning what they are able to do on the battlefield.
Iíll admit that the story lead up to ďGeorgian HammerĒ is a bit weak and could use a bit more threshing out. It is difficult to figure out why we are there, what we are doing, and what the real goals of the campaign are. Maps, more detailed briefings, and a bit of back story would be nice.
My fresh pilot has zero time, zero kills, zero deaths. This could get ugly!
The first mission Iím assigned is to strike a bridge just north of the town of Kobuleti. For a first mission it sure does have a lot going on and with such a short distance to fly for the strike I know Iím going to have my hands full. Ten other flights of various types (CAP, SEAD, AWACS) will be flying in the area and I have no idea how Iíll manage them. I tweak the waypoints a bit to give me a better run in toward the target area and plan to egress back out over the water.
Since the target is a bridge, I go with the easiest option for ordnance and select the GBU-31 JDAM which is basically an Mk84 2000 lbs. bomb fitted with a GPS steering kit. It is a fire and forget precision weapon that wonít require me to do much other than designate, drop, and get the hell out of Dodge.
To my surprise, the mission starts with us in position on the runway. Iím not a fan of running starts or air starts. I guess my idea of flying sims is very much like LOFT training at the airlines (Line Oriented Flight Training). The concept is that you fly your training exactly like you fly your line flights with all of the same procedures and no zapping around in the sim to points in space. I rather enjoy the process of starting up, setting up, and getting into the flow before launching on a mission. I understand that not everyone has the time for that though.
Right off the bat the radio frequency is a bustle of flight checking on. It would also be nice (is it possible?) to have the unit callsign in the F2 view when scrolling through the external views. I pull up my steerpoint and shove the throttles forward and head out for the mission.
Overhead a SEAD flight of F-16s orbits. I try unsuccessfully to contact them and I donít know what was wrong because later in the mission I am able to talk to them. I was on the correct frequency, but maybe I was using the wrong radio.
As I navigate to the IP, I pull up my DSMS page and select a single GBU-31 for the attack.
The attack is straight forward since the bridge is a known position and is already entered into my waypoints. All I have to do is turn on the TGP, select the BRIDGE waypoint and slave the TGP to the waypoint. I head in from over the ocean while a bunch of other flights are doing their thing attacking ground targets and generally cluttering up the frequency with all of their calls. I never did get to unleash the SEAD flight and if any enemy air was in the area I would have had no clue since I was also ignoring the AWACS calls.
Soon enough my release reticle starts doing its thing and I press and hold the pickle button. Iím amazed that the bomb actually comes off since I very often forget a switch here or there.
As I peer through the TGP a truck trundles across the bridge and Iím reminded of the ďLuckiest Man in IraqĒ
Well, that was pretty straightforward even though I didnít use my wingman or any of my other assets. I turn and head the whole three minutes back to base.
And after playing the piccolo with my HOTAS I finally manage to call up the support flight menu. Just a little late with that.
On high base leg.
So Ė I shot one kill. I guess I could have dropped more bombs on other units, but I probably would have ended up just with blue on blue.
The mission is a success and Iím already looking forward to the next one up.
This is a learning process Ė so Iím open to suggestions, observations, and tips! We can all learn from my miserable failures. <g>