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#4398385 - 01/05/18 12:55 PM Sequel coming: BERING STRAIT the novel (drum roll...) *****  
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Publication Day! Nov 1.

It started as an AAR, now the book is out on Amazon!

[Linked Image]

Get it at the special launch discount price!

https://www.amazon.com/Bering-Strait-FX-Holden-ebook/dp/B07J3P42HF


ORIGINAL INTRO POST


So ... over the Dec break I had some lovely quiet time and managed to combine a couple of passions ... writing and flight sims. I started playing around with an idea for a future-warfare book set around AD 2030, for which I would need some good air combat scenes. So I jumped onto DCS World (Flaming Cliffs), creating various air-air and air-ground scenarios and flying them for inspiration. Not the usual AAR material I know, and there is no actual DCS content used (screenshots etc) but maybe you'd like to read along as I put the results of the various dogfights into novel format!

My idea in this thread was to build it into a novel I could put online and generate some sales that can be donated to support SimHQ. A lot of SimHQers pitched in and helped out with technical details, proofing and plot points! So here it is, you are welcome to download this early draft version here. The final version will no doubt be quite different...

And thanks again to those who read along for a lot of fun along the way!

(c) 2018 Fred 'Heinkill' Williams, writing as Tim Slee. Other books available here![/url]

A couple of disclaimers/explainers:

a) this was just for fun. Any glaring technical errors pls feel free to still point them out or have an opinion: technical points/debates, advice from vets etc welcome right up until the book is published (and afterward too)!

b) my idea here was to explore the idea of what a future war involving UCAV and piloted aircraft could look like if the war fighting potential of the UCAV was taken to an extreme. So none of the weapons I'll refer to here actually exist yet, which is also part of the fun. What I have done is look for any reports/data on 'next gen' systems and then just used my imagination together with dogfight inspiration from a few hours in Flaming Cliffs.

Cheers and all original content in this thread is

(C) 2018 Fred 'Heinkill' Williams, writing as FX Holden
https://www.amazon.com/FX-Holden/e/B07J47L7KB/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1


Last edited by HeinKill; 10/10/19 11:17 AM.

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Inline advert (2nd and 3rd post)

#4398388 - 01/05/18 01:54 PM Re: AAR with a difference: Bering Strait UCAV campaign [Re: HeinKill]  
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In the meantime here is the Ops Area in case you didn't know that USA and Russia share a border smile

[Linked Image]

(Yep, I know Lavrentiya is not currently an Eastern Military District air base. Neither is Little Diomede a Navy installation. In this scenario, in 2030, following significant Russian investment in the Far East in places like Lavrentiya and Anadyr to capitalise on trade with CN and JP and the newly open polar shipping routes, it is...)

[Linked Image]

Also, as we have no idea what the Russian aerospace/air force order of battle will look like in 2030, I adopted the 2010 OOB shown here, not the most recent, because there are a greater number of units centralised under a single command in this OOB which suits my narrative.

https://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/russia/av-orbat.htm




Last edited by HeinKill; 01/06/18 05:08 PM.

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#4398393 - 01/05/18 02:30 PM Re: AAR with a difference: Bering Strait UCAV campaign [Re: HeinKill]  
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The key combatants:

USA

F-35/F-22 and

A UCAV roughly based on the US DARPA J-UCAS prototypes the Northrop Grumman X-47B

[Linked Image]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northrop_Grumman_X-47B

And the Boeing X-45

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_X-45

But with the following specs:

General characteristics

Crew: 0
Length: 26 ft 6 in (8.08 m)
Wingspan: 33 ft 10 in (10.3 m)
Height: 6 ft 8 in (2.14 m)
Empty weight: 8,000 lb (3,630 kg)
Powerplant: Reaction Engine Scimitar

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SABRE_(rocket_engine)

Performance

Maximum speed: 1,034 kn (1,190 mph; 1,915 km/h) at 40,000 ft (12,000 m)
Maximum speed: Mach 1.8
Cruise speed: 574 kn; 1,062 km/h (660 mph)
Range: 1,089 nmi (1,253 mi; 2,017 km)
Combat range: 400 nmi (460 mi; 741 km) air-air mission
Ferry range: 1,800 nmi (2,071 mi; 3,334 km)
Service ceiling: 50,000 ft (15,000 m)
Rate of climb: 50,000 ft/min (250 m/s)

Armament

Guns: 1 × General Dynamics 25 mm - 180 rounds[j][77]
Two internal bays with a capacity of up to 5,700 lb (2,590 kg) in rotary launchers
Missiles: Air-to-air missiles eg CUDA HalfRAAAM / Air-to-surface missiles: eg Joint Air-to-Ground Missile (JAGM) / Anti-ship missiles eg Joint Strike Missile (JSM) / Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM)
Bombs eg Small Diameter Bomb II (SDB-II) / GBU-53/B

RUSSIA

Mig-35/Su-35/Su-57 and

A UCAV based roughly on the Mikoyan Skat

[Linked Image]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mikoyan_Skat

With the specs of the 5th gen T-50 (Su-57)

General characteristics

Crew: 0
Length: 19.8 m (65 ft)
Wingspan: 13.95 m (45 ft 10 in)
Height: 4.74 m (15 ft 7 in)
Wing area: 78.8 m² (848.1 ft²)
Empty weight: 18,000 kg (39,680 lb)
Loaded weight: 25,000 kg (55,115 lb) typical mission weight, 29,270 kg (64,530 lb) at full load
Max. takeoff weight: 35,000 kg (77,160 lb)
Fuel capacity: 10,300 kg (22,700 lb)[162]
Powerplant: Izdeliye 30 turbofan
Dry thrust: 93.1 kN / 107 kN (21,000 lbf / 24,054 lbf) each
Thrust with afterburner: 147 kN / 176 kN (33,067 lbf / 39,566 lbf) each

Performance

Maximum speed:
At altitude: Mach 2 (2,140 km/h; 1,320 mph)[161][163]
Supercruise: Mach 1.6 (1,700 km/h; 1,060 mph)
Range: 3,500 km (2,175 mi; 1,890 nmi) subsonic
1,500 km (930 mi; 810 nmi) supersonic[96]
Service ceiling: 20,000 m (65,000 ft)
Wing loading: 317–444 kg/m² (65–91 lb/ft²)

Armament

Guns: 1 × 30 mm Gryazev-Shipunov GSh-301 autocannon in right LEVCON root
Hardpoints: 6 × internal
Missiles: Air-to-air missiles eg K-77M phase array missile, air to surface: KH-31F / AS-17 'Krypton' air to ground missile, several variants
Bombs: Grom 1, Grom 2





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#4398405 - 01/05/18 03:22 PM Re: AAR with a difference: Bering Strait UCAV campaign [Re: HeinKill]  
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OK, let's get rolling...

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PREFACE

In the freezing sub-Arctic autumn of Saint Lawrence island in the Bering Sea, a cadaver can keep for months without spoiling. Whether a whale on a beach, a walrus caught in the rocks along the coast, or the body of a man.

So there was no tell-tale stink when Sargeant Andre Henault of the Canadian Mounted Police approached the water tank in the last brief light of day, and noticed it was full of bullet holes.

There were schrapnel holes too, and one of the four legs of the tower the water tank was standing on was broken and splintered, but there was no mistaking the perfectly circular pattern of holes stitched across one side of the water tank. He looked at the ground by his feet and saw shell casings.
He knelt and picked one up. Russian, 9mm. Favored short round of the Spetsnaz special forces.

He looked around him. This must be the place.

With a sigh, he tightened the straps on his backpack, hitched a rope over his shoulder and walked over to the ladder that led from the ground, up to the platform on which the tank was resting, and then up the side of the tank to an open manhole cover at the top.

The metal was cold, even through his gloves. Henault was used to the cold. He was a cop from Whitehorse in the Canadian Yukon Territory, and the only difference between the Yukon and this place, as far he was concerned, was a distinct lack of trees, leaving nothing to protect you from the biting wind except the rise and fall of the ground - and the blackened ruins of the US base in which the water tank stood.

As he reached the top of the ladder, he hesitated. He had a pretty good idea what he’d find inside. Or thought he did.

He’d come to look for a local Yupik man. Man? Just a kid really. A lone, brave, hard as nails kid who had single handedly turned the tide of a war, not that anyone except Henault would ever know it. Henault had come to Saint Lawrence to find him; he’d been out to the overflowing Savoonga medical clinic but there was no record of him there. He had found instead the kid’s name on a list in the town hall in Savoonga, along with hundreds of others … ‘missing, presumed dead’.

His heart had fallen, even though he’d prepared himself. There was a woman there, a round faced, weary Yu'pik woman wearing three sweaters inside the hall because the power and heating weren’t reliable yet, and Henault had asked her how he could find the Cantonment, or what was left of it.

“Why?” she’d asked. “Nothing out there after those cruise missiles hit. We dug up all the bodies from the graves, gave them a proper burial here in town.”

“I’m looking for a water tower?” he’d said. “Might be the only thing left standing. You know it?”

“You a photographer?” the woman had asked. “You need a permit to take photographs out there. Folks around here are pretty sensitive about it.”

Henault had shown her his Canadian Mounted Police ID, “No, I’m just following something up. Sorry, I can’t really discuss it.”

The woman had shrugged, and drawn him a map. Told him he’d have to hustle if he wanted to get out there today, because it would be dusk in two hours.

“You have to declare anything you find to me here,” she’d said. “We don’t hold with souvenir hunters.”

“I will,” he’d told her, and hoped he wouldn’t have to. After it all, it was still possible the kid had made it. He wasn’t from Savoonga, he was from Gambell. He could have headed back there without registering. Henault hadn’t been able to reach his family, because communications with Gambell hadn't been restored since the Russian attack. The kid could be back home, ripping through the snow on his ATV, or out fishing for halibut with his father and brothers.

Henault paused, looking across the blasted wasteland that had until recently been the new US Savoonga radar facility. He could see why the boy had climbed up here. Looking further out he could clearly see the single long runway of the Savoonga airfield, vehicles and aircraft parked alongside it and he watched as a small two engined air ambulance began its landing. He grabbed the lip of the manhole and hauled himself up. It was dark inside, the grey light filtering through the schrapnel and bullet holes not enough to light the interior of the tank, so he pulled a flashlight from his belt and held it up.

He panned the light around.

The first thing he saw was that he would have to come back tomorrow.

He’d only brought one body bag.

*
* 

(c) 2018 Fred Williams, to be continued...



Last edited by HeinKill; 01/08/18 10:48 AM.

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#4398457 - 01/05/18 08:30 PM Re: AAR with a difference: Bering Strait UCAV campaign [Re: HeinKill]  
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Heinkill revise the Photobucket links on first post, they are not visible, you should search for another provider.


-Sir in case of retreat, were we have to retreat??
-To the Graveyard!!

sandbagger.uk.com/stratos.html
#4398578 - 01/06/18 06:25 PM Re: AAR with a difference: Bering Strait UCAV campaign [Re: Stratos]  
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Yeps, thx


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#4398582 - 01/06/18 06:40 PM Re: AAR with a difference: Bering Strait UCAV campaign [Re: HeinKill]  
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Chapter 1

IF A TREE FALLS


Three months earlier.


The iceberg had calved off the Arctic ice pack two years earlier. After wallowing for a while in the ocean off the coast it had been picked up by the Transpolar Current and then flung into the Beaufort Gyre, a swirling maelstrom of hurdy gurdy waters that circulated between the East Siberian Sea and the Beaufort Sea off Alaska. Like a small child thrown off a playground carousel that was spinning too fast, it was dumped into the mouth of the Bering Strait, slowing but moving inexorably south at a stately two to three knots.

The violence of its birth and the impact of wind and tides had seen its original tabular shape worn away until it was just a thin sliver of a dome remained above the water. Below the water, 200 tons of ice and trapped rock served as both ballast and rudder, driving the berg forward. At 800 feet long, it was at least twice the size of the iceberg that sank the Titanic.

And it was headed straight toward the Russian container vessel Ozempic Tsar.
*
*
The bridge of the Ozempic Tsar was empty. Under a panel of windows with a 360 degree view of the sparkling sea around her, a bank of screens and instruments flashed and blinked, with no one to look at them. Two doors, one to port, and one to starboard, let out to watch stations on which no one stood.
The Tsar was outfitted with the latest in subsea sonar and high frequency radar for detecting both shipping and subsurface objects, and as it bore down on the iceberg at a combined closing speed of 16 knots, the sonar was the first to react. A collision warning alarm began to sound throughout the ship, but there was no panicked shouting, no thud of feet running on steel decks. There was no one to hear.

The AI controlling the X-band 10Ghz radar directed the beam toward the suspected location of the iceberg, but saw nothing. Indecision might have paralysed a human Captain, but the Ozempic Tsar had no such problems. Confirming that the sea lane to starboard was clear of other traffic, the massive container ship feathered its starboard screw, punched in portside bow impellers, dialled its speed back to 10 knots and began a grindingly slow, skidding turn to starboard. It was helped by the fact it was carrying a bulky but lightweight cargo for this journey, but without perfect information about the speed and bearing of the iceberg, its computers calculated a ten percent chance that the ship would not clear the object ahead of it in time.

A new alarm began to sound throughout the ship, warning the crew to get to emergency stations and brace for impact. There was still no movement either above, or below decks.

Slowly, the bows of the supertanker swung around and the ship’s radar was able to pick up a return from the dome of ice that was riding above sea level. Now the AI could use two inputs, the radar and sonar, to calculate the position, speed and bearing of the iceberg and it revised its estimate of the likelihood of collision to zero. Immediately it began replotting a track to get itself back on course once the iceberg was passed. As the iceberg slid along the Tsar’s port side, a comfortable two miles away, the ship sent a warning message about the berg to both the Russian and US Coast Guard channels, giving its position, speed and likely heading given prevailing currents. And then cancelled the blare of klaxons ringing out over its empty decks.


[Linked Image]

The Ozempic Tsar was proof that the future of merchant shipping was autonomous. The fourth of its kind in the Ozempic Imperial Line it was first to make the polar voyage from Arkengelsk to Hokkaido completely unmanned. As its name implied, the Tsar was very much a king of the seas.

It had a capacity 400,000 deadweight tons and had sailed with a consignment of powdered lithium from the dialysis plant in Anadyr. It was 300 feet long and four stories high, steered not by a shore based human pilot like its sister ships, but by a Norwegian GNV SL AI core that managed both navigation and systems overwatch. All mechanical systems on the ship, from the 90,000hp 14 cylinder hydrogen powered Rolls Royce engines to computing platforms were triple redundant, even down to the three heavy impellers which kept it moving through the ice cold waters of the northern Bering Strait. Should every GPS satellite around the globe suddenly drop out of orbit, its AI could switch to inertial navigation to stay on course and should that system fail the AI could also chart a course by compass or even the stars if they were visible. Security protocols protecting the core AI platform meant that while it had autonomy over local course decisions, more significant course alterations could only be made via shore based encrypted communications - there was no way to pilot the ship or alter its course if the ship was boarded at sea, and the engine room and fuel supply was completely sealed against intruders. Not that pirates were a big problem in the Arctic seas yet, but a fully laden supertanker with no crew to guard it could be a tempting prize if extreme precautions hadn’t been taken - and publicized.

The Ozempic Tsar was a 250 million dollar miracle of progress in the field of self piloted freighters and proof that the Russian oil oligarchs who built her had shown amazing foresight in realizing that global warming could be an upside business opportunity if it meant a permanent polar freight route could be opened up as the Arctic ice cap melted. They had a dream that they could take Anadyr from a small local container port to the biggest port in the Russian Far East in coming years, shipping the riches of the Chukotka gold and lithium mining region to markets on the East Coast of America, whose demand for the raw materials for batteries to supplement its renewable energy obsession was insatiable. A Japanese scientist had shown the way, identifying a scalable method for mining lithium from seawater using a dialysis cell with a membrane consisting of a superconductor material, and a Russian oligarch with a view to diversifying out of a dying oil industry had funded its commercialization.

The Tsar held the world record for the Anadyr - New York transit, completing the 3,000 km trip in 16 days, requiring as it did no time in port for crew rest or replenishment, and taking its fuel from the sea as it sailed, using solar and wind powered catalytic converters to turn the seawater into hydrogen for its engines. Taking the northern sea route also shaved nearly two weeks off the trip from the container terminal at Anadyr, which otherwise would have had to go via the Panama canal.

You could be forgiven, watching it slice through the slight swell of a brisk, sunlit early summer in the Strait, for thinking nothing in the world could stop it.

That is, until two AGM-158C PIKE long range anti-ship missiles buried themselves deep in its guts and detonated their 1,000lb blast-fragmentation warheads.

After which the Ozempic Tsar set the world record for the fastest trip to the bottom of the Bering Strait by an autonomous pilotless freighter.

(c) 2018 Fred 'Heinkill' Williams. To be continued...



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#4398624 - 01/06/18 11:45 PM Re: AAR with a difference: Bering Strait UCAV campaign [Re: HeinKill]  
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Curious to see where this goes, I'll admit I had to go back and reread, I just assumed you'd be using CMANO. Even more curious knowing it's FC3. Good writing so far though!

-Jenrick

Last edited by jenrick; 01/07/18 12:32 AM.
#4398669 - 01/07/18 10:34 AM Re: AAR with a difference: Bering Strait UCAV campaign [Re: jenrick]  
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Originally Posted by jenrick
Curious to see where this goes, I'll admit I had to go back and reread, I just assumed you'd be using CMANO. Even more curious knowing it's FC3. Good writing so far though!

-Jenrick


FC3 as a way to simulate the air conflicts and get the little wrinkles in the action that only come when you are actually 'fighting' the fight. What I did whenever I needed an air sequence was that I set it up in FC3 and then flew it, kept a diary and used that to drive the narrative. I got shot down (a lot) so the protagonists here will spend a lot of time hanging under silk wink

Like I said tho, it won't be a standard AAR with screenshots from the game, more 'inspired by' than 'example of'.


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#4398670 - 01/07/18 10:47 AM Re: AAR with a difference: Bering Strait UCAV campaign [Re: HeinKill]  
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CHAPTER 2
TUNDRA TCON


[Linked Image]

The GNV SL A.I. core onboard the Ozempic Tsar managed to get several longwave, satellite telephone and high frequency burst transmissions away before it was silenced by the cold dark waters of the Strait. It also managed to fire a tethered distress buoy from its bow section that bobbed up to the surface of the sea even as the carcass of its host ship settled on the seabed 15 fathoms below. Fixed to the ship by a gossamer thin carbonite string with the strength of tensile steel it sent the position of the now doomed Tsar to its owners, its insurers and to the nearest naval air and sea rescue service - which happened to be the Arkhangelsk headquarters for the Coast Guard of the Russian Federal Security Service.

The comms operator who received the mayday immediately and instinctively hit the alert button which sounded a klaxon across the base at the hangar where the Sikorsky Skywarrior naval rescue quadcopter and its crew were stationed. The next thing he did was call up the international ship register to identify the ship that was in distress so that he could send imagery to both the Sikorsky crew and any other nearby shipping that might be directed to help.

The next thing he did after that, was to sigh, reach over and cancel the alert and shut off the klaxon. He checked the signal traffic just to be sure there was only one ship in distress, and sat back in his chair.
Bloody robot ship.

He was from three generations of fishermen and sailors, had a grandfather who had served on the cold war flagship the Kuznetsov, striking terror into the hearts of the weak NATO fleets every time it sallied out of the Black Sea past Gibraltar and into the Atlantic. A ship crewed by heroes of the Soviet Union, back when Russia had heroes. Men braving radiation leaks and the constant threat of annihilation in nuclear fire to keep Mother Russia safe from a Western alliance bent on its destruction.

Now half the fleet was Unmanned Combat Warships or UCWs, and the rest were slated for either conversion or retirement. ‘Sailors’ didn’t stand watch on the decks of ships, in the freezing air of Baltic seas watching for torpedo wakes or missile contrails, they didn’t even sit deep in the C3I centers of their warships watching glowing green screens for radar returns or listening for the acoustic signatures of submarines. They sat in reverse cycle airconditioned trailers on a shoreside base and watched the world through the sensors on their UCWs, only taking control when they needed to tap in new navigation orders or use their linked sensor arrays to explore and identify unkown contacts. And even the humans were redundant, because the UCWs were programmed with failsafe routines that would kick in if contact to Archangel was lost, or an enemy attack rendered comms unavailable. In a peacetime configuration, the standard UCW lost-comms protocol was to enter a random safe navigation scheme, and set all weapons systems to defensive operations.

In a conflict configuration, the UCW would attempt to carry out the last orders issued before comms blackout, including identification and engagement with any identified enemy air, sea or land targets.

The comms operator looked again at the image of the Ozempic Tsar on his screen and paged away from it in disgust.

40,000 tonnes of cargo, steel and silicon sitting and breaking apart on the floor of the Bering Strait. Apart from environmentalists, the owners and their insurance company, who gave a damn?
*
*
In the Situation Room of the Russian 3rd Air and Air Defence Forces Command, Captain Andrei Udicz gave a damn. He was watching the same cry for help from the Ozempic Tsar scroll across his screen and he turned his face from the screen to look at the five other officers in the room.

“The Ozempic Tsar has been confirmed destroyed, Comrade General,” he reported. “It has deployed a distress buoy, which indicates that at least part of the hull is lying on the sea floor.”

Colonel General Yuli Lukin, Commander of the 3rd Air and Air Defence Forces Command, sat with his fingers on his expansive belly and looked up at the ceiling. “How long until we have visual confirmation?” He was flanked by several intelligence officers and aides.
Udicz looked down at the tablet in front of him. “I can have a pair of Okhotnik UCAVs over the site of the incident within …. eight minutes,” he said. “And I have VRT300 rotary wing drones on standby if we need more eyes.”

“Incident? You mean attack, do you not Comrade Captain?” The General asked, arching his eyebrows. “Our satellites picked up the bloom of a violent explosion. The Ozempic Tsar was carrying no explosive cargo. Inert cargo ships do not just explode in the middle of the Bering Strait.”
“Yes comrade General,” Udicz replied carefully. “Perhaps it hit another ship, or an iceberg?”

“A high explosive iceberg?” the General asked.

“There is a commercial fishing vessel within ten clicks of the site of the attack Comrade General,” Udicz said, ignoring the jibe. “They will be the first people on the scene. The Navy has directed them to search for wreckage.”

Lukin fixed his gaze on Udicz. “Let us assume the Ozempic Tsar was not destroyed by a collision with a highly explosive iceberg. Let us speculate Captain, about other causes,” Lukin invited. “Military causes.”

Udicz felt like he was being invited to step into a trap of some sort, but couldn’t see what kind, yet. “If I should speculate about a military cause Comrade General, I would speculate that such a catastrophic loss could only be caused by one or more long range anti-ship missiles such as the US fields on any one of their several destroyers currently deployed in the Strait.”

Udicz was probably the only officer in the meeting who had actually seen one of the deadly PIKE missiles up close and in action. Two years ago he’d been part of an official Russian delegation observing a NATO fleet combat exercise. Not as a friendly gesture from the Americans of course, but because for any such exercise involving three or more nations bordering the Russian Federation it was a treaty obligation. He still remembered the chill he felt, standing on the bridge of the American stealth missile cruiser the USS Zumwalt, watching as a US submersible fast attack drone (S-FAD) reared up out of the sea beside them, popped its hatches and loosed a volley of 4 of the deadly anti-ship missiles in less than a minute, before sliding beneath the waves again. Forget the missiles though. It wasn’t the sight of the small grey green stealth catamaran appearing from nowhere and firing missiles over the horizon that had made him shiver, it had been the thought that the machine could be launched below the waterline of the very cruiser he was standing on, and then pilot itself under the surface through the Kattegat Strait, down the Gulf of Finland and park itself invisibly on the mud riverbed alongside the Cruise Ship terminal in St Petersburg, ready at any time to detonate a nuclear warhead in the heart of the city.

Of course they had deployed detection systems in the river now, and for the Americans to even attempt to do so as a test or exercise would be regarded as an act of war, but Udicz had to wonder if they had got their countermeasures in place in time. What was to say there wasn’t already an American S-FAD snuggled under a pier in the old imperial capital, covered in silt and just waiting to unleash armageddon on command.

“Difficult to confirm though, I imagine,” the General mused. “Such an isolated body of water, and not even a crew member as a witness.”

“The American PIKE is a surface to surface stealth missile. Our satellites, even infrared, would not have picked up the launch. But the Navy may be able to recover sensor data from the ship’s black box, assuming it is still reporting via the buoy,” Udicz said. “That might provide visual or even audio evidence of a missile strike. The staggered-pulse engines of the US PIKE missile have a very distinctive acoustic signature.”

“Not very definitive evidence though,” the General grumbled. “Readily deniable. Video and audio files are so easily doctored.”

“I agree,” Udicz said. “But why? Why would the Americans do something so stupid? Unless it was an accident?”

“Accident,” Lukin said. “It strikes me you would have to be very determined to accidentally sink a ship the size of a small island.”
*
*
[Linked Image]

Carl Williams had only been an environmental science attache at the Moscow Embassy for three weeks. With 700 full time staff in the Russian Federation, 200 of which were based in Moscow, Carl was only one of several new staff who had moved into the Embassy compound on Bolshoy Deviatinsky within the last month, and he still had that newbie halo hanging over him.

He had met neither the Ambassador nor his nominal manager at the Embassy yet, and really hadn’t got much further than his orientation paperwork and some training in Embassy security protocols.

As an NSA analyst he would normally have an office in the Controlled Access Area or ‘Tophat’ of the Secure Chancery Facility or SCF, but Carl was an ‘undeclared’ officer attached to the Embassy’s Economic Affairs section and so instead of working in the SCF, he was still learning how to get from his accomodations to the commissary for breakfast and then down through the labyrinthine New Annexe basement tunnels to his desk monitoring Russian Federation Far East Military Command Traffic.

The traffic was of course encrypted, and couldn’t be broken in real time, even by the adaptive neural network natural language AIs he had at his disposal as an NSA analyst. No, his job instead was to look for patterns in the volume, origin and target of Russian Eastern Military District comms and try to tie them to complementary intel from either sigint or humint and see if they could confirm suspected meetings, military exercises, military equipment tests or even civil emergencies.

He had grown up as a kid on stories and films about the great cyptologists of history, like the men and women who broke the German Enigma codes using the world’s first electronic computers at Bletchley Park in the UK. Or the NSA cryptographers who helped avert World War Three by decrypting the Russian fleet signals during the Cuban Missile Crisis and were able to tell the Kennedy brothers that the Russian naval commanders had orders to sail only as far as the line of blockade, and no further.

They had worked in rooms of buzzing, clacking equipment, discs of tape whirling, coding machines spitting cards into a fug of cigarette smoke as they desperately worked to break enemy codes ahead of invasions, revolutions or Scud missile launches. Even the generation of code breakers he had been born into had grown up needing to be able to read computer code, looking for potential exploits in a soup of alphanumeric gibberish.

As Carl walked past the other attaches into his cubicle sized office in the LED lit basement corridor under Nevsky Prospect that had been coverted into a listening station he threw his sandwich on his desk, put his paper cup of coffee down next to it and glared almost resentfully at the tools of his trade. Instead of whirling reels of tape, he had a telephone headset. Instead of card readers spitting out index cards, he had a small laptop PC full of apps, including one which he could use to stream the latest shows. And instead of having to read and write code, he had HOLMES, the NSA AI system that was his own personal analytical assistant.

HOLMES was the name Carl had given the system – it was an acronym for Heuristic Ordinary Language Machine Exploratory System. Which sounded better than NLLS 1.5 or Natural Language Learning System 1.5. He had toyed with calling the system NELLIE, but that had an association with the Loch Ness monster he didn’t think was appropriate, because unlike the monster, HOLMES was not a mythological creature.

Carl sank onto his seat, pulled on his headset and logged in using his voice recognition code.

“Good morning Carl,” HOLMES said in his ears. “Did you sleep well?” In addition to a cool name he had also given the AI a plumb British male voice to match.

Carl wasn’t a morning person. He also wasn’t a person who bought into the whole idea of talking to HOLMES as though it was a person, even though it had sophisticated conversational capabilities.
“Cut the chat routine,” Carl said. “Sitrep, anomalous traffic, Section 42, all incidents since I logged off last night.”

He wasn’t expecting anything. HOLMES was supposed to send a text and email alert to him and the watch officer if it detected a major incident worthy of deeper analysis. It hadn’t, so anything that it had logged could only qualify as routine.
“The most noteworthy event last night was the apparent loss of a Russian flagged commercial freighter in the northern approaches to the Bering Strait at 0215 Pacific Standard Time.”

Carl’s immediate reaction was ‘so what’. Sure, terrible for the crew and everything, but civilian shipping disasters weren’t exactly his priority. “Loss? What do you mean loss?” Carl asked. “Contextualise.”

“The Ozempic Tsar was a 400,000 tonne fully autonomous cargo ship sailing from Arkengelsk in Russia to Hokkaido in Japan via the polar route when it issued a mayday on open maritime emergency frequencies to say it was taking water rapidly following an explosion in its engine room and cargo bays and was sinking. It then deployed an emergency locator beacon.”

Carl looked up at the ceiling, thinking. “Cargo?”

“The registers at Lloyds show that the primary cargo was 162,000 tonnes of processed lithium.”

“Value of the cargo?”

“Landed value one point nine six three billion US dollars.”

Carl put his coffee down so quickly it splashed out of the cup and over his empty desk. He didn’t notice. “Billion? Did you say nearly two billion?”

“Yes Carl. Do you want me to source more intel on the this incident?”

“Access all available intel, compile and report,” Carl replied. Two billion dollars? Someone had just lost real money. Either the owners, the buyers or the insurers. He picked up his coffee and sipped. How did it get so cold so fast? He should really get one of those absorb and release gel lined mugs. Those things could keep soup warm all day, they should be able to solve his cold coffee problem.

“Do you want a full or brief report?” HOLMES asked, coming back to him within about three minutes.

“Brief,” Carl said. “Very brief.”

“Open source and US Coast Guard intel indicates the Ozempic Tsar issued its first mayday call at 0210, issued two more between 0210 and 0214 and ceased mayday transmissions at 0215. A distress beacon was released and started transmitting the ship’s location at 0216 at which time the US Coast Guard logged it as a probable sinking, cause unknown.”

“Boring. Location?”

“The distress beacon transmitted the Ozempic Tsar’s location as latitude 65.74 longitude 169.69, which is five miles inside the Russian Federation Exclusive Economic Zone west of Big Diomede Island.”

“Their problem then,” Carl said. “Not even international waters. Any salvage operation initiated yet?”

“SATINT indicates there are a number of civilian and two Russian naval vessels at the scene.”

Carl perked up slightly. The Russian Pacific fleet base at Vladivostok could be expected to direct maybe one vessel to the check out an incident involving an autonomous ship with no human life at risk; to investigate the area, recover the distress buoy and download the black box data. But two showed a higher than normal level of interest.

“Associated military communications activity,” he said. “Three degrees of separation.” He was asking in shorthand for HOLMES to look at intelligence reports from around the time of the incident, including first hand, second hand and even third hand source reporting. It was about as broad a search as he could ask for, a total fishing exercise.

“SIGINT analysis indicates a spike in Russian Pacific Fleet Command traffic 33 minutes before the incident and then for two hours following the incident, after which traffic returned to near normal levels except for comms to and from vessels in the area of the incident,” HOLMES replied. “Do you wish to deep dive or continue?”

Carl had been trained to follow his instincts. With AIs like HOLMES to do the actual analysis, instinct was the only competitive edge humans had over neural systems now. AIs were the masters of cold hard logic, but they sucked at Wild Arsed Guessing.
“Continue. Related air or land based military traffic analysis,” Carl replied.

“SatInt and Sigint indicate two Russian Federation Okhotnik Hunter UCAVs were sent to the scene of the incident, arriving over the wreck at 0225 and returning to their base in Vladivostok at 0245. Their flight plan is indicative of a dedicated reconnaissance mission rather than a standing combat air patrol.”

OK, this was starting to get interesting. Not a lot interesting, but a little. Ten minutes after the Russian freighter sinks, and two Russian drones are already on station right over the top of it, transmitting images? Pretty convenient they just happened to be in the area. Carl didn’t believe in coincidences like that.

“Wait, you said there was an uptick in Far East HQ comms traffic 33 minutes before the incident?”

“Yes.”

“Origin and target?”

“The origin of the transmission was Russian Pacific Fleet Command. The target is unknown.”

Carl sighed, “Deep dive. Other non routine Russian military traffic in the area of Bering Strait between the uptick in comms traffic at incident minus 33 minutes and incident time zero.”

“There was a non routine code burst on a Russian Federation military channel six minutes and twenty eight seconds before the incident. The origin of the code burst was 100 miles north of Saint Lawrence Island. No other non routine traffic reported.”

Damn, damn, damn. Something was really nagging at him. A ship explodes. Six minutes earlier, a burst of Russian military traffic from the middle of the Bering Strait. 33 minutes before that, an uptick in Russian Eastern Military District traffic. Wait.

“HOLMES, assume the transmission six minutes before the sinking was from a Russian Federation Naval vessel. Do we have any data on Russian naval vessels within missile range of the freighter at that time?” It was a long shot, but maybe one of a Russian missile test had gone haywire.

“Checking SatInt, SigInt, Humint. No Russian naval vessel within range within the communications window,” HOLMES said. “Do you wish me to expand the search to vessels of other navies?”

“What? Repeat, contextualize.”

“I have a 98.4% match on both a possible launch vessel and missile type,” HOLMES said. Carl could swear it sounded pleased with itself. “The time to target projected from the location of the comms burst at six minutes to the time of first mayday call from the Ozempic Tsar matches the profile of a US PIKE long range stealth anti-ship missile launched from the Finnish Scorpene class submarine FNS Vesikko.”

Carl snapped forward in his chair, “Say again? Expand!”

“Sigint indicates the FNS Vesikko sent a message to Finnish Fleet Command at Heikkila, Finland, one hour before the incident, reporting its position, bearing and speed. The FNS Vesikko is a refurbished French Scorpene class submarine equipped with the US PIKE long range stealth anti-ship missile. My analysis shows that if the Vesikko had maintained its stated bearing and speed, its estimated position would correlate with the location of the anamalous comms transmission 100 miles north of Saint Lawrence Island. A PIKE missile fired by the FNS Vesikko at this position would have taken six minutes and eighteen seconds to reach the Ozempic Tsar, which correlates with the timing of the anomalous radio transmission. The triangulation of these three data points gives a 98.4 certainty that if the Ozempic Tsar was destroyed by a naval vessel, it was a PIKE missile fired by the FNS Vesikko. Putting an image onscreen for you now.”

[Linked Image]

Carl could feel he was starting to sweat. He wasn’t a small man - in fact he was carrying about fifty pounds more than he probably should be, but it would usually take a lot more than just sitting in his chair in the cold corridor under the Embassy compound to make him break out in a sweat. This sweat wasn’t exertion, it was fear.

“Would a what you call it missile…”

“AGM-158C PIKE.”

“Yeah. Would one of them be enough to take down a 400,000 tonne freighter?”

“If it successfully struck the ship’s hydrogen storage or fuel cells, one such missile would be sufficient. Standard military doctrine would dictate two are fired to secure target destruction.”

Carl whistled, “A double tap. Just to be sure.”

“Please repeat. Was that a question or comment?”

“Neither. Please tell me there were no US naval vessels, capable of firing a PIKE missile, inside that kill zone at the time of the incident.”

There was a slight pause, then HOLMES responded, “The nearest long range cruise missile capable US vessel was the subsea drone USS Venice Beach, which was on station 290 miles south-southeast at the time.”

“Inside missile range?”

“300 nautical miles,” HOLMES said. “The USS Venice Beach could also have engaged the Ozempic Tsar with its missiles at that range but it would have had to fire thirty minutes earlier. I am unable to locate any US PACFLT traffic to or from the USS Venice Beach at that time.”

“But it is around the time of the Far East Fleet comms burst. They might have been reporting on a suspected US missile launch. Dammit, this is ugly. HOLMES, deep dive Navy C3I logs and check whether the Venice Beach fired a PIKE missile in the last 24 hours. Check whether any US Navy vessel in the Northern Pacific has fired any sort of weapon at all. Check for any intel indicating that Russia has the capability to hack a US naval vessel and order it to fire one of its missiles. I want you to run three scenarios: one, the Finnish submarine sank the Russian Freighter. Two, the USS Venice Beach sank the freighter. Three, an unknown Russian vessel, aircraft or land based missile battery sank it. Summarise potential supporting data and assign probabilities then send the report to my laptop with a copy to the Senior Defense Attache and NSA.”

“Will do Carl. What should I title the report?”

Carl thought about it, “Heading: Battle of Bering Strait. Subhead: Who killed the Ozempic Tsar?”

“Yes Carl. Compiling.”

Carl waited. He drew a dot on a page and wrote OzTsar next to it, then a ring and FNS Vesikko at six minutes eighteen seconds. Further out at thirty minutes, USS Venice Beach. It was the time correlation between the position of the Finnish sub, the flight time of a PIKE missile, and the timing of that comms burst from the middle of the Bering Strait that bugged him the most.

“HOLMES, do you believe in coincidence?”

“I do not indulge in beliefs, Carl.”

“Point taken. HOLMES, book me some serious bandwidth. Something stinks here.”
*
*
(C) 2018 Fred 'Heinkill' Williams - to be continued

Last edited by HeinKill; 01/08/18 08:23 AM.

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#4398776 - 01/07/18 11:55 PM Re: AAR with a difference: Bering Strait UCAV campaign [Re: HeinKill]  
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Living with the Trees
You have done quite a bit of really good stuff over the years.

BUT.....

You may be outdoing yourself this time around. Great stuff Man! We are really lucky to have this for free.


"I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience. I know no way of judging of the future but by the past."
Patrick Henry 1775

I personally believe in the tooth fairy, Santa Claus and that deficit spending is sustainable forever. We really do need more Admirals in the Navy than ships and that millions of more poor immigrants will jump start the economy.

"There's a sucker born every minute."
Phineas Taylor Barnum

#4398811 - 01/08/18 08:09 AM Re: AAR with a difference: Bering Strait UCAV campaign [Re: HeinKill]  
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Thx for the nice words. Will keep posting as I edit the raw text. May turn into a novel one day who knows?

(Spread the word, the more reading along, the merrier!)


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#4398920 - 01/08/18 08:47 PM Re: AAR with a difference: Bering Strait UCAV campaign [Re: HeinKill]  
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I would certainly purchase said novel, you already done a better job setting things up and building suspense then the last few tehcno/mil thrillers I picked up.

-Jenrick

Last edited by jenrick; 01/08/18 08:48 PM.
#4399005 - 01/09/18 07:34 AM Re: AAR with a difference: Bering Strait UCAV campaign [Re: jenrick]  
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Originally Posted by jenrick
I would certainly purchase said novel, you already done a better job setting things up and building suspense then the last few tehcno/mil thrillers I picked up.

-Jenrick


Thanks! I'll at least count on you for an impartial review!

(Spread the word, the more reading along the merrier!)


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#4399008 - 01/09/18 07:46 AM Re: AAR with a difference: Bering Strait UCAV campaign [Re: HeinKill]  
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CH. 3

HOLES IN THE CHEESE


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The US Ambassador to Moscow, Devlin McCarthy, had a number of firsts to her name but the one she liked best was that she was the first black Irish American to be named Ambassador to a top tier post like Moscow. In fact, Devlin was pretty sure she was the first black Irish American in the State Department, let alone in Moscow. She wasn’t the first ever black Irish American, that she knew for a fact because that honor went to her father, his father, and his father’s father. Further back than that, she hadn’t checked. She loved her Grandfather’s explanation though - he insisted his ancestors were Viking slaves, captured Moors bought in the slave markets of Hedeby and shipped to Ireland to serve in Viking families during the reign of Harold Bluetooth.

It was a great story, and she told it to anyone brave enough to ask her about her family history, which most of the Embassy staffers were too timid to do. She wouldn’t mind if they did - it would give her a chance to break down the Ice Queen reputation she seemed to have brought here with her. Small talk wasn’t something people seemed comfortable trying on her, so luckily she was comfortable with their small awkward silences. She really didn’t think she deserved the rep she had. Sure, she was forty and twice divorced - she never had much of an interest in lifelong attachments - and she spent most of her waking life at work, but she did take two weeks holiday every year to be with her now-adult daughter, always taking her somewhere outdoorsy for at least a week, followed by a week somewhere nice like a beach resort or theme park. When she had hit her adult years she’d been expecting her daughter Anne to find something better to do in the summer than hang with her absentee State Department mother Devlin, but Anne hadn’t missed a holiday yet. Devlin figured that said something nice about them both.

Apart from her annual family get together then, most of her daily life was polite society and diplomatic double speak. So she actually relished days like today she was summoned to meet with the Russian Foreign Minister Roman Kelnikov at his State offices inside the Kremlin walls. His Ministry was actually on the ring road that circled Moscow, but the fact he was meeting her here indicated to her she was in for a bit of diplomatic theatre.

She sat in the back of her two tonne armored limo with two bodyguards up front, one facing forward, one backward and her personal aide beside her. In the days when cars needed a driver, they’d needed a detail of three - one to drive, two to guard. But driverless vehicles had freed up the third spot either for additional protection, guests or in this case, legroom. As they approached the River Gates that led directly into the Russian foreign ministry underground carpark there was the usual ceremony with credentials and Kremlin guards running a sweep of the car and its occupants. They all had to demount and go through biometric scanners before they were allowed back into their car and inside the Kremlin walls.

As their car found its assigned parking bay, Devlin patted the small printed folio on her lap. She never took a tablet or telephone into Russian Government offices because since passive data retrieval had become a thing, it was the work of seconds for a concealed scanner to strip an electronic device of all its data. The great privacy backlash of about 20 years ago when people got sick of their data being stolen, their identities cloned and their secrets sold to the highest bidder had seen a revival in the use of good old fashioned paper that had to be physical stolen, held and read before it gave up its secrets. All truly sensitive information these days was only held on paper.

And the information in the folio on her lap was about as sensitive as it came.
*
*
“Tea?” Kelnikov asked, motioning to the samovar on a silver table next to his desk. His office was big enough to hold a large oak desk which legend said had been gifted to the Russian foreign minister Molotov by Minister of the Reich Ribbentropp. There were also two long sofas both facing in to a less formal teak coffee table decorated with fresh flowers and fruit.

Devlin had been told her security detail and her aide were welcome to wait in the ante room today. The meeting she was invited to attend with Kelnikov was to take place under four eyes only. When she’d walked in, he’d been sitting at his desk talking with a secretary and he’d risen to shake Devlin’s hand, then sat back down at his desk again. No fruit for her today then.

“Yes please,” Devlin said to the offer of tea, and the secretary fussed arranging tea and a plate of small dry cakes for them both and then hurried out of the office.

“You look well,” Kelnikov smiled, his bald head glistening in the light of the overhead lamps. He was about sixty, overweight, known to have an occasionally recurring barbituate habit and a predilection for preying on ballerinas from the Bolshoi, where he had a private box. Devlin found him completely and totally without charm. “I think you have even got a little early summer tan, is that possible?”

Oh, so that’s how you want to start? Devlin thought, immediately shifting herself into cold, minimalist mode. She ignored the poorly disguised barb about her color.

“Why was I summoned I here Mr Secretary?” she asked.

“Invited,” Kelnikov smiled, thin lips parting over yellow teeth. “As you know, if you had been summoned, there would have been a public press pronouncement to that effect. We are not there yet.”

“Where are we then?” she asked. Fortunately her people had done their work and knew exactly what it was that she had been ‘invited’ to talk about. She had been both forewarned, and forearmed.

Kelnikov reached into his desk and pulled out a small folder tied with a string, which he took his time untying before opening the folder. He pulled out a large photograph and slid it across the table to her.

“The Ozempic Tsar,” he said, pointing at it. “The most advanced autonomous pilotless freight vessel in the world, and valued at more than 250 million of your American dollars. On its most recent voyage, it was carrying a cargo of 1.9 billion US dollars worth of processed lithium.”

“Then I sincerely hope it was insured,” she said, immediately playing the ball back at him. “Because my information is that it is now lying at the bottom of the Bering Strait.”

His hands were folded and resting on the desk in front of them, but he fanned them wide now, “Oh please, do tell me what information you have on the demise of this pride of the Russian merchant fleet?”

She had been thinking to save her ammunition, but his racist remark, his obsequious manner, his slimy smile, they all conspired to make her want to have this audience over and done as quickly as possible.

From her own folio she pulled Carl Williams’ intel report and placed it so that the cameras which she assumed were in Kelnikov’s office could take a nice clear shot of it. She was about to tell him what was in it anyway.

“We are happy to share the intelligence we have on this tragedy. I’ll give you the short version,” she said. “Thirty minutes before that ship was sunk, a Russian naval communications center at Anadyr sent a message to a Finnish submarine, the FNS Vesikko, sailing 20 miles south west of the Ozempic Tsar. Six minutes before the Tsar sent out its first mayday, that same vessel reported it had fired its missiles.” She watched with satisfaction as Kelnikov’s eyes narrowed and he pursed his mouth. “Six minutes later, at least two subsonic submarine-launched surface to surface missiles hit the Ozempic Tsar and detonated its hydrogen fuel stores. The explosion was so catastrophic it was registered on one of our thermal imaging satellites as a possible ICBM missile launch bloom, but luckily for you, our AI detected that it had the wrong heat signature and our military alert level was not raised.”

Kelnikov spoke in a tight voice, verging on anger, “You accuse us of collusion in this crime? What proof do you have?”

“You know that there would be no conclusive satellite imaging available for the undersea launch of stealth cruise missiles.”

“Then you have nothing,” he said suddenly happy, and reaching into his folder again. “Whereas we have this.” He took out another photograph and almost threw it at her.

It was a satellite photograph of a ship, with lattitude, longitude and date stamp clearly visible. She could guess what ship it was, but Kelnikov spoke before she could say anything. “That is a US Navy vessel, the USS Venice Beach. An unmanned guided missile cruiser, armed with anti-ship missiles.” He took out another photo and flipped it at her so hard, it spun on the table in front of her.

She stopped it spinning and held it down with a single finger as she looked at it. It showed a large metal plate on the deck of what looked like a fishing vessel, with the word TSAR stenciled across it. If she had to guess, she’d guess it would turn out to be a close match for the name a certain Russian freighter had stencilled across its stern. Next to the wreckage lay a crushed tubular shape about two yards long and what looked like a mangled engine of some sort.

“Does your report tell you what that is?” Kelnikov asked gleefully.

“Actually it does,” she said. “I’m guessing that tube next to that clearly faked stern plate is the housing of a US PIKE anti-ship missile.”

“Salvaged, not faked, and yes it is!” Kelnikov said, building up a head of steam now. “You don’t deny it? The missile that destroyed a Russian flagged freighter while it was moving through Russian territorial waters was American!”

“Your tone is accusatory,” Devlin said. “But I have seen no evidence to justify your anger being directed at the USA.”

Kelnikov leaned over and jabbed his finger angrily down on the photo, “Your missile, fired by one of your ships!”

She laughed, realizing as she did so that she was ignoring ten years of training and practice in protocol. Kelnikov’s face clouded. No, it boiled.

“Just what about this act of naked aggression do you regard as funny?” he demanded. “Tell me!”

“How about you tell me?” she asked, getting control of herself again. “PIKE missiles have been exported to 13 countries, two of which have unfortunately recently moved out of our sphere of influence and into yours. One of those is Finland. I don’t deny the missile in that photograph may be a PIKE, but I strongly deny that it was fired by one of our ships. Our information indicates it was fired by a Finnish submarine which was in communication with Russian Far East military command.”

“You accuse Russia of sinking a Russian merchant vessel? What nonsense.”

“The Venice Beach did not fire those missiles. Finland however, recently signed a defense cooperation treaty with Russia. One of Finland’s refurbished French Scorpene class hydrogen-electric submarines was in the area, and would have been more than capable of this attack.”

“Again, I ask you what proof you have for this baseless accusation?”

“The same as you have for yours,” she said coolly. “None.” She closed her folder, “Was this the only matter you wanted to discuss today?” she asked.

Kelnikov slapped the table, but if he expected Devlin to flinch or jump, he was disappointed. She’d seen him in this state many times and had been waiting for it. She did little more than blink at him. “You have 24 hours,” he said. “To admit responsibility for this heinous act, issue an apology and offer suitable reparations to the owners of the Ozempic Tsar.”

“Or…”

Kelnikov glared at her, “Or, as you Americans are so fond of saying, ‘All options are on the table’.”
*
*
Back in her limo, Devlin fished out the intel report again and looked at it carefully. She handed it to her aide. “I see that this origin of this report is NSA Moscow. Find me the person who wrote it. By the look on Kelnikov’s face I knew more about this Ozempic Tsar incident than he did, and that was a damn nice place to be. I want to write a note to say thankyou.”
*
*
CH 4

ANOTHER DAY IN PARADISE


[Linked Image]

If there was a crappier rock on the whole planet than Little Diomede Island, Lieutenant Commander Alicia Rodriguez wanted to know where. Because she’d be on the first plane there and she’d wallow in its complete crappyness and then be able to return to Little Diomede happy that she wasn’t actually living on the crappiest damn rock on the whole damn planet.

Or in fact, not even on the crappiest rock, but inside it. At least if you were living on top of the rock, you’d get 360 degree sea views. Sure, you’d be looking through fog, out over windblown white caps not seeing much apart from #%&*$# seabirds and ice floes, but you could look east and tell yourself that right over there, just over the horizon, that was Alaska in the good old US of A. And if you looked West, you could tell yourself you were looking at the Evil Empire reborn and get a bit of a thrill telling yourself you were manning the closest US military base to Russia and they didn’t even know you were there.

But no, she wasn’t living on top of the rock. She and her crew were living in the cave that a millenia of beating waves had carved into the pock marked, moss covered basalt of Little Diomede. Who had discovered the cave? If she ever met them, she would beat ten kinds of crap out of them as a thankyou. But it probably wasn’t even a person. It was probably a drone, which was kind of ironic.

Rodriguez wasn’t sure exactly how many years the facility on Little Diomede had been under construction but she knew why it had been built. A Pentagon position paper had pointed out that with the opening of polar shipping routes, an increasing amount of vital commerce was now moving through the Bering Strait, giving it the potential to be as strategically important as the Strait of Hormuz between Iran and the Emirates was in the last century. When Russia expanded its military base at Lavrentiya in the early 2020s as part of its ‘Pivot to the Pacific’ diplomatic tensions had risen, and the US had looked for a response. It could have recommissioned the old Marks Army Airfield at Nome but strategists pointed out that since the advent of hypersonic cruise missile technology, large fixed infrastructures such as air bases were near impossible to defend and while they had political and economic value, their true value in a conflict would be very limited.

The idea for a secret base under the rock cap of Little Diomede had been born.

There was nothing there but a tiny fishing village twenty years ago. The Navy had bought out the two dozen or so villagers, turned their houses into barracks and then moved in construction crews. They’d created a plausible cover story by building a naval radar dome on the crown of the island, and the first thing they did was throw up a hulking great storage shed next to the dome and then fill it full of mining gear to sink a shaft straight down through the middle of the island to the cave below. Then they began hollowing it out. The Russians showed a lot of interest while the radar was being built, and sent a flight over to scan and photograph it every time it got an upgrade, but as long as they couldn’t see the US putting anti missile systems there or building air strips on Little Diomede they generally ignored it, apart from the occasional electronic countermeasure attack trying to jam it when one of their naval battle groups was moving through the Strait.

At first it was conceived as a missile launch platform with ground to air ordnance concealed under the large radome and an anti-shipping missile system hidden in the cavern, covering the eastern approaches to the Strait. Navy solved the question of how the island would be covertly supplied, by dredging the floor of the sea cave, widening it, and putting in a submarine dock.

But it was with the widespread adoption of unmanned aircraft that Little Diomede came into its own. Plans were soon laid to base 30 aircraft under the Rock, a mixture of reconnaissance UAVs and UCLASS (Unmanned Carrier Launched Surveillance and Strike) aircraft.

The challenge the Navy threw at the planners for Little Diomede was seen as impossible. The base was essentially supposed to operate as a concealed aircraft carrier, but where an aircraft carrier had hundreds of personnel dedicated to aircraft operations, the cavern under Little Diomede could take no more than fifty. It wasn’t that the enlarged cavern wasn’t huge, but once you took out the existing dock infrastructure, added hangar space for thirty drones, storage for parts and fuel and the machinery needed for getting the aircraft airborne and recovering them after a water landing, there wasn’t much left over for all the humanity needed to service the robots. Everything had to be automated, from aircraft handling, to refueling, launch and recovery. They could draw a lot on the systems that had been developed for the latest generation of supercarriers, but tailor-made kludges were needed for multiple systems.

So where on an aircraft carrier you had separate teams for aviation fuel, plane handling, aircraft maintenance and ordnance just to name a few, under the rock all those functions had been boiled down to Air Boss Alicia Rodriguez and her team. They were no ordinary assemblage of personnel. She’d had to put together a tailor-made team of launch/recovery specialists, air traffic controllers, machinist and electrician mates, plane captains for aircraft maintenance, aerographers for weather forecasting and ordnancemen to load the weapons on her drones. They’d pulled Rodriguez off the USS Trump, where at 26 she’d been one of the Navy’s youngest ever ‘mini-bosses’ or assistant Air Commanders, and told her she could have her pick of personnel from any vessel she named. She’d drawn up a shortlist of personnel who had served in at least two functions aboard a carrier, preferrably three. They’d given her 20 bodies, and she’d argued for 30, ending with 24. She split them into two shifts, and all of them had to understudy a different function so they could back each other up. She didn’t have enough people for redundancies.

The drones that Rodriguez and her crew were put on the island to service had been designed for carrier ops and didn’t need a long runway; they were built to be launched from a catapult and needed just a little modification for recovery so that they could fly right into the mouth of the cave and drop down onto the water to be retrieved with a crane and sling. That was the theory anyway. Rodriguez had heard it had taken Northrop Grumman Boeing two years to work out how to fit retractable skis to their machines instead of wheels, and another two years to work out how to avoid them sucking seawater into their air intakes every time they splashed down.

Fuel for the drones wasn’t an issue, because a purification and catalysation unit was installed that could supply 200 litres of liquid hydrogen and 400 litres of potable water an hour. A repurposed S8G nuclear power plant from a decommissioned Ohio class submarine provided power to the entire base.

Being as it didn’t officially exist, the UCAV wing under Little Diomede didn’t have a typical Navy designation; in organization charts it was buried deep under Naval Network Warfare Command (NETWARCOM) and was simply known as ‘Unit 4 of the Naval Computer and Telecommunications Area Master Station, Alaska; or NCTAMS-A4’, but to the aircrew and officers based there Little Diomede air base was just ‘the Rock’.

Rodriguez had been an aviator, most recently a ‘shooter’ or launch catapult officer before she’d been promoted to Mini Boss, but in the role of Air Boss under Little Diomede, she doubled as squadron CO. Normally she would have had to ‘fleet up’ through a squadron department head role, then XO, before being assigned a squadron command, but things under the Rock were far from normal.

Besides which, there was only one pilot on Little Diomede right now and none of the drones had yet been certified for operations. So her only pilot was going stir crazy waiting to get one of the machines onto the cat and into the air so she could fly it back in through that cave mouth and try her skill at ‘threading the needle’ as she called it.

The pilot’s name was Lieutenant Karen ‘Bunny’ O’Hare and Rodriguez had not had a part in choosing her. She had come across from the DARPA J-UCAS programme where she had been the lead pilot testing and perfecting the water landing capabilities of the NG-Boeing F-47 Fantom fighter. On paper, it made perfect sense that the pilot who had led the testing of the seaplane version of the F-47 would also lead the establishment of the unit for which they were designed, but Rodriguez soon learned there was more to Bunny O’Hare than appeared on paper.

She had cut her teeth on F-35s before an ‘attitude problem’ got her assigned to a unit flying UCAV modded F-22s in the Turkey-Syrian conflict and suddenly found herself sitting in a trailer ‘flying’ via VR goggles rather than in a cockpit. But she acquitted herself so well as a drone pilot that she came to the attention of recruiters at DARPA and moved to their dedicated J-UCAS programme, which had delivered a new weapons platform to specification, but now needed a new breed of pilot to fly it. DARPA was looking for pilots whose flying and social skills were less important than a talent for continuous partial attention and an ability to contribute to AI coding and development. For the first time in her life, Bunny’s attention deficit disorder was actually an asset.

The aircraft that had emerged from the J-UCAS programme, the NG Boeing F-47, was a real killer. Twenty six feet long, with a wingspan of 33 feet, it was powered by a hydrogen fuelled Reaction Engine Scimitar powerplant giving it the ability to hit a maximum airspeed of mach 1.8 or 1,300 mph and carry a payload of 10,000 lbs - ranging from tri-mode semi-active laser, imaging infrared (IIR), and radar guided precision air-to-ground munitions to Cuda ‘Halfraam’ air-to-air hit-to-kill missiles.

Unlike Rodriguez, and despite her frustrations, Bunny liked Little Diomede. She liked the idea of being the only pilot on an island with two dozen aircraft to fly. Did she miss bossing her F-35 around the sky? Hell yeah, but unlike a lot of other aviators, Bunny already lived in the future and the future was remote-piloted, semi-autonomous and she would never go back. In her F-35 Bunny only ever felt in control of her own machine, even flying as wing leader. Hell, half the time whatever fool she had on her wing didn’t do as they were ordered, or screwed it up. Chewing out one too many fellow pilots for #%&*$# results over NAS Fallon was one of the things that got her transferred, but she couldn’t help calling human error for what it was - dumb ass error. And you couldn’t afford a wide margin of error in modern combat where the distance between dead and alive was measured in milliseconds.

At the stick of a Fantom though, she commanded not one machine, but six. Not one wingman, but five. She flew the queen bee in the formation, and the other five machines were slaved to hers, executing her orders exactly as she issued them, right or wrong. If she screwed up, lost a machine, missed a target, there was no one to blame but herself.

She didn’t often blow up, but when she did, Rodriguez was glad they had a few hundred feet of solid rock over their heads, because she was sure the Russians could have heard Bunny swearing down in Vladivostok. And right now Bunny was only getting flight time on simulators, so Rodriguez could only imagine what she’d be like if she was in a fight for real. Like a lot of combat pilots Rodriguez had met, Bunny seemed to start every day looking for a target to hit.

And today, that target was Air Boss Alicia Rodriguez’s catapult officer.

“With respect you said ‘tomorrow’ three days ago Lieutenant,” Bunny was saying, staring at the ops ready Fantom waiting to be loaded onto the electromagnetic aircraft launch system down on the flight deck. She was facing down Rodriguez’s shooter, Lieutenant KC Severin and several of Rodriguez’s flight operations personnel were sitting on their butts on a rock shelf behind her, enjoying the show.

“And that drone has been ready for two days, as promised, Lieutenant,” Severin said. He was a small man, but all muscle and had been Rodriguez’s assistant on the Trump. “It’s the EMALS that’s the problem. No matter what we dial into the catapult, it’s delivering 196,000 pounds of thrust and by our reckoning, that will send your little paper planes into the lip above the egress chute like bugs into a windscreen.”

“So I’ll compensate with a little elevator trim,” Bunny said. “Stick the drone to the rails.”

“Good idea Lieutenant,” Severin said, irony his voice. “Tell you what, why don’t we tie your butt to the shuttle, send you through that chute with 196,000 lbs of thrust, you hold your arms out and flap, see if you can stick to those rails.”

They’d had to come up with their own terminology for the world under the rock. The drones were launched through a fifty by fifty foot smooth bored tunnel straight through the rock that emerged from a cliff face five hundred feet above sea level. It was called ‘the chute’. The drones landed by flying under the overhanging rock and into the mouth of the cave at sea level, which was called ‘the slot’. The artificial harbour inside the cave consisted of a simple rectangular submarine dock beside which the drones launched, and the seawater filling the cavern was known as ‘the Pond’.

The chute exited the Rock directly east, toward Alaska, masking the egress of the drones from anything but a luckily placed satellite or high altitude recon overflight. To further confuse any imaging, a mooring had been created outside the egress port, and several old fishing boats were tied up there, the remnants of the fishing fleet that had once sailed out of Little Diomede. Demasted, they were small enough that there was no risk to the drones taking off and landing, but numerous enough that any overhead image would just see a clutter of ships, with a launching drone, if it was unlucky enough to be caught entering and leaving, just a blurred dot.

“This base is supposed to go hot in six months, you know that Lieutenant,” Bunny sighed and turned to appeal to Rodriguez. “Between now and then I have to do the forms on 30 drones ma’am. There’s going to be a submarine full of Secretaries of this and Generals of that, docking in the Pond in about 20 something weeks, and after six hours underwater in some stinking tin can, followed by a shower, some strong coffee and crappy food, they are going to stand right here…” she pointed at the platform they were standing on next to the flight deck, “… expecting to see me fly a Hex of Fantoms out that chute, dodge a few lurking F-35s, blow the hell out of some barge in the Eastern Strait, and then watch as I gracefully and professionally glide them back through the slot to a perfect water landing and recovery.”

No matter how annoying, arrogant and disagreeable she could be, Bunny O’Hare was seldom wrong. Rodriguez turned to her catapult officer. “How much longer Lieutenant?”

“We’re reconfiguring the catapult software ma’am. Four hours. Then we have to test and recalibrate. Six hours. If we can, we’ll get it done by 2300, midnight latest. Next shift can do the fueling and pre-flight for the Fantom, 2 hours. If all goes well, we’ll be good to launch at 0300.”

To anyone else but Bunny O’Hare, laying down a flight time of 0300 would have gotten Rodriguez at least a groan. Bunny just smiled, “Permission to get some beauty sleep ma’am,” she said, before saluting and turning on her heel.

Rodriguez watched her go, then returned to Severin and his smirking team, “If that EMALS hasn’t been reconfigured, test fired and made ready by 0300 it’s your butts I’ll be launching off that catapult gentlemen.”


[Linked Image]
#4399282 - 01/10/18 06:38 PM Re: AAR with a difference: Bering Strait UCAV campaign Chapters 1-5 [Re: HeinKill]  
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rollnloop. Offline
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Great writing here thumbsup

#4399326 - 01/10/18 11:57 PM Re: AAR with a difference: Bering Strait UCAV campaign Chapters 1-5 [Re: HeinKill]  
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Nixer Offline
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Nixer  Offline
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Living with the Trees
thumbsup

Really good sir.


"I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience. I know no way of judging of the future but by the past."
Patrick Henry 1775

I personally believe in the tooth fairy, Santa Claus and that deficit spending is sustainable forever. We really do need more Admirals in the Navy than ships and that millions of more poor immigrants will jump start the economy.

"There's a sucker born every minute."
Phineas Taylor Barnum

#4399508 - 01/12/18 07:34 AM Re: AAR with a difference: Bering Strait UCAV campaign Chapters 1-5 [Re: Nixer]  
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HeinKill Offline
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Originally Posted by rollnloop.
Great writing here thumbsup

Originally Posted by Nixer
thumbsup

Really good sir.


Thx! Spread the word! And chip in with any critique along the way...

H


[Linked Image]
#4399523 - 01/12/18 01:46 PM Re: AAR with a difference: Bering Strait UCAV campaign Chapters 1-5 [Re: HeinKill]  
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HeinKill Offline
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OPERATION LOSOS
Headquarters of the Russian Federation 3rd Air and Air Defense Forces Command, Khabarovsk, Eastern Military District (TSB).


[Linked Image]

Colonel Yevgeny Bondarev, Commanding Officer of the 6983rd Air Force Base, felt like throwing up. But that was nothing new.

A lot of things made Bondarev feel like throwing up, but this time it was the 13 glasses of brandy he’d put down last night with his Brigade staff. It had started innocently enough, a group of his officers inviting him to dinner to mark the anniversary of the death of this grandfather, Hero of the Russian Federation, Nikolaevich Bondarev. After a nice three course meal with wine however, the night had descended into speeches, each accompanied by a toast to his famous grandfather, but when the speeches ran out, there was still brandy left, so there were more toasts; to absent wives, newly born children, newly married daughters or sons, recently departed fathers or mothers and of course, to the apparently immortal President Navalny, now in his 20th year at the helm of a resurgent Russia.

Usually Bondarev would doze through a staff meeting like this, his brain numbed by the reading of minutes, follow up on administrative actions, edicts about misuse of supplies and a long list of transfers. He was a combat commander, not a bureaucrat, one of the few at the table who had actually led in war and personally downed three enemy pilots over Turkey, thought it had given him no satisfaction.

Today however, despite the rising acid in his gut and the pounding in his head, he was focused on the figure at the end of the long mahogany meeting table, Colonel General Lukin; one of the few in the Air Army hierarchy who had Bondarev’s respect, because Lukin was known to be fiercely loyal to his pilots and ground crews, and not afraid to stand up to Kremlin stupidity. What got Bondarev’s attention right now, was that Lukin appeared to be more interested in reading the room, than the papers in front of him. Bondarev got the sense that whatever he was about to announce, it was well rehearsed.

The man was no longer in his physical prime, was carrying a few pounds more than was probably healthy for him, but he was still a fairly fit 50 years old. He was sweating. And he looked like he’d aged five years since Bondarev had seen him on video link two days earlier when the Ozempic Tsar had been lost.

“Gentlemen, you are all aware that two days ago, the United States, without provocation, attacked and sank a merchant ship of the Russian Federation in the Bering Strait, well inside the Russian Exclusive Economic Zone,” Lukin started, then paused. “An ultimatum was given to the United States to acknowledge its responsibility, apologize and offer reparations to the owners of this advanced and very expensive vessel.”

He looked around the room, “The ultimatum has expired, and as expected the United States has not accepted responsibility for the destruction of the Ozempic Tsar.”

As the General finished, he looked up, and nodded to an aide at the back of the room who had been standing there holding a stack of tablet PCs. The man began walking around and distributing them, and Bondarev put his thumb on the DNA lock that woke the screen. He saw a dozen folders on the home screen, all of which started with ‘LOSOS’, the Russian word for Salmon.

“Operation LOSOS,” Lukin said, guessing their thoughts. “What you are holding are your personal orders for the upcoming operation to secure the Bering Strait from future acts of piracy by the US or any other nation and guarantee free passage for international shipping traffic.” The large OLED screen behind the General came to life and an intelligence officer that Bondarev recognized as a young Lieutenant from his own Brigade stepped forward. He remembered she had been seconded to the General staff for a special project - now he knew what it was.

Lieutenant Ksenia Butyrskaya drew a big breath and straightened her back. Inside, she was terrified both of the audience in front of her, and the consequences of what she was about to say. She realized she was about to be a part of a major chapter in the history of her nation, but on the right or wrong side? That was yet to be seen.

“Our intelligence indicates that the attack on the Ozempic Tsar was most likely conducted by an unmanned US warship which fired two PIKE anti-ship missiles. Operation LOSOS…” she began. She swiped a hand across the touch screen to show an aerial reconnaissance photograph of a small airfield. Bondarev noted the presence of a light aircraft, helicopters that were probably air-sea rescue machines, and what might have been a military transport aircraft. He saw nothing of real significance. Butyrskaya continued, “… has a single objective. As part of a multinational peacekeeping force we will take and hold the US island of Saint Lawrence, specifically the airfield and radar installation at Savoonga, intern any US military presence on the island and leverage control of the island to ensure the safe passage of international air and maritime traffic through the Bering Strait.” Butyrskaya paused, knowing the room would explode with questions.

In fact, there was a stunned silence.

Bondarev spoke first, “We are declaring war on the USA?”

Butyrskaya looked to Lukin. He shook his head slowly, “There will be no formal declaration of war. And our objective is to take St Lawrence with minimal use of deadly force. The US keeps only a small military police force at its radar base, there are no ground troops garrisoned there. The forces allocated will be more than adequate to contain them. Operation LOSOS will involve more shouting, than shooting.”

Bondarev looked across the table at an old friend, Lieutenant Colonel Ivor Arsharvin. They had served together in Syria during the border conflict with Turkey and saved each other’s a**es more than once. Bondarev guessed he would be the one who knew what was really going on, but he wouldn’t ask him here. He’d have to save that until after this charade of a briefing. Arsharvin caught his look and tried to read his mind, “We are acting under the authority of the Barents Euro Arctic Council to preserve the rights of all international shipping to traverse the northern polar seas without interference.” His voice sounded hollow, letting Bondarev know what he thought of that flimsy diplomatic cover.

“Sweden supports us taking military action against the US?” Bondarev said disbelievingly. The Barents Council was a subset of Arctic nations comprising Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia that had come together to lobby for fishing rights in the Arctic waters that were opening up as the icecap receded. Norway had dropped out after a dispute several years ago but the other three nations continued to make treaties with each other under the name of the Barents Council - even if, until now, no other country had paid them any mind.

“Sweden abstained,” Arsharvin said, his voice betraying nothing of what Bondarev knew he must be thinking. “The vote was carried on a majority.”

And what the hell have we promised Finland? Bondarev was going to ask, but kept that question to himself. “The United States will not let Russia occupy its territory in the name of a tinpot fishing coalition. It will react with a violence such as we have never before seen,” Bondarev commented, looking around the room. He couldn’t help but note no one was meeting his eyes.

“Perhaps they should have thought of the consequences before they sank the Ozempic Tsar,” Butyrskaya said, clearly wanting to say more.

General Lukin held up his hand, “Thankyou Lieutenant,” he said. He brushed at an invisible hair on his lapel and then spoke to officers at the table, not to Bondarev in particular. “The United States government is riven with internal division and has shown a reluctance to engage in international affairs of any consequence. Our activities in Africa, the Pacific and the Baltics have brought only bluster from their President and State Secretary and whining in the United Nations. In every situation where we have moved our agenda forward, the United States has conceded and returned to its own political bickering.”

Finally Bondarev heard a voice other than his own speak with frustration. Colonel Artem Kokorin, commander of the 573rd Army Air Force Base, slapped a hand down on the table. “We are not fools here. I do not believe we are risking all-out war with the USA for the sake of a single freighter piloted by a robot!”

Lukin fixed him with an ice cold glare, “Russia does not want war comrade. The Bering Strait is a strategically important waterway and the USA has seen fit to challenge the freedom of our ships to traverse that waterway. This peacekeeping action will assert the rights of all shipping to move through the Strait and we will withdraw as soon as the USA acknowledges its perfidity and gives assurances it will pay reparations and guarantee freedom of navigation.”

Kokorin nodded then leaned towards Bondarev and whispered under his breath, “BS.”

Lukin nodded at Butyrskaya to continue her briefing. She pointed at the tablets in front of them. “Your unit orders are being sent to you as we speak and your officers recalled for detailed briefings. Operation LOSOS will be initiated at 0100 hours on the 24th of August.” She saw faces tighten and nodded, “Yes, that is six days from now. As soon as special forces have secured the airfield and radar station garrison at Savoonga on Saint Lawrence, Colonel Bondarev’s 6983rd Air Force will provide air-to-air cover and will stay on station to protect the airlift of ground-air defense units and garrison troops by the 573rd Army Air Force. We expect to have full control of both air and sea in the operations area within 24 hours of the arrival of special forces troops in the target area and full control of the territory of Saint Lawrence within 36 hours.”

“If I have my Su-57s running CAP over a US territory at the same time as their radar and airfield there goes dark, there will be a reaction. I predict a maximum of ten minutes before the first US F-35s arrive to order us to leave their airspace. What are we to tell them, if they bother to ask before they shoot?” Bondarev asked.

[Linked Image]

Butyrskaya smiled, “That has been anticipated. Immediately before special forces land, we will declare a submarine emergency in international waters off the coast of St. Lawrence,” she said. “One of our boats will send a mayday and declare a nuclear containment breach. Russian Arctic fleet assets in the area will be directed to respond and will start moving at speed to the area. All international shipping and aircraft will be asked to divert to allow our rescue efforts unhindered freedom of action. The US might send reconnaissance aircraft, but the cover story should be enough to prevent a full scale air defense response until we are in control.”

“And if they don’t buy this cover story?” Bondarev persisted. “I have the resources to rotate a CAP of one squadron over Saint Lawrence for that period, but if we sustain any losses, I assume I will be able to call for reserves from 2nd Command?”

Butyrskaya looked at Lukin, and opened her mouth to speak but Lukin spoke first. “We will not be mobilizing any more units than absolutely necessary, so as not to forewarn US intelligence. This operation will be run entirely with the resources of 3rd Command. Central Military District will not be drawn in.”

“We should preposition reserves,” Bondarev continued. “We cannot…”

“Reserves will not be needed,” Lukin said, in a tone clearly intended to end the discussion. “Does anyone else want to raise strategic concerns?”

“Rules of engagement,” Kokorin said. “The smokescreen about the submarine might enable us to get assets in place, but it won’t hold if the US gets satellite or air recon confirmation we are putting troops onto St. Lawrence.” He looked at Bondarev, “If my aircraft are tasked with transport and low level air defense suppression, I want to know Bondarev’s fighters will be able to protect us without having their hands tied.”

“We will not tolerate US interference in our peacekeeping operation,” Lukin said. “You will be free to fire on any land, sea or air threat in the operations area.” At last, something Bondarev liked. His leaders might be throwing him into an uncertain battle on a flimsy pretext, but at least they were not restricting his freedom of action.

Lukin waited for other questions and when there were none he picked up his tablet, and nodded to his staff, “Gentlemen, I will not keep you any longer. You have a vital peacekeeping mission to plan and the clock is ticking.”

As the others stood, Arsharvin made his way to Bondarev’s side. “My office, as soon as you are done with your staff meetings,” he said.

Bondarev grabbed his arm as he was about to walk away, “This isn’t about the Ozempic Tsar, is it? It isn’t even about Saint Lawrence Island.”

Arsharvin looked up at the ceiling to where small dome cameras sat capturing every word and gesture. “My office,” he said. “And bring a bottle.”

(C) 2017 Fred 'Heinkill' Williams. To be continued...


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#4399646 - 01/12/18 09:35 PM Re: AAR with a difference: Bering Strait UCAV campaign Chapters 1-5 [Re: HeinKill]  
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Sir:

Just stumbled into this. Thank you.
I am hooked already.

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