Target: SAM Sites (#8)
Pilots: Alien (G), Bear (A; Flight Leader), Boston (A), and Mustang (A)
It is the third day of operations for my US Navy pilots. The first two days have taken a serious toll on my pilots. Our first sortie of the campaign ended in an almost total loss. Our target was "Heavy Industry (#41)" near the city of Kermin. Three of our four aircraft sent on the mission were shot down by MiG-23s in a knife fight inbound to the target. Only one pilot was quickly recovered. The other two are still listed as missing in action.
The second day we were successful in hitting a "Minor Airfield (#1) on the coast of the Persian Gulf. However this minor victory placed an incredible amount of combat stress on my remaining pilots.
Our squadron would not receive any lucky breaks. On day three our target was group of "SAM Sites (#8)" deep in Iranian territory near the city of Cazvin.
Heavy anti-aircraft resistance was expected, but only minimal fighter support. Most of Iran's aircraft would be flying combat air patrols near the front lines. If we could sneak past them, we might have a chance at knocking out the SAM sites, making future attacks that much safer for other pilots.
Thankfully we were able to secure tanker priority. This allowed us to take a full compliment of munitions.
Alien's load out consisted of four AIM-120s, four AIM-9s, one AIM-7 and an ECM pod.
Bear took an ECM pod, three AGM-88 HARMs, and two AGM-65s. Boston's load out was similiar to Bear's. These two were my primary SAM hunters.
Maverick was already suffering from considerable combat stress, but with no other pilots available to fly the mission, he had to suit up. Maverick's load out was just two AGM-130s. His only job was to fire his weapons from the stand-off area then remain as far as possible from the center of combat while Bear and Boston did their jobs.
Alien's primary job was fighter suppression. Hopefully he'd be able to fire his AIM-120s independently, then hang back with Maverick.
Target bound, we encountered "AAA". Bear and Boston both fired HARMS, and each pilot crossed his fingers hoping that there would be enough munitions remaining when we arrived in the target area.
Thankfully most of the anti-aircraft protecting the SAM sites was of limited range and could not engage us at high altitude. Several additional HARMs were required to suppress enemy ground fire because of a caution light that illuminated at a very inopportune time in Bear's cockpit. Alien dispatched two MiG-21s that were flying over the target. Mustang's precision-guided 2000 pound rockets were fired from as far away as possible and both hit their marks doing a considerable amount of damage to the SAM sites.
Then Bear and Boston were able to take out two of the three SA-10s while Alien and Mustang remained alert. Alien still had plenty of air-to-air missiles on his jet, but Mustang was now a sightseer.
Boston quickly dispatched the remaining SA-10 with a HARM, and the group turned south and headed for the carrier.
Homeward bound we encountered yet more "AAA Vehicles", but luckily we still had some Mavericks, and they made short work of the AAA vehicles.
A very successfull mission, and one that gave the squadron a much needed boost in morale.