The scenario starts at 10:00 AM off the coast of Haikou, China and immediately I receive confirmation of a hostile land target directly ahead of my destroyer, which I immediately fire a TLAM SLCM at. There are three other unidentified land targets grouped on the same coast, and one much more distant potential target to the northwest of my position. Almost as soon as I launch the first bird in the air, another one of the land contacts changes to hostile in front of me.
There are two Harrier jets queued up on the flight deck of the Essex and I order them launched. While those flights are taking off, I order up four additional Harriers to provide protection and potentially identify targets.
While I am sending those sorties to the northwest, the Caron continues to prosecute verified hostile land targets directly in front of it.
One of the Harrier jets releases an AGM-65 Maverick ASM at track # 1654, one of the four land targets directly in front of my force.
Four Harriers are grouped together and ordered to destroy a B-6 Badger reconnaissance aircraft which is dispatched with little effort.
There were a few tense moments as some anti-ship missiles made it past my aircraft and had to be dealt with up close and personal.
Here I lose a Harrier to an enemy engagement as my flight of four aircraft was separated somehow.
Although I do not have a positive identification on the northwest faraway land target, I fire three missiles at it to destroy the target and end the mission.
I ended the scenario with a score of 94%, having lost one AV-8B Harrier II jet.
All enemy targets were destroyed with the exception of a single A-5 Fantan aircraft.
I have played this scenario several times in the past, and although it is rated one out of four maximum stars for difficulty, it can be tricky to achieve a 100% Mission Effectiveness rating. The two times that I was able to reach that goal, I basically had to pull all air assets out of harm’s way and fire missiles indiscriminately at targets (positively identified as hostile or not) in order to kill them as quickly as possible to end the game before the enemy anti-ship missiles reached my battlegroup.
In my opinion that is too gamey for a military simulation, so I am pretty much satisfied with the 94% rating achieved for this AAR.
For this mission I had adjusted the screen resolution from 1280X1024 to 1600X1200 but I could not tell any discernable improvement in image quality.