Combat School (Night)

This scenario is an update to the CombatSchool (Day) sortie with a change up in the enemy force list to add a significant threat to the Shark, that being a SAM SA-8 Osa 9A33 mobile short-range tactical surface-to-air missile system (NATO reporting name SA-8 Gecko). On a separate missile test, I flew the same attack route at high altitude and the unit acquired and engaged Lab Rat and sent him to death number two.

The targets are in all the same spots as the daytime sortie and are: an MBT T-72B located on a crossroads outside of Medzhinistskali, the previously referenced Gecko unit to the east of Sameba, another MBT T-72B approximately 3.65 km northeast of the SAM unit, an Mi-8MT scout helicopter flying a pattern between Batumi and Makhindzhauri and finally a MRL BM-21 Grad along the coastline.

Here are the targets:

The flight plan for this morning’s sortie: a total of six waypoints. The range of the Gecko covers Batumi International Airport (UGSB), so the layout is completely unrealistic however expediency was the key here so as not to have another 55 km approach to the local traktir for some vodka.

Lift off from runway 31 at UGSB. My assigned task is CAS (Close Air Support) and my weapons load out is the Vikhr ATGM missile on the APU-6 launcher, the B-8V20A unguided rocket system and the 2A42 30mm single-barrel cannon mounted on the right side of the fuselage (it is so heavy in real life that if they mounted it elsewhere it could rip the aircraft to pieces when fired).

I alter the default settings of the UV-26 flare decoy system and opt for discharge from both sides of the aircraft. Although I will be following the exact same route as my missile test sortie (where Lab Rat achieved death number two), this time I will be using the terrain to mask my approach so that I can acquire and fire before the Gecko can launch its attack on me.

One of the two available manuals for DCSBS indicates that there is a targeting assignment function available to provide realistic air-to-surface operations to include artificial illumination such as flares. The task is called AFAC (Airborne Forward Air Controller), but so far my attempts to get this to work in game have been unsuccessful as the aircraft are always engaged and shot down before they can deploy the flares.

Turning to the ABRIS Advanced Moving Map System I suspend the current waypoint (the airfield UGSB) which advanced to waypoint 00002. The PVI-800 Navigation Control System started with waypoint 1 which is waypoint 00002 in ABRIS. Although they are supplemental systems to each other, they apparently don’t communicate with one another very well (if at all). I engage route mode and the helicopter turns towards the “first” waypoint of the scenario.

While traveling along I decide to test the flares and fire off a few, albeit over civilian territory.

I engage the first target with the Vikhr ATGM (800 to 8,000 m range) and the two missiles strike and destroy the first MBT T-72B.

The game manual states that the Vikhr employment parameters are 10 m minimum safe launch (hover), 50 m minimum safe launch (forward flight), 4,000 m maximum launch (barometric) and 3,000 m maximum launch (practical/all speeds) with the aforementioned minimum and maximum range to target.

I will have to do some test scenarios to see what the weapon performance decay is to see how this is modeled in game (such as launching in range at 5,000 m).

While still in route mode the autopilot system cycles to the “second” waypoint: this is where I will use a pop-up attack to mask my approach on the Gecko.

Waiting until the safest last possible moment before increasing collective.

Just over the crest of the mountain I take out the Gecko (there are a ton of them here in Florida).

The Gecko and the final MBT T-72B are destroyed in a matter of seconds after cresting the ridge of the mountain. I like how the game successfully utilizes terrain masking (unlike the ArmA engine which is plagued by AI seeing through mountains with no possible LOS).

Advancing towards the “third” waypoint where I will turn towards the only aerial target in the scenario, a Mi-8MT scout helicopter. The crew would wish they called in sick this evening…

That is if they ever saw the Vikhr missiles inbound.

The MRL BM-21 Grad is likewise decimated by a Vikhr missile.

Approaching the “fourth” waypoint which will bring me back to airfield UGSB, where I will make a final turn to land at the parking area just off the main runway.

The view from the cockpit on approach to UGSB: the city is on the lower left the airfield is in the upper right of the image.

This is the final waypoint in the ABRIS mapping where I am lining up to bring the aircraft down in the parking area.

With the landing lights illuminating the tarmac I set the bird gently down.

The scenario went from 04:35:00 to 04:50:59 and resulted in three vehicle, one air defense and one helicopter kill. I recorded an AVI video in game using the available resources; however the game actually records an OGV file, so no joy there. After searching the DCS forums for help, it appears that recording in AVI is pure bullshit: all you get is OGV or PNG and it up to you to use an outsider converter to make it an actual AVI file.

Meet Lab Rat: I use him for all of these testing scenarios (invulnerable). Once I start a campaign, I will switch to a different profile for only that campaign, and use new profiles for any restarts.

Next steps in this series

Learn to implement AFAC (Airborne Forward Air Controller)
Become proficient in advance avionics and weapons employment (simulation mode)
Become proficient in flying a scenario as part of a flight with one or two wingmen

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