Hairy was in a daze. What had just happened? A Mig 29 in the area and he missed the call? What were the ground mobile SAMs doing? How did he miss the call?
Moments earlier Hairy had been target fixated, on his TPOD, tracking his prey with the FLIR, completely oblivious to the calls that were made over the radio.
But now he was alert. Hairs now standing up on the back of his neck as he was wondering how he missed the call, and could this be the end? Where is this Mig? Is it already on me?
Desperately making a bogey dope call and getting a reponse, he searched the skies frantically. After a short while, he could make out an aircraft high and to the north east in the sky. Pushing forward on his A2A dogfight mode selector, the jet switchd from Ground to air mode and the sidewinders came to life, with a growling sound in his earphone.
Behind him, out of the aircraft a constant stream of flares floated gently down to earth, leaving a trail of smoke in their wake. Almost pretty in nature, if it wasn’t such a hostile and frightening situation. Spotting movement in his eye to his left, hairy pulled the yoke to his torsoe – instantly feeling his G-suit inflate around his legs as his aircraft turned his nose towards the target – an aircraft that was turning towards him as well!
The sidewinder pitch in his ears changed to a higher aggressive pitch tone – a good lock! Hairy slid his finger over the cage release button, pressing it to allow the pipper to follow the aircraft start to move off to his port side and then after he was sure it was in range, he pulled back on the trigger.
A moment of silence before a loud whoosh was heard as the sidewinder jumped off the wingtip, screaming away from the harrier.
It was only a few seconds, but felt like hours, waiting to see what would happen. Was the other aircraft about to fire? Had he fired? The sidewinder turning through the air tracked the intended target well, while Hairy kept pounding out flares behind him and pulling his throttle back to reduce his heat signature.
Shortly afterwards a thick pale of smoke poured from the target aircraft. A good hit!
With a sigh of relief hairy keyed his comms and said “I’ve got him. My first air to air kill in this bird!”. A less than impressed reply came back over the air… “He was already dead!” was all that was said by another pilot. Another pilot who was now going down with a trail of smoke behind them.
Fear gripped Hairy once again. Oh no – in all this it never crossed his mind that the aircraft he targeted was friendly. The victim skillfully gliding his bent bird to the ground and dead stick landing – that pilot would be anything but friendly now, and rightfully so.
Hairy sighed in relief – as he observed the pilot bringing the aircraft to a stop – at least it wasn’t fracticide.
The flight back to the FARP was a dull one. How could he explain what just happened? Could he explain what just happened? Or was he just losing it?
Reviewing the situation he understood well. His normal flight lead – @OceanOver 🦕 had skipped this sorty. He always kept Hairy in check. Without him Hairys lack of suitability was exposed. Hairy knew it. With this latest incident he would now be demoted. He was lucky – he would fly again, but had now been moved to a new Task Group. One where all the trouble makers ended up. No one escaped from here. He was destined for Task Group Warrior.