Ever happened that you spent an entire hour on ground preparing your DEAD sortie, memorising landmarks, ingress and egress routes, those bingo/joker calculations (for those of you who actually calculate them), only to get smacked midway by a SA-10 in your AO??
Or planned a perfect low altitude night time LANTIRN NoE sortie to do a loft delivery, only to get smacked by Strela??
Happens quite often to even the best of us, don’t worry.
DEAD sorties can be one of the most difficult sorties in BMS depending upon the threat picture and the target assigned. Knowing the strengths and weaknesses of your target system is as essential as knowing your own weapon specifications and choosing the best weapon and attack profile.If your DEAD objective is a SA-2 battalion in middle of nowhere, you can just drop an entire load of SDBs or SPICE on the target units and get it done.
But what if your target objective is enveloped by a Patriot/SA-10 site nearby?
Or what if your objective is covered by a flight of Su-30/Rafales?
Or there is a mobile Armored unit with SPAAA/MANPAD elements nearby??
Your payload is determined not just by your target but also by the threat picture surrounding the objective. In the first of the above cases, high altitude SDB/SPICE/Delilah delivery is a suicide since the SA-10 and Patriot has a tremendous 60nm+ firing range against high altitude aircraft. On top of that, SA-10 and Patriot Fire Control Radars won’t trigger your lock/launch indicators at long ranges for some reasons in BMS (Don’t know if it’s a bug or working as intended because SA-10/Patriot use TVM/SAGG mode of guidance). On other hand, I recommend dumping the entire load and perform evasive manoeuvres the moment you see a “P” or “10” pop up on your RWR since a launch generally happens with 10 seconds of the first RWR ping (based on my experience). Maybe assign a parallel DEAD sortie against the SA-10 unit at the same time to thin out the crowd.
If your objective itself is a SA-10/Patriot site, then pick up the Delilah (or AGM-84E for those Hornet drivers). Fly around 400 IAS at 30,000 ft ASL and you’ll get a 60nm launch range on these MITL weapons. If you fly a perfect “race track” flight plan, you’ll remain untouched by the SAM site while successfully guiding your weapon against them.
As you can see, you’ll lose the data link coverage from the weapon feed at the “corners” due to antenna coverage limitations. In this situation, you need to set your turn rate and the “length” of the tracks so that you can successfully guide the weapon in terminal phase.
If your target is well protected by enemy flights, it is always wise to prepare for BVR combat by carrying a couple of AMRAAMs and even better, have your escorting package deal with them.
Conversely, flying a low altitude profile in a Strela infested region is not advised either.
Now comes the favourite part, what if no high altitude entry is possible, say due to nearby SAM sites or fighter units in the area? Low Altitude high-speed lofting is your friend here. But with what weapons?
Lobbing a 2000 lb. JDAM onto a Fan Song Trailer is silly as well as will limit your external stores where you won’t be able to attack the entire Battalion launchers and trucks.
A load of 4x 500lb. JDAM will incapacitate more than 60% of the unit. Moreover, the Israeli F-16I Sufa’s avionics allows you to make a one-pass-multiple-target delivery with the JDAMs. Have a look at the manual to see how to get it done. If your target is bunched up, you can even use CBUs for the job, as I have used multiple times. Just set the release altitude appropriately.
If terrain features provide a LoS blocker like a ridge, you can even use these against SA-5 SAM sites.
And yes, remember to turn off LANTIRN auto/semi-auto altitude holding AP before initiating the loft or else you’ll totally wreck the flight avionics and send the aircraft into a spin.
So just keep remembering these small things whenever DEAD sorties come up and you won’t turn into a flaming asteroid hopefully.
Happy hunting and fair skies!!