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SR-71, The Blackbird

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SR-71, The Blackbird

Old 6th Feb 2008, 11:01
  #61 (permalink)  
 
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I happen to be reading it at the moment.
I haven't received mine yet but looking forward to it, especially after your words.

Didn't know it was appreciating though
Apparently it is! Nothing on par with 'Sled Driver' however, which is well out of my reach for the time being
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Old 6th Feb 2008, 11:25
  #62 (permalink)  
 
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> Here is a very interesting account of remembrances of a former pilot about
> the SR-71 and it's capabilities. The pilot's name, the author of this
> account, is unknown.
>
> In April 1986, following an attack on American soldiers in a Berlin disco,
> President Reagan ordered the bombing of Muammar Qaddafi's terrorist camps
> in Libya. My duty was to fly over Libya and take photos recording the
> damage our F-111s had inflicted. Qaddafi had established a "line of
> death," a territorial marking across the Gulf of Sidra, swearing to shoot
> down any intruder that crossed the boundary. On the morning of April 15, I
> rocketed past the line at 2,125 mph.
>
> I was piloting the SR-71 spy plane, the world's fastest jet, accompanied
> by Maj. Walter Watson, the aircraft's reconnaissance systems officer
> (RSO).
After reading this fascinating story yesterday - and I agree it seems to be an amalgam of several crews' experiences - I looked up Brian Shul and Walter Watson in the index of 'Beyond the secret missions'. According to this book, they were launched as backup SR71 for several of the BDA missions over Libya but I'm not sure they ever had to complete the primary mission themselves. Assuming no problems with the primary aircraft, they had a point at which they would turn away before overflying the target area. I wonder if this is the turn mentioned in the story, whose rather florid prose style suggests that the ghost writer was suitably impressed!

Not that it matters ... they were all incredible men in an amazing aircraft.
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Old 6th Feb 2008, 12:04
  #63 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by EyesFront View Post
According to this book, they were launched as backup SR71 for several of the BDA missions over Libya but I'm not sure they ever had to complete the primary mission themselves.
Yep, Brian and Walt were the back-up for the first Libyan job but were not needed. The second mission had Brian and Walt as primary but they had a sensor failure near the target area. The back-up never received the call, so that called for a third mission for which Brian and Walt were back-up, and again not needed. So they probably made it to Libya.
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Old 7th Feb 2008, 06:51
  #64 (permalink)  
 
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Fascinating - but no items about the negative political consequences of such overt (even for a semi-stealth aircraft) breaking of international law.

The technology seems to blind people to the problems such operations raised with other countries.

And some of the wilder claims are, to say the least, open to interpretation.

.
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Old 7th Feb 2008, 08:16
  #65 (permalink)  
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Phil,

The Blackbird was not the only aircraft to violate foreign territorial airspace.

On at least one occasions a Foxbat violated Swedish, Norwegian, Danish and West German airspace and that was just in a turn
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Old 7th Feb 2008, 18:39
  #66 (permalink)  
 
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Yep, Brian and Walt were the back-up for the first Libyan job but were not needed. The second mission had Brian and Walt as primary but they had a sensor failure near the target area. The back-up never received the call, so that called for a third mission for which Brian and Walt were back-up, and again not needed. So they probably made it to Libya.
Just to add that it actually says in Sled Driver that Brian and Walt flew in on the night of the raid and passed the F-111s (rocking their wings) as they flew out. Both the Mildenhall jets flew that night so I presume they were primary crew for one of these missions.

Anyway, it's a wonderful book and one that conveys brilliantly what it was like to be involved with the jet. I don't blame him for being dreamy at all!

Gareth
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Old 8th Feb 2008, 01:58
  #67 (permalink)  
 
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Libya

To be exact - and at the risk of being rather sad and spotterish - the primary SR71 for the initial BDA flight was flown by Jerry Glasser and Ron Tabor, with messrs Shul and Watson flying the spare. Both aircraft performed faultlessly, but there was cloud over the target, so they got no usable imagery. The crews swapped roles the following day but the primary had a malfunction of the optical bar camera, and the targets were obscured by sand storms. For the third mission, the primary was flown by Bernie Smith and Denny Whalen, with Shul and Watson as spare. This time the targets were clear and they got their pictures. According to my book, the recce team were frustrated because they could have got the BDA info from the first sortie if they'd been allowed to use their radar sensors.

Apparently the missions were timed so that the primary aircraft would be coming off target as the spare was turning into the Mediterranean refuelling track. If the primary had a problem, the spare would continue to the target. Otherwise it would turn back to England.

For (much) more detail, see pages 290 to 301 of 'Beyond the secret missions'. It mentions Shul heading out to refuel off Cornwall, and seeing the returning F111s several thousand feet below, and that they acknowledged each other by rocking wings
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Old 8th Feb 2008, 06:56
  #68 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Pontius
On at least one occasions a Foxbat violated Swedish, Norwegian, Danish and West German airspace and that was just in a turn
And on one occasion, Islamabad!
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Old 8th Feb 2008, 11:39
  #69 (permalink)  
 
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Eyes Front...

Thanks for the clarification.

While Shul states in 'Sled Driver' that both jets were up that night he doesn't make it clear whether they were heading in first or second!
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Old 8th Feb 2008, 14:31
  #70 (permalink)  
 
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Do you ever get the feeling you're typing in Ewok??


Originally Posted by EyesFront View Post
To be exact
Oh EyesFront, you're slacking there. To be even more exact it was Lt-Col Jerry Glasser and Maj Ron Tabor. If you can get they're wives dates of birth, you'll be ahead again.
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Old 8th Feb 2008, 17:45
  #71 (permalink)  
 
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Life's too short

Only if you have a 'need to know' :-)

The info was all extracted from the book but I'll be b**gered if I was going to type it all out... the book has a habit ot outlining the bare events, then going though them in more detail, then throwing any personal accounts into a third iteration. It's very thorough, but I did find at least one inconsistency: the first time it mentions the third BDA mission it names Glasser and Tabor as the spare crew instead of Shul and Watson, who are duly named in the detailed account

I'd ask for a refund, only I can't remember where or when I bought the book...
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Old 9th Feb 2008, 00:28
  #72 (permalink)  
 
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One more story from "beyond the secret missions"

The book describes a lot of aircraft losses in detail, but here's a summary of the one that really caught my imagination:

"On 25th January 1966, Lockheed test pilots Bill Weaver and Jim Zwayer took off on a test flight. With the aircraft in a 30 degree bank at 80,000 feet at a speed of mach 3.2, the aircraft went out of control and broke up - the entire forebody became detached from the main body. The cockpit canopies were blown off and the two men were blown clear - the pilot's ejector seat was later found still in the cockpit section. Bill Weaver regained consciousness and found that his suit had inflated and was doing its job as his personal survival capsule. His parachute was activated by the barometric sensor and he landed safely. When his visor cleared he was reassured to see his RSO's parachute coming down nearby, but unfortunately Jim Zwayer didn't survive."
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Old 9th Feb 2008, 10:54
  #73 (permalink)  
 
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Er.. see post 7 ON THIS THREAD?
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Old 9th Feb 2008, 11:44
  #74 (permalink)  
 
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What an awesome machine it is....
I was in Palmdale in June 1986 as part of a RAAF flight crew getting ready to flight test a brand new Lockheed P3C right out of the factory there, and then fly it back to Australia. Anyway, late one Saturday afternoon I had to visit the factory to pick up something or other and saw to my amazement they had both a U-2 and an SR-71 parked together on the apron, all with nobody about, apparently preparing for a factory families showday that was to be held the following day!
Anyway, I pulled up, climbed the stand beside the SR-71 cockpit and looked in. I must have been there for a couple of minutes before a security guard drove up and 'insisted' I move on, and for some reason made a big deal about checking my ID and factory access pass (which I still have!).
I will never forget those few short minutes eagerly looking inside the cockpit of such a potent machine!
As the years pass by I realize the pure luck I experienced that day, and, of course, also lucky not to be thrown in jail as a security concern!

A really great memory,
Cheers...FD
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Old 9th Feb 2008, 20:27
  #75 (permalink)  
 
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Rumour hat RAF Pilots flew them

During my time in the RAF i remember hearing stories that after the loss of a U2 in Russia and the captue of the USAF Pilot from that point on when the SR71 or U2 flew over Russia it was crewed by RAF pilots, or was that just the U2 or maybe just NAAFI bullshit!? The more i think about it the more ridiculous the story seems TBH
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Old 9th Feb 2008, 20:40
  #76 (permalink)  
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blue monday, the stories were undoubtedly true, just wrong

The origin os the stories predated the U2 shoot down by a number of years. I believe you will find stories both here and on the internet and I think the aircraft involved were B45s and in Eisenhower's time. It was potentially less politically embarassing if USAF or CIA personnel were not involved.

You will also find stories of the RB47 penetrations deep into Soviet airspace.

IMHO the Soviets were quite rightly paranoid about western attack, after all every man and his dog had attacked them in 1917-1921, then Germany, an erstwhile ally attacked them, then Patton and others made it equally clear what they would like to do, then the atom spies showed how the west was planning a pre-emptive strike. Mmm
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Old 9th Feb 2008, 20:56
  #77 (permalink)  
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PN is dead on about the Soviet paranoia of being invaded. It's part of their mental make-up. History goes back even farther if you include Imperial Russia.

That other short corporal, the French one, did a number on the Russians as well as the examples given previously.

So, why in the hell is NATO going right up to the Russian border? The US putting its ABM sites in Poland? Yes, I know the physics won't support that site negating Russian ICBMs, but the thought of a US and/or NATO base that close to the border? C'mon...........

It gives Putin considerable pause for thought and I can't really blame him.


Regarding the returning F-111s and the SR-71 meeting, I did a story on the raid and the crews commented specifically about the overflight and wingrock.
 
Old 9th Feb 2008, 23:01
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Any chance of posting it here?????

Is the other book anywhere near publication?
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Old 10th Feb 2008, 00:57
  #79 (permalink)  
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Hunting for an agent and/or publisher for the Weasel book.

Here's the text from the F-111 story (mods, let me know if it's should be deleted).

TIMING IS EVERYTHING:
The Longest Fighter Mission

“I saw a bright flash and fireball just ahead to my left. I knew it probably marked the spot where somebody was going down, but I didn’t know who.”

This is one of the vivid memories that “JP-4” Pearson carries to this day. He was the last of eighteen strike aircraft hitting targets in Tripoli, Libya on the night of April 14/15, 1986. In addition to be being the prototype of today’s precision-guided strikes against terrorist targets, Operation EL DORADO CANYON included the longest fighter mission in history.

THE PLAN

Throughout 1985 and into 1986, Libyan-sponsored terrorists had struck repeatedly at American targets. Tensions rose until the final straw on April 5, 1986, an explosion at a Berlin nightclub heavily frequented by US servicemen killed two GIs and wounded another 79.

The Reagan Administration decided it was time to show American resolve. Contingency plans developed by the Department of Defense were built should ‘go’ be ordered.

One of those units most likely to ‘go’ was the 48th Tactical Fighter Wing (TFW) based at RAF Lakenheath in the United Kingdom. “The Liberty Wing” flew the ‘F’ model of General Dynamics’ F-111 strike aircraft. Using its advanced avionics, especially its Pave Tack [email protected] targeting pod, the ‘Aardvark’ delivered precision guided weapons on the deck at night or bad weather.

Since the 1985 Christmas season, a small group of 48th planners had devised and revised a plan to send a surgical strike package of six jets into the heart of the formidable Libyan air defense system to take out one or two of Qaddafi’s high value assets.

Finally, President Reagan ordered the military to respond. Instead of the small strike against closely placed targets in Tripoli, however, Reagan swung for the fence and insisted that a wide range of targets be hit. Due to the scope and geographically dispersed positions of the additional targets, both the US Navy, using two carriers then in the Mediterranean and UK-based aircraft would be needed.
The Navy would strike the easternmost targets around Benghazi and provide SAM suppression and fighter cover for the ‘Varks’ area.

The 48th drew three targets; the Azziziyah Barracks, a terrorist command and control center as well as being the dictator’s headquarters compound; the Murrat Sidi Bilal base, a terrorist training facility, and, well to the south, military transport aircraft at the Tripoli airport.

Unfortunately for the 48th, this decision to enlarge the mission occurred only 40 hours before the fragged TOT (time over target). All the carefully laid plans were scrapped. Instead of six jets, 18 were needed to hit all the targets. The F-111 could be temperamental with all its advanced systems, so to ensure the minimum number of strikers, an additional six jets would take off as air spares. To ensure that at least 24 good jets left the ground, another six jets were prepped. In addition to the bomb droppers from Lakenheath, four EF-111s (plus one spare) would launch from nearby RAF Upper Heyford to supply radar jamming or suppression of enemy air defense (SEAD).

Complicating the picture was the refusal of France and Spain to let US warplanes overfly their territories. This meant that the F-111s needed 29 air refueling tankers to strike.

In all, 57 USAF aircraft would launch to put 18 on target, on time. Crews for all of these aircraft had to be briefed and primed for the arduous mission, not an easy task to accomplish in the time remaining.

THE MISSION

In the new plan, nine F-111Fs would hit Azziziyah, six the airfield, and three to Sidi Bilal. By taking the Barracks out, the US hoped to deal a knock out blow to both terrorism and the Libyan military’s leadership.

Unfortunately, the new plan required all nine aircraft to attack along the same route. Even though the crews expressed reservations about this tactic, knowing it would leave the last strikers extremely vulnerable to alerted anti-aircraft artillery (triple A) and surface to air missiles (SAMs). However, due to the much larger joint USN-USAF packages, there wasn’t time to deconflict routes with the Navy. USAF aircraft needed to stay clear of the USN and vice-versa to avoid ‘blue on blue’ incidents. A crew would be just as dead if shot down by a friendly.

Of equal importance to target destruction was the need to negate collateral damage. As vital as the military aspects of the mission were, the political ones were even more important. A strong signal to terrorists that Uncle Sam wasn’t going to be pushed around anymore would be wasted if civilians were killed and the propaganda broadcast to the world.

“Big Al” Wickman, piloting Jewel 62, remembers the mass briefing for the mission. “It wasn’t everyday that you had the Chief of Staff of the Air Force in your briefing.” The presence of such horsepower brought home to many of the crews that they were really going.

After the briefings, the crews stepped to the waiting jets. “Yama” Hoyes, a weapons system operator (WSO, pronounced “whizzo”) recalls, “Even though the –111s were already ‘cocked,’ that is, all steps done up to start engines, each crew carefully checked the many systems to ensure full capability. The ROE (Rules of Engagement) for this strike were extremely tight and an operating Pave Tack system and good INS (inertial navigation system) were just a couple of the ‘go-no go’ items included. Nobody wanted to be left behind for this one, hence the extra careful cockpit checks.”

At 1713 GMT, using comm. out procedures, the tankers took off followed by the fighters. Immediately, the plan turned to delta sierra. The forecasted winds were not, and forced the tankers to take off opposite direction from what was planned. For the fighters, this meant instead of a gently curving join up that allowed time to sort out which was the appropriate tanker, the ‘Varks found themselves raising the landing gear and bunching up behind a face full of tankers.

Eventually, sorted out and in what Hoyes calls an “armada” and Pearson remembers thinking was just like a scene from “12 o’clock High,” they headed southwest to begin the long flight down the coast of Spain, turning east through the Straits of Gibraltar, and across the Mediterranean.

With a long wait until combat, the crews settled in, continuously topping off from the tankers. After an hour, the spares returned to base, frustrated that they couldn’t continue on the mission.

Encountering headwinds when tailwinds were forecasted, it wasn’t too long into this droning that the fighters realized they were going to be late. Everything about the raid was based on timing – the SEAD and SAM suppression strikes, the US Navy attacks further east, and most importantly, the attack runs of each F-111F. Since the ROE specified that each target be positively identified before dropping, the planners built in a 30 second delay between aircraft. This delay would, it was hoped, allow the smoke and debris from the preceding F-111’s bombs to settle before the following striker released.

Finally, the mission leader broke radio silence, “We’re late!” At that point, everyone realized the critical timing was jeopardized and all the jets bent their throttles forward to make up the difference.

Even during refueling, the speed stayed up. Wickman says even though they were doing 330kts or better hanging on the boom, the F-111 “rides like a ’72 Cadillac. It really is a smooth flying machine, very stable throughout its envelope.”

With an all up weight of more 100,000 pounds, even this stable ride needed occasional taps on the afterburners as they wallowed heavily behind the tanker.

In the dark skies, the tension in the cockpits rose as the 0200 TOT drew near. Dropping at the designated times, each flight followed the planned routes. Each continued inbound nearly due south, then reaching the Libyan coast, turning east, descending to 200 feet. The tracks for Azziziyah and Sidi Balil were roughly parallel. The airfield strikers actually penetrated far inland and came from the south to attack.

Hoyes, in Remit 33, had one of the more exciting tales of the strike. Descending from 24 thousand to 1,000 feet in the pitch black night, he recalls, “If you listen to the (cockpit) tapes after the mission, you could hear a whole lot of oxygen being used while we did TFR (terrain following radar).
“The winds continued to go against what we expected. The headwinds slowed us down, so we had to keep stroking the burners to maintain the timing plan.

“Now it is really dark out, and I’m headdown in the ‘feedbag’ (rubber visor that covered the ground mapping radar), checking equipment when we lose one of our TF channels. A fault like this triggers an automatic 4g pull up. This ‘niggly’ fault kept occurring; resetting, then going offline again, each time initiating the 4g pull-up, followed by the pilot pushing it back down, really a sickening roller coaster ride.

“I told my pilot that I wasn’t going to be able to take much more of that. He switched to manual and did a superb job.

“Remember, it is absolutely black outside and the only reference we have for terrain avoidance is what’s left of the TFR, called the ‘ride line.’ This was a line on the scope set at what the computer was programmed with as the altitudes for the current INS-based position. In those days, the INS drifted, so there was a lot of room for error.

“So at 1000 feet, going 600 knots, we’re using TLAR (that look’s about right) to keep us from hitting anything.”

“As we passed over Lampedusa Island, our last ‘fix’ for updating our targeting systems, we also used it to check our attitude. There is a 1,000 foot antenna there and if we passed below it, we were aborting because that would show our TFR was totally fried.

“We passed by the antenna, co-altitude, but noticed another problem. The coordinates given to us for the island did not match where we were, so if a crew used the bad coordinates, their bombs would be off. Since we were radio silent, we couldn’t pass that on and had to hope the others caught the error as well.

“Back on our run, we were one minute behind the first drop and all was dark until lead’s bombs hit. Then all hell broke loose. Solid streams of tracer hosed into the sky along with lots of magnesium flares that added a lot of light to the show.

“There was sh** to the left, right, in front and behind us and the Navy’s HARM shooters were firing to take out the SAM tracking and guidance radars. It was just a huge mess out there.”

Remit 32, thirty seconds ahead, aborted due to their target being obscured by smoke from 31’s bombs and instead of turning back into the flak filled skies to the north, lit afterburners to scream as quickly as possible south over downtown Tripoli where the fire wasn’t as intense.

Continues ‘Yama,’ “At our pull, which is really a climb to loft the bombs, followed by a 120 degree banking left turn to exit the area as the weapons continue flying gravity-powered formation to the aim point, our Pave Tack died. So only a couple of seconds from pickling, we had what the ROE dictated was an abort. Since the radar was still good and had a recent good update, I felt confident that we could still drop accurately, so we did.

“Post-strike we found out we’d hit a little short, but with 2,000 pounders, we still did significant damage to the area with no collateral damage.

“Once we dropped, we scooted north to overfly the ‘delouse’ boat, a Navy frigate who watched us approaching on his radar at the designated height. If we were not at that height, the orbiting fighter CAP would intercept to clean off any Libyan fighters that might be trying to catch us.

“As we crossed the coast, we radioed ‘Feet wet’ and ‘Tranquil Tiger.’ That meant we were over the water and had hit our target. ‘Frosty Freezer’ was the unsuccessful call.”

The WSO of Elton 43, “Boots” Martin recalls that just before leaving the tanker, each F-111 took a final top off.
“41 got his gas quickly, and disconnected. 42 took longer than expected so when we finally disconnected, we were two minutes late.”

Dropping from 25 thousand to 1,000 feet, ‘Boots’ says, “We were doin’ Mach stink and it was totally, completely, absolutely dark outside.” To make up lost time they went supersonic, trusting in the TFR to keep them from smacking into the water.

Then the Master Caution light illuminated. Checking further, they found the “wheel well hot” warning light glaring. The ROE called for an abort, but the crew decided to press. The light reset but only momentarily because the light reappeared, then went out again along with everything else in the cockpit.

With total electrical failure, 43’s pilot immediately pulled the nose up to gain altitude while they sorted out the problems. They could see fireworks in the distance as triple ‘A’ and SAMs arced through the sky, intermittently punctuated by explosions as the leading F-111Fs dropped their weapons.

With many expletives, Elton 43 was forced to abort and worry about surviving. Says ‘Boots’, “My pilot asked ‘What heading?’ Well, I didn’t know exactly, so I said ‘Try north.’ I held a flashlight in my mouth pointing at the whiskey compass so he could point the nose in the right direction while we ran the emergency checklists.”

They managed to get one of their generators on-line, but to find the tankers, they had to radio for an F –111 already at the rendezvous to ‘torch.’ For that, the ‘Vark dumps fuel from the nozzle located just aft of the engine exhausts, lights the afterburners, and sends out a 40 foot stream of flame. Using this beacon in the dark sky, Elton 43 rejoined quickly.

Wickman’s Jewel 62 was targeted against the training camp. Ingressing, he bumped the jet down to 200 feet, however, he kept getting search radar tickles on his radar warning gear, so he kept easing the jet lower until the tickles stopped. Finally, at 80 feet, Jewel 62 was in the clear, although doing 600 knots, at night, using TFR.

On his bomb run, he climbed to 200 feet to acquire the target and could see the afterburners of the other jets. He says, “You could see the shock rings very clearly and the flak was so heavy that if I had tried to break from one stream, I could have just as easily turned into another. All I wanted to do was to wind the seat down so I couldn’t see it anymore.

“As we continued, I saw a brighter flash off to my left, but had no idea, at the time, that it was one of ours and stayed focused on the drop.
“At the pull, as I turned and was looking back, I could see 63’s burners while my WSO stayed with the bombs, turning on the [email protected] to guide them during their last seconds of flight.

“After that, my main concern during egress was to make the delousing point and not make an over-eager Navy fighter pilot an ace.”

The last jet in, Pearson’s Karma 53, was one of those added to the Azziziyah target despite the tactic of so many jets using the same headings over the same run-in, thus allowing the Libyan gunners an easier firing solution.
Passing Lampedusa, his left generator failed, taking with it their Pave Tack. He continued on, hoping to bring the system back on-line.

Turning inbound, he spied a vivid flash and explosion, probably Karma 52, piloted by Capt. Fernando Ribas-Dominicci and WSO Capt. Paul Lorence. Believing that a SAM got them but unable to do anything about it, ‘JP-4’ continued.

It was so bright outside with the triple ‘A’ and flares that his WSO visually picked up a SAM launched at them. Pearson broke to avoid the SAM and it detonated behind them. The fact that the SAM operators were ready makes him believe that Karma 52 took a hit.

‘JP-4’ pressed until TOT when he aborted due to no Pave Tack. The ROE was strict, so with much cussing, the crew held their fire. They safed their bombs and dumped them into the sea.

Even twenty years later, he is still ticked about not being able to drop.
Now, after 17 strikers rejoined with the tankers, it was time for home. One tanker with the remainder of Karma flight orbited for nearly another hour, hoping that 52 would somehow make it out, but eventually had to leave as well.

SURREAL HOMECOMING

Sobered by the loss of Karma 52, the crews settled down for the long flight home.

With the overheat light still glaring and unsure if their jet was going to blow up, Elton 43 diverted into Rota, Spain. Even if the Spanish government didn’t support the action, the US Navy base commander recognized a brave deed and opened up the officers’ club at 0600 for a well-deserved post mission beer and debrief.

The rest of the armada continued when one of the tankers called for everyone to retune to US Armed Forces Radio to listen to a live broadcast of a White House press conference about the raid.

The men interviewed for this story relate how when the broadcast ended with “Anchors Aweigh” and the “Air Force Song,” they choked up.

A final, more professional tribute greeted them after turning clearing the Straits of Gibraltar. As the first lighter blue tendrils of daybreak appeared, they saw an SR-71 ‘Blackbird,’ inbound to do post-strike photo assessments, bank sideways in a knife-edge salute as it overflew the formation. Finally, with sore butts from logging more than 12 hours, the crews landed at Lakenheath where the taxiways were lined by the cheering ground staff.

Popping canopies, each crewman handed his helmet bag over the side. Normally, a crew chief grabbed the equipment. ‘Big Al’ was surprised when the Air Force Chief of Staff took his gear.

Most recalled being tired, unsure what, if anything, they had started and uncertain if Karma 52’s fate.

Within a few days, the worst was confirmed. A TV crew captured images of Ribas’ body and Lorence’s helmet washed up on the shore.

The flash seen by Wickman and Pearson indicates that they were probably shot down. The flash was likely either the jet exploding or the unique capsule escape system of the ‘Vark rocketing away from the fuselage. In a very poignant footnote, Ribas was the godparent of Wickman’s then-infant son.

As a lesson for today’s struggle against terrorism, twenty years ago, 18 F-111F crews flew a very long demonstration flight.



F-111F SIDEBAR

MISSION: Multi-purpose tactical bomber
CREW: Two; pilot, WSO
LENGTH: 73 ft, 6 in.
WINGSPAN: 63 ft, fully forward
31 ft, 11.5 in. swept
HEIGHT: 17 ft. 1.5 in
WEIGHT 47,481 lbs (empty)
100,000 (max take-off)
ENGINES: 2 x Pratt & Whitney TF30-P-100 turbofans
25,100 lbs thrust each
SPEED: Mach 1.2 at sea level
Mach 2.5 at 60,000 ft


RAID SUMMARY SIDEBAR

CALLSIGN TARGET ASSESSEMENT
Remit 31 Azziziyah Barracks Hit
Remit 32 Azziziyah Barracks Off dry
Remit 33 Azziziyah Barracks Hit
Elton 41 Azziziyah Barracks Abort due to inop Pave Tack
Elton 42 Azziziyah Barracks Tanker turned too soon, crew still refueling,
out of position to meet timing, abort
Elton 43 Azziziyah Barracks Abort due to wheel well hot indication
Karma 51 Azziziyah Barracks Miss due to radar mis-identification
Karma 52 Azziziyah Barracks KIA
Karma 53 Azziziyah Barracks Abort due to loss of electrical systems
Puffy 11 Tripoli Airfield Hit
Puffy 12 Tripoli Airfield Abort due to TFR failure
Puffy 13 Tripoli Airfield Miss due to radar mis-identification
Lujac 22 Tripoli Airfield Hit
Lujac 23 Tripoli Airfield Hit
Lujac 24 Tripoli Airfield Miss due to computer malfunction
Jewel 61 Sidi Bilal Miss due to radar mis-identification
Jewel 62 Sidi Bilal Miss due to radar mis-identification
Jewel 63 Sidi Bilal Hit
 
Old 10th Feb 2008, 03:08
  #80 (permalink)  
 
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