This Would Dampen Some Pilot's Enthusiasm

 



It is very hard now to tell if this is a real video or from a wargame simulation. This is actually a simulation.

Today, Russia Lost Several Most Advanced Fighter Jet (Su-25) and Helicopter | ARMA 3: MilSim

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I have some experience in shooting missiles at aircraft.  My story below.

FMF Fleet Marine Corps Hawk Missiles Yuma, Arizona 1967-68.





MILITARY OCCUPATIONAL SPECIALTY (MOS)

The Marine Corps decides what job you will do based on the needs of the service and your aptitudes. The Marine Corps in its infinite wisdom made me an Anti Air Warfare Electronics Operator, a.k.a. a Scope Dope. I was trained in a seven week long school in tracking airplanes with radars. I was number one in my class. One of the valuable skills taught was printing backwards with wax pencils on large Plexiglas plotting boards depicting the location of aircraft so that officers in front of the boards could follow the air war. I still have that skill, which of course is very helpful in civilian life.

After finishing schools I was transferred to the Fleet Marine Force (FMF). The Marine Corps put me in a LAAMBn (Light Anti Aircraft Missile Battalion) that shot HAWK (Homing All the Way Killer) Missiles at enemy airplanes. The North Vietnamese had few planes to spare for sorties to South Vietnam.  By the time I joined the unit the other HAWK units were withdrawing from Vietnam. So I defended Yuma Arizona from low flying communist aircraft. We shot old missiles at targets towed by very nervous and unhappy pilots. We also fired at small drone aircraft controlled from the ground. We were proficient at missing our targets and blowing large holes in the desert. Some missiles exploded on the launching pad, some disappeared in the sky, some flew a short distance and exploded near us, and a few hit the target.

The high point of the tour was when we shot a missile at or near a low flying smuggler. I was on the scope. We had been in the desert for four long very hot days. The next missile that we fired would be the last and we could return to the base. As the drone target approached our position, I noticed another aircraft on the scope. "Sir, the range is cold", I said, informing the Major of the other aircraft that had blundered into our range. No civilian aircraft were allowed on the range for obvious reasons.  The Major watched the scope for a while and ordered that the drone be turned around.  The controllers would send it back close to the Mexican border and then fly it back again to our position.

As the drone approached I again noticed another target. It was moving independently from the drone and so was not just an echo of the target. It was moving north from the Mexican border and was probably a smuggler, since the target would appear on and off the screen. It was flying very low and moving on and off the radar screen. I told the Major the range was cold.

The Major watched the screen for several seconds and saw the drone target and the other aircraft. We watched closely to make sure there were two aircraft, not just an echo of the drone. I was sure it was not an echo.  Then the Major said, "fuck it, shoot". We shot. Large explosion followed and both targets disappeared from the radar screen.

My assessment at the time was that we had probably scared the smuggler with the large nearby explosion and he had exited the area fast near the deck. It was also possible that we had blown him up. A third possibility is that I was wrong about the aircraft and that it was an echo of the target, but I don't think so.

Some Video of a Hawk Unit in Vietnam