This Command had just come into existence and the Boss with his Operations staff elected to have an air exercise to show the powers that be(both military and civilian)that the Air Defence of the sector was in safe hands. The aim was to show that any air threat would be well detected in time and would be annihilated well before coming close to the target. he Ops 1 A/B/C/D/Z got busy and wrote out the Preamble-Aim-Mission-100% Kill Rate and concluded that all enemy aircraft that dared to strike were shot down, with ZERO losses from the Air Defence Element.
You-Lie airfield and Jazz-Mare airfield belonged to the Good Guys and were defended by the IAF sports car version of Air Defence (Type-77 with one ventral drop tank)
Jo-Pure airfield was where the Bad Boys operated from with their Twin Jet Fighter Strike Force.
The strike route was planned by Ops-1 Pee. The Marut Bosses were handed over this information by MEAN SING and HE warned them that great harm would befall their careers if any miniscule deviation was ever attempted by any Twin Jet Pilot.
A total of 10 Two Aircraft Strike Missions would take part in each detail.
Three details would be flown the first day.
Three details would be flown the second day.
The strike missions would take place at five minute intervals.
All strike missions would follow the same navigational route.
Height to be maintained NOT BELOW 500 PLUS 10 FEET.
At I.P. the second aircraft would close into CLOSE FORMATION.
The attack would be in close formation along westerly runways at You-Lie and Jazz-Mare airfields. Height 500 plus 10 feet.
The missions would be in close formation till 10 miles after flying over the airfields and then climb to 5000 feet and return to base.
Ops-1 D/O/P/E/S would be the ground umpires at You-Lie and Jazz-Mare airfields to ensure proper strike heights and close formations by the strike force.
The speed to be maintained at all times was 420 Knots.
The Mission briefing would the next day at 0500 Hours and would be attended by Heart Bag Sing and Mean Sing.
The Bosses were in a quandary as to how to pass on the Mission Profiles to the Strike Crew. They contemplated using the Whip method and then thought better of it and used the fall to the knees and begged all and sundry to comply by the rules.
The strike crew agreed that they would comply provided on the THIRD DAY the strike force would be permitted to carry out 20 Missions on their own secret routings. Mean Sing was contacted and he reluctantly agreed. Maps were prepared and trial briefings were held. Mission 101 Alpha was a flight commander and Bravo was Bobcat.
The Bosses went down on their knees and once again pleaded for all pilots not to drink that evening and to get to bed early. Special finger pointing was directed at a selected few.
Met briefing and Mission briefing was in the same place and all crew minus one were changing into flight suits at 0430 Hours. One Boss starts sweating profusely and yells at his Adjutant as to the whereabouts of COOL HAND LUKE. The adjutant replies that he must be sleeping. The Boss goes Viral and despatches his jeep and instructs the MTD not to return without COOL HAND LUKE.
Briefing commences at 0500 Hours with Heart Bag Sing and Mean Sing in the front row. Mean Sing with his sharp nose senses that something is amiss and elects to take a head count of the pilots. He is sitting in a low slung sofa and so cannot see all the way back. He tries the swivel the neck trick and is given a dirty look by Heart Bag Sing. Mean Sing stops his head count. Just as Mission 101 Alpha is in the last stage of his briefing COOL HAND LUKE slips in and takes a seat. The second the briefing is complete MEAN SING jumps up and takes a head count and is perplexed that all pilots are accounted. He makes a note to himself to sharpen his sense of smelling the rat.
Mission 101 Alpha and Bravo get airborne followed by the rest in 5 minute intervals. The second radio channel is tuned to a secret frequency and all hell breaks loose on this channel.
“Leveling off at 500 plus 10 feet and the target is in sight.
Sports cars are airborne.
They are turning in.
They are coming in for the second attack.
Guys they are coming in for you.
Can we get down to 500 feet.
Please do not go below 500 plus 10 feet. Please Please Please
Put these sorties down as high level navigations”
The first wave lands and the debrief is attended by MEAN SING. He is very happy that all went according to plan. When Mission 101 Alpha concludes his debrief and asks for comments, Bobcat pipes in and says “Sir your altimeter was under reading and mine was indicating 500 plus 50 feet.” Bobcat becomes a marked man.
At the end of the second day the sports cars claim all missions were shot down. Reports fly to New Delhi about the annihilation of the enemy. 120 sorties were conducted by the strike force and the sports cars claimed 128 kills.
Four junior pilots and one engineering officer have a confidential briefing. The engineering officer is sworn into secrecy and is informed the fate of the Marut Fleet lies in his hands.
Twenty 2 Aircraft mission are flown.
Height is just above sand dune level.
Attack direction from all points of the compass.
Speeds reached by strike aircraft 550 to 560 kts. Four aircraft hit 600 kts.
One mission each to You-Lie and Jazz-Mare airfields follow a route which takes them directly over the live bombing target of the Pokran Air to Ground Range.
Four air defence migs are shot down by Maruts with gun camera evidence.
Not a single Marut is ever sighted long enough to follow or catch up to.
None of the Radar units had any Maruts on their screens.
MEAN SING is unhappy with the debrief.
The pirate gentleman at Pokran range who clandestinely collects scrap from the live bombing target is happy with metal from 8 drop tanks. It is manna from heaven for him.
Inventory of drop tanks is correct thanks to crafty engineering.
© Copyright Sam Sekhar and Marutfans. All rights reserved. Reproduction or distribution of this article in any form without the express written permission of the author is prohibited.