I’ve been flying on the Persian Gulf at War server hosted by Hoggit a lot recently. My flying has been divided mostly between flying the DCS: F-16C on some solo flights and teaming up with friends on flights in the DCS: F/A-18C Hornet and making full use of the DCS: Supercarrier to begin our flights. On many of those flights, we’ve faced head-on the threat posed by several surface ships including some guided missile destroyers that make life difficult. Taking them out has become something of an obsession and we decided that we needed a new approach. Enter the DCS: AJS-37 Viggen! And we did it on a full moon… just to make this post a little more spooky!
Struggling against the destroyers
This story starts off with our missions in the Hornet. We’ve flown a lot of missions from the USS George Washington located in the Gulf of Oman. Our missions have been a mix of strike, SEAD, and CAP with our most common loadout being a quartet of AIM-120C AMRAAM’s, a pair of AGM-88 HARM’s and a pair of AIM-9X’s backed up by a single centreline fuel tank. Sometimes we’ve brought other weapons including AGM-65’s, GBU-38’s and the Litening II targeting pod.
Working in from the Gulf of Oman into the target areas located in the northern sections of the UAE we’ve seen some success using the targeting pod and hitting plenty of different types of targets. I’ve been able to score some good air-to-air kills and we’ve even taken out a whole group of SCUD launchers attacking Al Dhafra Air Base.
We’ve also seen some serious losses and many of them have been losses to enemy ships. The Type 052, Neutrashimyy, Molniya, and Grisha have all appeared on TacView as types that have caused us problems. Especially the Type 052 which has been simultaneously shooting down our Mavericks, HARM’s, JSOW’s and us. Repeatedly.
Check out Wolfpack345’s YouTube video titled ‘Stiff Resistance’ for a great recording of just one of our missions!
In one of our last missions, we decided we’d bring the AGM-84 Harpoon missile to the fight and see if we could do some damage to these ships. But we learned quickly that even with a barrage of eight Harpoons, these ships still capable of engaging the Harpoon missiles AND US at the same time. Brutal odds seemed to be involved in scoring even a single hit. We needed a new approach.
Enter the Viggen
I asked around on the r/Hoggit group for some help. Suggestions included using ‘Wild Weasel’ style attacks and luring the ships missiles away from the attacking missiles. Another was bringing the Walleye glide bomb, which apparently is classified as a bomb rather than a guided missile and therefore is not engaged by the ship’s defenses in DCS World. That still required getting close. Finally, it was suggested that it was time to switch aircraft to one intended for the task.
The DCS: AJS-37 Viggen is, despite its older systems and avionics, still likely the best anti-ship weapon in the sim at the moment and it together with its RB-04E missiles and sound tactics represented our best hope for vengeance against these guided missile destroyers.
Our first flight began in daylight with a four ship of Viggen’s all heading out from Al Dhafra Air Base to the north near Khasab and across the water towards Bandar Abbas. Our first strike failed. I fired too soon, another suffered from an internet disconnect just moments from releasing his RB-04E’s, and missiles launched from the third and fourth failed to find their targets.
I’ve also been having terrible performance recently – an issue I’m blaming on my aging computer as I’ve had stutters and memory troubles in nearly all sims over the last couple of weeks. That conspired to end our first attempt.
Extracting some vengeance under the moon lit skies
Our next attempt was nearly as calamitous. We started out again with our four ship flight of Viggens. This time, starting at the beginning of a server reset, we attracted the attention of the usual combination of Vipers, Hornets, and Warthogs setting out on their respective missions and we got more than one comment on the radio. Nice!
Baby duties saw one of our flight abort before takeoff bringing our number down to just the three.
Undaunted we pressed on, however, I had made a critical mistake while planning for the flight. I hadn’t asked for my Viggen to be armed. So just two of our flight pressed on to the target in the pale moonlight while I diverted to Khasab. This port city on northern Oman’s Musandam Peninsula is a frequently used airport for aircraft operating in the area on the Persian Gulf at War server and so I made a beeline for that spot.
Along the way my RWR made its characteristic beeps and bloops that any Viggen pilot is familiar with including some more worrying sounds prompting me to dive down from my more comfortable 10,000 feet down to just a few feet off the ground at times. All the while I got to admire the improved lighting near Dubai which makes the city feel like a big city at night.
Meanwhile, the other two Viggens pressed on to our first target point. No ships were spotted there so they made a left turn towards Bandar Abbas passing between Larak and Hormuz islands and into the area between Qeshem Island and Iran. Suddenly their RWR’s started blaring and missiles came flying up from Shahid Bahonar Port – the enemy ships had taken shelter from our attacks here!
Both Viggens did their best but were quickly brought down by a short barrage of missiles. My Viggen, now airborne and heading north was all that was left. Fortunately we now knew where the enemy ships were and it was time to see if my RB-04E’s would even work against these ships given their position within the port.
Crossing Qeshm island at Mach 0.9 and just meters from the ground, I crossed out into the water and with the port lights in full display. The Viggen’s radar wasn’t able to tell me very much except that I was essentially on target and in range. My RWR started making noises as well and I knew that the ships had now fired on me.
I flipped the master arm switch on the Viggen’s stick and released both RB-4E’s. No time to see what they were going to do, it was time to make a run for it.
Maximum throttle, stage 3 afterburner and a series of S-turns trying to bleed the ship’s missiles of energy as I accelerated away from the target area. Once over Qeshm I found a small ridge and was able to duck behind it before proceeding at high speed towards Khasab.
Behind me… a thick column of smoke! A ship had been hit!
No time to loose as the Strait of Hormuz is rarely uncontested on this server and there were surely enemy aircraft in the zone looking to hunt me down. Fortunately, after a short time I was back over Khasab and the local air defenses were keeping enemy aircraft at bay.
A standard approach with a short landing courtesy of the Viggen’s thrust reverser and I was able to pull up for a nice parking spot on the apron at Khasab. Phew!
TacView tells the rest of the story. Both RB-04E’s tracked their targets in port despite the ground cluttere and were able to bore in and hit their targets. Despite tremendous CWIS fire from the defending ships, they were unable to bring down the low flying RB-04’s the way our Harpoon missiles were mercilessly cut out of the sky.
In the end, two ships were hit as both missiles penetrated the defenses. While only one sank, I feel like vengeance was satisfied! Good missions and we’ll be surely doing that again!
The DCS: AJS-37 Viggen is an incredible module. It’s hard to ignore the quality and detail that Heatblur put into this jet. It’s not as multipurpose as other jets out there and there’s nothing that beats the flexibility and capability of something like the Hornet or the Viper or Heatblur’s own DCS:F-14B. But when you need a specific target hit, a particular job done, it seems that its the AJS-37 Viggen that excels… especially when you need a ship sunk!