SkyKnight Presents: IAF-Part 12: “Grapes of Wrath”

In response to the heightened tension, due to Hezbollah’s incessant rocket attacks on the northern cities of Israel, Prime Minister Shimon Peres launches Operation “Grapes of Wrath” on April 11, 1996. The Israeli Air Force conducted more than 1,100 air raids over a 16-day period, seeking to destroy the Katyusha launchers, ammunition stores, infrastructure and terrorist hubs of activity.

BRIEFING

 April 1996

The Israeli army invaded Lebanon for the second time in 1982, in order to stop the Palestinian attacks, starting the 1982 Lebanon War. After three months Israel occupied the capital city of Beirut. Over the next three years the Israeli army partially withdrew, until in 1985 it established what it called the “Security Buffer Zone” in Southern Lebanon.  While Israel ultimately succeeded in ousting the PLO from Lebanon, an armed insurgency by radical Shia organizations emerged in the region, giving birth to the political and militant terrorist group “Hezbollah” (Party of Allah) in 1985. 

Hezbollah continued attacking Israeli interests in both Lebanon and northern Israel, including Israeli armed forces and civilian areas. The Israeli military in-turn would respond by shelling targets often in very close proximity to or inside civilian areas. This cycle of retaliatory violence would go on for a decade, until… on 9 April 1996, a heavy barrage of Katyusha rockets were launched by Hezbollah at Kiryat Shmona, escalating the conflict, and prompting Israel to launch Operation Grapes of Wrath two days later.

 

The Operation

Israel’s goal was to provide maximum pressure on the governments of Lebanon and Syria, in the hopes they would step in and stop Hezbollah’s hostile activities. To that end, infrastructure in and around the Lebanon capital of Beirut were targeted.   Israel conducted air raids on targets which included Katyusha launchers, Hezbollah installations and personnel, as well as vehicles and civilian infrastructure, some of which Israel said were being used for military purposes. The raids were accompanied by radio broadcasts urging the residents of Beirut to flee the area.  The ports of Beirut, Tyre and Sidon were also blockaded.

During the 1990’s, Israel once again upgraded many of its weapons systems.  The F-16C model was introduced, and in 1990, Israel became the first foreign country to acquire the AH-64 Apache gunship, which they immediately put to use in their struggle against Hezbollah. 

For our mission, the Black Knights will be tasked with multiple objectives:

  • Seek and destroy the Katyusha launchers which have reined terror down on the town of Kiryat Shmona
  • Strike Hezbollah installations and infrastructure to apply maximum pressure against Lebanon

 

 

Pilots wishing to fly the F-16C AND employ GBU-12 should review this video and practice employing the weapon using the targeting pod prior to Monday:

INTEL

Katyusha rocket launcher  – Range: 10 miles

The Katyushas are relatively cheap, easy to operate (with virtually no setup time) and can be used in proximity to Lebanese civilians, thus, they’re ideal for an organization like Hezbollah. Their large inaccuracy is not a problem, from Hezbollah’s point of view, since the organization targets civilians and and military targets alike.

THREAT ASSEMENT

  • Technicals and APC equipped with 12.7 mm
  • 23mm AAA
  • Some MANPADS (protecting Beirut and high value assets)
AIR TASKING ORDER
Peten FLT (Ka-50 as AH-64A) 

  • Min 2 required, but more are welcome!
  • Tasking: Conduct Armed Recon to scout for and attack Hezbollah positions in and around Southern Lebanon and Beirut.
  • Armament: 12 x APU-6 Vikhr; Hydra Rockets; 30mm Chain Gun
  • Home Base at Kiryat Shmona

 

Barak FLT (F-16C)

  • Tasking: Strike infrastructure targets and targets identified by Peten flight.
  • Armament: 4 x GBU-12 or 8 x Mk-82; 1 x Ext Fuel
  • Pilots may choose unguided bombs if they are not yet comfortable with dropping GBUs.
  • Aircraft will be Up and Ready on the Ramp
  • Home Base at Ramat David
 

PILOT DUTY ROSTER

Enter your Callsign and confirm your availability for this mission by selecting either

(Flying) or (Grounded)

 

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