Rico Presents: IAF-Part 13: “The Francop Affair”

Fast forward 10 years to 2006. Conflict with Hezbollah rages on into its third decade, with no end in sight.  Lebanon is the battlefield.  On the eve of what is about to become the 2nd Lebanon War, Israel has begun Maritime Interdiction Operations (MIO) and enacted a blockade of Lebanon to its north & Gaza to its south in an effort to slow the flow of weapons into these areas. Search & Seizure missions are commonplace, and involve the Israeli Shayetet 13 (S13) force (equivalent to US Navy SEALs), working closely with 193rd helicopter squadron.

BRIEFING

 June 2006

The United Nations continues to send peacekeeping forces and observers into the region, but with little effect. In 1994, the Palestinians were granted political authority over the Gaza region, further stretching Israeli border security forces. The First and Second Infitadas (Palestinian Uprisings) and the Gaza War have made violence commonplace in and around Israel, making the country more of a fortress than ever before.

Israel has begun Maritime Interdiction Operations (MIO) and enacted a blockade of Lebanon to its north and Gaza to its south in an effort to slow the flow of weapons into these areas. The blockade has had the additional effect of slowing food and medical supplies into these war-torn regions as well, and the Israeli government has taken notice of this unexpected bit of leverage. Attacks continue, but the blockade has proven militarily and politically effective so far.

Visit, Board, Search and Seizure (VBSS) missions are commonplace, and while the preferred method is a “bottom up,” one, using Israeli sailors embarked on patrol boats. High value targets or ones out of reach are boarded using a “top down,” technique. The Israeli Shayetet 13 (or S13) force is the equivalent of the US Navy SEALs, and works closely with Israeli Helicopters of the 193rd Squadron out of Ramat David. (Because the Israeli Navy is small, these aircraft are operated by Israeli Air Force pilots.)

Top Down VBSS involves identifying the target vessel – no easy task given the amount of shipping off the Levantine coast, skillfully hovering over the target if no helipad is available, and delivering S13 commandoes via fast rope. This must be conducted as quickly as possible, so as not to give hostile crews time to arm themselves or scuttle their vessels. Captured vessels are subsequently taken to Israeli ports by their prize crew for intelligence exploitation.

Your Mission

MOSSAD and S13 operatives have uncovered actionable intelligence on the vessel MV Francop which departed Latakia, Syria before stopping in Tripoli, Lebanon, and is currently enroute to Gaza. The Francop is a small freighter registered in Antigua and Barbuda last spotted approximately 35 nautical miles off the coast, headed south at 10 knots. It is suspected to be carrying rockets and small arms to Palestinian dissidents in the region. S13 has been tasked with boarding the Francop, with IAF support. Helicopters of 193rd Squadron will depart Ramat David before sunrise, proceed to the S13 base at Atlit, on the coast south of Haifa, pick up the S13 teams and proceed on an intercept course with the target vessel.

Barak fighters will depart Ramat David, armed with our new Israeli developed targeting pods and Maverick missiles. The fighters will locate the target vessel and guide the VBSS force on to the target, remaining in overwatch throughout. The INS Lahav, a Sa’ar 5 Class corvette is raising steam and preparing to depart Haifa harbor to escort the Francop following the operation.

 

INTEL

Motor Vessel Francop

THREAT ASSEMENT

  • Possible Small Arms from non-compliant merchant crew
  • Possible armed patrol boats or speedboats in the area
  • Probable Hezbollah AA guns, with possible MANPADS both along the Lebanese Coast

 

METOC

  • Cloud cover is light and scattered from 2-6, visibility 15-20 miles
  • Winds 6 knots out o fthe north at sea level, variable 10-15 at altitude
  • Time is 0500L

 

Additional Instructions

  • Hostile or Hostile Intent (Imminent Threat) must be displayed before engaging
  • Show of Force and Warning Shot techniques are authorized
  • Due to current DCS limitations with regard to ships, each aircraft of Heron flight will be required to maintain a stable hover no more than 50′ over the target vessel for ten seconds to deliver their Shayetet 13 teams
  • Ramat David Runway 33 in use. Left turn out of the chute for Heron and Barak, Right for Anafa
  • Tanker support is available from an Israeli 707 tanker Callsign Texaco (Freq 251, TACAN 16X) currently in a track along the coast south of Haifa at 16,000 ft
  • Pilots are to join and wait in the spectators window until ordered to their respective cockpits. All crews will be given ample time to conduct startup during the mission intro. Radio checks will be conducted upon intro conclusion as well.
AIR TASKING ORDER
Please indicate your choice of role with either “UH1” or “F16” in the pilot duty roster.

Heron FLT (UH-1H) 

  • Max of 2 – Multicrew strongly encouraged
  • Tasking: VBSS
  • Armament: M134 door guns
  • Home Base at Ramat David

 

Anafa FLT (UH-1H) 

  • Max of 1 – Multicrew strongly encouraged
  • Tasking: Gunship Escort
  • Armament: M134 door guns; 2×7 FFAR rockets
  • Home Base at Ramat David

 

Barak FLT (F-16C)

  • Max of 3
  • Tasking: Armed Recon
  • Armament: 4 x AGM-65 Mavericks with TGP
  • 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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