This week’s edition of Command Fiction stars the infamous “F-22s didn’t score an air-to-air kill but A-10s did” incident I mentioned before. The scenario is “Breaking Bad”, or rather an earlier test version, since revisiting it showed much more enemy air assets than the one Cessna I encountered in my playthrough.
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So, there’s been a lot of hooting and hollering from that crowd about how F-22s didn’t score an air to air kill in the mission to clear out the Bab-al-Mandab strait, but how an A-10 did.
This had nothing to do with the aircraft and everything to do with the ROEs and context. The aircraft in question was a Cessna 208 Combat Caravan that was apparently being used as a surveillance platform. It was unarmed, posed little threat to the operation, and could be mistaken for a civilian one. As a result, the F-22s screening a package in preparation for rumored launches from fighters to the north (that never happened) had enough reasonable doubt as to not open fire.
By the time A-10s began attacking, the reasonable doubt had been lifted as no civilian aircraft would stay in the air that long. Thus they got permission to engage, and the rest is history. One Sidewinder, one hit, confirmed by enemy reactions, pictures of the wreck, and ground forces overrunning said wreck.
The forces worked as a team to secure the strait, with each aircraft doing its part. That an A-10 scored an opportunity victory was just a coincidential footnote. The F-22s potentially deterred the enemy fighters from launching, thus accomplishing their goals without firing a shot.