This chapter is accompanied by a video recording of the actual "Heads Up Display (HUD)" tape made during the events described below. To see the following video clip, you must have RealPlayer installed on your computer system. Click here to download this player for free.
This video clip is best viewed after reading the actual chapter in Keith Rosenkranz's book, as he describes in great detail the sounds and sights you are about to see and hear. If you do not have a copy of his book yet, you can order one here and save 30% off the list price.
Click here to view the Chapter 34 HUD Tape.
"Rover 51 ... 3251 Alpha ... Captain Keith Rosenkranz ... We got two AGM-65 Delta Mavericks on board ... Takeoff time is 13:40z ... TOT is 15:40z ... Date is 22 February '91 ... Tail number is 435."
After I check that my master arm switch is in Arm, I depress the uncage switch on my throttle. The Maverick missile on station three comes to life and the video appears in my right MFD. I quickly check the HUD, and the TD box is where I expect it to be - on top of the highway. The target is visible in the right MFD. I can see the vehicles
as they proceed south toward Al Jahrah, a small town roughly five miles west of Kuwait City. With my right thumb, I push the display management switch (DMS) aft to put the sensor of interest (SOI) in the weapon (WPN). Afterward, I hit the pinky switch and the Maverick shifts from wide field-of-view (WFOV) to narrow field-of-view (NFOV). Using my right thumb again, I push the TMS switch forward and hold.
Then, with my left thumb, I use the cursor/enable switch on my throttle to slew the Maverick tracking gates overtop the target. As soon as I release the TMS switch, the target is locked. I quickly check the position of the Maverick pointing cross. It's steady at the five-degree depression mark. I push forward on the stick to increase my rate of descent. The target is only six miles away. I'm ready to fire. I put my
finger on the pickle button and make one last check to ensure the master arm switch is in the correct position. After I confirm that it is, I push the pickle button. With a ferocious roar, the missile shoots out from under my left wing. The Maverick missile's internal-burning, boost-sustaining, solid propellant rocket motor uses 10,000 pounds of thrust for 0.5 seconds, followed by 2,000 pounds of thrust for 3.5
seconds. The flight controls begin to function 0.5 seconds after ignition and the autopilot takes over 0.5 seconds after launch.
"Rover 53. Missile's off!" I radio.
I pull hard to the right and clear for enemy fire. It looks clear below. A few seconds later, I check back toward the target. I roll to the left and stare into the darkness below, waiting for the missile to reach its mark.
For a moment, I think about the soldiers in the vehicle. Their deaths will be quick. And painless? I also think about the soldiers driving other vehicles in the convoy. I wonder what their reaction will be when the missile hits. A bright flash lights up the desert floor below me. I've scored my first Maverick kill.
"Rover 53, that's a kill!" I radio excitedly.