The Sand Island engagements were a series of combat engagements which took place in the vicinity of Sand Island, a military base of the Osean Federation, in the final days of September 2010. The events which occurred in these four days were the prelude to the Circum-Pacific War between Osea and the Union of Yuktobanian Republics, whuch would break out in the 27th.
The September 23 incidentEdit
- "Command Room to Wardog Squadron. We have leakers, aircraft type unknown. Crossing the border at Cape Landers, bearing 278 to 302. Captain Bartlett, your flight is the only group close enough to make the intercept."
- ―Sand Island Command Room
At 1109 hours, an squadron of ten undentified planes entered Osean territory through Cape Landers, an area located just east of Sand Island. The base's Command Room contacted the 108th Tactical Fighter Squadron "Wardog", led by flight instructor Jack Bartlett, of the bogeys' discovery.
Being the closest team to the site at the time, Wardog was ordered to carry out the intercept mission. Flying with photojournalist Albert Genette as co-pilot, Bartlett ordered pilots Baker and Svenson to follow him, and commanded the other pilots to stay at a distance. Bartlett and his pilots descended to lower altitudes to intercept the unknown aircraft. However, chaos ensued when the unit was unexpectedly attacked by the leakers. The enemy, several MiG-29A Fulcrum airframes, proved no match for the Osean aircraft, and nearly annihilated the whole formation.The incident ended in the death of six rookies and two flight instructors; one was killed by in combat by the Fulcrums, whereas the second one died after crash-landing in Sand Island. The casualties were supposedly the fault of Command Room, who, as Genette says in his narration, "misplaced some zeros". Bartlett, Genette and Kei Nagase, Wardog's number seven, were the only survivors. In addition, the event was covered up by the Osean military and kept under utmost secrecy, leading to rumors that an unidentified flying object had been spotted.
Spy plane interceptionEdit
Main article: Engagement at Cape Landers
In September 24, a second "unidentified aircraft" incident took place in the Osean shoreline. In the early hours of the day, an SR-71 Blackbird reconnaissance plane of unknown procedence was detected by radar approaching Sand Island through area 01-A07 of Cape Landers, the site of the last day's skirmish, at very high altitude. The aircraft ignored the warnings of the Osean Coastal Defence Force and entered the local ADEZ (air defense engagement zone), causing OCDF SAMs to fire upon it. One of the launchers hit the Blackbird and damaged it, causing it to lose altitude and descend towards the ocean.
After their mission briefing for "Operation Lagoon", a reformed Wardog Squadron took off from Sand Island, and arrived there at 1101hrs. After receiving orders from the AWACS unit Thunderhead, Bartlett and his team prepared themselves from the interception. The squadron's third pilot, Alvin H. Davenport, engaged in a small argument with his flight leader over his nickname, "Chopper", but the two were cut short after the SR-71 entered their sight.
Wardog approached the Blackbird and began following it closely. Bartlett called out to Davenport and ordered him to send the surrender order to the recon plan. Davenport, after being sarcastically named "Motormouth Chopper" by his commanding officer, spoke over the radio and ordered the aircraft's pilot to follow a preset beacon, telling them to lower their landing gear in compliance.
The interception, however, took a turn for the unexpected when a squadron of four bogies approached their location from the west at an altitude of 6,000 feet. Being warned of the situation, the squadron changed their course towards the group of unidentified aircraft while following their orders to hold fire. After getting close to them, the leakers opened fire on the squadron. Defying Thunderhead's orders to remain "weapons safe", Bartlett ordered his subordinates to open fire, angrily replying to his AWACS that he "would not see more pilots die". During the dogfight, the recon plane burst into flames and exploded.
The encounter led to the destruction of three leaker formations, and the survival of all of Wardog's members. After returning to base, the Osean Air Defense Force's Central Command issued an order to keep the recon place interception mission classified, in addition to ordering Bartlett to report to headquarters.
The spy vessel incidentEdit
The third and final penetration event took place in September 27, three days after the SR-71 interception. The target, a reconnaissance vessel, entered the proximity of Sand Island at 11300hrs., and deployed several unmanned drones to carry out recon duties over the area.
Having been briefed over the situation, Wardog launched from the base with orders to destroy the UAVs before they returned to the spy vessel, but to hold fire on the ship for the time being. All of the drones launched by the vessel were successfully brought down by Wardog Squadron.
When the drones were downed, another formation of MiG-21bis fighters entered Sand Island airspace, following the same 280° flight vector from the Landers incident. Noticing the bogeys, Bartlett ordered his pilots to abort and retreat back to base, but ordered them to open fire after Chopper fell behind in their getaway. The first squadron was followed by a formation of Fulcrum fighters, both of which were taken down by the 108th.
Though air supremacy had been secured, a warning alert was still in effect. The spy ship then fired a SAM aimed at Nagase. Trying to shake off the missile, Nagase was saved when Bartlett dove into her trail and led the missile away from her, causing it to chase him instead. The missile eventually hit Bartlett, severely damaging his plane. After taking the impact, he told his squadron that he would bail out, and told them to call in a rescue helicopter before ejecting.
After Jack bailed out, AWACS Thunderhead ordered Wardog to return to Sand Island to rearm and refuel, revealing that the Union of Yuktobanian Republics declared war on Osea.