This crazy Heads Up Display camera video, supposedly shot in the Persian Gulf in 2003, shows a fighter landing aboard a carrier in a full-blown sandstorm. The pilot flies on instruments when at the last second the carrier materializes seemingly out of nowhere, a few lightning-fast corrections are made and the jet catches one of the ship’s arresting wires. It is truly a thrilling footage.
A massive sandstorm occurred during the last week of March, 2003 as U.S. forces were pushing toward Baghdad. It largely shut the war down, and aircraft had to scatter to their bases in a chaotic affair as the storm rolled in. A fantastic account of this was featured in the book Viper Pilot..
It was also a key moment in the RQ-4 Global Hawk’s operational development as a pre-production model flew a high-altitude sortie over the storm. It used its ground-moving target indicator radar to peer through the maelstrom and located Saddam’s vaunted Republican Guard that was using the storm as cover to fortify their emplacements along a key route into Baghdad. You can read a good account of this historic mission here.
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