Chapter 16- Typhoon of Steel




Camp Castle 2nd Infantry Division HQ-

Dongducheon, South Korea


The North Korean artillery had worked its way across the northern side of the DMZ and was now working over the South side of the zone. Six companies of BMPS were deployed as scouts and T-72s were forming up behind them preparing to move out.


General Jackson and his aide Captain Warren entered the room in the Command Bunker where Lt. Raines and the SkyDrake team were assembled. Jackson got right down to business and said, “Does your team have a list of all the North Korean air defense positions in our sector?”


Lt. Raines said, “Yes sir. We’ve got all of them all mapped except for their rolling stock.”


Jackson said, “Good. Work with Captain Warren here and get fire missions set for our divisional artillery and the South Korean MLRS batteries. Get it done- I want their anti-aircraft positions gone ASAP.”




Airborne Command Post

24˚ 36’ N 122˚ 2’ W


The second Chinese strike on the island of Taiwan was a very different matter. Major Lee had a surprise package waiting for them.


The electronics gurus aboard WIZZARD turned on Frequency Agile Radar Jamming for the first time in live fire combat. The idea behind frequency agile jamming was to jam wide bands of radio frequencies but to leave holes in the spectrum that friendly radar sets could see through. While it sounds simple enough, it very tricky to set up. Many of the advanced radar systems aboard allied aircraft and ships used advanced signal processing and the precise radar frequencies that can be adjusted. It took a great deal of coordination and timing and WIZZARD was sending out a coded timing signal by satellite to keep all of the various jammers and radar systems in synch. Frequency Agile Radar Jamming was a very complex technological undertaking that did something very simple with profound implications on the battlefield: it blinded the enemy while friendly units could operate unimpeded.


With the Chinese airborne radar/command aircraft down, their strike formations were flying into a wall of radar jamming and uncertainty. Rather than isolated ambushes of their first strike, the PRC pilots were flying into a meat grinder.


Generals Shu and Philips worked with the Air Boss aboard WIZZARD to make sure that every enemy air formation was intercepted or flying into a SAM trap. Admiral Simpson coordinated the fleets positioning for the second stage of Operation Spiral as it went to flank speed to move around the north side of the island.


As the commanders watched the big tactical display turn into a slaughter as American and ROC fighters launched on the incoming PRC aircraft using the AWACs radar return to paint their targets. Most of the PRC pilots didn’t even see it coming. In a few seconds over a hundred PRC aircraft were splashed and the rest were engaged in a series of intense, bloody “fur-balls” over the Straits of Taiwan.



Camp Castle 2nd Infantry Division HQ-

Dongducheon, South Korea


General Carter’s fire mission was on its way in less than two minutes.


Ingram and Raines watched video on their oversized monitors as 155mm and MLRS rockets turned the SAM and ZSU emplacements into flaming scrap iron.


As they were reporting the battle damage assessment, there was a flare of infrared light so intense that it caused SkyDrake to temporarily shut down its optical sensors.


There was a shock that caused everyone in the bunker to grab onto something solid followed by what could only be described as a short sharp earthquake causing dust to fly, personnel to stumble and a water cooler in the hall to fall over.


Lt. Raines asked, “What was that? Did we just nuke them?”


Captain Warren said, “It might as well have been a nuke. That’s what happens when tens of thousands of tons of stockpiled munitions and fuel go up.”


Ingram sent the reboot sequence to the SkyDrake drone and had the picture back. A huge cloud of smoke covered the Citadel which was still being wreaked by chain reactions of explosions that churned in the inferno below.


The entire landscape had changed beneath SkyDrake. Whole sections of the ridgeline were gone leaving huge craters billowing with thick, black smoke. Where the ridgeline was relatively intact, jets of fire and smoke were blowing out of air shafts and tunnels connecting to revetments on the surface. The tunnels carved out of solid granite were acting like lava tubes pushing superheated gases throughout the complex and feeding the fire fresh air.


Captain Warren got on the radio and ordered, “Arrowhead flight this is 2ID, break and attack.”


Instantly a dozen AH-64 Apache gunships popped over the hills and began savaging the T-72 tanks and BMPs that had been preparing to spearhead the attack.


He changed bands on his radio and called, “ICORP, this is 2ID. The Citadel is down. I repeat the Citadel is down. The eastern flank is open and we are about to move.”


Overhead scores of Air Force F-16 Falcons and F-15e Strike Eagles flew in low and fast to exploit the gap in air defenses caused by the destruction of the Citadel. There were a few lop-sided dogfights between the American planes and the North Korean Air Force but their old MIGs were no match for modern fighters. They headed deep into North Korean airspace to target SAM sites, bridges, tunnels and railheads to cut off enemy troops on the border.


American M1A2 Tanks and Bradley and Stryker APCs of the 2nd Infantry Division began moving toward the hole in the lines and the South Koreans moved up to support. General Jackson’s “right cross” was poised to penetrate deep into enemy territory and attack a long and now very exposed flank.



Ballston Public Garage

Arlington, VA


Charles Schuler backed his Honda Accord into a space on the fifth level behind a column obstructing the view from the elevators. Somewhere out there in the empty parking structure was his backup but if things went well he would not see them or need their help. Being the Deputy Director of Intelligence for the CIA has its perks.


Washington was partially deserted because of martial law and the nuclear war that had abruptly broken out. Schuler looked at himself in the mirror. The days of long hours and very little sleep were taking a toll. Dark circles were around his eyes and he looked just like he felt: pale and tired.


Waiting for his contact to show, he tried to take a sip of cold coffee but decided against it. He poured out the remnants on the concrete, balled up the cup and stuffed it in his garbage bag.


He heard the car before he saw it. It was actually an SUV. It pulled into the space directly next to him and stopped with the drivers side windows directly adjacent to each other. The dark glass of the window rolled down revealing Uri Gagaren, KGB resident of the Russian embassy.


He said, “Good morning Charles. You have my condolences in this madness that the Chinese have started.”


“Thank you Uri. These are trying times.”


“Da. My government hopes that your forces in the Pacific prevail. Our analysts say that if you fail today, we will be fighting them in Siberia tomorrow. It is in both of our interests that the conflict in the Western Pacific be resolved quickly.”


“That is our hope as well Uri.”


Gagaren said, “Some years ago a German engineering firm was contracted to design and oversee the building of bunkers for Beijing’s leadership. One of the engineers was an old friend of ours.”


Gagaren handed a file folder to Schuler and continued, “In this file you will find the plans, specifications and more importantly the exact location of these bunkers.”


Schuler looked at the contents and said, “Than you Uri. This information will save a lot of lives.”


Gagaren smiled and said, “You will owe me one, Da?


Schuler replied, “Big time.”


Gagaren said, “I was not here. This meeting never took place.”




Airborne Command Post


“Vampire, Vampire, Vampire! Incoming ballistic missiles. The ballistic arcs of the inbounds are targeting the Republic of China. Expect conventional payloads.”


Admiral Simpson said, “They are going after the airfields. Activate the THAAD and PAC3 missile sites.”


At various points along Taiwan’s Western shore the phased array search radars of THAAD (Theatre High Altitude Area Defense Missile System) and PAC3 Patriots turned on to track the incoming targets.


Computers in the THAAD’s control unit prioritized the targets and began firing off missiles to intercept the inbounds. Any missiles that got past the THAAD would be engaged by the Patriots.



Eagle Rock


The Blackhawk carrying the NEST (Nuclear Emergency Support Team) landed almost forty-five minutes from the time that the call went out. A very serious man in NBC (Nuclear, Biological and Chemical) gear, sans the helmet, dismounted the aircraft and found the first soldier that he could find and said, “Who knows where the nuke went down?”


Brad Alford said, “I’ll get them right away.”


He found Tom and Brian sitting in the mess area having a snack to stay awake. Alford approached their table and said, “The guys from NEST are here and they would like to talk to you.”


Tom and Brian followed Alford back to the make-shift helio-port to the Navy Blue Blackhawk with a Department of Energy emblem on its side. An officer was standing beside the sliding side door and talking to his team. He saw Tom and Brian and said, “Are you the two that saw the nuke go down? Hey wait a minute… I know you two. You were on CNN.”


Brian grinned but Tom just looked exasperated and rolled his eyes. He extended his hand and said, “I’m Tom Ross sir. We saw it go down behind those hills across the lake. ”


 “I’m Special Agent Adam Kirk of the FBI attached to NEST. Where did it land?”

Tom said, “It is right over that hill. We drove over there on an ATV with a Geiger counter and got a reading of 60 Rads on that hill top and saw some burned pine straw that we assume is where the debris landed.”


Kirk looked at Tom and said, “What possessed you to do something as dangerous as to go looking for a downed nuclear weapon?”


Brian said, “We wanted it out of here ASAP and finding it was the first step.”


Kirk grinned and said, “Fair enough.” He turned to his men and said, “Johnson, Warner gear up. It sounds like we’ve got an exposed core.”



Wonsan, North Korea


“Voodoo flight to Home Plate, we are starting our attack run.”


“Acknowledged Voodoo flight. Good hunting.”


Voodoo flight, a pair of F-16 Falcons configured for SAM suppression, approached their target flying low and fast up a valley. When they reached a waypoint on their navigation computers, the two jets popped up over the ridgeline. Both planes locked onto the active search radars for the SAM site.


“Voodoo 1, Magnum”


“Voodoo 2, Magnum”


The two F-16s fired a single AGM-88 HARM (High speed Anti-Radiation Missile) and dove back under the cover of the ridgeline.


Voodoo flight came back around for another pass on the site and fired off their remaining HARM missiles when something caught the flight leader’s eye.


“Voodoo 1 to Home Plate: have spotted numerous mobile missile launchers apparently fueling missiles at a plant near Wonsan. Request instructions.”


“Home Plate to Voodoo flight: those missiles are solid fueled. That is a chemical plant that we suspect is producing chemical weapons. What ordinance do you carry?”


“Voodoo flight to Home Plate: we are carrying four each Rockyeye II cluster bombs.”


“Home Plate to Voodoo flight, hit them.”


“Roger that.”


Voodoo flight lined up an attack run using terrain to mask their passage. They popped up over the ridge line and were greeted by an absolutely terrifying display of anti-aircraft artillery. The two jets closed on their target and released their Rockeye II cluster bombs. The Wind Corrected Munitions Dispenser tail kits on the CBU-100 bombs put them directly over the target as the sub-munitions spread over the vehicles gathered by the roadside starting a chain reaction of explosions and fires. The mobile missile launchers were completely destroyed and the south side of the chemical plant was severely mauled.



The Straits of Taiwan 


The optical guidance packages of two modified JASSM missiles identified and locked on to a Luda class destroyer acting as a picket for the southern Chinese Task Group screening the landing force. The two stealthy missiles approached their radar blinded target at five thousand feet and then dove into their target.


The first missile struck the forward torpedo launcher between the ships two stacks and penetrated deep into the boiler room where it exploded and snapped the ships keel.


The second missile struck between the conning tower and forward turret and penetrated the forward missile magazine. The explosion of the warhead ignited the solid fuel rocket motors in the magazine causing a terrific fiery explosion.


When the smoke cleared, nothing was left but debris.




Airborne Command Post


The Chinese missile barrage was massive. Over one hundred and fifty ballistic missiles had crossed the straits overwhelming friendly defenses. Several key airfields and defense related structures on Taiwan’s Eastern Coast were flaming, cratered wrecks.


General Shu coordinated with his Air Force as they began using contingency plans to close highways to act as emergency air strips.


General Philips was watching the board and said, “Our Tomahawks are beginning to land.” One by one the search radars of air fields and SAM sites on the Chinese coast across the straits went off the air as sub launched Tomahawks found their targets.


Admiral Simpson said, “Here comes the spiral.” At that moment the first of the modified JASSM missiles found the Chinese fleet.  The command staff of WIZZARD watched the annihilation of the Peoples Army Navy in satisfied silence as the fleets defenses were overwhelmed by the multi-axis missile attack as the spiral closed around the invasion fleet. The modified JASSM missiles gutted ship after ship. In a few minutes it was over and nothing was left in the straits but flaming hulks, burning fuel and floating wreckage.



USS Mississippi SSN-782

South China Sea


“Conn this is weapons. We are ready to launch.”


Captain Montgomery approached the sonar station. There was a Chinese destroyer out there and the last thing he was going to do was to launch a volley of missiles with an enemy surface vessel in visual range. He asked, “What’s the status of that destroyer you’ve been tracking?”


The senior sonar operator said, “He has been tooling around at 12 knots pinging intermittently. I’m guessing that he’s on sub picket.”


The Captain said, “Well he’s about to find a sub but he’s not going to like it. Give us bearing and range estimate to the target.”


“He is on bearing 310, range is 16 miles, speed is 12 knots and his course is 030 true.”


The weapons officer replied, “Got it. Harpoons are ready.”


Montgomery ordered, “Fire Harpoons in tubes 11 and 12.”


The submarine lurched as compressed air ejected two UGM-84 Harpoons up and out of its vertical launch tubes. As the Harpoons popped out of the water, their solid fuel rocket booster ignited to give the missiles altitude and speed. Seconds later, the solid fuel booster fell away and the missiles Teledyne J402 turbojet engines took over. The Harpoons guidance system lined up on its target and the missiles radar seeker began updating target information. At a distance of a mere 16 miles, the target only had a few seconds warning.


It was unclear to the crew of the Mississippi whether the Chinese destroyer did not see the missiles or simply did not have time to react to them. Both Harpoons struck the ship at the waterline on her starboard rear quarter opening the ship up like a shredded tin can and igniting her fuel.


Montgomery ordered, “Begin firing sequence for strike package Delta Tango-44.”


On his order, four Tomahawk TLAM-C missiles, four Tomahawk TLAM-D and two Tomahawk TLAM-N with W-80 nuclear warheads were launched in sequence.




Anderson Air Force Base

Special Weapons Locker


Lt. Morrow showed his badge to the guard and was escorted deep into the bunker. He had to show his ID and orders at four different checkpoints before he was allowed into the workshop. When he arrived he was greeted by men in white lab coats who were gathered around a conference table.


Morrow’s boss, Major Henderson said, “Morrow: consider what we discuss here top secret. Don’t discuss it with anyone else and don’t speculate. Anything you’ve got to say, say it here and no where else. Am I clear?”


Morrow said, “Yes sir.”


Henderson said, “Good. I asked you here because you have the most experience with JDAM guidance package and the GBU-28. We have a few questions for you.”


Morrow said, “We used both in Iraq and Afghanistan. What do you need to know?”


Henderson asked, “What air frames did you us to deploy the GBU-28?”


“F-15e Strike Eagles almost exclusively.”


One of the men in white coats asked, “Are you familiar with the upgraded EGBU-28C/B version?”


“I haven’t handled one but I follow the program. The upgraded version has a new warhead and uses JDAM GPS kit instead of laser guidance.”


Henderson asked, “If we replace the warhead with something that weighs a couple of hundred pounds less than the existing warhead, would it affect the accuracy of the JDAM guidance?”


Morrow thought his answer through carefully and said, “The GBU-28 package is about 5,000 pounds which is the upper limit on what the JDAM can steer. If you cut the weight, the JDAM can steer the package more accurately.”


Morrow continued, “I think that I’ve got an idea about what you have in mind. I’ve been thinking it through myself. The GBU-28 is the best penetrator that we’ve got and it’s big enough to replace its warhead with a powerful nuke. I’m guessing a MIRV component like a W-88 or maybe the warhead of a B83 gravity bomb. The biggest problem that you are going to have is for the physics package of the nuke to survive the shock and G-forces long enough for the penetrator to get to its maximum depth.”


A few of the engineers looked surprised but Captain Henderson asked, “How would you address that problem Lieutenant?”


Morrow said, “There are two choices. First: use the B83 which is engineered to survive shock effects. Second: NASA used a substance called Aerogel to trap space-dust during its Stardust mission. I think it has the right properties to insulate the physics package of the nuke from the shock.”


Henderson looked around the room and the men in white lab coats nodded. He stood and extended his hand, “Welcome to the team Lieutenant.”


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