With most games, a handful of annoying bugs and intermittent crash problems are enough to negate whatever potential fun factor there might have been. With DID's Total Air War, on the other hand, the gameplay is so good and the overall game design so solid that it's pretty easy to overlook its flaws. This is, quite simply, one of the most addictive, entertaining, and approachable jet combat sims I've ever seen.
Total Air War is the sequel to F-22 Air Dominance Fighter, and it improves upon its predecessor in numerous ways. The most notable new feature is Total Air War's comprehensive campaign mode, which lets you take part in ten fully dynamic conflicts in the Red Sea region. In each campaign, the AI will plot out a general strategy while you take part in combat and AWACS missions to further the overall war aims. The campaigns are broken down into stages, with the AI addressing a different segment of the enemy force structure in each. This is based on the Air Force's "Five Rings Process" whereby a campaign focuses on various types of targets (political, infrastructure, command and control, and so on) at various times. To simulate the effects of real-world political pressures (such as the "100 hour" limit on Desert Storm), each stage of the campaign has a time limit. Also, political alliances can shift during a campaign, so if you stray over a neutral country one too many times, that country may enter the war on the side of your enemies.
While you don't exercise much direct control over campaign strategy, the eventual outcome is highly dependent on your performance in combat, AWACS, and scramble missions. As the campaign unfolds in real time, the AI maintains a running list of available combat missions. You begin each campaign as a novice pilot, and, since combat missions are ranked according to difficulty and importance, you can only access the easiest escort and CAP assignments. As you gain experience and rank, however, you'll be able to take on deep-strike assignments and more dangerous escort missions. One of Total Air War's most notable features, the mission planner, lets you customize every aspect of a given mission. Using this planner, you can modify the waypoints, weapons loadouts, and even the number and type of escort flights for every mission available to you. Of course, since the campaign chugs along in real time, you can't take too long to plan your missions - if you do, the AI will handle them itself, and they'll disappear from the list.
In addition to the combat missions, you can also take control of an AWACS patrol at almost any time during a campaign (provided that you still have some AWACS aircraft left in your arsenal). From these patrols, you will have a bird's-eye view of the air campaign and will be able to direct allied aircraft to intercept enemy forces or patrol specific areas. Periodically, you will also receive requests to vector inbound friendly aircraft to tankers or alternate airfields. Best of all, you can jump from the AWACS into the cockpit of any F-22 in the theater at any time. So long as your E-3 doesn't get shot down, you can continue to jump from F-22 to F-22 until the end of your patrol. If you'd rather just observe from afar, you can track any object on the map (air and ground targets alike) through the mini-camera view on the AWACS interface.
The last type of mission in Total Air War is the scramble. If you volunteer for scramble missions, you will be prompted whenever an intercept flight of F-22s goes on alert at an allied airbase. If you accept the mission, you will find yourself in the cockpit of an F-22 on the runway, ready for takeoff. These missions are generally brief and nasty, as scrambles usually don't occur until the bad guys are within AMRAAM range. Scrambles are, however, one of the best ways to move up the ranks so that you can access the tougher combat missions.
Because of the dynamic campaign engine, no two missions are ever exactly the same (though several are very, very similar). As a result, Total Air War offers nearly limitless replayability. Also, since each campaign runs in real time and not as a series of predefined scenarios, you can fly a mind-boggling number of missions in each campaign. For example, I had already taken part in 70 sorties - including combat, AWACS, and scramble hops - before my first campaign was even half over. The sheer number of missions available makes it ideal for flight sim buffs who are tired of the same old scripted scenarios.
Part of Total Air War's appeal, however, is the fact that you don't have to be a hard-core sim fan to appreciate the game. At its core, Total Air War is a sophisticated and realistic combat sim with solid flight modeling and challenging enemy AI. But thanks to the various difficulty settings and a versatile autopilot mode, novice pilots should be able to enjoy this game as well.
Of course, novice and veterans alike will have to watch out for a handful of annoying bugs. The autopilot is particularly irksome. In addition to occasionally slamming my F-22 into a mountain during automated landings (which I can optimistically chalk up to the realistic modeling of computer reliability and MTBF) the Total Air War autopilot sometimes fails to engage at all during takeoffs. While many sim pilots will scoff at the idea of autopilot-assisted takeoffs, there are times in Total Air War when they almost appear to be necessary. For example, even if you manually taxi out to the runway and await proper clearance at the proper time, your wingmen and escort flights will not always take off with you. This can be troublesome on deep-strike missions when you find yourself alone with a gazillion SAM radars smiling up at you. Fortunately, you can usually get around this problem by using the game's time-skip feature to move quickly from mission start to an airborne position en route to your target.
Additionally, the game's "target view" feature during mission briefings is often inadequate. While I'm sure the developers were trying to simulate the quality of data available in a real wartime situation, the images of target buildings were sometimes useless. The camera was usually zoomed out too far and moving too fast to provide an accurate idea of the building's size and shape. Though you can typically get an idea of its location, this information is nearly meaningless when you arrive over a target and have to pick out one building from the dozens below.
One of the biggest problems with Total Air War, however, is the fact that you are severely penalized for ejecting - even after successfully completing a mission. While I agree that a pilot should not receive full mission credit if he doesn't bring his ship back to base, I also recognize that making it to the ground alive is pretty damn important. DID should really modify this aspect of the game, perhaps giving only partial credit for bailouts, and then only when they occur over friendly territory.
Finally, I encountered an intermittent crash bug that was quite infuriating. Several times, often after I had successfully completed a particularly difficult mission and landed, the game would crash out to Windows 95 for no apparent reason.
Still, Total Air War is such a solid game that these flaws seem almost forgivable. I anxiously await a patch that fixes some of the obvious bugs and hope that DID will in some way address some of the game's other minor flaws. In the meantime, I will continue to play Total Air War, logging countless hours in the skies over the Red Sea region and enjoying a truly enjoyable and unique jet combat sim.
Total Air War Strategy Guide
Copyright 2005 Steven Liu (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Table of Content
Section A: Introduction
A.1: Notice About the Guide
A.2: What is Total Air War?
A.3: Before You Start
Section B: Avionics and Views
B.1: Right View for the Right Situation
B.3: Emission Control
B.4: Heads Up Display
B.5: Multi-Functional Displays
B.6: The LANTIRN System
Section C: Flight and Combat Maneuvers
C.1: The Auto-Pilot System
C.2: The Speech System
C.3: Flight Maneuvers
C.4: Combat Maneuvers
C.4.1: Avoiding Missile
C.4.2: Bombing Run
C.4.3: Close Range Gun Fight
C.4.4: Wingmen Command
Section D: Weapon Information and Tactic
D.1: Air to Air Weapons
D.1.1: Advanced Medium Range Air to Air Missile (AIM-120C and AIM-120R)
D.1.2: Sidewinder Infrared Short Range Air to Air Missile (AIM-9X)
D.1.3: M61A2 20 mm Rotating 6 Barrel Gattling Gun
D.2: Air to Surface Weapons
D.2.1: Maverick TV/Infrared Guided Air to Surface Missile (AGM65G)
D.2.2: HARM Anti-Radiation Missile (AGM88)
D.2.3: Harpoon Anti-ship cruise missile (AGM84A)
D.2.4: Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM)
D.2.5: Laser Guided Bomb (GBU24)
D.2.6: Rocket Pod (LA68)
D.2.7: Free Fall High Explosive and Cluster Bomb (MK82F/MK83F, MK82R, MK20)
Section E: Enemy Info and Strategy
E.1: Light support fighters
E.2: Front line fighters
E.4: Surface to Air Missiles/Self Propel Anti-Air Guns (SAMs/SPAAGs)
E.6: High Value Aircraft
E.7: Helicopters, Drones, and Recon aircraft
E.8: Ground Vehicles, Ships and Buildings
Section F: Campaign Strategy
F.1: The Dynamic Campaign Engine
F.2: The AWACS
F.4: Tips and Strategies
F.4.1: Always Attack
F.4.2: Mission Selection/Planning
F.4.3: AWACS Command
F.4.4: Targets of Opportunity
F.4.5: Protect Your Vulnerabilities
F.5: The Red Sea Theatre
Section H: Credits, Copyrights and Feedback
Section I: Version History
Section A Introduction
A.1 Notice About the Guide
This guide is purely created as the author's hobby, and in no ways
affiliate with the creators or the publishers of this game.
This guide is intended to help new players to cope with the scope of this
game and it is not intended for commercial activities.
The author of this guide is a causal player, and thus by no means claims to
be an expert in this game.
The author has no extensive knowledge in the area of simulation games and
real world military before. Thus this guide is based solely on the experience
and the observation of the author alone, with the help of the game manual for
clarifications, explanations and names.
Due to the unpredictable nature of the gameplay, player experiences may
vary from the descriptions of this guide.
The guide is based on the medium difficulties of the game, and the game
difficulty level will only affect the hit points and the weapon accuracy of the
friendly, enemy and player aircraft.
A.2 What is Total Air War?
Total Air War was released during the Christmas season of 1998, and it is
basically an upgraded version of the F-22 Air Dominance Fighter released just a
few month earlier. This game was developed by the Digital Image Design based in
England, the same team that also created the Euro Fighter 2000 and the Euro
Fighter Typhoon, some of the best military simulations on the market, and the
Total Air War is no exception. Despite its age, the Total Air War still
contains some of the best gameplay I have seen, and still rival newer
simulation games in terms of quality and playability. It has a unique bland of
strategy game and simulation game elements by offering a revolutionary AWACS
command interface in conjunction with flying the F-22 aircraft. Its
non-scripted dynamic campaign engine offers almost unlimited replayability.
What set this game apart from all the other sims is the fact it manages to
offers a newbie friendly environment, without sacrificing the depths and the
feel of realism. Although no longer available through retail stores, Internet
sites like Ebay or Amazon still sells this game at a low price, so it's worth
to check it out.
A.3 Before You Start
Both the manual and the online help that come with the game disk contains
all the basic information on how to fly the F-22 aircraft, use the avionics,
fire the weapons, plus the basic concept on how to fight the campaigns. I
assume that you have read the manual or the online help when reading this
guide. The content of this guide is only on how to effectively utilize all the
information provided by the manual and online help, or any information that the
game manual or the online help had missed.
If you couldn't find the manual on the game disk, there are Internet sites
where you can find it. The site I used is the 214th Annihilators Online
Squadron's site at "www.islandgamers.com/atrs/F22TAWpage.cfm".
Section B Avionics and Views
B.1 Right View for the Right Situation
When your first start the game, the default view of the F-22 aircraft is
the narrow view of the virtual cockpit, but you can change the viewing option
of your aircraft by using the Function key 1 to 10. The viewing option provided
by the function key from function 1-3 are the most important one during any
flight or combat, while the rest of the options are mostly for viewing
pleasures, which you can experiment on your own.
The F1 key provides the viewing option you will be using most of the time,
and that is the virtual cockpit view or the full frontal view. Pressing the F1
key will set your sight forward in the cockpit, while pressing multiple times
will switch between full frontal and the virtual cockpit view. Generally, when
you play the game, full frontal view is recommended because the virtual cockpit
view does not provide a clear picture of the radar screen. But if you need to
look at another direction other than the front, switch to virtual cockpit view
and press the 7 or 9 key on the number pad will rotate your head clockwise or
counter clockwise respectively. This option can be used to seek out an opponent
in a close range dogfight, but its limited by not having a look up function.
The F2 key will center your view on your selected target in respect to your
cockpit/aircraft. Press it once will center your view to the target in your
cockpit, press it multiple time will switch the view between internal (in your
cockpit) or external (outside the plane). Once you lock on to a target by using
the shoot list, this view is will become very important in dogfight situations.
First, it activated the helmet-mounted sight for the Sidewinder missile.
Second, this view will never letting the enemy out of your sight, which is very
helpful in keeping track of enemy position.
The F3 key will center your view on your current threat, which is mainly
composed of hostile radar signals you haven't entered in you shoot list, or any
missiles that has been launched at you. This view will help you in determine
the location of the threats and thus enable you to do something about it. In a
chaotic air battle, sometime this is the only option to determine the direction
of the missiles that are launched at you because the radar screen will not
distinguish between the missiles that are launched at you or at the others. In
some circumstances, the radar will not plot any missile locations at all.
F-22 is a stealth fighter, but only if you are only carrying your weapons
inside the weapons bay, careful with your posture, not using radar, and try not
to fly deep into the detection range of early warning radar and AWACS. But one
thing to keep in mind, stealth doesn't mean invisible, the enemy can still find
you, but they just have to get petty close in order to have you on their radar
Your weapon packages will be THE most important factor in determining if
you are stealthy or not. In this game, a single external add-on will change
your status from stealthy to non-stealthy. Extended gear, air-break and weapon
bay door acts the same way to a lesser extent. The choice you have to face is
either you want firepower or stealth.
Your aircraft's posture will also affects your stealth capability. There are
two general rules. Rule number 1, if you expose your aircraft's belly or top
toward an enemy aircraft, they will generate more radar signals because the top
and the belly of the aircraft are flat as oppose to the front or the back. Rule
number 2, engage afterburner will also make you easier to detect due the extra
infrared signal generated by the additional heat and air frictions.
Also, if you engage your radar to track enemy aircraft, although the enemy
does not have you on their radar, the radar warning receiver carried on all
combat aircraft will give away your bearing to the enemies you are tracking.
Once the enemy detects your radar signals, they will be coming towards you and
try to seek you out.
The ground warning station and the AWACS aircraft is capable of detecting
you even if your are miles away from them, as long as you stay inside their
radar coverage. This usually will not generate much trouble because they either
just give you a warning message or just vector 1 or 2 aircraft towards you.
However, when you flying near airfields with early warning radar, they will
send a pair of jets to intercept you. This is a rather dangerous situation
considering that if you fail to destroy them on take-off, the intercepting
flights will be at close range when they are ready to fight, which will render
you stealth advantage useless and gives out your position to other enemies.
Those airfields are sometimes clustered together, which will result more than
one flight send up against you. Your radar-warning receiver also will not plot
their radar coverage on your radar displays, which is one more inconvenience in
dealing with them.
The only time you should planning to use stealth is when you are doing
dangerous deep strike missions, like shooting down an AWACS flying at the enemy
rear with layers of fighters protecting it. But stealth can also be useful in a
bind if you need to escape from enemies that are far away from you. Just
jettison or fire off all external stores and turn emission control level to 1,
and you can disappear from enemy radar (you will see that when you
saw the enemy radar range is suddenly decreased on your radar screen).
B.3 Emission Control
The emission control in the game is set to auto adjust as default. Although
the auto adjusted EMCOM mode is very useful and does not need to be adjusted
frequently, it also has it share of flaws that need to be corrected by manual
First, the radar coverage is changing with the auto adjusted emission
control to keep track of the most dangerous threat you face. The problem is
that in chaotic battles with enemies both near and afar, you can only see the
enemies that are close to you because the computer classifies the threats by
distance, not by the actual situation. This can be problematic when you have a
bunch those knockout enemies that are very close to you while the real threats
are miles away and firing missies at you. The only solution to this problem is
to quickly access one of the radar screens and increase or decrease the radar
Another version of this problem can occur during air-to-ground missions,
particularly with the Harpoon anti-ship missile. The auto-adjust EMCOM level
won't reach 5 unless you are near your target/threat. EMCOM level 5 is required
to launch any radar guided air-to-ground missile (A.K.A the Harpoon). So the
problem arises when you have to get much closer to your target than your
weapon's range, and that will expose you to a lot of fire. In situations like
this, just override the EMCOM level to 5 to resolve the problem.
You may also need to manually override the EMCOM level above 1 when doing
radio communication. In any case, don't forget to reset the EMCOM level to auto
(6) after you are done with it.
B.4 Heads Up Display
The manual and the online help covered this section pretty clearly, but
there is one detail missing from it, which can put you at a disadvantage during
When you switch to the AA HUD mode, every time when an aircraft next in
your shoot list entered your radar coverage but just out of your view, a
diamond shaped icon will show up and point you to the direction of the target,
much like the cone in the Microsoft Combat Simulator. This will help you keep
track of enemy that has escaped from your sight temporarily.
The rest of the HUD symbols and its definition can be found at the manual
and the online help.
B.5 Multi-Functional Displays
I'm going to describe each of the MFD and what it's best used for.
The IRST camera MFD, which can be view by press 5 on the number pad, is
good for taking a close-up look at the enemy you have lock on to, to see if it
has been damaged or what is its current action. It can also be used to identify
all ground or sea targets visually, since the HUD will not provide the identity
of any ground or sea target.
The Combined Communications & Warnings MFD can be view by pressing 4 on the
number pad, and it is useful when you get hit and damaged. Every time when your
aircraft has been damaged in anyway, this MFD will generate a brief system
report to and warn you of any major damage and malfunctions occurred on your
Horizon MFD, toggled by pressing 6 on the number pad, is basically another
colorful version of the pitch ladder that is shown on the HUD, I don't think
you will be using this often, since there already is a pitch ladder on your
Defense, Situation and Attack MFD are basically three specialized radar
screens, and press 1, 2 and 3 on the number pad can access them respectively.
Defense MFD can be the general all-purpose radar screen that shows all targets
and their status around you. Situation MFD is mainly used for navigation
because it shows your mission waypoint and maps of the surrounding area. Attack
MFD is used to display the weapons and the target's information, plus it can
generate shoot lists. The LANTIRN system can only be accessed through the
Finally the System MFD, which is activated by pressing 0 on the number pad,
is used to show your and your wingmen's aircraft system's status. The autopilot
functions can be accessed through this MFD.
B.6 The LANTIRN System
The LANTIRN system is used to target the Maverick TV guided missile and the
GBU24 Laser Guided Bomb.
The LANTIRN system is activated when you switch the attack display into
LANTIRN camera view on the attack MFD. The key thing to remember is that when
aiming, you have to change the LANTIRN mode into free mode, move the crosshair
onto your desire target (zoom if you need), and press the LANTIRN lock button
to paint the target with laser. The process is easier to say than be done,
given that most target area is usually full of hostile fire, not counting the
planes on your tail. To make your shots count, you need to set the plane to
autopilot for the plane to follow a straight path, paint the laser somewhere
near the target to stop the camera from moving with the plane, and then slowly
move the cross hair over the desired target. By this time you probably have
flown over your target, so after you had a lock, turn back and release your
weapon. Do not do loops after you have painted a target because it will reset
the LANTIRN system.
Another alternative for those who really can't manage all those steps, or
there are just too much enemy gunners/SAM operators/pilots want to see you
dead, pause the game before you paint your target, since pause function does
not affect you ability to use the LANTIRN system. This will generate a more
accurate shot and expose you to less fire, but it will take the thrill out of
it. Use this trick if you feel you really have to.
Section C Flight and Combat Maneuvers
C.1 The Autopilot System
The autopilot system is very sophisticated and it can take over almost all
maneuvers that are required in the game. It can be a great tool on teaching you
how to perform some of the trickiest maneuvers in the game, particularly the
taxiing procedure and the refueling maneuver. Watch how the computer does its
moves before you make your own.
C.2 The Speech System
Flight maneuvers and maneuvers with wingmen will involve the use of the
radio speech system. The speech system composed of 4 radio channels. Channel 1
is used to communicate with the airfield. Channel 2 is the broadcast channel
that can be used to talk with the AWACS, to call for help and to send out
warning messages. Channel 3 is secured channel to communicate with AWACS
aircraft. Channel 4 is the communication channel with refueler aircraft. You
can communicate with your wingman on all four channels. The speech system uses
series of menu to select the option you choose to say over the radio, which can
be activated by press the radio channel you wanted to use. The EMCOM level must
at least level 2 in order for the radio function to be enabled.
When you choose to talk to AWACS, there are three options:
a. Request divert airbase - asks the direction of the nearest airfield, the
AWACS will reply with the bearing of the airfield corresponding to your
compass, and the distance.
b. Where is the tanker - same as the last command, except this time it's
for locating the nearest refueler. If there were no refuelers in the
air, the direction would be to the nearest airfield.
c. Clearance to base - permission to land in an airfield of your choice.
When you choose to talk to a Refueler, there are two options:
a. Where is the tanker - same as the AWACS option.
b. Refuel permission - ask for a refuel. If it's not possible, it will tell
you to "skip it". If it's possible, consult the section on refuel
When you choose to call for help, there are two options (only available for
missions with escort or wild weasel flight available):
a. Bandits hot - call for the escort flight on your mission to engage any
enemy combat aircraft you have encountered.
b. Threat hot - call for the anti-SAM flight (A.K.A Wild Weasel flight) on
your mission to take out any SAMs or SPAAGs you have encountered.
When you choose to broadcast a warning to non-allied aircraft:
a. Leave immediately - send this message to the targeted aircraft.
b. Leave or be shoot down - send this message to the target aircraft.
You can also acknowledge or deny some computer-generated messages by
pressing Y or N key. If you did not understand the last computer message, you
can press R key for a repeat.
The wingmen and airfield options will be explained in Take-Off, Landing, and
the Wingmen Command sections.
C.3 Flight Maneuvers
Flight maneuvers are some of the trickiest maneuver to perform because it
involves not only great handling of the aircraft, but also you have to follow
strict procedures. You have to use your radio constantly and follow a strict
path to perform the maneuvers successfully. Flight maneuvers includes
taxi/take-off, landing and refueling. Another note, For take-off and landing,
if you start any of the two maneuvers, all the steps can be easily skipped by
using the time skip function, provided that there are no threats near you.
The hard part with this maneuver is to avoid collision on the ground. Sounds
easy, but consider that you are in a busy airbase, under hostile bombardments,
with around 6 to 12 airplanes swarming you in a tiny taxi-way, and all of them
want to be the first to get off the ground! So the real tricks in taxiing and
taking off is to be careful, look around you often, and follow the procedure by
This maneuver automatically starts when you start a normal campaign mission
(scramble and AWACS mission not included). After you activated your engine,
change your EMCOM level to 5 and your radio channel to 1 to communicate with
the airfield. Tell your wingmen to do the same by selecting channel 1, select
wingmen option, then the radio frequency, and select change radio frequency 1.
Ask the airfield when to start moving if you want by tune in channel 1, select
the airfield option, then choose say my take-off time option. This isn't
required other than to let you know an APPROXIMATED time. When the tower has
determined the right time has come, they will notify you by saying that you
have to move to a designated taxiway. Acknowledge the tower by pressing Y key,
and then start to move according to the arrow on your compass. Increase your
throttle, and keep your throttle around 55% when you start moving, using the
rudder to steer and the airbrake for break. If you do the procedure right, your
wingmen will follow you automatically as you stroll past them.
Eventually, you will arrive at one end of the runway. Stop just before you
step on the runway (air break on and throttle to 50%), you will automatically
say that you are on the hold (if that doesn't happen you are doing something
wrong). The tower will tell you to line up when there are no activities on the
runway, and you should start to lead your flight on the runway. Go to the
forward right position of you formation. When you are ready press Y key to
notify the tower you are ready, the tower will tell you the you are clear for
take-off. Increase the throttle to 100% (140% if you have someone behind you),
pull up, reset EMCOM level to auto, select radio frequency 2 and you are done
with this maneuver. Any of the tower message missing during your take-off means
you did something wrong, and your wingmen will not follow you as result.
If you didn't do this right, you will basically act alone and will not get
any help on your mission. Also there is a bug in this game, which it will
result the taxi system will not work at the latter stage of a campaign. A new
patch can solve this problem.
The Total Air War contains one of the easiest systems for landing, but
there are still a few things you need to follow.
There are three landing modes, straight, circular or teardrop approach. All
three landing modes can be initiated by requests using the airfield
communication options. They really don't make a difference on how you should
land, although your wingmen may follow the standard procedure.
When you want to land, fly near a friendly airfield of your choice, tune in
radio frequency 1 and choose a landing mode by using the airfield speech
options to start the landing maneuver. The airfield will usually tell you that
you are clear for [insert your landing mode] at the runway with the glide slope
activated (a series of box indicated on your ILS HUD). Flying down to around
2000 to 1000 feet, and reduce your speed within 200 to 300 knots, and maintain
your throttle in the 65% to 55% range depends on your speed. When you decide to
approach the glide slope, select the airfield communication options and selects
the option "finals". The airfield will either tell you that you are clear to
land or go around the base. If you been told to go around, make sure the runway
is clear of traffic and then select the option again. If you are clear to land,
follow the indicator on you ILS HUD and going through the gliding slope. The
HUD will tell you if you are too fast, to slow, too high or too low. Extend the
gear for touch down. When you are on the ground, use the air break for a
complete stop and then taxi your aircraft to your parking spot by following the
arrow on the compass to finish the maneuver.
Sometime during campaign, Allied airfield may get destroyed due to enemy
air assault. If you requested a landing in an airfield like this, you will get
a message that the base is "black". In situations like this, you may need to
look for a new airfield to land in (you could land there by yourself, but your
wingmen will just circle around the base until they crash). Also, although you
don't need to do the landing by the book, you wingmen will, so sometime it is
wise to chose the right landing mode for the right situation to avoid
unnecessary casualties. Call for straight approach if you or any of your
wingmen is damaged, because your wingmen don't need to move around the base in
this landing mode and putting strains on their aircraft. Call for teardrop
approach if your flight is under heavy fire, because teardrop approach involves
tight turns at low attitude that will make enemy shooting at your wingmen more
Refueling is THE trickiest maneuver I found in this game. You just have to
be in that prefect position, and the hole for the hose is just too small for
mistakes. First you have to fly near a refueler (within a range of 15 miles),
then select radio channel 4, enter the refueler options menu, and chose refuel
permission. If it's possible, the refueler will tell you to confirm "weapon and
nose cold", confirm it by press the Y key and start the refueling maneuver.
You can start fly toward the refueler, when you are near, reduce your speed
around 300 knots and start approaching it from behind at an altitude 10 feet
below the refueler (the REF HUD will tell you if you are too high or too low).
When you are within around 100 feet with the refueler at this position, the
refueler will say that you are clear for contact. Go under the refueler at the
correct altitude, and use the light under the refueler to carefully maneuver
yourself into the right position. The light on the left side indicate height (D
means too high, U means too low), on the right side indicate distance (F mean
to move forward, A means move back). When both lights are green, you will
receive the refueling broom (you will hear the radio message "stabilize").
When your tank is full, decrease the throttle to disconnect from the
refueler, and change your frequency back to channel 2 to finish this maneuver.
Unlike the other two maneuvers, the time skip function cannot skip this
C.4 Combat Maneuvers
Combat maneuvers, on the other hand, does not require you to follow a strict
guide lines, you can just use your imagination and experiences to figure out
how to do most of the actions on your own, as long as you can keep yourself
alive. But know some basic is better than no nothing, so I'm gonna talk about
how I'm dealing with those combat situations. Combat situations that will
showed up includes avoiding missile, dropping bombs, close range gunfight,
wingmen controls and damage control.
C.4.1 Avoiding Missile
The missile is fast, usually at the speed of Mach 2 or higher, so it's
useless trying to out run it. But with its high-speed came its weakness, the
missile cannot turn as good as you do, provided you know how to handle your
Your goal in avoiding missile is to out turn the missile. Every time when
you received a warning that a missile is launched at you, first determine the
position of the missile by using the F3 key or looking at the radar. Put the
missile first at the 3'o clock or the 9'o clock position of your aircraft and
keep it there if it's far away. When the missile is very close (or launched at
a close range), which the EMCOM will automatically adjusted to level 5, put the
missile at 2'o clock or 10'o clock position and start ejecting counter measures
by pressing the Delete key. With any luck, the missile will get confused and
leave you alone. Just remember that since you can't get out of its range, might
as well get out of its way.
As for the type of counter measures, there are two kinds, one is chaff, and
the other one is flare. The chaff is ejected by using the ";" key, and is used
to confuse radar guided missiles. The flare is ejected by using the "'" key,
and is used to confuse infrared missiles. If you really can't manage all the
keys, the "Delete" key will let you eject counter measure that is
automatically selected by your plane to counter your current threat. To
identify which type of missiles has locked onto your, on the bottom of your HUD
there will be a line that show "missile(*)" flashing. If the (*) is R, it
means radar guided missile, and if the (*) is I then it's an infrared missile.
If you hear an extermely low beeping sound, it means a missile has been
launched at you.
C.4.2 Bombing Run
The bombs and missiles are very accurate in this game, the same go with the
dumb bombs in the game, thanks to a computerized bombsight. Just a few tips
here, Before starting your attack runs, deploy air break first so that you
don't accelerate when pointing your nose to the ground. If you are launching an
air-to-ground missile, its best to put the target in your frontal view before
launch the missile to make sure that the missile will not do much maneuvering
before it set its sight on the target. For smart bombs, you need to launch them
at a rather high altitude (500 feet high at least) in order to give themselves
enough room to maneuver over its target. Another tip for dropping smart bombs
is that at a high altitude, when you find your target hiding under the cockpit
floor, a dive-bombing will less likely to miss as oppose dropping it on a level
flight. The reason for that is the bombs cannot maneuver backward, and
dive-bombing saves the trouble by letting it to go straight down.
C.4.3 Close Range Gunfight
Sometimes you either running out of missile to launch or an enemy has
getting so close that even the Sidewinder missile is ineffective against him.
To protect yourself WITHOUT the option to run away or call for help, the only
option to survive is to fight back using your gun. Although the gun is a
powerful weapon, it takes the necessary maneuver to make it effective. There
are three situations that you shouldn't use the guns. First, DO NOT do gunfight
when outnumbered (the odd should be no more than 1 vs. 2 or it's suicide).
Second, DO NOT use the gun against enemy that are far away AND has missile in
his inventory. Third, DO NOT use the gun when you have the option to run away
or call for help (in other word, DO NOT BE RECKLESS). The strategy here is for
a 1 vs. 1 cannon fight versus another fighter aircraft.
There are usually three situations when a gunfight has started with your
a. You and your opponent are either back to back or face to face, and/or
far away (not within EMCOM level 5 range).
b. You are behind your opponent and are very close (you can see the enemy's
c. Your opponent is behind you and is very close (EMCOM level is at 5).
If situation b or c applies to you, start with Turning Fight section. For
the first situation start with the Merge section. However, no matter
how you fight an enemy, keeping track of his position is the most important
thing, so frequently tap F2 key to keep track of the enemy when doing a
gunfight. Also, experience is better than just reading the guide, so make sure
practice under the dogfight of the training section in order to make the most
out of the tips below.
# Merge #
The goal of the Merge is to give the advantage to one side before
both start circling and making the actual kill. The first thing that you should
do is closing the distance if you are very far away, since gun in this game is
only effective at an almost point-blank range. If the enemy notices you, it
will charge in your general direction, if not, you can just sneak up on it and
shoot him down before it can react. If it charges towards you, build up your
speed by set your throttle to 140%, and get to a range that you can see the
enemy on your screen without the aid of radar. Doing a head-on cannon pass if
you want, but the computer always has a better aim than most people, so I
advise just fly pass it. When you and the enemy just flown pass each other,
start doing a half loop. At the top of the loop, start to put the enemy in your
frontal view and try to drop onto it if you can. Some enemies are very agile
and you may need to do a few corkscrews to put him in your frontal view. If you
manage to keep the enemy in your frontal view without its nose pointing back at
you, you will eventually pin him down into turning at low attitude with you
have the most advantage. If the enemy is at your back with its nose towards
you, it's better to start turning and to shake the enemy off your tail.
# Turning Fight #
If you enter this stage with an enemy pin down, you will win this fight as
long as the enemy can't shake you off by doing sharp turns. If you enter this
stage with an enemy on your back, you have to perform the sharpest turn you can
manage before the enemy starts to fire onto you. If the enemy does fire, you
are pretty much dead (somehow, the computer NEVER miss with their gun).
But whatever your position is, the F-22 aircraft is the most agile fighter
in this game next to the Joint Strike Fighter. Just reduce your speed around
200~300 knot and keep it there, you will be fine.
For those that are on someone's tail with your opponent franticly trying to
shake you off, first reduce your speed within the 200~300 knot range, then
close the distance so that you can see the enemy's shape if you haven't done
so. Keep him in your sight and start drag your gun piper onto the shape of your
enemy. If you are close enough, the piper trail will be around 1 inch or
shorter, which is the best time to fire. Keep the gun sight right on target and
closing to the right distance, few bursts of 20~60 rounds usually will bring
your target down if you are at the right distance. At least 4~6 direct hits are
required to bring the enemy down, 8 if it's a heavyweight dual engine fighter,
10 or more if you plan to shoot down a jumbo jet. When the enemy (or you) gets
hit, your screen will shake. Tap the thrust vectoring key if your gun sight is
just short by a few notches, but do not hold on to it since it can reduce your
speed rather rapidly. Try to shoot down your opponent rather than blow it up in
the sky, since the debris from the explosion are far more damaging than a
direct missile hit.
If you have an enemy on your back and tries to shred you like a newspaper,
the only way you can escape is by making a sharp turn, provided it that it
hasn't start to fire. Start by reduce your speed within the 200~300 knot range
by all means necessary, brakes, gears, etc. Thrust vectoring is useful, but
only when your are around 400 knot at least, and it can easily bleed your speed
to less than 200 knot, which it will renders you into a sitting duck. Start
heading into the direction that your enemy's nose is trying to pointing at and
start turning. With a little luck, you will out turn your opponent and start
putting yourself on the enemy's behind with guns blazing. The computer will use
the same tactic if you are on its behind, so never let the computer get out of
your frontal view for long during this stage of the gunfight. If it does get
out of your sight for more than a second or so, it will try to climb up and
drop onto you, which you will have to repeat the merge again to pin your
C.4.4 Wingmen Command
Although most of the times you can manage to outsmart a single opponent
face to face, but in this game you will be dealing with hordes of enemies
coming from multiple directions instead. Covering your back will be the job of
your wingmen - if you know how to use them.
The wingmen has a competent AI in this game, they know their aircraft, they
know how to shoot, and they do everything by the book. All they need is the
correct order to turn them into killing machines, and you can do so by
accessing the wingman communication menu. I will explain each command options
one by one and how to use it.
Engage - give your wingmen the permission to engage the target they have found.
If you chose the air to air HUD mode, you will give your wingmen the permission
to engage any air target they have found. If you chose the air to ground HUD
mode, you give your wingmen the permission to engage any ground or sea based
threat they have encountered. Only used when your wingmen has find something on
their radar and report it to you.
Formation - This is the command menu that tells your flight to establish the
formations you requested with you in the lead. There are 6 formations each with
its usage on the battlefield. The formations are:
a. Card formation - the default formation you start with, which your flight
is in a box formation. You will be in the top left position and rest of the
planes occupy the bottom left, top right and bottom right position of the
flight. Good for general situations which you want to keep watch on all
b. Deuce - used in anti-SAM situation, which you will be the bait for the
SAM to fire up its radar with your wingmen have their weapon ready at your
back. The tight and loose option means how far back do you want you wingmen
be at this formation.
c. Sweep - when your flight is facing dangers head on, sweep formation will
have your flight lining up in a row and concentrating its fire. The enemy
will have a harder time to take on your flight because it's facing multiple
targets simultaneously. Tight and loose option commands how far apart each
plane has to be with each other.
d. Strike - good for bombing run as the name indicates, tells your wingmen
to line up behind you in single file as you approach the target zone, each
drop its own payload when their turn has come. Tight and loose option
commands how far apart each plane has to be with each other.
e. Fingertips - Tells your flight to form a half arrow with you at the tip,
left and right option command either the pattern will be the left part or
the right part of an arrow. I never find its usefulness other than that the
computer uses them often.
f. Vic - Tells your flight to form a V shaped formation like in air shows.
Nothing useful about it other than the game developer included it just for
Combat - This menu includes all the combat command for your wingmen. The
command options are:
a. Engage my target - send your current shoot list to your wingmen and
order them to attack targets according to your shoot list. Useful if you
need help in taking down a specific target, just select a target on your
HUD and send the order. The shortcut key for this command is M key.
b. Engage bandit - like the engage command, except its' more specific.
c. Engage hostile - like the engage command, except it's more specific.
d. Drag left - useful in dogfight, which tells your wingmen to put someone
on its behind and bait it to the left. You have to be quick to shoot down
the catch or your wingmen is history.
e. Drag right - same as above except it's baiting towards right.
f. Bracket left - Good for distracting the enemy during the beyond visual
range combat. Tells half of your flight to move to a different position on
your left side before starting to attack the enemy.
g. Bracket Right - Same as above, except this time tells half of your
flight move to a different position on your right side before starting to
Maneuver - This menu include the command for your wingmen to avoid certain
danger by breaking left, right, high or low. Useful during running away when
directing your wingmen to dodge out of enemy attacks right on its 6'o clock.
Just be careful with "breaking high" command, because your wingmen could turn
into a sitting duck by climbing and reduce its speed.
Abort mission - This command tells all aircraft involved in your current
mission to abort and returning to home base. Useful if you messed up a strike
Radio - Tells your wingmen to tune in the radio channel you desire. It's
nothing special other than in a procedure of the taxiing process. The say again
command makes the computer to repeat the last message it has sent it to you,
but there is a shortcut key for it (R key).
Disengage - Tells your wingmen to break-off all engagement and regroup with
you. You have to give out one of the engage command for them to start fighting
C.4.5 Dealing With Damage
You will get hurt in this game no matter what, so lets start to learn how
to deal with them. The usual symptoms of getting hit by enemy fire or foreign
objects are the following - uncontrollable movements, decrease in engine power,
fuel leak, sluggish movements, Radar/targeting system damage, electric system
shut off, and gear/air break malfunction. But one thing you have to keep in
mind is that do not continue to fight an opponent unless you don't have the
option to escape, and if you have to stand to fight, let your wingmen do most
of the action. You number one goal after getting damaged is to return to home
in one piece. The autopilot system will not function if you have received
damages. As a side note, sometime cannon hit you received will not
automatically generate into damage, because the shell will just lodge into you.
About half of the time those lodged in shells will explode unpredictably at a
a. Uncontrollable movements - if you get hit and you just can't stop rolling,
it a matter of time before you hit the ground, so eject or quit the mission is
the only option available.
b. Decrease in engine power - most of the time when you get hit, your engine
will get damaged. It will result the loss of speed and energy for your
aircraft. You can still continue your mission if it's not too much of a
problem, just don't enter a cannon fight under this condition. If the problem
is severe (engine total is under 85%), then it's best to abort your mission and
find a place to land. If it has been totally shut off (50% or less), eject or
quit the game immediately.
c. Fuel leak - if you have this problem, pray that either you are near a
friendly airbase or a refueler is not far from you. If you are carrying
internal fuel only, it will be a matter of seconds before you are out of fuel.
To deal with this problem, abort mission immediately and start heading to the
nearest friendly airbase. Do not use afterburner because it will eat up your
fuel twice as fast without much help on the speed. If your shortest route is
more than 30 seconds away and there is no refueler on the way, you have to take
the risk of running out of fuel before you can land. If you are out of fuel in
enemy territory, eject or quit the mission is the only option available.
d. Sluggish movements - If you feel that the control is bit unresponsive than
normal or the movement is sluggish, run away from battles and start heading
home. You are in no condition to enter any battle without getting killed. You
have to be extra careful when performing landing, straight approach is
e. Radar/targeting system damage - If your radar screen is flashing as
oppose to operate normally, you are suffering from this problem. For starters,
you cannot use the LANTIRN system anymore, so you can't use the laser guided
bomb or the Maverick missile on buildings. Your radar guided air-to-air missile
also has a greater chance to miss their targets. How to deal this problem
depends on your situation, but there is no point to continue in your strike
mission if you only carry Maverick missile or the laser guided bomb as your
main weapon to attack buildings.
f. Electric system shut off - One of the rarest, but dangerous situation none
the less. You will know the problem by the disappearance of your HUD. The most
dangerous thing about it is that you can't get a system report, and all
avionics systems are offline other than the vocal and the missile warning
system. You can't use weapons, so stop trying, and besides, only planes that
already took quite a beating will have their electrical system off-line. Start
heading to the nearest friendly airfield and use the Del key on the number pad
to get yourself oriented. You don't have much warning system, so scan around
you often in the cockpit view. Be careful of everything that you feel abnormal
because since you can't generate a system report, there is no guarantee that
nothing else is wrong with your aircraft.
g. Gear/air break malfunction - Sometimes during combat, the enemy may blow
those parts off or breach the hydraulic system that operates them.
Nevertheless, they are crucial parts of your plane's operation, and you have to
compensate for that. If your air break is malfunctioning, the way to compensate
for that is by using movements (turns and climbs) with throttles to bleed the
energy away. If your gear is malfunctioning when landing, jettison all stores
by using the jettison menu and start performing a belly landing. Belly landing
takes a lot of luck, so don't be surprised if you explode when sliding on the
Section D Weapon Information and Tactic
D.1 Air to Air Weapons
All air to air weapon operates on the same principle, except that missiles
are guided to compensate for enemy evasive maneuvers. Their difference in speed
and targeting method are the main factors in determine their effective range,
but it's generally a good idea to lead the target before firing to give the
target less chance to get out the way. This can be done by either aim the
missile at the missile steering dot or use the gun piper.
D.1.1 Advanced Medium Range Air to Air Missile (AIM-120C and AIM-120R)
This is the air weapon of choice when the enemy is far away from you
(beyond visual range). It's a fire-and-forgot weapon, but can only be launched
when EMCOM level is 3 or greater. After you have generated a shoot list, wait
for the shoot cue and start releasing your weapons. The circle on your HUD
determines the probability of you hitting your target, and the larger the
circle the better the chance for a hit. If the circle is turning smaller, it's
either because they are getting too far or too close. Don't waste your missile
on a close range target because they can easily dodge out of the way. Aiming at
the missile steering dot is not important with this weapon due to the enemy has
the time to change direction, but it is best to put your target front and
center when launching it. Although it's a fire-and-forgot weapon, the missile
needs your radar to update on the location of its intend target during the
first half of missile's flight, so it's best to point your nose towards the
missile's target to improve the accuracy of the weapon. A knocked out enemy
aircraft usually has their radar turned off, so don't waste your missiles on
targets like this.
D.1.2 Sidewinder Infrared Short Range Air to Air Missile (AIM-9X)
Use this when the enemy is closing in on you, it's intended for close range
combat due to its high maneuverability. It's an infrared guided weapon, so
radar is not require to launch the weapon. This is also the weapon of choice
for a sneak attack, which you just fly behind someone who hasn't detected you
and fire. First generate a shoot list and wait for the circle to appear, then
press F2 key to activate the helmet mounted sight (or you could wait for the
search box to settle on the target, but it will lose track if you move your
plane). Let the search box settle onto the target, aim your nose for the
missile steering dot (you need to lead the target to guarantee a hit) and fire
away. You have to press the fire key for the last two Sidewinders in your
inventory in order for the search box to appear, then press fire key second
time to launch it.
D.1.3 M61A2 20 mm Rotating 6 Barrel Gattling Gun
The air to air combat tip with this weapon has already explained under the
combat maneuver section. The gun came with 1760 rounds, and is only good at an
almost point blank range since the shell travels slower than your missile. You
select your gun in the AA HUD mode, a line with a circle on the end will
appear. The line (cannon snake/piper trail) is the predicted path for the
cannon shell to travel on your screen and the circle (piper) predicts where the
shell will pass through if it has traveled the same distance that is between
you and your target. The more area of the piper that is covering your target,
the higher the probability that the shell will hit. Do not trust your gun sight
100%, since no matter how you aim, least there will be a 3 out 4 chance that
you will miss (in most cases it's only 1 in 20 chance for you to get a hit).
Use your gun sight only as an estimation tool for aiming your gun, and your
experiences in most cases are more correct than the gun sight.
If you select the gun in AG HUD mode, it will just show a circle for your
gun sight. In air to ground situations, the gun can destroy light armor targets
(for examples, HUMMWVs, trucks, missile launchers) with 1 or 2 hits. But you
still have to see the target visually in order to score a hit, which is
dangerous due to the possibility of ground collision (0 to 60 feet!) and enemy
ground fire (AA guns can kill you before you even can get that low). Whatever
happens, the gun is only a last resort weapon that should only be used when
there are no other options available (running away and calling wingmen for help
are viable options in this game). Also if you chose to use the gun, spraying
shells will not increase your hit probability (the gun eats ammo fast if you
are not careful), only precise aiming and correct maneuvering can guarantee a
D.2 Air to Surface Weapons
Air to surface weapons on the other hand, are very different from each
other. The difference is accounted for the different situations you will face
in destroying different targets. Below is a description on what the weapons are
for and its most effective delivering method.
D.2.1 Maverick TV/Infrared Guided Air to Surface Missile (AGM65G)
This is the general all-purpose weapon that is used to attack any ground
target that is available in this game, but the trade-off is that this weapon
has a weak punch and a short range. As its name suggests, it can find its
target by either tracking the target's IR signature (for ships and vehicles,
and this mode is fire and forgot) and by matching TV images (for buildings). To
track a target by IR signature, set the LANTIRN mode to slave, then generate a
shoot list and put your target next on the shoot list. When the shoot cue
appears, just fire away. To track a target by TV image, use the LANTIRN system
and lock on to a target of your choice (don't forget to set the LANTIRN mode to
free). When you feel you are close enough (shoot cue may or may not appear, so
use your instinct), fire the weapon (a salvo of 2 to be safe). For some
targets, like ships, concrete bunkers and harden hangers two shots are required
to put it down for good. It should be your air to ground weapon of choice for
three obvious reasons - you can carry tons of them in a mission to create
maximum mayhem, you can carry them in the weapon bay for stealth, and you can
protect yourself from emergency situations like getting attacked by SAMs.
D.2.2 HARM Anti-Radiation Missile (AGM88)
This one is a specialized anti-SAM missile. It shares the same range as the
Maverick missile, which is short compare to the range of most of the SAMs
deployed in the game. You can't carry them internally, which is another
drawback with this weapon, and you can't carry more than four of them, which is
too little in the opening stage of the game. All in all, it's basically are
bigger version of the Maverick missile, but without the versatility and the
number that makes it useful. To use the weapon, just put your target next in
your shoot list, and fire away when the shoot cue appears, one is enough for
its target. There are some reports that it can be targeted at ships that are
using SAMs, but even if it can, you still can't survive that far to get into
its effective range due to strong enemy fire.
D.2.3 Harpoon Anti-ship cruise missile (AGM84A)
This cruise missile is a fire and forgot weapon, and it has no substitute
due to its whopping 75-mile range. When attacking heavily armed ships like
specialized air-defense cruisers or aircraft carriers, use this weapon or it's
suicide. To fire this weapon, first turn your EMCOM to level 5, then put you
target next in your shoot list. When shoot cue appears, launch your weapon and
run away (the SAM will get you if you don't). One missile is usually enough for
D.2.4 Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM)
This weapon is used for dangerous deep strike mission that you just want
to drop your weapon and run away. The target for the weapon are already
programmed inside the bomb, so you can't fire on targets other than the one
assigned to you at the mission briefing. Carry more bombs than the two slots in
your weapon bay are a complete waste, and this bomb is for buildings only. To
use this weapon, just fly toward your target and make sure you are at an
altitude above 600 feet at least. The maximum effective range of your weapon
depends on your altitude and speed - the higher or faster you are, the farther
you can release the weapon. When the shoot cue appears, release your weapons (a
salvo of two works best, some targets are just too small to be destroyed in one
hit) and it will automatically maneuver onto its target (provided that it has
enough energy and room to maneuver). Your wingmen are likely to miss when using
this weapon, but I believe that set the planned attack altitude higher than
normal might solve this problem.
D.2.5 Laser Guided Bomb (GBU24)
This is the most powerful weapon in the game with its 2000 pounds of high
explosives. It's best use for attacking heavily armored buildings. Especially
useful in airfield denial strike, since most of the buildings are heavily
armored. The weapon shares the same principle with JDAM, except this time you
have to target it with LANTIRN system before firing. Basically stay above 600
feet, change the LANTIRN mode to free and lock on to a target. Release your
weapon when you are facing toward your target and the shoot cue has appeared.
Due to its high explosive nature, its always one shot one kill if it drops
right onto its intended target, but if you stay too low (100 feet or less), it
can take you out as a collateral damage. You can't carry it internally and you
can't carry more than four due to its massive size, so you have to watch out
D.2.6 Rocket Pod (LA68)
This World War II era weapon still didn't change much after 60 years. After
selecting it in AG HUD, just point and shoot like the gun (aiming sights are
the same, but you sacrifice ammo capacity for more explosive power). Your have
to be close to score a hit, which could be dangerous if the opposing force has
anti-air protections (AA guns especially). Although it is been included as an
anti-mobile weapon, I find it more effective against buildings than vehicles
due to its slow speed. This weapon is old and I don't find it to be useful in
this game (this is the 21st century after all). If you want fireworks, use this
at your own risk. Each rocket pod came with 10 rockets, and each external hard
point can carry 3 rocket pods.
D.2.7 Free Fall High Explosive and Cluster Bombs (MK82F/MK83F, MK82R, MK20)
When you want to create maximum damage and want to watch destruction up
close, those weapons are good choices. Those unguided bombs are powerful
with its up to 1000 pounds of high explosive. When you select those weapons, a
computerized bombsight will pop up, with a long vertical line to show the path
of the bomb, and a small horizontal line moving on the vertical line to show
where the bomb will land. When the horizontal line is over your intended
target, release your weapon. The bombsight is pretty accurate for hitting
targets that are buildings sized, provided that you either drop your bombs
leveled at a low altitude (5000 feet or lower) or do dive-bombing. The warning
that applies to LGB is also applying here - don't drop below 100 feet. The
regular dumb bomb is used to attack heavily armored buildings while the cluster
bomb is used to take out a group of ground vehicles. Watch out for AA guns,
because they are the biggest ground threat you will face when using those
bombs. You can carry up to 12 bombs, which means you have the potential to
create up to 3 times the damage as a full load of LGB, provided that you drop
it right on top of your target.
Section E Enemy Info and Strategy
In this game, almost all aircraft in this game are multi-role in some
degree, and all combat aircraft has been assigned weapon packages that are used
to deal with all situations they may face in this game. There are no rules on
how each aircraft can be used in this game to the computer, but AI do have
preference on what each type of aircraft should do. Below are descriptions on
what each aircraft are specialized in when you face them.
E.1 Light support fighters
The fighter aircraft that come under this category are MIG-21, Mirage,
Hawk, and Harrier. All of them are small, light and nimble and good at making
you waste your missile. They have limited firepower, but can become deadly if
you let them get close enough for dogfight. They usually are nuisance, but will
become a threat if they are in large numbers or group together with fighters of
other categories. Fight them at the BVR combat stage and avoid close contact
will be the best strategy to take them out. They usually not assign to attack
role due to its inability to carry heavy weaponry. The AI uses them as
distraction, harassment, and short-range defense (Mirage is an exception).
The interceptors in the game are the F-14, MIG-31, MIG-27, and Tornado.
Their specialty is their powerful BVR armaments, but they are not agile enough
for dogfights (F-14 don't even have Sidewinder missile in its inventory). You
usually find them at a defensive role. You can fight them by releasing your
missile in BVR stage before they could react, and rapidly closing the distance
when they are dodging your missile. If you catch one of them in close range,
you can even shoot them down using your cannon if you feel like conserving your
Sidewinder missile. They also have a secondary ability to act as long-range
strike aircraft. The AI mainly uses them for interception of inbound enemy
E.3 Front line fighters
Most of fighter aircraft can be categorized as front line fighters. They
can perform numerous roles beyond its air-superiority capability. If not on
strike mission, expect them to have at least 10 powerful air to air missile in
its inventory. They will be deadly in both BVR combat and dogfight. The only
way to fight them without getting killed is to release your missiles at the
first opportunity and destroys most of them while they are running away from
you. If you get to release your missile first, you will gain the initiative. If
they out number you in a 4 to 1 odd or greater, expect a tough fight and do
consider the option of run away. Ambush from behind is the best way to take on
a large number of them. The AI can assign them to any role in this game.
Attackers are aircraft that only to get assigned in attack or strike role.
They include F-117A, B-2, A-10, Su-34 and Su-25. They are only armed with
short-range IR missiles, and when they are en route to their targets, they will
not fight you even if they are under attack (they just dodge out of your
attacks). But with the exception of F-117A and B-2, attack aircraft will fight
back after their mission is finished and you happen to block their escape
route. Other than the B-2, they are all very agile, and A-10, Su-34 and Su-25
are very competent at dogfights. At campaign mode when encounter them during
their mission, its best to destroy them as many as possible before their escort
could notice you. Although their escorts are the