*** GROUND TARGET-STRIKE, SEAD, ETC. ***
* Ground attack missions are usually the most dangerous. You have to divide
your ordnance between air-to-air and air-to-ground, so you are limited in your
capacity to put up a good fight against any bogies you may encounter. You have
to know when to run and when to fight. It will ruin your day if you take out
your target but have to eject 50 miles from home.
* A good basic loadout for a ground mission is 3 HARMs, 4 Mavericks, the rest
* For a heavily defended ground mission, vary your ordnance. For example, if
you're taking an X-32 on a truck-stamping mission, load it up with AGM-88
HARMs, LAW-61 rockets and a couple of AlM-120s for air defense.
* Prioritize your targets. Get helicopters first, for example, then any AAA.
You can sometimes ignore SAM and tanks, and trucks are sitting ducks.
* For example, if you're after a convoy of trucks, toggle the HARM seeker on
(M) when you get close enough, and take out whatever's the most dangerous for
low and slow approaches (such as ZSUs). Then make a low, slow pass or two for
tanks and other low-importance threats. Finally, make a couple of rocket
passes over the trucks and Mission Accomplished.
* Have your wingman take out helicopters. They are easy kills, but can be
trouble at close range. After the helicoptesr are gone, have your wingman
concentrate on the other threats, while you accomplish the objective.
* If you've got to deal with both AAA and SAMs, target the AAA first.
* When your targets are clustered, try to take out as many as possible with
each bomb. Choose a central location to drop your bombs.
* If two targets are near each other, line them up on your approach. Try to
take them both out with one missile.
* When attacking an airbase or carrier, watch for planes about to take off.
They're much easier to kill when they're on the ground and unable to shoot
* Try not to make slow circles around your targets. Boom and zoom is the name
of the game. If you didn't finish the job the first time, you can always turn
around and make another pass.
* Ground targets tend not to show up on your radar sweeps unless they are
ships or missile silos. Keep your eyes open.
*** SHIP SINKING ***
1. Don't get any closer than necessary to your target. Approximately seven
miles away is the safety limit.
2. Release your missile when you get a good hit percentage.
3. Turn away and begin a tight circle. Keep your distance from the targets
fairly constant. This should keep you out of missile range (if any).
4. Target the next ship and tell your wingman to engage from formation.
5. Tell your wingman to fire at your target.
6. Wait until your first missile has struck its target, then fire another
missile at a new target.
7. Continue this process until all mission objectives are destroyed.
8. As soon as the targets are destroyed, afterburn out of the vicinity.
* Send your wingmen after any escorts while you home in on mission objective
* Don't fly over ships after you kill them You might take damage.
* Take AGM-84A Harpoons, if possible, as they allow you a long range, high
percentage, high damage shot. AM-39 Exocets are also good long range
* Remember that your wingman will only have one missile in the air for each
target, so vary his targets to keep him firing. Remember, he's loaded as many
anti-ship missiles as you haveTkeep track of how many he fires, and make sure
he uses them all.
* Keep in mind that what you load is what your wingmen loadTuse this knowledge
to take up some air-to-air weapons if you'll need them.
*** NIGHTTIME ***
* Stealth is life.
* If you are in a reasonably stealthy plane, caught in a nest of enemies all
searching for you, don't panic and expose your position. Just stay steady and
quiet, and do everything at the last minute. Threats can almost run into you
without seeing you.
* Stay high and quiet. Don't open your bay until the last minute. Keep your
eye on the objective. When you do get detected, turn on your jammers (if you
use them), use flare and chaff to divert the fire, complete your objective and
get out of there.
*** ESCORT ***
* On a mission where you have to protect another aircraft or ship from attack
you not only have to stay alive but keep something else (usually something as
big and helm less such as a C-5A) from being destroyed. A lot of this will
come from plain, dumb luck.
* Use your wingman carefully, sending him to keep one group of inbound
fighters busy while you destroy another group.
* You've got to destroy each wing of enemy fighters as quickly as possible in
order to intercept the next wing.
* If a wing of three fighters is attacking, more than likely you have the
undivided attention of two of them. The third one is quite likely to continue
on his way toward his target.
*** MIGCAP ***
* A good general loadout is AIM9M on wingtips, 2 AA-11 Archers, and the rest
AlM-120s. (If you're concerned with realism, though, you might not want to put
Russian Archers on a Western plane.)
* MlGCAPs are a little easier since you have a good idea that your
targets are going to be at a specific waypoint.
* You will run into strays every now and then, but stay focused and clear a
path for other aircraft.
* If you take off from your runway, make sure your wingman has time to catch
up before you autopilot to your first waypoint.
* Identify the threats that can hit you from the longest range, and take them
* Always eliminate air targets before engaging ground targets.
* Keep your radar at maximum, in order to detect any bogeys within a large
radius of the waypoint you are clearing.
* If there are multiple bandits, target the closest, and try to take them on
one by one.
* Watch your six!
*** 8ARCAP ***
1. Range your radar all the way out after taking off, en route to your first
2. When you find a bogey and get his bearing, turn your radar off and head
3. At this point you can give your wingman the command to approach left
4. When you are about halfway to the enemy, turn on the radar and check the
5. Do an [F6] view to see how many bad guys are on your wingman's wing, or
switch on your radar quickly, then shut it off.
6. Tell your wingman to approach low [Alt-8]
7. Go into a climb, hoping the bogeys go for your wingman.
8. Once in weapon range, tell your wingman to engage your target [Alt-E]
9. Keep an eye on your RWR to see if any of the bad guys are targeting you. If
they are, you know they see you, so turn your radar back on.
10. Fight like you mean it.
11. Every so often hit [Alt-P] to tell your wingman to clear your six just in
case someone is targeting you.
12. When the area is clear, go to the next waypoint and repeat the process.
* After the bad guys are down, fly a slow circle and range your radar out to
find all targets.
* If any fighter element contains newer fighters (Flankers, Fulcrums, Rafales,
etc.), use your BVR missiles to even up the odds.
* Definitely use guns against older fighters (i.e., F-4s, P-5s, MiG21 s,
* If you are very damaged and the guys you encounter on the way home are not
mission objectives, you can drop down to about 500 feet and try to sneak by
* One way of handling BARCAPs is to release your wingman in the first couple
of interventions. Wait until your shot percentage is above 65%, otherwise he
will shoot early and waste his ammo. After he is out of missiles, have him
stay in a loose formation and protect you while you finish the mission with
* If you don't have a wingman yew can usually go through the same procedure
(steps above steps 1-12), if you first try to take one bad guy from each group
with a BVR missile shot to even up the odds a little bit.
The Official Guide to Jane's - ATF
Advanced Tactical Fighters (tm)
(C) 1996 Electronic Arts
Used with permission