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How to make my aircraft live longer

Cinnamon J. Scudworth

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I downloaded the demo and tried the Gallagher 6 scenario, which I won, but probably with more casualties than desireable. Anyway, I was trying to use air strikes to whittle down the approaching OPFOR groups but almost every time, once the fighter got there, every AA/SAM in the area would open up simultaneously and just wipe it out before it could release it's bombs (I guess OPFOR has more mobile anti-aircraft ability than the U.S.?).

What can I do to make my aircraft more effective? Should I be laying down smoke before the fighter gets there, or would that lower its effectiveness even more?

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Air strikes are best used against rapidly advancing enemy units rather than implaced enemy positions. The reason this is so is that it is usually hard for a rapidly advancing enemy force to keep within range of AA cover, as you have to transport the SAM units and then unload them if you want them to fire/provide cover. This is not a problem for the enemy when they are defending or are in a static position as they can deploy their SAM units and then not have to worry about moving them unless over run.

The only way I can see of being able to use airstirkes against an enemy defensive positon effectively is too try and locate his SAM units prior to having your airstrike come on the map and suppressing them with artillery fire. However this is difficult as AA units are usually behind the front line.

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In addition to the advice to suppress the enemy anti-air capability with artillery (which you also need to do), you can also saturate the enemy AA defenses by timing your airstrikes to all hit close to the same time. (i.e., in the same game minute).

What this means is that you should not really consider airstrikes to be like artillery that you use in scattered locations a bit at a time. Rather it is much more of a concentrated barrage weapon that you use to attrit enemy defenses or to break up a concentrated spearhead. You want it to all hit at once.

In other words, if the enemy has effective AA coverage, you need to mass the airstrikes. This is just like the siutation when you are facing enemy ATGMs with tanks. Sending in your tanks in penny packets will just get them destroyed piecemeal. If you can't destroy the enemy missile troops with artillery, then you need to get them all into action at close to the same time. That way you flood the enemy with targets and some of them will be unmolested and get to shoot back.

Of course, if you can reduce the enemy anti-air power, then you have more flexibility in the use of your aircraft -- as it should be.

BTW, yes OpFor does have more land-based anti-air capability than US forces. That is because the US military relies on their airforce to provide the main anti-air capability. The US Army and USMC don't expect to have to face the kind of air threat that OpFor had to worry about.

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Another thing you can do is use your aircraft in areas observed by friendly ground units. That way you can at least fire at identified SAMs with ground forces to improve chances for the next flight.

The next flight might already been scheduled, i.e. you schedule one flight at time + 0 minutes, three other flights at time + 3 minutes and take these three minutes to blast the heck out of the enemy air defense that fired at the first flight.

I am just learning ATF. It is interesting how different this plays in the two games. ATF doesn't have trees but full elevantion support. The chances to spot air defense units are drastically different. Not to speak of the methods of evading enemy observation, in TacOps you go into the woods at greatly reduced speed but LOS is trivial. In ATF you can move full speed but you really need to study the LOS blocking terrain features.

[ April 25, 2004, 10:57 AM: Message edited by: redwolf ]

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On the defense, I try to use my TacAir early to break up advancing enemy armor. As you noted, the longer the battle goes on, the more dismounted SAMs litter the battlefield.

On the offense, I try to hold my TacAir to support my main effort in coordination with artillery or use it against counter-attacking enemy armor.

Regardless, I generally set a few units in each part of the map with a low priority to attack air defense systems. If I have sniper/recon teams, they may get a high priority against manportable SAMs. If I have any helicopters I try position them to destroy any air defenses revealed when the TacAir hits and to increase the overload on enemy defenses that others have described.

Look through the publications on your TacOps disk and on the internet for SEAD [supression of Enemy Air Defenses].

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  • 3 weeks later...

RE: Overwhelming OPFOR ADA.

The best way to defend the OFFOR ADA is to use a combined arms teams, FO's & Apache/Cobra's & Artillery.

In the early stages of the meeting engagement, one of your first priority's will be to locate and destroy OPFOR ADA & Artillery.

1). The ZSU 24-4 ADA & SAM units can be suppressed or destroyed in the following manner:

They are going to fire on Allied Aircraft, once they do reveal their location, pay attention to the SPOT report(s)for grid location of the firing ADA.

Assign 2 Apache's or Cobra's Helo's(at the maximum effective range as possible)too priority target these units in combination with utilizing

2-3 155mm/105mm Direct Support Artillery (with both HE/ICM's Ammo) to target these units until they suppressed or destroyed...Paying attention to your SPOT reports is critical.

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