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Hornets and Tomcats


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Ya, the Tomcat was officially retired in 2006, and actually saw its last combat deployment in 2005, so it's out of the picture by the time CM:SF starts. I suppose you could argue that the USN might pull a few out of mothballs for a major conflict if it really needed them, but I doubt this would happen; there's only so much space in the carrier hangars to go around, and they've got plenty of F-18s. And retraining the pilots and maintenance crews would be a royal PITA.

As for the F-18: yeah, you need to get the Marines module to have it. But for practical purposes, there's very little difference in CM terms between an F-18 and an F-16. There's a modest difference in ordnance load, but for the most part they're both just just an icon and bombs from the heavens...

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Marine Supercobra helicopters are different animals than Apaches in-game. Quite a bit of difference raining 20mm death from the sky compared to 30mm. Plus, unlike the British Harrier GR9, the Marine Harrier still has cannon for straffing (only Marine Harrier and A-10 use their cannons in-game). So while one platform dropping a 500 pound bomb is the same as another dropping a 500 pound bomb, there's still discernable differences between aircraft. :)

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Yes; no argument that there are noticeable in-game differences between the low-level attack craft, be they helicopters, A-10s or Harriers.

But the high-level fast-movers -- F-16s, F-15s, F-18s, etc. -- are all mostly just bombs from heaven. Some difference in how many bombs you get, and what type, but that's as much due to loadouts that BFC has decided to assign to various airframes, as any real quality of the airframes per se. All of the major NATO strike fighter types are capable of carrying several tons of ordnance, which could be any of a broad range of bombs and air-to-surface missiles, depending on the mission.

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That brings up the topic of CM scenario designers' self-restraint. We could have eight 155mm batteries available and six F15 overhead. There's nothing stopping us. But we never do. Too bad almost, the scenario would only be worth playing through once but the pyrotechnics would be like a 4th of July fireworks display. :D

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I dunno why BFC won't include one of the heavies. Currently B-1Bs are one of the primary CAS platforms in Afghanistan (and Iraq, I suppose?) because they can loiter over the battlefield for hours on end. I reckon they've gotten good at it by now and would have been eagerly used in that role in the hypothetical Syrian conflict.

Oh my, for the chance to give a linear targeting order to a B-1 and blast a whole ridgeline. The thought alone makes me giddy. :)

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We could have eight 155mm batteries available and six F15 overhead. There's nothing stopping us. But we never do. Too bad almost, the scenario would only be worth playing through once but the pyrotechnics would be like a 4th of July fireworks display. :D

Oh, go ahead and do one. Just for the sheer thrill of it.

:D

Michael

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I dunno why BFC won't include one of the heavies. Currently B-1Bs are one of the primary CAS platforms in Afghanistan (and Iraq, I suppose?) because they can loiter over the battlefield for hours on end. I reckon they've gotten good at it by now and would have been eagerly used in that role in the hypothetical Syrian conflict.

Oh my, for the chance to give a linear targeting order to a B-1 and blast a whole ridgeline. The thought alone makes me giddy. :)

Ah the memories of B1's in the gulf, a great load out of precision weapons and a massive take off sound to boot. You havent experienced the body penetrating sound until you get to the end of the runway when they take off.

However, there are other things that do ground attack, the P-3 even comes to mind here and certainly that was doing its stuff in 2008.

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Granted my sample size is small, but the accounts I've read* of the B-1 in Afghan has them dropping only one or two usually, *maybe* up to six bombs, tops. And it also depicts them on extremely limited loiter (and very slow to engage).

Also, I don't think Afghan is a useful model for Syria - they're using AC-130s, for goodness sakes. Being able to do that is pretty much the defintion of nil air threat.

Jon

* Primarily 3PARA, Apache, and An Ordinary Soldier, which are all late-2006 early-2007.

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That brings up the topic of CM scenario designers' self-restraint. We could have eight 155mm batteries available and six F15 overhead. There's nothing stopping us. But we never do. Too bad almost, the scenario would only be worth playing through once but the pyrotechnics would be like a 4th of July fireworks display. :D

Yes most blue vs red scenarios are only playable due to the scenario designers explanation of the absence of sufficiant air support or artillery, honesty CMSF would be a boring game if most scenarios were modelled on the real availability of air or arty.

Another reason to cryogenically freeze yourself until CM:N comes out, but you may wake up with fanatical sea otters as your masters.

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Well... Let's approach this another way:

If BFC were to add the F-18C, E and/or F to the game, exactly what in-game differences between the models would you want to see?

There are some differences between the models, but I'm hard pressed to come up with anything that would have more than a marginal effect in CMSF. The only significant difference to CMSF I can think of is that the two-seat versions (D & F) should arguably have slightly better accuracy and response time, especially at night and in bad weather, since they have a WSO who can focus all his attention on ordnance delivery.

But if there are no gameplay differences, then is it really that important that includes an another version of the F-18 icon graphic that says "F-18C" rather than "F-18D" in the corner? Or maybe you're looking for more air support loadout options?

Personally, it wouldn't bother me a bit if BFC removed the actual airframe designations entirely, and just replaced all the high-altitude fast movers with a generic attack fighter icon, and various loadouts available in the scenario editor. As noted, low-altitude support is a different story -- there are definitely in-game differences there.

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So what you're actually asking for as a different weapons loadout, not a new airframe per se.

Super Hornet does have more weapons attachment points as well as a higher payload than the original Hornet. But note that most of the CMSF weapons loadouts for fast movers don't come close to the airframe's maximum payload, either in weight or in # of items or ordnance. So there really isn't much of a difference in game terms between a C/D, which has 9 hardpoints and a ~6,000 kilo payload, and a E/F, which has 11 hardpoints and a ~8,000 kilo payload. I suspect the reason BFC did this that IRL airframes often don't carry their full payload in ordnance, in order to carry more fuel and extend range and/or loiter time.

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If BFC were to add the F-18C, E and/or F to the game...

I suspect we're going to see a LOT of those comments with the Normandy title. The sheer volume of overlapping weapons types is overwhelming. "You have the Marder III in the game so where's the PaK 40 on the Hotchkiss H.39 chassis?" "You have Mustang D listed in airpower but why not the Mustang H?" "Where's the composite hull dry-stowage Sherman?"

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Marine Supercobra helicopters are different animals than Apaches in-game. Quite a bit of difference raining 20mm death from the sky compared to 30mm. Plus, unlike the British Harrier GR9, the Marine Harrier still has cannon for straffing (only Marine Harrier and A-10 use their cannons in-game). So while one platform dropping a 500 pound bomb is the same as another dropping a 500 pound bomb, there's still discernable differences between aircraft. :)

Why are only these platforms allowed to strafe?

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I believe everything got to strafe targets until quit a long way into the Beta process. Then someone eventually pointed out 'official policy' regarding low level attack in high threat environments. Oh, you mean F15s don't dive on ground targets with guns blazing? Bummer. The Harrier GR9 was my own fault, I stumbled on the info while googling that the old 30mm Aden cannons had been removed and the 25mm replacement cannon project was scrapped. Again, bummer. And i liked straffing runs too! :)

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Strafing runs by fast movers got past Beta -- as I recall, it was in the initial release versions of CMSF. I forget in which patch it was taken out (1.10 maybe?).

IIRC, BFC changed things when they got pretty definitive info from real flyboys that strike fighters would pretty much never risk low-level strafing runs in a high-threat environment. That type of mission would be left to the airframes that are really built for it, i.e., A-10s and attack helos. Marine Harriers are kind of the exception that proves the rule, but Marine aviators pride themselves on their CAS (really, they invented it), so it kind of makes sense that they'd be the ones to bring their jets down on the deck.

Apparently, strike fighters have been doing strafing runs in Iraq & Afghanistan for the past few years ("splashing," I think they call it), but this is an pretty low AA threat environment so it's not really the same thing.

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