posted on Jul, 6 2006 @ 10:17 AM
I realize that the loadouts of many of the aircraft are limited in LoMAC - more on the U.S. side than the Russian (the game was developed by
No. If you did a realistic load, the most you would see on an A-10 would be 4 AGM-65B/D (LAU-88) and 4-6 Mk.82HD. If you are using heavyweight
systems in the Maverick-G/K range, you are even more restricted to just the two LAU-117 rails. While wall to wall Maverick is theoretically possible,
the gun and it's reputation were seen as an 'all doing' necessity and so they never advanced the case for more Maverick pylon activations.
Also, a lot of it is limited due to classifications. The developers wanted to create as accurate of a game as possible. From everything I've seen
of it - it's much more involved than any other combat sim I've ever played. Radars are simulated, seeker heads are simulated...... but the damned
AI never realizes the importance of using anti-radar missiles to eliminate targetting and/or search radars BEFORE moving in to destroy the launchers
with other munitions.
The only way to win a conventional SEAD war against a double digit threat is to use decoys and cruise missiles in combination with deceptive strike
train routing, EA and rapid ELINT plus a LOT of prebrief ARM. Things are getting better now that the AGM-88D is essentially a powered IAM with a
rumored datalink but for the period LoMAC is mimicking, the combined arms approach is the only way forward and it is _very_ sortie intensive.
You are looking to get threats to dummy load or sacrifice decoys under the threat of ARMs inbound from maximum range and then roll them up with iron
off a preestablished EOB using strikers coming in under the horizon. Something that typically isn't valid if the AI is driving because their
reactions are going to be waypoint action/event coded rather than truly 'expert system' flexible at all times over enemy airspace.
I learned to reserve the 'wild weasel' part of a mission for myself and let my buddies go out and do their 'miracle bombing' of hitting a tank
with a cluster bomb that disperses perpendicular to the convoy. A+ on accuracy - F on ingenuity....
Depending on the terrain and target spacing, this is not as bad an idea as you may think.
First off, you /always/ extablish a tangential cutline that creates some crossing angle so that you don't donut around or to either side of a linear
target matrix but rather 'string' across it (obviously CBU bomblets enhance this effect). You also don't want to be a bullet soak at typical A-10
speeds for the majority of the column and given the A-10's lack of sustained G and speed capability, the cluster effect is going to bring with it
compensation for ultra low altitude approach (often under 50ft) and terrain restrictions on final runin axis as well.
Assuming the desire is to head and tail the column so that you can gun it up afterwards, if you are looking at a roadway with significant shoulder or
open terrain to either side, the CBUs dispense pattern may give you not only the best compensation for target error. But also act as an instant
minefield to cap the artery altogether (at which point things like Artillery and ATGW become 90% more effective because you are not compensating for
an MTI and trailing vehicles will tend to bunch).
I also noticed that the game has some bizzare loadout limits. I've seen A-10s loaded to absolute ridiculousness with MK-82s - yet no such loadout
even comes close in the game.
Back in the _mid 70's_, the A-10 flew with a lot of loads during the initial Edwards Seek Eagle clearance work which have never been seen since.
GBU-8 HOBOS opposed with GBU-10 LGB will _never_ happen for instance because the GBU-8 was retired by 1978 and the GBU-10 is a high altitude weapon.
Similarly, outside the F-111 community, active-AF MER (X6 multiple ejector rack) use was largely over by 1980, they didn't even have the racks
forward at Bentwaters.
You could (and did) still see TER (X3) loadouts, usually as X2 slant or flats with cluster munitions or AIRs but lacking power in the largely gutless
TF34's and again, for ALL of the 1980's without a smart HUDWAC (CDIP or DToss), the A-10 couldn't loft weapons and couldn't fly high enough, long
enough, to be more than a target with more parent loaded bomb counts. In ODS, it was SOP, especially on the longer trips up north, to basically
'find anything that could be HUD tape justified' and drop ALL ballistic ordnance on it to clean the airframe up because the A-10 does not perform
well above about 10,000ft and they had loiter issues to consider as well. At low level, you have /some/ power margin but you also gain a lot more
trashfire and terrain modifiers to your flightpath (on the old engines it was common to run with part brakes and 100% power in the combat area,
snapping them closed to recover 'instant smash', while creating a lot of fatigue issues with the TF34).
As for many of the tactics - I have a very basic idea of what you're talking about - probably similar to what I encountered with 'Gila'
shoulder-fired missiles during the campaign. Those damned things were annoying. Not to mention the Strella-10s placed in a valley, waiting for me to
pop up over the hill and catch a missile in the teeth - and the Strella-10s are much harder to evade than the Strella-1s. I forget what missile they
fire - but there's a difference in it that really counts.
The key to minimizing threat is to work terrain aggressively so that you can deny LOS. To give you an idea how tricky this could sometimes be, out at
Ft. Irwin they discovered that if they came in around 20ft, lead tanks couldn't use zipgun defense in-van because the Zoos would either lockup the
lead vehicles or (in optical mode) take off the antennas on their roofs before the could discourage the GAU shooters. In this, also helps a _great
deal_ to be /very familiar/ with your ops area so that while the armorers turn the plane on the hotpad, and after you pass back the whizz bottle, you
can do a little 'instant mission planning' in the cockpit with your maps to work out a
best approach route that stayed away from ALL 'unknown' terrain or builtup features not occupied or at least under watch by friendly forces.
Both of these things are harder to do with digital terrain modeled simulators because while they may have a fair amount of 'standup effect' (3D)
vegetation and the like at the highest detail settings, they also still tend to use tiles and repeated texture patterns which, at very low level, come
out 'pre blurred' and thus ruin the depth of field visual details necessary to get real terrain contour chase going at the lowest levels.
Beyond that, your best friend is a Tactical Air Control Party or FAC who can give you threat evaluations and (if mobile enough to keep up) stage
attacks on multiple axes as targets come into advantaged engagement conditions (a tank moving between a gap in two treelines on a road is effectively
'undefended' for an instant but only if the controller can see the /approaches/ to that gap in time to start your runin).
He also has the call on arty and supporting fires as from attack aviation Army stuff. This is where FFAR (and high rez optics and boom pitots plus
computerized ballistics calc) start to really matter because while rockets don't have the base ballistic accuracy of the gun, they can saturate a
LARGE area with grenadelets on a preemptive basis. So that even if you _don't know_ there is a MANPADS threat in overwatch on a hilltop or rooftop,
you can send a couple rockets downrange to preemptively suppress with.