This section describes specialized features of the game including jamming, chaff, and ECM effects.
Certain aircraft are flagged as being Recon. These aircraft have special sensors. Recon aircraft are identified in the Database Dialog or by the words "Has Recon" in the Flight Information area. Recon aircraft can be used to "attack" a ground site. When the overflight occurs, the Recon aircraft performs a recon of the site and the words "Has Recon" are highlighted.
Once a recon aircraft has performed a recon of a site, any damage associated with that site at the time is counted towards Recon Points in the determination of victory conditions. In addition, any subsequent damage of that location is given a bonus towards the victory point calculation. The magnitude of these additional points is determined by the Pre-Recon and Post-Recon parameter data values.
A recon aircraft can only perform one recon mission during a scenario and a given ground location can only have one recon performed against it in a scenario.
Certain ordnance is classified as a Recon Pod. When carried, it gives the aircraft a Recon ability just as though it was a true recon aircraft.
Radar Jamming Aircraft
Certain aircraft have an inherent radar jamming effect defined in the aircraft database. This jamming ability is determined by a range for the radar jamming effect and an angle measured from the wing tips of the jamming aircraft. The coverage area is shown on the map using bright purple wedges.
Radar sources that are within the range and angle defined by the jamming data are affected. This effect is displayed on the map using bright green wedges. When an aircraft is inside this wedge, it cannot be detected by the affected radar.
Certain aircraft can carry a Stand-Off-Jamming (SOJ) pod. This provides the aircraft with the ability to perform radar jamming just like a standard radar jamming aircraft. The range and angle associated with the pod in the ordnance database determines its jamming capability.
Airborne Ground Radar
Certain aircraft carry radar that is capable of detecting ground targets. This ability is identified in the aircraft database in terms of distance and angle. The angle of coverage is measured from the wing tips of the aircraft. This area is displayed on the map using dark green wedges. If a ground Target that is otherwise unknown is in the range and coverage of the ground radar carried by the aircraft, then it becomes known to the detecting side.
Certain aircraft have the ability to perform COMJAM against enemy command nodes. This is shown in the aircraft information area. Their effective range is shown on the map using a purple jamming ring. When an enemy command node comes within jamming range of the aircraft, then a purple line is drawn to that node. Their disruptive effect is proportional to their distance to the command node relative to their maximum jamming range and thus varies from 0% at maximum range up to 100% when they are directly overhead.
Electronic Counter Measures (ECM) Effects
Certain aircraft have an on-board self-protection ECM value given by the aircraft database. All aircraft may also carry ECM pods defined in the ordnance database. This feature gives the aircraft increased protection from weapons that use radar tracking. ECM effects apply to radar-guided SAM’s fired at the aircraft as well as fire from radar-directed AAA guns.
The total ECM protection is the combination:
(1 – on-board) * pod_1 * … * pod_n
where ‘on-board’ is the on-board ECM value and ‘pod_1’ through ‘pod_n’ are the ECM values (given in the To Hit column) of all carried ECM pods. When a weapon that uses radar tracking is fired at the aircraft, the hit probability is modified by this total ECM protection value.
External Fuel Tanks
Certain aircraft may carry external fuel tanks. These external fuel tanks provide additional gallons of fuel given by the Range value of the ordnance database. When the fuel tanks become empty, they are automatically discarded. Also, if the aircraft should be fired upon by the enemy or be given the command to go maximum speed (if this is above full military power), then the fuel tanks are automatically discarded regardless of whether they are empty.
Chaff is the nickname for small metal-coated fiberglass dipoles which are dispensed in the air to confuse enemy radar. Certain aircraft carry Chaff Pods which are used to deploy chaff in corridors to shield friendly aircraft from enemy ground radar. Since Chaff Pods dispense to the rear of the carrying aircraft, they do not provide any protection to the dispensing aircraft unless the radar is behind the aircraft.
Each chaff corridor remains effect for a variable amount of time. The average time is determined by the Chaff Time value of the Parameter Data. Aircraft that are Flying Low are not allowed to dispense chaff. Aircraft that have Chaff Pods cannot travel supersonic.
To dispense chaff, use the "C" hotkey or the Dispense Chaff option of the Command Menu. This will cause the flight to automatically dispense chaff continuously until you issue the Dispense Chaff option a second time.
Certain aircraft have a non-zero Stealth value as defined in the aircraft database. When an aircraft has a non-zero Stealth value, then the nominal range of enemy radar is reduced by this fractional amount when attempting to detect that aircraft. For example, if the Stealth value is 0.8, then the aircraft will not be detected by enemy radar up to 20% of the nominal range of that radar.
Some stealth aircraft also have the optional ability to carry external loads or external fuel tanks. When external loads or fuel tanks are being carried, the stealth value of the aircraft is reduced by the Ext Stealth Factor parameter data value.
Certain air bases are classified as aircraft carriers. They function normally in terms of providing refueling and rearming for flights that have landed there. Only certain aircraft are capable of landing on aircraft carriers.
Certain aircraft are identified as being able to land and takeoff in water. The main purpose of these aircraft is to serve as Search and Rescue planes to rescue downed crews.
VTOL and STOL Aircraft
Certain aircraft are flagged as being VTOL (Vertical Take-Off and Landing) or STOL (Short Take-Off and Landing) aircraft. These aircraft display the designation V/STOL in the Flight Information Area. These aircraft are capable of landing at Targets that are flagged as having a short landing strip.
Certain ordnance in the database has a zero range but has been given a non-zero speed. In this case, the speed value represents the number of seconds between firings of the ordnance. When an aircraft with this ordnance is commanded to attack a target, it will orbit over the target firing the ordnance at the specified rate.
Certain aircraft have Terrain-Following Radar (TFR). This is indicated in the alternative unit display by the letter "T" appearing in the radar range output. When such aircraft are Flying Low, they fly Nap-of-the-Earth (NOE). This helps them avoid enemy radar and ground defenses.
Certain aircraft have Bombing Radar. This radar gives the aircraft the ability to spot ground targets that would otherwise be unknown to the aircraft because of limited visibility.
Pulse Doppler Radar
Certain aircraft have Pulse Doppler Radar. Normally, when an enemy flight is Flying Low, then they are only detectable on airborne radar at half the normal range. However, when the detecting aircraft has Pulse Doppler Radar, then it can detect Flying Low aircraft at its full detection range.
Certain aircraft are capable of Electronic Intelligence (ELINT). This is indicated in the alternative unit display and the range of the capability is shown. When an enemy aircraft is within this range and it has been spotted on radar, then the flight can be selected on the map and the type of aircraft in the flight is known.
The range of an aircraft capable of ELINT is shown using a purple circle on the map. If there are any enemy aircraft that have been detected using this ability, then the direction to the aircraft is shown as a bright green line on the map.
Aircraft with ELINT capabilities can also detect active SAM sites that are within their range as well as unknown radar sites that are within their range.
When the secondary sensor value of an aircraft is defined and the aircraft is flagged as being ASW, then it is possible for the aircraft to detect underwater submarines, which are otherwise undetectable. For this detection to take place, the submarine has to be in the range of the secondary sensor and the aircraft has to be Flying Low.
Certain aircraft carry sonobuoys which can be dropped into the water and used to detect underwater enemy submarines. To drop a sonobuoy as the selected load for an aircraft, right click on the aircraft while holding down the Ctrl key. This will place a sonobuoy in the water and show its detection range as a green circle. If you have Auto-Fire set for the selected flight and it is carrying sonobuoys, then these are automatically deployed whenever you are flying a Patrol track over water and there are not already sonouoys deployed there.
Drones and UAVs
Certain aircraft are classified as being unmanned. In addition, some of these are unable to be controlled in flight and will fly in a straight line until they run out of fuel, while others can be controlled like a normal aircraft.
There are specific loads designated as Cyber Pods. When an aircraft carries a Cyber Pod, then it automatically conducts a cyberattack on every enemy command node, radar site, and missile site in range of the pod. This attack shows up on the map using a computer terminal icon and remains in effect as long as the location is within range of the aircraft carrying the Cyber Pod.
Electromagnetic Pulse Weapons
Certain loads (such as E-Bomb) are classified as EM (Electromagnetic) Pulse weapons. When these are used, they are important not so much for their explosive effects, but rather for the disruptive effects caused by the EM Pulse they generate. This pulse prevents certain operations associated with the target such as radar and command from taking place as long as the pulse is effective. The amount of time it takes to recover from an EM Pulse at any one target is randomly determined by an average time specific in the Parameter Data Values.
There are two effects that can apply. The first effect, called RF Upset, means that the electronics of the target have been disrupted to the point that they are not effective. However, no permanent damage has occurred and with a shutdown and/or reboot it is possible to restore the electronics to nominal functionality. When RF Upset applies to a target, the target is marked with the icon shown here.
A second effect is called RF Damage. When this occurs, it means that there is permanent damage to the electronics of the target. To recover from this, electronics must be replaced and/or repaired before the target is restored to nominal functionality. This takes a much longer time than recovery from RF upset.
In certain scenarios, there may be Electrical Grids which describe the generation and transmission of electrical power to certain sites. Electrical power starts with a Power Production site. This may be linked with one or more Power Transmission sites until finally linked to the destination of the electrical power such as an air base, command node, etc.
If the Power Production site or Power Transmission side is adversely affected during the scenario either by attrition or though any one of the special effects such as an EM Pulse, a chemical weapon, nuclear radiation, or cyber attack, then this will reduce the electrical power available to the destination site and thus the effectiveness of that site will be reduced accordingly.
Optionally, a site fed by power from an Electrical Grid may also have Backup Power. When this attribute exists, the electrical power available to that site will never drop below 50% as the backup power will be used to restore power to that level if the feed should be too low.
Air bases have many different functions and features in the game. They have multiple attributes that affect their ability to perform their tasks and targeting against air bases can be specialized to affect specific areas of the base.
Each air base consists of three required attributes:
- Runways – One or more runways that are used for taking off and landing. Damage to these runways will affect the ability of aircraft at the air base to take off and the ability of flying aircraft to land at the air base.
- Ramps – These are where aircraft are normally stored at the air base. When the ramps are damaged, it will affect aircraft at the air base and the capacity of the air base to store additional aircraft.
- Buildings – These are where logistical items such as fuel and additional ordnance are stored. When the buildings are damaged, then the stocks of fuel and ordnance will be reduced.
Optionally, air bases can be specified to have fuel and ordnance stored at the air base to be used to refuel and rearm aircraft at the air base. When these attributes are not specified in the scenario, then the air base has no limit on its ability to refuel and resupply. Otherwise, if a specific fuel value is specified for the airbase, then aircraft can be refueled until that fuel value reaches zero, at which point the air base cannot provide any more fuel. Likewise, if specific ordnance is specified for the airbase, then aircraft needing rearming can take from that inventory until it is exhausted, at which point they cannot be rearmed.
When you double-tap on an air base on the map, then the Air Base Dialog is displayed which shows all of the aircraft based at that air base.
When the runways of an air base are damaged, then it takes longer for aircraft to take off and land at the air base. When the runways are reduced to 0%, then no aircraft can land at the air base.
When the ramps at an air base are damaged, then any aircraft at the air base are subject to damage as a result. Any damage to the ramps reduces the ability of the air base to store aircraft there.
When the buildings at an air base are damaged, then any fuel or ordnance stored at the air base is reduced proportionally.
This section discusses the feature of crew training values and how these affect the performance of flights in combat. Each training value corresponds to a specific modifier so that there is a significant difference between the performance of the best units vs. the worst units.
Each squadron in the Order-of-Battle is given a rating of its training. These values show up in the Flight Information Area. The training values are the following:
A units are the Elite units
B units are the Superior units
C units are the Average units
D units are the Marginal units
E units are the Poor units
F units are the Incompetent units.
The training rating is used to determine the modifiers for combat.
Associated with each training level is a basic Training Modifier as follows:
- The modifier for A units is 2.0.
- The modifier for B units is 1.5.
- The modifier for C units is 1.0.
- The modifier for D units is 0.75
- The modifier for E units is 0.5
- The modifier for F units is 0.25
These modifiers are used to in the resolution of combat.
Hit Probability Modifier
When a shot fired by a flight with Training Modifier m and with a nominal hit probability of p is resolved, then the hit probability is modified according to the following:
Probability (p, m) = p * m / (p * (m - 1) + 1)
For example, when a flight with training D fires, a hit probability of 0.8 becomes 0.75. Likewise, then a flight with training B fires, a hit probability of 0.7 becomes 0.78.
If the shot is fired against a flight with Training Modifier n, then the hit probability is further modified by the above calculation but by using 1/n as the modifier in the equation.
For example, when a fight with training A is fired upon, then the hit probability is modified using the modifier 1/2 (= 1 / 2.0). A shot with a nominal hit probability of 0.8 thus has a hit probability of 0.67 against this flight.
When a flight with a Training Modifier of m attacks another flight with a Training Modifier of n, then the dogfight kill probability is modified by
m / n
When an air-to-ground shot from a flight with Training Modifier m is resolved, then the nominal footprint f of the shot becomes
f / m
Thus the footprint of a shot from a flight with training F is 4 times the normal footprint.
Refueling and Rearming
The Training Modifier is used to modify the nominal refueling rate of a flight so that flights with higher training refuel in less time. When the flight is being mid-air refueled, the modifiers of the flight and the tanker flight are averaged. When a flight is in Hangar, the rearm rate is modified by the Training Modifier.
In a given scenario, there may be one or more Command Nodes present. These Command Nodes can be linked to one or more sites, each being a AAA site, radar site, missile site, air base, or other Command Node.
Based on these links, each site can be assigned a current Command Level.
- For sites with no links back to a Command Node, the default Command Level is 100.
- For sites with links back to Command Nodes, the Command Level of the site is the minimum status value of those nodes.
For example, if a particular site is linked back to a Command Node with status 75 and that Command Node is linked back to a Command Node with status 50, then the current Command level of the site is 50.
When the Command Level of a site is reduced, then it reduces the abilities of the site as follows.
- Any site with a Command Level of 0 cannot see or spot enemy aircraft. This reflects the fact that the communication link to the site has been broken and information known to the site cannot be communicated to higher command.
- A missile site with a reduced Command Level will have a reduced weapon range. This reflects the fact that targeting information is not getting to the missile site resulting in a reduced ability to acquire targets.
- Likewise, a AAA site with a reduced Command Level will have a reduced AAA weapon range.
- A radar site with a reduced Command Level will have a reduced radar range. This reflects the communication difficulty between the radar site and its command.
- An air base with a reduced Command Level will have an increased Take-Off time between flights, up to double the normal Take-Off time when the Command Level at the site is reduced to 0.
- All sites with a reduced Command Level will have a reduced AAA range. This reflects the lack of advanced warning the site has about inbound enemy aircraft
Certain aircraft have a Capacity value that enables them to carry Cargo loads. Likewise, aircraft can have a Passenger value that enables them to carry Passengers. When an aircraft carries Cargo or Passengers, it will have a reduced flying range based on how much weight it is carrying versus the maximum capacity of the aircraft. Cargo can be loaded onto a suitable aircraft using the Load Cargo option and unloaded from an aircraft using the Unload Cargo option of the Command Menu.
It is possible for certain aircraft to carry a load designated as Infantry. With this load, the aircraft can attack enemy ground locations. As a result of the attack, the Infantry load is considered expended and if possible, the aircraft will land at the enemy location.
Air Droppable Cargo
It is possible for certain aircraft to carry a load designated as Air Droppable Cargo. When an aircraft carries such a Cargo load, it can "attack" a friendly ground Target including Location Targets. This attack results in a negative point loss to that target and thus positive victory points towards the owning side.
When an aircraft picks up Civilians from a Target, then it is carrying Passengers. Likewise, in certain scenarios, there will be Passengers associated with Air Bases, either at the beginning of the scenario, or as a result of bringing them there from Civilian Targets, that will need to be evacuated. Using the On/Off Passengers option of the Command Menu, it is possible to load and unload Passengers from an aircraft carrying them that is parked at an Air Base. The ability to unload Passengers at an Air Base requires that the base have sufficient Medical Care to provide for those Passengers.
Each Air Base is assigned a Medical Care value indicating how many Passengers it can accommodate. As a special case, if this value is -1, then there is no specified limit to how many Passengers can be unloaded at that Air Base. If a specific value is assigned that Air Base, then it can be increased by bringing Medical Care loads to the Air Base. Once there, these loads will add to any existing Medical Care value. If a Medical Care load is necessary to care for Passengers at an Air Base, then it cannot be loaded onto an aircraft and taken from the Air Base.
Certain Cargo loads are classified as Construction Crews. When these are transported to an Air Base, they act to restore the Runway, Ramp, and Building status of that base. Some Construction Crews are classified as Air Droppable and so can be brought into a totally destroyed base. Other Construction Crews require a runway suitable for the aircraft that are transported on.