Hints and Tips
Mission One - The South China Sea
This mission is a breeze. You easily have more power than the opposition, so they
will resort to more desperate measures, such as trying to shoot down harmless
civilian airliners. The aim of this is to show the world that you aren't just another
musclehead Navy-Jock who enjoys watching innocent Airbuses explode. So set
up your eye in the sky and launch a patrol to surround the islands. Find Spratly
airfield and patrol it with mixed attack sorties of AX Bombers for ground targets
F-18's for any enemy aircraft that break through. This level is a waiting game, and
if you let your attention wander too far, you will not have time to respond to the
Chinese special forces units who are hiding out in the network of islands and oil
rigs. In this mission you don't have to worry too much about losing a few planes,
just be sure to protect the civilians at all costs - or your next assignment will be
cleaning up the officers' mess.
Mission Two - Libya
However much you may want to nip this one in the bud by blowing the chemical
plant away, you can't. Well, not yet, anyway. Enforce the sanctions and find the
ship carrying the missiles and then prevent it from reaching the docks. This would
be easy if the Libyans left you alone for one minute, but they constantly launch
nuisance attacks against you. These attacks aren't trying to sink your fleet, but to
provoke you into making mistakes so they can turn the conflict into a political
embarrassment - and get you fired. Once you have identified the target ship and
seen it off, your bosses in the higher levels of government will send you lists of
targets to attack. You don't have to destroy everything that is sanctioned, just
what you feel is necessary to complete the mission, which in this case is the
chemical plant. So clear a path to it by taking out the air defences of Tripoli and
Bani, and suppress enemy air power by taking out the airport. Once you have
control of the eastern coastal area you can begin the onslaught on the chemical
plant. Deal with the SAMS and AAA, and then send in the heavy mob to flatten
the place. Ensure there are a few F-22 fighters to protect the bombers from enemy
fighters, which may take off from airports further to the south. If you're fast
enough, that will be it, but for most of us it won't. The Libyans make one final
attempt to save some of their chemical warheads, but you will have to deal with
that as it comes.
Mission Three - The Gulf
This is it. You arrive in the Gulf and are told to hold off an Iraqi invasion of
Kuwait until reinforcements get there. This will be a much more intense mission
as the Iraqis know you're on your own and they have three days to take Kuwait
and dig in before Western coalition land forces arrive. If you remember Desert
Storm, you'll know that Saddam Hussein is a master at manipulating politics and
military manoeuvres to get his objective. He also likes to use civilian areas for his
military activities, so bombing has to be perfect or you'll be on the next world
news broadcast. The other problem with this mission is that your fleet is 250 miles
away from the area you're supposed to be protecting, so you have to use long-
range aircraft and lay off the afterburners. Chase away any aircraft that approach
your fleet and keep an eye on them, as they often skirt around then come at you
again, fooling your combat air patrols. Set up a forward observation patrol with an
eye in the sky far enough north to let you see deep into Iraq, so you are alerted to
the land forces as soon as they come pouring down to position themselves in the
trenches along the border. Once the forces are in position you'll be hard-pressed
to deliver enough bombs to the trenches in time to stop the invasion, so the secret
is to slow them down and pick them off as soon as possible. Find the bridges and
take them out, knock out the Early Warning Radar, and ensure that there is no
invasion force left, as the Iraqis will throw everything at you before the
reinforcements arrive (too late as usual).
Top Tips for Commanders
1) When there are lots of simultaneous engagements, stay in the command
position. If you're out gallivanting with your pilots, you may return to some nasty
bleeps on the radar screen or, even worse, a message telling you why you have
2) Don't send missions over well-protected enemy positions. Instead, set the
mission waypoints to skirt around them.
l Ground vehicles can be used as mission waypoints so your planes can home
straight in on them as they attempt to scurry away.
3) Keep your planes at as high an altitude as possible to avoid anti-aircraft fire.
4) If you want to bomb a ground target yourself, send a reconnaissance aircraft to
film it first and then view the target using the camera icon on the command
screen. You don't want to accidentally blow up innocent civilian buildings, do
5) Even though your task force can defend itself against air attack, your job is to
keep the enemy away at all times. If you can't, you won't last long as a
6) Prepare your mission flight paths and gather all your information and
reconnaissance as soon as possible, because when things get going you'll need
your attention on the enemies' units and not on your own.
7) Keep one eye on your combat air patrol planes, because if they're chasing
enemy aircraft, they can fly off over enemy territory and be shot down by SAMs.
Top Ten Flight Tips
1) Follow the rules of engagement. It's very easy to blow away an aircraft with
long-range missiles before you can even see it, and it could well be a civilian
2) Be aware of your height at all times. The aircraft can dive and climb between
sea level and 40,000 feet in under a minute, and if you're pre-occupied with
blowing away a MiG, a little thing like the sea can surprise you. If you're in a
steep dive, pull out of it before 6,000 feet or you'll end up like a wet pizza.
3) Auto-pilot is a life saver. If you're confused and out of control, use the auto-
pilot command to level you out and then switch back to manual control.
4) Things happen fast! You won't see enemy missiles coming, so keep an eye on
the AA missile/SAM warning lights. If they light up, then pump chaff and flares
(keys 3 and 4) and pray.
5) Use the long-range missiles to lock on to your target (but don't fire unless you
have to). Combined with the Padlock View option (the Backspace key) this
should allow you to zero-in on the enemy very quickly. But remember to switch
back to cannons for warning shots. Careless missiles cost lives, and careers.
6) Turning takes time. As any good driving instructor will tell you, you should
plan your turns - especially if you're travelling at over twice the speed of sound.
7) F is for flaps (not an alternative means of propulsion). Engaging these will
greatly improve manoeuvring, but at the cost of stability and speed. Useful for
those sharp turns in dogfights.
8) Remember your brakes. Just because you can fly at over 1,000 mph doesn't
mean you have to. Air brakes (key B) will help slow you down in a hurry,
especially when combined with flaps (key F).
9) When intercepting, position yourself behind and slightly above your target.
That way, when you receive permission to attack you're ready for the kill. He'll
still know you're there, but it'll be far more difficult for him to fire back.
10) Go easy on the afterburners - they'll eat your fuel in a matter of minutes if left
on. If you do find yourself in the embarrassing position of having no fuel, panic
and then press the E key to switch to your spare tank, that's if you've got one. Oh
well, there's always the ejector seat - ALT Q.