Hey guys, so I was thinking about creating a guide which will have the input of several members on CAS Tactics, theory, and execution in a similar form to what I did for the MANPADS and Trip A guide for Black Shark. http://simhq.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/2915432/1.html
Oh yeah, this is Robdcamp, the site hates that name for whatever reason, so I'm sticking to my online callsign.
So, I won't be able to really play the game until I graduate, but I think forming up ideas into a logical and concise manner would be greatly helpful, in order to remove many of the stereotypes people have about CAS operations and how to fly them. This is a very exciting opportunity for all of us, flying one of the premier aircraft of the USAF.
So, here's to looking forward to many years of ground pounding in the Hawg!
Please Note that some of the information will not be complete until I actually get my hands on the game. If anyone who has played the game would like to add information, either post it, or PM me and I will edit in, with a citation of what you said.***Disclaimer
, there is PG-13 rated language and sexual innuendos reference to alcoholic beverages, as well as derogatory and non Political Correct terminology regarding the Atheistic Communist Pinko Bastards who are more than willing to die for Rodina and Glorious Comrade Putin
correction, soldiers of the Russian Federation who serve their homeland and PM Vladimir Putin. If you don't like it, you can go bugger off. (Complaint department can be reached here 1. Close Air Support (theory)
Close Air Support is the act of providing friendly ground forces with air cover while they are in close contact with enemy forces. The A-10 is designed to both provide close support, as well as interdiction against enemy ground forces. The A-10C brings with it a variety of precision guided munitions which allow near pinpoint accuracy in weapons deployment.
2. Close Air Support (execution)3. Flight Profilesa. Low Level Attack Profile (0'-5000' AGL)b. High Altitude Attack Profile (5000'-15,000' AGL)
c. SLANT RANGE: The easiest way to explain slant range is to use a right triangle. The vertical leg of the triangle is the altitude of your a/c AGL. The base leg is the range along the ground between the A/C and target. The hypotenuse is the longest side of the triangle, and of course the longest distance between A/C and target.
SLANT RANGE=HYPOTENUSE4. Weapons Systemsa. Gau-8
The A-10's primary armament. The heavy hitter. Fires a combat mix of depleted uranium AP and HE shells. Despite the aircraft being built around this beast keep in mind that you have other tools at your disposal, but recent combat experience in Afghanistan and Iraq have proven the M61a1 and Gau-8 to be and remain one of the most valuable tools for providing close support for allied ground forces.
I am in no means saying not to use the cannon to the maximum, but remember that it has a time and place. Be aware of the full capabilities of the cannon, its maximum range is something like 3km at proper slant range, which allows you to actually exceed the firing parameters of the Shilka for a few brief seconds. In fact, your cannon has a higher maximum range at the premium parameters then most light AAA the Commies use. The danger is, your pure advantage will only last at the initial stages of your attack run.
Remember, the further you go in, the more danger of having an accident. Don't be a fool: you need to discipline yourself to pull out..... of your attack run. But discipline is a problem, it is an acquired skill. It takes practice, and many attempts, but is a primary skill which will improve your other flight skills. Don't fixate on your target. Fire, and if you miss, you can take another run. Pull out or there's a good chance you will end up being exploded (either the ground, or AAA, or a AK-107)b. Rocketsc. AGM-65
Is the standard anti-vehicular guided missile of the USAF/USN/USMC. The AGM-65 is fire and forget, meaning once it has been fired, it will track its target until impact, and according to statistics, is a terrifyingly accurate weapon. The maximum effective range depends largely on the altitude which it was launched, speed of the launching aircraft (not that we have anything to worry about, whoever launches above Mach 1 gets a pint on me) and a ton of boring barometric variables which may reduce range by a yard or so.
There are two different types of Mavericks we will employ, Electro Optical, and IR.
The Mavericks work as a standoff weapon, standard magnification is 3x, can be zoomed to 6x. Coupled with the LANTIRN pod, you can engage enemy IADS assets outside of their maximum range, including but not limited to the Shilka, and SA-19. Once IADS have been destroyed, remaining missiles can be deployed against enemy armor.
The AGM-65G has a 300lbs AP warhead which is effective against large structures, naval assets, and reinforced bunkers. Due to austerity measures in the USAF, using Mavericks against Zil trucks and guys toting AK-47's will result in the cost of the weapon being taken out of your pension.
d. Unguided Bombs
Unguided bombs (Mk. 82) are best used against soft targets, infantry, and IFVs, as well as buildings. A direct hit against a MBT will destroy it, however, the chances of actually hitting a tank with an unguided bomb are very slim. The main effect is the shrapnel which they produce.
The Mk. 84 is a 2,000lb bomb, and is much more deadly then its smaller cousin. It can be used for the destruction of bunkers, bridges, as well as the targets previously mentioned. Again, is not the best weapon with which to engage armored vehicles, though the CEP for success is significantly improved.
Keep in mind (I'm not sure how well its modeled) that the Mk. 84 will send shrapnel out for a kilometer (according to Vipers in the Storm), the shrapnel takes about 30 seconds to fall to earth, and will fly nearly a kilometer up into the air.
The Mk. 82 has a blast radius about half of the Mk. 84.e. Guided Bombs (LGB)
f. Guided Bombs (JDAM)g. LANTIRN podh. Cluster Munitions5. Survival in the hostile environment
Yes, this is a sim. We are all aware of that, however for the sake of this guide we will assume this is not. In the immortalized words of Gunnery Sergeant Hartman (KIA) "You are not allowed to die without permission". The best way to survive in this battlefield is not to die. This seems overly simplistic and is quite obvious, however the implementation of not dying is not. Just as you are attempting to utterly destroy those misguided communist degenerates on the ground you can bet that they will bring every weapon to bear on you in order to prevent you from blasting them to kingdom come.
Just as I touched on with my Black Shark guide, the most important thing is to simply stay out of the effective range of their weapons. Now that is much more difficult in an A-10 then that outdated and under equipped Kamov piece of junk because your can no longer slink along at a mere 50kmph, but the A-10C has several advantages that Kamov pilots only have nocturnal emissions about.
The LANTIRN pod allows you to spot targets day or night long before you can have visual on them with the old Mk. IIs. The A-10C has a state of the art datalink which allows threats to be noted and spread throughout a flight giving Hawg pilots increased situational awareness.
Adjust your tactics according to the type of threat you are faced with. In Desert Storm, according to Gen. Chuck Horner (ret) in Every Man a Tiger[i] Coalition Air Forces operated at Medium to High Altitudes. Above 15,000' AGL, the main IADS threat will be medium range SAMS, with the destruction of Iraqi Command and Control facilities, each SAM battery and fighter wing was essentially isolated, greatly reducing their effectiveness. At this altitude you are above the range of low caliber AAA, and hopefully the programmers I mean writers of the FRAG order will have provided you with F-16's performing SEAD.
At this altitude you can engage targets with AGM-65s and precision guided munitions with near impunity, granted you avoid any linger SAMS which the wild weasels left behind, though a little bird tells me that SEAD has been very well programmed and implemented this time around Errr, the Viper pilots have grown a pair, I mean.
Of course, you may have to descend from the heavens in order to properly provide CAS, which means opening a whole new can of worms. The most important thing is that you maintain situational awareness of your surroundings, as well as have a clear plan of action. Do not descend into range of hidden MANPADS, Shilka's, and ZSU-23's. Remember that just as the Soviet Navy never took a dump without a plan, neither should you.
Find your target, engage, then get out. Never overfly your target, regardless of what Glowing AMRAAM does, you give anyone with a SA-7 or AK-107 a great big target without having to worry about closure. And unlike the guys who fly Predators, you can't just say screw it, I'm gonna go get a cup of coffee. If targets need another pass, reengage, preferably from a different direction.
a. Surface to Air
b. Strike Aircraft
The main Russian counterpart of the A-10 is the Su-25. A comparative analysis of the a/c is a moot point because other then the very vague term "Dedicated to CAS" the aircraft are designed for very different roles.
The Su-25 is vastly faster then the A-10, and can operate at high sub-sonic speeds, as is quite maneuverable to boot. The regular model is armed with two R-60 (AA-8) Aphid IR missiles, the Su-25T can be armed with R-73 (AA-11) Archer missiles in place of the R-60s, though they do not have the HMS off boresight capability of the Fulcrum or Flanker.
This is NOT A-10 Cuba, where you will be forced into the role of an [i]ersatz
fighter. Do not go out of your way to engage enemy aircraft, as essentially you have no standout advantages in terms of capabilities and armaments.
If you are forced into an engagement, be aware that the A-10 has surprisingly good maneuverability in the horizontal plane, but a very limited thrust to weight ratio. You can make use of your reserves of E in a brief rolling scissors, or attempt to get the enemy to overshoot, then go guns or Fox-2.
Take advantage of flying low, make the other pilot as uncomfortable as possible, use the terrain to your advantage, and if possible, disengage from the fight by putting a large terrain feature between you and them so they lose tally. c. Fighters
In an ideal world aircraft such as the A-10 would operate only under allied air cover. In most of the recent military operations, allied forces have operated with total air superiority, allowing for dedicated strike craft to operate without the threat of enemy fighters. However, given the scope of this Sim, the pilot would most likely be dealing with a true force on force action on a relatively limited front (Georgia is not that big). In addition, the front would be relatively close to Russian air bases.
Against dedicated Fighters, your best bet is to bug out if possible, if not, get low. Use the terrain to your advantage, and perhaps you can lose yourself in the radar clutter.
If you are forced into close range with a fighter, you have three tools at your disposal, the Gau-8, Aim-9, and a rather maneuverable aircraft. You can be more maneuverable at lower speeds then the Average Corner speed of an enemy fighter. At 300 knots, you will turn tighter and much faster then a MiG-29. If the enemy overshoots, go guns or missiles on them. But the key rule to remember is that discretion is often better then valour. Getting yourself and your airframe back in one piece is much better then attempting to tangle with an enemy fighter. d. Air to Air (Helicopters)
Alright, Helicopters. Utility helicopters are not so much of an issue, it's the attack helicopters you need to worry about.
The primary helicopters you need to worry about are the Mi-24, Mi-28, and Ka-50. All have guided missiles, however the missiles of the Mi-28 are much more deadly due to the more open firing parameters open to them. The At-6 and VIKHR both have small launching opportunities.
Frontal aspect attack also puts you into the best firing solution for the enemy's cannon. Attacking from the frontal aspect also creates the worst parameters for using the AIM-9 sidewinder and rapidly increases the rate of closure for you to engage with your own gun. As such is not recommended.
A second catch-22 arises in the terms of altitude. If you have a higher altitude then the enemy helicopters it is uch more difficult to visually acquire them, and you will be silhouetted against the sky. Meeting them at low altitude in order to catch them in the sky ensures that you lose any initial altitude advantage. Once you have visual contact.
I would recommend only engaging attack helicopters with your AIM-9 missiles. sic
e. Armor (Tanks, IFV's, things that can usually shoot back)
Never try to overfly armor, or AFVs. Keep in mind that at the very least they have a heavy machine gun, and in some cases 23mm,30mm autocannons in the case of the BMP-2, BMP-3. Though these autocannons are optically aimed, they can send up a lot of shells, and the law of averages is not in your favor. Never get within 1km of target if you are at low altitude unless you are using bombs. And if you are using bombs you're better off attacking from higher altitude.
***I'm not sure if tanks will engage aircraft with their main gun. It is certainly within the realm of possibility if you are coming in at a low angle from long range. Never get within 1km of an armored column that knows you are comingf. ECM programing, functionality of ALQ-131 ECM Pod