Er, airbases are actually key elements of any modern IADs, the Tornados were attacking and degrading the IADS. QED
I never said F-117s flew level or low? Show me where I did? I said this though which you seemed to hurry to ignore and discount:
" ... Iraq also had very poor topographical terrain-masking relief and cover, within its most populated and military target-rich central valley area, hence there was higher than normal exposure to abundant ground fire. Indeed, the most effective and dangerous weapons were not the SAMs at all, and certainly not MANPADs, but the numerous RADAR and IR guided AAA. In a European context, which this STANDARD low-level TACTIC, and aircraft, was primarily developed for, the terrain-masking opportunities are much greater, and the alert times available for a MANPAD team would have been even less in a European theatre context. FC is set in a quasi-European theatre context, and its terrain cover is virtually ideal for exceptionally effective low-level attacks. ..."
"... On top of all this, the Tornados suffered significant losses only because they had the most dangerous jobs in the opening days of the air attack on the Iraqi IADs. If the Tornados had to do this from mid-level altitudes, it's likely few would have survived, or escaped hits. ..."
Have a look at a detailed topographical map or Iraq then have a look at where the Tornados were involved in low-level airfield strike. Notice the distinct and obvious lack of terrain masking opportunities? Low level tactics are only meant to work with reliability and high survivability where there is terrain masking, or else a high level of ground cover and electronic support.
No terrain = no masking = earlier warning = easier to target = easier to shoot down
Which means they were relying principally on ground-clutter and electronic means to degrade radars, and provide an extra degree of protection, which very arguably proved insufficient - as I will make clear. Your quote above takes the tactical situation out of its full context and ignores the absence of terrain to mask approach.
That is not the case in FC's terrain before you rush to formulate another load of nonsense.
The low-level runway attacks in the almost flat central and southern Iraqi context was necessitated due to the use of the LAAAS Low-Altitude Airfield Attack System, otherwise known as the JP233, which was designed for use in a more terrain-masking European setting, against Soviet union era air bases and their defences.
But no aircraft were even shot down due to this!
Deployment was rather frightening for the flight crew, since it required the aircraft to fly low, straight and level over an enemy airfield, and when over the runway the pods would dispense their payload. During the Gulf War it was widely reported in the popular press that Tornados were shot down by AAA fire and MANPADS during delivery of the JP233 munition, but in fact none of the losses occurred during the attack phase of a JP233 mission. Only one aircraft was lost carrying the JP233 munition when Tornado ZA392 crashed into the ground 16 km (9.9 mi) after delivering the weapon at low level; enemy fire was not reported and it was believed that this was an incident of controlled flight into terrain.
What did alarm the crews of British and Saudi Arabian Tornados using JP233 however was that the aircraft was brightly illuminated at night by the exploding munitions. Attacks using JP233 were suspended six days into the Gulf War, as the Iraqi Air Force was effectively flying no missions.
With the increasing availability of stand-off attack munitions capable of the same mission with little risk to the flight crew and aircraft, and the British entry into the Land Mines Treaty (which declares the HB-876 illegal), the JP233 has been withdrawn from service. ..."
Thus low-level flight tactic prevented successful engagement of the Tornados flying straight and level, right over the top of a heavily defended airbase!
Low-level attack tactics work. QED
"... In 1991, the Tornado made its combat debut in the Gulf War, the British military activities in which were designated Operation Granby. Nearly 60 GR1s were deployed by the United Kingdom to air bases at Muharraq (Bahrain), Tabuk and Dhahran in Saudi Arabia. Several Tornado ADVs were deployed to provide air cover, the threat of their long range missiles being a significant deterrent to Iraqi pilots, who would deliberately avoid combat when approached.
In the early stages of the coalition's military action, the GR1s targeted military airfields across Iraq, deploying a mixture of 1,000 lb (450 kg) unguided bombs in loft-bombing attacks and specialised JP233 runway denial weapons. Six RAF Tornados were lost in the conflict, as was one Italian Tornado. Of the RAF aircraft, four were lost while delivering unguided bombs, one was lost after delivering JP233, and one trying to deliver laser-guided bombs. On 17 January 1991, the first Tornado to be lost was shot down by an Iraqi SA-16 missile following a failed low-level bombing run. On 19 January, another RAF Tornado was shot down during an intensive raid on Tallil Air Base. The impact of the Tornado strikes upon Iraqi air fields is difficult to determine.
They were thus being used "in the early stages", as part of the initial attack on the Iraqi IADs, contrary to your assertion that only cruise missiles and stand-off weapons are used "Day-1".
And again: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Granby
"...The first part of the Gulf War air campaign was directed against the IAF. Early on January 17, the RAF's Tornado GR1s flew into Iraq, with tanker support. The first targets were Iraqi airbases, which housed a variety of defence systems and aircraft. These attacks were co-ordinated in Riyadh by the Joint Allied Headquarters, with Wratten now leading the British command; aircraft were almost totally integrated into a single coalition force. Support aircraft in raids, therefore, could be from any coalition power. Within 24 hours, a hundred sorties had been run. After seven days, the RAF's focus, like the rest of coalition air forces, was moved to targets related to the support of Iraqi forces in Kuwait. These included oil refinery and strategic bridges over the River Euphrates. During operations, civilians were killed when the sophisticated guidance systems on the weaponry used failed, and buildings close to these bridges (many in populated areas) were hit instead. On the whole, many pilots were frustrated by the lack of combat.
In every combat role, the RAF was second to USAF involvement, but ahead of other members of the coalition. Of the around 55 Allied aircraft lost, six were Tornadoes and one a Jaguar; these aircraft types running a total of 2,500 sorties. Five air crew were lost in operations, and three in preparations. ..."
So, that's 2,500 sorties and only 5 aircrew lost! But only 2 of these were actual combat operation losses, none were from enemy fire, and these 2 fatalities were caused via controlled flight into terrain. Whilst many Iraqi airfields lay shattered, unable to respond.
i.e. The low-level attack tactics worked, even in terrane conditions that were very far from ideal for it to be effective. Properly planned and executed low-level attacks still worked.
You alluded to Israeli attacks on Syria, and I did not bother to take you up on that, because I already dealt with this in detail in an earlier post (which you did say you had not read, so I left it alone).
The F-16s etc were not required to make the NECESSARY low-level attacks over flat terrain against heavily-defended targets, they were in completely different roles, so why are you comparing apples with oranges, and acting like the conclusions are meaningful or valid in comparative or absolute terms?
How many Tornados and Jags do you think were lost?
Over flat terrain like that no one should be using low-level attacks --> UNLESS <-- it was unavoidable and necessary. And that was the case, in the opening days of the attack on the IADS airbases.
What this has to do with the fact that the low-altitude AI flight and tactical planning in FC does not work at all is lost on me. It's just nit-picking which seeks to ignore the parlous state of FC as a tactical combat flight sim.
"Why did Allied Force feature no low-level tactics? It is as you describe a "European" context."
Because it was the first air attack in which the B-2 with PGMs participated and the F-117A was also used extensively. i.e. other delivery means and weapons were available to negate the IADs, and demolish airfields, as well as to attack 'rear area' high value targets. There are no B-2s full of JDAMs etc in FC.
"Why did Libya feature no low-level tactics?"
Really?? ... did you notice the Libyan 'IADs' and its air farce and 'navy' were a joke? Why would you fly low-level if there is no reason to, and when some backward undisciplined yokel with a big new bang-stick will happily shoot at anything that moves?
Again, you're citing air battles that are 10 and 25 years removed from the era modelled in FC, what does it have to do with the fact that FC low-level flight is broken, and that low-level tactics were de-rigeur in the period being modelled? Or with the fact that the FC terrain environment is ideal for it, and also is full of EW, SAMs, AEW, fighters and AAA? But at least you tried to make worthwhile points that were interesting and constructive so you get a thumbs up for that.