I haven't read all the background on your points. During Desert Storm low-level was abandoned based on the fact that AAA and Manpads were a greater threat than suppressed Medium and High Level SAMS. I believe low-level Tornados suffered some of the highest casualty rates. During Allied Force nobody went in low-level again for the same reason as Desert Storm. Iraq and Serbia are the two examples, I can think of, of large scale penetration of modern IADS. Libya, which arguably had a less robust IADs, was attacked from Medium to High altitude. The other example is the Israel attack on Syria a couple years ago. This was against some pretty modern Russian SAMS and it was done from high altitude by F-15Is.
This is not meant as shot but what examples of modern Western aircraft using low-level tactics. Since the 90s Western forces have moved up to mid to high altitudes. I think the last time any one considered low-level tactics would be during 80s, 30 years ago and not in the time period of FC.
The allies did not (and never have) 'abandon' low-level attack tactics.
It was always PLANNED, as an attack STRATEGY, to use the TACTIC of low-level strikes to demolish the most dangerous and organised elements of the Iraqi IADs, then to move into a mid-level (above MANPAD) bombing mode of attack.
They did not suddenly discover MANPADs might be a bit of problem in 1990 you know. It had been a tactical problem for decades, and took no one by surprise.
It's like this, an intact IADs with operational high-alt SAMs detects early forces the high flight-level attacker to dive ... into the more numerous mid-level SAM area, which again forces them to dive for the deck, to get out of the line of fire (if they survive), but because the enemy is now fully alerted, they then also face an effective vigilant MANPAD network.
That is a very dumb and suicidal tactic, and one that is routinely performed in FC, and of course the aircraft are slaughtered, but only because low-level ground-hugging flight simply does not work in FC for the attack aircraft.
(I won't say 'terrain-following' because some other nutter will lamely say such aircraft mostly don't have terrain following radars and auto-pilots, in order to stupidly ignore and discount the valid points being made)
So in order to avoid that, and in the absence of large numbers of stealth aircraft with precise stand-off weapons, and very high-speeds combined with very great altitude (i.e. F-22A), then you have to go in fast, at very low level. you have no other choice on Day-1, regardless of a MANPAD threat (which were surprisingly ineffective BTW, and the hits they made were usually not resulting in kills, and the aircrew were not even being injured).
This is what the Tornados did, and most of them survived, and their targets were mostly destroyed, and effective resistance ceased rather quickly as a result.
Because the PLANNED LOW-LEVEL TACTICS work.
Besides all that factual stuff, 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.
i.e. you attack at low level or preferably with stealth, at stand off ranges (hence F-117s and AH-64s kicked off the EW, comms and headquarters take-downs in the first hours whick made the Tornado attacks viable with so little terrain masking available).
LOW-LEVEL TACTICS work, and the more terrain you have, the better it works, it provides you stealth and surprise, when you have no stealthy aircraft, but most of all, it provides VERY HIGH SURVIVABILTY in a high air threat context (such as is routinely seen in FC).
In 2012 there is not an airforce on Earth that does not train to use low-level attack tactics, routinely, especially with regard to the 3rd and 4th gen aircraft in FC.
For goodness sake even stealthy missiles like a JASSM try to maintain a terrain-masking and clutter dominated flight profile in their terminal attack phases, in defended airspace, else they will telegraph an approaching attack, and probably won't make it to their target, as modern Russian SAMs now seek to prosecute targets like cruise missiles as low as 10 meters above the surface.
When Lock On was first released many years ago, ED stated they were attempting to model the state of air warfare from about 15 year prior, i.e. the end of the cold war, and that period was dominated by low level attack doctrine. The mid and later phases of the cold war the LOW-LEVEL supersonic STRIKE attack via use of terrain masking, to take down EW, IADs and rear area high value command nodes was TACTICAL DOCTRINE de-rigeur.
It is simply patently absurd to take a position that suggests that FC's low-level planned TERRAIN HUGGING flight profiles should not even work, and it's no biggie if it never does. It should have been the FIRST thing fixed after the LOCK ON V1.0 was released. In fact it should not have even been put on the market in such a wretched state of tactical planning dysfunction.