Radar - Lucas` Abandonware
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1. TUTORIAL
START SCREEN
DISPLAYS
GIVING ORDERS
2. CAMPAIGN TUTORIAL
MISSION PREPARATION
DISPLAYS
GIVING ORDERS
INFORMATION SYSTEMS
COMBAT SYSTEMS
OUT OF THE FRYING PAN
3. GAME MECHANICS
SCALE
TURN SEQUENCE
BEARING
ARCS
4. MISSIONS
SCENARIOS
Battle
Generated Battle
Campaign
MISSION PREFLIGHT
Loading an Aircraft
Weather
Technology Levels
Pilot Skills and Training Levels
ENDING THE MISSION
5. AIRCRAFT SYSTEMS
MOVEMENT AND MANEUVER
Thrust Systems
Gauges
DETECTION
Visual
Radar
Radar Warning Receiver (RWR)
Infrared Search and Track (IRST)
Stealth
ATTACK SYSTEMS
CREW
6. COMBAT
AIR-TO-AIR MISSILES
Launch Requirements
2
Flight Commander 2
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Launch Ranges
Missile Attack Modifiers
CANNON
AIR-TO-GROUND ATTACKS
Bombs
Rockets
Antiradiation Missiles (ARMs)
ANTIAIRCRAFT FIRE
Antiaircraft Artillery (AAA)
Surface-to-Air Missiles (SAMs)
7. COMBAT OPTIONS
ALTITUDE
RADAR AND VISUAL CONTACTING
HIGH-G TURN LIMITS
MISSILES TRACK
STALLS/GLOC
ADVANCED GROUND ATTACK
MOVEMENT PHASING
8. DATA LIBRARY
AIRCRAFT DATA
MISSILES
TARGETS
AIR FORCES
9. MENUS
10. TACTICS
AIR-TO-AIR COMBAT
AIR-TO-GROUND COMBAT
THE DEFENSIVE
1 1 . DESIGNER'S NOTES
12. REFERENCES
13. PLAY BY EMAIL
14. GLOSSARY
15. TECHNICAL SUPPORT
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his Tutorial is designed to get you playing as quickly
as possible. Detailed descriptions of game mechanics
can be found in the following chapters of this manual.
The Tutorial has two chapters. The first is a simple
walk-through of a small battle called Milk Run in which you'll
have a chance to attack dummy ground targets that won't
shoot back. It will introduce you to the game's basic controls
and concepts.
The second part is an introduction to a Campaign game in
which you'll learn how to equip a squadron and lead it into
b a t t l e . You will
engage in air-to-air
combat and learn
about some systems
not touched on in
the Milk Run. You
will also learn how
to
equip
a
squadron for a
series of missions.
On a Macintosh, begin by double-clicking on the Flight
Commander 2 icon in the Finder to run the program. On a PC,
load Windows and do likewise from the Program Manager.
START SCREEN
Following a rather impressive animation of the Big Time and
Avalon Hill logos... Whoosh! You'll hear some jets flying overhead and the Flight Commander 2 cover art will grace your
monitor screen. Observe the five buttons at the bottom of the
window which are pictured at the top of the page.
Click on
the
Open Battle button.
This brings up the
file dialog at left.
Open the Scenario
folder with a Double
Click and then select
the "Milk Run" scen a r i o by double
clicking on it also.
Flight Commander 2
3
TRAINING SCENARIO
Welcome to Flight Commander. This scenario, "Milk Run", is
meant to help you learn how to play the game. You should follow
along with the Tutorial section of the manual to get the most
out of it.
You will have only one aircraft in this battle: an A-10
Warthog. To keep things simple, there are no enemy aircraft and
the ground units can't shoot back at you. You'll get a chance
to select targets, launch weapons, and maneuver your airplane.
Good luck, and be sure to follow along with the manual!
When you're finished, select "Head For Home" from the File
menu and you'll see a report of the action. Good luck!
When you've finished reading about your upcoming mission
click on the 'OK' button. The Mission Briefing window will be
replaced by a Navigator window showing the direction to your
target in red and your airbase in blue.
A Choose Player Types dialog will appear on screen. Here
is the place you would normally select the quality of your computer opponent. In "Milk Run", however, there are no enemy
aircraft so it doesn't matter. Just leave the settings alone (you
will be playing the "attacker" as the human player). Click on
the OK button.
DISPLAYS
The main battle screen will appear. The window on top of it
is the Mission Briefing which prepares you for the coming battle.
Click on "OK" to get into the action. You'll see all of the
main screen now but before you do anything else, select Grid
from the Display menu. This will show you the "squares" that
aircraft and ground units occupy and move through. The screen
will now look like the view on page 5.
4
Flight Commander 2
COMBAT DISPLAY
Flight Commander 2
5
The Combat Display occupies the lower-right portion of the
screen. In it you'll see your A-10A Warthog aircraft which is
green on a black (white on B&W monitors) background with a
white marquee border.
If you're using a small monitor, you may want to click and
drag away the Overview, Scroll, and Combat Report floating
windows to clear up more space on the screen. You don't have
to do this, but the floating windows aren't important for this portion of the tutorial so you won't need them. You can also hide
the floating windows by selecting them in the Windows menu.
To the right of your aircraft are the enemy ground units. It's
your job to knock them out. You'll learn how to do that soon.
Tank
SCUD Launcher
Supply Depot
Factory
The Combat Display shows only a portion of the entire battlefield. You can move
it around using the scroll bars. In this scenario all the combatants start out very
close to one another, but this is not always the case. There will
be times when units are spread out and you'll want to see a
greater portion of the battlefield than is currently shown in the
Combat Display. You can do this by Zooming Out. Look in the
upper left corner of the screen for a button with a minus (-) sign
on it. Click on it and you'll see the Combat Display "expand"
to cover a greater area. Keep clicking on the minus button to
zoom out even more. Clicking on the button with the plus (+)
sign will zoom back in again.
If you should ever have trouble finding your aircraft
after you've been scrolling the Combat Display, just
select the Find Current Pilot item from the Display menu
at the upper left. It will center the Combat Display on your aircraft. You can achieve the same result by clicking on the aircraft icon in the center of the Scroll Display or with keyboard
command "Alt +F" in Windows. Macintosh users must always
substitute the Apple key for the "Alt" key of a PC.
6
Flight Commander 2
GIVING ORDERS
You give orders to each pilot separately. You can
s e l e c t a pilot by
clicking on his aircraft. It will then be
drawn with a s h i m m e r i n g
"marquee" around its border.
Its status will be displayed by
Air Speed and Fuel gauges
found on the left-hand side of
the screen, beneath a brass
plate with the pilot's name and
the aircraft type. You have
only one aircraft in this mission, though, so it is already
selected to receive orders.
You're in the Give Orders Phase (which is indicated by the
display in the very upper-left corner of the screen). Let's start
giving some orders.
We'll start by dropping some bombs. Click on the enemy unit
that looks like a factory. If it didn't already, it will now have a
red, blinking "crosshairs" on it (black on B&W monitors). The factory is now your Selected Target. When you move the cursor over
an enemy unit it becomes a (smaller) "crosshairs". The message
panel directly above the Combat Display will identify the unit and
its range from your aircraft. It will even remind you of the target's
status as a primary target of the mission if that is applicable.
do both. Once you bombed, the blinking "Ready to Fire
Rockets" message was replaced by an "Already made ground
attack" message if you failed to destroy the factory or a "no target selected" message if you did take out the target. Before we
move on, take a look at your aircraft in the Combat Display.
You will see an arrow extending straight ahead to the right.
This represents the Flight Path planned for your aircraft. You
can change it, but for now don't do that because you should fly
straight ahead and over the tank in front of you in order to fire
your cannon at it. Your Flight Path is straight by default, so
we'll just leave it alone. You'll learn how to change your Flight
Path soon.
Before clicking on Factory
After Clicking on Factory
Observe the Weapons Panel at the top center of your
screen. You'll see three displayed messages there, two of which
are blinking. The top one blinks "READY TO DROP on Factory",
and to its left is a button labeled "Bomb". Press that button and
watch one of your bombs fly to the selected target. At the simplest level of play which we are using now you may observe
the result of each bomb attack before deciding to bomb again.
You may continue to bomb the target by pressing the button
until you destroy the factory, run out of bombs, or decide to
approach it from another angle.
The bomb may or may not hit (and a hit may not completely
destroy the target). You can instantly observe the results of your
attack by checking the message board at the top center of the
Combat Display. If you destroyed the target, it will be replaced
by a burning wreck. Either way, your attack is now complete
for this turn. The instant you made a bomb attack, you'll note
that the second line of the Weapons Panel stopped flashing.
You could have made a Rocket attack instead, but you cannot
You're all finished giving orders for this
turn, so look to the lower left of the screen
beneath the Flight Stick for the Action button. Clicking this button indicates to the computer that you've
finished giving orders and that the Action phase should begin.
This is basically how the game is played. You give orders to
each of your pilots in the Give Orders Phase, and when you're
finished you click on the Action button to begin the Action
Phase. You then see your squadron execute your orders. During
the Action Phase, aircraft will maneuver, cannon will fire,
radars will Lock on or be jammed, and visual contacts will be
made and lost - all automatically. Then the process begins
again with another Give Orders Phase. These two phases
together make up one move, which represents 7.5 seconds of
"real" time.
Press the Action button now and watch your A-10 fly forward and shoot at the tank! The sound of a jet plane flying
overhead signals that the move is complete and the next Give
Orders Phase is ready to begin.
Flight Commander 2
7
You can see how many weapons you have left by clicking
on the Weapons button located on the left-hand side of the
screen above the Flight Stick. The Airspeed and Fuel gauges
will disappear, replaced by a weapons readout. Clicking on
the nearby Systems button will bring back both gauges.
The Combat Report window at the lower left of your screen
notifies you of the outcome of your strafing attack. You can
click and drag it away if you want to free up screen space.
Your aircraft is now two grid-squares closer to the enemy
units than it was last turn, and even had a chance to strafe one
of the tanks. You'll want to do the same thing this turn. First,
let's fire a rocket.
The crosshairs have already switched to another target without you selecting one and the top two lines of the Weapons
Panel (if you still have any bombs left) may already be blinking
to indicate that the plane is again ready to attack that target.
However, we want the SCUD missile sites so we'll ignore the
Supply Depot for now. Click on the nearby SCUD missile
launcher instead. You'll see the second line of the Weapons
Panel light up with "READY TO FIRE at SCUD" next to the "Fire
Rkt" button. Click the Fire Rkt button and watch the missile
move to its target. Unlike the earlier bomb attack, you will only
be able to fire once. If the rocket misses, you'll have to wait for
another turn to fire another rocket or drop bombs.
Systems Display
8
Flight Commander 2
Weapons Readout
You've finished giving orders, so click the Action button to
begin the Action Phase. As it flies over, your A-10 will take a
shot at the second tank. Cannon attacks occur automatically your pilot fires whenever he sees an opportunity.
Congratulations, you have just successfully completed your
second turn of FLIGHT COMMANDER 2! Look up in the upper
left hand corner and you'll see that the Turn Display now indicates that you are in Turn 3. Let's try something new: maneuvering. Do you see the supply depots near the top of the screen?
They look like oil drums. Let's go after them. To do this, you'll
need to make a left turn. Click and drag the Flight Stick (which
you'll find on the left-hand side of the screen) with the mouse.
For the moment, just play around with the Flight Stick. Move
it left and right. Observe the Flight Path (the arrow extending
from your aircraft in the Combat Display) changing as you
move the flight stick. The Flight Path is the course your aircraft
is planning to follow in the upcoming Action Phase. You can
change that Flight Path by adjusting the Flight Stick.
Aircraft can point in any of eight directions. Move the Flight
Stick to the left of center as shown at right so your Flight Path is
pointing at the enemy supply depot.
Click on the Action button to commit to the maneuver. Your
A-10 will now make the left turn that you instructed. You should
now be able to click on the supply depot and fire more rockets
or drop bombs on it. Good luck!
Now fly around and use your remaining weapons against
the other ground targets. It's good practice. Remember to use
the Flight Stick to plan your maneuvers and to select targets by
clicking on them. You can also use your cannon by flying
directly over targets. Your pilot will fire automatically (except at
the factory which can't be damaged by cannon fire).
When you feel comfortable with what you've seen so far,
select the Head For Home item from the File menu. A message
window will appear asking you to confirm your decision.
Normally, if you are in close contact with the enemy when you
head for home, the computer will take over your command
while your forces disengage. You may choose between a
Quick Withdrawal or a Fighting Withdrawal and the computer
will then play out the End Game. However, there is no aerial
opposition in the Milk Run so you can simply choose to "End
the Mission". If you click the End Mission button, the scenario
will end, but not before a Mission Debriefing Screen appears to
inform you of the final outcome. After reading it, click on OK
and you'll be brought back to the Start screen.
If you find the speed of the Action Phase either too slow or
fast for your taste, you can change it by selecting "Slow",
"Normal" or "Fast" Action Phase under the Options menu.
Now that you've had your first taste of FLIGHT COMMANDER 2, you should move on to the next chapter to see how both
air-to-air combat and Campaign scenarios work. It's full of tips
and explanations you'll find helpful.
Flight Commander 2
9
2. CAMPAIGN TUTORIAL
congratulations. You've completed the Milk Run and
you're ready for more. Let's try playing the first mission
of a Campaign scenario in which you'll engage in an
aerial dogfight. We'll also introduce a few more onscreen controls.
You should be back at the Start screen with the big picture
of the Flight Commander 2 cover art. This time click on the
Open Campaign button. This brings up a file dialog. Open the
"Scenario" folder, and then select "The Dragon's jaw". In
Windows, this is listed as "dragnjaw.cam".
The Player Types dialog will again appear on screen. Select
"Novice Computer" for the North Vietnamese side. You will fly
with the U.S. Air Force. Click on OK when you're done. You're
now in command of a squadron of F-4C Phantom jets operating
in Southeast Asia.
When you've finished reading about your mission, click on
the Choose Pilots button to select which pilots from your
squadron will fly. You have fifteen pilots under your command,
but not all of them will participate in each mission.
MISSION PREPARATION
You'll see the Mission Briefing window next. It shows your base
commander's report about the purpose of your campaign as a whole
and the first mission you're about to fly. Read the information in the
window (you may have to scroll down to see all of it). It's important!
10
Flight Commander 2
The Pilot's Lounge window will appear. Take a look at the
upper right corner and you'll see a silhouette of an F-4C
Phantom. This is the type of aircraft your squadron flies. Below
that are the number of aircraft that your base commander suggests you take on this mission, the total number of aircraft avai able (some must be held in reserve for upcoming missions), and
the number currently selected to fly.
Most of the window is occupied by a "ledger" containing
the names of the pilots in your squadron and related information. Click the mouse on a pilot's row in the ledger to select him
to fly on this mission. Choose four since that is the recommended number. For now, it doesn't matter which pilots you choose.
Once you have finished selecting pilots, click OK and you'll
be brought back to the Mission Briefing. Now click on the Arm
Aircraft button.
The Weapons Room window appears. Observe the upper
left and you'll see a scrollable box (the Aircraft List) with the
names of the four pilots you chose to bring on this mission. The
two parenthetical numbers following each pilot's name are his
Aerial/Ground target skill ratings. Such information is helpful
when doling out rare resources like ECM pods. Next to each
name is a row of zeroes signifying that each pilot's aircraft currently has no weapons loaded. The first pilot's row is highlighted, so the " + " or "-" buttons you click to add or remove
weapons will affect his aircraft. Once you're done with the first
pilot, you can click on the rows for the other pilots to arm each
of them also. Alternatively, if you wish to arm some or all of
your aircraft in the same way, you can click on one armed aircraft and drag it to the next aircraft to copy its armament.
Click the "+" button to the right of the "HEAT (HSM)" entry
on the left side of the window, about mid-way down. Just to its
left, in the ARMED column, the "0" signifying that no heat-seeking missiles are currently loaded has just changed to a "1".
Now click and hold that "+" button until that number reads "4".
That is all the heat-seeking missiles this aircraft can carry as signified by the "4" in the "Max" column to its right and the blank
green button which replaced your "+" button. You have just
loaded four heat-seeking missiles onto the first pilot's aircraft. If
you look across that row to the right you will see an illustration
of the missiles you have just loaded. To the right of that picture
is a Pop Down Menu that names the heat-seeking missiles you
have just loaded - AIM-9B's (an early model Sidewinder). In
battles that take place in more modern periods, you'll often
have a choice of different types of missiles. Click on the Pop
Down Menu to see the choices available to you and select the
missile type you want. For this scenario, however, the AIM-9B is
the only heat-seeker type available to you.
Now drop down to the next row of RADAR (RHM) missiles.
You may have noticed that when you loaded the four heat-seeking missiles, your "Max" load of radar-homing missiles
dropped from "6" to "4". Click and hold the Radar (RHM) "+"
button until you've loaded four radar-homing missiles. Then add
a second fuel tank by clicking on the Fuel Tank "+" button.
(Your crew chief has already added one). Regardless of how
much fuel you load, once you begin play you'll notice that your
fuel level is less than what you loaded since your aircraft will
have been flying a certain amount of time before the game
joins them in flight with the action about to begin.
The last column entry in the Aircraft List is "Group". You can
assign your pilots to one of four different attack groups by
selecting the group type on the "Group" Pop Down Menu at the
upper right. For now, keep everyone in the Lead Group.
You've just armed a Phantom jet! Copy that weapons load
to the other aircraft by clicking and dragging the "loaded" aircraft's entry line onto the other three in the list (one at a time).
You're ready to go. Click the Done Arming button.
You're now back at the Mission Briefing. Click the Take Off
button to enter combat.
Flight Commander 2
11
Selected —
aircraft's pilot
and type
Flight Stick
Combat Report
DISPLAYS
After a few moments, the main battle screen will appear. The
Combat Display occupies the lower-right portion. In it you'll see
your aircraft which are green on a blue (white on B&W monitors)
background. The game is played on a grid, and each of your aircraft occupies a square on the grid. If the grid is not visible, you
can activate it by selecting "Grid" from the Display menu.
12
Flight Commander 2
Currently
selected aircraft
Combat Display
The Mission Briefing said your objective is to dogfight
with MiG-17 fighters. Well, where are they? Unlike in the
Milk Run scenario you just played, the Combat Display probably isn't big enough to show all the combatants at once if
they're far apart.
To find the MiGs. take a look at the upper
right hand corner of the screen and locate
the little floating window titled Overview.
This window shows a miniature view of the
entire battlefield. The Combat Display shows
only a (magnified) portion of the battlefield.
The clusters of small dots in the Overview
window represent the aircraft in the battle,
both yours and the enemy's. Inside the
Overview window you'll also see a small rectangle around one
of the clusters called the Display Rectangle. It shows that portion
of the battlefield which you can see in the Combat Display. The
dots inside this rectangle are your aircraft.
Move the mouse up to the Overview window and click on a group of dots other than
the one that's already inside the Display
Rectangle. You'll notice that the Display
Rectangle moves to where you clicked the
mouse, and the scene inside the Combat
Display shifts accordingly.
You should now see some of the enemy
aircraft in the Combat Display. They are white aircraft silhouettes on a red-framed ( j u s t black on B&W monitors) background. If you don't see any such aircraft in the Combat
Display, keep moving the Overview w i n d o w ' s D i s p l a y
Rectangle around with the mouse until it encloses some of the
little dots which represent aircraft.
You may want to see a greater portion of
the battlefield than is currently shown in the
Combat Display. You can do this by Zooming
Out, just like you did in the Milk Run. Look in the upper left corner of the screen for a button with a minus sign (-) on it. Click
on it and you'll see the Combat Display "expand" to cover a
greater area. Notice that the Display
Rectangle in the Overview window grows
also. Keep clicking on the "-" button to
zoom out even more. Clicking on the "+"
button will zoom back in again.
You c a n move the Combat Display
around by using the scroll bars or the eight
directional-arrow buttons in the Scroll floating window. The center button in the Scroll window centers the
Combat Display on the aircraft receiving orders.
Because Campaign missions are designed to be a little different each time they're played, it's possible that your setup
might have the MiGs starting out very close to your aircraft.
This is normal, but for training purposes you'll need a little distance between you and the enemy to earn how to use your missiles, so if the MiGs are just a few grid squares away from your
aircraft, quit and start this section of the tutorial over again.
GIVING ORDERS
In this scenario you have more than one pilot under
your command, but you will still give orders to your
pilots one at a time. You can give orders to a pilot by
clicking on his aircraft. It will then be drawn with a
shimmering "marquee" around its border and its status will be
displayed by gauges found on the left-hand side of the screen,
along with the pilot's name and aircraft type.
Click on the center "aircraft silhouette" button of the Scroll window. This centers the
Combat Display on the currently selected aircraft (in case it isn't already) so you can see it.
Incidentally, the "Find Current Pilot" item in the
Display menu does the same thing.
Now look at the Overview window and determine where the
enemy aircraft are located relative to your aircraft. You can
also sometimes locate the enemy by Zooming Out all the way
so the Combat Display shows a larger area. A quick way to do
this is with keyboard command "Alt +-".
Flight Commander 2
13
You want to point straight at the MiGs so you'll probably
need your aircraft to turn left or right. You accomplish this by
clicking and dragging the Flight Stick with the mouse, just like
you did in the Milk Run. You'll find the Flight Stick on the lefthand side of the screen. Remember that as you move the Flight
Stick back and forth, you change the Flight Path for the currently
selected aircraft.
Aircraft can point in any of eight directions. Use the Flight
Stick to change the Flight Path of the currently selected aircraft
so that the arrow on the tip of the Flight Path is pointing toward
the enemy MiGs. The maximum turn you can make is ninety
degrees either left or right, so you won't be able to point at the
MiGs right away if they started out behind you. If that's the
case, just turn so you're pointing as close to them as possible.
Your aircraft's radar system has already been activated (by
default) but you should take note of the Radar button located
near the top-center of the screen. An adjacent red light (white
on B&W monitors) will indicate that it's on. You'll need the
radar to fire your radar-homing missiles, which you'll learn how
to do soon. Don't turn it off!
Now click on the "Next Pilot" button that's located just
below the Flight Stick (or select the "Next Pilot" item from the
Next menu). If you prefer you can do the same thing by pressing the space bar, or use keyboard command "Alt +N". This
transfers you to the cockpit of the next jet in your squadron, just
as if you had clicked the mouse on it. Make this pilot turn
toward the enemy as well. Then alternate clicking on the Next
Pilot button and using the Flight Stick to order your remaining
aircraft to turn toward the MiGs.
When you've "visited" every aircraft, the little panel to the
right of the "Next Pilot" button will light up and display "All
Visited" as a reminder that you've cycled through the entire
14
Flight Commander 2
squadron. You can continue to revisit your pilots and change
their prior orders for this turn as many times as you like until
you press the Action button.
Remember that Flight Commander 2 is
not a "flight simulator". At this point you are
giving orders to your pilots, not actually
moving their planes. You can switch from
pilot to pilot planning moves as much as you want. You can
change your mind. You can even go have dinner if you like,
and when you come back to the game nothing will have
changed in your absence. You're not committed to anything
until you click on the Action button, located just to the left of the
Next Pilot button. That causes the Action Phase to begin, and
your pilots will carry out the maneuver orders that you gave
them. There is one exception to this. The firing of weapons
occurs immediately when ordered.
When you're finished changing the Flight Paths of your aircraft, click the Action button (or select the equivalent Begin Action
Phase item from the "Next" menu or use keyboard command "Alt
+ E"). You'll see your aircraft move across the Combat Display
just as you planned. The sound of a jet plane flying overhead signals that the next Give Orders Phase is ready to begin.
Now "visit" each of your aircraft again. If any of them isn't
yet pointing at the enemy MiGs (which you can locate in the
Overview window) maneuver them to do so. Make sure all
radars are switched on (they will be unless you turned them off).
aircraft occupying the same grid square) and the Control and
shift key (Option and Shift keys on the Macintosh) are held
down. Clicking the mouse button will bring the next aircraft to the
top of the stack. If you continue clicking you can cycle through
and see all the aircraft in the stack. There is no advantage to
being on the top of a stack. It's just a way to show who is there.
INFORMATION SYSTEMS
Before going any further, let's take a look at the information
systems available to you. Any time you point the cursor at an
aircraft or ground unit inside the Combat Display, the Data
Readout (located at the bottom of the Weapons Panel) will display information about that unit. So, for example, if you want
to know how fast an aircraft is moving, just point the mouse at
it (you don't need to click) and then look at the Data Readout.
Try it out by pointing the mouse at some aircraft on the screen.
The crosshairs appears when the cursor is clicked on
a unit you can fire on or Lock your radar onto. All
enemy units whom you can currently fire on will be
drawn with a yellow border.
Green corners are shown when you point at an
enemy you can't currently fire at or Lock-on to.
The mouse cursor will change depending on the unit
beneath it. There are several different depictions:
The downward arrow appears when you're pointing
at a friendly plane which you can select and command. If you click the mouse, you'll switch to that
plane. The marquee border will appear on the new aircraft signifying that it is ready to receive your orders.
You can change the cursor into a magnifying glass
symbol by holding down the shift key. Clicking on the
mouse while in the magnifying glass mode will then perform the Zoom-in function.
Finally, there is the stack-switch cursor that looks like
two little arrows going in a circle. This cursor appears
when the mouse is pointing at a stack (more than one
COMBAT SYSTEMS
And now back to the action. If at any time you should hear
a buzzing noise and see a message flashing "READY TO FIRE"
next to the "Fire RHM" button, it means that your radar has
locked on to an enemy MiG and your radar-homing missiles
are within range to be launched. Don't worry if this hasn't happened yet.
You may have noticed that the buttons on the Weapon Panel have different names than they did in the Milk
Run. That's because you're in air-to-air attack mode now, and
were in air-to-ground mode before. You can check this by looking at the display next to the Attack button. It should say "Air".
If it doesn't, click on the "Attack" button.
Be sure to "visit" all of your aircraft every turn regardless of
whether you intend to change their Flight Path so you will notice
if any have a chance to launch a missile. It may take a while,
especially if the game starts with the MiGs far away from you.
Normally your maximum launch range is about 25 squares.
Each time you select one of
your aircraft for orders (either
by clicking on it or the Next
Pilot button), the computer automatically checks to see if the aircraft can fire. If it can, you'll hear a buzzing sound and the target will be selected automatically. If you can't see the target
inside the Combat Display (this is common due to the relatively
long range of radar-homing missiles), you can either click the
Flight Commander 2
15
"Find Tgt" button or select the "Find Selected Target" item from
the Display menu (or use keyboard command "Alt T"). The
Combat Display will scroll over to your intended target.
Clicking on the center button of the Scroll window returns the
combat view to your aircraft. It can also be useful at times like
this to "zoom out" using the minus "-" button to see a larger
portion of the battlefield inside the Combat Display.
You don't have to let the automatic targeting system dictate
your target selection. You can click on any enemy target you
wish. A red pulsing crosshairs will appear on the target you
click. If you can fire, you'll hear a buzzing sound and see one
or more "READY TO FIRE" messages flashing in the Weapons
Panel of the upper right corner of your screen. The crosshairs
will be red (black on B&W monitors). If you can't fire, the
Weapons Panel will show you the reasons why, and the
crosshairs will resemble a green box (white on B&W monitors).
A shortcut to clicking on the enemy units themselves is to click
the "Cycle" button to the left of the Weapons Panel which will
automatically put the crosshairs on the next potential target.
Sooner or later you'll have a chance
to shoot (when the Weapons Panel
flashes "READY TO F I R E " ) . When this
happens... wait! Acquaint yourself with the Radar Display first.
Click on the Display button (adjacent to the Zoom-in (+) and
Zoom-out (-) buttons in the upper left). Your aircraft's radar
screen will appear in the Combat Display. The MiGs show up
as small white squares. The squares represent the MiGs you
are Locked-onto. The red one is the MiG you have selected to
attack. You can click on these little squares to select target
just like you can in visual mode, but don't
do that now. Click again on the Display
button to return to visual mode. Now click
on the Fire RHM button and watch your
missile fly. Most likely it will miss. Don't
be surprised if that happens. Even a miss
often serves a useful purpose since it usually evokes some type of defensive reaction from the target.
16
Flight Commander 2
OUT OF THE FRYING PAN ...
Keep firing radar-homing missiles each turn until the enemy
MiGs are too close. At that point the radar-homing missile display will say "too close". You're now in dogfight range! It's up
to you to take it from here. Remember that your Phantoms do
not have internal cannon but the enemy MiGs do. These cannon have a range of one grid square and are fired during the
Action Phase so try to keep the MiGs at a safe distance. It helps
to keep your speed high so push your Throttle (the sliding control to the right of the Flight Stick) up to 100%. Use Afterburners
if you need extra speed by clicking the "Burner" button above
the throttle. The light next to the button will turn red when you
use your Afterburners and your engine will emit a sonic boom.
Be aware that hard maneuvering (especially a ninety-degree
"High-G" Turn) causes significant deceleration.
The MiGs have no missiles. At close range your radar missiles are of little .use because they have a, minimum range
below which they cannot be fired. Your heat-seekers work better at short range, but may only be launched at a target from
the reap, so try to get on a MiG's tail and fire! Remember that
you can select an enemy MiG as a target by clicking on it. A
crosshairs will appear on the MiG. If it's red you can fire. If
it's green you can't (look in the Weapons Panel Displays to
see the reasons why).
Here's a tip: split up. Send two Phantoms to the left and two
to the right. Once your fighter pairs are on opposite sides of
the group of MiGs, turn toward them. That way, no matter
which way the MiGs fly, at least one of your Phantoms can get
a good shot from the read Have yourself a MiG "sandwich".
If you don't want to command the entire flight, you can put
some of your aircraft under computer control. Click on an aircraft and then select the Computer Control item from the Pilot
menu or use the keyboard command "Alt +9". Beginning with
the next turn, that pilot will fly on his own with no orders from
you. At any time you can regain control by clicking on him and
selecting Human Control from the Pilot menu or keyboard command "Alt +8".
The mission will end when all of the aircraft on one side are
shot down or you select Head for Home from the File menu.
However, if you select this option and your aircraft are still
closely engaged, the computer will take control and fly your aircraft while they seek to disengage. You have two choices.
"Quick Withdrawal" sends your aircraft directly home while
"Fighting Withdrawal" will commit them to mix it up with any
nearby enemies for a few turns before breaking for home. The
latter option is preferable for covering your retreat if enemies
are nearby, but takes longer. Neither option is particularly safe
if you are in a disadvantaged position, so don't rely on it to
pull your butt out of the fire when you get a MiG on your tail. In
either case, the Combat Display will turn to the second-largest
scale and you'll be able to view the withdrawal before the
Mission Debriefing sums up the action. You can most definitely
be shot down while heading for home so don't resort to this
unless you've destroyed the enemy, broken contact, or are willing to face the consequences.
If you're disappointed by the lack of fee of the third dimension, don't despair. In the Basic Game (which you're now playing) all aircraft are considered to be at the same altitude and
vertical flight is not allowed. Because of this, the Flight Stick
can only be moved horizontally. This greatly simplifies the
game for novices so it's recommended that you play this way
for your first few games. Altitude can be introduced through
one of the combat options discussed in the Commander's
Reference chapter. These options can be added individually or
together to greatly enhance realism and increase the challenge.
For those of you who prefer keyboards to mice, there are
keyboard equivalents for many of the commonly used commands. Select "Hot Keys" from the Windows menu to see an
on-screen listing.
Once you feel comfortable with the basics of play presented
in this Tutorial, you should proceed through the manual for
more information and greater detail. There are many scenarios
and campaigns from which to choose. Each is described fully in
the accompanying Mission Briefing window.
Flight Commander 2
17
3.GAMEMECHANICS
his section is a detailed reference to Flight Commander
2. If you haven't done so already, please read and play
through the Tutorial sections before continuing.
SCALE
Flight Commander 2 is played on a grid. Each grid square
represents an area one-third of a mile (1,760 feet) across. An
unlimited number of aircraft may occupy the same square. Each
level of altitude also represents 1,760 feet. Each turn represents
7.5 seconds of "real" time.
Aircraft can face any of eight directions. Each direction
change occurs in increments of 45 degrees. It requires 150
MPH of airspeed to move straight ahead one grid square in a
move, and 210 MPH to move one square diagonally. For
example, an aircraft traveling at 600 MPH can move four
squares straight ahead in one move. Fractional MPH values are
carried over to the next move. It also requires 150 MPH to
move up or down one level of altitude.
If this seems complicated, don't worry about it. You won't
have to solve any equations while you play. The computer takes
care of it all.
18
Flight Commander 2
TURN SEQUENCE
The game is played in a series of moves.
Each move has
the following phases:
• Give Orders (you interact with the game)
• Action {you watch the action unfold)
• Movement and Cannon Attacks
• Antiaircraft Fire
• Detection (visual spotting, radar, IRST)
BEARING
A term you'll often see in this chapter is Bearing. It refers to
the angle at which an object lies relative to another object.
There are two kinds of bearing: Absolute and Relative.
Absolute Bearing uses values pegged to the screen, whereas
Relative Bearing uses measurements based on the facing or
heading of one of the objects involved.
F-14A Tomcat
ARCS
Arcs are zones of airspace in the horizontal plane (the geometric kind of "plane", that is) with respect to the facing of an
aircraft. See the figure below. Usually you'll be concerned
about what arcs enemy aircraft lie in relative to your aircraft.
For example, an enemy jet in your rear 90° arc can "tail" you,
and you can only launch missiles into your own front 90° arc.
Arcs are similar to Relative Bearing. For example, if an
enemy aircraft bears (relatively) between 135° and 225° to
you, then it's in your rear 90° arc.
Front
180°
270°
90°
Flight Commander 2
19
4. MISSIONS
here are two general types of mission in the game: air
combat and ground attack. Air combat missions are the
classic "dogfight" or "air superiority" missions and
involve aircraft only. The object is simple: shoot down
enemy aircraft while preserving your own. In a ground attack
the attacking aircraft have
the goal of destroying a
particular ground target.
That target may be defended by ground-based antiairc r a f t u n i t s and f i g h t e r
planes. Ground attack missions often involve some airto-air combat as well, usually when defending fighters
a t t e m p t to s h o o t down
incoming bombers.
SCENARIOS
All missions take place
within the context of a scenario. Scenarios, in turn,
come in three types: Battles,
Generated Battles, and
Campaigns. You can play
the scenario of your choice
by clicking the appropriate button on the Start screen.
Battle
Battle scenarios are single missions that recreate a combat
engagement from history or an interesting hypothetical conflict.
A battle is stored on disk and its forces and deployments
remain the same each time it's played. When you play a battle,
its full description will be displayed in the Mission Briefing on
the first turn of the game.
20
Flight Commander 2
Generated Battle
A Generated Battle is identical to a standard battle except
that instead of being stored statically on disk it is created by the
computer after you enter a set of battle parameters. You choose
the mission type, decide which air forces will attack and
defend, determine the
size of the opposing
forces, etc. The computer f i l l s in the
remaining details and
sets up the game. It
can even select and
arm aircraft for your
opponent in secret!
Generated battles are
so varied that they
provide an i n f i n i t e
number of different
games to play, each
of which can be created with just a few
clicks of the mouse.
The Create Battle
window
appears
when you c l i c k the
Create Battle button
on the Start screen. It uses Pop-Up menus to enter information.
In the first row, titled "Nation", you'll select the nationalities
(and time periods) for the attacker and defender by clicking on
the Pop Up Menu V and making your selection.
Below that is the Force Size line which you can use to select
the number of aircraft in your scenario. You can increase or
decrease force size by use of the green arrow buttons. The popup menu on this row gives you the choice of measuring force
size in aircraft or C(ombat) Points. A Combat Point (CP) is a
measure of aircraft quality. CPs are useful in balancing scenar-
ios between combatants of greatly different technology levels.
For example, in a scenario pitting the U.S. Navy (with its hightech F-14 Tomcats worth 62 CPs each) against North Korea
(which uses obsolescent MiGs costing 32 CPs each) it would be
fairer to allow each side an equal number of Combat Points, so
the North Koreans will get double the number of aircraft.
In Air-to-Ground scenarios, the attacker will generally need a
3:1 advantage in CPs to approach balance.
The "Random Adjust" line is next. Selecting a value other
than zero will cause the actual size of the force to be randomly
chosen. This is useful if you want to add the "fog of war" to your
games. It's fun to set up your enemy with a random factor
because then you won't know how many aircraft he's got until
you find them, just as in real life. For example, if a side is set up
to have eight aircraft and a random value of ±40%, it will actually receive anywhere from five to: 11 aircraft when the battle
starts (and the opposing player won't know exactly how many).
The "Range to Home" line is the next category. Enter a value
describing how far the battlefield is from the airbase from
which that side took off by clicking on the Pop Up Menu
and
making your selection. This affects the amount of fuel required
for the round trip and can be significant, especially for aircraft
with "short legs". Increasing the range from an airbase is
another way to subtly handicap a side in a created battle.
"Controller" can be either ground or AWACS-based radar
stations that saturate the battlefield with long-range search
radars. With a radar controller, a side will be informed of the
locations of all enemy aircraft (except stealth-equipped ones).
The Controller does not appear as a unit on the battlefield.
The "Selection" line is the last entry. Choose "Automatic" if
you'd like to have the computer choose the aircraft for a particular
side or "By Player" if you'd rather do it yourself. Either way, the
game knows what aircraft are operated by which air forces and
will make (or allow you to make) intelligent and realistic choices.
Now look to the lower-left corner to examine the Target
Selection box. This is where you select the mission type. Click
on either button to cycle through your choices. There are 14
ground attack and two air combat missions to choose from:
1. Headquarters control military command, control, and
communications facilities. Their bunkers are impervious to cannon. Rockets are less effective against them.
2. SCUD Site. Attack a battery of SCUD missile launchers
that have been terrorizing innocent civilians.
3. Bridge. Stop enemy troop and supply movements. Cannon fire is ineffective and rockets are less
effective against a bridge.
4. Chemical Plant. Destroy an enemy chemical/biological
weapons facility.
5. Airfield. Render a strategically important enemy airbase unusable for flight operations. It will be impervious to cannon fire. Rocket effects are reduced.
6. City. War-producing infrastructure. Expect heavy antiaircraft fire. You may need multiple hits to destroy it.
7. Supply Dump. Destroy a weapons depot to deny munitions to enemy soldiers.
8. Air Defense. Suppress an air-defense battery
that threatens the safety of friendly pilots in the
sector. Watch out for SAMs.
9. Armor. Attack an enemy spearhead tank column that
has broken through friendly lines. Only an A-10 can
destroy a tank with cannon fire.
10. Infantry Unit. Fly a front-line attack mission in support
of friendly ground troops.
11. Mechanized. Knock out an elite enemy mechanized
battalion before it reaches the front lines.
12. Nuclear Reactor. Destroy a nuclear power
plant suspected of being used to create atomic weapons. Cannon fire won't do it.
13-14. Naval/Fleet Strike. Attack or defend
shipping/naval task force.
15. Fighter Sweep. [Air combat only] Dogfight
with enemy fighters in a turn & burn "furball". Expect
heavy casualties.
16. Radar Intercept. [Air combat only] Engage in longrange missile combat and then close to dogfight
range with the survivors.
Flight Commander 2
21
The center box to the right of the Target Selection area allows
you to choose the weather or time of day in a similar way.
When you're all finished, click the "Fly" button. If you selected " A u t o m a t i c " on the
"Selection" line for both sides, you'll now proceed straight to the battle itself. Otherwise, the
"Strike Hangar" window will appear and you'll
have the opportunity to select your aircraft.
The scrolling box on the left-hand side is the inventory of the air
force you have selected. The scrolling box on the right represents
the aircraft you have so far selected for battle (it starts out empty).
Choose your aircraft either by double-clicking them on the
left side or by selecting them on the left side and then clicking
either the "»1" or "»4" buttons, which will transfer one or
four of the selected aircraft type to the box on the right, respectively. If you make a mistake, just click on the aircraft in the box
on the right and click the "«1" or "«4" buttons to transfer
the aircraft back out again.
Now you must arm the aircraft you chose. This process is
nearly the same as arming your squadron for a Campaign mission, which was detailed in the Tutorial section (page 1 1). The
only difference is the way the Aircraft List is handled. Instead of
seeing pilot names there, you'll see entries like "4 x F-105D". If
that line is selected, you'll be arming four F-105D Thunderchiefs
all at once. Each aircraft type you've chosen for the battle will
get its own line.
If you decide that you want to arm some
aircraft that are of the same type differently,
just select their line and click the Split button.
In the above example, the Split button would
create two new groups of "2 x F-105D" out of the original
group of four, which can be armed separately.
If you want to join split groups back together again, just
click and drag one line onto the other.
When you're finished, click "Done". You cannot take more
aircraft (or CPs) than you allowed yourself on the "Create
Battle" window which is also recorded in the middle of the
Strike Hangar.
22
Flight Commander 2
Campaign
A Campaign is a series of linked missions. In a Campaign,
you take command of a squadron of pilots, and your objective
is to accomplish a series of assigned missions while minimizing
friendly casualties. For example, you might find yourself commanding a squadron of fighter-bombers based near the front
lines of a conflict in one of the world's hot spots, where typical
missions range from strikes on enemy armor columns to interdiction of supply routes to
combat air patrol over
friendly airfields.
Each Campaign lasts
for a specified length of
time, usually measured
in days with one or
more m i s s i o n s being
flown
each
day.
Missions are assigned to
you by your base commander. Which missions
you get to fly depends
both on the Campaign
and the condition of
your forces based on
your performance in previous missions.
At the beginning of
each mission you select
the pilots from your squadron to fly on that mission. You then
arm their aircraft with weapons, pods, and fuel. These selected
pilots (along with some support aircraft that may be assigned to
you by your base commander in the Mission Briefing and
which start out under computer control) then carry out the mission. Upon completion, your success level is determined and
the next mission begins. You keep flying missions until you've
played the requisite number, at which point the Campaign ends
and an overall victory level is determined.
The process of playing a Campaign mission is detailed in
the Tutorial section of this manual, so please read pages 10-17
before continuing. This section presents some of the same information briefly while introducing a few important details.
You can begin a Campaign by clicking the Open Campaign
button on the Start screen. Double-click on the scenario folder
and select a Campaign from the file dialog. After choosing the
skill level of the opposition on the "Choose Player Types"
screen, click "ok". The
Mission Briefing window
will appear, describing
the Campaign and the
upcoming
mission.
O c c a s i o n a l l y it will
inform you of the arrival
of support a i r c r a f t .
These aircraft will be
under your command for
the duration of the mission. They begin combat, by default, under
computer control but you
can switch them over to
human control later if
you wish by clicking on
them and s e l e c t i n g
"Human Control" from
the Pilot Window or using keyboard command "Alt +8".
First you must select pilots for the mission by clicking the
Choose Pilots button in the Mission Briefing window. Then, in the
Pilot's Lounge window you'll see a "ledger" for all your pilots
showing their skills, combat honors and status.
Clicking on a pilot's row in the ledger selects/deselects him
for flight on this mission. Only pilots whose status reads READY
or TIRED are currently eligible to fly. If you run out of pilots, the
mission will be scrubbed but HQ may send replacements.
Flight Commander 2
23
On the right hand side you'll see a number below the word
"suggested". This is the number of aircraft your base commander wants you to take on this mission. At your discretion, you
may take more or less than this number. Taking more will lessen
your degree of victory at the end, even if you accomplish the
mission goals. Normally you won't want to do this, but in some
cases where your pilots are tired or you're short on weapons,
this is your only option. Taking fewer pilots than suggested will
give you a small bonus when the victory level is determined,
but is usually not a good idea unless you have no choice.
Taking enough pilots helps ensure everyone's survival through
mutual cover.
When you're finished you can click "OK" to return to the
Mission Briefing. Then click "Arm Aircraft" and refer to page
11 for a basic explanation of the Weapons Room.
Campaigns add a special wrinkle to the Weapons Room:
Munitions Availability.
Unlike Generated Battle
scenarios, you won't nece s s a r i l y have as many
weapons at your disposal
as you'd like. The best
ones will usually be the
s c a r c e s t , with " s m a r t
bombs" o f t e n being in
very s h o r t supply. T h i s
forces you to choose wisely and only take the
weapons that are needed
for the j o b . Munitions
Availability is located on
the right-hand side of the
Weapons Room window.
Supplies of munitions
a r r i v e at your a i r b a s e
every morning, and their
abundance (or lack there-
24
Flight Commander 2
of) will be reported to you in the Mission Briefing. Bombs are
always in plentiful supply, so there is no limit to the number
you can use. Munitions that are brought back to base unused
will be returned to the stockpile for future use (exception: laser
pods, once taken, are gone for good, representing the relative
scarcity of smart bombs). If you decide you want to change
pilots after arming them, you can return to the Pilot's Lounge
by clicking on the "Choose Pilots" button from the Mission
Briefing screen.
To the r i g h t of the
Aircraft List is the Group
Pop Down Menu. Here you
can select to have pilots enter combat in flight groups that
come from different directions. There are four groups to
choose from: Lead, Sweep, Strike, and Weasel.
The Lead group attacks
the target from a randomly determined direction.
The Sweep group begins
at the same range to the
target as the Lead group
but comes in from a diff e r e n t d i r e c t i o n . The
Strike group f o l l o w s
directly behind the Lead
group, a few miles back.
The Weasel group b e e n
at the same range to target as the Strike Group
but comes in from its own
randomly
determined
direction. A diagram of
how a typical strike setup
might look appears on the
facing page.
Weasel
A standard approach is to put most of your fighters into the
Lead group, followed by the bombers and a few fighters in the
Strike group. You can get tricky, though, by putting a few fighters in the Sweep group in an effort to divert enemy attention
away from the real attack or to give yourself a nice shot from
the flank if the defending fighters chase after the Lead or Strike
groups. The Weasel group is a wild card, usually used for
either diversionary attacks or aircraft firing long-range SAMsuppression missiles (ARMs) who want to fire their weapons
and then get away.
It is sometimes effective to reverse the norm and put bombers
in the Lead group and fighters in the Strike group. That way, no
enemy fighter can get on a bomber's tail without exposing his
own tail to your fighters which trail just behind.
Once you click "Done Arming" from the Weapons Room
and then click "Take Off" from the Mission Briefing, the actual
mission begins. Your aircraft will start about twenty miles (sixty
grid squares) from the target. In some missions you will be the
defender, and the "target" is a friendly base of some sort which
you are instructed to protect. The mission will end when all
attacking aircraft are shot down, or when you select "Head for
Home" from the File menu.
At the end of each mission you'll be debriefed on your success. The ultimate fate of all participants will be disclosed, as
well as an evaluation of your performance. Your evaluation is
based on the destruction of the primary target (if any) and casualties to both sides.
Click the "OK" button to continue. A "Save" window will
appear, giving you the opportunity to save your game to disk.
After you click "OK" (to save) or "Cancel" (to skip saving), a
summation of your performance in the Campaign will be
shown. Rename new Campaigns by changing the File Name in
the "File Name" box. Currently underway Campaigns will be
listed in the scenario folder beside the five original choices.
Pilots can become fatigued after flying missions. How tired
they get depends on the difficulty of the missions flown, how
much personal stress they endured, and their toughness skill levels. A tired pilot can still fly, but his skills are reduced so it
should be avoided when possible. Really worn-out pilots are
grounded until they recover. Grounding allows a pilot to rest,
as does night time (unless flying on a night mission, which is
very tiring). It also helps to take the squadron leader on missions. His leadership tends to reduce stress and fatigue for
everyone else.
Flight Commander 2
25
MISSION PREFLIGHT
In both Campaign and Generated-Battle missions you must
do a little preflight setup.
Loading an Aircraft
It's important to fit an aircraft with the right weapons and
equipment for the job. That's what you do in the Weapons
Room. If you're the attacker in a mission you should take note
of the type of target you've been assigned and whether any
defending fighters or antiaircraft units will be present. If you're
the defender, determine the number and type of attacking aircraft and the ratio of bombers to fighters you'll likely face.
What can you load onto an aircraft?
AIR-TO-AIR MISSILES (AAM):
These are used to shoot down enemy
aircraft and come in heat-seeking and
radar-homing varieties. An aircraft can carry one type of heatseeking missile (e.g. AIM-9L Sidewinder, AA-8 Aphid) and one
type of radar-homing missile.
BOMBS: These are free-fall,
high-explosive weapons that are
best-suited to large unarmored targets. The number shown to the
upper-right of the bomb picture is the weight, in pounds, of each
"bombload". This value differs for each aircraft type. Each
bombload, in reality, may represent several smaller bombs, but is
treated as a single unit for dropping on enemy targets (so when
you click to add one bombload you may actually be adding several bombs, but for game purposes you can think of it as one large
bomb). If a Laser Pod is also carried, then all bombs on board are
considered laser-guided "smart" bombs.
ROCKETS: Depending on the
technology level of the user, these
can range from old radio-guided
rockets like the AGM-12 Bullpup to sophisticated infrared- or
TV-guided missiles like the AGM-65 Maverick. Rockets are generally smaller than a typical bombload, but are more accurate
and have a greater range.
26
Flight Commander 2
ARMs: An anti-radiation missile
(ARM) is an air-to-surface weapon
that homes in on signals generated
by ground-based radar systems like SAM (surface-to-air missile)
sites. ARMs are highly effective at knocking out active SAM
sites even from long range, but are useless against other targets. Depending on the user's technology level, an ARM can
represent anything from an early model Shrike or AS-9 to a
high-tech AGM-88 HARM.
PODS: These are adjunct systems that enhance the offensive or
defensive capabilities of an aircraft. There are three types:
1. Laser Pod. This is a combination laser designator
/receiver used to "paint" targets for "smart" bomb attack.
Carrying a laser pod automatically converts any bombs on
board to "smart" bombs that will guide themselves to their designated target. Smart bombs are much more accurate than regular bombs.
2. Night Vision Pod. This pod gives thermal (infrared)
vision capability to the crew of the aircraft, allowing accurate
air-to-ground weapons delivery during night missions.
3. ECM Pod. Carried as a defensive measure, this electronic countermeasures pod decreases the aircraft's vulnerability to
radar Lock-on and radar-guided missile attack (from air and
ground). They are usually carried by strike aircraft entering a
high-threat environment.
FUEL: To extend their range,
modern jets often carry drop-tanks
of extra fuel. You may add two
such tanks to an aircraft. This fuel not only allows the aircraft to
reach distant targets, but allows freer use of full-throttle and
afterburners during combat. Conversely, there are times when it
is appropriate to carry even less fuel than the internal tank is
capable of holding. On short-range missions where only a
small amount of fuel is needed, the internal fuel tank can be
filled to less than full, allowing more of the aircraft's weight-carrying capacity to be used for weapons. (To do this in the
Weapons Room, just remove all fuel tanks from the aircraft and
then click the downward-arrow button again. Each successive
click will remove 10% of the internal fuel load). In Generated
Battles, sometimes the distance to target chosen by the player is
greater than that which the aircraft can travel, even with a maximum fuel load. In these cases, the program allows the aircraft
to participate in the mission, and assumes that it receives just
enough in-flight refueling to allow it to reach the target (with little fuel to spare).
Of course, you can't always take as many weapons or fuel
tanks as you'd like. This is because all aircraft have maximum
load capacities, expressed as both a weight limit and a
"Hardpoint" limit.
There is a weight above which an aircraft can no longer
manage to take off from the ground. This Maximum Takeoff
Weight is different for each aircraft. You may not load
weapons, pods, or fuel in any combination which will make an
aircraft exceed this limit. If you try, a "Too Heavy" message will
flash in red on the screen.
Aircraft have a certain number of locations, normally under
the wings and fuselage, where they can store munitions. These
attachment points are called Hardpoints. You cannot load more
munitions on an aircraft than can be attached to its Hardpoints.
The program automatically takes care of weight and
Hardpoint limit calculations, so you needn't worry about breaking any rules. It will even determine the ideal configuration of
your armaments on the Hardpoints, maximizing the ability of
the aircraft to carry the weapons you want (this is necessary
because some hardpoints are only "wired" to carry particular
loads).
Fuel can be a little tricky. Loading more fuel gives an aircraft
greater range. But fuel also adds weight, weighing the aircraft
down and decreasing range! On balance, of course, adding
fuel increases range despite the greater weight, but you will
often find that loading extra fuel doesn't take you as far as you
thought it would, because you must burn extra fuel just to transport that fuel! Having too much fuel can also detract from performance unless you jettison extra tanks before entering a dogfight.
When loading an aircraft you may bump into both a minimum and a maximum amount of allowable fuel for an aircraft
on a particular mission. The minimum fuel limit exists because it
takes that much fuel for the aircraft to reach the target. The
game will not allow you to decrease the fuel load further. The
maximum fuel limit exists because the airplane can't take off
with a load that's too heavy.
Just because you can take that extra bomb or missile doesn't
always mean you should. Adding weight to your aircraft means
you need to burn more fuel just to get to the target, which
means less fuel left over for emergencies when you might want
to use your Afterburners. It also reduces your acceleration and
turning ability. Second, hanging things like big iron bombs
from your wings makes your aircraft less aerodynamic. This is
called "Drag". When carrying a large number of external
weapons, an aircraft will experience difficulty accelerating and
maneuvering above and beyond the effect you'd expect from
the added weight alone. This can be a critical disadvantage in
a dogfight. For example, an A-10 Warthog is able to carry as
many as 18 rockets, but almost never does in real life because
the performance penalty is too severe.
Weather
Weather plays a significant
role on the aerial battlefield and
comes in three flavors in this
game: Clear, Cloudy, and
Night. Weather conditions are stated in the Mission Briefing for
Campaign missions and are chosen by the player in Generated
Battles. Either way, it's up to you to plan accordingly when you
outfit your aircraft.
Clear weather is what you'd expect. All weapons
and sensors function normally.
Cloudy weather causes problems for infrared/thermal
systems. It's a good idea to load up on radar-homing
missiles if you expect to see any air combat because
heat-seekers won't perform well. If you're able to select
Flight Commander 2
27
aircraft types (as in a Generated Battle) pick fighters that have
powerful radar systems and don't rely on IRST. Cloudy weather
also obscures vision over distances, and reduces the accuracy of
bomb and rocket attacks. Laser pods cannot be used at all
because the laser light is scattered by the water vapor in the
clouds. AAA guns and heat-seeking SAMs will fire less frequently.
Night weather, which is actually the time of day rather
than a weather condition, requires that N-Pods be used for
ground attacks if you desire any accuracy whatsoever. It's
possible to drop your bombs or launch rockets without one, but
don't expect many hits. Radar
and aerial combat with missiles
are largely unaffected (though
visual contact is very difficult to
establish), but cannon attacks
are much less likely to hit their
targets. At night you should use
as many N-Pods as you can if
you're on a ground attack mission. Use your radars and IRST
systems along with air-to-air
missiles if you're fighting other
aircraft. Carrying E-Pods is also
a good idea because longrange, radar-guided missiles
are the biggest threat. It is very
difficult to visually spot an
enemy and dogfight with him.
AAA guns of users with a low
technology level are significantly hampered at night.
Technology Levels
Air forces are rated for their technology. Each has a technology level rated from 1 to 4. This rating determines the effectiveness of its ground-attack and antiaircraft weaponry, as well as
a pilot's chance of safely ejecting from a damaged aircraft. A
technology level of 2 is required to use rockets and ECM Pods.
A level of 3 is required for ARMs, Night Pods and Laser Pods.
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Flight Commander 2
Pilot Skills and Training Levels
There are four different measures for pilot skills. Excepting
Style, they range from 1 (worst) to 7 (best). A pilot's Air and
Ground ratings will improve as he gains kills and achieves
awards in a Campaign Game.
1. Air: This skill affects a pilot's chances of hitting with his
cannon, successfully performing High-G Turns (when using the
High-G Turn Limits combat option), and regaining control of his
aircraft in a stall or spin (when using the Stalls/GLOC
advanced option).
2. Ground: Higher skill
aids in making accurate airto-ground attacks.
3. Style: There are three
kinds: Aggressive, Normal,
and Defensive. Aggressive
pilots are good at flying
advantaged (when using the
Movement Phasing combat
option), but are more vulnerable to attacks by missiles or
cannon. Defensive pilots are
precisely the opposite.
4. Toughness: This is a
measure of how resistant a pilot
is to fatigue which is only relevant in a Campaign scenario.
Every pilot's skills are affected by his nation's overall training level. Pilots with good training are better at spotting enemy aircraft, defending against missile and cannon attacks, and flying
advantaged when using the Movement Phasing combat option).
If you do opt to Head for Home while closely engaged, the
game will give you two choices. "Quick Withdrawal" puts your
forces under the computer's command and sends them directly
home as soon as possible. "Fighting Withdrawal" will instruct
the computer which is now controlling your aircraft to mix it up
with any nearby enemies for a few turns before breaking for
home. The later option is preferable for covering your retreat if
closely engaged. In both cases, the computer will take over
your forces and play out the balance of the mission while trying
to break off the action. Depending on the circumstances this
may take quite some time. You can either watch the outcome
unfold, or come back later and check the results in the Mission
Debriefing. When you do retreat from combat, make sure you
fly in the right direction! Select the Navigation item from the
Radio menu to get directions to your airbase.
ENDING THE MISSION
A mission will end automatically when one of the following occurs:
1. All attacking aircraft are shot down.
2. All defending aircraft are shot down in a non-groundattack mission.
3. You select "Head for Home" from the File menu.
Alas, it's not quite that easy. The game will not allow you to
turn tail and run after you've expended all your ammunition
and are now firmly in the sights of an adversary. To give the
enemy his due, you shouldn't end the mission until the combat
forces of both sides have disengaged completely. If you're
dashing for home and the computer's aircraft are still chasing
you, the program won't end the mission until they've broken off
pursuit (which they will eventually if they don't catch you). Of
course, if you're really not chickening out and just need to go
eat dinner and intend to come back and fight another day from
the same relative positions, you can save the game in progress
by selecting the "Save Game" command from the File Menu or
using keyboard command "Alt+S".
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29
5.AIRCRAFTSYSTEMS
his section describes the aircraft systems that you'll use
to maneuver, detect the enemy, and fight. Some of
these systems are represented by on-screen graphical
controls, and others are part of the game's underlying
simulation engine.
MOVEMENT AND MANEUVER
Your aircraft is guided by the Flight Stick to control the direction of flight and the Throttle to control acceleration.
The Flight Stick is an on-screen control
that allows you to maneuver by changing
your aircraft's Flight Path. It operates just
like a stick from a real airplane. Push it to
the left or right to turn your aircraft. The
further you push it left or right, the tighter
the t u r n w i l l be. When playing with
Altitude (one of the combat options) you
can push the stick forward (upward on your monitor) to dive, or
pull back (downward) to climb. Again, how far you push or
pull the stick determines how much you climb or dive.
Ninety degrees is the most you can turn an aircraft in one
move. When playing with the High-G Turn Limits combat
option, even a 90° turn may not be possible. You must push the
flight stick all the way to the left or right to make a 90° turn
(also known as a High-G Turn because of the extreme G-forces
that result from such a maneuver).
There are four push-bars surrounding the Flight Stick box. The
two side bars are labeled "Roll" and the top and bottom bars
are "Immelmann" and "Split-S". The latter two are used only
with the Altitude combat option and are discussed later. The Roll
buttons allow you to do barrel-roll maneuvers which offset the
aircraft's path by one grid square to the left or right while maintaining the same direction of flight. Click on a Roll bar to select
or deselect a barrel-roll maneuver as part of your upcoming
Flight Path. Two little green (white on B&W monitors) arrows
next to the Roll button will indicate that it has been selected.
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Flight Commander 2
There is a price to be paid for doing fancy maneuvers, however: deceleration. In the case of High-G Turns, deceleration is
severe - as much as two hundred MPH! It's important to think
ahead when using such maneuvers and offset the deceleration
(at least partially) through the use of increased thrust (discussed
below). Barrel Rolls and Low-G Turns (i.e. those of only 45°)
cause much less deceleration than a High-G Turn, but the effect
is still noticeable.
Deceleration in turn maneuvers is influenced by two factors:
Wing Loading and Wing Type. Wing Loading is a measure of
the lift required of the wing to keep the aircraft in flight. You
can compute the Wing Loading of an aircraft by dividing its
total weight by the square footage of its wings. For turning purposes, a lower Wing Loading is preferable, as this represents a
relatively light aircraft with a large wing. As you can imagine,
such an aircraft will perform better in a turn than a heavy aircraft with a small wing (i.e. a "flying brick"). Wing Type is also
a factor. Delta wings, though they offer superior acceleration at
supersonic speeds, bleed off a lot of airspeed in a tight turn.
Swing wings, which behave like delta wings at high speeds,
have the same problem at high speed.
Thrust Systems
The driving force behind a modern military plane is
its jet engines. These engines are capable of propelling
aircraft at incredibly high speeds, but are subject to the
same laws of physics as power plants of earlier eras
and still have significant limitations.
First of all, jets are not powerful enough to allow a
pilot to ignore the decelerating effects of tight maneuvering or gaining altitude. As described in the previous section, it's important to "throttle up" when
engaging in High-G Turns.
It's also important to remember that it takes time
for the effects of acceleration to be felt. Although modern jets
possess tremendous acceleration, their speed is so great that it
takes several minutes (or more) to accelerate to maximum
speed. You shouldn't expect to be supersonic after one move
of flying on Afterburners. The effects of any changes to the
throttle setting will be seen on the move after you set the throttle. If you turn on your Afterburner, your speed in this move
will not change. However, at the beginning of the next move,
you'll probably see a significant increase unless you did a
High-G Turn.
In addition to the main throttle there
are three related systems you need to
know about: Afterburner, Airbrake, and
Fuel. An Afterburner is a system that literally dumps fuel into the hot jet exhaust of
your engines and ignites it, turning the jet
engine info a form of rocket. This greatly increases thrust but at
the cost of massive fuel consumption. Afterburners are far less
fuel efficient than normal engine thrust (even at 100% power)
and should be used sparingly. Not all aircraft are equipped
with Afterburners and thus the "Burner" button will not appear
on every Combat Display.
The counterpart to the Afterburner is the Airbrake. This is a
kind of "flap" that is (usually) extended from the fuselage of an
aircraft to increase drag and slow the aircraft down. Normally
used when landing, the Airbrake can also be deployed advan-
tageously for quick deceleration in a dogfight. Pushing the
"Brakes" button will automatically turn off your Afterburner and
push the Throttle back to 0.
As a combat pilot in a jet aircraft, your life blood is
Fuel. You can't fly without it, and jet engines consume fuel so hungrily that fuel management is critical to mission success and survival. This subject is
explored in more detail in the Tactics section of this
manual, but the most important thing to remember is to
keep your eye on the fuel gauge and not waste fuel. Afterburners
are powerful but use a lot of fuel, so use them accordingly.
Gauges
Clicking on the Systems button just
above the Flight Stick will show you the
airspeed and fuel gauges for the currently
selected aircraft.
The airspeed gauge (on the left) indicates your c u r r e n t airspeed. The fuel
gauge (on the right) shows your current fuel level expressed as
a percentage of a full load of internal fuel. In cases where
you're carrying external fuel the displayed number may be
greater than 100%. The "red zone" (gray on B&W monitors)
inside the fuel gauge shows the minimum fuel you need to get
back to your home airbase. This is also known as your "Bingo"
value. Allowing your fuel needle to enter this red zone is very
dangerous. You should not allow this to happen except in the
direst of circumstances. Break off combat before your fuel drops
into the red zone. Otherwise, you risk being diverted to another
friendly airbase and delayed (at best) or crashing (at worst). A
"fuel kill" is just as useful to the enemy as if he had shot you
down with a missile!
However, the Bingo level is calculated using your current
weapons load, so if you're carrying a lot of bombs, your fuel needle may start out alarmingly close to your red zone. Don't worry.
As soon as you drop or launch your weapons, your aircraft will
become lighter and the Bingo level will drop accordingly.
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31
DETECTION
Radar
Combat of any sort can only take place when a combatant is
able to find his opponent. This is an especially acute problem in
aerial warfare where the "battlefield" is often an immense region
of airspace. Fortunately (or not, depending on your mission)
many systems have been developed for detection purposes.
The game handles all the details of detection and contact for
you. Unless the Visual and Radar Contacting combat option is
used, however, all detection systems function perfectly. That is,
you will always be aware of every participant in the battle, both
friendly and enemy. This is unrealistic, of course, but it's a good
way for new players to become familiar with the game system.
Once you're comfortable with the game, turn on the Visual and
Radar Contacting option and experience the "fog of war"; you'll
know someone is out there, but you won't know where!
The need to detect enemy aircraft over distances
greater than the eye can see was recognized as
early as World War II when early ground-based
radar systems were developed and deployed, most
notably in the Battle of Britain. Since then, radar
sets have evolved into much more powerful and portable systems. All state-of-the-art interceptors and fighter jets carry onboard air-to-air radar systems to locate and destroy enemy aircraft. Many bombers and older aircraft do not.
Air-to-air radars are capable of detecting an enemy in two
ways. The first, called Contacting, is the result of a radar search
where the radar system scans the sky quickly and broadly, looking for reflected signals. A "blip" on the radar screen usually
informs the radar operator that something is out there and provides a little information (e.g. whether the aircraft is friendly, its
airspeed) but not a strong enough fix to fire weapons. For that a
Lock-on is required. A Lock-on is the result of the radar first
searching for the target (and obtaining it as a contact) and then
narrowing the focus of the radar beams to pinpoint the target
aircraft. Once a Lock-on is achieved, weapons such as radarhoming missiles can be fired at the target. However, in the Basic
Game (i.e., without employing the Radar and Visual Contacts
option) radar Lock-ons are abstracted so the Lock-on button disappears while in Air Attack mode. Consequently, you only need
a radar contact to fire a radar-homing missile.
Visual
The trusty "Mark 1 Eyeball" has been in use
ever since the first dogfights of World War I.
Despite the tremendous technical advances in
detection systems over the last few decades, visually acquiring a target is still necessary in many circumstances, especially for target identification and in light of
recent advances in stealth technology. That is why pilots in most
air forces are required to have excellent vision.
Because pilots face the front of their aircraft, they have a
much better chance of spotting enemies to the front. The chance
of spotting an enemy in the rear 90° arc is considerably smaller, and is zero in the case of aircraft that do not have a bubble
canopy. Even aircraft with bubble canopies can only see a
rearward aircraft if the rearward aircraft is at a higher altitude.
The chance of spotting an enemy is also modified by the
size of his aircraft and the distance to it. Maximum visual range
is roughly 30 grid squares. Only when the enemy is fairly close
is it possible to identify the type of aircraft. Until then, the
enemy will be referred to as a Bandit if spotted or a Bogey if
detected only by electronic means.
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Flight Commander 2
An attempt to Lock-on is not automatically successful. The
chance of acquiring a Lock-on depends partially on the range
to target as well as the strength rating of the radar. Lock-ons
can sometimes be broken by strong ECM (electronic countermeasures) from the target.
You can see at once who you've contacted or Locked-onto by
clicking the Display button located near the upper-left of the
screen. This shows your radar scope and what's on it. All radar
contacts show up as hollow squares, and Lock-ons as solid
squares. The currently selected target is colored red (or gray on
B&W screens). You can click to select targets just like you can in
visual mode.
The display to the left of the Radar button will also tell you
when you're Locked-on.
An aircraft may not conduct a radar search if it fired its cannon or attempted a High-G Turn in the previous move, unless it
has a second crewman on board (who operates the radar
while the pilot has his hands full with other duties).
Additionally, active jamming can significantly
interfere with radar. Only a few types of specialized aircraft can conduct active jamming, and
these are identified in the Data Library as "jamming" aircraft. They are capable of confounding
enemy radars by emitting electronic "noise". This noise radiates
outward from the jamming aircraft to a range of 100 grid
squares. All aircraft inside this radius, friendly and enemy
alike, are "protected" by the jamming. The effective ranges of
radars searching for aircraft inside the jamming radius are significantly reduced. Protected aircraft are shielded from detection by radar controllers and less likely to be hit by radar-homing missiles, and are less likely to be fired upon by SAM sites.
By looking in the on-line Data Library (which you'll find in the
Windows menu) you can check out the radar systems installed
on the different aircraft in the game. The different technologies
you'll find listed there and their capabilities are of four types:
1. Track-While-Scan (TWS). This allows a radar system
to maintain Contacts and Lock-ons simultaneously. Earlier
radars lose all other Contacts as soon as a Lock-on is achieved.
2. Look-Down. (Only relevant when playing with the
Altitude combat option). These radars can successfully Contact
and Lock-on to targets flying at a lower altitude (and "hidden"
by spurious radar signals bouncing back from the ground)
although their effective range is reduced by 30% in this case.
Radars without this capability can only Contact and Lock-on to
aircraft flying higher than about two-thirds of their own altitude.
3. Multi-Target. These radars can Lock-on to more than
one aircraft at a time. Such systems are normally only carried
by dedicated interceptors with a two-man crew.
4. Expanded Arc. Most airborne radars cover only the
front 90° arc, but some cover 1 80° or 360°.
Contacted
Locked-onto
Radar Warning Receiver (RWR)
Radar's Achilles' Heel is that its outgoing electromagnetic
waves can be detected by the very aircraft that the radar is trying to locate! This is accomplished through the use of an only
slightly more sophisticated version of the radar detectors people use in their cars. Thus, it's not possible to use radar without
giving away your own presence. Radar is not stealthy.
Your on-board RWR device, located in the Defense Panel, will
tell you if it has detected any hostile radars. The triangular lights
inside reveal if the detected radars have contacted (hollow triangle) or Locked-on to you (solid triangle) and the approximate
(Absolute) direction from which the signals emanate.
Infrared Search and Track (IRST)
Because of radar's tendency to "announce" its user to its target, the need for a passive detection system was recognized.
The technology used in heat-seeking missiles was adapted to an
on-board sensor system and IRST was born.
IRST passively detects heat (infrared) signals. It is undetectable
to its target because it generates no signals of its own. IRST is relatively new and is not widely used. Its range is limited to 15
miles, and it functions poorly in cloudy weather. For simplicity's
sake, IRST contacts are shown as blips on a radar display.
Flight Commander 2
33
Stealth
In response to the growing power of radar systems to detect
and lock-on to aircraft at long ranges, scientists in the late
1 960's embarked on several aircraft-design projects that, over a
period of roughly twenty-five years, collectively introduced a
new defensive technology to the air combat arena. Stealth technology is intended to greatly reduce the radar signature (i.e. the
"visibility" to radar) of an aircraft through the use of designs that
incorporate angular surfaces, radar-absorbent materials (RAM),
engines with reduced thermal emissions, and more.
Functional stealth technology is a product of the last decade,
and is used on only a few specialized aircraft. It is not perfect
and does not make an aircraft totally invisible to radar, but it
does significantly reduce the range at which a radar system
can detect and Lock-on to the aircraft. Due to its reduced thermal signature, it also reduces the effectiveness of heat-seeking
systems like missiles and IRST. In the game, radar controllers
are not able to locate stealthy aircraft.
ATTACK SYSTEMS
Aircraft have two attack modes:
Air and Ground. You can switch
back and forth between these
modes by clicking on the Attack button located next to the Weapon
Panel, or by clicking on an enemy target in which case the program will automatically switch to the appropriate attack mode.
Each time you select a new aircraft to receive orders, the
computer makes a quick check to see if that aircraft is able to
fire on any enemy targets in its current attack mode. In other
words, if you click on one of your aircraft that's in air mode, the
program will check to see if it can shoot at any enemy aircraft. If
it can, it will automatically place a crosshairs on the target and
play a buzzing sound to alert you. It's important to remember
that the program will not automatically target ground units when
in Air mode or vice-versa, so it's a good idea to keep your
bombers in Ground mode and your fighters in Air mode.
There are three buttons on the Weapons Panel. In Air attack
mode these buttons fire heat-seeking (HSM) and radar-homing
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Flight Commander 2
Weapons Panel in Air Mode
Weapons Panel in Ground Mode
(RHM) missiles, and direct the radar to Lock-on. In Ground
attack mode, these buttons drop bombs, and fire rockets and
ARMs. In either case, the readouts to the right of each button
tell you that you can fire or, if you can't, the reason why.
Additionally, you can check on your current weapons load
by clicking on the Weapons button located just above the Flight
Stick. It will replace the airspeed and fuel gauges with a readout of the weapons you still have on-board.
CREW
Many modern aircraft are so complex that they require two
or more people to operate. One flies and the others manage
the navigation, radar, and weapons systems. Aircraft that carry
more than one crewman are better able to spot enemy aircraft,
may determine the airspeed of unspotted radar contacts, and
may conduct a radar search even if the aircraft fired its cannon
or attempted a High-G Turn.
6. COMBAT
here are several different methods of using weapons.
Except where noted, an aircraft or ground unit may
make only one attack per move.
AIR-TO-AIR MISSILES
There are four types of air-to-air missiles:
1 .Rear-Aspect Heat-Seeking. Older missiles
that can be fired only at a target's rear 1 80° arc, where they can
Lock-on to the aircraft's hot jet exhaust.
2. All-Aspect Heat-Seeking. Possessing highly sensitive
seeker heads, these can be launched at a target from any
angle, though to much greater effect from the rear.
3. Semi-Active Radar-Homing. These are guided to the
target by following the reflected signals of a continuous radar
Lock-on which leaves the firing (guiding) aircraft in a rather predictable and vulnerable Flight Path. If the Lock-on is lost, the
missile is lost.
4. Active Radar-Homing. Needs a radar Lock-on from
the firing aircraft only to launch. After that, it is a "fire and forget" missile that has its own radar set to guide it to the target.
Launch Requirements
You can select a target for air-to-air missile attack by clicking
on it. The Weapons Panel displays will flash a "READY TO
FIRE" message if you are able to fire. If you select a target that
you're not able to attack, the displays will light up with the reasons why you can't. Generally speaking, you need to satisfy the
following conditions to launch a missile:
Heat-Seekers (HSM):
•
•
You must have visual contact to the target, or possess
a Heads-Up Display (HUD) and have a radar Lock-on
to the target.
The missile must be All-Aspect, or you must be firing at
the target from its rear 1 80° arc.
Radar-Homers (RHM):
•
You must have a radar Lock-on to the target.
All Types:
•
The target must be within your front 90° arc.
•
The target must be within the minimum and maximum
ranges of the missile.
•
The missile is "launchable under high-G" or you did
not attempt a High-G Turn on the previous move.
Launch Ranges
Each missile has standard minimum and maximum ranges that
you can access in the Data Library by selecting it from the Windows
Menu or using keyboard command "Alt + D". These values can
change in actual combat, however, for a number of reasons.
Due to the increased thermal signature from jet engine
exhaust, heat-seeking missiles can track an aircraft from much
longer ranges when facing the aircraft's rear than when facing
its front. For this reason, the maximum launch range for heatseeking missiles is only 50% of the stated value when firing at a
target's front, and 75% when fired at a target's side 90° arc.
Radar-homing missiles are affected by the strength of signal
returns as well, but in their case it is the size of the target aircraft that modifies the true maximum launch range. Larger aircraft reflect more radar waves so they can be fired upon from
greater range. Maximum range when firing on tiny jets can be
as little as 60% of the stated value.
All missiles need a few seconds after launch to ignite their
motors, track the target, and arm their warheads. This time is
represented by enforcing a minimum range for each missile
Flight Commander 2
35
below which the missile cannot be launched because it won't
have enough time to arm itself before intercepting the target. This
range can be affected by the angle of intercept. When firing at a
target's front, the closure speed between the missile and the target is much greater than when firing from the rear because the
missile and target are flying toward each other. This leaves less
time for the missile to arm itself after launch, which means that
the missile's minimum launch range must be increased. When a
missile is fired at a target's front, its minimum range is doubled.
From the side, the minimum range is increased by 50%.
Active radar jamming (friendly or enemy) also degrades attack
capability.
6. Stealth. Stealthy targets are harder to hit.
7. Ground "Clutter". Targets at low altitude (3 or less) can
be masked by interfering signals from the ground if the missile is
intercepting from a higher altitude. Ground clutter affects older
radar-homing missiles the most. For it to take effect, the target must
be diving when the interception takes place. This is only relevant
when using both the Altitude and Missiles Track combat options.
8. Angle of Attack. The effectiveness of a missile depends
heavily upon the angle at which it intercepts the target. See the
figure above, where larger arrows represent greater effectiveness.
Missile Attack Modifiers
The following affect the likelihood of a missile hitting its target:
1. Target speed. When the target aircraft is traveling at
less than 450 MPH, the chance of a missile hit increases (especially at very low speeds).
2. Pilot Training/Style. Pilots with better training are
harder to hit as they are more adept at defensive maneuvering
and decoy use. Pilots with a Defensive style are harder to hit
than those with an Aggressive style.
3. High-G Turns. Targets that are in a High-G Turn are more
difficult to hit, especially for missiles with poor agility ratings.
4. Target Throttle/Afterburner. [Heat-Seekers only].
Higher throttle settings generate more heat and make it easier for
heat-seeking missiles to track. Afterburners are very easy to track.
5. Target ECM/Active Jamming. [Radar-Homers only].
Target ECM value (including ECM Pods) decreases a missile's
chance of hitting. The missile's ECCM value can counteract this.
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Flight Commander 2
All-Aspect Heat-Seekers
Radar-Homers
* Rear-Aspect Heat-Seekers cannot be launched at
a target's front, but with the Missiles Track option
activated, the target may be able to turn toward the
missile so that it intercepts the aircraft's front.
CANNON
AIR-TO-GROUND ATTACKS
Cannon are similar to the machine guns used in
the early days of fighter planes except that they fire
shells instead of bullets and have a much greater
range. They often have a blindingly high rate of
fire. Despite these technical advances, however,
the cannon still serves the same basic purpose as the machine
gun: it is the weapon of choice for close-range air combat.
Cannon operate in a different manner from air-to-air missiles. Rather than firing during the Give Orders Phase, cannon
are fired automatically during the Action Phase at targets of
opportunity. No special orders are needed. Firing takes place
automatically if a target presents itself.
Your cannon has a range of one grid square and may fire
once per Action Phase, regardless of whether you fired any air
or ground weapons in the Give Orders Phase. If you want to
fire your cannon at an enemy, try to predict where he'll fly and
maneuver yourself so that you'll intercept him somewhere along
his Flight Path.
A pilot running low on ammunition will not fire his cannon
automatically. If he has three or less shots remaining, he will
fire only if he has a reasonable chance of scoring a hit.
Otherwise, he'll take any shot he can get.
You can also use cannon to strafe ground targets. Your pilot will automatically open fire as you
fly over them unless the target is impervious to cannon fire. Buildings, bridges, bunkers, and airfields
cannot be damaged by cannon. The only cannon
that can damage a tank is that carried by the A-10A Warthog.
The accuracy of cannon attacks is affected by target bearing
(similar to the effect on radar-homing missiles), airspeed (of
both firer and target), and pilot skills (of both firer and target).
When playing with the Altitude option, a cannon may be
fired up or down (depending on Pitch) a distance of one altitude level. When flying level, the cannon may be fired up or
down as well as level. Strafing ground targets may only be performed from altitude level zero.
Air-to-ground attacks are made in a similar manner to air-toair attacks. Just click on a ground target to select it and then
use the buttons in the Weapons Panel to fire. Weapons include
bombs, rockets, and ARMs.
Like missiles, air-to-ground weapons can only be launched
into the front 90° arc.
There are four possible results
from an air-to-ground attack: miss,
near miss, hit, and hit and destroy.
The result is shown briefly in the
Data Readout, although the size and
sound of the graphical explosion will
also inform you of the outcome in the
same way that they do for air-to-air
combat. A large explosion will predict a wreck. A small explosion signifies damage which, on a target aircraft, is graphically shown
by a purple border for the aircraft. Big targets are easier to hit
than small ones. Some ground targets take more hits to destroy
than others. Damaged, but not destroyed, targets are taken into
consideration when determining your scenario performance.
Bombs
In the Basic Game you
may drop as many bombs
on a single target as you
like in one move. Maximum range is six grid squares.
Having a good bombsight and low airspeed improves
bombing accuracy. It's a good idea to stay below 400 MPH,
depending on bombsight quality. When playing with the
Altitude combat option, flying at low altitude improves accuracy. If also playing with the Advanced Ground Attack option,
being in a Dive (especially a Vertical Dive) helps further. You
can never drop bombs from a Climb or Vertical Climb Pitch.
Flight Commander 2
37
Rockets
ANTIAIRCRAFT FIRE
The technology level of
the user affects the accuracy
and range of a rocket. If
using the Altitude combat
option, an aircraft's altitude is added to the distance the rocket
has to travel, and reduces the maximum effective range accordingly. The minimum range is only in effect when playing with
the Ground Attack option). Range values are in grid squares.
Ground units capable of antiaircraft fire may automatically shoot
at attacking aircraft in the Action Phase after aircraft complete their
movement. Not all antiaircraft units will fire on every turn.
When playing with the Altitude option, you can't launch
rockets from a Climb or Vertical Climb Pitch.
Antiradiation Missiles (ARMs)
ARMs can only be fired at
active SAM sites. SAM sites
will sometimes shut down
their radars in an effort to
avoid ARM attack. The missile on the SAM portrayal on the
screen points down when it is shut down.
Active SAM site
Shut-down SAM site
The technology level of the user affects the accuracy and
range of an ARM. The minimum range is only in effect when
playing with the Combat Ground Attack option).
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Flight Commander 2
Antiaircraft Artillery (AAA)
These are typical small-caliber cannon mounted on
fixed gunsites and vehicles. With a maximum range
of ten grid squares, they can fire only as high as altitude 7. The accuracy of these guns is proportional to
the technology level of the owner. Low-flying, slow-moving, and
straight-flying aircraft are the most vulnerable to AAA fire.
Surface-to-Air Missiles (SAMs)
There are three ground units that can fire SAMs.
SAM sites fire radar-guided SAMs, while SAM
vehicles and Infantry units fire heat-seeking SAMs.
SAMs are subject to all the same attack modifiers
that air-to-air missiles are.
Radar-guided SAMs can be launched at a target at any altitude, but have a maximum range of 15 to 30 grid squares,
depending on the technology level of the owner. Radar SAMs
are better able to target high-flying aircraft, so it's a good idea
to fly low if you want to avoid them. In addition, SAM sites are
vulnerable to active jamming which can suppress their ability to
launch missiles.
Heat-seeking SAMs launched by
ground vehicles can be fired as high as
altitude 1 2, and have a launch range of
12 grid squares. They are all-aspect
weapons. Those launched by infantry units have a maximum altitude of 5 and range of 8. Nations with a technology level of 3 or
more use All-Aspect infantry SAMs. Others use Rear-Aspect only.
he game is designed to suit players of any experience
level by allowing them to tailor the game's complexity
to suit their tastes. This is accomplished by a set of
combat options. With these, players can choose just
how much (or how little) added realism and complexity they
want. This allows players to decide where the optimal trade-off
between realism and playability lies for them.
At the Start screen, click the "Combat Options" button to see
a window with a column of check boxes. Just click on the
options you want to activate for the game. It's as simple as
that! The game will remember the options you selected in your
last saved game and will automatically default to those same
options the next time you play until you change them. You can
return to the Start screen from the Weapons Room or Pilot
Lounge to change the selected options by selecting "Return to
Start Screen" from the File menu. However, doing so cancels
the current game in progress. Once a scenario actually begins,
it is too late to change the options being used.
It's probably a good idea to play your first few games without using the combat options. As you become more comfortable
with the game system, add one option at a time, giving yourself
some time to get used to it. This will keep the game fresh and
exciting, always presenting a new challenge.
Targetting is now a matter of placing desired missile or radar
targets not only in your front arc, but also within your Pitch. If
you get the "not in pitch" message, it's because you're not pointing vertically at the target. Check your respective altitudes by
selecting the Altitude item from the Display menu (or use keyboard command "Alt +A", which will replace all aircraft silhouettes in the Combat Display with altitude level readouts. Then
you can tell whether you need to be pointing up, down, or level.
ALTITUDE
When the Altitude option is activated, aircraft
have not only a facing but a Pitch as well. Pitch
refers to whether the aircraft is pointing up,
down, or level. There are five different values for
Pitch: Vertical Dive, Dive, Level Flight, Climb, and
Vertical Climb.
Dive
Vertical Dive
Zones of airspace covered by each pitch value.
Flight Commander 2
39
The Flight Stick will now operate in the vertical as well as the
horizontal direction, allowing you to mix climbs and dives with
turning maneuvers. This can be a good way of decreasing your
turn radius but be careful. Climbing (gaining altitude) causes
significant deceleration and normally requires full throttle in
order to avoid losing airspeed. Similarly, diving (losing altitude) accelerates an aircraft.
As you move the Flight Stick vertically, observe the Altitude
Display which is located above the Throttle.
Current altitude
Current Fitch (level flight)
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Flight Commander 2
Altitude heading to
New Pitch (Climb)
Notice that the colored aircraft shown in the Altitude Display
changes vertical direction as you move the Flight Stick up or
down. It demonstrates the Pitch that you will have on the next
turn after these maneuver orders are carried out. Your current
pitch is shown by the dotted silhouette behind the colored aircraft. In other words, Pitch is determined by the orders given in
the previous move. The number in the upper left of the Altitude
Display is the aircraft's current altitude. The number in the
upper right is the altitude which the aircraft will achieve at the
end of the move.
Current altitude
Current Pitch (level flight)
Altitude heading to
New pitch (Dive)
Now observe the Flight Path of your aircraft as you move the
Flight Stick up and down. The arrowhead on the end of your
Flight Path changes to a solid red when in a dive, to hollow
white when climbing, and pink when level.
With the Altitude option in effect, you are now able to perform the Immelmann and Split-S maneuvers. The bars for these
are located above and below the Flight Stick. Normally they
will be inactive. To perform an Immelmann (a climbing halfloop that reverses an aircraft's facing), you must spend one
move in a Vertical Climb. On the next move, if you pull the
Flight Stick back into a Vertical Climb again, you will then be
able to click on the Immelmann bar whose name will now be
highlighted in green. Once you click on the Immelmann bar,
the Flight Path arrow will reverse direction 180° and the
Immelmann bar will be highlighted by green triangles. To cancel the Immelmann, simply click on the bar again. Otherwise,
your aircraft will gain Altitude and reverse direction in the ensuing Action Phase.
An Immelmann in progress.
The Split-S is similar, except that it is a diving half-loop so
you must be in a Vertical Dive on the first move, and in the next
move do another Vertical Dive and click on the Split-S bar. Be
aware that these maneuvers cause significant deceleration
because they resemble High-G Turns executed in a vertical
direction. The Immelmann bleeds off so much airspeed that it
should only be attempted when flying at speeds of at least 400
MPH in a high-performance jet. Inexperienced pilots (those with
air skill ratings of 3 or less) will decelerate even more due to
their lack of finesse.
The Split S is the equal of the Immelmann but \oses altitude.
All aircraft have an altitude limit above which the air is too
thin for them to generate enough lift from their wings to fly. This
limit is called a Ceiling. A typical ceiling is about 30 (50,000
ft.) but varies with aircraft type and Wing Loading. Aircraft
may fly as low as altitude level 0.
When you're playing with the Altitude option, you will notice
a new entry in the Data Readout when you place the cursor over
an aircraft. In addition to the normal readouts for aircraft type,
speed, and range, you may also see something like the one
shown on the following page: Alt:+1/+4 (V. Climb). The first
number indicates the difference in altitude between the aircraft
the aircraft under the cursor and the one currently receiving
orders (your pilot). In this example, the red aircraft under the cursor is one level (+1) above the blue aircraft receiving orders. The
next number (+4 in this example) only appears when you are
Flight Commander 2
41
also playing with the Movement Phasing combat option, and it
indicates the difference in altitude that will exist on the next
move, assuming that the aircraft now receiving orders flies
level. So, in this example, the red aircraft under the cursor is
planning to climb three levels of altitude, going from one level
above our blue airplane (+1) to four levels above it (+4). The
Pitch value in parenthesis ("Vertical Climb" in the example) represents the current Pitch of the red aircraft under the cursor.
RADAR AND VISUAL CONTACTING
When using this option, aircraft will no longer be detected
automatically. Instead, you must use your visual, radar, and
IRST systems to find the enemy. These systems will not function
perfectly, thus introducing "fog of war". You don't know where
the enemy is or how many planes he has until you find them.
Any enemy aircraft to whom at least one friendly aircraft has some form of contact will be drawn in the
Combat Display, even if your forces don't actually have
a visual contact to it. If your active aircraft does not
have visual contact to an enemy aircraft, that enemy will be shown
with a speckled pattern of dots over its normal silhouette.
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Flight Commander 2
If you're ever unsure of the kind of contact your aircraft has to
an enemy, place the cursor on top of the enemy aircraft. The Data
Readout will indicate visual, radar, or IRST contact if it exists.
Radar controllers now become important. They are air- or
ground-based radar systems that saturate the battlefield with
powerful search radars. They contact all non-stealthy enemy aircraft and report their positions. With a radar controller, your
awareness of the enemy will be much like it was in the Basic
Game with the Radar and Visual Contacting option turned off.
In the Basic Game, your aircraft began each mission with
radars turned on by default. Now that there is a disadvantage
to always having radar on (it announces your position to the
enemy), games will begin with all radars off as the default. You
can switch them on either individually or for all pilots by using
the All Radar On/Off selection under the Radio Menu.
With Radar and Visual Contact activated, missiles will only
be spotted when in visual range (1 8 squares) and not at all if in
the only observer's blind spot. This makes having wingmen even
more important because they protect your blind spots. Unspotted
missiles are more lethal since a blind target isn't able to effectively engage the necessary defensive countermeasures.
Aircraft with only one crewman will no longer see a
value for an enemy aircraft's speed in the Data Readout
unless it has established visual contact to that enemy. This
represents a pilot's need to stay "heads up" when in close
combat, and a second crewman's ability to work the radar
in a dedicated fashion.
When in Air mode, clicking on the "Lock On"
button will instruct your radar system to attempt
to Lock-on to the currently targeted enemy aircraft. If you don't bother to click on this button
and your radar is switched on and has TWS
capability, then your aircraft will choose an enemy aircraft at
random during the Action Phase and attempt to Lock-on to it.
This may be a desirable convenience, but if you have a specific target in mind, click on that target with the mouse and
click the Lock-on button.
With this option, aircraft using radar without TWS (TrackWhile-Scan) will not automatically attempt to Lock-on to an
enemy aircraft at random as you might already be used to
seeing. This is because Locking on would cause the radar
contacts to be lost, which may be undesirable. You must
select targets for Lock-on manually (by clicking on them and
then clicking the Lock-On button) for aircraft with no TWS.
When an enemy aircraft is selected for Lock-on, it will be
shown with a small green "R" in the corner of its marker as
shown on the top plane in the preceding illustration. It can
be located by clicking on the "Find Tgt" button. A green
crosshairs will appear over the target aircraft which will
appear in the center of the screen. The Data Library reveals
which aircraft are equipped with TWS.
Aircraft plans to make a
High-G Turn (90°) with 69%
chance of success ...
... but f a i l s and only turns
45° in the Action Phase.
HIGH-G TURN LIMITS
You may have noticed that in the Basic Game all aircraft
have the same ability to maneuver and turn on a dime. Real life
isn't like that, and using this option reflects that reality. With
this option in play, attempted High-G Turns may fail to execute.
Aircraft will no longer be able to make 90° turns whenever
they please. Welcome to the concept of maneuver failure.
Certain aircraft cannot always "pull G's" enough to successfully
complete a High-G (90°) Turn. The game simulates this by allowing aircraft to attempt High-G Turns in the Give Orders Phase,
but sometimes failing to complete them in the Action Phase.
High-G Turns consist of two separate 45° turns. When a
High-G Turn fails, the second of the two 45° turns doesn't take
place. The aircraft is treated as though it planned to turn only
45° instead of 90° except that deceleration is the same as if the
High-G Turn had successfully completed and no defensive benefit against missile attacks is gained. As in the Basic Game,
High-G Turns still bleed off a lot of airspeed, but now they do
so with no guarantee of success!
There is a chance that the High-G Turn will succeed. T h i s value is called the Maneuver
Percentage and is displayed in the Maneuver
Display above the A f t e r b u r n e r button. The Maneuver
Flight Commander 2
43
Percentage will appear on a red background whenever the
Flight Stick is set for a High-G Turn.
Factors that improve an aircraft's maneuver percentage are:
• Aircraft type with high maneuver rating (A+ is best)
• Low altitude (where atmosphere is thicker)
• High pilot Air skill rating
• Few external weapons carried (less drag)
• Airspeed close to "ideal" (see below)
"Ideal" speed is the speed at which an airframe can "pull"
the greatest number of G's, and hence make its tightest turn.
The ideal speed for an aircraft depends on its current altitude
and whether it's capable of supersonic speeds. Flying around
450 MPH is usually best as a general rule but the ideal speed
for each altitude is shown on the graphs below.
Speed (MPH)
Ideal
Speeds
Speed
(MPH)
Sometimes you'll find that your Maneuver Percentage is very
low. This often happens as your airspeed bleeds off in a dogfight
to well below your "ideal" speed. In these circumstances it's normally wise not even to attempt a High-G Turn, because the chance
of succeeding is so low, yet the deceleration penalties are still high.
You're usually better off cranking up your Throttle, and making a
simple 45° turn, hoping to accelerate enough to reach your "ideal"
speed on the next move to gain a better Maneuver Percentage.
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Flight Commander 2
Failing a High-G Turn represents anything from slow pilot
reaction time to a clunky aircraft to a pilot attempting (and failing) to push his aircraft "beyond the envelope". For example,
trying to pull high-G's in a Boeing 707 (the airframe used by the
E-3 AW ACS) is not a good idea. No matter how hard the pilot
pulls back on the stick the airplane is simply not going to make
a high-performance turn. It just wasn't built to do that. The same
is true for many smaller aircraft as well, especially when they're
flying at a speed that's too high (too much air resistance) or too
low (not enough lift for the wings) to pull high-G's.
MISSILES TRACK
In real life, air-to-air missiles do not strike their targets immediately after launch (as they do in the Basic game). In fact,
some missiles can be in flight for as much as a minute or two
before either intercepting the target or running out of fuel.
With this option selected, missiles no longer attack immediately. When launched, a missile appears in a grid square adjacent to the aircraft that launched it. Over the next several
Action Phases it will automatically fly toward its target, gaining
or losing altitude if necessary. Once it enters the same grid
square (and altitude) as the target, the missile will attack.
This means that aircraft firing Semi-Active RadarHoming missiles must maintain the radar Lock-on to
the target so the missile can track properly. If the
Lock-on is lost, the missile is lost. The display to the
left of the Radar button will tell you the I.D. number
of the enemy you're guiding a radar missile toward:
Missile speeds are
much greater than that
of most j e t s , so it is
rarely possible to outrun one. However, missile speeds are as
much as 30% below their stated value at low altitudes where
the air is thicker. A missile needs to accelerate to its top speed
when launched and so flies more slowly on its first turn in the
air. (NOTE: if fired from a fast-moving aircraft the missile will
have more of a "boost").
Missiles will not be shown in the
Combat Display until they are spotted.
Starting with the move after launch, a
missile can be spotted as soon as it's
within 18 grid squares (five miles) of
its target. You'll no longer always see
the c o m p u t e r l a u n c h i n g m i s s i l e s .
Instead, you'll just see the missile once
it's close enough to spot. If a missile is
chasing the aircraft to which you're
currently giving orders, the missile
frame will change to yellow. As can
be seen at left, the active aircraft has
some incoming problems. If those missiles had a blue border
they would be targetted at another aircraft.
skip over such aircraft. Don't worry. The computer will automatically hit the Afterburners to restart the engines of such aircraft
if it is possible.
An aircraft's stall speed is primarily determined by its stall
rating (see the Data Library). However, flying at high altitude
and carrying heavy external armaments will increase stall
speed significantly. Typical stall speeds are between 150 and
250 MPH.
Another effect of this option is the introduction of
G-induced loss-of-consciousness (GLOC). When
pulling eight or nine G's in a tight turn, a pilot can
sometimes black out from the lack of blood flowing
to his head. This is a grave situation because the
aircraft is doomed to crash unless the pilot can regain consciousness in time. GLOC is rare, but is always a risk.
STALLS/GLOC
ADVANCED GROUND ATTACK
Aircraft are able to remain aloft because their
wings convert some of the energy of forward
motion into "lift". If the airspeed is too low there
isn't enough energy to create the required lift, and
the aircraft will lose altitude. This phenomenon is
called a stall. When a stall results in uncontrollable and violent
flight, it's called "departed flight", or a Spin.
In the Basic Game, no aircraft's airspeed will fall below 150
MPH, and no stalls occur. This is artificial and intended only to
allow novice players to get a feel for flying before frustrating
them with accidentally crashing aircraft (through the overuse of
High-G maneuvers).
With this option selected, each aircraft has a
stall speed, below which it cannot stay airborne.
The stall speed is indicated by the "red zone" (gray
on a B&W monitor) in the Airspeed gauge. Don't
let your Airspeed needle fall into the red zone!
Stalls and Spins can result. Your aircraft will automatically lose
altitude until it regains sufficient speed, which can cause you to
crash if you're flying low. You cannot give orders to an aircraft
while it is stalled so the "Next Pilot" button will automatically
This option adds some realistic restrictions on air-to-ground
attacks and is best used in conjunction with the Altitude option.
The accuracy of bombing is seriously affected by aircraft Pitch.
Being in a Vertical Dive is by far the most accurate way to
deliver a bombload, though the maximum range then drops to
two grid squares. A Dive is the next best pitch (maximum bombing range of four squares) followed by level flight (maximum
range of six squares) which is inaccurate. Bombs may not be
dropped from a Climb or Vertical Climb. It is the aircraft's current Pitch (shown by the dotted gray outline in the Altitude
Display) that affects the bomb drop. For example, to perform a
dive-bombing you would enter a Vertical Dive, and on the next
move drop the bombs. Planes with low-quality bombsights will
have a very difficult time hitting anything unless in a Vertical
Dive. Pitch does not affect the accuracy of laser-guided bombs.
MINIMUM RANGES: Aircraft that attempted or performed
a High-G Turn on the previous move may not launch an air-toground attack. In addition, the minimum ranges for rockets and
ARMs detailed in the Combat section are now in effect. Bombs
have a minimum horizontal range of two if dropped from level
flight, one if from a Dive, and 0 from a Vertical Dive.
Flight Commander 2
45
Players no longer have the advantage of hindsight in determining how many bombs to drop. When you press the Bomb
button, a window will appear giving you a choice of how many
of your bombs to drop at this time on this target.
Rockets can only be fired from either level flight at altitude
3 or lower, or from a Dive. ARMs may not be launched from a
Climb, Vertical Climb or a Vertical Dive.
Flying a straight Flight Path now helps make attacks more
accurate because it allows the pilot to aim properly. Fly straight
on one move, and on the following move you'll qualify for the
bonus. In other words, it's the Flight Path of your last move that
affects your aim. The flip side is that flying straight also makes
an aircraft more vulnerable to AAA fire.
MOVEMENT PHASING
This option breaks the Give Orders
Phase down into two parts: the Standard
and Advantaged Phases. The Standard
Phase comes first, and all maneuvers planned in the Standard
Phase are visible to any of the opponent's aircraft that plan
maneuvers in the Advantaged Phase. This simulates the ability
of some pilots to predict how their opponents intend to maneuver. A prime example is when one aircraft is "tailing" another.
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Flight Commander 2
The pilot of the rear aircraft can see and quickly react to the
movements of the aircraft he's tailing.
We simulate tailing by forcing tailed aircraft
to plan maneuvers in the Standard Phase
(exception: depending on pilot skill and training, some good pilots can avoid being forced into the Standard
Phase, especially when tailed by poorly skilled pilots). An aircraft must face and be behind another aircraft in order to tail it.
When one aircraft is tailing another and suddenly forces the
tailed aircraft to plan in the Standard Phase when it would not
otherwise have done so, you'll be informed by a message in
the Combat Report window.
Pilots with high Air skill ratings are more likely to fly
Advantaged than those with low skill, but only those pilots who
have at least one visual contact to an enemy aircraft can plan
moves in the Advantaged Phase. When playing with the
Missiles Track option, aircraft that are guiding Semi-Active
Radar-Homing missiles will automatically plan moves in the
Standard Phase.
You should select the "All Aircraft Paths" item from the
Display menu (or use keyboard command "Alt +P") when using
this option, so your advantaged pilots can see the planned flight
paths of enemy aircraft who moved in the Standard Phase.
he game has an extensive on-line database that displays descriptions and performance data for the combatants in the game. Just select the Data Library item
from the Windows menu or use keyboard command
Alt +D" to see it.
Clicking on the topic of your choice will open it.
Once you're inside a topic, you'll see
lists of the items in that topic.
You can scroll the
lists
up or down by clicking on the Scroll arrows at the right.
Clicking on any item listed will open the specific data screen
for it.
Clicking the "Go Back" button will return you to the previous
Lists screens. The "Previous" and "Next" buttons will call
up the previous/next Data screen in order without returning to the List screen. Clicking
on "Exit" will take you out of
the Data Library.
Harrier
Flight Commander 2
47
AIRCRAFT
The Data screen for each aircraft contains a description of
the aircraft and a list of performance data. A brief summary of
the different data fields is provided here:
Type: The name of the aircraft is on the first line, followed by
its type and whether it's supersonic. There are eight different types:
Fighter: Primarily used to fight enemy aircraft of ail types in
air-to-air combat. Fighters are typically small, very maneuverable aircraft with high thrust-to-weight ratios.
Interceptor: Designed to engage in air-to-air combat, but of a
different sort than the Fighter. The interceptor's mission is to shoot
down intruding bomber aircraft with long-range radar-homing
missiles. Interceptors are usually fast but often lack maneuverability. They are usually big aircraft, enabling them to carry a large
number of missiles. Older interceptors are typically relegated to
the strike role once their weapons systems are obsolete.
Strike: An aircraft designed to execute air-to-ground attacks.
Close-Support: Similar to Strike, but intended more for "battlefield loitering" (i.e. flying around the front lines looking for
enemy troops to attack). Usually armored.
48
Flight Commander 2
Multi-Role: Fully capable of performing as either a Fighter or
Strike aircraft.
Jamming: Equipped with a powerful active radar-jammer,
these aircraft are intended to accompany a strike squadron to
its target and shield it from enemy radar.
Air Radar: Sometimes referred to as air-early-warning
(AEW), these aircraft carry huge 360° radars and effectively
act as airborne radar controllers.
Spy Plane: Designed for covert strategic photo recon.
Crew: The number of people on board.
Maximum Speed: Measured at both sea level and high
altitude (level 21).
Engine Thrust: Full-throttle thrust measured in pounds.
Value for afterburner-assisted (i.e. maximum) thrust is shown if
an afterburner is present.
Typical Combat Thrust-to-Weight Ratio: The ratio of
the aircraft's maximum engine thrust to its (typical) combatloaded weight. Higher values mean better acceleration.
Empty Weight: Weight of aircraft with no weapons or fuel.
Maximum Takeoff Weight: The maximum weight at
which the aircraft can still take off from the ground.
Internal Fuel Capacity: The size of the internal fuel tank.
The fuel efficiency of the engines is shown in parenthesis if
other than average.
Combat Endurance at Military Power: How many
minutes the aircraft can fly at full throttle (without afterburners)
before running out of fuel with a normal full fuel load.
Maximum External Load: The maximum weight of external armaments that this aircraft can carry.
Maneuver: Rated from A+ (best) to F (worst). A better rating means High-G Turns have a greater chance of success.
Size: The physical size of the aircraft. Larger aircraft are
easier to spot and pick up on radar.
Wing Area: A measure of the size of the wings. Divide the
weight of the aircraft by the wing area to calculate Wing Loading
in pounds per square foot. Higher Wing Loading translates to
greater deceleration during turning maneuvers, so fighter aircraft
prefer to have greater wing area (and lower Wing Loading).
Flight Commander 2
49
MISSILES
The entry for each missile contains a description of the missile and a list of performance data. Below is a list of the different data fields and what each one means.
Type: The seeker type.
Kill: The rough chance that the missile will hit a non-maneuvering target from the rear, under normal circumstances.
ECCM: (Radar missiles only) A measure of the strength of
the on-board electronic counter-countermeasures system that
helps the missile burn through ECM.
Quickness: The agility of the missile. This determines the
missile's ability to follow a target through High-G Turns.
Launch Envelope: Minimum and m a x i m u m l a u n c h
ranges, measured in grid squares.
Maximum Speed: Speed traveled at high altitude once
the missile has had time to accelerate fully.
Burn Time: The number of moves the missile can fly before
running out of fuel.
Launchable under High-G: Yes if the missile can be
launched from an aircraft that just performed a High-G Turn.
Weight: The weight of the missile.
Jaguar
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Flight Commander 2
TARGETS
The entry for each target unit contains a description of the
unit and a list of performance data. Below is a list of the different data fields and what each one means.
AA Weapon: The weapon (if any) that can be fired at aircraft.
Size: Size of the unit, from small to large. Bigger units are
easier to hit.
Toughness: How resistant the unit is to damage. Rated
from "soft" to "hardened". This affects the damage sustained
from near-misses. Larger units usually take more hits to destroy,
even if they're "soft".
Value: The points scored by the attacker for knocking out
this type of unit.
AIR FORCES
The entry for each air force contains a description and the
force's combat insignia.
Technology: Rated from 1 (lowest) to 4 (highest).
Training: Average aircrew training level,
rated from poor to excellent.
9. MENUS
File
Head For Home/Return To Start Screen
ead For Home" ends the current mission unless you
are too closely engaged. You must separate from the
enemy sufficiently to be allowed to end the mission
without the computer taking command of your forces.
Use this command when all aircraft have decided to break off
from combat and are heading toward their respective airbases.
"Return To Start Screen" is shown during the setup process for
Campaigns. If you're setting up for a Campaign Mission and
change your mind and want to play a different scenario, select
this item and it will take you back to the Start screen.
Save Game - Alt +S
Saves the game currently in progress.
Load Play-By-EMail Game File
When beginning a Play-By-EMail game created by another
player, select this menu item to load the file he sends you.
The Movement Phasing combat option is never used when
playing an EMail game since its inclusion would double the
number of responses needed.
Quit FLIGHT COMMANDER 2 - Alt +Q
Returns to the Program Manager in Windows (or the Finder
for Macintosh).
H
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51
Display
Aircraft
Toggles whether aircraft are shown in the Combat Display or
not. If aircraft overflying ground targets obscure your view of the
latter, toggling them off provides a clear view of the ground.
Altitude - Alt +A
Toggles whether aircraft altitude levels or their silhouettes
are shown in the Combat Display. This is useful when you want
to get a quick view of everyone's altitude alt at once.
Trace Paths Back - Alt +B
Toggles whether to show aircraft Flight Paths from the previous move (as well as the current move) in the Combat Display.
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Flight Commander 2
This shows you where everyone is coming from.
All Aircraft Paths - Alt +P
Toggles whether to show the Flight Paths of all aircraft in the
Combat Display or only that of the currently selected aircraft.
It's often useful to use this so you can see where everyone is
heading, but with a lot of aircraft it may cause the Combat
Display to become cluttered in a dogfight.
I.D. Numbers - Alt +I
Toggles whether to display aircraft I.D. numbers in the
Combat Display.
Ground Units - Alt +U
Toggles whether ground units are shown in the Combat
Display.
Missiles - Alt +M
If Missile Track option is used, toggles whether fired missiles
are shown in the Combat Display as visible counters.
Wreckage - Alt +R
Toggles whether aircraft wreckages are shown in the
Combat Display.
Grid - Alt +G
Toggles whether the grid is shown in the Combat Display.
Find Current Pilot - Alt +F
Centers the Combat Display on the currently selected aircraft
(the one that is receiving orders).
Find Selected Target - Alt +T
Centers the Combat Display on the selected target (the aircraft or ground unit with the crosshairs on it).
Find Strike Zone - Alt +K
Centers the Combat Display on the general vicinity of the
The ground units will flash on the screen three times.
Center When Switching Cockpits - Alt +O
Toggles whether to center the Combat Display on the active
pilot each time the "Next Pilot" button is clicked.
Zoom Fully In - Alt + =
Immediately shows the Combat Display at full scale.
Zoom Fully Out - Alt+Immediately shows the Combat Display at smallest scale.
Pilot
Human Control - Alt +8
Places the currently selected pilot under your control.
Computer Control - Alt +9
When checked, this pilot will fly under computer control
beginning on the following move (though still on your side!).
This is useful if you don't want to personally fly every plane.
Send Home - Alt +10
Next
When checked, the currently selected pilot is under your control, but will not be "visited" again when you click on the "Next
Pilot" button. He will turn to head for home and fly straight unless
you click on his aircraft to change his Flight Path. This is useful for
aircraft that have finished with combat, so you don't have to be
bothered with them as you click through your squadron with the
"Next Pilot" button. However, such pilots fly a less evasive course
and are easier prey if enemy aircraft are in the vicinity.
Next Pilot
Change Name - Alt +H
Equivalent to pressing the Next Pilot button, this switches you
into the cockpit of the next aircraft in your squadron.
Crew Eject
Begin Action Phase/End Phase - Alt +E
Eject from the aircraft. Only do this if your aircraft appears
to be about to go down in a Campaign game to save the pilot.
Equivalent to pressing the button of the same name. In the
Basic Game, this ends the Give Orders Phase and begins the
Action Phase. With the Movement Phasing option activated,
this menu item will end whatever phase you're in (Standard or
Advantaged) and move on to the next.
Change the name of the current pilot.
Jettison Stores - Alt +J
Brings up a dialog allowing you to dump weapons/external
fuel stores you don't want. This can be useful to reduce fuel
requirements for the flight home (due to less drag) or in order to
dogfight with a lightweight fighter.
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53
Radio
Windows
Mission Briefing
Hide/Show Combat Report Window - Alt +W
Recalls the Mission Briefing window in case there is some
aspect of the mission you need to recheck.
Hide/Show Scroll Window - Alt +L
Navigation
Recalls the Navigator window to show the way to the strike
target (if there is one) or your home field. As you fly towards
your homebase, your Bingo fuel value steadily decreases
because you're getting closer to your airbase.
Squadron Status Report
Brings up a window containing your squadron's status report.
Enemy Status Report
Brings up a window containing the enemy's status report.
All Radars On
Turns on the Radar of all aircraft.
All Radars Off
Turns off the Radar of all aircraft.
Copy Maneuver to Aircraft in Formation - Alt +;
This duplicates the maneuver of the selected aircraft to all aircraft of same type and facing within ten squares. The copied
maneuver includes Throttle, Burner, and Brakes settings.
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Flight Commander 2
Hide/Show Overview - Alt +Y
Hides or shows the respective floating window. Those with
small screens may find it useful to remove these windows.
Hot Keys
Brings up a window showing handy keyboard shortcuts.
Campaign History
If you're in the midst of a Campaign, this will bring up a
window showing the success of your previous missions in the
current Campaign.
Data Library - Alt +D
Summons the Data Library.
Background when in Ground Attack mode and Sky Background
when in Air Attack mode.
Automatically Show Combat Report
When checked, the Combat Report window will appear at
the beginning of each move if there's any battle news to report.
This is useful if you're playing on a small monitor and you need
to click away the Combat Report in order to free up screen
space. When this menu item is checked, you won't miss any
important news.
Slow/Normal/Fast Action Phase
Choose the speed at which you wish the Action Phase
resolved. Fast speed presents the most fluid and pleasant viewing, but it becomes more difficult to follow what's happening.
When using the High-G Turns and Missile Track Options, the
slower speeds can be very entertaining and enlightening.
Faster Scroll
When checked, the Combat Display scrolls at twice normal
speed.
Options
Sound On
Toggles sounds on and off.
Radio Chatter
Toggles the background voices on and off.
Private
This is applicable only to two-player games. When selected,
sounds are played only during the Action Phase so human players
won't hear each other turn on Afterburners, activate radars, etc.
Earth Background
Sky Background
Attack Mode Background
This option toggles back and forth between Earth
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55
10. TACTICS
he following discussion assumes that you're using all of
the combat options (most importantly Missiles Track
and Altitude). However, it could still enhance your skills
even if you're not.
AIR-TO-AIR COMBAT
Be Aggressive!
Put simply, there are two things you must do in a dogfight:
point at the enemy, and shoot first. It's even better if you can
shoot often, although this will depend on the number of missiles
you have.
One general rule of air combat you should take to heart is
this: take any reasonable shot you can get. If you wait for the
"perfect" opportunity, you may wait a long time only to get shot
down before it arrives. This is especially true if you're flying a
modern jet with a heavy load of missiles. Use those extra missiles to your advantage by filling the air with them. Any shot
you take will put your opponent on the defensive, and remember: an aircraft downed by a lucky hit is just as dead as one hit
by an "earned" shot.
You must get used to the fact that, in a dogfight, most missiles
will miss their targets. But even those that miss still force the enemy
to maneuver defensively to defeat them - by turning hard and going
off-course, or shutting down afterburners and losing airspeed, or
pointing away and losing the opportunity to fire back at you.
Long-Range Combat
Most modern air combat begins long before the combatants
can actually see one another. For this reason it's important to
master the use of radar and radar-homing missiles. Long-range
combat is usually not as deadly as a dogfight, but casualties
will occur and, perhaps more importantly, the maneuvering you
do (or force your opponent to do) at this stage will affect the
strength of your position once you close to dogfight range.
The first thing you should do is decide which side has the
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Flight Commander 2
If you have the better long-range capability, then you're in
no rush to close the range. Keep your throttles at 50% (cruising
speed — just enough to dodge the occasional missile) and take
your time.
There are only two concerns you should have at this stage of
me battle with regards to firing too often. First, because radarhoming missiles require a continuous Lock-on from the firing aircraft to intercept the target, if that Lock-on is lost, the missile will
lose guidance and self-destruct. The obvious problem here is
that if one of your aircraft has several RHMs in the air all guiding on one target and the Lock-on is lost, all of those missiles
will be lost. Lock-ons can be lost for a variety of reasons, but
the most common will be radar-jamming (ECM) emanating from
the target. For this reason, you ought not to have more than
one or two RHMs from any one aircraft in the air simultaneousy. The exception to this is the Active-Homing Radar Missile
e.g. AIM-54 Phoenix, AIM-120 AMRAAM) which requires a
lock-on only to fire. If the firing aircraft's Lock-on is broken after
launch, the active-homing missile is unaffected. Additionally,
with quality missiles you may not want to launch too many (say,
more than three) at one target because if the first missile
destroys the target, the rest are wasted. With older missiles you
should fire as often as you can because most of them will miss.
no problem for him if his airspeed is low or if he's caught out of
position. You're better off "ripple-firing" your missiles so that a
new one attacks the target each turn. That way, he'll have to
make a separate defensive maneuver to defeat each missile. As
soon as he dodges one, another arrives. Sooner or later he'll be
so low and slow from all the twisting and turning he's done to
avoid those missiles that he'll be a sitting duck.
Poor fire control: seven missiles vs the same target can be
The active aircraft is the meat in a missile sandwich - facing
incoming missiles from two directions which will probably arrive
in consecutive moves. In maneuvering to avoid the first, the aircraft will become more vulnerable to the second.
defeated by just one maneuver.
Your other concern regards the pattern in which you fire your
missiles. Although you should fire freely and often, you should
try to avoid having all your missiles intercept a target at the
same time. The reason is that he can pull one defensive maneuver that will help defeat all incoming missiles at once. If there
are no more missiles coming at him on the next move, then it's
The Head-On Pass
Sooner or later, as the opposing forces converge, you'll find
yourself in one of the classic opening situations of air combat:
the head-on pass. To keep things simple, let's assume that you
and your opponent each have only one aircraft.
The most important thing is to know your aircraft. Be familiar
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57
with its strengths and weaknesses, and those of your opponent's.
Generally speaking, the objective is to get behind your opponent
so you can fire missiles or cannon at him from the rear, where
you'll have the greatest chance of scoring a hit. How you go
about this depends largely upon how the aircraft match up.
Use your strengths against your opponent's weaknesses. If
your maneuver rating is better, reverse by turning horizontally
after the head-on pass (pull a High-G turn). If you are coming in
fast, make a shallow climb as you turn to reduce airspeed and
turn radius. If not, then turn hard, crank up your throttle and dive,
if necessary, to maintain airspeed and reduce turn radius. You
may want to turn horizontally even if you possess an inferior
maneuver rating if you have an angles advantage (e.g., if your
opponent just dodged a missile and is heading off-course).
Conversely, do not try to keep turning in close with a more
nimble adversary, unless you have a much better pilot which
may offset the difference in maneuver capabilities of the respective aircraft. If you can be out-turned, pass your opponent at fullthrottle, and reverse direction using the vertical: Immelmann or
Split-S maneuvers. These are good maneuvers for aircraft with
poor maneuver ratings but good acceleration (i.e., thrust-toweight ratios). Vietnam-era F-4 Phantom pilots made frequent use
of the vertical when dogfighting with MiG-17 fighters that were
more agile but less powerful. Unfortunately, these vertical maneuvers can leave you pointing too steeply up or down rather than at
your opponent. An Immelmann also bleeds off airspeed (about
300 MPH, even when you're on afterburner), so attempt one only
when flying a high-performance jet moving at maximum throttle.
Otherwise you risk stalling out, so use a Split-S.
If you're too slow to perform an Immelmann and too low to
pull a Split-S, you can still turn horizontally to reverse. You'll
probably need airspeed so light your afterburner and enter a
shallow dive while turning 45° at a time. It's important to turn
in the opposite direction that your enemy did to increase the
distance between you and buy some time. You must use distance to negate his maneuver advantage. Speed helps to
accomplish this so try to keep it high.
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Flight Commander 2
Dogfighting
The weapons of choice for close range combat are the heatseeking missile and cannon. Radar-homing missiles have too long
a minimum range to be useful at close quarters and also require
a radar Lock-on before firing which takes too long to acquire (by
the time you get one, the fire opportunity has passed).
Again, you should take whatever reasonable fire opportunity
you can get. Launch your missiles and maneuver for cannon
shots. At the very least it will keep your opponent off-balance,
and with a little luck you'll get some hits even from shots that
had a low "kill probability". However, you may want to save at
least one heat-seeking missile for later. In the fast-moving chaos
of a dogfight, occasionally you'll find yourself staring down an
opponent's tailpipe. When that happens, it is extremely frustrating not to have a missile ready! This can happen in a multi-aircraft dogfight where aircraft become intermingled, or when
your opponent decides to break off combat and head for
home, presenting you with a nice shot from the rear. So if you
can spare it, it's usually a good idea to hold on to a heat-seeker for a golden opportunity like this.
A "furball" in progress.
To maximize weapons use, you first need to maneuver into
firing position. Normally this means getting behind an opposing aircraft. To accomplish this, you should follow the advice
presented above for the "head-on pass" and practice energy
management.
Energy is needed to accelerate, turn, and climb. It can be in
the form of speed (kinetic energy) or altitude (potential energy).
One form can be converted to the other by climbing or diving.
Dogfights tend to end up "low and slow" as energy-depleted
participants "trade" their altitude for speed as they twist and
turn in combat.
Having too much energy (i.e. airspeed) increases your turning radius and makes it more difficult to get behind your opponent. However, too little speed causes you to stall after maneuvers and prevents you from covering ground quickly to escape
danger. It's important to use your throttle to maintain a manageable energy state, and to use altitude to minimize turn
radius and adjust your airspeed as necessary.
Your jet engines maintain your energy state, but they require
fuel. The side that runs low on fuel first is at a significant disadvantage, because it is no longer able to use its engines and
afterburners to maintain a high energy state. Hence, it will be
unable to maneuver effectively. This means that monitoring fuel
level is critical to survival. Afterburners are powerful but highly
inefficient, so use them only when necessary, and keep one eye
on the fuel gauge.
If you're running low on fuel, you'll have no choice but to
break off combat unless you want this mission to be a one-way
trip. But it's important to break off before your fuel drops below
the "Bingo" level (the red zone on the gauge that represents
how much fuel you need to return home). This is important
because as you retreat from air combat you're vulnerable to
missile shots from the rear. You must choose a time to break off
that minimizes this vulnerability (such as when your opponent is
facing the other direction) not a time when you are so low on
fuel that you no longer have a choice. You can't escape with
engines idling. You may need your afterburners to accelerate
quickly away from danger and for that you need fuel.
Team Tactics
So far we've discussed tactics in the framework of a one-onone engagement, but most air combat involves a group of aircraft on each side. Dogfights involving many aircraft are called
"furballs" in pilot lingo because of the chaotic nature of such
combat. You'll have to use different tactics in a multiple aircraft
engagement than in a one-on-one. There are two key strategies
to employ.
DIVIDE AND CONQUER
Shoot first and force your opponent to split his forces. Then
gang up on the easiest target and destroy it. When opposing
aircraft are scattered, they will be less able to provide mutual
support for one another and you can gain a local numerical
advantage. But don't get too focused on any one aircraft. The
chance for a good shot can appear and disappear in an instant,
so be flexible and engage targets of opportunity. You won't be
able to spend much time maneuvering against a single enemy
aircraft because other enemies will present new and shifting
threats. You must go for the quick kill whenever possible.
ENCIRCLEMENT
The second principle is to surround your opponent and
attack from several angles at once. Split your force and "sandwich" the enemy aircraft. That way, no matter which way the
enemy aircraft turn, some of your aircraft will have a fire opportunity from the rear. Furthermore, since all of your aircraft are
facing in toward his, the enemy will probably not have a good
shot at you.
A variation on this tactic is to split your force into two
"waves". One flies straight in to mix it up in close combat,
while the other throttles down and holds back. Once the first
group has engaged the enemy, the second hangs on the
periphery where it should get many fire opportunities.
On the flip side, should you need to counter a split/surround
move, you should face the enemy and move so as not to get
"sandwiched" in the middle. Maneuver to attack and overwhelm one portion of the enemy's split force, leaving the other
portion out of the fight.
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59
AIR-TO-GROUND
COMBAT
Success on an air-to-ground strike mission begins with a solid
plan of attack. This combines arming with the right weapons
and organizing your aircraft into the proper flight groups.
FLIGHT GROUPS
When facing no opposition from the air, it's best to concentrate your forces and bring them over the target zone all at
once. This oversaturates the air defenses and minimizes their
ability to cause you harm. Try to fly in and out as fast as possible, slowing down only to deliver weapons. The faster you're
moving, the less time you spend in the antiaircraft envelope.
If enemy fighters are present, the situation is more complex.
Loaded bombers cannot maneuver effectively and so have only
a limited ability to defend themselves against fighters and their
missiles. As the attacker, you must use your own fighter force to
destroy (or at least engage and occupy) the defending fighters.
Proper organization of your flight groups can help you do this.
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Flight Commander 2
There are three basic plans, though you should feel free to
modify them or invent your own. The standard plan places your
fighters in the Lead group, followed by bombers in the Strike
group. This arrangement affords protection to the bombers by
forcing defending aircraft to pierce the fighter screen before
getting to the bombers. Your fighters can tie up the defenders in
close combat as the bombers fly through to the target.
A variation on this method is to reverse the groups: put the
bombers in the Lead and the fighters in the Strike group. This is
a bit risky, because it puts the bombers out front, but it sets an
effective trap for defending fighters. If the defenders attempt to
attack the bombers from the rear, they will themselves be vulnerable to attack from the rear by the fighters in the Strike group.
This formation works better against air forces that reply on older
technology rear-aspect heat-seeking missiles. If the defender has
effective all-aspect heat-seekers or good radar-homing missile
capability, you should not use this formation as it puts your
bombers at too great a risk from the initial frontal attack.
You can combine the above two techniques, putting a mix of
fighters and bombers in both Lead and Strike groups. Alternately,
you can attempt to trick your opponent. Put fighter aircraft into
the Sweep or Weasel groups, which approach the target from
different directions than the main force (Lead and Strike groups).
The defender will then be forced to make a decision as to which
force to engage. If he chooses incorrectly his fighters will move
off the target to engage your decoy force(s) of fighters in the
Sweep/Wease group(s), clearing a path for your bombers.
A warning: try not to engage enemy fighters while flying
near enemy antiaircraft units. As you maneuver to fight the
enemy aircraft, you'll begin to slow down and the ground units
will enjoy their best shot opportunities. Trying to take on too
much at once like this is a sure way to get shot down.
Consequently, it's almost always a good idea to assign several aircraft the task of knocking out air defenses. The Weasel
group is a useful place to put ARM-armed SAM-suppression
("Wild Weasel") aircraft that are meant to knock out missile
defenses from long range but not to engage in air-to-air combat.
Starting on the periphery of the battle enables these aircraft to
carry out their mission without unnecessary exposure to fighters.
Weapons to Take
Your aircraft must be properly equipped for a strike mission
if they are to succeed. You must select the appropriate
weapons to accomplish your mission objectives.
Bombs are short-ranged, highexplosive weapons. Relatively
speaking, they are not accurate
and are best suited to large targets that are less difficult to hit.
Bombs do supply a rather large amount of explosive power,
though, so aircraft flying relatively short-ranged missions (thus
able to carry less fuel and more weapons) can load up with
more explosives (by weight) using bombs than other weapons.
Carrying a laser pod allows the
use of "smart bombs", which are
extremely powerful and accurate
weapons. This doesn't mean, however, that you should use
smart bombs all the time! For the sake of realism, you should
know that even the high-tech air forces of today (like the U.S.
Air Force) use far more regular bombs than "smart" ones.
Rockets offer a relatively accurate, long-range alternative to
bombs. Though they usually offer
less explosive power than an equivalent bombload (that is,
what will fit on a weapons hardpoint) they are much more useful than bombs when attacking small targets like tanks and
other vehicles. They can be used for accurate defense suppression as well because they can often be fired at antiaircraft units
from outside the range of the antiaircraft weapons themselves.
ARMs (anti-radiation missiles)
are designed purely tor defense
suppression, specifically to destroy
SAM sites. These are immensely useful long-range weapons
and should be taken along in significant numbers any time
moderate or heavy SAM defenses are expected. Even if you're
not sure whether any SAMs will be present, you should take
along a few ARMs just in case.
ECM pods are extremely useful as a defensive measure
when attacking targets that are heavily defended by SAM sites.
This is especially true for aircraft that do not possess a strong
internal ECM capability. ECM pods even help spoof incoming
radar-guided air-to-air missiles so they help protect against
enemy fighters as well.
If the battle takes place at night, you want to take a night-vision
pod on all strike aircraft if you're able. It's as simple as that.
Altitude
The altitude at which you decide to fly when attacking a
ground target should depend on your armaments as well as the
types of antiaircraft weapons arrayed against you. AAA guns
are effective only at low altitudes, while SAM units are better
able to fire at high-flying targets. Your bombs are significantly
more accurate when dropped from lower altitudes, though the
accuracy of rockets and ARMs is not affected by altitude. So if
you're attacking a target with rockets that is defended largely
by AAA units, you should fly high. Conversely, if the target is
guarded by SAMs and you're armed with bombs, you should
approach at low altitude.
Weapons Delivery
All air-to-ground attacks benefit from proper aiming, and
your pilots will hit more targets if they fly slowly (at speeds
below 350-400 MPH, though with a quality bombsight you can
fly as fast as 500 MPH without degradation) and straight for
one turn before launching weapons. A word of caution: do not
try this in a high-threat environment. Remember that when you
fly slow and straight it improves not only your aim, but that of
the gunners on the ground as well! One must weigh the need to
score a hit against the survival instinct.
When using regular (i.e. not "smart") bombs, you'll find that
your accuracy improves greatly when you drop them from low
altitude in a vertical dive. Flying high and level is a good way
to miss your target. Smart bombs are equally useful at any altitude or aircraft pitch.
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61
Incoming Missiles
Lastly, don't forget to attack the primary target(s) first. Don't
waste ammo on other units unless they pose a direct threat to
you (like SAMs). If you're unsure of whether a unit is a primary
target, just put the mouse cursor on top of it and see if the Data
Readout says "Primary Target". You'll score a lot more points if
you do.
THE DEFENSIVE
So far we've talked a lot about how to attack. But what to
do when you're under attack?
Maneuver
Violent High-G Turns do wonders to shake an attacking aircraft or missile from your tail. But you can only pull High-G's
when you have sufficient airspeed, so be sure not to let it get
too low. Dive if you must to maintain your airspeed. Remember:
speed is life and "low and slow" equals dead. Also remember
to turn toward the threat, never away from it - especially if the
enemy is armed with Rear Aspect Heat Seekers.
Mutual Support
Always act as a team and help your wingmen. Gang up on
enemy aircraft rather than breaking up into individual duels.
That way, whenever an enemy gets on the tail of a friendly aircraft, you'll have another aircraft nearby that can get on the
enemy's tail to chase him away. Being mutually supportive is
the essence of aerial tactics.
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Flight Commander 2
How do you shake
an incoming m i s s i l e ?
Reread the missile attack
modifiers on page 36,
and try to use them to
your advantage. In general, you should try to present a poor
intercept angle to the missile (45° off from your front is best) and
turn off your afterburner unless you know the incoming missile is
radar-guided. The incoming missile probably is radar-guided if it
was launched from your front at long range and your RWR
reads "Locked onto". If your aircraft is reasonably nimble you
should perform a High-G Turn, which most missiles have difficulty following. Above all, stay fast-moving. You don't want to stall
out or lack the airspeed to maneuver against the missile that
may come along on the next turn. This is of particular concern
since you're probably not using your afterburner but are making
warning on your Combat Display is a fanciful device for player
convenience only. No such warning device exists for a real
pilot. He can tell if he has been contacted by radar, but not
whether a missile is actually incoming.
Disengagement
In the early days of jet warfare, aircraft were armed only
with cannon. Disengaging from such a battle was not difficult,
but with the introduction of air-to-air missiles the combat reach
of the jet fighter plane was greatly extended.
Disengaging from a missile-armed enemy is difficult because
missiles are too fast to outrun. Even worse, an aircraft must present its opponent with a perfect chance to fire on it from the
rear in order to disengage. This is why conserving fuel is so
critical. If your enemy runs out of gas first, then disengagement
is his problem.
Otherwise, you need time and speed on your side. You
need to disengage from combat when an appropriate situation
or relative positioning of aircraft arises, not when you're so low
on fuel that you're desperate. First, gain a speed advantage
over the enemy aircraft. Use your afterburner (this is why you
need to save some fuel). Wait for a good opportunity. When
your opponent is out of position, say, after a head-on pass,
make your break. Maintain full throttle and afterburner and
dive to accelerate.
If you are significantly faster than your adversary, especially
if your aircraft is supersonic and his isn't, you should consider
gradually climbing to a higher altitude once you've reached an
airspeed of at least 500 MPH. The difference between your
maximum speed and his will be greater at high altitude.
If your opponent manages to react quickly and get on your
tail, you may have no choice but to cancel your disengagement
plans for the moment and reverse direction yourself. Just keep
accelerating and meeting your opponent in head-on passes,
with ever-increasing speed. As you both speed up, the harder it
will become for him to reverse quickly the next time you try to
break away.
Of course, generating all this speed requires fuel, which is
why it's a good idea to begin to disengage well before your
fuel level drops to "Bingo". Be sure to fly in the right direction!
Check the Navigator in the Radio menu to get directions to
your airbase.
Flight Commander 2
63
11. DESIGNER'S NOTES
or years I've had a near-rabid interest in jet planes,
especially military types, and bought most of the books
and games on the subject that I could get my hands on.
I owned just about every boardgame in existence that
involved modern military aviation, but I was never quite satisfied. Despite some excellent designs, these games were hampered by an intrinsic and unavoidable flaw: the fact that a
boardgame requires its players to do a lot of bookkeeping and
dice-rolling, which causes a move that is supposed to represent
just a few seconds of "real time" to last much longer. Or at
least that's the way it was with me (I am a little slow sometimes). I also found that my personal memory capacity - we're
talking brain cells here - was overtaxed. I couldn't keep all the
paperwork straight and made many mistakes.
I wanted a game that provided as realistic a simulation as
the boardgames but at a much faster clip. I wanted hassle-free
gaming: no pens, paper, or dice. And that's where the computer entered the picture. A computer is able to do something that
no boardgame can do effectively. It can hide information. (It
can roll the dice too, which is nice).
Simulating the "fog of war" in a game is possible only with
a computer (or a dedicated human "umpire", but I never had
one of those). At the time, computer strategy games had been
around for a while, but few addressed the subject of military
aviation at a tactical/operational level.
Oh sure, there were a slew of cool flight simulators on the
market. I own some and play them often. They're a blast, but
they're not what I had in mind. I wanted something that would
let me fly aircraft with my tactical knowledge, not hand-eye
coordination. I wasn't as interested in the individual pilot's
experience as in depicting an entire air battle, involving many
aircraft. I wanted to command a full squadron rather than a single plane. The details should be there, but in such a way as not
to obstruct the player's enjoyment of the game and his ability to
play rapidly. To my knowledge no such game existed, at least
not on a computer. So I set to work.
64
Flight Commander 2
The basic idea was simple: create a game that allowed
players to experience the high-tech world of modern air combat
without having to keep track of the myriad details and attendant complexities. Fortunately, it's possible to make the computer handle all of the "ugly" parts of the simulation, letting the
players concentrate on what is happening in the game, not
how it's simulated.
So I designed my first air combat computer game and let me
tell you I thought it was the greatest thing since goat cheese.
Unfortunately, most people who played it found it difficult to
use and overcomplicated. I thought it was pretty realistic and
fun to play in most regards, but for the majority of players
(other than the true missile-heads like me) it was a little opaque.
There was a small group of loyal fans, though, who enjoyed it
and gave me a lot of great feedback and suggestions for
improvement. I am deeply indebted to them as my next effort,
Flight Commander, incorporated many of their ideas. The
response to that game which was released only for the
Macintosh, in turn, generated many helpful comments that culminated in Flight Commander 2.
I hope that I have now created a game that is both a powerful simulation of jet air combat and is quick and fun to play.
The "combat options" are an effort to let people of differing
tastes and backgrounds learn the game and play it at a level
that is most comfortable for them. For the role-players out there,
I hope that taking a group of pilots through the campaign missions gives a sense of them being "real" people with skills and
frailties just like all of us. Racking up mission successes is great,
but it hurts to lose a wingman, especially if he was just one step
away from becoming an ace.
If enough people enjoy Flight Commander 2, I plan to create
more battle and campaign scenarios on expansion disks as
well as a campaign builder program and eventually to continue
the series with a World War II version. The game was
designed to be open-ended and compatible with future releases
of scenarios, so the program you're holding in your hands right
now is only the tip of the iceberg. If you have some ideas for
missions you'd like to see, please contact us here at Big Time.
We take player feedback very seriously, so you might just get
what you ask for! For you on-line folks out there, our electronic
mailbox listed on page 1 is open twenty-four hours a day and
is the best way to contact us.
In closing, there's one more point I'd like to make. It's very
easy to be seduced by the cutting-edge technology of modern
fighters like the F-16C and missiles like the AMRAAM. They're
versatile, simple to use, and deadly. But if this is the only kind
of equipment you ever use, you're missing half the fun. There is
a special feel to flying the "old classics", like the jets of the
Korean and Vietnam wars: Sabres, Phantoms, and MiGs. These
older jets don't have either the high performance or the allaspect missiles of the modern aircraft, but this is what makes
them both a challenge and a joy to fly. There are no "A"
maneuver ratings or thrust-to-weight ratios in excess of 1:1
here. You get every kill the old-fashioned way: you earn it! This
is what Flight Commander 2 is all about. And after turning and
burning in a classic jet, you'll really appreciate that F-15E
Strike Eagle when you next hop in!
Thanks for your support, and I hope you enjoy the game.
Good luck!
Charlie Moylan
Flight Commander 2
65
12. REFERENCES
Bond, L a r r y . Harpoon: Modern Naval Wargame Rules.
Bloomington, IL: Game Designer's Workshop, 1987. (Wargame)
Chant, Christopher. The Concise Illustrated Book of Top Gun
Aircraft. New York, NY: Gallery Books, 1990.
Donald, David. The Pocket Guide to Military Aircraft and the
World's Air Forces. London, United Kingdom: Temple Press, 1989.
Published in the USA by Gallery Books of New York, NY.
Donald, David and Dorr, Robert. Fighters of the United States Air
Force. London, United Kingdom: The Hamlyn Publishing Group Ltd.,
1990. Published in the USA by Military Press of New York, NY.
Franks, Norman. Aircraft Versus Aircraft. New York, NY:
Crescent Books, 1990.
Gunston, Bill. An Illustrated Guide to Modern Airborne Missiles.
London, United Kingdom: Salamander Books Ltd., 1983. Published
in the USA by Prentice Hall Press, a division of Simon & Schuster,
Inc. of New York, NY.
Gunston, Bill. An Illustrated Guide to Modern Fighters and Attack
Aircraft. London, United Kingdom: Salamander Books Ltd., 1987.
Published in the USA by Prentice Hall Press, a division of Simon &
Schuster, Inc. of New York, NY.
Gunston, Bill. An Illustrated Guide to Spy Planes and Electronic
Warfare Aircraft. London, United Kingdom: Salamander Books Ltd.,
1983. Published in the USA by Prentice Hall Press, a division of
Simon & Schuster, Inc. of New York, NY.
Gunston, Bill. An Illustrated Guide to the Future Fighters and
Combat Aircraft. London, United Kingdom: Salamander Books Ltd.,
1987. Published in the USA by Prentice Hall Press, a division of
Simon & Schuster, Inc. of New York, NY.
Gunston, Bill. Combat Arms: Modern Attack Aircraft. London,
United Kingdom: Salamander Books Ltd., 1989. Published in the
USA by Prentice Hall Press.
Jenkins, Dennis and Miller, Jay. Sukhoi Su-27 Flanker.
Arlington, TX: Aerofax, Inc., 1991. Published by Specialty Press of
Stillwater, MN.
Miller, Jay. MiG-29 Fulcrum. Arlington, TX: Aerofax, Inc., 1991.
Published by Specialty Press of Stillwater, MN.
Morgan, Gary. Flight Leader. Baltimore, MD: The Avalon Hill
Game Company, 1986. (Wargame)
Nalty, Bernard and Neufeld, Jacob and Watson, George. An
Illustrated Guide to The Air War Over Vietnam. London, United
Kingdom: Salamander Books Ltd., 1981. Published in the USA by
66
Flight Commander 2
Prentice Hall Press of New York, NY.
Richardson, Doug. An Illustrated Guide to the Techniques and
Equipment of Electronic Warfare. London, United Kingdom:
Salamander Books Ltd., 1985. Published in the USA by Prentice
Hall Press, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc. of New York, NY.
Richardson, Doug. Red Star Rising: Soviet Fighters. London,
United Kingdom: The Hamlyn Publishing Group Ltd., 1989. Printed
and bound in Spain by Graficas Estella, S.A. Navarra.
Spick, Mike. An Illustrated Guide to Modern Fighter Combat.
London, United Kingdom: Salamander Books Ltd., 1987. Published
in the USA by Prentice Hall Press, a division of Simon & Schuster,
Inc. of New York, NY.
Spick, Mike and Wheeler, Barry. The New Illustrated Guide to
Modem Aircraft Markings. London, United Kingdom: Salamander
Books Ltd., 1992. Published in the USA by Smithmark Publishers of
New York, NY.
Spick, Mike and Wheeler, Barry. The New Illustrated Guide to
Modern American Fighters and Attack Aircraft. London, United
Kingdom: Salamander Books Ltd., 1992. Published in the USA by
Smithmark Publishers of New York, NY.
Sweetman, Bill. YF-22 and YF-23 Combat Tactical Fighters.
Osceola, Wl: Motorbooks International, 1991.
Verssen, Dan. Hornet Leader. Hanford, CA: GMT Games, 1991.
(Wargame]
Webster, J.D. Air Superiority. Bloomington, IL: Game Designer's
Workshop, 1987. (Wargame)
Webster, J.D. Air Strike. Bloomington, IL: Game Designer's
Workshop, 1987. (Wargame)
Modem Jet Fighters. Osceola, Wl: Motorbooks International,
1989.
The Defenders: A Comprehensive Guide to the Warplanes of the
USA. London, United Kingdom: Aerospace Publishing, 1988.
Distributed in the USA by Gallery Books of New York, NY.
The World's Great Attack Aircraft. London, United Kingdom:
Aerospace Publishing, 1988. Distributed in the USA by Gallery
Books of New York, NY.
The World's Great Interceptor Aircraft. London, United Kingdom:
Aerospace Publishing, 1989. Distributed in the USA by Gallery
Books of New York, NY.
People can play on separate computers if they are able to send
files to one another across a modem, network, EMail or on a floppy disk. For simplicity, all of these methods will be referred to as
"PBEM."
The game does not have a built-in modem or EMail program. It
just saves data to a file that you may use your own modem to send
to your opponent. In short, PBEM works thus: X sets up a battle and
sends a setup file to Y. Y loads the file and both players enter the
Give Orders Phase. Once they're done, Y sends a file to X, who
loads it and watches the Action Phase unfold. X then sends a file to
Y so he can see the Action Phase on his computer. Then the next
move begins with the Give Orders Phase.
PBEM works differently for each player, depending upon
whether he set up the battle ("Player X" in this example) or not
("Player Y").
To begin a PBEM game, Player X begins a battle scenario from
the Startup screen by either loading a battle file from disk or by
clicking on the Create Battle button just as he would to begin a
one-player battle. You then set up the battle as you would for a
one-player game, except when the Choose Player Types dialog
appears, you choose Human for both attacker and defender.
A dialog window appears, asking if the human players wish to
play together on one computer or through EMail. Click "Use
EMail". Then in the following dialog window, indicate whether you
will be the attacking or defending Force. You will then be asked to
save an EMail file to disk. You can save it in any folder, but make
sure you know where you saved it because you must send it to your
opponent. This file contains setup information for him to begin the
game.
Next, another dialog will appear telling you to send the file to
Player B. Don't click it away yet. You will need to "switch out" of
the game before you can send the file. Under Windows, press the
"Alt" and "Tab" keys simultaneously to "switch" to the next program that you have running. Keep pressing these keys (together)
until you reach the Program Manager. From there you can send the
EMail file you just saved to Y. On the Macintosh, click the little icon
in the upper-right-hand corner of the screen and a menu will pop
up. This menu contains a list of all the active programs. Select
"Finder", where you can run your modem program to send the file.
If the game window is in the way, return to that same menu and
select "Hide Others". Now send the file to Y. The file will be titled
something like "EMOOOA.TXT" unless you renamed it.
Now switch back into the game. In Windows just hit the "Alt"
and "Tab" keys simultaneously until the Flight Commander 2 window appears. On the Macintosh, click the icon in the upper right
corner and select Flight Commander 2. Once back in the game,
click the OK button on the dialog window that's still there. The
game now proceeds normally. Once you are finished with the Give
Orders Phase, click the Action button.
A dialog will appear, informing you that it's time to load Y's file
with his moves for the turn. If he hasn't sent you anything yet, just
click on Cancel and wait. Once he's ready to send you a rile, you
will probably need to "switch out" of the game to receive the
incoming file if you're using a modem program.
Eventually, Y will send a file with a title like "EM001B.TXT".
Once he has, you can click again on the Action button and then on
the OK button of the dialog that follows. In the Open File dialog
that appears, find Y's file and load it. The Action Phase will now
occur. At the end you will be asked to save your orders for this turn
into a file and send that file to Y so that he too may watch the
Action Phase and keep your respective data in synch, men the next
move begins and the EMail cycle repeats itself.
The process for Y (i.e. the player who doesn't set up the battle)
is similar, except that to begin you should first receive an EMail file
from X before you even run the game program. Once you have the
initial EMail rile, run the game and select "Load Play-By-Email
Game File" from the File Menu of the Startup screen. An Open File
dialog will appear and you should select the file X just sent you.
Thereafter, the game will play as in the above example except the
order of sending and receiving files is reversed. When you click on
the Action button, you will be asked to save and send your file to X
first, and then wait to receive his file in return before your Action
Phase begins.
EMail files are plain text files, so you can open them up in a text
editor program and "cut and paste" to send them over EMail. But
keep three things in mind:
• do not change the contents of the file.
• do not accidentally add any "white space" to the beginning
of the file,
• if you're using Windows, make sure the file you "cut and
paste" into has a ".txt" suffix when you save it.
Flight Commander 2
67
14. GLOSSARY
AAA (Antiaircraft Artillery): Effective Range ten squares
to an altitude of level 7. P. 38.
AAM (Air-to-Air Missiles): AAM consist of two types:
heat-seeking and radar-homing. An aircraft can carry one variety of each type.
Absolute Bearing: Direction based on your screen with
the top of the screen always being 0° and the bottom always
being 180°. P. 18.
Active Radar-Homing: A missile needing a Radar Lockon from the firing aircraft to launch. After that, it is a "fire and
forget" missile with its own radar to guide it to the target.
Action Phase: Resolves moves from the Give Orders
Phase. P. 7.
Afterburners: Pushing the "Burner" button will automatically accelerate your aircraft at the maximum rate at the
expense of using far more fuel. When Afterburners are on, the
gauge to the left of the Burner button will be red. P. 31.
Air Brakes: A flap that is (usually) extended from the fuselage of an aircraft to increase Drag and slow the aircraft.
Normally used when landing, the Airbrake can also be
deployed advantageously for quick deceleration in a dogfight.
Pushing the "Brakes" button will automatically turn off your
Afterburner and push the Throttle back to 0. P. 31.
All-Aspect Heat-Seeking: A missile which can be
launched at a target from any angle, although it is more accurate when launched from the rear. P. 36.
Altitude: Option which adds the third dimension. P. 39.
Arm Aircraft: P. 11.
Arc: A zone of airspace in the horizontal plane with respect
to the facing of an aircraft. See illustration on page 19.
ARM (Anti-Radiation Missile): An ARM is an air-to-surface weapon that homes in on signals generated by groundbased radar systems like SAM (Surface-to-Air Missile) sites.
ARMs are highly effective at knocking out active SAM sites even
from long range, but are useless against other targets. P. 26.
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Flight Commander 2
Bandit: A visually spotted, but as yet unidentified, aircraft.
Battles: A separate engagement which you may select from
a pre-arranged scenario folder or design yourself using the
Create Battle window. P. 20.
Bearing: The angle at which an object lies relative to
another object. There are two kinds of bearing: Absolute and
Relative. P. 18.
Bingo Level: The "red zone" (gray on B&W monitors)
inside the fuel gauge showing the minimum fuel needed to get
back to your home airbase. The red zone can be decreased by
dropping bombs or jettisonning extraneous munitions. P. 31.
Bogey: An aircraft spotted by electronic means which has
not yet been identified.
Campaign: A pre-designed series of linked scenarios in
which you command a squadron and guide your pilots through
a series of connected missions. Losses suffered in a mission
detract from the available resources available to conduct the
next mission. Conversely, kills scored in a mission can increase
pilot skills in later missions. P. 10.
Ceiling: An altitude limit above which the air is too thin for
an aircraft to generate enough lift from its wings to fly. A typical ceiling is about level 30 (50,000 ft.) but varies with aircraft
type and Wing Loading.
Choose Player Types: The screen in which you can
select the quality of your computer opponent (novice, skilled or
expert). P.4.
Clear Weather: All weapons and sensors function normally.
Cloudy Weather: Infrared/thermal systems function poorly in cloudy weather. Radar-homing missiles should be the
weapons of choice since heat seekers will perform poorly. In a
Generated Battle, pick fighters that have powerful radar systems and don't rely on IRST. Cloudy weather also reduces
vision and the accuracy of bomb and rocket attacks. Laser pods
are useless. AA guns and heat-seeking SAMs will fire less frequently.
Combat Display: The arena in which we fly. P. 5.
CP (Combat Point): A Combat Point is a measure of aircraft quality. CPs are useful in balancing scenarios between
combatants of greatly different technology levels by giving the
weaker side more aircraft in compensation. P. 20.
Combat Report: Event notification at lower left of Combat
Display. P. 8.
Contact: An initial stage of radar detection insufficient to
pinpoint targets sufficiently to allow weapons to be fired in the
Advanced Game.
Cycle: Pressing this button randomly cycles the current target selection to the next potential target. P. 16.
Data Library: Text and photographic references of vital
statistics and background information for all aircraft, missiles,
targets and air forces in the game. Access by selecting "Data
Library" from the Windows option or using keyboard command
"Alt +D". P. 47.
Data Readout: The Display directly beneath the Weapons
Panel identifies the aircraft, pilot, speed and any damage
assessment of friendly aircraft on which the cursor is placed.
When the cursor is placed over an opposing aircraft, its speed
and the range to that aircraft from the currently selected friendly aircraft is listed. P. 15.
Display Rectangle: The small rectangle within the
Overview Window showing that portion of the battlefield which
is visible in the Combat Display. The Display Rectangle contracts in size whenever the Combat Display is increased in
scale by the Zoom-In feature and vice versa. You may change
the location of the Display Rectangle by clicking elsewhere
within the Overview Window. Each time you change the location of the Display Rectangle, the Combat Display will change
to reveal the area contained within that rectangle. P. 13.
ECM Pod: Carried as a defensive measure, this electronic
countermeasures pod decreases the aircraft's vulnerability to
radar Lock-on and radar-guided missile attack (from air and
ground). They are usually carried by strike aircraft entering a
high-threat environment. P. 26.
Expanded Arc: Radar which covers a 180° or 360° arc,
instead of the more conventional 90° arc.
Find Current Pilot: Display menu command that will center the Combat Display on the aircraft currently receiving
orders. Keyboard command "Alt +F" or clicking on the Aircraft
icon in the center of the Scroll window does likewise. P. 1 3.
Find Selected Target: Display menu command that will
center the Combat Display on the opposing target selected by
your currently active aircraft. This function can also be done by
clicking on the "Find Tgt" button to the left of the Weapons
Panel or using keyboard command "Alt + T".
Flight Path: An arrow extending from behind an aircraft to
show where it has been, through it's current position, and
extending in front of the aircraft to trace its potential flight in
the upcoming turn. The length of the arrow will depend on the
aircraft's current speed, degree of projected turns, and whether
it is climbing or diving. When using the Altitude option, the
arrowhead will change color to a solid red when it is diving or
white when it is climbing. The arrowhead will change direction
to show the new heading of the aircraft at the end of the move
unless the aircraft fails to execute a High G Turn. P. 7.
Flight Stick: Maneuvers aircraft in Give Orders Phase. P. 8.
FT (Fuel Tank): P. 1 1 .
Give Orders Phase: Plotting an aircraft's move. P. 5.
Grid: A feature in the Display Menu to overprint the main
screen with the square grid used for visualizing orthogonal
movement. It can be toggled on or off at the window or by
using keyboard command "Alt +G".
Group: The scenario entry position of aircraft. P. 24.
Hardpoints: Attachment positions for mounting munitions.
Head For Home: This File Menu command ends the game
by sending your aircraft home. A message window will appear
asking you to confirm your decision. If you are in close proximity to the enemy, you may choose between a Fighting or Quick
Withdrawal. In both cases, the computer will assume command
of your forces and play out the remainder of the game while
attempting to disengage. You may watch or return later and
view the Mission Debriefing to see how you fared. See page
62 for tips on how to successfully disengage. P. 29.
Flight Commander 2
69
High G Turn: A 90° turn causing significant deceleration.
When using the High-G Turn option, such a move can fail to
execute the planned turn. P. 43.
HSM (Heat Seeking Missile): P. 35.
Hot Keys: A Windows Menu command which displays the
major Keyboard command equivalents. P. 54.
Immelmann: A climbing half-loop that reverses an aircraft's facing. The aircraft must spend one move in a Vertical
Climb before it can attempt an Immelmann. P. 41.
IRST (Infrared Search and Track): A passive detection
system for heat (infrared) signals. It is undetectable to its target
because it generates no signals of its own. IRST is not yet widely available. It has an effective range of 15 miles in good
weather. IRST contacts are shown as blips on the radar display.
Jamming Aircraft: Planes capable of confounding enemy
radars by emitting electronic "noise" to a range of 100 grid
squares. All aircraft inside this radius are "protected" by the
jamming. The effective ranges of radars searching for aircraft
inside the jamming radius are significantly reduced. Protected
aircraft are shielded from detection by radar controllers and
less likely to be hit by radar-homing missiles.
Laser Pod: Transforms all bombs into very accurate laserguided "smart" bombs. P. 61.
Launch Requirements: Missile attack prerequisites. P. 35.
Lead Group: One of four formation choices available in
the Weapons Room. The Lead group approaches the target
ahead of the strike group. P. 24.
Lock-on: After initial contact, radar beams are narrowed to
pinpoint target location sufficiently to allow weapons to fire.
Look-Down: These radars successfully Contact and Lock-on
to targets flying at a lower altitude although their effective range
is reduced by 30% while doing so. Non-Look-Down Radars can
only Contact and Lock-on to aircraft flying higher than about
two-thirds of their own altitude. Applicable only when Altitude
and Radar and Visual Contacting options are both used.
Low G Turn: A 45° turn. It decelerates an aircraft less than
a High G Turn, but is always executed as planned.
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Flight Commander 2
Maneuver Percentage: The chance that a High-G
Turnwill succeed. P. 43.
Mission Briefing: Advance information on the upcoming
scenario providing the player with intelligence pertaining to the
target, weather, and expected opposition. While such information is usually helpful in deciding how many aircraft to take on
a mission and how to arm them, it is not foolproof. The player
should be prepared for the occasional surprise.
Multi-Target: Radars which can Lock-on to more than one
aircraft at a time. Such systems are normally only carried by
dedicated interceptors with a two-man crew.
Navigation: A window appearing at the start of every scenario showing the direction of the target and friendly airbase
from your flight's current position. This window can be recalled
by selecting "Navigation" from the Radio Menu. P. 4.
Night Pod: This pod gives thermal (infrared) vision capability to the crew of the aircraft, allowing accurate air-to-ground
weapons delivery during night missions. P. 26.
Night: Necessitates use of N-Pods for ground attack accuracy. Radar and aerial combat with missiles are largely unaffected (though visual contact is very difficult to establish).
Cannon attacks are much less successful. Carrying E-Pods is a
good idea because long-range radar-guided missiles are the
biggest threat (it's very difficult to visually spot an enemy and
dogfight with him). AA guns of users with a low technology
level are significantly hampered at night. P. 28.
Overview: This window shows a minimum view of the
entire battlefield. The clusters of small dots in the Overview window represent the aircraft in the battle, both yours and the
enemy's. Inside the Overview window you'll also see a small
rectangle around one of the clusters called the Display
Rectangle. It shows that portion of the battlefield which you can
see in the Combat Display. P. 1 3.
Pilot's Lounge: The screen where you select the pilots to
fly an upcoming mission in a Campaign. P. 23.
Pitch: An aircraft's vertical direction; climbing, diving or
level flight. P. 39.
Radar Warning Receiver (RWR): The Defense Panel
advises each pilot of any detected hostile radars. A hollow triangle indicates an enemy contact. A solid triangle indicates
that an enemy radar has accomplished a Lock-on versus that
aircraft. The location of the triangles indicates the approximate
(Absolute) direction from which the signals emanate. P. 33.
Rear-Aspect Heat-Seeking: Older missiles that can be
fired only at a target's rear 180° arc, where they can Lock-on
to the aircraft's hot jet exhaust. P. 36.
Relative Bearing: The direction an object is from the
heading of another object. P. 1 8.
RHM (Radar Homing Missile): P. 35.
Rkt (Rocket): Air-to-Ground missiles. Rockets are generally
smaller than a typical bombload, but are more accurate and
have a greater range. P. 37.
Roll: Clicking on a "Roll" bar to the left or right of the Flight
Stick will change the Flight Path of the active aircraft one grid
square in that direction by performing a barrell roll maneuver
and maintaining the same direction of flight. However, the aircraft will lose speed in the process. P. 30.
SAM: Surface-to-Air Missile. P. 38.
Selected Target: Designate an opposing unit as the target
of the active aircraft by clicking on it. P. 7.
Semi-Active Radar-Homing: Missiles guided to the target by following the reflected signals of a continuous radar
Lock-on which leaves the firing aircraft in a predictable and vulnerable Flight Path. If the Lock-on is lost, so is the fired missile.
Split: A button in the Weapons Room which allows you to
arm Groups of aircraft that are of the same type differently by
selecting their line and clicking the Split button. This button has
no use in a Campaign Game because all aircraft are listed
individually rather than in Groups.
Split S: A diving half-loop maneuver requiring a vertical
dive for two consecutive moves. P. 41.
Strike Group: One of four formation choices available in
the Weapons Room. The Strike group follows directly behind
the Lead group, a few miles back. P. 24.
Sweep Group: One of four formation choices available in
the Weapons Room. The Sweep group begins at the same
range to the target as the Lead group, but comes in from a different direction. P. 24.
Technology: Each air force has a technology level rated
from 1 to 4 to determine the effectiveness of its ground-attack
and antiaircraft weaponry, as well as a pilot's chance of safely
ejecting from a damaged aircraft. A technology level of 2 is
required to use rockets and ECM Pods. A level of 3 is required
for ARMs, Night Pods and Laser Pods.
Throttle: The sliding control to the right of the Flight Stick
which determines aircraft speed. Lowering the control decreases speed; raising it increases speed. Pushing the "Brakes" button will set throttle at 0%. Pushing the "Burner" button will set
throttle at 1 00%. P. 31.
Track-While-Scan (TWS): This radar system can maintain Contacts and Lock-ons simultaneously. Earlier radars lose
all other Contacts as soon as a Lock-on is achieved. Aircraft
without TWS in a scenario using the Radar and V i s u a l
Contacting option will not automatically attempt Lock-on. P. 43.
Vertical Climb: The most extreme climbing Pitch. P. 39.
Vertical Dive: The most extreme diving Pitch. P. 39.
Weasel Group: One of four formation choices available
in the Weapons Room. The Weasel group begins at the same
range to target as the Strike Group but comes in from its own
randomly determined direction. P. 24.
Weapons Room: The screen wherein you make armament choices for your aircraft before each mission. P. 1 1 .
Wing Loading: A measure of the lift required of the wing to
keep an aircraft in flight derived by dividing its total weight by
the square footage of its wings. Low Wing Loading allows an aircraft to perform High-G Turns with less deceleration.
Zoom In/Out: The "+" and "-" buttons in the upper left
corner which shrink/expand the area shown by the Combat
Display with corresponding changes in scale for the pieces
therein. Zoom In can also be accomplished by pressing the shift
key and clicking. P. 1 3.
Flight Commander 2
71
REPLACEMENT GUARANTEE
The Avalon Hill Game Company will replace any defective diskette free of charge within 30 days of original purchase. Diskettes must be accompanied by proof of purchase.
After 30 days, we will replace defective diskettes for $12 per disk, providing the original diskettes are sent with the
replacement request.
MAIL TO:
The Avalon Hill Game Company
ATTN: DISK REPLACEMENT
4517Harford Road
Baltimore, MD 21214
If you have a technical problem concerning the operation of our software, please contact our technical support staff.
Please be at your computer, if possible, when you call.
TECHNICAL SUPPORT
1-410-426-9600
If you have a modem and would like to contact us on-line, you can find us ON-LINE at the following services:
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services free by calling 1-800-524-3388 and ask for Operator #537. Once you are on-line, type "GO GAMEPUB"
and select section C.
GEnie: Sign-up for GEnie can be obtained by calling 1-800-638-9636. There is no charge for the initial sign on.
After you are signed up, at the prompt, type "SCORPIA", then change to section 21, AVALON HILL. You can also
Email us at AVALON.HILL2
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of free time are provided with the first month. After you are on-line, go to the computer software section. You can
Email us at AH GAMES.
72
Flight Commander 2
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