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CAS Missions.

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  • CAS Missions.

    OK, I was able to log into the server earlier tonight and fly a mission. (No one else was able to log in and once I disconnected I wasn't able to reenter, but that is a discussion for another thread.)

    According to some of the campaign information the Enemy was launcing a major offensive to retake Zagrib. This was really cool because Zagrib is an area that Jex and I hit pretty hard on Saturday, so it was exciting to come back a few days later and see the campaign responding to things I had done.

    The mission I chose was a close air support mission. The briefing instructed me to a certain location (steerpoints 3&4, which were designated as search and destroy) and attack enemy ground targets. So I fly out to the target area, lock up some targets using my GMT ground radar for moving targets and fire off some Mavs. Then I switched over to my Mk. 82s and do a bomb run over another group of vehicles.

    With my weapons expended I switched to Cat 1 and turn for home. I get home and of course I wreck on the landing. Oh well, at least I hit my targets I think, but then I get to the briefing screen...

    Court martialed! All of my weapons hit but, they hit friendlies. My question is how in the world am I supposed to distinguish between friend and foe on the ground? When I locked up targets with the Mavs they were just little black dots to the seeker head TV.

    I was defnitaly over the target area so I assume that there were both enemy and friendly units but I couldn't distiguish them.

    Any advice from the more experienced pilots out there?


  • #2
    Re: CAS Missions.

    I'm going to test this some more, because I was having the same problem and I'm not sure this trick really worked, but the other night I locked up a ground unit and hit Declare for AWACS and it came back as Hostile. I killed it and it was in fact hostile.

    As far as realism goes that's way off base, but in Jane's F-18 they had JSTARS which is basically AWACS for ground units, so it's not really a it? The problem is we have NO idea where friendly units are or are planning to be. I doubt that's the case in RL.

    Okay, tonight I took a closer look at the briefing and pre-plan recon. As Jex showed us in training you can make the briefing map full screen and right click it to add symbology for just about anything you want.

    I added Ground Units and then swaped between Division, Brigade and Battallion (I think?). This gave me a real good idea of where the Friendlies and Enemy are supposed to be. You can actually see them moving on the map too. There are four numbers on each unit. One of which I found to be the unit designator. So the 801st Armored Brigage would have 801 on the right side of the envelope symbol. This is how you can tell if that is the unit you are supposed to attack. The other numbers I assume are strength, heading and speed, but I'm not positive on that one.

    Oh, and the AWACS Declare still works from what I can tell.
    Last edited by USN_Squid; 08-11-2005, 01:51 AM.
    New to TG?


    • #3
      Re: CAS Missions.

      Yes use AWACs and call them in (though the direction they are moving can also be a giveaway). Also remember your TOT - if you are late or early you screw up the whole plan. You should also check in with the FAC (forward air controller) if available.

      As for AWACs and cheating, AWACs could still have locations of ground units couldn't it? Perhaps they check in with an FO or something. Either way I don't see it as a cheat and everyone should use it - lol unless of course you want to land and check out the tank that you want to bomb just to be sure, those things are tiny from the air.


      • #4
        Re: CAS Missions.

        ....or pause, hit shift 6 and zoom in. Pilots do that in real life don't they?

        I'm convinced the pre-plan recon is absolutely vital to a successful AG mission. Spending 5 minutes or so with the briefing and finding the units on the map increases your Situational Awareness immensley. I'd really like to know what all the different ground unit symbols and numerators mean.

        One tip: If your CAS or Interdiction mission target is moving from one area to another (eg. Yugo 18th Armored Brigade is moving towards Lijevi Dubravcak. Air Command hopes to attrit...) don't hit the fly button until you see them on the map and can get a good reference on their location. Pick out some land marks you'll recognize on the way to the target so you can find them again. Also, take note of the friendlies and landmarks to stay away from!
        New to TG?


        • #5
          Re: CAS Missions.

          I don't always see the unit I'm meant to hit. I look around the whole area and see nothing. Also it can be 30 minutes before you get to the target area and in that time units could have moved, though they shouldn't be too far.

          If you were to give ground units a maximum of 60mph say, then you could draw a circle around the unit in question. If it takes you 30 minutes to get on station, then the max they could have moved would be 30 miles (60mph = 1 mile per minute, 30 mph = 1 mile every 2 minutes).

          In the old falcon, you used to be able to expand the MFD's. I wish they had left that feature in.


          • #6
            Re: CAS Missions.


            Well, that΄s what yout targets might do to you in CAS Missions. They Move. When you have mobile units in the vicinity you can΄t be sure they are at the prebriefed coordinates. Well, is there a FAC (=Forward Air Controller) - Feature built into Falcon 4 AF?? If there is - it΄s the way to go. If not, you should be able to identify your targets prior weapons release. (I guess you know that by now, sorry). A great weapon for CAS is a small GBU ( maybe GBU-16). The Laser Pod gives you great ways of identifying your targets - and the weapons hit (well, there is still ways of missing with an LGB). Anyhow. Make sure you check out the target area before you hit the pickle. What was your type of attack ?? If you delivered Mk 82s level - it΄s no wonder you might have killed some friendlies. A pop-up would be a good choice for a MK-82 Attack on small targets in an Area of low or no Anti-Air threat. As soon as Anti-Air is involved we are talking a whole different game here.

            Well I could spent hours talking about that - well, if you have any questions or just wanna chit chat about A-G or A-A tactics. Just shoot....



            • #7
              Re: CAS Missions.

              Thanks for the input Ghostrider, and Welcome to TG! The units do move, alot! Once on station and checked in with the FAC your target can be 30 miles away! No biggie though, the FACs are pretty accurate when giving bearing and distance to target.

              The padlock works great, but you have to overfly the entire area until you find enemy units which are frequently mixed in with friendlies. So, the mk82 or CBUs (careful!) work well in those situations. There is almost always the threat of at least a ManPad or AAA, so that makes it interesting.

              I like the idea of the GBU to stay out of AAA, but then you have to keep locking up targets and calling in declarations because the padlock won't work with the altitude needed (?) and the MFDs in F4 are not very detailed. It's very difficult to actually see what you're in aiming at in my opinion. There is the Shift-6 feature which locks your view to ground units and I'm pretty sure it only locks enemies, but if anyone has better info on that or Alt-8 I'd like to know more.

              Has anyone had any success using the "Mark" feature to locate enemy units after you've overflown them? I don't know if that's what it's intended for, but it seems like it might work.
              New to TG?


              • #8
                Re: CAS Missions.

                I quickly tried out the Mark function this afternoon and it's quite helpful, assuming you get a positive ID on a bad guy. You have the option of choosing to "mark" your aircraft's position OR the position of your radar cursor. Once you do, you get a new steerpoint so you can reference that steerpoint and make another pass. Nifty!

                I don't know though whether that steerpoint is shared with the rest of your flight. It would be nice if it was, but I'm gonna guess that it's not. I guess you could relay the coords of the steerpoint to your buddies so that they could get in in the fun.

                CAS missions are tough! I find myself mostly relying on padlock to find the dirty little buggers and that's an iffy proposition. Recon helps, and AWACS vectoring is great, but those cats are sooo unreliable, especially when you really need them! I think the AWACS guys like to put it on autopilot, camp out in the galley and twist some nice fatties. :row__734:


                • #9
                  Re: CAS Missions.

                  Oh, and welcome back, Jex! Wait until you see what we've done with the server! (just kidding)


                  • #10
                    Re: CAS Missions.

                    Thanks for the input guys. I have gotten much better at CAS type missions. They are quickly becoming my favorites. I am no longer hitting any friendly forces, although i still have a little difficulty hitting the exact enemy unit specified in the briefing sometimes.

                    I usually try to avoid the missions that have no FAC assigned although i have noticed that even w/o a FAC the AWACS guys can usually vector me to my target.

                    I have been using the mark waypoint ability as well, this thing is great! I found a great tutorial on how to use the mark fucntion along with the TLS? (the thing you can use to line up on runways when you can't see them) to line up on vehicle columns with devistating effect. I was once able to get 26 ground kills in a single mission (might not be that good but, for me that is a personal best). I am at work now but, when I get home I will post the link to that tutorial. It was an SP4 tutorial so I had to make a custom TE to practice the technique but, it was pretty simple.



                    • #11
                      Re: CAS Missions.

                      Hey where's that link? :)


                      • #12
                        Re: CAS Missions.

                        For me when I fly CAS mission I like to use mavs for vehicles. And usually the best approach is to call AWACS and orient the friendlies and the not so friendly. Then I just fire off my mavs one by one and I can usually get 5 or 6 kills(wingmen are a very good asset on CAS b/c they always know the difference between friendly and not just get them in the area and they are good to go).

                        I would really like to learn how to use the mark function! I have never used it before and didn't even know it existed.



                        • #13
                          Re: CAS Missions.

                          CAS Missions are one of my favorites too. The real key to avoiding the friendlies is to check your intel as close to your take-off time as possible. That way, the intel will be the freshest. And when checking, make a mental note of where the bad guys should be by the time you arive at the target area.

                          You can lock up targets and ask AWACS to Declare but it seems that it's not always available. Maybe they can't always see the target. Nevertheless, I always Declare because it can't hurt.

                          I also read a thread once from a real F16 jock who flew F4. He said he preferred to fly with labels on because it allowed him to identify friendly vs. enemy ground targets. This guy commented that this wasn't cheating in F4 because, according to him, it was so much easier to identify targets in real life than it was on a computer monitor. I used to check labels quite a bit on CAS for insurance reasons. I would do my best to identify the target then check the lables just to be sure. This helped me to trust my judgement regarding friend or foe and was a greate learning tool. Now, I can identify enemies better so I don't use them.

                          Another trick is to lock up a target and then ask your wingman to attack it. If you have a friendly locked-up, your wingy will give you a negative. I guess your wingman is better than you at identifying ground targets.

                          Lastly, and this was mentioned earlier, the direction of the ground targets' movement (if mobile) is probably your biggest clue. Always know where the FLOT is. If targets are on the friendly side of the FLOT and they're heading towards it, then they are almost certain to be friendlies.


                          • #14
                            Re: CAS Missions.

                            Hello All,
                            I love CAS, but something most people tend to forget is that the Airplanes are generaly talked onto the target by:
                            1. Forward Air Controllers (FAC) using a standard nine line brief and marking the target with smoke, (apparently in patch 1.04) or wp. Now, they even pass the grid of the target to the pilots.
                            2. A grunt on the ground calling for close air support will also try and have his target marked with smoke, and talk the pilot on from there. But thanks to the modern GPS you can give a target description and the GPS grid.

                            I apologize for the long post.

                            Below is a standard nine line brief that the person calling the airstrike passes to the pilot. This could be the Fac briefing the pilot or a ground controller also known as a terminal controller. What most people don't know is that during close air support missions is that when the pilot is rolling in on the target he calls wings level, if the ground controller can't identify the aircraft he will tell the pilot to abort. You can see by the information passed to the pilot that much of the guess work has been taken out of the strike. The pilot is provided with headings to and from the target based on the friendly and threat situations.
                            Under the nine line brief I've also included the Check in Brief that pilots provide to the FAC. I hope this will somewhat explain the complex problem of Close Air Support.

                            CAS BRIEFING FORMAT (9-LINE)
                            (Omit data not required, do not transmit line
                            numbers. Units o f m easure a re standard unless
                            otherwise specified. *denotes m inimum essentia l in
                            limited communications environment. BOLD
                            denotes readback item s w hen requested.)

                            Terminal controller: “_____________ this is ______________”
                            (Aircraft Call Sign) (Terminal Controller)
                            *1. IP /BP: “ _______________________________________”
                            *2. Heading: “____________________________” (Magnetic)
                            (IP /BP to Target)
                            O ffset: “____________________” (Left/R ight)
                            *3. D istance: “______________________________________”
                            (IP -to-Target in N autical M iles/BP-to-Target in Meters )
                            *4. Target E levation: “________________________________”
                            (in Feet/M SL)
                            *5. Target D escription: “______________________________”
                            *6. T arget Location: “__________
                            (Latitude/Longitude or GridCoordinates or Offsets or V isual)
                            *7. Type M ark: “______________” Code: “______________”
                            (W P, Laser, IR , B eacon) (Actual C ode)
                            L aser to Target L ine: “______________ D egrees”
                            *8. Location of F riendlies: “__________________________”
                            Position Marked By: “_____________________________”
                            9. Egress: “________________________________________”
                            Remark s (as appropriate): “___________________________”
                            (Threats, Restrictions, D anger C lose, A ttack C learance, SEAD, Abort
                            C odes, Hazards)

                            “Time on Target (TOT): “________” o r T ime to Target (TTT):
                            “Stand by______________ plus _________________, Hack.”
                            NOTE: W hen identifying position coordinates for joint
                            operations, include the m ap datum data. DESERT STORM
                            operations have shown that simple conversion to
                            latitude/longitude is not sufficient. The location m ay be
                            referenced on several d ifferent databases; for exam ple, landbased
                            versus sea-based data.

                            CAS CHECK-IN BRIEFING
                            Aircraft Transmits to Controller
                            Aircraft: “_________________ this is __________________”
                            (Controller Call Sign) (Aircraft Call Sign)
                            Note: Authentication and appropriate response suggested
                            here. The brief may be abbreviated for brevity or security
                            (“as fragged” or “with exception”).
                            Identification/Mission Number: “________________________”
                            Number and Type of Aircraft: “_________________________”
                            Position and Altitude: “_______________________________”
                            Ordnance: “_______________________________________”
                            Play Time: “_______________________________________”
                            Abort Code: “_____________________________”(If applicable)
                            *Remarks: “_____________ (NVG, LST, Special Mission Items)
                            __________________________________________________ ”



                            • #15
                              Re: CAS Missions.

                              Thanks TL :)




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