Aircrafts useless, AA overeffective

In this thread you can discuss any thoughts you have about balance within the game. Does a particular unit need a specification changed? Is a stealth plane not stealthy enough? Do "Belli Bar" levels need to be changed? Let us know and discuss it all here.

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Xetal
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#16 Post by Xetal » Jun 06 2005

Yeah, let me dig up a few examples of the long-ranged AA I'm talking about, gimme about 10 and I'll edit the post with some.

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#17 Post by magogian » Jun 06 2005

Simple Point. Aircraft such as F-15s, F-16s and the like are sitting ducks for a modern AA system.

For those familiar, the only way such aircraft would survive in a modern battlefield is through the extensive use of radar jamming equipment and anti-radiation (anti AA) missiles (i.e. the Harm missile etc...).

The F-22 raptor was developed in part as a way to improve the survivablity of fighters on the modern battlefield - hence its stealth characteristics.

I think that the AA systems in the game are between balanced and somewhat favoring aircraft too much.

Simply, Patriot batteries, Rapier systems, and the latest Russian equipment blow apart aircraft that operate without those precautions.

What would be a lot of fun is the implementation of anti-radiation missiles into the game. These missiles work basically by homing in on the radar of the AA vehicle causing the vehicle to have to turn off its radar or be destroyed - either way it serves its purpose. The more modern missiles actually remember the location of the radar (GPS coordinates down to inches) if it is shut off and home in and destroy it. Some American models also will glide in the air waiting for a good while for an AA sytsem to turn on its radar and then mercilessly home in destroying the AA system. It would be really cool if something like this could be implemented...

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#18 Post by Gotthard » Jun 06 2005

Frankly, I think aircraft are sitting ducks for almost anything that shoot back at them... anything that seeks anyway.

I think it's balanced right though. You blow away the AA first with arty or something, then send inthe planes, you do way better. If they get shot down, you're out of luck until you can build more planes for them, which takes FOREVER.

I think the radar system is too tactical for this game, although it is an awesome idea...

Unless maybe give ARM a bonus vs. anti-air units? I don't know if those sorts of rock paper scissor effects are even in the game, other than soft and hard target, with low, mid and high air targets...

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#19 Post by magogian » Jun 06 2005

One strategy that people can use to take out AA units is fairly effective and is rather similar to what is used in real life. Namely, the use of cruise missiles (and artillery launched missiles) to take out AA defences. For example, in the Gulf War I many of the cruise missiles dropped by B-52s and fired by ships targetted the AA network of Saddam. In this way, they could take out the AA from far out of its range. Consequently, you can use Tomahawks or the cheaper missiles fired my the MLRSs and other launch vehicles to take out the AA units. It works quite well especially because most AA units are just mounted on trucks.

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#20 Post by borgb » Jun 06 2005

From my experience, I think it's balanced just right.My strategy is always to go at it in the form of a blitzkrieg.Anti tank,infantery,tanks in the front line, Artillery,AA and supply trucks in the back..with fighters bombing while their AA in the meantime are getting a heavy beating from my land units.
And the interceptors defending the fighters

This is how I managed to secure Berlin from the germans..

Talk about the past coming back to haunt you :wink:

It was so effective that it managed ro reduce a 700.000 german army to 200.000 in merely 3-4 weeks(then they surrenderd).

It has to be said that they also were at war with UK,France,Poland and Switzerland at this time, but they manged quite well before I attacked from the north(northern states,through Denmark).

The point is that it would'nt be possible for me to get such a quick and total victory without my Airforce (killratio:674:67).

I was totally different playing Norway (in the previous northern states scenario) that did'nt have a airforce(to speak of) and limited funds and tech breakthroughs.Had to defend and attack with my Namsas AA and mass Anti tank/infantery force.The AI only atttacked with 3-4 plains and a maybe a land unit or two...needless to say it was happy hunting for my frontline :lol:

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#21 Post by hithere » Jun 06 2005

its funny you should say that. after my post

http://www.bgforums.com/viewtopic.php?t=4873

in which 3 sq. of B-2's failed to take out a MIM-14. I tried a tomahawk attack. told 5 ships with ALOT of missles to attack a site with a MIM-14 and a patriot (MIM-404?) some did get shot down, but after checking, NEITHER AA even appeared damaged. this small base (maybe a outpost, can't remember exactly now) was attacked by over 30 tomahawks from 5 ships

don't get me wrong, i love this game and will/have figured out other ways to destroy the enemy, but i'm just finding that trying to do one of the basic doctrine all modern militarys do is just about impossible.

also, i have to say, Iraq was not up to speed on alot of stuff. but everything i have read and heard has supported that they had one of the most advanced and comprehensive air defence systems in the world. that the allies made it look easy is a testiment to them. during the 1st iraq war, there were attacks made at low to mid level by f-117 and f/a-18 aircraft to the city of baghdad. as a matter of fact, a f/a-18 was shot down.
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#22 Post by Balthagor » Jun 06 2005

Which tomahawks did you use? Blue or grey?

Grey ones are area of effect and will hit everything in the hex, blue ones are precision missiles and will only damage the facility.

As for the Iraqi AA, I can assure you, having researched what they had before the war, it was no contest. Don't get me wrong, whether I am for or against the war in Iraq, I think that the soldiers from all countries fighting in Iraq deserve the highest respect for risking their lives because they want to make a difference in this world, but they did not face an equal opponent.

I was watching a show on the Military channel the other day and they talked about the fact that the Iraqi army only guarded the roads because they didn't grasp that GPS allowed the American forces to move across the desert without getting lost. I know this is not Air related, but I think it still works as an example of the difference in technology.
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#23 Post by Decimatus » Jun 06 2005

Balthagor wrote:As for the Iraqi AA, I can assure you, having researched what they had before the war, it was no contest.
He was talking about Gulf War 1, not the recent Iraq war. :)

Iraq had a much better setup back then, before we obliterated them the first time.

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#24 Post by Balthagor » Jun 06 2005

Even then I don't think they had anything better than SA-6s, which where originally fielded in the Yom Kipur <sp> wars I believe? 20 years old...
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#25 Post by magogian » Jun 06 2005

hithere wrote:its funny you should say that. after my post

http://www.bgforums.com/viewtopic.php?t=4873

in which 3 sq. of B-2's failed to take out a MIM-14. I tried a tomahawk attack. told 5 ships with ALOT of missles to attack a site with a MIM-14 and a patriot (MIM-404?) some did get shot down, but after checking, NEITHER AA even appeared damaged. this small base (maybe a outpost, can't remember exactly now) was attacked by over 30 tomahawks from 5 ships
I may not have spoken entirely accurately. The real US military has Tomahawks that instead of packing a high explosive (HE) warhead drop thousands of little bomblets that rip and kind of soft target to shreds. Generally, one of these missiles that can take every truck and many men within the area of a football field or greater.


The Tomahawks in the game (without a thorough look) seem designed as area attack (not sure if this is supposed to be the equivalent to the above) or fortification attack - for sea lauched Tomahawks. And you are correct in that neither seem too effective in general in dealing with AA units (it takes a lot). However, try the artillery launched missiles, especially the ATACMS IIa. Their soft attack is 110 and their hard attack is 375 with a range of 422 km. You can launch them from MLRS units and the larger rocket launcher systems. They seem to do quite well.
hithere wrote:
also, i have to say, Iraq was not up to speed on alot of stuff. but everything i have read and heard has supported that they had one of the most advanced and comprehensive air defence systems in the world. that the allies made it look easy is a testiment to them. during the 1st iraq war, there were attacks made at low to mid level by f-117 and f/a-18 aircraft to the city of baghdad. as a matter of fact, a f/a-18 was shot down.
That is true. Iraq had I believe the 4th largest army at the time. They didn't have the all latest Russian, Chineese, and French equipment but they did have some good AA systems. The US had such low aircraft losses because we were able to fight a set piece battle against an enemy knowing his weaknesses and having a few very important systems (that without would have made the cost much much higher).

First, apaches that flew under the radar to take out regional Radar units. Around this time, the air force and navy launched thousands of cruise missiles further targetting Air defence command centers and radars. Finally, through the wholes in their radar system (and only then) we had the f-117s etc make their surgigical strikes against their C&C centers. It was only then that our normal aircraft were really able to take to the skies. And even then we had to use lots of jamming equipment and MANY of those Harm missiles. What happened was that we so effectively used those anti-radiation (anti-radar) missiles that the Iraqi AA systems couldn't ever turn on their radars because the second they did swarms of missiles obliterated them.

After the first day or two though, we had for all purposes destroyed their AA ability (beyond ground fire) and their airforce. However, it wasn't so easy. It was great planning and the particular use of a few, very effective systems in fanstastic coordination that without our losses would have been much higher.

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#26 Post by magogian » Jun 06 2005

Balthagor wrote:Even then I don't think they had anything better than SA-6s, which where originally fielded in the Yom Kipur <sp> wars I believe? 20 years old...
Here is some good information on the Iraqi air defense system. It took me a while to find some good information, but I knew it was out there. During Desert Storm and afterwards I read numerous books on the topic, so I knew I had read this information plenty of times before.

http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/ ... ipment.htm

Money Quote: "The Iraqi air defense system was formidable, combining the best features of several systems. The multi-layered, redundant, computer- controlled air defense network around Baghdad was more dense than that surrounding most Eastern European cities during the Cold War, and several orders of magnitude greater than that which had defended Hanoi during the later stages of the Vietnam War. If permitted to function as designed, the air defense array was capable of effective protection of key targets in Iraq."

Note: Be careful when reading the page, because it does make references to both Gulf Wars, but it does clearly explain the capabilities Iraq had in the 1st war.

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#27 Post by hithere » Jun 06 2005

well, i don't want to side track the issue too much. i have not read anything on the 1st Iraq war in a few years. magogian stated it pretty much how i remembered it.

It is very obvious by the quality of this game that alot of hardware research went into it. I was just telling a friend of mine yesterday that the game gets so many things right that others get wrong, its amazing.

i just believe that it is too difficult to harm or destroy AA.

i was not aware of the diff. between the blue and the grey tomahawks. is that in the manual somewhere? hopefully i did not miss it. it has been a few days now, so i can not remember, but i think that they were blue, so that would explain that. ofcourse, that would not explain the whole B-2 thing.

but anyway, i just wanted to state my opionon and put it on BG's radar, and i have done that.

thank you all for the suggestions. i have not had much luck with the land based missles, but i have not used them much. i will try that tomorrow.
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#28 Post by Xetal » Jun 08 2005

It doesn't look like the edit worked, so I'll post two american-made ones here

MIM-14 Hercules is one example. VERY cheap (like under 30m/year to maintain), and it can attack aircraft almost 200km away with a mid-air attack value of 24 (I think). It is very cost effective to take 6 of these + 1 supply truck and keep them on a hex... Any aircraft that gets too close gets tagged with 120 hits for 24 power each. 6 of these and a supply truck costs somewhere near 200m/year... so for the price of a single unit (18 planes) of FB-111F's you could get over 2 hex's full of these AA units.

What's more, if you want to compare it to some airborne AA fire, then you could get 12 of these units for the cost of a single F-14. Take your pick:

~200km range, less vulnerable to attack, 240 x 24 damage
~200km range, more vulnerable to attack, takes an airstrip space up, long production/repair time, 18 x 41 damage.

Personally I feel bombers are quite weak because of ground-based AA fire, but just to compare ground-AA with interceptor-AA it really leaves you with no reason to possibly want or need interceptor craft.

Oh, and for reference the MIM-14 Hercules is rated at a technology level of 58 (Technological equipment that is the equivalent of the 'prime' equipment in 1958)... and it has absolutely no problem locating and shooting down things like a B-2A (stealth bomber)

The MIM-104 Patriot PAC-2 is another ground-based AA that makes interceptor craft completely obsolete.

There are several other ground-based AA systems that absolutely put interceptor craft to shame... I'm used to playing russian and US senarios, so I'll list a few that I can find here (these are from memory + website, so if I get some wrong then try to ignore it :p)

SA-2 Guideline
MIM-14 Hercules
SA-3 Goa
SA-4 Ganef
SA-6 Gainful
SA-11 Gadfly
SA-12a Gladiator
MIM-104 Patriot PAC-2
SA-10B Grumble
SA-12b Giant
SA-17 Grizzly
MIM-120G Eagle (shorter range, but VERY effective for the cost)

The ground-based AA is so strong that it is often completely pointless to try to use bombers or helicopters... and they outclass the interceptors so badly that there is no reason to use them.

You know something is wrong when technology from 1958 (MIM-14 Hercules) has no problems seeing and shooting down Eurofighter Typhoon... not to mention something like a B-2A Spirit or a F-117A.

To be completely honest I've mostly stopped using aircraft... I only use them for transport purposes and to provide a highly-mobile radar system. It seems like an airforce of interceptors are so badly outgunned by ground-based AA that they're useless (and very expensive), and an airforce of bombers is not useful because they're quickly shot down. If you want to use the bombers you basically have to destroy anywhere with good AA first, which in most cases means that you've already won the war and don't need the bombers.

Helicopers are in the same boat as bombers, except they're even more vulnerable to ground-based attacks.

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#29 Post by M1911 » Jun 08 2005

I've had a different experience in the past few scenarios I've played. I've had great success using air power even in the face of enemy air defences, using primarily F-15s and F-18s. Sure, my squadrons get slowly attritted to the point where I have to send them for repair, but they get the job done on the battlefield. They're especially effective if you hold them back just out of range of the AA, fire a volley of land-based missiles, and then send the planes right behind so they can catch the AA resupplying.

Although I'd like to see them as a separate missile type so my primary fighters could carry them, ARMs are modeled in the game. If you check out the stats on the EF-4G Wild Weasel (a dedicated anti-AA aircraft) it has a soft and hard attack range of 78km (more than double the range of most fighters). I imagine that this is due to the Shrike and HARM missiles it can carry. I've got a few under construction now to see how effective they are at picking off AA units along the border. (On a sidenote, shouldn't this use the same unit model as the F-4E, instead of an A-6 Intruder?)

On the flip side, I think the low-air ranges on most of the long-range missile AA units are too long and allow them to engage helicopters at ridiculous ranges. In a tactical environment, helcopters are going to be flying Nap of the Earth and even in "clear" terrain there are enough buildings, trees, small ridges, etc. that helicopters should be able to get much closer unspotted. The example used earlier of Apaches in the Gulf War flying under the radar is just not possible. Right now helicopters aren't useful for much except ferrying units around behind the lines.

I'd like to see a "low air approach" option added to the movement commands for attack aircraft. It gives a bonus to the aircraft's stealth rating (possibly also surface defense, maybe also a hit to air defense since they are flying "low and slow" compared to an interceptor.) at the cost of increased fuel expenditure. Most modern attack aircraft like the Tornado have terrain-following radar systems for this very reason.

I did experience a problem in one scenario, where a single Stinger unit ripped up a 7-squadron attack of F-18s. I was attacking the defenders last military base and the Stinger was the only air defense in the area. My missile stocks were low, so I gave the F-18s orders to specifically bomb the Stinger. They ripped up everything stacked in the base, except the Stinger. By the time the Stinger was isolated, my planes were so torn up I had to send them for repairs. Does the stand-off units exclusion I've seen mentioned in other posts (AA and arty units can't be attacked directly as long as another ground combat unit is stacked with them) apply to bombing attacks?

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#30 Post by dust off » Jun 08 2005

I definately agree with missile AA units being to effective against helicopters at range.

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