|Total Air War: Tactical
by Leonard "Viking1" Hjalmarson
This tactical briefing uses two interfaces and four main screens to scope out the progress of a strike force inbound to Kassala Air Base. I'll show you how the War Room Map, Target list, and then the AWACS interface can all be used to monitor and support the progress of a particular flight.
You can approach this task from a variety of angles. You may be interested in monitoring your campaign from the perspective of targets with the highest strategic value, in which case you will be visiting the War Room often to check the target list (above: click for a larger image).
Accessing the list allows you to see the current priorities of the WARGEN AI system. Scrolling down the list gives you the Type and Name of the target, and across the top you will see the Strategic value assigned, current damage level (if any), and whether or not there is currently a flight assigned to that target. In this case I have chosen the Airfield at Kassala, whose strategic value is very high. There is a strike package inbound, so lets take a look!
Clicking on the list brings up the flight map and route. In this case I have previously zoomed in to better show the flight location and route. But this screen does not show the relative location of other known flights, so from here I move to the Theatre Map to check out the overall tactical picture.
Now I can see the relative location of other flights. I can see that there is another allied flight in my path and that there are also incoming bandits near the border area. Its time to move to the AWACS interface and see what kind of coverage I can provide and also check the loadout and tasks of individual flights assigned to the strike package.
Now I can add a huge amount of information to the tactical picture, and also use my Theater Command chair to command individual flights. From here I find out that ARBAA72 is a single HAWK CAP flight. I may use this aircraft to intercept and the incoming bandits to the North. I also select the three bandit flights and discover I have two groups of four Su-25s, and an escort of four MiG 27s. I will probably vector the HAWK North but not command an Intercept immediately. When I do command the Intercept I will intercept the escort and not the strike aircraft.
I can also check the loadout of the individual flights in my strike group. I find, for example, that the Su27s assigned to Wild Weasel are carrying A2G and A2A missiles (from the INFO box on the left side of the AWACS screen), while the escort is composed of four Mirage aircraft. Coca203 out in front is also a flight of Mirage aircraft assigned to Airfield Denial, carrying both A2G and A2A stores.
The shot above also shows that with the MAP detail slider most of the way to the right the label will also confirm that you are indeed viewing Kassala EW site and Kassala Airfield. In this next shot I have zoomed in and selected the EW site, which then comes up in the INFO window at left.
As you can see from the larger shot the EW site has already taken heavy damage, and so the target for this strike group is the Airfield.
With all this information I am now in a position to make a decision about vectoring ARBAA72 and possibly other aircraft in the area for further support. In reality, the flight seems quite strong and so I will vector the HAWK CAP north but will not worry about vectoring other resources, though I will also vector AMBER159, a single F15 that is escorting an AWACS about 120 miles NE of the strike group, south west to help take care of the incoming strike force.
In this next shot you can see the Intercepts I have ordered. About 90 seconds has passed since the shots taken above.
Things get considerably more complex once the engagements begin...
Go to Part II
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