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Eurofighter Typhoon: Hands On Part IV

by Len "Viking1" Hjalmarson

Article Date: May 08, 2001
Article Type: Preview
Version: Release


Combat and AI

The COMMS in EF Typhoon allows separate control of Wingman, Strike Flight and Escort Flight.

I reran an attack against incoming hovercraft three times to observe wing and strike flight behavior. In F22: Total Air War wing and strike behavior, even when under control of the LEAD, wasnít always predictable.

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COMMS Menu in Typhoon



Mission Briefing - a flight of six.



Arming the Typhoon

To test the Strike Flight AI, I targeted a group of ten jet-propelled sea transports and then ordered the Strike Flight to move ahead of me. They moved ahead, and then when I was in range with Brimstone I ordered them to engage. I didn't see any ordnance fired, though they flew over the targets and then continued to come back around to overfly them again.

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DASS View of engagement

When I ordered my wingman to engage I saw the missiles appear on my DASS immediately.

Since the AI doesn't always assign appropriate weapons load, I reasoned that that the Strike Flight was carrying dumb bombs, thus they wouldnít show on my passive detection system. I am guessing that when you arm aircraft your wingman gets the same loadout as you give yourself, but the other flights are armed by AI.

I noticed that the COMMS call I made was the same as for wingman. The red text that appeared on screen for my call to the Strike Flight was TWO ENGAGE GROUND TARGETS, just as if I had used the wingman comms selection. I did this twice to ensure I had in fact used the correct menu.

On all plays of this mission my wingman DID in fact engage though I was not ordering him to engage. While the wingman stays in tight control unless threatened in air engagements, he seems to act in accord with the Strike Flight in ground attack missions. I also noticed that where my wingman will respond to an order with voice and text, the Strike Flight did not respond.

On my second play of this mission I couldnít keep my wingman clear from the Strike Flight and so couldnít tell who was firing missiles and who was not.

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DASS view of engagement

On the third play of this mission I watched as missile dots appeared BEHIND the strike aircraft after they were close to the target. This HAD to be dumb bombs since missiles race out in front of the aircraft. I saw two targets destroyed by impacts, so Strike AI is working as it should.


Graphics and Effects

Having seen a lot more of Typhoon in the fifteen missions Iíve flown, the graphics engine really is quite beautiful.

Padlock view of airbase.



EF2000 in the mountains.

At this point I had flown about sixteen missions in the campaign (counting some flown twice), including one air-to-air engagement with fighters and one anti-ship strike.

I particularly like the explosions and damage effects in Typhoon. They are impressive at close quarters, and realistic at distances. Watching the enemy aircraft on your IRST display is also a lot of fun.

Splash 6!



A MiG this time . . .



Another MiG goes down.

Air-to-Air Action

The following action occurred on the same mission where I had exchanged two of Dukeís Meteor missiles for PENGUIN anti-ship missiles. I knew I had an escort flight with me so I wasnít worried about encountering bandits.

Beware heavily armed frigates..

As soon as I was airborne I flew about 15nm off course to launch my anti-ship missiles, and also ordered my wingman to launch his. We had external fuel so I wasn't concerned about the extra distance or delay. We climbed 10,000 feet above our designated altitude and went to 110% power to make up the delay, turning back to the original course to engage the incoming hovercraft.

About 40nm from the target area we encountered a flight of Su27s. I have a healthy respect for the Flanker. Itís fast, maneuverable, and hard to kill. Itís radar and weapon systems are very sophisticated.

I ordered the escort four-ship to fly ahead, and then ordered my wingman into card formation. I made the mistake of paging through my air-to-air weapons from my strike configuration, and as soon as I did so I found I had locked a target. Immediately the tactical situation changed as the Su27s turned toward my flight. (Tip: donít go into air-to-air mode if you donít want to be noticed. Apparently the Eurofighterís radar has a mode similar to STT which sets off alarm bells on enemy detection systems, more on this later).

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Radar View

Since the escort were now within WEZ I ordered them to engage, and then turned 60 degrees away from the incoming bandits. The escort engaged, while the strike flight stayed with me.

The escort flight did well, knocking down three of the four bandits. For some reason the last one was giving them some trouble, and I was in a good position so I locked him up and noticed he had lost one engine but was still putting up a good fight.

Su27 with one engine out.

While he was busy letting another missile go my ASRAAM made contact.

ASRAAM hits home.

As you can see, losing two engines changed the fight. I was soon back on course to my designated targets.

On to the hovercraft.



A chute from a bandit. Great touch.



Whew, made it home!




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