One of my friends is a personal trainer and his motto is “always training” which is something that I’ve incorporated into my flight sim flying. No matter how experienced you are, you can always learn more and do better with your flying. In that spirit I sought out and found two great missions by mission and campaign maker SEDLO that challenged my DCS: F-16C flying. Here are my experiences with these missions.
Red Flag Mission 1
Set during a Red Flag exercise (where dozens of combat aircraft come together to practice) out of Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas, Mission 1 has you performing a high-low-high sortie with a low level with pop-up attack bomb run with a pair of unguided bombs. The target area is defended by SAM sites, MANPADS, and enemy fighters as well.
This is an extremely authentic mission with the radio turned to the Nellis ATIS reading out weather conditions and noting a large force exercise with high performance aircraft. Timing is also critical and start-up is then followed by a wait for taxi time. After the time has expired, you’re required to get flying and on to the mission as quickly as possible.
Throughout the process you’ll be jumping radio frequencies from ground to tower to combat and so forth. Each time your flight realistically checks in “Viper 4 check in.” “Two.” “Three.” “Four.”
Once on the route you have the option of hitting the tanker before hitting a hold point and then waiting for the appropriate code word. Several codes are presented launching each group of the mission on their way with CAP and SEAD going in first before you fly in and hit the low altitude route taking you into the target area.
As you fly each of the waypoints you’ll hear other flights moving to their assigned positions. It’s a sight to behold as it plays out on your HSD!
In my first fly through of the mission, I hit the target area successfully and the SEAD strike did exactly what it was supposed to do which kept the local SAM batteries busy. A couple of MANPADS were fired but proactive use of countermeasures helped to keep those as bay.
It was departing the target zone that I was tripped up. A pair of Su-27 Flankers surprised me and I was ultimately shot down trying to defend against them.
The mission plays out a little differently depending on how you fly it each time and I learned to watch for them the second time so it was a bit easier to evade on the egress from target area. It’s a learning process and that’s exactly what these big exercises are supposed to help with both in the sim world and in real life.
Red Flag Mission 2
Yet another mission set during a Red Flag exercise. Mission two has you leading a four ship flight of F-16C’s on a combat air patrol. The mission comes in two varieties including a full flight as well as a “fly from push” where the mission’s action really ramps up. The option gives you the ability to jump straight into combat or experience the whole mission from startup to shut down.
Like with Mission 1, this scenario is dripping with authenticity. The radio starts tuned into Nellis AFB’s ATIS report which gives us the usual weather, pressure and active runway information as well as some unique information including the news that runway 13L is out of commission. It’s clear why as a KC-135 is parked halfway down the runway with support vehicles surrounding it.
Once again, as with Mission 1, you’re flying together with a large group and there are plenty of radio comms going on with the other groups. A stuck microphone on one of the jets causes some momentary confusion until its worked out as well. I love these details!
Soon there are hostile aircraft in the mix (mostly aggressor F-15’s and F-16’s acting as surrogate bad guys this time around) and a fight breaks out. Once again, the SA page and your radar screen are filled with friendly and hostile contacts as a large scale battle breaks out. It’s a challenging environment although one that I’ve gotten used to while flying on some of the busier nights on the Hoggit Persian Gulf at War server. If you want that same kind of experience, this mission has it.
I’ve flown the mission twice and it’s played out differently each time. Sometimes, I’ve been in the thick of it and other points in the flight I’ve been a backup to other forces. Eventually you need to disengage and the combat part of the mission is over.
Then it’s a trek back to Nellis and a hopefully safe and smooth landing.
SEDLO is one of my favourite DCS World mission makers and his approach to authenticity is well balanced with good mission design that plays out as a fun scenario in DCS World. Red Flag is a well known military exercise and having a series of Red Flag style missions making use of the Nevada map is a lot of fun.
SELDO has released a series of these missions for multiple aircraft but so far I’ve only had time to try the F-16 missions. There’s other missions out there to try and I fully intend to at some point. Meanwhile, if you’re interested, check them out on the DCS User Files section.