Wargame: AirLand Battle

Wargame: AirLand Battle

56 ratings
Aircraft for Courting Disasters
By playdiuM* and 1 collaborators
**Picture heavy** Fixed wing aircraft and how to be awesome with them: playdiuM and Conditional love covering subjects from our own personal experiences in the game (since BETA testing). enjoy!
 
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Foreword
playdiuM's Message
Being not so much of a fan of the first Wargame: European Escalation, I was first hesitant to purchase Eugene's System's new modded up game. However the mere suggestion of the use of Aircraft won me over, and I have not stopped playing since the second day of the beta release. We all know this changed the gameplay in this beautiful, balanced, bold vanguard of RTS gaming. So if you, like me, understand (or at least try to understand) the importance and absolute need of use of aircraft in this game, scroll down.

Though there are still major updates and patches being added to the game, we will do our very best to keep updating this guide till we have covered every plane in the game (contributors welcome). I've had the pleasure to work with Conditional Love on this post, he's the author of 3 previous Wargame: Airland Battle posts released during the game's beta testing. I highly recommend you read his previous posts.

A good guide on the game's terminology:
A Guide for Wargame: AirLand Battle
Previous Aircraft guide (posted during BETA testing), good read:
Aircraft and You
Some general tips & tactics for the game:
Tips & Tactics for Airland Battle
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Aircraft 101
Airspeed
self-explanatory. valuable and important in all aircraft - limiting exposure to AA fire, and reducing response time of your aircraft.

ECM (Electronic Counter Measures)
Electronic warfare is used to degrade detection and targeting capabilities in enemy aircraft and anti-aircraft defense systems (such as radar jammers) .It seems to have a small effect on the probability that a missile will hit the aircraft (amongst other factors) ~ or that missile will miss and go somewhere else. ECM seems to have just about a similar miss-chance effect as the accuracy of the vehicle firing the AA missile. As you can tell, this is not my preferred method of aircraft survivability. Don't underestimate ECM, but don't rely on ECM either.

Optics
- aka Field of vision. Important, useful or not important depending on the role of your aircraft. As your aircraft approach their targets, you will usually gain some vital (very) temporary vision of the enemy army. So don't forget to watch your aircraft as they strike their targets.

Important - Ground attack aircraft (unless you already have good recon)
useful - Ground attack aircraft with large AOE weapons.
not important - SEAD aircraft and Air superiority aircraft

Size
- it seems to affect stealth and enemy accuracy.

Stealth
- prevents units from being spotted. Is (or seems to be) of no use once the aircraft: has fired its weapons or is directly over the target. ie: The mortal enemy of the F117 Nighthawk is an enemy unit with very good optics, and units directly underneath it.
Why use aircraft?
Why are you using aircraft? Maybe you should be using something else instead.

Aircraft
+ surgical precision
+ targets hit will probably die
+ very high mobility
+ loitering on the battlefield (patrolling an area)
+ very good range
+ doesn't use supplies on the battlefield
- high cost, must be used sparingly
- vulnerability
- short-lived presence
- rearming & repair time
- might be up to a minute before the target is hit

Artillery
++ not exposed to loss with each salvo
+ high terror factor
+ bigger and better AoE
+ collateral damage
+ good accuracy - it will hit in the right area
+/- comparable cost to mid range aircraft
- poor precision - unlikely to exactly hit units (ignoring collateral damage)
- high demand for vital supplies
- maximum range & minimum range
- firing gives away its position & very vulnerable if targeted by enemy
- very poor mobility (slow)
- may take 10-20 seconds to strike the target (assuming already in position and loaded)

Mortars
inc. Soviet Burratino
pretty much the same as artillery except mortars are for short range rapid response engagements.
Anti-Aircraft
MEASURE UP YOUR OPPOSITION'S AA DEFENCES
Use advanced recon units to gain vision of your enemy.

Most antiaircarft weapons need to be stationary to fire. So if you see enemy AA moving, perhaps because it has just entered the battlefield ;) then you could kill it ASAP... unless it stops.

Another thing to keep in mind is whether or not the antiaircraft unit is vehicle-mounted or shoulder-mounted. Vehicle-mounted missiles are usually bigger and are more effective. Use SEAD aircraft to kill them if they have radar. if they are not using radar, then Air-to-Ground missile aircraft.

Shoulder-mounted units (infantry) are usually smaller and have a shorter range, they also usually don't have radar, which means no SEAD take outs. Most aircraft are specialised in the role they perform. If you want to take out AA-infantry, we recommend you use large AOE weapons such as napalm instead of SEAD aircraft.

Some antiaircraft cannon vehicles also have antiaircraft missiles (eg. 2K22 Tunguska).

1st: These vehicles will fire all of their missiles first before they start using their cannon.

2nd: These vehicles have Radar on the cannon (SEAD vulnerable), but their missiles will be infrared (SEAD immune). Therefore what you should do is disable the AA cannons until the unit runs out of missiles (minimising SEAD exposure), and only then turn on the AA cannons.

Fudabidu's anti-SEAD strategy: "Never be too lazy to manage your Tunguska's guns. As soon as [a Tunguska] comes in [to the battlefield] deactivate the cannons." [Also have] 1 dedicated logistics truck to keep the missiles loaded."

If you ever feel the need for AAA bring in additonal ZSU 23-4s (cheap) instead of risking your Tunguskas.

THERE IS NO COUTER-MEASURE FOR AA-Cannons* **
AA cannons are one way of dealing with high ECM SEAD aircraft.

* except by being small and flying really fast to minimise damage

** and using long range missiles: cannons have short range - Air to Ground missile have long range and so can usually safely take out the AA cannons.
General Tips & Hints
Before we continue, I would just like to point out a few basic (yet to some players, extremely hard to master) tips & hints you must always keep in mind when deploying any plane

WATCH AND PROTECT YOUR BABIES WHEN IN THE DANGER ZONE
aka Why you should have a finger on the "V" button
  • the V button EVAC(UATES) your planes which you should be ready to do at ALL TIMES. When controlling planes, you should have your finger on the V key.
  • Planes can be bound to hotkeys like any other unit. You can do this by selecting the plane and: CTRL + [Number]. Double-tap the number you chose to focus the screen on the plane. Do this just before your plane enters the contested zones.

Planes can easily tip the balance of a game session, and yet so few players fail to see how extremely vulnerable planes can be. More times than not, planes are passing flying across enemy lines to carry on their mission. Varying on the number of anti air (AA) units and enemy air (which can pop out at anytime) there's usually a very narrow window for your plane to get in, and get out. To decrease the chances of crashing&burning, use this simple "evac" shortcut to save your planes, and perhaps your game. Other than the obvious, planes can usually detect ground units when flying near by them, so EVEN if they get shot down you can see what surprises your enemy has coming your way.

Personally I have a thumb on the V key and my middle finger on the corresponding number of the plane (for immediate reselection) .

CURVES ARE BETTER THAN STRAIGHT LINE
When you select a flight path for an plane, the plane will make manuevers to fly where you have you have clicked on the map. Planes have a "turn-rate" and can't make sharp turns (especially fast planes). Instead you will find your plane may turn the wrong way and loop around to get to the point you clicked at. So when you order your planes to make a sharp turn, click far-away to the left/right of the plane (even though you have no intention of letting the plane going all the way). Your plane will then turn as sharply as possible without going the wrong way..

This is ESPECIALLY important for SEAD planes.When deploying a SEAD plane, click somewhere behind your front line and let it fly in circles around a safe zone. SEAD planes will detect the radar anti air units and fire from a distance. If it misses, then let it refuel and hey guess what! you still have your plane! Fighters (depending on the fighter) are the ones closest to an exception because they tend to get in dogfights where (hopefully) little AA is present. But a fast straight path, is still a straight path and easy for enemy fighters to shoot down (especially if enemy fighters are deployed after your fighters and your fighters are showing their big fat jet bellies while turning).


SUPERIOR RANGE IS YOUR FRIEND
SEAD planes work by firing long range radar seeking missiles, yet some SEAD planes also have chainguns. These "chaingun enabled" SEAD planes will follow-up firing their SEAD missiles by strafing with the enemy with their short range chainguns. It defeats the purpose of having long range missiles, doesn't it? DISABLE the chaingun by clicking the the chaingun image (just like any other vehicle).

The above example is especially important for SEAD aircraft (who seek out AA danger for thrills), but it is also true of all other aircraft. So next time you send your aircraft on a mission, consider which short range weapons you can do without.


2 PLANES ARE BETTER THAN 1
and I don't mean spamming an all aircraft deck (although it is pretty funny). Talk to your allies! Good allies will pay attention to the map and deploy fighters alongside yours. It is quite easy to overload enemy AA defences with 3 or more planes at the same time. You'll be amazed at how effective air teamwork is!

Also on the same point, lesser value aircraft offer superior firepower for your points. It is inevitable some aircraft will be shot down, so try to limit point loss by not needlessly buying upgraded aircraft. Think cheaper is better, unless you need the capability of the more expensive aircraft.


Got it? Sweet! Now lets get to the fun stuff.
Guiding Aircraft
[YOUTUBE VIDEOS TO COME HERE]
Types of Aircraft
Interceptors:
Interceptor planes are specialized in intercepting enemy aircraft such as bombers, which must be shot down before they reach their objective. They are therefore very fast and carry heavy air-to-air weaponry.

Air superiority:
these aircraft are designed to engage enemy fighters in order to take control of an air zone. They are agile and they excel in short range air-to-air combat (dogfights).

Air-to-Ground (Ground attack)/Bombers:
There are two types of air to ground aircraft. The first are planes such as the thunderbolt, which are equipped with armor piercing (AP) missiles, specifically designed to take on heavy vehicles, tanks. and such sort. The second type are planes equipped with "bombs" or payloads that release and drop to a designated target. These are useful against light vehicles such as AA, and infantry personnel.

SEAD:
SEAD aircraft are planes equipped with anti-radar anti-air missiles, which can shoot down heavy/long range anti-air such as PACT's BUK1, or NATO's Hawks vehicles. Though these planes can be multirole as well, it's important to keep in mind their role in the game. They can come in very useful in clearing anti air and the path for other aircraft to carry on their mission

Now in due time we intend to be covering every NATO/PACT plane in the game. For now however, we have picked just the ones (from our personal experience) which have proved their worth to be on this list first. As mentioned previously, we also will keep updating the specs and modifications of aircraft along with each update/patch of the game. During the BETA stages of the game I (playdiuM) generally tend to lean more towards NATO fighters as my favorite air units, but thankfully the developers have balanced it off during the release after the multiple patches, and updates - so let's get right into it:
Britain
Britain has a decent enough Air Arsenal, pretty strong at some points, but a good all-rounder (minus it's lack of SEAD aircraft), let's have a look:
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Sea Harrier
Class: Air Superiority
reasonably cheap, slow, short range & has a pair of very nice F&F IR AA missiles.

playdiuM's verdict: good role specific plane, a little under-loaded though
CL's verdict: a good option on small maps... only. (debatable, but I am supposed to be highly opinionated)
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Tornado ADV F2/3
Class: Air Superiority
Pure bred dogfighters, except when they also kill you from medium ranges. F3 variant recommended against high value enemy aircraft, otherwise stick with the F2.

playdiuM's verdict: My choice for British air superiority, good challenger
CL's verdict: use when you need enemy aircraft to die.
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Harrier GR1/3/5
Class:Multirole/Bomber
Slow and the on all variant isn't ECM anything to write home about. A cheaper bomber/multirole aircraft.

playdiuM's verdict: comparable to the F-16A
CL's verdict: GR3 is the sweet spot.
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Jaguar GR1/1A
Class:Ground Attack
A cheap tank killer

playdiuM's verdict: like the description says
CL's verdict: not too bad as a human-missile clusterbomber, in this case stick with the GR1.
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Tornado GRI IDS
Class: Multirole
Clusterbomb & AA missiles: a quality multirole aircraft.

playdiuM's verdict: I like this multirole, would challenge it against America's F-16C
CL's verdict: Rather pricey, but a good choice in a deck with very limited aircraft choices (1 or 2 aircraft only).
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Canada
Canada doesn't have much option for air in this era, peace-loving people ey?
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CF-104 Starfighter
Class:Multirole
Nothing personal torwards Starfighters, but I've always never could decide whether to use this plane or not. Depending on it's role, It's somewhere between almost usable, and "i'll give it a try". I have a point of view of starfighters being very vulnerable to aa, and anything really. It's best role would be as a fighter in my opinion.

playdiuM's verdict: don't go for starfighters in general, let them be
CL's verdict: cheap and not good, use if you don't have CF-188s for some reason
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CF-116 Freedom Fighter
Class: Air to ground Bomber
I personally have a thing against rockets and airplanes. I believe rockets like this plane's equipped with onyl belongon helicopters, and not aircraft. I wouldn't even spam this aircraft.

playdiuM's verdict: only useful if you're stuck with an all Canadian deck
CL's verdict: another human-missile clusterbomber. worthy if you are sure you can kill its value in an airstrike - it still doesn't explain why you need this plane to do that
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CF-188 Hornet
Class: Multirole
Canada's top aircraft, not much to say here

playdiuM's verdict: Not worth the deployment points, go for the US equivalent (sorry ey Canada)
CL's verdict: far too expensive for me, but I guess the candian's don't have much of a choice if they need class.
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Czech
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MiG-21Bis
Class: Air Superiority
Now this 100 point bargain does come with quite the package. It comes with 2 deadly, top of the class accurate (12 points) missiles at 7000m range, and 2x "8" points accurate missile, though not too powerful. Other than it's 1000km/h speed and "good" counter measures, it's worth noting that the MiG-21Bis is smaller than other MiGs and even Su planes.

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Denmark
Denmark and Norway are two NATO countries which both have 3 types of aircraft in this game. Now set your Scandanavian country biased pride-based opinion aside, and let's see what these countries have to offer in terms of aircraft.
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The KRAKEN.. umm I mean Draken
Class: Multirole
Now Multirole airplanes can specialize in 2 different categories. 1, it drops off a payload of bombs that can have some serious HE power and even some AP power. 2, it specializes in AP missiles to take out armored units (tanks and heavy vehicles). This is the second type, unlike it's F-16A brother which is the 1st type. No ECM, decent missiles, decent because they're powerful but not too accurate, and good speed: 900km/h.

playdiuM's verdict: Would only use it if I had a Danish only deck
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The Danish Starfighter
Class: Air to ground
Now despite of it's role, I personally don't like Starfighters due to it's reputation (which you'll read more about later). Decent payload of 450kg BL-755 bombs x4 (range 3.5k), but a bit too slow for my taste: 750km/h, and no ECM. Now I don't mind a plane being slow, but it better pack one hell of a punch - like the Thunderbolt. At 500km/h, that thing can kill any tank with no more than 2 turnings. But if you'd like to have a vulcan equiped, Danish air-to-ground plane, go ahead.

playdiuM's verdict: Too slow, wouldn't use Starfighters in general, despite their role
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The F-16A: Danish Pride
Class: Multirole
This is probably the only Danish aircraft you would want in your deck. Some people's opinions vary between this plane and the Norwegian multirole F-16A Fighting Falcon. Personally, I would go with the Norwegian one since it's one of the planes on the loading page (with blue camouflage). But let's focus on this one for now. This was one of the only aircraft available during early BETA release, and it does preform well. Top speed, and a hell of a payload to carry, no ECM, and no AP capability though, HE of 10 for it's 12x 227kg Mk82 bombs. It also comes with AIM-9L missile, and a vulcan chain gun.

playdiuM's verdict: all around not a bad plane, but not the F-16 I would pick, Norwegian's F-16 wins this round
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East Germany
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Su-22M4: PACT's match to NATO's Prowler
Class: SEAD
(Update: ECM went down to "very good") At a mere 750km/h, East Germany's Su-22M4 must be the match to the Prowler. Though it does offer exceptional ECM, and 2x 26AP 4.2k SEAD missiles (Jaguar A, and the Su-24 draw for the gold with 30AP) x2. It also comes with a 23mm gun, and an additional infrared missiles x2;. which are pretty effective as well. I would recommend this plane for single radar aa take outs on the side of the map, or if you know there are no other aa around. I wouldn't suggest it for difficult aa situations. Good news though; it comes in two's.

playdiuM's verdict: Not my favorite SEAD plane, would probably be my last choice unless I needed a multirole aircraft.
CL's verdict: a little overpriced decent aircraft.

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France
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Mirage 2000C RDI:now we're talking Proto
Class: Air Superiority
Now despite what some people might say about the frogs, I actually really like their fighters. We'll start off with this French prototype: Mirage 2000C RDI. It is worth mentioning that the Mirage F1 200 by itself is a really good fighter, but this takes it to the next level. For a mere 115 points, you'll get arguably one of the best fighters in the game. 5600 range, excellent turning and it just feels light when you maneuver it.

playdiuM's verdict: Excellent fighter, definitely worth the try

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Jaguar A
Class SEAD
An excellent SEAD plane with top speed of 1000km/h and good counter measures. Same ranged missiles as the Raven and a DEFA 550 gun to die for (literally die). This plane preforms excellent in killing radar AA as well as dogfights and taking down helis. For only 95 deployment points, the best part? You can deploy 2 of them. Who says Frogs can't win a war?

playdiuM's verdict: Very good SEAD plane if two are deployed. Wicked chain gun, top speed - second choice of SEAD plane
CL's verdict: A cheap good SEAD aircraft with a wicked chaingun? Yes please!
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Norway
Now the Norwegians don't emphasize on their air arsenal, however this guide does intend to cover each and every plane so let's have a look at what they have to offer.
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F-104G Starfighter: a widow maker
Class: Multirole
Now this is the the second Starfighter mentioned, so I'm (playdiuM) going to make my feelings clear about such aircraft. Starfighters in West Germany were known as "Widow makers" due to their very low survivability rate. In other words, if ECM had a ranking which is worse than "Bad", this plane should definitely be labeled 2 grades below that. However, if you're the kind of commander who likes watching soldiers getting sent to their airy graves, or if you feel like your air skills could be tested; then try this plane for size.

playdiuM's verdict: Wouldn't be in my arsenal, any arsenal.

CL's verdict: a bit overpriced and not great. Might be used if a pre1975only game using a norwegian deck with only one aircraft choice, otherwise you should probably reconsider.
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F-5A Freedom Fighter: For liberty!
Class: Ground Attack
Now I'm not one much for rocket aircraft. I personally find them too weak, and such rockets much more effective on helicopters. Other than this plane's 750km/h top speed, and like it's Norwegian brothers; Bad ECM, there's not much to see here. I would imagine this could be another spam plane, but personally I wouldn't be too fond of it unless I had 4 or more of them.

playdiuM's verdict:Not worth spending on unless you plan on spam - which I still personally find not worth the points. Worst aircraft in the Norwegian arsenal; little to nothing to offer.

CL's verdict: feeding your enemy cheap planes is not spamming, it is just dumb.
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F-16A Fighting Falcon BEAST
Class: Multirole
If there's one Norwegian plane you have to try it, it's this one. A few NATO countries offer F-16 aircraft, but my jaw definitely dropped with this one. A top speed of 1000km/h, a vulcan chain gun, and top-grade infrared missiles. Although it has bad ECM, it's 1000kg x2 of Mk 84 payload should definitely put a smile on your face. Trust me, this is one plane you want to try out.

playdiuM's verdict: Definitely a must-try plane, however it must be used sparingly due to it's bad ECM. Works great when deployed with other aircraft - carrying multiple missions at once.
CL's verdict: take note - this is how multirole aircraft should work
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SOVIETS
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MiG- 21 PD
Class: Air Superiority
Now this is a fast plane. Probably the cheapest, fastest fighter I would get in the PACT deck. A 5600m air missile with 8 accuracy, good counter-measures, and 1000km/h top speed - definitely a good bargain. Overall this plane is enjoyable to use, although in my experience it can't fly too near aa (especially Hawks) and its turning is not one of it's strong points. However, two of these Russians will do the job in fending off enemy air. (Update: ECM went down)

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MiG-31: A Tomcat Challenger
Class: Air Superiority
This russian MiG-31 certainly puts the Tomcat to the test. With a 10500m air missile (compared to the tomcat's 11900m), it definitely comes as a threat to the tomcat. Although it nearly matches up in missile range, it's counter measures are a mere 'good (update: medium)' compared to the Tomcat's "very good" ECM. But fear not PACT lovers, this plane definitely makes up for it in speed, with a whooping 1100km/h! That's right, fastest speed in the game. Deploy two of these behind your lines and watch the fireworks that is air superiority.

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MiG-31M: just when you thought that was bad a-s-s
Class: Air Superiority
That's right! it gets even better!! This is the Russian's Prototype MiG-31M, with literally everything (other than top speed) better than the MiG-31. With a 11900m missile (same accuracy, HE, and suppression specs as the tomcat as well) x6, same "very good" "Good" ECM, but a 100km/h faster top speed than the Tomcat; this is definitely it's match, if not it's killer! Definitely worth the 25 Deployment points more than it's brother. Deploy them the same way you do the MiG-31; behind your lines and let it fly in circles and watch it dominate!

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Su-27S
Class: Air Superiority
Finally we come to the most expensive worth-while fighter in the PACT deck; the Su-27S. Now some of you might wonder why this fighter with lesser specs in certain aspects costs significantly more than, let's say, the MiG-31M. Well for one it has 2 air missiles that are deadly accurate with a rating of 12, with a total of 10 missiles (6x airplanes missiles with 7000m range, and 4x 3500m range for aircraft and 1750m range for helis). Having that said, it takes a different kind of maneuvering to handle this plane. I've seen people deploy two of these top of the class fighters and dominate with absolution. Yet I've also seen some people let them drop like flies even with this planes "exceptional (update: very good) ECM". If you've got the right handling and feel for this plane, then please by all means - remember it's not a proto, and 170 Deployment Points for a reason - but 170 Deployment Points at that. If MiG-31/M was the Tomcat's match, this would be the Eagle's

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Su-24: The Raven's Match: Russian Prototype
Class: SEAD
This plane is a monster radar anti-air killer. Having the same 'exceptional ' ECM measures as the raven, It delivers quite the punch when compared side by side. It's SEAD missiles also match up in range (4900m), and accuracy (10), though not in strength (this one has 30AP compared to raven's 24AP). Unlike the raven, it also has a chain-gun good for fending itself to an extent against enemy air, or even helis. However, in the game's balanced nature; it's top speed reaches 100km/h less than the raven, leaving it at 900km/h. Finally this plane is a Russian Prototype plane, which means you would need a Rusky-only deck in order to unlock it.

playdiuM's verdict: The strongest and highest survivability rate of the PACT deck, would be my second choice however.
CL's verdict: best left for only the most difficult SEAD missions

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MiG-25BM:the fastest PACT SEAD aircraft
Class: SEAD
Now we're talking. At a top speed of 1000km/h, 4200m air to ground SEAD missiles (x2), and an additional 2x infrared missiles, and all for 75 deployment points?! Yes please! Their SEAD missiles aren't bad either, 20 AP and 8 accuracy points. This is definitely my recommended SEAD aircraft for any pact deck; I mean just look at those jet engines! And instead of two (on one plane) you can have 4! (on two planes). Deploy two of these babies and get ready to have a big smile on your face. (Update: ECM is now 'medium')

playdiuM's verdict: This would be my first choice for PACT's SEAD plane, however only if two are deployed. Though they are a bit on the easy side in getting shot down, once you get to know them; they'll grow on you.
CL's verdict: very cheap&good SEAD plane. enough said.
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Sweden
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Sweeden's J35D Draken: your next lover
Class: Spam?
A cheap 35 deployment points, spam 3 of these babies and they'll accompany your fighter bombers and bombers to get the job done. Though they have bad electronic counter measures (ECM), and a lack of long range missiles for planes, their speed, size, and price definitely make it worth considering. Their guns have proved effective in dogfights, and in numbers they're less likely to get shot down, and take on those nasty SU27s


CL's verdict: ummm, why? You better have a clear and good reason why you using this
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Grade Above: JA37 Viggen
Class: Air Superiority
This bad guy is exceptional value for money. At 120 points, and 'very good' ECM it comes with 2x 6300M SemAct radar missiles, and 4x infrared missiles (though I don't recommend trying to shoot down Mi-28's with these, or any other PACT prototype Helis). Other than that, this almost top speed (900km/h) fighter is exceptional

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US of A
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F-14Tomcat: All time American Favorite
Class: Air Superiority
F-14 Tomcat is probably my favorite fighter in the game(playdiuM). To my knowledge it has the longest range missile at 11900m, that's almost 12000m! It'll shoot half way across the map, with perhaps the exception of 10v10 maps. Excellent maneuvering, and top speed of 1000km/h. Well worth your deployment points. Use one of these babies right and you'll have a smile every time you deploy it, deploy two and you might just j-i-z-z. (Update, ECM went down to "good")

playdiuM's verdict: It's long range missiles are the reason I would pick this aircraft, too bad it's ECM specs went down :(.
CL's verdict: Dogfighting is like knifefighting in a phonebooth:results are always messy. Long range missiles are where it is at.
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F-15 Eagles
Class:Air Superiority
The F15A Eagle, and F-15C Prototype Eagle are both top of the class fighters. Whenever you feel like changing it up cause your Tomcat is owning too much, try this one on for size. It's a 30 point difference for the prototype F15C, but well worth it. Though it's got shorter air missile range than the Tomcat, the accuracy of it's missiles makes up for it. Exceptional (Update, ECM went down to "very good")ECM, top speed and all around bad a-s-s fighter.

playdiuM's verdict: with the new ECM specs, definitely a choice to consider, other than your tomcat
CL's verdict: a wicked knifefighter
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F-16A/C Fighting Falcon
Class: Multirole
Chaingun, Clusterbombs and AA missiles: what more do you want? The C variant has the extra oompf that you want in the A variant but at the cost of (CL - too many) extra points.

playdiuM's verdict: great in it's class, a bit pricy but worth it.
CL's verdict: the A variant is a good & cheap multirole for people looking to save pennies. Good value but a little too light on ammo for my taste, probably deploy in pairs.
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A-10 Thunderbolt II
Class: Ground Attack
The only armored plane. It is recommended you make full use of the wicked antitank missiles before you strafe with the chaingun. This thing eats tank-columns for breakfast, lunch, and dinner (which reminds me, wouldn't it be cool if we could have night battles?)

playdiuM's verdict: Use this sparingly, and if you must send it to an area with aa, send it with other planes so you don't cry from watching this ninja get shot down.
CL's verdict: What you deploy after all the enemy AA has been neutralised to finish off the game.
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F117 Nighthawk: The Ninja
Class: Ground Attack
Excellant for sniping Command units and solo/stranded AA. This is a US prototype plane, so you would need to unlock the "US only deck" from bonuses. This thing is wicked and works especially well when fending off advancing enemies.

playdiuM's verdict: amazing stealth, but use sparingly - very vulnerable to recon and AA units.
CL's verdict: Think of it like a ninja: vulnerable after they just stabbed you. Ensure you have lurking backstab protection when the enemy use this.
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EF-111A Raven: The Boss
Class: SEAD
This is arguably the best SEAD aircraft in the game. I fell in love with it during beta testing but even now with the official release, after all the patches and updates, my love is still steadfast towards this 1000km/h Exceptional ECM 4.9k range missiled x2 aircraft. 135 points, and a little patience and maneuvering will clear the path of any radar AA. The bad? No other gun, or missile. It does what it does excellent, but only that. Hey, great things don't come without sacrifice right?

playdiuM's verdict: All around awesome, best SEAD plane, handle with extreme care
CL's verdict: Top of class. Treat this plane with respect and this plane will disrespect your enemies.
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F4 Wild Weasel V
Class: SEAD, Multirole
Now although this is NATO's shortest antiradar missile ranged SEAD plane, it packs quite the punch. IT comes with a vulcan gun (and well know how cool vulcan sounds), and 2 infrared missiles to combat helis or other planes in a dog fight. It also has exceptional ECM and flying at 900km/h, all for 105 points; it's definitely not a bad american bargain.

playdiuM's verdict: not my first choice for SEAD, but not my last. Multirole aircraft, all around decent
CL's verdict: Great value multi-role-master-of-none. You will choose this if you have limited aircraft choices.
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Prowler: EA (Games [challenger everything...]) -6
Class: SEAD
A funny looking head SEAD plane, but granted it does have something to offer... or does it? At 100 deployment points for this plane, personally(playdium), I would go for the 95 Jaguar A. The Prowler has a shorter ranged missile than the Jaguar at 4200M, same accuracy though, but not the same AP Power (20 compared to Jaguar's 30). It also flies slower at 750Km/h, though this can be an advantage in certain situations, lesser speed means sharper turns. So what does this have to offer? Better ECM, where the Jaguar A is "good" this is "exceptional". I personally haven't played much with this plane after BETA, so is it worth the points? Only one way to find out

playdiuM's verdict: The baby Raven SEAD plane, a multirole aircraft, a bit too slow for my taste
CL's verdict: "a Prowler? Why did your Raven get shot down?" Decent aircraft, but not worth saving pennies on the Raven.
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West Germany
West Germany our last country (NATO) for covering aircraft, and with these three planes we're done!
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Alpha Jet A
Class: Air to Ground
This Alpha Jet is available for a mere 50 deployment points, this Jet can carry out quick simply missions, mostly against infantry and light armored units. With a mere 4 AP powered payload, it won't affect anything above a T55 let's say; other than stun it of course. But cheap, and effective against artillery or dispatch in large groups to take out AA/hidden forest units

playdiuM's verdict: size and speed makes it only threatening in numbers or to light units, mostly effective for units hidden in forests and not buildings.
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Starfighter: The Widow Maker
Class: Air Superiority/Interceptor
A previos guide mentioned how this aircraft was overloaded and deployed on missions it shouldn't have been deployed on in the first place, hence it's given nickname. I wouldn't suggest this aircraft in the game due to it's lack of ECM, and its lack of speed. Due to it's speed I would mostly say this could be an interceptor plane(for stopping other planes carrying out their mission).

playdiuM's verdict: Why bother? unless you like to see your planes drop like flies.
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Tornado IDS: A Yes or No?
Class: Multirole
The Tornado IDS is a 'very good' ECM class plane. With Maverrick Air-Ground Rockets equiped, this later guided missile has a dedicated officer to identify and eliminate targets.The Maverrick is a 2,500m Air to Ground Rocket with a 56kg Warhead (a Hellfire rocket contains 8kg).It can be used against all type of ground This Tornado has a better chance of flying behind enemy lines, and carrying on it's mission. It also carries 2 Anti Air Rockets and the advanced Mauser BK 27mm Revolvercannon.

playdiuM's verdict: good multirole aircraft, a bit on the pricy side, and not my first choice for this many deployment points.
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Conclusion
Aircraft can be very effecting in their role, and we hope this guide has opened some players eyes to use them more effectively. In most cases they must be used sparingly and conserved for moments that can change the tide of the game. Do not rely heavily on them, but don't go on without them either. They are here to make your game play easier, and in fact more fun. So master them, and enjoy game-play even if you lose :) Good luck and have fun all!
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14 Comments
tacoshy Jan 29, 2015 @ 8:24am 
well this guide is very much out to date since it was written druing Beta and does not contain the changes with all those patches. Would not recommend this guide until it getting updated
Aethel Jan 5, 2014 @ 12:01am 
you forgot to mention one of the best french plane, maybe one of the best plane in the game. The SUPER ENTENDARD. For 80 points, it carries a 14 accuracy, 30 ap Semi Active missile. It will one shot an T80U. I have rarely seen other players using it. Its a shame because sending high tiers tanks against a deck with this in it is scuicide.
bills6693 Jan 4, 2014 @ 11:56am 
You could combne poland and czech since you only talk about one czech plane.

Also you didn't menton any napalm planes at all.

Finally, rockets on planes can be a good infantry killer, and also the poles have a 35 point rocket plane that if nothing else can be used to see how much AA is in an area, and hopefully take out 35 points of infantry or therabouts in its run. Thats only 3-4 units of basic or just 1 unit of high-end infantry - rockets don't discriminate!
playdiuM*  [author] Dec 31, 2013 @ 1:04am 
there's a limit to the sections you can make for guides, as well as a word limit - that's the case last time we checked so we had to cut some aircrafts/countries
RangerPL Dec 30, 2013 @ 12:16pm 
you forgot poland
playdiuM*  [author] Dec 5, 2013 @ 9:03pm 
got it ;)
DonkeyKwong Dec 1, 2013 @ 11:22am 
Its pronounced "eh" dammit. Not "ey", "eh'.

sorry
SD2018 Oct 5, 2013 @ 10:47am 
SWEDEN DRAKEN IS KING
Merc591 Jun 29, 2013 @ 2:42pm 
either variant
Merc591 Jun 29, 2013 @ 2:42pm 
damnit :P you didnt put the su-25 in here :(