MiGMan's Combat Diary 1998
F15 features not one, but two fully featured cockpits for you to play in! And joy, oh joy, they are operated by the mouse... point and click.
The F-15E has 2 crew members, the pilot and the Weapons Systems Officer, or WSO for short.
Inexplicably, Janes decided to drop the option of 2 humans playing in one aircraft. (This feature was present in F15 Strike Eagle 3).
It is entirely possible to fly missions from the front seat only... but for strike missions involving precision munitions you'll probably appreciate the flexibility in having 7 MFD's configured.
Front cockpit of the F-15E Strike Eagle with Forward Looking Infra Red
About 6 missions into the Iran campaign we were tasked with attacking a port facility.
As soon as we reached the Initial Point, about 10 miles out, I knew this was going to be an intense mission. The TEWS lit up like a Xmas tree (see right) with the biggest worry being the SA-10's and SA-12's. Sure enough the missile launch warning went off "deedle deedle" and my backseater called "Missile launch - 1'o'clock". I barely had time to order the wingmen in with Ctrl-G then padlock the incoming missile with Shift- F3.... if I hadn't programmed that into my joystick hat switch I would have been toast!
This TEWS display shows a very hostile environment!
So with the incoming missile padlocked I dropped chaff and wrenched the Eagle upside down, preparing to hit the deck and sucker the missile in. The huge white smoke plume was clearly visible.
Time for payback!
Bear in mind that only 2 seconds had passed since the missile launch was called.. and boy it looked close already!!!! I made a tentative jink... and the missile altered path, obviously tracking perfectly! The pucker factor went up two notches... just time to punch chaff and a wild manoeuvre and zoooommmmm.. the view tracked perfectly as the missile whipped past, engine still burning and trailing a huge smoke plume.
Clear missile trails make life a bit easier... unfortunately they also point back to the launching aircraft - me in this case!
Man oh man, ground attack hadn't been so much fun since Tornado (1993), and SVGA Harrier Assault (1992).
Well I survived the ground defenses and stupidly went back for a couple of extra passes.... my dumb luck held but next time I resolved to send the AGM-65 Mavericks in first then pickle all the dumb bombs in one stick... no more second passes!
As it was I ended up scooting away at about 50 feet altitude with no chaff left and dodging SAMs. The F-15 carries a generous supply of chaff but I must have pumped it out during those desperate moments!
Night missions come alive with formation lighting on all aircraft and lighted runways, roads, towns, refineries.... and hundreds of towers which are a real hazard at low level.
Great moments in sim-plosions.
This was state-of-the-art in 1998, making full use of the new 3DFX graphics accelerator cards.
It's not often that I managed to drop a stick of bombs straight up a runway. Usually, between dodging SAM's and AAA I was lucky to get even one bomb on the runway. However this runway will keep the repair crews busy for a few hours.
The smoke trail at right is from a flare I had dropped... always a good precaution in bandit country there could be a MiG you didn't see or more likely a grunt with a shoulder launched SAM.
More mayhem... this time at an industrial plant... shame we missed those
gas storage tanks in the foreground though!
Well now that I mentioned it:
Air to Air
These sorts of stunts are best left to the fighter escorts. You can call the AWACS for help and he or she will vector fighters or Wild Weasels to your assistance.
Over the top in the F-15E Strike Eagle
Avoiding an IR missile, the F15 leaves a trail of flares burning in it's wake.This is not a good place to be in the F-15E... the fight should have been concluded well outside visual range. Of course, if you really, really want to mix it up.... well there's no one stopping you..
Generally it's NOT a good idea to mix it up with a Fulcrum, I managed to slam this one from beyond visual range with an AIM-120 AMRAAM.
The smoke trails from burning aircraft, missile launches and SAM launches hang in the air and add to the feeling of three dimensional space in the sim.
On the way home from most missions you'll have to refuel... and this is a sim within a sim! Your backseater coaches you in... but a lot of practice is required. Fortunately there is a "cheat mode".
An impressive load of ironmongery!
This is a solid, stable sim which succeeds in recreating the complex environment of modern aerial combat without excessive hardware demands. F-15 needs Win95/98. It runs well on a P 233, sensational with a 3DFX card added! It runs extremely smoothly on a P 233MMX with 64 Meg RAM and a Creative Banshee card.
It's worth mentioning that the sim has a "casual player" mode too, with much simplified controls, flight model and avionics.
Ejection is usually not a laughing matter... but I chuckled at length when I saw this feature.
Provided you have a successful ejection... two chutes... don't forget that computer pilot who sits behind you... when the chutes land the pilots break out pistols and scurry off in a manner reminiscent of Gerry Anderson's "Thunderbirds"!
And then there are the camels!
There is a great array of aircraft modelled in F15, from Soviet types such as this MiG-21 Fishbed, to older F-4 Phantoms owned by Iran.
Mi-24 Hind | This is not the recommended place to be.. as soon as I fly past the Hind is in a perfect position to launch an Infra-Red guided missile at the F-15's two exhausts!
Another MiG bites the dust in a great trail of fire and smoke.
The F15-E Strike Eagle is all about "moving mud" and this is where the sim excels. Not since Digital Integration's Tornado (1993), has the world of low level attack been so exciting.