" I have always enjoyed reading military novels and techno-thrillers, especially those in which air combat figures heavily. I also enjoy building and flying missions for combat flight sims. A few years back I decided to combine these interests and build some missions based on scenes from a few of my favorite military action novels.
At the time (1996), I was flying mainly in Jane's ATF with the NATO Fighters expansion disc. It contained a good mix of flyable aircraft, terrain areas, and ground objects as well as a pretty decent mission builder. Since then, all of the aircraft in ATF/NATO Fighters (and more) have been released in Jane's Fighters Anthology (JFA). I have recently tested these missions in JFA, and they still work. So read the books -- fly the books -- have fun. If you build missions for other sims based on these books, please let me know."
Mission and text by FlyingSinger
In his brilliant 1993 book CAULDRON, Larry Bond presents a detailed and plausible view of a near-future war in Europe. An economic crisis in Europe has led in 1998 to the formation of an alliance between Germany and France, "EurCon" (the steps that lead to this are not nearly as farfetched as those in many techno-thrillers!). EurCon plans to use force to expand its combined territory into Hungary, Poland, and other former East Bloc territories, a move that is opposed by the U.S. and the remaining NATO allies.
They join forces to defend Poland and Hungary from EurCon's aggression. Of course there is a lot more to it than this -- read the book! It's one of the best books around in this genre, with detailed and accurate descriptions of the high tech aircraft, weapons, and tactics of the late 1990s.
FA has the aircraft and weapons to recreate many of the exciting air and even sea battles from CAULDRON. This mission is based on a passage in the book that starts on page 385 in the hardcover, page 501 in the Warner Books paperback.
The war has not been going well for EurCon, and their air-launched nuclear missile attack against a U.S. carrier group indicates how desperate they are. There is the possibility that they will use their small but deadly supply of French nuclear missiles in another attempt to even the balance. NATO has decided to take out the super-hardened missile silos using GBU-28 "Deep Throat" bombs carried by F-15E Strike Eagles.
A flight of F-117's will fly a SEAD strike to take out the SAMs protecting the silos (but watch out for AAA). You will be close behind in the lead F-15E, carrying only one of the 4700 lb laser-guided "pipe bombs" to take out the western most of the three silos. Two flights of F-111's will hit the other two silos (F-15E's are used in the book, but only the F-111 carries the GBU-28 by default in ATF/FA).
Use your wingman to clean up in case you or one of the 'Varks misses a target (you must destroy all three silos and return safely to base to succeed). A near-simultaneous strike is essential in case the French decide to launch a surviving S3 IRBM rather than lose it.
Note: This mission requires the use of an FA-compatible LIB file that includes the 4700 lb. GBU-28 laser-guided bomb as an available weapon for the F-15E -- it is not included in FA's standard set of weapons.
Jane's F-15 and Jane's F/A-18 are two newer sims that could be used to recreate this and some of the other air combat scenes in Cauldron, including a large "defend the fleet" scenario that features Hornets and Tomcats from a CVBG off the coast of Denmark. Jane's Fleet Command would also offer excellent mission building possibilities for the naval surface and air warfare sections of this book.
In his 1988 book FORCE OF EAGLES, Richard Herman, Jr., demonstrates the coordinated use of small numbers of air and ground forces to carry out a rescue of POW's held in an Iranian prison after a regional war has ended. Launching from Turkey, the operation involves US Army Rangers on the ground, supported by USAF forces (F-15E, F-111F, AC-130, C-130). There is a tremendous amount of detailed air action in this book, and the writing is excellent. Highly recommended!
Jane's Fighters Anthology has the aircraft and weapons to recreate the climactic rescue operation late in the book. This mission is based on a passage in the book that starts in Chapter 36, "H-Hour". In this FA mission, the Baltics map is used for Iran, and Iranian (enemy) forces are called "Syrian." The book also has an AWACS aircraft and F-15C's flying CAP and C-130 ingress escort, but these are not used in this FA mission.
Operation WARLORD is well underway. US Army Rangers have entered the Iranian prison and gotten the POW's onto trucks, which are rolling now and should reach the abandoned airstrip rendezvous in less than 7 minutes (assuming the T-72's in pursuit can be stopped -- you must protect those trucks!). The prison buildings must also be bombed to keep additional Iranian troops from interfering. The two rescue C-130's are on the strip ready for takeoff in 8 minutes -- they must be protected at all costs from Iranian air and ground forces.
You'll be flying your F-15E alone on this mission -- no wingman (and worse yet, your F-15E is really a F/A-18D -- see below). But you will have some help out there -- two F-111's are tasked with taking out buildings and bridges. An AC-130 is orbiting the area looking for ground threats. But these (AI driven) assets may not survive the heavy SAM/AAA environment, so it's your job to "bat cleanup" and make sure all the mission objectives are destroyed and the POW's protected on the ground and in the air. Good luck!
Note: The F-15E Strike Eagle is a great airplane, and in FORCE OF EAGLES (note the name!), the amount and variety of ordnance it can carry is vital. UNFORTUNATELY, in ATF/NATO Fighters, the F-15E cannot carry the variety of weapons needed (4 Mk. 82HD bombs, 4 Mavericks, FLIR pod, 2 Sparrows or AMRAAMS, 2 Sidewinders, guns). So in this mission, I've substituted the F/A-18D, which has a RIO/WSO and can carry the required weapon mix. If you have one of the many LIB files for FA that modify the loadouts for the aircraft, you may be able to substitute the F-15E itself and carry the required weapons.
Because this book features the F-15E Strike Eagle and is set in Iran, Jane's F-15 would be an obvious choice for mission building based on this book. It has the main aircraft, the proper terrain, and an excellent mission builder. I'm not sure if it includes the AC-130 gunship that also figures heavily in success of the mission in the book.
Mission and text by FlyingSinger
Larry Bond's 1989 book "Red Phoenix" is a close, exciting look at a second Korean War, circa 1989. It is filled with believable characters, a suspenseful plot, strong technical detail and exciting combat action (air, sea, under-sea, and ground). The NK (North Korean) forces make use of civil unrest in the ROK (South Korea) to hit the US and ROK forces with a lot of surprise and force. It takes the good guys a while to crawl back, and the USAF F-16's play an important role throughout the war (we follow the exploits of Capt. Tony "Saint" Christopher and his wingman Lt. John "Hooter" Greshem in particular). This is an excellent book by one of the best writers in the military and techno-thriller genre.
REDPHNX2.M -- A few days into the war, US and ROK forces are fighting back hard, but are still losing ground to NK ground forces. The NK advance is supported by massive tank and infantry forces, backed up by well-placed heavy artillery. Three ROKAF Phantoms will take out some key artillery sites in nearby hills, but there's heavy AAA and a number of SAMs protecting the arty. You must take out the key AAA sites identified by Intelligence, and protect the ROKAF guys so they can get in and out. Try not to lose any F-16's either -- reinforcements from the States are going to take a while. Unfortunately Mavericks and other standoff weapons are in short supply -- you'll have to use cluster bombs or retarded Mk. 82's to hit the AAA. Good luck.
Note: In the book, the ROKAF actually flew F-4 Phantoms on this mission. In ATF/FA, the F-4 has no bomb-based loadouts, so I substituted F-15E Strike Eagles (pretend they are Phantoms). This mission is based on Chapter 27 "Hard Target" (page 327 of US paperback edition of Larry Bond's "Red Phoenix").
Since Red Phoenix takes place in Korea and has central characters who fly the F-16, it has a lot of potential for TE (Tactical Engagement) missions in Falcon 4. This would certainly open up possibilities for more detailed and accurate simulation of Viper operations. Red Phoenix also contains a lot of naval operations (a specialty for Larry Bond, a former naval officer and creator of the naval war game Harpoon), including USN destroyers and NK submarines. These could serve as models for user missions in Jane's Fleet Command, which includes all the necessary platforms.
Mission and text by FlyingSinger
In his 1993 book THE RED HORSEMAN, Stephen Coonts (author of FLIGHT OF THE INTRUDER and other military adventures) explores the possibility of the former USSR's nuclear arsenal being sold on the black market -- with Saddam Hussein as one of the high bidders. As usual, Coonts' lead character is Jake Grafton, but by the 1990's, Jake has come a long way. He is now an admiral and the deputy director of DIA (Defense Intelligence Agency). He is sent to Russia to help monitor the supposed destruction of many Soviet nuclear warheads. But he soon finds that corruption and greed are more powerful than treaties, and "friends" (including CIA operatives) aren't always what they seem. A nuclear powerplant "accident" is actually concealing the transfer of stolen warheads to Iraq. When diplomacy and espionage fail, Jake is forced to rely on his friends, instincts, and flying skills to save the day. It's an exciting story all around.
RED HORSEMAN is more of a spy/adventure novel than a "flying book," though it does has some exciting flying scenes. Jane's Fighters Anthology has the aircraft and weapons to recreate a climactic episode late in the book. This mission is based on a passage in the book that starts on page 275 in the US paperback edition.
Intelligence has determined that the second shipment of stolen missiles and nuclear warheads is about to be loaded onto Iraqi transports at an abandoned Russian base (Postavy in ATF/FA) inside the "hot zone" left by the recent nuclear power plant "accident" (a suicide mission, but the Iraqis probably didn't tell their people that!). The Russian military won't attack its own base, and the U.S. President can't decide if we should intervene in these "internal" affairs. Against the wishes of his own military leaders, President Yeltsin has ordered that two armed Su-25 Frogfoot attack planes be made available to you (Admiral Jake Grafton, and your "wingman," Rita Moravia, a fabulous test pilot, even if her voice sounds a little deep on the radio in FA).
You'll have very little time to check out in the Su-25 before taking off, and all you can carry is bombs. You'll need to hit two Iraqi ("Russian") transports on the runway at the target airfield, and destroy four hangars where additional missiles and warheads are stored. You should keep in mind that the Russian Air Force isn't too happy to have you flying around inside their country -- so keep your eyes open!
I can't think of a sim other than JFA with a flyable Su-25 Frogfoot.