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XCAS - Syria is a slow paced, long play, open ended close air support mission for the A-10C II.
 

This mission can be played in a couple of different ways, whether you want to do all the shooting yourself, or take a more commanding role and play it more like a mini RTS. 


A coalition of US Army and Syrian resistance fighters, callsign Saber, has been tasked to find and destroy an increasing number of enemy forces operating in northern and western Syria. Your mission is to provide close air support to friendly forces on the ground as they complete their mission.

You will be taking off from Incirlik AFB. Top off from one of the tankers and check in with the friendlies when you are on station.

 

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Ground units
The ground units in this mission are the core which everything revolves around. The completion of their mission, to find and destroy the enemy units, is your objective. When you start the mission the first thing you need to do is to request their location in the Operations menu and check in with them when you are on station. They will proceed to find enemy units on the ground, and it is your job to take out anything that poses a threat to them. They will report enemy units location when they find them.

 

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Air assets
You also have two flights of F-16s, two flights of A-10s and two Reapers that you can command during the mission.

The F-16s and A-10s can be ordered to different points in Syria or to the friendly or enemy unit locations. The Reapers are more autonomous and will move to the ground units, or target units locations automatically and will report enemy units when they find them.

All air assets can be ordered to engage enemy units on the ground.

 

The F10 menu
This mission relies heavily on the F10 menu. Through it you will do all your communication with ground and air units.

I thought I'd go through the different items in the menu and what you can expect from them.

 

Operations
This is the place where you request ground units location, check in and request target intel when a task has started.

Ground assets
This is where you will control the movement, rules of engagement, designation and status of friendly ground units. I will go through a couple of the commands here.

 

Movement of ground assets
Ground units can be given different commands to maneuver to the targets, and to tactically preferable positions.

  • Advance (off road/on road) 
    Units will advance following the shortest path towards the target (off or on roads).
     
  • Flank (left/right)
    Units will flank left or right of the targets position off road.
     
  • Relocate in direction (compass heading)
    Units will relocate in the specified heading, for the specified distance. This is useful for more advanced flanking or repositioning maneuvers.
     
  • Relocate to another units location
    The ground units will move to another friendly unit on the ground.
     
  • Target designation
    Depending on if they have the target in sight the ground units can designate targets on the ground with smoke and illumination.
     
  • Artillery
    When one of the friendly units are artillery units you can command them to fire on the enemy units, and specify the spread of their barrage. You can also command them to abort a requested fire mission.

 

There are multiple other commands that can be given such as halt, fall back, pop smoke and so on.

 

Employment and navigation of air assets
This is where you will control the start, navigation, weapons employment, refueling, status, formation, designation and RTB of friendly air assets.

  • Navigation
    Air assets (F-16, A-10) can be directed to fly to specific points on the map, or temporary points such as your, the friendlies, or the targets position. They can also hold at a point north, east, south and west of the target. 
  • Engage
    All air assets can engage targets on the ground. You specify which exact unit the selected air asset should engage, and with which of the assets available weapons it should employ. 

 

They can also report their current fuel and weapon status, be ordered to refuel or RTB. After a unit has returned to base it will rearm, refuel and be available again after a short turnaround.

 

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Infantry
Both friendly and enemy vehicles carry infantry. These will dismount and engage any enemy units within their weapon range. Keep that in mind when sending your ground forces forward. Enough infantry can pose a great to APCs, and just one RPG carrying soldier can take out a tank, if their aim is good or they are close enough.

 

The enemy
The target groups will vary in numbers, firepower and skill. They will however always consist of somewhat irregular composition so don't expect big tank formations. The AI behavior will also vary, and depending on if they detect any of your friendly ground units they will alter their behavior. They will also act differently when they come under fire or start taking losses. They might stop and disperse, but they might also soldier on, flee in another direction or move to engage whoever is engaging them. 

 

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Gameplay mechanics
When enemies are spotted, either by the ground units or you the player, you should report target intel via the F10 menu, this will reveal the enemy position to both you and the friendly units, whether you have actually found them or not. This is because there is unfortunately no way for me to know if a player has actually found a specific unit or not from within the scripting engine. So this function can be used as a kind of a cheat. I recommend not reporting the targets location until you have actually found them, for the sake of suspense.

When you or a friendly unit has found the targets, you should report target captured. This is to confirm you have their location and will enable you to command air and artillery units to engage the targets.

 

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Nav points, comms and tankers
All navigation points, tanker tracks and radio presets are loaded in the mission. The A-10C CDU has all nav points and tanker tracks saved as flight plans, and the radio presets for the tankers are on presets 2-4.

 

Civilians
In this mission, civilian units are spawned in and move randomly across the map. They may or may not be engaged by enemy forces, so make sure to keep an eye on them and try to prevent any civilian losses.
 

Under the hood
When the mission starts the friendly forces will spawn at a random location each time. After their set of tasks has been completed (different number of tasks each time) or if you check out from your current friendly group, a new group of friendlies (either US or local forces of different compositions with different capabilities) will spawn at a random location that will wait for you to check in with them.

When you check in with a friendly ground unit their tasking is activated. Enemies of multiple different compositions (armored, air defense, unarmed and so on) are spawned in and the ground units start advancing towards the target. If they have no intel on enemy positions they will head in their general direction. Once the targets have been spotted, they will advance towards the enemies exact position.

 

A note on balance
Your side by far has the superior firepower. By no means will you need four F-16, four A-10s (five including you) and two Reapers to complete the tasks given. I have added them all for variation purposes so use them however you like. Just know you don't need to launch them all at once. 

My main focus has been to try to get the units on the ground to get the most kills by taking out the threats to the ground units, and maneuver them to good firing position utilizing whatever range they have. I usually try to finish it this way with zero friendly losses and I think this is where the challenge lies.

I usually take one of the available AI A-10s and use as a wingman and bring in the other flights as variation, to cover for me when I tank or frankly because I think it looks cool. 

 

Multiplayer
I have added a total of six playable A-10s. Everything should run in the same way no matter if you play alone or with a friend, I haven't tested it though, so let me know if you try it out.

Credits
This mission uses Moose by the rag tag bunch of coders thinking that shit up, CTLD by Ciribob and the simple yet elegant Dismounts script by mBot.

 

Me
I am by no means a scripting master. Most of the time I have no idea what I'm doing, but somehow I've gotten it to work. Everything I've done here is because I wanted it in the gameplay. I built this mission for myself to play and I've learned scripting by working on it so there may very well be bugs I haven't found or workflow issues I haven't thought of. Please let me know if you run into them and I'll try to fix it.

It is a labor of love though, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

 

Singleplayer 4-ever.

 

Cheers ❤️ 

 

DOWNLOAD LINK

https://www.digitalcombatsimulator.com/en/files/3314238/

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