Lock On: Modern Air Combat Page 4

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Hogs in flight

The Stars of the Show

LOMAC models a total of eight detailed, player-flyable aircraft. Many of its detractors scream that this is a marketing gimmick, that in fact only six aircraft are player-flyable. That’s an oversimplification. The team has modeled the American Boeing F-15C air superiority fighter and Fairchild-Republic A-10A Thunderbolt II dedicated ground-attack aircraft. It has also modeled the Russian Sukhoi design bureau’s Su-27P, known as “Flanker B” to NATO; the Su-33, known as “Su-27K” or “Flanker D” to other air forces; and the Su-25, known as “Frogfoot A” to the West. That’s five so far.

The confusion stems from the inclusion of MAPO Mikoyan-Gurevich’s MiG-29 front-line fighter in the mix. LOMAC models three distinct MiG-29 variants: the Russian version of the izhdeliye 9-12, known as “Fulcrum A” to NATO, the German version of the same aircraft, and the much more capable 9-13, the MiG-29S, known as “Fulcrum C” to the Western world. All three have subtle differences. The Russian and German 9-12 have a somewhat less capable Slot Back A, first-generation N-019 radar, with less range than the 9-13’s improved radar of the same family, and the inability to support R-77 missiles. Fulcrum A also lacks onboard ECM and has less powerful engines. Further, its combat radius is far less. Accordingly, the in-game 3d models for the Fulcrums A and C are rather different in appearance. The Russian and German 9-12 differ in outside arrangement slightly, and in avionics, with the German 9-12’s cockpit being placarded in English, and its instrumentation displaying in English rather then metric measurements consistent with the Western air-traffic control system’s requirements. Further, its voice warning system speaks German, which the game models; the Russian fighters can speak to the player in Russian, and the American fighters of course speak in English.

Other than Digital Integration’s Tornado and Digital Image Design’s Eurofighter, LOMAC is the first sim I can remember to star a player-flyable, in-service European fighter alongside its U.S. counterparts. The German MiG’s are famous in combat aviation, and its pilots among the Luftwaffe elite. They participate in dissimilar air combat training of the Western air forces, and are known as deadly, tenacious air-fighters. The team gets another garland for bringing the Germans into the game.

The Russian 9-12 and 9-13, and the Su-33, are the only fast-movers capable of carrying dumb bombs and rockets in-game. Most of the mud-moving is left to the A-10 and Su-25, who fill the bill more than adequately. The German MiG-29 9-12, the American F-15, and the Russian Su-27P are all sole-purpose air-to-air fighters. As I discuss LOMAC’s first interactive module, its well-done training missions, we’ll begin to discuss the aircraft in detail. First, though, we have to set the game up for play.

A Frogfoot hits it's objective.

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