FF3 ships with a couple extra campaigns in addition to the original Korea campaign. Since I’m already pretty familiar with the original campaign I elected to fly the Korea 2006 campaign, which updates the order of battle significantly and adds a slew of new units and weapons.
After selecting a campaign I elect to fly with a squadron of F-16CG variants out of Kunsan air base. Within a few seconds the campaign engine is generating the Air Tasking Order (the frag) and the war is off and running! As one would expect with a mass invasion south by DPRK forces, stemming the enemy advance south is the first priority. Having lived in Seoul, Korea for 2-years as a military brat, I can tell you from first-hand experience that the DMZ is only a stones throw away from downtown Seoul! As such, the frag order is heavy on anti-bridge missions in the initial phase of the campaign. This can be problematic in that once destroyed the bridges not only halt the advance of enemy troops, they also hinder any counter-offensive that US/ROK forces may wish to pursue should the opportunity arise. I am not aware how the FF3 campaign engine deals with things like structure repairs/times but adjusting the “infrastructure” slider during the initial campaign mission type selection menu may be prudent.
The campaign engine is phenomenal in F4 (I’ll only use F4 from here on out with the implied understanding the F4 means F4+FF3) with a great degree of mutual support being vetted out by the ATO. It isn’t uncommon to see a group of F-16CGs being escorted into their target area by a SEAD escort of F-16CJs from a totally different airbase. U.S. Navy F-14s prowl the skies on CAP flights while ROK F-5s pound enemy positions near the DMZ.
Click the graphic for a full screen image.
Within minutes a mission pops up that catches my eye and I immediately place myself as the flight lead. The mission is a 2-ship strike against the P’anmun Depot. The depot looks to be somewhat like a “motor-pool” consisting of two enormous buildings with dozens of vehicles parked outside. This type of structure/target appears to be one of the many new additions that the FF3 has added to the campaign.
Our two-ship flight will depart Kunsan and fly north to strike the depot under the cover of a heavy CAP presence. Red threat circles dot the map just to the north-west of our target area and we will be on the fringes of their threat radius so care must be taken to remain south and east of the target area to mitigate the long range SAM threat. Again I’ll have to plead ignorance and can only guess that the FF3 team has used modernized threats in the Korea 2006 theater so there may be threats more potent than the typical SA-5s and SA-2s of the default Korea theater.
The intel screen gives us an excellent view of our target and includes an intel assessment of the target operational capacity, currently rated at 100%.
I have tried to modify the load-out for this mission to give us the most “bang for the buck”. Included in our arsenal will be two GBU-24 “Paveway” 2000 pound laser-guided bombs, four CBU-87/103 combined effects cluster bombs for targets of opportunity, and four AMRAAMs of the type B and C variety.
With our plan of attack in hand and our weapons loaded I click the FLY button and wait for our take-off time to roll around. Though F4 offers both ramp-start and taxi options, I prefer to have my jet running and awaiting immediate take-off when I fly. Since I fly for a living I spend enough time programming my FMS in real life to account for the time I skip in F4.