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Next War: Korea» Forums » Strategy

Subject: Commentary - RKAF & US Air Units rss

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After looking over the rules, maps and units as I prepare to start my first game of NW:K I have been thinking about how various units mesh in the system and their use in the Advanced game.

I'll start with some commentary on Allied fixed-wing aircraft.

RoKAF:

F-15K: An excellent strike platform, more capable than the US F-15E Strike Eagle in that it has Stand-0ff A2A capability. Given it's high strike rating and strike stand-off ability, this its' primary role. Its' long range ensures it can strike anywhere on the board. CAS would be secondary and only in a pinch would I put on intercept/escort.

KF-16C: Here's the RoKAF's primary interceptor. It has the same A2A rating, with Stand-Off capability, that the F-15K has and only sub-par strike/CAS capability. Being medium-ranged isn't a penalty to being able to do intercept missions as they can only be based in the ROK.

F-4D: As usual the Phantom is an all-rounder. However I'd run them as interceptors early in the game and pit them against low quality NKAF units like F-5s, MiG 21s and MiG 23s where you can. If air superiority isn't a concern I'd turn them next to CAS (first) and strike (second) inside the RoK to avoid the DRPK SAM net. The lack of stand-off strike weapons shows a bit here, though they'll be fine against leg units.

A-50: Here's a nice little multi-role with good range and punch. Where the F-4 is the CAS bird, I'd use these in the strike role against mechanized units first before committing them to CAS. Heck, in a pinch they'll work well against hordes of F-5s and MiG 21s in the intercept role, too.

F-4E WW: Being a medium ranged aircraft is not a penalty here since it can only be based out of RoK. However it's only a single-sided unit so use it carefully. I would initially use it as a WW escort for strike or CAS missions, transitioning to the anti-Detection/SAM WW missions after the DPRK nets have been reduced a bit.


USAF

F-22A: Optional Rule 15.2 seems like a deal to me. You lose a bit of capability from your F-15Cs (** range to * range, a -1 DRM in some combat and a slide of pilot quality) but they remain very solid A2A performers. And then you get two additional awesome units. For 10 VP. I like it! These things are excellent in A2A, have long legs and are stealthy. Of course their primary role is intercept/escort but once you get a comfy lead in Air Superiority their stealth and CAS ability (see F-35A below) are a nice mix. Always base these in Japan as there's no reason not to.

F-15C: Great interceptor/escorts, with F-22 support or not. Long legs means you'll keep them based in Japan to keep them safe but not sacrifice capability. Unless you have F-22s (see above), these should be vectored against the DPRK/PRC/Russian's best fighter aircraft in air superiority missions. Those that survive can escort high value strikes or intercept tough inbound packages.

F-15E: Great strike aircraft. Long legs means you'll keep them based in Japan per the F-15C. Pair them up with WW early to go after the DRPK detection/SAM grid or other HVTs. Escort them if necessary since even though they have respectable A2A power, they'll have a bad DRM for carrying strike ordnance if attacked. Did I mention always escort them with WW aircraft?

F-35A: While not a bad interceptor, you'll likely have better available and you won't have many of these to play with so keep to their strength - stealth attack. The question is are they best used for CAS or strike? I'd argue CAS since their strike value is not exceptional but their CAS value is above average and they are immune to local detection or ADA. A secondary use might be strike missions hunting HQs in the north or the like. Remember to base them in Japan for protection.

F-16D: Not sure why the game specifies the two-seater Viper but there it is. The F-16 is a good all-rounder but has that medium-range problem which means you either base them in RoK for comprehensive coverage or in Japan with limited DPRK access and no Air Superiority capability. I'd say keep the ones you get at the start of the game where they are - those in RoK can assist with Air Superiority or provide CAS/strike as needed and those in Japan can provide CAS/strike in RoK. As new units come in you'll have to measure where to put them based on how much of a danger your RoK airbases are in. Given the F-16's solid though not outstanding performance in nearly all regimes you can use it as needed, where needed.

F-16DJ: The USAF WW contingent has a similar problem as the regular Viper - range. Given that a medium-ranged a/c can only do strikes 5 hexes deep into the DPRK from Japan I assume (because I can't find it spelled out explicitly) that WW strikes against the DPRK SAM/Detection grid are possible from there. If so I will base them there and match them up with F-15Es to go after that infrastructure as soon as possible. If not, I'll have to base them in RoK. But as always, basing in Japan is better! Once the war moves north you can bring them in to provide strike escorts deeper into the DPRK.

A-10C: Super CAS ship. Medium range means you can put them in Japan while fighting the DPRK around and south of the DMZ.

B-1B: Great strike aircraft. Match them with WW when possible and escorts if there are enemy interceptors lurking about. These things will hammer targets hard. Long range means Japan basing.

B-2A: What the stealthy F-35 does for CAS, the Spirit does for strike. If you have HVTs north of the DMZ send this baby in alone and take it out. Very unlikely to be detected with all but the most powerful detection grids. Long range means Japan basing.

B-52H: Found an enemy HQ in a piece of airspace with little air or SAM threat? Pound it into submission with the BUFF. In the rough terrain of Korea it is also an awesome interdiction tool. Benefits from WW and escorts as needed and is best used where Local AA is protecting than higher level stuff unless the DPRK SAM/AAA environment has been ground to dust. Like all bombers, stick 'em in Japan.

USN

F-35C: Unlike the Raptor where you kept F-15s and gained F-22As for the VPs, using Optional Rule 15.4 gets expensive quick and only replaces already-good units with better but not 5-VP-good ones. Otherwise see the F-35A above. Only long range naval a/c, which means it can operate normally while in an At-Sea box.

F/A-18E: Fighter version of the SuperBug and on par with the F-16 in A2A. Use it for Air Superiority, intercept and escort missions. Your carrier will need to be In-Shore or an all-sea hex to do this, though, due to it's medium-ranged legs. If I have enough VPs to spare, replacing these with F-35Cs might be tempting.

F/A-18F: Attack oriented version of the SuperBug and on par with the F-16 with respect to CAS and strike. This can be done around the DMZ and in RoK while in the At-Sea box due to it's range limit. Less able to resist interception than other modern multirole strike aircraft, though.

EA-18G: Naval WW aircraft. Like the F-16DJ you can probably attack the DPRK detection/SAM grid while in the At-Sea box and escort other striking aircraft around the DMZ and in the RoK. As the F/A-18F it's a little weak in defense against interceptors.

USMC

F-35: See the F-35C above.

AV-8B: The US' only short ranged fixed wing combat aircraft. I'd probably set it up somewhere in the RoK and use it primarily for CAS.

F/A-18: Nearly the equal to an F-16, with it's high A2A value compared to CAS/strike, I'd devote it to Air Superiority, intercept and escort duty. Due to medium range it either has to be on a carrier (In-Shore or all-sea hex) or in the RoK.

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Well, having actually played a few turns now, I'll add some words of experience.

ROKAF
The A-50s have been most useful as soaking up Collateral Damage reductions, followed by the F-4Ds. The KF-16s, when I can roll well for them, and F-15Ks are superb units and as I postulated the Vipers spend much of their time on Air Superiority duty while the F-15Ks provided CAS until DPRK high value targets, ie HQs, started to move below the NK SAM belt. Once that happens the F-15Ks transition to plastering any of those you can detect.

USAF
Haven't lost or even had a USAF unit reduced yet. I've been saving the F-16Ds for general CAS work so far. The F-15Cs are nigh-unbeatable air superiority fighters vs the DPRK and hold the edge against the PRC with their Long Range A2A capability and other ranges due to their F-22 augmentation (-1 to the roll). While I have been compelled to use the F-35A for fighter duty for a turn I am considering using it against the NK IADS instead of ground support (which I seem to have plenty of as the game progresses). The A-10s are awesome CAS aircraft, of course, and the F-15E is a stellar striker.

Two questions -
1) Why aren't the F-16DJs also capable of regular strike? They only meet the WW role when fitted with a Harm Targeting System pod. It would be nice to have both options.

2) Can you have the option of taking the * (stand off) option off of your aircraft's strike rating for a mission? That +3 penalty against leg units really weakens the Strike Eagle when tasked against them. Of course if you did that you'd have to state ahead of time which load (stand off or not) would be used and endure AAA fire if stand off was not selected.

USMC
With their 4* A2A value I use their F/A-18s for air superiority with one based in the ROK and another carrier-based (once I got a carrier In Shore). The AV-8 is also ROK-based and is a passable CAS ship.

USN
Not much use out of the one carrier wing thus far. The EA-18G WW is very handy to have as WW a/c are hard to come by early on. The F/A-18Fs are sort of lack luster but best at CAS, I suppose. The F/A-18E is a servicable interceptor, however, when you can get it into range (In Shore box).
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Mitchell Land
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Quote:
2) Can you have the option of taking the * (stand off) option off of your aircraft's strike rating for a mission? That +3 penalty against leg units really weakens the Strike Eagle when tasked against them. Of course if you did that you'd have to state ahead of time which load (stand off or not) would be used and endure AAA fire if stand off was not selected.


Stand-off is always optional. You can close with the target as long as you're willing to endure the AAA.
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Toadkillerdog wrote:
Quote:
2) Can you have the option of taking the * (stand off) option off of your aircraft's strike rating for a mission? That +3 penalty against leg units really weakens the Strike Eagle when tasked against them. Of course if you did that you'd have to state ahead of time which load (stand off or not) would be used and endure AAA fire if stand off was not selected.


Stand-off is always optional. You can close with the target as long as you're willing to endure the AAA.


devil Heh-heh.

The strike option against NKPA HQs, if you can detect them, once they cross the border is a real killer to their force multiplier effect(HQ strike support). Getting fire onto them to suppress or destroy them will be key to the Allied defense.
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primarchx wrote:
Toadkillerdog wrote:
Quote:
2) Can you have the option of taking the * (stand off) option off of your aircraft's strike rating for a mission? That +3 penalty against leg units really weakens the Strike Eagle when tasked against them. Of course if you did that you'd have to state ahead of time which load (stand off or not) would be used and endure AAA fire if stand off was not selected.


Stand-off is always optional. You can close with the target as long as you're willing to endure the AAA.


devil Heh-heh.

The strike option against NKPA HQs, if you can detect them, once they cross the border is a real killer to their force multiplier effect(HQ strike support). Getting fire onto them to suppress or destroy them will be key to the Allied defense.


Absolutely...targeting Command and Control!
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