To get your wingman to survive a 4 ship enemy against a 2 ship allied engagement, the name of the game is to keep them out of harm's way and have them engage easy targets. To keep them out of harms way, have them keep a good standoff distance away from the enemy aircraft. Also you need to lead them to turn away from an enemy missile far away from it. This is because the artificial intelligence of your wingman can not avoid missiles on their own. Having your wingman engage easy targets means you have them engage low threat targets. A good low threat target is one that is heading away from you with an aspect of 0 degrees and is going at a slow rate of speed. These targets are easy to hit and unlikely to fire at you or your wingman.
Here is how to get your wingman to contribute in and survive in a 4 ship enemy flight with AA-12s(R-77s) against a 2 ship allied flight. 1) Order your wingman to attack the nearest enemy plane 21- 22 miles away. They need to be ordered to attack this far away because it takes them some time to execute the order to fire. 2) Have your plane fire a missile at the second nearest plane when it is 18.5 miles away. 3) If your wingman has fired at his target and the your missile acquisition countdown is six seconds or less, order your wingman to rejoin formation and do the split S maneuver. Go to step 5. 3) Wait for your missile acquisition count down to be three seconds. If your wingman has not fired at his enemy target by now, order your wingman to rejoin formation and abort firing at his target. Fire at your wingman's target yourself, which is the nearest aircraft. You do need to fire at your wingman's plane. If you don't, three enemy planes will be left. If more than two are left, you will not get a window of time where all planes will retreat once they fire their missiles. This is important because you need all four enemy planes to retreat once they fired their missiles in order to be able to be on the offensive and pursue them. 4) Do the split S maneuver. 5) When doing the split S maneuver, pull 9 G's intially. When you have pitched to negative 60 degrees, ease of the stick and just pull 4-5 G's throughout the rest of the maneuver in order to let speed build up. 5) Press the 8 key to check on your wingman's direction and speed. Order him to close up formation. 6) Pitch up to zero degrees. Lower the throttle until the fuel flow is about 20,000 pounds per hour. This will maintain the speed without wasting fuel. 7) Press the 7 key from time to time to check on the incoming missile's speed.
8) Keep the enemy aircraft at your six o'clock until they have fired all the missiles they are going to fire and their symbol disappears from the radar warning receiver. When doing this, keep checking on your wingman by monitoring your radar warning receiver to check that he stays behind you or by pressing the 8 key to check that he does so. If your wingman says engaged defensive, order him to rejoin formation. Then order him to close up formation. If he requests permission to engage, order him to weapons hold. Do not worry about being bossy. Fight your wingman's desire to turn around and into the missile. If he does this, he will get himself killed. 9) Now that the threat has disappeared from the radar warning receiver, turn around and order your wingman to fire at the two remaining targets. [see video 1
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What about a four versus four engagement?
If you have a 4 ship flight
the above tactic will also work. But you need the modified a little bit. The other two aircraft of the element part of the flight will be a ways behind your wingman. You don't want to targetthe enemy aircraft's element. This is because they are too far away and the two nearest air enemy aircraft might shoot missiles at them way before they fire their missiles.
Instead, do the steps for a 2 ship formation at the top of the page. Before you do step one, order the element to return to base. When it is safe for the element to return, order them to return to formation.
Here is an additional tactic. If you are able to detect the enemy at 25 or more miles away, have your plane be the probe that determines whether the aircraft ahead of you are threats or not.
If you have successfully detected the enemy at 25 or more miles away, do the following. Order all your wingman to return to base. Approached the enemy aircraft until you are within 12.5 miles away. If they have not yet fired at you, turn around and order your wingmen to rejoin formation. Once your wingmen have gotten back into formation, order your wingmen to attack these targets that are not a threat.
On the other hand if the targets are a threat and fire at you, do the Split S maneuver. Once the targets are at your six o'clock, monitor them on the radar warning receiver. Let them fire all the missiles they're going to fire and wait for them to disappear from the radar warning receiver.
If they disappear, order your wingmen to rejoin information and fire at the retreating aircraft. If you remain under threat for an indefinite amount of time, determine whether you need help. If you need help, and order your wingmen to clear your six.
The reason I bring the probe tactic up is because much or most of the time the planes in front of you will not be threats. You can save fuel and time by using the probe tactic where possible.
Hands-off tactic (recommended, especially for four ship flights)
The above tactics can be a hassle if you do them for every possible threat. Trying to micromanage your wingmen can also make the game less fun. A more care free tactic would be just to use the chainsaw order instead of the attack target order. Press the W or E key twice followed by the 5 key for chainsaw. The chainsaw command, for those that don't know, orders your wingman to fire at the target and then turn around and rejoin formation once the missile goes active. Next turn away from the enemy aircraft using the Split S but do not use afterburner. Once the wingman or element has fired their missile, then order them to rejoin formation and then immediately order them to close up formation. Depending on how early they fire their missile-sometimes it will work and sometimes it won't.
The artificial intelligence can not avoid active radar homing missiles. There is little you can do about it. So it makes sense to most of the time just focus on protecting yourself and just be along for the ride in a 2 ship or 4 ship flight-letting your wingmen take care of themselves. This helps the game flow along-which is more fun. None of the above tactics always works. Rather than fuss and get frustrated with the poor defensive capabilities of the artificial intelligence of your wingmen, it makes sense to just play the game. Micromanaging your wingmen makes even less sense in a 4 ship flight.
Also note that most of the time the planes will not be a AA-12 carrying plane. And even if they are, they will not always use them on your flight. They also will not always use them at long range. Try this tactic since it is the most simple. If you are having problems losing planes, then try the first tactic at the top of the page because it it is the most versatile.