Operation: Desert Cobra

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The campaign for the F/A-26B. It contains eight missions that highlight the aircraft's multirole combat capabilities. You play as Kilo-1 and handle numerous combat roles during your duty. Roles include air-to-air combat, suppression of enemy air defenses (SEAD), and other air-to-surface objectives. The campaign brought a few new maps that are available for use in the Mission Editor. The height maps are provided in the EditorResource folder for use in the Map Editor.

Mission 1 - Base Defense

"Defend the airbase supply depots from the incoming enemy attack."
― Mission Description

Your objective is to defend the airbase from an incoming attack. Once you take off, immediately vector east to intercept some hostile strikers and other fighter squadrons. You can worry about the artillery convoy later on. It is also recommended that you defend the AWACS before it can be shot down; it will be very helpful in the next leg of the mission. Once the hostiles in the east are down, vector due north and intercept another squadron coming in. After that, head west as soon as possible to intercept another incoming fighter squadron and an incoming HB-106 Bomber. With those threats out of the way, you should get a notification of the convoy's position; fly to their location and destroy them as soon as possible. It should only take one CAGM-6 Cluster Missile or CBU-97 Cluster Bomb to neutralize the platoon. Once the convoy is out of the way, you are free to land back at the airbase.


  • Defend airbase supply depots


Mission 2 - Retaliation

"Turn the tables and attack the enemy airbase's supplies."
― Mission Description

This mission has you launching covert strikes against the enemy airbases. Take off from the airbase and vector east towards the canyon river. Stay low to avoid their long-range radar defenses. There will be a squadron of fighters above your path; work with your wingmen to take them out, but don't let them divert you for too long. The first enemy airbase will be located at the east-southeast area of the map, near a town on a mesa. Fly through the canyon until you reach a bridge. From there, fly out of the canyon and order your wingmen to engage a SAM radar to your right. There will be a rotating SAM radar on top of the airport's control tower; an AGM-88 can easily dispatch this target from afar. The supply tents will be located to the left of the airbase; fly in close and use your cannon to destroy them. Order your wingmen to disengage and form up if needed and crest the hills to the northwest to escape the first airbase.

The second airbase is located in the north-northeast area of the map and lies within a valley flanked by jagged hills. Like before, fly low to avoid enemy fighter squadrons and SAM Sites and don't get hung up on groups of enemies along the way. The defenses at the second airbase are a bit stronger; aside from their SAM grid, there may be a squadron of hostile fighters above the airbase. Like before, use another AGM-88 to dispatch the S/A radar on top of the air control tower and order your wingmen to hit any other defensive measures in your way. Use your Vulcan again to destroy the supply tents and vector west to escape the airbase. You should now be cleared to RTB. Fly through the west side of the map to avoid any enemies and land back at the airbase once you reach it.


  • Destroy the 8 supply depots at each base (4 each).


Mission 3 - Strike on Naval Test Lake

"Escort a strike group sent to destroy ships at the enemy's naval testing area."
― Mission Description

This mission involves performing SEAD and CAP operations to protect a squadron assigned to destroy the fleet of ships moored at the lake. Take off and fly to the squadron above the airbase, X-ray 1, to begin the mission. It is recommended to equip at least one external fuel tank on your aircraft, as the initial escort objective is rather long. Fly with X-ray and avoid engagements until you crest a large mountain range. From there, order your wingmen to Engage and they will move to intercept the incoming fighters. Once your wingmen start their attack, rejoin X-ray and allow your wingmen to dispatch the hostile fighters. Order them to disengage and form up once those ASF-33s are gone so they don't get themselves killed at the lake. Now delete the GPS group for the escort path and follow X-ray into the AO.

You'll receive a notification once X-ray reaches their popup point--you will need to pop up as well once this happens. Fly up until you spot the hostiles on your Radar Warning Receiver (RWR). Refer to the RWR's HUD overlay and target the radar signature at the far right of the HUD with your TGP. This will be one of the two SAM S/A Radars at the lakefront; these will be the biggest threats to you and X-ray. Use an AGM-161 cruise missile to destroy this target. Use the TGP's GPS-S feature to mark them with a GPS waypoint and hit them with a 161. Once the missile is out, duck down behind the hills and vector to the east to dispatch the second S/A Radar at the enemy airbase. Once you reach the east end of the hills, turn left and use your TGP to mark the RWR blip farthest to the right on your HUD. Like before, mark it with GPS-S, make sure the new waypoint is selected, and use a 161 to destroy it from afar. Once this missile is out, immediately bank right and make for the hills to avoid any SAM sites that could be targeting you. The enemy fighters will now likely be a priority threat. Turn back around and switch your fighter's Radar on to search for the enemy fighters. You are looking for some ASF-58s over the lakeshore. Some of them may be coming for you if you're unlucky. Get up close to them and hit them with heat-seeking missiles, as they are resistant to radar locks.

Once the fighters are out of the way, vector back to the hills to stage your next attack. Now you should focus on assisting X-ray with their attack. You can start by targeting some of the naval radars at the airbase harbor with AGM-88s or AGM-65s. Target the DMS Cruiser's radar (DM on the RWR) and one of the NMSS Cruiser's radars (LR or MC on the RWR) first. Open up your ARAD page, designate these targets, and fire your missiles. You should only need two missiles for this. Once your missiles are out, fly to the other harbor, the one with the first NMSS Cruiser. Fly behind it and prepare to destroy the NMSS's radars and the AAA turret to the right of the docks. AGM-65s are the most effective missiles to use here due to their range and optical fire-and-forget capabilities. At least 3 65s are required to do this. Once those targets have been destroyed, fly in and use your Vulcan cannon to dispatch the docked Gun Boats. Once those are gone, turn back around and fly to the airbase behind the main harbor. Now you will need to use some more 65s to destroy some of their air defenses. There should be an enemy Fire Control Radar to the far-right of the docks, next to the docked Gun Boats. You'll want to use at least 2 65s to do this: one for the FCR, and another for any ships still left standing. Once all the ships at the docks are destroyed (you can easily use some Hydra 70s for any stragglers), you will have to destroy two more cruisers patrolling the lake. Fly low and use whatever you've got left to destroy them. Once that's done, you'll be cleared to RTB. You'll need to fly around or destroy one more S/A radar in the mountains in between you and the airbase, though.


  • Support the strikers while they assault the docked ships.


  • Docked ships still have completely functioning defenses
  • Various SAM Site networks around each of the harbors
  • An airbase that will scramble fighters and launch SAMs

Mission 4 - Tanker Escort

"Defend a tanker from airborne threats while it rendezvous with allied bombers."
― Mission Description

This mission will be the first dedicated Combat Air Patrol mission of the campaign. You should only equip radar-guided and heat-seeking missiles for this operation. Take off and fly in the same direction as the tanker. A friendly AWACS will eventually spot a hostile squadron of ASF-33s coming in; intercept them as soon as possible. Another ASF-33 squadron will be spotted before you can destroy the first one, so you will need to be quick in dispatching the two squadrons. The tanker should rendezvous with the friendly bomber squadrons during this time. The next enemy squadron to be spotted will be a group of ASF-58s coming in from the north-northwest. You will need to use your afterburners to catch them before they can start attacking the tanker and the bombers. Another ASF-58 squadron will come in from the west once the first one is destroyed, so intercept them quickly. After the four squadrons have been neutralized and the bombers have refueled, you'll be cleared to RTB. You may be waiting a while for landing clearance, though!


  • Engage hostile aircraft before they can hit the tanker or the bombers.


  • Multiple ASF-33 and ASF-58 squadrons.

Mission 5 - Departure

"Our naval strike group will be departing from port on the west coast. Hostile forces are trying to stop them."
― Mission Description

This is one of the more difficult missions in the campaign. It involves your squadron being dispatched to deal with a hostile offensive while a carrier fleet heads out to begin a long-range mission. Your squadron will need to take off as soon as possible to reach the harbor before the carrier fleet can take any irreparable damage. Your first obstacle is a squadron of ASF-58s between you and the harbor. Like in mission 3, get up close to them and hit them with heat-seekers, as radar missiles are virtually useless against them at long range. Once they're gone, head south and intercept the incoming ASF-30s and the bombers heading for the carrier. Remember that the bombers are very fast, so you'll likely need to intercept them with your afterburners before they can start attacking the fleet. After that, vector further south and intercept a group of enemy GAV-25s before they can hit the fleet. Finally, you will have to deal with the hostile ground convoys heading to the harbor. They will be in tight parade formations, like the artillery group in Base Defense, so some CAGMs should be good for dispatching at least the bulk of them. The first group will be driving down a canyon road; fire a CAGM at their group and use your Vulcan cannon to dispatch any remaining vehicles there. The next convoy will be driving down the main road at the city just south of the harbor. Like before, use a CAGM and your Vulcan cannon to take them all out. Once the two convoys are gone, you will be cleared to land on the carrier and the mission will end once you do.


  • Destroy the hostile strikers and bombers threatening the fleet
  • Destroy the ground convoys heading towards the base


  • Numerous hostile CAP squadrons
    • ASF-30s
    • Some ASF-58s
  • 3 HB-106s

Mission 6 - Northern Assault

"Participate in a strike against hostile military targets."
― Mission Description

This mission is another dedicated CAP operation. Your carrier group has ventured into enemy territory and is preparing to make an assault against one of their forward bases. Your squadron is assigned to Combat Air Patrol duty and will protect the rest of your allies against hostile air threats. Take off from the carrier and fly to the first waypoint. Once you've reached the waypoint, the attack will begin. Immediately vector northwest to intercept the first enemy squadron and avoid the SAM Sites at the shore. Don't worry about the SAM radars on the shore; a friendly squadron will be handling SEAD operations for you. Destroy the first squadron and vector northeast, where an enemy carrier will be deploying its fighters to assist with their defense. Optionally, you can opt to bring some Hydra-70 rockets along with you to dispatch the carrier before its fighters can be scrambled. Once the carrier's fighters are neutralized, vector east once the allied strikers take care of the shoreline air defenses. You'll find another enemy squadron patrolling towards the northeast; intercept it and shoot it down. Once that's done, you'll be ordered to vector to the eastern airbase, where the final enemy squadrons are present. A bomber will take off from the airbase there, and you will have to destroy it before it can vector towards your carrier fleet. The airbase will be scrambling its fighters by then, so take them out quickly. Once the airbase's fighters are gone, your squadron will be cleared to return to the carrier, and the rest of the fighters will be cleared to RTB once the island is cleared out.


  • Destroy hostile air units around the island


  • Enemy air patrols
  • Small SAM grids

Mission 7 - Striking Oil

"The carrier group's next target is one of the enemy's main sources of oil."
― Mission Description

This mission has your squadron destroying four oil rigs within a small archipelago. Take off and orbit the designated waypoint until command orders you to begin your attack. You and the rest of the squadrons will be heading around the northeast island while two allied cruisers go down the main way and begin a direct assault as a diversion. Once you reach the channel between the two small islands, the assault will commence. Fly up and target the oil rig farthest to the right with your TGP. It is recommended to bring either 8 AGM-65s or 4 Mk. 83 Bombs with you to deal with the rigs. The former is the most efficient as it allows for better long-range target destruction; destroy two of an oil rig's legs to topple it, destroying the entire thing completely. Alternatively, if avoiding SAMs isn't an issue for you, you can opt to use a Mk. 83 against the rig; it's somewhat imprecise, but a well-placed Mk. 83 hitting an oil rig can destroy it completely with just one hit. Whatever method you choose, watch for hostile SAMs coming from the big island's shore or enemy ships in the water. Some hostile fighter squadrons will also take off from the enemy base later on, so fly back to the cruisers if you need cover. Your allies will be taking care of the rest of the enemies there, so you should be safe to make your assault on the oil rigs. Make sure to vector back around to the small island you passed earlier to terrain-mask any SAM site missiles or defend against enemy fighters (the cruisers will handle this for you).

Once all of the oil rigs have been totaled, fly to the next objective waypoint to receive new orders. Command will then inform you that "one of the highest-ranking enemy officers" is on the island and is about to make their escape. It's your job to intercept this VIP's convoy and destroy them before they can leave the archipelago. Fly back into the bay and approach the waypoint from the west to avoid the enemy's long-range air defenses. Use whatever weapons you have left to dispatch any air defenses in your way and find the convoy. Your TGP's HMCS view feature could be helpful here. The VIP's convoy will be composed of three vehicles in a line formation. Like with other convoys in the campaign, fire a CAGM at them from a reasonable distance to destroy the entire convoy with a single shot. Be careful to avoid the enemy's air defenses and lean on your wingmen to hold them off while you gun for the convoy. Once the VIP is eliminated, you'll be cleared to return to the carrier.


  • Destroy the 4 oil rigs in the bay
  • Take out the VIP before they can escape


  • Numerous ships in the bay
    • DMS Cruisers
    • A few NMSS Cruisers
    • Many Gun Boats
  • Hostile SAM Sites
  • Enemy fighters

Mission 8 - Decapitation

"End the conflict for good by launching a heavy strike on the [enemy] command center."
― Mission Description

The final mission in the campaign, and arguably the longest and hardest of them all. It involves a very strictly-coordinated attack with lots of air defenses to manage. This is also the only mission where you will be playing a role other than flight lead. Take off as soon as possible and form up (not just 'rendezvous') with Kilo 1-1. Get in close and stay as close to the squadron as possible. Players with experience in aerial refueling will likely have an easier time with this. If you break formation (get farther than ~500 meters from Kilo 1-1) four times, the mission will automatically fail. Get within ~100 meters of Kilo 1-1, use your afterburner and airbrakes to match their speed (~280 m/s), and activate your aircraft's speed autopilot (SPD) to stay in formation with them. If you find yourself getting too far ahead or behind the squadron (especially after turns), deactivate your speed autopilot and quickly readjust to get back in formation. It may take some practice, but it shouldn't take too long to get a good technique down.

Kilo 1-1 will call out targets for you and your squadmates to deal with; follow their orders to the letter. You will need at least 2 AGM-65s for this. Your first target will be the Fire Control Radar at the far-right dock you will pass; lock the target with your TGP and destroy it before you pass over the area. Then your squadron will vector towards a city where they will have to destroy the air defenses there. Your target will be an IRAPC to the far-left edge of the city. Like before, hit it with an AGM-65 from afar before you pass over it. Your squadron will then vector through the mountain range towards the enemy command center. Once you reach the command center (Kilo 1-1 will say "Alright, fight's on!"), you are free to break formation and pick your targets. Your main targets will be their supply tents, but the air defenses present are very problematic, so you'll need to deal with them first. Deploy some AGM-88s against the two S/A Radars in the area and focus on destroying the AAA batteries in the area. After your first pass, command will transfer command of Kilo wing to you. Once the air defenses have been neutralized, work with your wingmen to destroy the rest of the supply tents.

After destroying all of the supply tents and eliminating the air defenses, a friendly AV-42C will vector in with a squadron to capture the rest of the enemy leaders. After the AV-42C lands, a tank platoon will emerge from the far-right hangar bay, so you will need to destroy it quickly. Like with clustered ground units before, a CAGM can easily take out the whole group in one shot. The AV-42C will take off again after a while, and you will need to escort it back to the carrier. The last threat present is a squadron of ASF-58s vectoring in from the southwest. Order your wingmen to engage the fighters and escort the AV-42C back to the carrier fleet. If any enemy fighters get close, break off and destroy them quickly before they can engage the transport. Once the three ASF-58s have been shot down, return to the transport and finish out its escort. Unlike with the first leg of the mission, you are not strictly required to 'stay in formation' with the AV-42C, but staying relatively close always works well for protecting it. Once the transport lands, you will be cleared to land as well, and the mission will end once you do. Time for a drink!


  • Form up with Kilo 1
  • Hit hostile targets on the way to the AO
  • Destroy the supply tents and air defenses at the command center
  • Escort the AV-42C back to the carrier


  • Hostile aircraft
  • Hostile SAM Sites
  • Numerous AAA batteries