We take a look at a great mod for Strike Fighters 2 that allows us to take part in the international air campaign against Libya in March of 2011…Operation Odyssey Dawn.
Operation Odyssey Dawn is a mod for Strike Fighters 2 created by FRPignon and is a modification of an earlier version of the campaign. The list of contributors to the mod is extensive and it demonstrates the overwhelmingly generous attitude of the Strike Fighters modding community. In addition to the mod, I’m also using Stary’s SARCASM 2.0 beta, which adds some pretty nice atmospheric effects, as well as his awesome Unified Effects package that enhances explosions, fire, smoke, etc…
The campaign allows you to fly for a number of the participants in the air war including: France, Belgium, Denmark, Canada, the United States, Italy, and Sweden. In addition, for some countries you can fly either their naval based forces or air forces. The number and type of aircraft is quite varied, allowing for fans of both mud moving and air superiority to flex their muscle. The opposition is represented by Libyan MiG-23, MiG-25, and Su-22 aircraft. The ground battle is composed of rebel forces moving to unseat the Libyan government and close-air support missions are available as well as strike missions.
The French Rafale-M carrier based fighter is based on the Charles de Gaulle.
As is typical with Strike Fighters 2 campaigns, the action is spread out over the theater with multiple flights engaging in their missions while you fly yours. There can be no question that SF2 features some great action and you can spend much of the mission just watching other flights mix it up with the action view. The north coast of Libya is well represented with beautiful textures and a nice target list. Land based aircraft must make a relatively long hop over the Mediterranean Sea from coalition bases in Greece, Italy, and Tunisia. Naval assets are based on ships in the middle of the Med.
The campaign designer limited weapons loadouts to historically accurate configurations. Given the limited scope of the strike missions against Libya, you can expect most of the weapons to be precision guided munitions. To broaden out the ordnance possibilities at the cost of realism, I opted to edit some of the campaign parameters to allow for a wider expanse of weapons to be carried. I do like things that go boom.
The nice thing about SF2 campaigns (and gameplay in general) is that this is very much a get in and fly sim that focuses less on button pushing and systems accuracy than flying and weapons employment. In the same mission you can drop bombs on half a dozen targets and perhaps shoot down a couple enemy (or friendly!) aircraft in the span of a few minutes. All of that action takes place over gorgeous scenery with awesome effects (particularly if you enhance the stock effects with Stary’s mods!). Anti-aircraft fire and SAMs will light up the sky around you as a raging air battle unfolds above. Expect to see strike missions and close air support sorties to lead or follow your attacks. A nice feature as well is that you can see the rebel ground forces engaging in battles as well, adding even more action to the battlefield.
By nature, I’m not much of a fighter pilot – I tend to enjoy dropping bombs and performing strike missions. The aids to battle included with a lighter sim like Strike Fighters (padlock, enemy pointers, simplified air-to-air targeting) make dogfighting much more approachable and I often do find myself lured up into the air battle. The international flavor of the order of battle makes it hard to pick which platform to use for the campaign with airframes including: F-16s, Harriers, Rafale C&M, AMX, A-10, Tornado, JAS 39 Gripen, Super Entendard, F/A-18, and others.
The mod is extremely satisfying to play and you definitely feel like a big part in a rather intimate air campaign. Politics aside of whether destabilizing Libya was a good idea or not, those of us that are fans of modern air power should revel in the fact that we can fly in this theater with such beautifully modeled aircraft and terrains. When the urge hits you to fire up the PC and just do some fun flying, Strike Fighters 2 remains a solid go-to sim with a never ending supply of fantastic content.
You can find Operation Odyssey Dawn 2.0 HD hosted at Combat Ace. When visiting, consider helping out with their file hosting costs (a huge portion of their expenses). While limited downloads are free, you can show your support by purchasing a single month of membership giving you unlimited downloads for just $6.95 – a bargain when you see their extensive file library!
Chris “BeachAV8R” Frishmuth