Santiago "Cubeboy" Cuberos
DCS World: The joy of low level operations
Updated: Feb 2
When you search for DCS content on YouTube, or almost any other video sharing platform, most of what you will find are videos of 4th generation fighters ripping the skies apart at supersonic speeds, launching guided air to air and air to ground ammunitions from thirty thousand feet in the air. While I do enjoy doing just with the Viper and all of my other modern fighters, there is something I have been doing even more: low level ops.
NEW STYLE, NEW STRATEGIES
Low level combat flying with challenging aircraft is something I enjoy greatly. It makes you be much more aware of your surroundings and forces you to plan your missions in advance. You do not only have to know exactly what your target is but also the route you will be taking since terrain will actually affect the way in which you will navigate.
It presents a completely different set of challenges which I find extremely delightful. Light Anti Air Artillery (AAA) is a legitimate threat no matter what you are flying, rotary wing or otherwise. You will be forced to scout from a distance at low level to increase your chances of survival during your attack run. Using terrain as cover is by far the best strategy to avoid them. You will have to stay fast and maneuverable. You never know what could lurking be in that area of operations.
Low level operations are some of the only ways to use a more diverse set of aircraft. It is the only way in which I have been able to adapt the Super Tucano mod to our regular missions which were never designed with these slow turboprops. I like to stay low to avoid the long range radars that might still be active, wiping down minor threats and strategic objectives.
The same applies for my rotary wings. I usually enjoy wiping down air defenses and convoys with the Mi-24P Hind using its Anti-Tank Guided Missiles (ATGMs) and the 30mm cannon. Getting low and fast with the Hind is extremely fun, which is something that applies to all of the other rotary wing aircraft that I use in DCS. They make the game feel much more alive for me, even more in a time where I feel like everyone in the game is awaiting new modules to arrive.
Low level infiltrations to attack as strategic target and leave as fast as you arrived are where the situations in which helos will shine their best. You can also just sit just behind terrain and lob ATGMs at the enemy so that, when they inevitably fire at your position, you can hide as fast as possible. Then reset your attack behind a new piece of cover and try again.
Does that mean that low-level insertions are restricted to only helicopters? Of course not! I have had some of my best infiltrations while flying a Viggen. Low level gets a lot more dangerous at those higher speeds but the Viggen is the king of supersonic low level operations. It was designed to do well in those environments. Mavericks, bombs, rockets and even anti-ship missiles. All of which are better employed while staying low and fast.
If you find yourself ever wondering how can you spice your DCS World experience, give low level ops a try. It is going to be more challenging but I assure you that it is worth it. Do remember that these types of ops only work for certain mission types, so adapt to the missions. Increasing one's skill set is always something worthwhile.
About the author:
Santiago "Cubeboy" Cuberos
Longtime aviation fanatic with particular preference towards military aviation and its history. Said interests date back to the early 2000's leading into his livelong dive into civil and combat flight simulators. He has been involved in a few communities but only started being active around the mid 2010's. Joined as a Spanish to English translator in 2017, he has been active as a writer and the co-founder of Skyward ever since. Twitter | Discord: Cubeboy #9034