Summary[edit | edit source]
Dissimilar Air Combat Training is a short story included as part of TSFIA.
"It looks like a chicken with that thing on its head. Japan's conversion of the F-4 Phantom  I mean, it really looks like a fat chicken. Guess I will be hunting the two of you today." The F-15C pilot teased his Japanese counterparts.
"Heh, please go easy on us. You guys are using top of the line next generation machines. No need to go all overkill on our antiques here, right?" One of the Imperial Guard pilots said in response.
After bantering around, the pilots from America and Japan shook hands as they prepared for the upcoming simulation battle.
August 18, 1986.
A joint Japan-US military exercise was being conducted in northern Hokkaido using both JIVEs and DACT simulations. To the general public it was just another training exercise, but in truth this was to be the first of many test trials and selections to determine the next generation replacement for the aging and venerable Type-77/F-4J Gekishin.
For years the Japanese had been split on the choice of whether the country should continue to purchase foreign TSFs, or otherwise invest in a new domestic model after the moderate success of the Imperial Guard's Type-82 Zuikaku. Therefore today, a pair of F-15C Eagles were pitted in urban combat against a pair of Imperial Royal Guard Type-82Cs.
Minutes after the combat test began, the sky - which had a predicted 0% Chance of BETA interference - was completely dominated by the two white F-15C Eagles. Their hip mounted jump units, twin Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-100 Afterburning Turbofan Engines, provided more than enough thrust to outclass the Type-82 Zuikaku in speed and all areas of 3 dimensional mobility.
Completely suppressed, the two black Zuikakus could only shift rapidly from cover to cover to avoid giving the Eagles a clear shot. Without air superiority, there was virtually no chance for the Zuikakus to seize victory in a traditional sense against the superior 2nd Generation TSFs.
Needless to say, the general mood among all the Japanese observers of this one sided battle was one of grim disappointment.
"They are pretty nimble for something that looks like an obese chicken." Said one of the F-15 pilots as they pursued the Zuikaku from overhead.
"All right, come on. I think we played with them long enough, time to end this." The commander of the element readied his machine for the final attack run.
"Wait! Lieutenant, allow me to finish both of them off. I alone should be more than enough."
"Okay, but don't fuck this up. Make it look good, too. It's what the big guys in suits upstairs want us to do."
"Streak 2, roger!"
Streak 1, First Lieutenant Burrowes, calmly marked Zuikaku 1 as the priority target on his HUD and watched his wingman accelerate toward the target. Meanwhile, the targeted Zuikaku was hugging the ground while flying in a continuous boost mode. He was moving in a seemingly random evasive pattern, zig-zagging from building to building.
Unfortunately, between the Eagle's enhanced speed and its advanced radar tracking capabilities, there was no escape for the Japanese TSF.
Considering the technical differences between the two machines, the Imperial Guard pilots had done surprisingly well. It was a surprise to many American observers who mostly all predicted that the Japanese pilots would not last for five minutes. The fact that even after ten minutes of combat neither of the Zuikakus had received any notable damage annoyed the impatient Western viewers.
The Imperial observers, however, were becoming more lively at this point as they prayed that this battle would go on even longer. Every second longer they survived now was another bit of face and pride saved for the Japanese. Still, the truth remained that the Zuikaku were losing this battle. On the main monitor, the recording clearly showed that the Zuikaku flight leader was being herded and driven toward an open area in the outskirts of the city.
When he ran out of cover there, the game of cat and mouse would end as quickly as it had begun.
Quite pleased with how things are proceeding, Lt. Burrowes took a detailed look at the map of the battle space and immediately noticed something odd.
"Where is the other one?" he asked.
"Fuck, I guess we lost him. I haven't seen the second one in while either."
With years of experience in various simulated TSF vs TSF scenarios, Lt. Burrowes had a good idea of what his enemy was trying to accomplish here.
"He probably shut off his main engine and is shielding himself with one of these buildings. Watch for ambushes, Zuikaku 1 here is playing the bait."
"Understood. I'll keep my eyes peeled."
Burrowes remembered back to when he met the pilot of Zukiaku 1 right before the battle today. The man did not strike the Lieutenant as the type to want someone to go easy on him, or as the type to go down without a fight.
There was no doubt he had something big planned for today.
The other pilot is in an inferior machine, has been in a suppressed position for more than 10 minutes now, and he is still performing flawless evasive maneuvers with no wasted movements. Not to mention he is probably leading me to an ambush right now. Whoever this guy is, he is one cool headed motherfucker.
As a pilot, Lt. Burrowes had absolute confidence in his own skills and experience, combined with the fact that he was flying the world's strongest TSF, the F-15C Eagle. He believed without a doubt that he could prevail over anything the Japs had planned for him. No matter how skilled they were, the difference between their machines was simply too much to overcome.
Even if the Zuikaku somehow achieved the initial lock-on against the Eagles, there was still a good chance the F-15C could evade and win the engagement.
To further ensure his victory, Lt. Burrowes was going to change his plan a bit.
"All right, new plan. You are going to pin him down before he gets in the open, and I'm going to get up close and finish him."
"I see, so you want to force the ambusher to reveal himself early to save his wingman."
"Exactly, they won't expect this because they think we Americans avoid close quarter combat at all cost. Let's show them how wrong they are."
Covering each other's movements, the two Eagles accelerated to catch the fleeing Zuikaku in a pincer. Streak 2 opened fire and the Zuikaku dashed behind a building for cover.
Reducing his altitude to street level, Streak 1 added his own assault cannon's firepower onto the building while rapidly closing the distance.
Less than a dozen city blocks now...come on, show yourself. Your wingman is about to die if you don't save him.
Using the DACT simulation system, a computer was keeping track of the simulated structural integrity of each and every building in the training area. Thus, when a pilot using training paint rounds hit a building, the computer calculated how much damage the building would have suffered as if live rounds were being used. The resulting data was shown on every pilot's HUD as a holographic render of the building - in this case by simulating the ruined skyscraper rapidly falling apart under the combined 36mm/120mm fire of the two F-15Cs.
After a quick glance at his diminishing ammo count, Lt. Burrowes decided to forgo the flashy option and opted to end the fight quickly. Burrowes opened his FCS menu and readjusted his targeting system to aim at the waist of a locked-on TSF. Against a 1st generation TSF which favored heavy amour rather than mobility, targeting the center mass would not achieve a quick kill.
Instead, the lightly armored waist section, which contained all the wires and cable that connects the engine and power plant, would make an optimum aiming point to guarantee a fatal body hit or a mobility elimination.
"Streak 2, change of plans. We are not going to wait for the ambusher to show. I'm finishing this guy off right now. Cover me!"
Come on, you are running out of cover. Don't you samurai love your swords? I'm right here. Come at me already!
Boosting forward at maximum thrust, the F-15C closed in on the Zuikaku, who still hid behind its soon-to-be nonfunctional cover.
Just as the crosshair began to align its self with its target, the black Zuikaku boosted out of the now useless cover with sword in hand and charged toward the oncoming F-15.
"You have balls, samurai! But..."
The crosshair blinked red, indicating it had acquired its target.
"...You're too late. Your wingman should have saved you."
Squeezing his trigger, the assault cannon roared with full automatic fire. Multiple "hits" registered on the F-15C's HUD, but...
The sound of a heavy metallic impact echoed and vibrated through the F-15 cockpit. The HUD blinked red with critical system damage errors, soon followed with an unexpected status of KIA  for Streak 1.
Burrowes turned his TSF's head and saw the black Zuikaku standing beside him with a combat knife in one hand.
STREAK 1, TORSO AND WAIST AREA CRITICAL DAMAGE.
CANNOT CONTINUE COMBAT.
Another surprise soon followed as the status indicator of Streak 2 on his HUD also blinked red: indicating another KIA.
"...What just happened?"
Inside the cockpit of the lead Zuikaku - Callsign Vanquish 1 - the Imperial Royal Guard test pilot breathed a sigh of relief.
"We did it sir! I can't believe it, but it worked! Your plan worked, Captain! They were F-15s, but we still won!"
The expression of Vanquish 2's pilot on the communication window was one of absolute joy and excitement.
"Hmph.... it was all thanks to the F-15's superb accuracy."
On Vanquish 1's HUD, the status indicator flashed red on the left shoulder and the right leg. A hundred meters behind him laid his sword, now covered in paint.
The F-15C's fire struck the Zuikaku in the same pattern of a well performed Kesa-Giri , but the rounds that would have struck the vulnerable waist line of the Zuikaku were blocked by holding the sword flat while charging forward.
In battle between TSFs, it was not uncommon to target known weak points on an enemy TSF. Vanquish 1 gambled on the fact that the American pilot would shift his aim in close quarters and planned for such. Considering the massive technological advantage of the Americans in this case, there wasn't much else he could have done but gamble on that slim chance of victory.
"You had me worried, Captain. I thought you weren't going to make it to the ambush site."
In hind sight, Lt. Burrowes was right to assume that Vanquish 2 had hidden itself by powering down and that Vanquish 1 was leading them into an ambush. However, Lt. Burrowes mistakenly believed that the bait's purpose was to bring them into a kill zone where the ambusher could more easily snipe the F-15Cs, but in reality the 'bait' led the Eagles into the immediate vicinity of where Vanquish 2 was hiding.
When the second F-15 focused on providing cover fire and became momentarily stunned by what happened to Streak 1, Vanquish 2 revealed himself and finished off the distracted wingman.
It was a little underhanded since we knew the terrain better. But still, all this amounts to almost nothing when fighting against the BETA.
"HQ to all Units. Simulation over. Return to the start point and begin resupply. The next scenario is in 80 minutes."
"Vanquish 1, acknowledged."
There was a hint of warmth in the normally indifferent tone of the mission control operator. The pilot smiled and answered the base commander's call on a private channel to receive his words of congratulations, and also to receive another order to keep up the victories. After a quick salute, the channel was cut.
Well that's going to be hard, the Americans aren't going to fall for that trick anymore. Still, no matter what, even though this is only a heavily modified domestic conversion of a foreign model, the fact remains that the Zuikaku has achieved victory, even if only once against the far more advanced F-15. The domestic developers are going to push even harder now to secure a contract for a new, 100% domestic TSF.
"It's going to be a long day. Thank you, my old friend."
Footnotes[edit | edit source]
- The pilot is referring to the Zuikaku's prominent center head mast, which is a unique feature that separates it from the Army's Gekishin.
- An American TSF manufacturing company that made its debut with the F-15 Eagle, and later went on to develop the F-18 Hornet. After their failure to acquire the ATSF contract with their YF-23 prototype, McDaell was absorbed by Boening.
- Killed In Action, meaning the TSF and its pilot suffered damage that would have killed them outright in real combat. For the purposes of the simulation, becoming "KIA" means the TSF is no longer able to participate.
- A Japanese sword fighting (Kendo) term used to refer to a diagonal cut.
- Better known by the fanbase as Yui's "Uncle" from the side story Muv-Luv Alternative Total Eclipse. Prior to becoming the chief of the EML-99X Electromagnetic Induction Launcher project, he was a member of the Imperial Royal Guard in the late 1970s and early 80's, where he was acquainted with Yui's father, Masatada. He worked on the Type-82 Zuikaku and the Type-74 Blade.
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