Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War weapon FAQ
Version 1.0
By: Regdren
Contact: regdren@hotmail.com

Welcome to my Ace Combat 5 weapon FAQ. The research done for this is 
guesswork based on experimentation with these weapons in various 
situations and difficulty levels. Therefore there is a lot of room for 
improvement, and any corrections or contributions would be welcome; 
just use the contact e-mail address. 


=============================================
Table of contents 
=============================================

1. Introduction
2. Table of Contents
3. Standard Weapons
4. Anti-Ground Special Weapons
5. Anti-Air Special Weapons
6. Miscellaneous Special Weapons
7. Plane Armaments

Well, on with the weapons.

=================================================================
Standard weapons
=================================================================

Guns: Guns are surprisingly effective weapons in Ace Combat 5. Versus 
any target that requires more than two missiles to kill, guns deal more 
damage over time than missiles do because of reloading time. Also, guns 
can't be dodged by aircraft like missiles can. You can technically 
start hitting targets with bullets from around 3000 feet away, but this 
only really works against stationary targets. The targeting reticle 
appears at 2500 feet, which should be fine against anything that isn't 
a plane. For planes I recommend closing to 2000-1500 feet for accurate 
shooting. The toughest thing about using guns against ground targets is 
avoiding a crash afterwards. Attack planes have guns angled downwards 
to make this somewhat safer, but I still recommend using guns from a 
fairly shallow angle to the ground to make pulling up easier. 
Smokestacks and other very tall targets might better be taken out with 
missiles or special weapons.

Enemy guns: Enemy guns aren't much of a threat under most 
circumstances. In harder difficulties they do more damage, but they are 
still highly inaccurate. I've never been hit by more than one or two 
bullets in a mission.

Missiles: Missiles are, technically, the easiest weapons to use, but 
getting them to hit consistently against fast aircraft is tricky. 
Normal missiles aren't very good for head-on attacks, as these missiles 
seem to guide themselves toward the enemy's tail. Firing a missile at 
an opponent traveling perpendicular to your craft is also no good; even 
helicopters can dodge missiles fired in that way. Even firing when you 
are on the enemy's tail is not guaranteed to hit; even the most basic 
evasive moves can lose a standard missile. Ideally you want to be as 
close as possible, firing just after the enemy completes a wide turn or 
other evasion. If the enemy tail is right in front of you at range 700 
or so hits are more or less guaranteed in any case, but under those 
circumstanced you should be using guns anyway. Most aircraft take two 
missiles to kill. Heavier aircraft such as the A-10 take more. In such 
cases a combination of gunfire and missiles is recommended for a fast 
kill.

Missiles work very well against anti-air ground targets like SAMS and 
AA guns. They are also good against hard-to-reach targets or targets 
that would otherwise be risky to attack with guns. Any ground target 
that takes more than 2 missiles to kill should also be attacked with 
guns or special weapons, preferably guns only. Also, the re-activating 
bunkers in Lit Fuse should only be shot with missiles if they are very 
close to each other and cannot be taken out with guns in one pass. 
Remember: even though you have a large number of missiles in this game 
you can still run out.

Enemy Missiles: The main thing to remember is that your survival is 
more important than getting that shot. Any kind of sharp turn or climb 
or dive will avoid a missile. The trick is to not ignore the missile 
warning when you see it; missiles are very damaging to you, especially 
in higher difficulties.

================================================================
Anti Ground Special Weapons
================================================================

NPB: Napalm Bomb

Its sounds good in the description, but this weapon is ineffective 
against armored targets like tanks and pillboxes. Also, while the strip 
of fire is reasonably long it's also thin, which can make it difficult 
to hit with. I don't recommend this weapon.

Plane that has it: F-4E

RCL: Rocket Launcher

Probably the worst weapon in the game. It fires a loose formation of 
weak projectiles. They travel slowly, deal little damage, and are so 
spread out that it's difficult to hit with more than one of them even 
at very close range. A plane equipped with this weapon should be 
considered to have only guns and missiles for practical purposes.

Planes that have it: Mig-21 BIS, JAS-39C

UGB: Unguided Bomb (Small)

This isn't so much a superior air-to-ground weapon as it is a way of 
conserving missiles without risking a crash. This bomb is great against 
two-missile targets like tanks, and can take out two or three targets 
if they're very close together. Against tougher targets like ships 
you'll have to drop two or more at a time. Don't forget that bombs can 
be dropped in rapid succession against such targets. Also don't forget 
that unless you're very close, you'll have to lead moving targets such 
as ships. Softer targets are better handled by missiles or guns.

Planes that have it: F-5E, F-16C, Mig-29A

UGBL: Unguided Bomb (Large)

Ground targets aren't quite as prolific as they were in Ace Combat 4, 
so this bomb isn't as godly as it used to be. Nonetheless, there are 
many parts of the game where this weapon is extremely useful. This bomb 
doesn't deal more damage than the small bomb, but it covers a much 
wider area. The larger area of effect means that you can drop it from 
longer distances without worrying about whether you'll hit, and it can 
reliably take out three or possibly even more ground targets with 
proper placement. One of these can take out an entire checkpoint in 
mission 25. You can also drop them in reasonably fast succession, 
though not as fast as the small version. There are better weapons to 
use against ships, however.

Planes that have it: A-6E, Mirage-2000D, MIG-1.44

FAEB: Fuel Air Explosive Bomb

What looks like a yet larger version of the large unguided bomb is 
actually a less reliable weapon. It does have an extremely wide are of 
effect, but the damage it deals is unpredictable and often ineffective. 
I've seen tanks survive direct and near-direct hits from this, and I've 
never seen it deal more than two missiles worth of damage to anything. 
It can be used against numerous soft targets bunched together, but I 
think that it's better to just use guns against those and bring a 
special weapon geared towards more difficult targets.

Plane that has it: YA-10B

LASM: Long Range Air to Surface Missile

This missile is not particularly useful against ground targets except 
as a risk-free way of dealing with SAMs. It can also be used in this 
way against the gun towers of Mission 27, but this requires two 
missiles each. Against ships this missile is noteworthy because a hit 
from it will destroy all of the secondary guns on a normal (i.e. non-
boss) ship. This makes Cruisers and Aegis ships much easier to deal 
with. It is also moderately effective against the boss submarines 
because it allows you to snipe at some of the weapon systems without 
risk of retaliation.

Planes that have it: F-2A, F/A-18C, Rafale M, F-35C

LAGM: Long Range Air-to-Ground Missile

Similar to the LASM with a bit of improvement. The area of effect makes 
this missile more useful against non-ship targets. However, this 
missile is not a huge damage dealer; against hardened targets this is 
less effective than standard bombs. Against ships this is a bit better 
than the LASM because you can damage the ship itself even if locked on 
to a subweapon, making this missile somewhat easier to use than the 
previous version.

Plane that has it: F-4G, 

XAGM: Advanced Air-to-Ground Missile

Because armored targets tend to be spaced out in this game, the XAGM is 
more useful here than in Ace Combat 4. This can fire moderately 
powerful missiles at up to four targets at once. Their guidance pattern 
is unusual for a missile; they fly more or less horizontally and then 
go into a steep dive towards the target. This means that they can 
easily hit targets that are surrounded by walls or other obstacles, 
such as the anti-air weapons in the buildings of Mission
12b. More than one missile is required for hardened targets, however. 
Its range is the same as normal missiles, so it's more risky to use 
than most other anti-ground special weapons. A more severe problem is 
that you often end up locking on to things that you don't need a 
missile for along with what you intend to shoot at, and changing 
targeting in this game is time consuming. There's no way to fire fewer 
missiles than you have lock-ons either, so you'll find yourself running 
out of these missiles very quickly.

Planes that have it: F-16XL, A-10, Su-32

GPB: Guided Penetrating Bomb

Although it's called a bomb, it's better to think of this as an area-
effect missile in terms of ease of use, although it can be used as a 
normal bomb if you want to attack a target outside its considerable 
lock on range. It deals about 3 missiles worth of damage to anything in 
its area of effect, making it instant death to any ground target and 
even ships up to Frigate class. This makes it the easiest way to deal 
with tough targets like pillboxes. It is also, in my opinion, the best 
weapon to use against those annoying large gun towers in mission 27. 
Overall I believe it to be the best narrow effect anti-ground weapon in 
the game.

Planes that have it: F-14B, F-117A

BDSP: Bomblet Dispenser

A wide area-of-effect anti-ground weapon which varies in damage 
depending on your altitude. Although the game describes it as a long 
strip of bomb cover, I find that there's also some horizontal 
dispersal. This is probably the most reliable wide-area weapon. It 
consistently hits targets in the affect area, and more importantly it 
deals consistent damage. Consider it like a plane-dropped shotgun; your 
distance from the target determines the weapon's ratio of damage to 
area. At medium altitude and lower this deals enough damage to kill 
tanks. At very low altitude this weapon can take down ships. It's also 
worth mentioning that when properly lined up, the BDSP is very 
effective against the boss submarines because of the pattern of 
dispersal and respectable damage. I destroyed all of the sub-weapons on 
the Scinfaxi with one use of this on Normal difficulty.

Plane that has it: TND-GR 1

SFFS: Self-forging Fragment Submunitions

Here is another wide-area weapon which is unfortunately not very 
reliable. It's supposed to be like a bomblet dispenser with a wider 
area, and in some ways it's true, but I find that it's difficult to 
tell what will and will not be hit by it. Also, like the FAEB this 
often doesn't deal enough damage to kill armored targets, although 
unlike the FAE you can fix that problem by dropping this weapon from a 
low altitude.

Plane that has it: F-15E

SOD: Stand-Off Dispenser

This is an odd weapon that is tricky to use but very effective if used 
properly. It locks on to an enemy, and when fired it uses that enemy as 
a starting point for a cone-shaped area of bombardment. The cone begins 
a bit before the missile bomber reaches the enemy, so targets moving 
toward you are still hit. The damage varies somewhat, but it always 
delivers at least tank-stopping power to anything caught in it. Unlike 
most anti-ground area effect weapons this is best when fired from a 
long distance and high altitude to let the missile set itself up for a 
good bombing run. Also, avoid firing when there is a hill or other 
obstacle between you and the target, because the missile flies low to 
the ground and can crash if you're not careful.

Planes that have it: TND-GR 4, Rafale B, FB-22

==========================================================
Anti Air Special Weapons
==========================================================

SAAM: Semi-Active Air-to-Air Missile

Probably the first air-to-air missile that you'll use, and it also 
happens to be one of the best. Unlike the standard missile, this one is 
very good for head-on attacks. It seems that when the distance between 
you and the enemy is long enough, they don't notice you firing missiles 
at them so you can get some easy kills due to this weapon's very long 
range. Furthermore if you keep the aircraft within the circle, enemies 
aware of the missile still have a lot of trouble dodging it, even in 
Ace mode. The only trick is not to use it at ranges so short that 
keeping the enemy within the circle is very difficult. I'd say 3000 
feet minimum usually works, perhaps more if the enemy is at a bad angle 
to you.

Planes that have it: F-20A, Mirage-2000, F-14A, Mig-31, F-15C, Su-27, Su-47

XMAA: Advanced Medium-range Air-to-Air Missile

Multi-targeting air-to-air missiles aren't as good as they might first 
appear. You can't snipe with these like you can with the Semi-Active, 
and often in a dogfight you will end up targeting enemies who you can't 
realistically hit, forcing you to choose between giving up the shot on 
the plane you want to take down or wasting missiles. Individually these 
missiles have superior damage and tracking to normal missiles, but the 
multi-targeting actually hurts this weapon, in my opinion.

Planes that have it: F-4X, F-16C B60, F/A-18E, TND-F3, F-15S/MTD, F/A-22A

XLAA: Advanced Long Range Air-to-Air Missile

This, on the other hand, is a very good first strike/sniping weapon. 
It's especially good when used against enemy formations head-on at long 
distances, like a multi-target SAAM.  While not quite as good as Semi-
Actives individually, you're guaranteed at least a couple of easy kills 
per salvo when used properly. However, at closer ranges this runs into 
the same problems as the XMAA.

Planes that have it: F-14D, Mig-31M, Su-35, Typhoon, X-02

QAAM: Quick-maneuver Air-to-Air Missile

This is to short range dog-fighting what the SAAM is to long range 
aircraft sniping. Though not quite as tenacious as it was in Ace Combat 
4, it still has a highly accurate guidance system. It can reliably 
connect in head-on attacks, practically assures a kill if you're close 
on the enemy's tail, and is even capable of hitting aircraft traveling 
perpendicular to your nose if fired from sufficient distance. The only 
drawback is that its lock-on range is no greater than that of a normal 
missile.

Planes that have it: X-29A, Mig-21-93, Su-37, YF-223A, S-32, Hawk

===========================================================
Miscellaneous special weapons
===========================================================

ECMP: Electronic Countermeasures Pod

Not a weapon in the literal sense of the word, this makes you immune to 
guided missiles for a few seconds. This would be more useful if 
missiles were harder to avoid or if you had more uses of this device, 
but as it is it's usually better to equip an actual weapon. Except 
perhaps in Mission 18+ where it doesn't seem like there's any time when 
missiles aren't coming at you.

Planes that have it: EA-6B, EA-18G, TND-ECR

TLS: Tactical Laser

It really shouldn't be surprising that this weapon is so powerful, 
considering that you can only get the plane that has it after you beat 
the game. The damage it deals is not quite instant death, but no target 
can last for more than a second of continuous fire from the laser. It 
starts at a length of about 3000 feet, then extends to around 10000 
after a couple of seconds. Because of the duration of the burst you can 
use it to rake several targets with one use of it. Against planes it's 
also fairly easy to use because you don't need to lead your target like 
you do with guns and it has a limited amount of auto-targeting. Get the 
enemy in the circle in the center of the screen and you should be able 
to hit. A very overpowered weapon, but really what do you expect?

Plane that has it: FALKEN

===================================================================
Plane armaments
===================================================================

Here's the list of planes and their special weapons, divided by plane family.

F-5 Family

F-5E: Unguided Bomb (small)
F-20A: Semi-Active Air-to-Air Missile
X-29A: Quick maneuver Air-to-Air Missile

Mig-21 Family

Mig-21 BIS: Rocket Launcher
Mig-21-93: Quick Maneuver Air-to-Air Missile

F-4 Family

F-4E: Napalm Bomb
F-4G: Long range Air-to-Ground Missile
F-4X: Advanced Medium range Air-to-Air Missile

A-6 Family

A-6E: Unguided bomb (Large)
EA-6B: Electronic Countermeasures Pod

F-16 Family

F-16C: Unguided Bomb (Small)
F-16C B60: Advanced Medium range Air-to-Air Missile
F-16XL: Advanced Air-to-Ground Missile
F-2A: Long range Air-to-Surface Missile

F/A-18 Family

F/A-18C: Long range Air-to-Surface Missile
F/A-18E: Advanced Medium range Air-to-Air Missile
EA-18G: Electronic Countermeasures Pod

Mir-2000 Family

Mirage-2000: Semi-Active Air-to-Air Missile
Mirage-2000D: Unguided Bomb (Large)

Mig-29A: Unguided Bomb (Small)

A-10 Family

A-10: Advanced Air-to-Ground Missile
YA-10B: Fuel-Air Explosive Bomb

F-14 Family

F-14A: Semi-Active Air-to-Air Missile
F-14B: Guided Penetrating Bomb
F-14D: Advanced Long-Range Air-to-Air Missile

Tornado Family

TND-GR 1: Bomblet Dispenser
TND-GR 4: Stand-Off Dispenser
TND-F3: Advanced Medium range Air-to-Air Missile
TND-ECR: Electronic Countermeasures Pod

Mig-31 Family

Mig-31: Semi-Active Air-to-Air Missile
Mig-31M: Advanced Long-Range Air-to-Air Missile

F-15 Family

F-15C: Semi-Active Air-to-Air Missile
F-15E: Self-Forging Fragment Submunitions
F-15S/MTD: Advanced Medium range Air-to-Air Missile

Su-27 Family

Su-27: Semi-Active Air-to-Air Missile
Su-32: Advanced Air-to-Ground Missile
Su-35: Advanced Long-Range Air-to-Air Missile
Su-37: Quick maneuver Air-to-Air Missile


F-117A: Guided Penetrating Bomb

JAS-39C: Rocket Launcher

Typhoon: Advanced Long-Range Air-to-Air Missile

Rafale Family

Rafale M: Long range Air-to-Surface Missile
Rafale B: Stand-Off Dispenser

F-35C: Long range Air-to-Surface Missile

YF-223A: Quick maneuver Air-to-Air Missile

F-22 Family

F/A-22A: Advanced Medium range Air-to-Air Missile
FB-22: Stand-Off Dispenser

Su-47 Family

Su-47: Semi-Active Air-to-Air Missile
S-32: Quick maneuver Air-to-Air Missile

MIG-1.44: Unguided Bomb (Large)

Hawk: Quick maneuver Air-to-Air Missile

X-02: Advanced Long-Range Air-to-Air Missile

Falken: Tactical Laser