One of the most powerful assets the player side has in a campaign is Skyrider’s helicopter. While it lacks armament, it can rapidly move a squad on the map with unrivaled speed. The queen herself is wary of its capabilities. Given the queen’s vast monetary reserves, it is incomprehensible why she never acquires helicopters herself. As you’ve likely guessed by now, this is going to change. The first new feature under ASD control, the queen now has a way of acquiring helicopters, with which she can deploy soldiers across the map as well. Helicopters are ‘unlocked’ once the AI is aware of the player using Skyrider’s helicopter (indicated by a cut-scene), it can then purchase some for itself. Just like Skyrider, they can then fly a small squad around on the map and deploy them. Helicopters have to be fueled and repaired, which consumes AI resources.
The player can shoot down helis via SAM batteries, and infantry-based MANPADS. Due to engine limitations, this cannot be done manually. Every time an enemy helicopter moves and is known to the player, his air defense will try to shoot the heli down. If a helicopter was downed, there is a chance that the pilot survived and can be killed or captured by the player (downed pilots are counted as officers with regards to Prisoner Interrogation).
This feature is definetely not recommended for new players. The AI will target lightly defended sectors that are away from the front-line. Leaving Flo alone at Tony if you have no air defense is not a good idea if this feature is on.
For JA2_Options.ini values and additional info, see section [Enemy Helicopter Settings]. For obvious reasons, this feature is closely related to ASD and requires it to be active.
This feature is savegame-compatible.
This was added to the trunk in r8015 & GameDir r2279. Using this feature without the proper gamedata will get you chosen as Ted cruz’ running mate.