Command: Modern Air / Naval Operations GOTY

CMANO stands for Command: Modern Air/Naval Operations, and is not actually a Latin-American male dating app. Despite that, I thought it worth gathering all our tips and tricks on playing, as it’s a bit of beast in terms of complexity. Here be the megathread!

Reminder: An excellent @Tankerwade AAR here:

First off, as a new player I wanted some nice pictures in my database. When I click on an A-6 I want a pretty image. To do that the instructions aren’t that good, so here’s what I got:

  1. Go here - Command series Downloads : Command: Modern Operations

  2. There are two Primary Image entries. DB3000 is the 1980’s to near future database and CWDB (Cold War DB) is the 1949-1979 set. Together they take about 3GB of space.

  3. Copy the images to the right place. If you’re using Steam then your root game folder is probably going to be something like this:

X:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\Command Modern Air Naval Operations

What you need to do is copy the images from the downloaded zip archive into:




It’s ok that it’ll overwrite some.

  1. Now do the same to ‘Descriptions’ (i.e. for the two DB’s, making sure the paths are correct).

You now have pretty pictures in your DB!

So come on, CMANO players, share some good wisdom on how to play this damn thing… :slight_smile:


Everything and anything. It is certainly sucking me in, so I could do with as much info as possible.

Alright well, let’s see how well I can chronicle my progress in “Uncle Mark’s Tutorials #2 - English Jets over Uganda, 1973” before I go to bed.

Seems simple enough. The Blue Square in the bottom right is “Moi Air Base”, my home on loan from the Kenyans near Nairobi. I’m tasked with schwacking hostile elements located in Entebbe, Uganda (the red square) approximately 270nm away. Catch is, Entebbe is full of civilians and the soft targets they enjoy residing in, so this is going to require some subtlety.

Let’s have a look at what I have.

Alright, Buccaneers, Phantoms, and Lightnings I can work with. The Shackleton however…

This miserable bomber convert has a radar with a 200 nautical mile range, which is something of a poor excuse for an AWACS. Whatever, it’ll have to do. Better than the fighters going in blind.

First thing’s first- let’s send out an AWACS with a BARCAP in front to dissuade anyone feeling whatever the Ugandan equivalent of Cheeki Breeki is. According to the database our Electric lightnings have a 15 minute loiter at 350 nm CAP. We’ll be deploying this first wave quite a bit shallower than that, so they should have some time to hang around and pick a fight. While we have Phantoms at our disposal which are a decent bit more potent, half are equipped for air-to-ground, and the other half I’d like to hang on to in case of a dire situation.

Some quick fligh tplanning later and we’re off to the races. The Lightnings will lead the AWACS by approximately 4 minutes. In a short while, AWACS “Sugar 1” and Lion flight are en route!

Before the CAP and AWACS can even reach their areas of operation, we have a few bogies detected in the neighboring country of Tanzania. CMANO does model things like civilian air traffic, so I’m wary of wasting fuel on burning over to investigate what may easily turn out to be airliners. I decide to risk it and leave the contacts as they are.

A few more minutes into the flight we encounter our first Ugandan Bogey. Lion flight speeds over to investigate. Not wanting to have an international incident on my hands, I elect for visual ID before any engagements can happen.

Drama swiftly unfolds after the AWACS looms closer though.

Apparently the Ugandans knew a war was coming on and as such prepared. The bastards. Lion flight, demonstrating my undisputed mastery of CMANO’s interface, decides to split up in the face of several unknown contacts, a professional strategy employed by fighter pilots of many nations. (Weeps desperately)

Lion 1 screams towards the merge looking for a visual ID, declaring, in the words of the great warrior poet Little Wayne, “Show me my opponent.”

This might be a blessing in disguise. The standard Ugandan fighter, the MiG-21, can really throw a Lightning around up-close and personal. BUT, the Lightning possesses superior BVR capabilities, and, to boot, should be faster. Lion 2 might just be in an ideal location to set up a chainsaw.



I quickly demand Lion 2 investigate. After a few seconds the truth becomes apparent.

Lion One and the Bogey pulled a flippin’ War Thunder Arcade Mode head-on, the morons.

I pull Lion Two back into the designated patrol area while I sulk and figure out my next move, and go to bed.



Here are reference points. If we want to cover reference points in relation to setting up missions, we can cover that at a point in time that is not 0200 in the morning.

This is a Reference Point

You can rename one by clicking this

You can create one by clicking this

You can delete some by clicking this, but let’s not.

Lets add another one

I’ve made a support mission that flies between these two waypoints (the blue line), and assigned an E-2 Hawkeye to do it.

If we keep it like this, the ships will sail off and the E-2 crew will get very lonely. Let’s not let that happen. Instead, let’s keep the reference points at a fixed bearing and distance to the carrier group by doing this.

Then clicking on the object you want them to stay close to, in this case, the carrier group.

Now the reference points will stay close to my carrier, and I won’t have to pay for air crew emotional therapy.

Adding all these reference points is tiring. Lets add four at once to define an area instead. Do it by clicking this.

I don’t want any greasy pig men ruing the paint on my ships, so I’ll tell my helicopters to search for them and give keep them away. We also attach this zone to our ships

Ruh Roh Scoobe, our AWACS have spotted some planes way off yonder. We should set up some areas for CAPs.

I’m possessive of my Tomcats, and I don’t want them imprinting on others. We tell them to stay in their box, and then define a bigger box they can play in using more than four reference points

defining an area

more points


And then the Fire Nation Attacked


I can highly recommend the Northern Inferno addon/stand-alone. It is an excellent campaign featuring WWIII in the 1970s. The timeframe is well chosen, as it features an interesting blend of old and new units (Tomcats, Backfires) . One of my favorite scenarios features the Essex-class USS Oriskany with F-8 and A-7.


I’m not gonna lie, I’m still pissed at that campaign over the second mission as it was originally distributed.

It’s one thing to send me against a soviet wolf pack with the bottom of the British Barrel.

It’s another thing when that wolf pack consists of Victors and a freaking Papa.

But it is a third thing entirely when the mission is considered failed because I didn’t find the one victor trying to break into a distillery in the Hebrides after obeying the mission brief which repeatedly said Get friendly boomer safely to patrol area.


Very nice thanks. I’ll be using this. Although I have it locally (plus a plain white one) the full manual is here:

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I got the plain normal version, but I noticed on Steam Workshop that the Northern Inferno scenarios were available as well. Is it the case they give you the missions but not the full media/videos or something? I’m trying to work out what the expansion gives you and why they’d give you the missions anyway?

They might be present, but I’m not sure you can actually play them. There might be an encryption or a time limit.

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Ah, yes, confirmed. The Red on Red text is also a form of psychological warfare to aid sales I expect.

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It certainly looks like a WinForms programmer that hates humanity, that’s for sure. When layouts are that aggressively bad you know he’s seen some :poop:

You all here in this thread are SOBs! I’ve got enough on my gaming plate, barely enough time as it is to play games and now you make me want to get back into this simulation due to your excellent AARs and pointers. Damn the lot of you! :wink:


I’m loving it and passed it over on sale far too many times. 65% off at the moment as well:

Hmm, you might have a point there :slight_smile:

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The fact it has Shackleton’s is fantastic though isn’t it? Being able to play out all the time periods is something I didn’t appreciate coming in, I just thought I’d do ‘Falklands, Fearlessfrog Edition’ and maybe a GIUK gap thing, but there’s actually loads to play around with.

Hmm, wouldn’t it be great to be able to export a CMANO mission to DCS to fly (where flyables allow of course), and then have the results incorporated back in? Hmm. :smiling_imp:


I’ve had it for quite a while and go in spurts in terms of playing it. Haven’t played a while but like I said, you guys now got the bug in my ear. It really is an extremely deep simulation. I just love going through the database and devouring all the data on a particular weapon system etc.

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I love CMANO, but it kills me a little bit each time I play a great scenario, immediately want to make it in DCS, and then realize we don’t have the map size or variety to do it.

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With the way technologies are progressing and the rate they are progressing in these industries, I don’t doubt someday that actually may be achievable.

An imported custom overlay of the map tiles from good ol Caucaus, just as an artificial limit for now? (i.e. then NTTR, Normandy, Straits etc).

I think with the sort of stuff @MBot has been doing, some sort of export that reads in a (constrained to overlap with both sims) Order of Battle, basic target waypoint, mission type. The export to DCS I can definitely picture as just being data/lua wrangling and not too hard. The getting the results back to CMANO is the bit I have no idea about, so keen to learn more about that end as I play it, i.e. check out what Baloogan did for MP etc, as there might be a way.



Modeling and cataloguing not just the plane, not just the model, not just the block number, but the current modifications, upgrades, and arrangements standard for a given year? Superb!

Also, thanks for the overlay tutorial, @Sine_Nomine !

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