Much of the fun to be had in EA's superb Battlefield games resides in the fact that you can jump into a wide variety of vehicles to battle it out online with others. In Battlefield 1942, this meant climbing into World War II-era fighters, tanks, and jeeps (to name just a few). Battlefield Vietnam took the series to the 1960s and 1970s and introduced jet fighters and helicopters, as well as a tiny scooter for navigating the streets of Vietnamese cities.
With the upcoming Battlefield 2, EA and developer Digital Illusions are taking the series to the near future, with the United States, China, and the fictional Middle Eastern Coalition battling it out for supremacy. As the game is set in the near future, you can expect to see high-tech US weapons, along with the latest in Chinese hardware. The MEC, on the other hand, is armed with mainly Russian-made weapons. In the third of our profile previews, we take a look at many of the vehicles you'll take into battle in this highly anticipated game. Battlefield 2 is scheduled to ship this summer.
M1A2 SEP: This main battle tank is the backbone of the US military's armored forces. Armed with a powerful 120mm cannon, the M1A2 also has a stabilized fire control system, thermal imaging, a laser range finder, and a digital ballistics computer. It also features steel-encased depleted uranium armor for optimal protection.
M6 Bradley Linebacker: The M6 Bradley Linebacker is the Army's mobile antiaircraft unit. Armed with Stinger antiaircraft missiles, the M6 can engage and destroy enemy helicopters, low-flying aircraft, unmanned drones, and even cruise missiles.
HMMWV: The High Mobility Multi-purpose Wheeled Vehicle is the standard US military transport and truck. Designed as a multipurpose vehicle, it's equipped with a four-wheel-drive automatic transmission and can be transported and air-dropped by helicopter or transport aircraft.
FAAV: The FAAV buggy is a fast attack vehicle designed for agility and firepower. Armed with both light and heavy machine guns, this speedy buggy can assist infantry on the ground, though it's not very effective against armored vehicles.
LAV-25: The Marine Corps equivalent of the Army's M6 Bradley, the LAV-25 is an all-terrain light-armored vehicle capable of moving firepower and troops around the battlefield. Fully amphibious and capable of traversing rivers and lakes, it's armed with a 25mm main gun and two 7.621 machine guns.
AH-1Z Super Cobra: The AH-1Z is the latest version of the famous Cobra attack helicopter that dates back to the Vietnam War. The Super Cobra is armed with a 20mm nose gun, as well as TOW and Hellfire missiles. It's also equipped with countermeasures to protect it from surface-to-air missiles.
HH-60H Seahawk: The HH-60H Seahawk is the military's transport helicopter that's capable of transporting men and equipment around the battlefield. The Seahawk can carry 11 soldiers and their weapons and equipment.
F-15E Strike Eagle: The last major version of the US Air Force's air superiority fighter, the F-15E Strike Eagle is a powerful warplane designed to rule the skies over the battlefield.
F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet: The Super Hornet is the latest version of the versatile Hornet family. It can perform a wide variety of missions, including strike, air superiority, and reconnaissance.
Wasp-class Assault Carrier: The mission of the Wasp-class carrier is to transport, deploy, and support US Marine landing forces anywhere in the world. These large amphibious assault carriers provide the equipment and material necessary to sustain prolonged combat operations.
Rigid Inflatable Boat: The RIB is a high-speed extreme-weather vessel designed for the insertion or extraction of special operations teams, such as US Navy SEALs or the Army's Delta Force.
LW155 Lightweight 155mm Howitzer: The LW155 howitzer provides better range, accuracy, and durability than its predecessors, and it's light enough to be air-dropped or towed to any region.
Type 98: The Type 98 main battle tank is designed for firepower, mobility, and protection on the modern battlefield. Based on Russian and European models, it incorporates a laser range finder, a ballistic computer, and an axis-stabilization system to complement its 125mm cannon.
Wuzhuang Zhisheng 551: The WZ 551 armored personnel carrier is a six-wheeled transport designed to cross rugged terrain. It's armed with a 7.62mm machine gun and can deploy infantry across the battlefield.
Nanjing 2046: The NJ 2046 is a heavy troop transport and field command vehicle. Derived from a civilian minivan, it's been enhanced for use on the battlefield.
FAV: China's People's Liberation Army uses the fast attack vehicle for both airborne and special operations. It can be armed with 7.62mm and 5.8mm machine guns, or a mounted HJ-8 antitank missile launcher.
Type 95: The Type 95 antiaircraft vehicle provides the PLA with air defense. Armed with four 25mm cannons and four surface-to-air-missile launch tubes, it's a formidable weapon against aircraft.
Type 85: The Type 85 is identical to the Russian D-30 artillery piece. This 122mm gun is an ideal weapon for taking out enemy troops and field shelters, as well as for clearing the way for an assault.
IGLA: Identical to the Russian missile of the same name, the IGLA is a short-range antiaircraft missile designed to seriously damage or destroy low-flying aircraft and helicopters.
HJ-8: The HJ-8 antitank missile was designed to defend against US, European, and Russian tanks. The "Red Arrow," as it's called, is a tube-launched, infrared-tracked, wire-guided missile.
Wuzhuang Zhisheng-10: The WZ-10 was designed to give China an attack helicopter, which is something it previously lacked. It's armed with 57mm rockets, antitank missiles, and a 23mm gun.
Zhisheng-8: This medium-sized Chinese transport helicopter is based on the French Super Frelon. It's fitted with two powerful 1,500 horsepower turboshaft engines and is capable of transporting 27 armed soldiers.
Sukhoi-30: This Soviet-designed and manufactured fighter-bomber is capable of handling air-superiority and ground-attack missions. It can carry air-to-air missiles and 500-kilogram bombs to complement its 30mm internal cannon.
Russian/Middle Eastern Coalition Vehicles
T-90: The T-90 main battle tank is the successor to the problematic T-80 tank. However, the T-90 improves on its successor with a 125mm cannon and an impressive defensive system. The optronic countermeasure device lets the tank detect and disrupt enemy targeting or range-finding devices.
Tunguska M1: Designed for air defense, the Tunguska M1 is armed with eight SA-19 surface-to-air missiles for long-range air defense, as well as twin-barrel 30mm cannons for close-in defense.
GAZ 39371 Vodnik: The rugged Vodnik is the Russian answer to the American HMMWV. This high-mobility multipurpose vehicle is actually superior to the HMMWV in many ways. Additionally, it's fully amphibious and has nearly two feet of ground clearance.
FAV: Identical to the Chinese FAV, the MEC uses the fast attack vehicle for both airborne and special operations. It can be armed with 7.62mm and 5.8mm machine guns, or a mounted HJ-8 antitank missile launcher.
BTR-90: This is the Russian Army's next-generation armored personnel carrier. The BTR-90 is larger than its predecessors and is armed with a 30mm main gun, a 7.62mm machine gun, a 30mm grenade launcher, and a launcher for antitank missiles.
Mi-28 Havok: The Havok is the latest Russian attack helicopter, and it's capable of operating in all-weather and day-and-night conditions. It is armed with wire-guided antitank missiles and heat-seeking air-to-air missiles. It can also carry 80mm rockets.
Mi-17 Hip: The Hip is the transport workhorse of the Russian Army. In addition to transport, this multirole helicopter can also provide air support thanks to external mountings that let it carry missiles, rockets, and bombs.
MiG-29 Fulcrum: The Fulcrum is the newest and most technologically advanced fighter in Russia's inventory. Developed to counter the American F-15 and F/A-18, the Fulcrum is maneuverable and formidable.
SU-34 Flanker: The SU-34 is a two-seat long-range fighter-bomber built to replace earlier Soviet-era aircraft. Originally designed as a carrier-based aircraft, the SU-34 has adapted to become a powerful strike aircraft and fighter.
D-30: The D-30 is identical to the Chinese Type 85 artillery piece. This 122mm gun is an ideal weapon for taking out enemy troops and field shelters, as well as for clearing the way for an assault.
HJ-8 Purchased from the Chinese, the HJ-8 antitank missile was designed to defend against US, European, and Russian tanks. The "Red Arrow," as it's called, is a tube-launched, infrared-tracked, wire-guided missile.
IGLA: Identical to the Chinese missile of the same name, the IGLA is a short-range antiaircraft missile designed to seriously damage or destroy low-flying aircraft and helicopters.
That's it for now. For more information, refer back to our earlier previews to examine the maps and weapons of Battlefield 2.