Anatomy of a DCS JF17 Kill: Need Help

I do not own the JF17. It seems to have a capability that I need help understanding. I was on Blue Flag last night where we (Red) have had Blue on the ropes for several days now. I was heading towards setting up a CAP over their last remaining toe-holds, a FARP and an airbase. For 40nm I tracked a low maneuvering target. I felt pretty safe because the only RWR nails were 2 SA-6s and an F-16. I was pretty sure the F-16 was distant. There was no “U” (unknown) nail and nothing had me spiked. I wanted to close to 15 NM on my target using TWS (no hard lock). At 14 miles I launched. Two seconds before I died I got a missile warning. It turns out that my target had launched a SD-10 several seconds before I fired my aim-120. Is it an IR missile? If so, why did I get the warning at the last moment? If it is not an IR missile, how is it guided if not by radar?

EDIT: Thanks Chuck once again for your excellent guides. I see that the SD-10 is a warningless active missile. Still, I should have gotten a search “nail” from the shooter, no? Could he have “mad-dogged” it with his radar off? If so, how could it have guided in just two seconds?

In the screenshot, my killer (“Fragal”) is blue and I am red.

EDITx2: Been doing some single player testing against the JF17. That SD-10 is a beast! Just after launch it achieves a speed of M4.4. After 55 seconds of non-maneuvering flight it is still well over M2.0. The Aim-120C doesn’t come close. The Phoenix is probably much better but I haven’t tested. The “Jeff” has been discussed as a quirky multi-role fighter with some A2A capability. At least that’s what my impression was. But if it’s short legs are allowed for, nothing beats BVR in DCS.

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Oh that was you (and your red friends) !? :slight_smile:

I checked yesterday, out of curiosity, BF PG map (after they moved F14 to red team) and my reaction was ‘time to join the reds’ :smile:

Regarding JF17. I don’t own it I don’t know it.
But couldn’t you tell from your radar or from GCI the attitude of you target (I guess there was no GCI or no coms as GCI will call his missile)?
In this modern arena I usually ‘start to feel defensive’ once my target turns hot at short distance.

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No doubt I deserved to die. The F-18 is slower than any Blue so you can always be chased down even if you dodge the first missile. But I was watching the target (initially, he was at 7k, I was at 20k) and my RWR. I felt, correctly, I was still too far away to be at risk of an IR launch. I guess my last remaining question is how can a plane successfully launch without first painting the target. With no nail or spike other than the distant F-16, its got me flummoxed. And, no, there was no GCI. Just 2 reds vs 3 blue.

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Yes, there was a YouTube video that was showing what you observed I believe. The SD-10 seems quite a bit less draggy than the R-77 and 120C…

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As he says, the SD-10 is quite “woofy”. Not sure what that means but clearly something is wrong. I’m on my 30th 1v1 single player tests with the “Jeff” and I still have yet to beat it. A couple of my -b’s have come within a few hundred yards but none have been able to catch it (AI maneuvers always as if it can see the missile–which it can). And even if spear did catch it, I would have already been dead. Of all 30 engagements I have survived exactly zero times. Even turning and running after launching a 120 at 35 miles leaves me eventually dead.

The good news is that I always get a RWR “U” which means that it is possible that the nail was lost on my HUD in the SA-6/F-16 clutter during the engagement that started this thread. If you fly Blue Flag, fly Blue and get the Jeff. Otherwise, do what I did and play on the Stennis 300 miles from the fight while following the progress on comms.

[EDIT: I finally beat him. 37th try. He flew into the dirt unhit. The Jeff/SD-10 combo is a total multiplayer spam at the moment.]

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Could it be the RWR was in some priority mode where it displays only six or so threats. On those busy servers you could have reached the limit.

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Could the F-16 have been working as a pseudo-AWACS, providing a Bullseye position for the JF-17 to fire at?

That’s what I thought at the time. TacView shows that they flew as if they were unaware of one another. The simplest explanation is that there was a “U” on my RWR for just a moment and I didn’t see. Maybe thats how the JF17 handles its ACM modes—as TWS files, not STT locks. That would explain why I never got a spike. I was certainly flying dumb. But then I saw how implausible this crazy missile is and how strong seems to be the little radar under the Jeff’s bonnet and I don’t feel so much shame. From now on I know to fear it from a distance more than any other plane online.

AFAIK peoples’ missile number ten is due for a severe nerf.

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Basically, the SD-10 has a few issues now that will be looked at. So until then, treat the JF-17 with SD-10 like you would an F-14 with AIM-54. The SD-10 is vulnerable to notching a bit more than the AIM-120 however.

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The Pi-Li-12 (PL-12, Thunderbolt-12) from which our Shan-Dian-10 (SD-10, Lightning-10) is an export derivate, is not even at peak perfomance yet. In reality, the missile has a terminal stage booster to make sure whatever you do, it will catch up. Unfortunately that is not yet supported by the missile API. The way things are handled now is that the terminal booster fires up immediately after the main source of thrust has been exhausted, causing the missile to acquire ungodly speeds and seemingly being able to sustain that top speed for some time. If Nick Grey thinks there is something wrong with its drag I’ll hope ED and Deka will be able to review the issue and come with a correction. But the missile was designed to outperform the AIM-120B, so it should outrange it in most situations. More than for a SD-10 nerf I hope for some perfomance increasing corrections on the slammer which still pull a little more AoA than neccesary at times, killing its range. I have high hopes for the Q-1 slammer update.

Contacts picked up in ACM become STT locks in the 17. Also, the distance as shown in the Tacview image is too large to suggest an ACM lock. Since we can’t see the whole tacview, could it be possible that you turned the RWR’s blind eye on the bandit at the wrong time? Or that the JF-17 built a TWS/SAM track on you, launched on you but then, accidentally or intentionally, dropped the track causing the SD-10 to go active at the last pre-calculated spot while you were having a clean RWR?

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The opposite has been my experience. But I make no claims of good technique. I have not been able to shake this missile. I spent the whole morning doing dozens of tests. I now know that if I turn and run at 20nm it will run out of steam. But whether it makes contact with my jet or looses smash before that happens, it always keeps a lock. Bring da nerf!

@Sryan, I don’t have a good answer. He was flanking when I launched. He chaffed and turned hot just as my missile was homing for the kill. His nose was hot on me for just a second or two when he launched and he immediately turned cold and defensive. He certainly knew what he was doing.

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It’s very difficult to notch at closer ranges and high altitudes, but I was able to notch 3 AI launched missiles until he got close enough to pin one right into me. Configuration was 4xAIM-120C, 2xAIM-9X, two fuel tanks, to have a similar loadout as the JF-17. I also let him fire first. 30,000ft head on with High skill AI.

I believe the AI also used STT because I got a launch warning the moment he fired; all indications were “U” for radar and missiles, so the SD-10 apparently isn’t in the RWR database yet.

ETA: Second attempt, I fired a AIM-120C in TWS at 45nmi, then began slowing down and diving. He launched a missile, but mine went active first and forced him to quit supporting his launch. Evaded my first, at which point I swung around and got another TWS track. He fired first, I fired second and went evasive; couldn’t notch, his hit me, but mine hit him, so mutual kill.

ARH missiles don’t have to be supported for the duration of their launch. They “know” where their target is even if lock is broken. So all he has to do is lock you up and fire; he can turn cold and be reasonably assured of a hit. Goes double for close range.

I don’t know if ED has any plans to fix the behavior to properly simulate datalink logic for missiles, but they’ve been informed of the problem for a while as I understand it.


JF-17 has quite effective TWS modes, and can support the SD-10. There may be a bug right now with the SD-10 not giving an appropriate warning when active, that is not the intent however as I understand it, it should work just like every other DCS ARH missile.

If it’s fired at close range it will be going very fast so if you are reacting to the active warning, you will be lucky to be able to turn much at all before it impacts. Much like a Phoenix inside 10-15 miles.

Other thing to remember is your RWR detection limits, ie if the missile goes active at to high an angle above or below you (think 30 degrees?IIRC) your RWR will not see it.

As far as kinematics, right now the SD-10 is pretty effective at altitude out to about 35 miles or so, Id save any discussion of “fixing it” or how it stacks up until the AMRAAM guidance update that is due at some point in the near future shows up. The recent patch to the amraam while it did reduce its top speed slightly, vastly reduced its drag while maneuvering and flying straight and level, Ie it maintains its energy much much better. Combine that with some decent lofting and a few other guidance changes and it could easily be capable of getting kills at 35 miles or greater.

If they give the amraam the 30 degree AIM-7MH loft, and fix the pitch down G loss, I think you could start to see effective use of the AMRAAM (at altitude) out to the life time of the missile (90-100 seconds, rather variable) which equates to somewhere between 45-50 miles, 55 or more if the target is also high and very fast.