DCS Air-Ground Tactics

In an effort to diversify our mega-threads, lets use this topic to talk about air-ground tactics in DCS.

The following examples discuss some tactics for attacking a defended targets with bombs. In this case an ammo storage site covered by two SA-8 radar guided SAM, two ZSU-23-4 Shilka radar guided AAA and two SA-18 MANPADS. These tactics are generic to all fast jets but work especially well with the Hornet due to the excellent avionics support.

First lets look at a classic Pop-Up attack. This is flown with a CCIP bomb profile but with the waypoint designated as target. A target designation will override CCIP with the AUTO mode, which provides excellent steering cues towards the target. Just seconds from doping the bombs, the designation is cancelled with the undesignated button, which reverts the system to CCIP. The bombs are then dropped using regular CCIP.

Note the excellent cover provided by the ground clutter of the new Caucasus map. Even though the terrain is flat, the approach is flown completely shielded by the vegetation. The pop-up to attack with bombs unmasks the jet to the air defenses but is flown in a way to minimize exposure. Older radar-guided systems such as SA-6, SA-8 or Shilka AAA cannot acquire a target during the time of the pop-up, provided that the jet was not tracked during the approach. Note though that more modern systems such as SA-11, SA-15 or Tunguska have reaction times of under 10 seconds and will be able to engage pop-up targets.

If conditions do not allow to visually acquire your target, the attack can also be flown completely in AUTO:

If the target is defended so heavily that overflying it is unfeasible, bombs can be tossed with the AUTO from some distance:

Judging the time to pull-up currently requires some trial and error. I am under the impression that the Hornet should eventually have some queuing for the maximum range where a toss is successful. Tossing bombs will considerably reduce your accuracy. Once the burst-height of the Mk-20 Rockeyes works correctly, I guess tossing salvos of CBUs should be a viable tactic against soft targets.

Finally, let´s look how the AI is doing attacking the same target:

Unfortunately the AI fails utterly against defended targets. Even when in formation with the (human) leader it flies at over 300ft AGL, which puts it in to plain view of any air defenses, nullifying any reaction time advantage. Then when given the order to attack at 10 NM, the AI climbs to 1000 ft and approaches the target at 550 kts in level flight. Which of course leads to it being blown out of the sky easily. Unfortunately the AI is completely useless in threat situations.


The videos show in the post preview, why do 3 of them not show in the actual post?

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It’s a background job and the poor wee server has been busier than normal. I’ve given it a cookie and it seems better now :slight_smile:

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Good thread, has anyone done anything like this for the Su-25T?

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A good guide - thanks.

I’ve had no luck at all on toss bombing in the Hornet. I’m either doing it too far out or not steep enough. My main problem also seems to be a tiny amount of wing/ground misalignment means that I end up with bombs either to the left or right of where I want to toss them (because, well, geometry) - it gives me the hint I’m not doing this within the right parameters though.

What sort of timing / pull up angle are you finding works for you @MBot?

I’ve been using a pop up of 30 degrees at 6 NM, it’s worked well enough for the last few months.

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Yep, having more success now - thanks.

I’m going for something like 480 kts at 500 feet, 8 MK.82’s with a 25 ft spread on AUTO with the mechanical fuse set to NOSE, designate the waypoint, get to 6 NM, pull up to 30 degrees completely lined up and neat for the pop-up. I hold the pickle as the bar crosses the FPM and things go boom ok. It’s not a lot of stand-off though but good BTRs etc.

Any tips/tweaks for those sort of parameters (although I am hitting things ok now)?

I am having most problems with bombs going long. It seems right now that bomb sticks are dropped for the first bomb on target instead of bracketing the target. This means that for tossing, you either get just one hit if you are lucky or the whole stick going wide.

Maximum range for a toss at ground level and high speed seems to be about 7 NM with a 3G pull-up to 45°. This is close at the limits though and if the bombs don’t drop by 45°, they won’t drop at all. At 5 NM I get good results with a release at about 30°. Also this will limit your altitude gain somehow, which might be an important factor if you need to get down to cover again quickly.

Also I am not pulling to a specific climb angle, rather I hold a steady amount of G (this is very important for accuracy) and the bombs go whenever they need to go.

Don’t forget to add wind into your practice scenarios, that will open up a whole different set of problems with toss bombing. Those problems are mainly solved with a B61, as the CEP will usually be less than the blast area.

All joking aside, does anyone know of a modern usage of the technique? I would have assumed if it was a workable way around air defenses we would have seen it employed in Vietnam and the first Gulf War since it’s been a “workable” technique since WW2.

As far as I know, toss bombing has been used by RAF Tornado during Desert Storm. 1000lb bombs with air burst fuzes have been dropped on AAA sites for defense suppression in preparation of JP233 attacks.

Also this:

(from 20:30 on)

Of course, F-111 have also used the toss technique to drop LGBs (for example during Eldorado Canyon in 1986).

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We still train to lofts and pop ups in the strike eagle, its primarily an LGB or JDAM type attack, usually the reasons for doing it have to do with target acquisition or a low level ingress, you are not going to buy much standoff from shorad utilizing this type of attack, but you can mitigate most longer ranged threats by staying below the radar horizon for longer. With JDAM it is an absolutely valid form of attack, since you have precision bombs with no guidance, so once the bombs are gone, you are too.
The true mitigation of threat with this kind of attack comes from having multiple jets popping up at once, if the threat can only target one at a time, they will only have time usually to acquire one jet, who then aborts his attack while everyone else is dropping their munitions.

Or you plan your loft so you are popping up behind a hill and throw your bombs over the hill at the target.
Or for the more fun version of this, you pop up and loft bombs at preplanned coords, and then immediately roll in for a CCIP release on a second target, your second released bombs will hit about 5-10 seconds before your loft ones do, great way to get lotsa hate on a target set in one pass. :slight_smile:


Nice. :slight_smile: That is my new favorite thing to do:



I love everything about that - so cool, thanks!

Does anyone know if the Su-25T has any provisions for acquiring friendly laser sources, or if it must self-designate for every weapon? I was doing psudo-AFAC in a AV-8B with a friend who was in a Su-25T and he was having trouble getting the shkval to cooperate. I was thinking it’d be nice to be able to use my own targeting pod to lase in such instances, but I want to say that such is only possible with similar equipment/aircraft.

On that note, would we consider AFACing as part of ATG tactics?


I recall that there the Su-25T can see other laser spots? or maybe it’s appropriate weapons could (Kh-29L, 25ML, S-25L)? I think they run on Code 1113?

Ivan jet doesn’t really work like that, results may very.

Yeah, it’s hard for most people to figure out. I’ve fallen back to my experience of trying to make a Su-17/22M4 from a few years ago, so a lot of how it works is familiar to me, but it is pretty borked. Still, I read that the “1113” code exploit/bug was patched out a couple years ago, though I’ve not verified that.

The 25T seems to shine better with rockets and dumb bombs as the Shkval is awkward to use in most cases… Notably, requiring a pretty long attack run and a good eye on the camera.

And until the bug gets HARMs, there’s nothing else for SEAD/DEAD.

There’s a reason they only made eight of them.

The only thing you need for DEAD is a rudimentary understanding of how to exploit PN and panache.

I found I had more luck flying NOE and getting close with Sidearms in the AV-8 (the above scenario involving 25Ts was a result of this) and following up with Mavericks.

I’ve been doing my best work with Mk-83s or Mk-20s lofted at radars, followed by diving bomb and strafing attacks in the F/A-18C. Not too much a fan of Mavericks for the job. Too fussy.