DCS: Battle Damage Assessment [BDA] Thread

At the request of @Hangar200:

…and as I stated in response I have some images from this weekend’s flying in Fire Cube although nothing too exciting this time around. Just enough to get things started!

One: Infantry in the city - GBU-12

Enemy infantry position, they are armed and while I’d prefer something less lethal a GBU-12 was what I had on hand.

_As far as DCS is concerned, the adjacent house survives. Most of the infantry in the wider FOV above were KIA but a few remained and that are being more open - a second GBU-12 finished them off.

Two: A cleaning up the position - GBU-12

Going with BHOT this time, we have a similar situation below and decent troop density for a bomb strike…

Overview shows a more open area so we can safely use the GBU-12. Prior crater at top right.

Weapon impact on target. We have casualties.

Three: Another Infantry group - GBU-12

Weapon dropped right in the middle of the position to maximize casualties with DCS’ limited blast-damage modelling.

As the smoke clears the area we can confirm good effect on target. Those men are down for the count.

Four: Air kills?

These are the remnants of a MiG-19P after @Sryan gave him an AIM-120C. I think it suits this thread to mention watching a plane blow apart on the TGP is pretty sweet.

In another instance a SU-17 decided to come play and had the nerve to fly skillfully into a close in dogfight.

A short gun burst from the 20mm of <100 rounds clipped his wing and sent him spiraling down. It’s useful to note that while the run pipper itself is pretty accurate in coarse terms, the BATR cue has to be treated with care. It seems the recipe right now is to get the BATR cue just ahead of the physical target to land solid hits. BATR on the target leads to rounds falling short, or at best grazing the tail.


Attacking a fuel depot with the community mod A-4E and Mk82 slicks:


First off, I am loving this thread!

@Wes 's screen shots are used in Phase I of BDA called “Bomb Hit Analysis” Most often this is provided by some type of onboard sensor. The task is to answer three questions:

Q1 - Was this the correct target?
Q2 - Did the weapon hit the target and go “high order” (explode as it should)?
Q3 - Were there any “secondaries” - secondary explosions such as you might get from hitting an ammo depot. If you are not expecting secondaries, this question is N/A.

Turning to Wes’s screen shots, the targets are easily identifiable so the answer to Q 1 is YES. The next set of screen shots show very nice on target hits and the weapons all went High Order. Q2 is YES. The target was infantry so Q3 is N/A. (On a personal note, I wish all the BHA images I saw over my career were as good!)

The main point of Phase I is the immediate re-strike decision. If you hit the wrong target, if you missed or the weapon malfunctioned, or if you were expecting second dories and didn’t get any (e.g. the ammo bunker was not breached) then you may need to conduct a re-strike…and nobody likes to do a re-strike.

@miRage 's screen shots are what we hope to get for Phase II…I think it is called Post Strike Analysis. Basically you get some type of reconnaissance platform to look at the target after it has been struck.

(Note: it is best to plan your post-strike recce when planning the strike. It is a “Goldilocks” thing. Too soon after the target was hit and fires/smoke will be obscuring your view; too late after the strike and the enemy has an opportunity to “clean up” - fill in bomb craters, drag off damaged/destroyed vehicles, etc. )

miRage’s post strike imagery is good. In the first image we can easily count three large POL tanks 100% destroyed. Another large tank and a small tank are showing near misses - I’d assess some level of damage. The remaining craters indicate low/no damage (other than superficial). In the 2nd image, two large tanks destroyed; minimal/no collateral damage.

PHASE III Target System Assessment - is a bit beyond what we can do with DCS - well we could do it but it would be too much like work. Essentially you take what you learned in Phase II and assess it against what you were trying to do and was you knew about the target to begin with.

That said, with a simplified example using miRage’s 1st target, lets us say that we were trying to cut the jet fuel flow not a near by air base by at least 50% (so they couldn’t refuel their bombers for a long range mission or some such reason). We will also assume that intel told us the four large tanks in the corner are the only tanks holding jet fuel. So, three out of four jet fuel POL tanks destroyed =75% reduction in capacity. The strike was a success!


Nice break down @Hangar200, that was very informative! I do wish we had a proper recon pod for DCS so we could actually try out some BDA missions, generating photo imagery etc.

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I really enjoyed reading that breakdown @Hangar200. :sunglasses:


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Thank you for the analysis!
I have taken more screenshots but am away from my desk. I’ll follow up with more when I am back at my desk.

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Yes, this - your previous post had my mind “going there” too. Follow-up mission stuff. Same logic might apply for when an ally gets shot down or crashes. Oh, okay, maybe not AI (they’re bad about CFIT on attack runs - be one mission then nothing but Combat-SAR after than). Still.

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Could we not use a Lightroom filter to distort the images :grinning:

I thought about using TacView or just the DCS debrief screen for this, but yeah, I’d rather be at the O club at that point. Maybe if it were automated.


@Hangar200 that was an excellent breakdown. Very much enjoyed reading and learning from it.

Guys can we keep this thread going. Its awesome. Love the lightroom filter idea @chipwich.

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I love @Hangar200 is marveling at having clear post strike imagery, and the first thing we all offer to do is screw it up for him! :laughing:


:rofl::rofl: very good point!!

A “workable” TARPS pod for the F-14 would be great. IIRC the Mi-8 has some type of exterior gun camera that captures images in black & white. Something like that where you could set the number of frames per minute and an on/off switch (pretty much the RW TARPS controls).

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I recall at one point seeing a mod for the DCS F-5 of all planes, that would generate black and white imagery simulating an vertical axis camera (what’s the technical term for that, just “overhead”?). I don’t recall where I found that though, and from what I recall seeing about it, it had a pretty large FPS hit when active. This was years ago though, so PC’s have gotten better so it might be workable. No clue where I saw that though, I’ll have to try and find it again.

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I think in the Hog you can adjust the TGP snowplow angle, so if that feature came to say the Hornet you could perhaps set it to 90° below boresight. Still would need to take screenshots manually, but it would somewhat work.

Target: Air Defenses

Target overview.

Discovered higher priority targets.

Targeting SA-8 with a GBU-16 hoping for collateral damage.

Impact is good, appears we have some collateral damage possible.

Collateral damage. SA-9 survived, will require follow up attack.

Follow on attack with laser maverick.

Next priority the ZSU-57-2. Setup: Offset, GBU-12, delayed fuse (experiment).

Lots of dust, but DCS does not induce a kill from this - unit survived.

Returning with some Mk-84 attempting a ripple strike.

Impacts after ripple single, I think it was 150ft spacing. Attack line was aircraft heading from the above image roughly. Oddly we get a triangle that is offset from the target heading with two impacts at roughly the same distance despite the release spacing.

Clearer view of the craters. Target wildly missed. Follow-up attack by friendlies done after some talk-on.


That is some great BDA! Images 3 and 4 are the epitome of good BHA (Bomb Hit Analysis).

You mentioned “Collateral Damage”. Technically that term is used more to denote a negative result, i.e. damage to non-military vehicles, structure, buildings, etc. That said, your choice of weapon and the fact that the targets are in a military facility, says to me that the objective of the strike was to “Destroy the SA-8 and damage, destroy or render combat ineffective any lesser viable military targets within the blast/shrapnel radios of the weapon.” :slightly_smiling_face:

The follow-on attack with the laser Mav is a good example. The building to the northeast of the SA-9 appears to be colocated with other military structures (watch towers) so probably a military/military-associate building and a viable target. But let’s hypothetically say it was not. Your choice of weapons (accuracy and warhead size/type) along with run-in heading is an excellent choice to limit collateral damage to the building. As the next pic clearly shows the damage was limited to the target, with minimal collateral damage (maybe a bit of scorched paint and a couple of broken windows) on the building. A very good result!

In your MK-84 strike you clearly demonstrate the “challenges” of using multiple, heavy warhead, dumb bombs. What were the winds? That might explain a lot.


While a watch tower is visible, the immediately adjacent building was civilian (map object) so I chose the more precise warhead. Significant civilian infrastructure damage for a wooden tower seems like a poor decision to win over hearts and minds!

Unfortunately I cannot say. This strike was conducted South-East of Abu Al-Duhur airfield. Home plate was Bassel Al-Assad where winds were 285° for 2 or 3 m/s per ATC. Dynamic weather scenario, so large potential for variance. To bad I can’t get a detailed weather report or airfield ATIS at least for more current data.

Target One:

Target is about 65m wide, so about 216ft across.

Target point set in the middle of the compound on the south side of the road.

Low level attack setup, CCIP, 4x Mk-83, ripple single, 50ft spacing.

Impacts short and slightly south. Still some damage.

TGP view of the damage. Daylight at this time of day messes with the IR views making it hard to find a gain level that is not washed out by the fires.

Follow up attack on the North side of the highway with the same profile but using Mk20s. Due to the Mk20s being fixed in burst height (1500ft, hard coded) and the submunition dispersion being determined by pitch of the canister at burst - another low altitude run was done using automatic (CCRP) mode to allow for level release and maintain as much horizontal attitude of the canisters at burst as possible. Speed up to avoid ground fire. Good spread across the target.

Dust kicks up and we have fires on the East end.

View over the canopy rail, IR camera due to the above bug/issue not much use for BDA.

Target Two:

Building complex with AAA gun. GBU-10 with delayed fuse for testing purposes.

Target view, pre-strike.

Weapon on target.

Immediately adjacent buildings down but overall blast damage limited. Unsure if this is due to delay fuse.

Follow up attack with CCIP Mk-84, limited additional damage outside of already damaged units indicates the 84 hit right in the crater of the 10. No delay on 84, so delay on the 10 did not negatively impact damage done.

HUD footage, ZUNI attack, 16 rockets, salvos of four.

More damage done.

Mission special feature - sufficient damage triggers secondary, large blast:


Good stuff.

Plus, you bring up a good point regarding using FLIR as your BHA recorder. The blast can bloom over the image making initial hit analysis difficult. Obviously at night you need FLIR and when working against vehicles FLIR is is often necessary to detect and lock the target. However, in a daylight environment with a fire and forget weapon like a JDAM or Maverick, I recommend switching to TV / CCD just prior to weapons impact.

One way of getting some good BDA Phase II analysis imagery in DCS is to plant a couple of marker flags in the target area. Give it a while then use the F12 view, zoom out a bit and go to a kind of overhead zenith view. This gives you an idea of the kind of stuff real imagery interpreters are looking at. Of course if you really want to “do it right” do the same before the strike (pre-strike imagery) and use to compare the post strike imagery.

In fact…IIRC there are a few F-16 PG missions that have annotated pre-strike imagery as one of the briefing graphics…High Drop, Threading the Needle, Turn Out the Lights and Refused Runway come to mind. :sunglasses:

Since I dug my compiler out recently there’s been the idea of a briefing app clanking around in my hollow head. No keystrokes have been molested yet though. The DCS mission brief is barely adequate. Recall hearing that that was on the upgrade menu but it was a while ago. Hate to go to the trouble only to have it rendered obsolete by the time I finish it.

The UI shouldn’t be too difficult: a “Death By Power Point” like background with images and audio rendered when you click “Slide”…

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