If you’ve been playing the latest open beta (v18.104.22.168386), you might notice that your missiles are sucking really bad and the AI’s missiles have become no-miss-ums. I don’t know why or how this change was made but it applies universally to all AI radar guided missiles; IR guided weapons are unaffected.
Basically, all AI missiles now seem to have some kind of INS guidance on top of their existing radar guidance, whether it’s ARH or SARH. I did some testing with an Su-33, F-4E, and MiG-23MLD; Su-33’s R-27 missiles, even if radar lock was defeated, would maintain an INS lock at all times. Even if maneuvering, there remains a sloppy INS solution that isn’t broken until the firing aircraft is destroyed. In addition, if the firing aircraft regains lock, the missile will snap back and be 100% accurate again. Chaff and ECM have no effect presently, so the only way to defeat them is kinematically at this point. This is true regardless of the type – AIM-7Es fired by the AI stay locked the same as AIM-120Bs or R-27Rs. The key difference is that a number of missiles are more draggy and prone to energy loss, so it gives the impression that some are better than others when it’s just the usual AI shenanigans.
A couple patches back, player missiles operated in a similar fashion, in that they were guided regardless of support by the firing aircraft, so we probably didn’t notice because our own missiles functioned well enough that the playing field is level. However, I’ve witnessed my own missiles missing far more often than in the past, especially compared to the AI’s present situation. The AI has become very good at all levels at notching and kinematically defeating missiles; in the past they had a limited scope of actions, now they’ll turn cold and run, maneuver, or notch easily. Interestingly enough, this also usually results in the AI flying right into the ground as they attempt to outfly a missile, even if they’ve already defeated it kinematically.
So if you’re having a hard time with the AI taking your lunch even though you’ve fired all 12 of your missiles to no hits, know that your effective envelope has gone to less than 10 miles and the AIs has been greatly extended. As such, expect all your missiles launched outside of this range to miss and consider them to be suppressing fire for a close-in shot – and if you’ve got AIM-9 and AIM-7, keep in mind that is a very close shot (less than 1 mile in a tail chase).