DCS Mission Talk - PVE Capture the Base Incursion

As just starting to get back up to speed, wanted to chat about various ways to achieve stuff with some tactics. Using the Stoic Frog (you wish! :wink:) PvE server that @BeachAV8R found the other night. Here’s the top level objectives of that server mission:

Here’s an overview of the map, with the carrier group I’ve spawned on to the left:

Here’s a SA with datalink, and the AWACs providing tracks while I’m on the ground:

Here’s a declutter’d SA, so we can get a look at the emitters:

Finally, map SA view

So questions for the gallery:

  • What’s the 30 circle?

  • Say I wanted to start off with some S/DEAD and throw some HARMs, what do I go for first and what do I need to know? I should go look up range/height info on the 15, 8, 6 SA stuff? I’m not sure where to start at what’s best to kill initially.

  • There is an enemy CAP over the shore, which I think is M2000 and the like. How is best to approach a SEAD when I know they’ll turn in and intercept me? Do I bring a mix of 120C’s and try to coax them towards the carrier first. My usual (and probably flawed) approach here is to do the following ‘F-Pole’ stuff:

  1. Get fast and high, like FL350 above.
  2. Get into maximum range and then sum. Hopefully high closure speeds between us, but I’m higher/faster.
  3. Launch and then go abeam while tracking (Crank). So once launched I drop the throttle and go to a slow dive to the left, but keeping the guidance tracking at about 30 degrees+ offset.
  4. Wait for TTG and the missile to self-guide pitball.
  5. Turn away into a 90 degree with their emitters on my EW, so I notch - I tend to climb up while doing this, and out of habit dump chaff before going full 90.
  6. Keep the circle left, pumping away a bit, and see if I got a hit or not. If I didn’t then extend away and goto 1.

Any tweaks or suggestions to this F-Pole approach?

  • Is it best to try to clear out some CAP before bothering with SEAD? So two flights?

  • Could I use the carrier group to help? It’s harder to do it as a single plane, but I imagine the ideal would be to do the above fast/crank/notch/pump/repeat but then have someone come into the circle just as they turn away?

Anyway, I’m just starting to remember how to work all the buttons, so it’s more the tactics talk and chewing the cud I am interested in.

After I can kill the CAP and IADS then I guess I can go bomb stuff and capture bases?


Sounds like fun. Your BVR tactics look sound. However, as a single ship you will be easily defended, so you could end up having to go to the merge. Better bring a buddy to make the red CAP’s life more complicated and inflict some significant emotional events on them.

AFAIK the SA-15 can defend HARMs with a countershot. So you’ll have to empty it with a massive volley or use some different weapon. Say a volley of unguided rockets from a fast low level attack.


Yep, good point and that does happen. If I’m just by myself then I’m trying to avoid the merge and using the carrier group behind me as sort of a safe zone to pump back to.

For the HARMs I’ll give it go with the nearest SA-15 and maybe try a couple first. I haven’t tried a low level rockets on an SA-15 for a long time - but worried that if I come in over the sea then I’m basically sucking waves until pop-up. I think I’m gonna die. :slight_smile:

In looking around at SA symbols, maybe that circle ‘30’ is a waypoint? Seems like a big number, but maybe.

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I believe that’s your selected waypoint. It’s actually a circled 0 (WYPT 0) that happens to be very close to an SA-3.

On the SA page, you can cursor over L16 tracks and it’ll show you the aircraft type - if available. If type hasn’t been solved (I’m not exactly sure how DCS simulates this), it’ll show unknown. If they’re fighters, they’ll need to be addressed. If they’re ground attack jets, like SU-25s, they’re not really much concern for what you’re doing. Definitely recommend at least loading the cheek stations with AA weapons so you can self protect.

Problem with this is I don’t know how quickly the server would replace the flight you killed. It could respawn them while you’re re-arming. Best bet would be to handle it yourself with a mixed loadout or take a buddy.

That screenshot looks like it’s pretty early on for the mission and it’d definitely be tough by yourself. As @schurem mentioned, some of those systems will be anti-PGM capable and able to shoot down incoming munitions. You may be able to get one through in a volley but expect multiple attacks to bring down a layered defense like that.


Threat Guide:


Thanks @boomerang10 - good stuff!

Apologies, I read this originally on my phone and thought it was the Hoggit server.

Most of what I said still applies but I’ll edit out the Hoggit specific info.

Sorry for the mixup!


Yeah, no worries - I was checking out the hoggit CGI, that looks nice and I don’t think the one I used had that.

That hoggit threat DB is really nice and concise - ideal for what I was looking for.

I’ll go check to see if the E2 is id’ing those tracks and give try to pick off one of those SA-15’s SA-6’s with HARMs. I did shoot a couple down before, and they were M2000, so I think I at least have longer reach advantage with the 120C’s unless I screw up the approach.

For the waypoint, thanks - yep, I see the range circle around the SA-3 now. Cool.

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I did exactly that. All though with my full load of A2G ordnance I was a slow boat as I scurried back to the protection of the fleet. It was nice to see those Standard (?) missiles firing up off the escorts. Of course, I was feeling all greedy and once they started firing I turned back to engage (once an M2000C and once a MiG-29) and both times I ate a missile.

I still haven’t figured out what key on my HOTAS is the chaff/flares…

I did have good success later in the campaign sneaking in under the SAM rings without being detected. I’d say ideally it would be good to go in in MP with a competent CAP flight in an F-14 or an aircraft with a SPAMRAAM loadout.

I don’t know the specifics of that SFrog server mission - like how it works, when it resets, and how much “object permanence” there is (can SAM sites be repaired by the enemy…squadrons be replenished…etc…). There is a lot of “mystery” to some of these servers…it would be really cool if they were constructed in a similar fashion to Arma Liberation type campaigns where you might only get one counterattack, but if you beat that off you pretty much can keep the sector.

I’d like to explore a permanent Mudspike server on my box running a long-running campaign, but I’d have to learn the ins and outs of managing it first. I should have a good bit more time coming up soon with unloading of some of my other projects outside of my normal job and Mudspike. Yay!


Yes, it’s interesting. I think it resets on a day/night cycle, as I was in the pitch black just now and it said ‘1 hour till reset’ so some sort of faster than real-time recycle of the mission.

I managed to take out the nearest SA-6 (the BDA red thing came up with ‘KUB-1591 destroyed by AGM-88 etc’) by firing them at about 25nm at FL400 at a decent mach. I fired 4 88’s at various distances and it seems their slant range isn’t fantastic, either that or they were shot down (hard to tell, pitch black out). I wasn’t sure if I should wait until I get locked up or not, but I imagine if it was active that would help a lot. Interestingly I had to keep clicking the RAID button (whatever the one called to swap the TDC on the HARM page) as the SA-3 was a higher threat, so it wanted me to go for that first. With that SA-6 out it creates a nice hole to start making runs at an airfield nearby as well.

I didn’t get any interceptors come out, as in they came ‘hot’ and I got an AWACs BRA call out but then they sort of lost in interest. Once I had no HARMs I was back to the boat anyway on my Brave Sir Robin ROE. :slight_smile:

Because it was midnight on the server I had to Case 3 in the blackness the landing, and that’s never relaxing. I bolter’d the first one and sort of lost patience a bit and did a quick turn back into the groove and then hit the back of the boat - determined not to skip the last wire again. I was all good on the approach, the TACAN and ILS and was needle following fine, but just wasn’t used to how it looks in the dark like that. Oops.

Also, the carrier launch at night is kind of odd - the deck crew can’t be seen, so the poor ‘shooter’ was spinning his arms like crazy but I couldn’t see him (even with a blinding landing light on just to see). Hopefully the supper gets updated night lighting soon.

A server sounds great, but now I can run DCS again I’m sort of keen for anything. We need to get you set up to at least manually drop some bits of metal foil though. :fireworks:

EDIT: Yep, I’m flinging HARMs but they seem pretty inaccurate if it isn’t lighting me up - as in I can see the emitter but they seem reluctant to keep lock, so it doesn’t guide the last part. I remember @Wes and I doing some sort of ‘you annoy them from this direction and I’ll shoot from here’ thing, so will probably be better like that? I am meant to be using TOO mode right?


TOO mode is recommended as SP will try to move to a priority threat.

Ideally right now under TOO mode you use the filters to narrow the selection down the the type of threat you seek to hit.

There are filters for friendly and hostile systems, and then sub filters for AAA, Gen 1 SAM, Gen 2 SAM etc - those are the main ones I use.

HARM has decent range and high altitude and speed means you had a good setup, but with TOO you don’t know range, but for anything shy of SA-10 if it is lighting you up you are close enough more or less with that setup.

They may use a shutdown script like the one @Franze started - it checks for a HARM and if it sees one with a target that equals one of the SAMs that is it coded to cover, it tells them to shut down (ALARM GREEN, ROE HOLD) to simulate smart crews. A few minutes later they turn back on. The chance of shutting down is another variable. The result is the SAM may turn off, so the missile will miss. If it does turn off you have a short window to strike the site, assuming you know where it is and there are no additional defenses.

Also SA-15, SA-10, SA-19 (I think) can attack incoming munitions, the 15 and 19 being shorter ranged you may not see them pop up from your HARM range as it’s outside their range and therefore interest.

SA-11 is also nasty because each launcher also has a radar, in addition to the main search radar.

HARM doesn’t always kill radars or launchers (SA-11) but can damage some enough to disable the radar - but it also may not do quite enough damage.


It will be interesting to see how well the new Pre-Briefed (PB) mode will work, as that looks like it is coming up in 2.7 for the Hornet? DCS: F/A-18C Hornet | New HARM Modes - YouTube

PB sounds like a good match for what I’m trying to do, and I guess I can enter in a waypoint for it. Not sure until we get it how offset to make the waypoint or not, but it’ll be fun trying it out.


The thought is it won’t work with the script because at launch the missile has no target. It picks that in-flight. So it fits the mission well as a counter to the script.

HARM shooters take the shot over the shoulder of the strikers, and then as they close in and trigger the SAMs, the HARMs pick up the radars and hit them before they can cause trouble, and since the strikers don’t have to turn tail - the radar’s stay locked and available as targets to the HARM.


In case of a mission designed with S/DEAD in mind, the designer should include rough waypoints to the sites anyway as PB is part of a well planned sortie, rather than TOO which is quite literal in name - in fact, all three modes are named quite literally in terms of usage.


Ironically enough, after I wrote this I was reviewing the Tacview from the PGAW session I did earlier today and found something interesting.

Looks like one of the other players merged with a SU-25 and it did not go well for him. Perhaps I should have worded it as

Not sure how the Frogfoot cued up an Archer at 46 degrees off the nose …


Ah, that’s a good idea - I need to turn back on the track log and do some TacViewer stuff.

So far I’m finding the defending CAP is pretty easy to lead into the carrier group, and then they get mashed hard. It seems to take a while for replacements to appear, which helps the DEAD efforts.


So @BeachAV8R and I gave this a bit more of a go tonight. Some notes, even though I think a lot of this is super amateur hour for the more experienced DCS people here, it was fun for us. :baby:

The DEAD mission plan of one guy goes in high and gets locked up and then bugs out and the other lags back and releases HARMs worked really well. As the ‘power of mspaint compels me’ it looked a bit like this:

So @BeachAV8R is the literal number 2 here, and is heading straight in high and fast.

I’m offset to the left, lower (FL200) and out of range of the SA-6, so just sort of waiting until I hear @BeachAV8R call out he’s annoying them.

#2 gets locked up, sort of watches missiles come up and then high tails it out at full AB.

#1 fiddles with his RAID/FOV selection and lets go two AGM-88Cs - Magnum etc.

We took out two SA-6’s this way with no problems (the one with the arrows plus the one North West of it), and it allows a big gap in the mission to go bomb stuff from up high or tackle the bad guy CAP.



That was great fun, although I am quite incompetent with the Hornet. I can drive it around the sky and carrier OK, but system-wise I’m definitely in the weeds. Thanks to @fearlessfrog for his patience in getting me to hit the right switches. I definitely still have some HOTAS mapping to do since I noticed one my my coolie L/R switches causes my rudder to swing back and forth - quite inconvenient!

We had great fun - first round we tried luring some enemy CAP flights off the coast to try some scenarios where one or the other would drag the enemy in one direction or another to allow one of us a shot. Unlike other times on this server, the enemy wasn’t really taking the bait and was content to stay within their SAM coverage. I’m not sure if there is any AI logic in seeing two opposing fighters versus one - but they weren’t as aggressive as I would normally see as a single-ship when I played died on the server previously.

It isn’t very helpful that I also don’t have a clue about the Hornet radar modes - so I was mostly the bait in our two-ship scenario. Which suited me fine…!

I got shot down by a MiG-29, so on our next sortie we loaded up with HARMs to do what Frog outlined above - put a big hole in the enemy SAM net along the coast. We (well, I) don’t know much about the mission construct as far as how it works with persistent damage. My assumption would be the SA-6 sites we destroyed stay destroyed for at least some amount of time on the server. It would be interesting to know exactly when and if the SA page gets updated with the removal of threats as you move from session to session in that MP server. At the very least, the F10 map (though a cheat) does get updated.

The SA-6 is probably one of my favorite sites to “dance” with. The missiles engage from far enough away that you can play with them a bit, and they are also very visible to the naked eye coming up and pushing over…which is a bonus for seeing how your maneuvers affect their trajectory. It was enjoyable to try to stay locked up (as the target) for as long as possible while Frog’s HARMs were on the way. I’m sure a human radar operator would know exactly what the ploy is there based on the radar picture - so this is definitely a trick to get the AI to keep emitting.

It was also fun to learn some of the switches in the Hornet - again, thanks to Frog I discovered I never had my ALR thingy on (no wonder it was so quiet!) and I also wasn’t sharing any data with no data-link on. I was able to do basic carrier operations OK, and was happy to plug the tanker on the first try while Frog was down rearming his Hornet. While the Supercarrier is not fully fleshed out, I do find it enormously fun to do the basic operations of takeoffs and landings.

I could see the Hornet as being the plane I could actually settle into learning to a much deeper level. It is quite fun and capable…and looks awesome in VR. Frog and I were still giggling like school-children at the fact that we can see each other’s heads moving in VR as we each checked out one another’s jets prior to launching. Fun stuff. And definitely incentive to get my server box up and running a persistent Mudspike mission/campaign of some sort. That will come in the near future…!


I really need to get to this headspace. I’ve given it a couple of half-hearted go’s but it’s a whole new level of complexity…and I guess I’m a bit weird in that I really like older cockpits and aircraft with quirky handling, so the fairly clinical initial impression doesn’t draw me in.

I think I just need to push through my own resistance to a level where I can start attempting carrier stuff and then the dynamic challenge of that will keep me entertained through the switchology classes…

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I always fancied getting into the Harrier more - I think it is a plane with a cool factor that is unsurpassed (am I right @Deacon211 ??) The Hornet feels more generic for sure…but is really capable (or so I’ve heard…because it isn’t very capable in my hands…haha…). Driving it around the boat is honestly so much fun though. Landing the Tomcat is more of a challenge and perhaps a bit more rewarding, but the Hornet is a blast. It is great we have so many cool airframes to choose from at this point.


Absolutely - what an issue to have! :smiley:

Agreed - I got reasonably proficient with the Harrier for a good while and it was that quirkiness of it that drew me in and kept me interested.

The thing is - with limited sim hours, it would be really nice to be proficient in an aircraft that is versatile and capable, so you’re not really limited by the mission and you can do different stuff if you get bored of one type of gameplay.

I’d say the Hornet is the best in this regard - air-to-air, air-to-ground, S/DEAD, anti-ship, carrier ops, air to air refuelling…it can sure do a lot of stuff. Just need to get to the level where you’re battling the enemy and not the computer interface first!

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