DCS Noobish & Excellent Questions (thoughts, ideas; no poetry)



Pretty sure that value of 180 seconds is hard coded and not alterable.


Hard coded in 2.5…when is 3.0 coming out? (Note to self: Start DCS World 3.0 requested features list.) :wink:


In the grim darkness of the far future, there is only DCS


Nah make blown tires more realistic, have tower shut the runway down, and then you wait 30 minutesfor the fire crew to make sure everything is safe and jack the aircraft up, another ten for them to change the tire, then another 40 as they towyou to your parking spot at about 3 miles per hour. You can do nothing but sit in the cockpit and wait while this happens.

(My reference is from last winter when I nearly froze to death when this exact scenario happened on landing at about 10 pm, I didn’t get out of the aircraft until well after midnight,and it was between 10-15 degrees f outside)


The Finnish army uses an assault rifle called RK-95 (and before that RK-62, the number being the design year). It uses the short Warsaw Pact 7.62mm round and accepts AK-47 magazines, however it only works one way - the RK mags won’t fit AK’s.

That’s so that an ‘hypothetical training adversary’ (who somehow always attacked from the east) wouldn’t be able to use our mags on the go but we could use theirs. Obviously getting obsolete now with 5.54mm but a neat little thing anyway :slightly_smiling_face:


I think such would hinge on what level of realism one is aiming for. In a single player campaign setting, I could see tagging as a trigger that if “part X damaged” at mission end or landing cues up a mission where you either have to fly a different aircraft to escort parts coming in or take control of a different flight to escort parts to come in and repair the aircraft, sidetracking the primary campaign. I recall Jane’s USAF had a similar mechanic where to get replacement aircraft and missiles you had to escort a ferry/cargo flight in, but picking that mission would cost you campaign progress.


Actually, I watched “them” fix the tires. The jet sort of self levitated about 3 ft off the runway, the new tires popped on, and the jet de-levitated back down…scary :scream:


And now under the heading of Noobish questions…we’ll, more like Noobish discoveries.

So I was working out some JTAC stuff…a bit unusual JTAC stuff. I’ve done the normal Blue HUMVEE sitting atop a hill and calling in a strike of armor rumbling down the road. Cool stuff.

Then I thought about the Coast Watchers of WWII and wondered if I could set up something like that using a JTAC. It didn’t work. The ship’s were clearly visible. I used combatants and MERSHIPs. Nothing.

Discovery 1: Evidently JTACs don’t see boats.

Then I tried to set up a Red JTAC. I put a couple of Red commandos (I just made them invisible) about 50 yards from a bunch of Blue armor. I set them to mark the armor with WP. When I checked in with rockets and gun, they said, “no thanks, nobody here but us comandos”…and popped the WP and took out a couple of MRLs.

Discovery 2: Red doesn’t do JTACs

A little later I wanted to set up a ground based Blue EW radar to let a couple of my strikers know when the Migs were coming to spoil the party. I did this for Red GCI and it worked well. So using the same template I set it up as a Blue (USA) site. When I went to set up it’s callsign, I noticed only JTAC callsigns. Sure enough, I could only set it up as a JTAC. It did have the EWR -a, but…

Discovery 3: Blue doesn’t do ground based EW radar…you have to fly an AWACS.


Sorry…didn’t seethe shout until just now.

First, I have never seen a fleet F-14 fly without the external tanks–so if those tanks are not loaded, upload them.

Second, the common practice is Launch, then tank to fill up before going on station,

Third, and possibly not doable in the sim, is that you fly at the"Max Conserve" speed for the altitude.

With that in mind:
CAP station assignment is dynamic, not static. A typical set up may be two CAP stations about 100 Nm from USS Boat and an Overhead CAP station with another section sitting in the cockpits on Alert-5 and couple more aircrews sitting in full flight gear down n the ready room on Alert-15.

So…if CAP 1 is vectored to engage a couple of bogies, the overhead CAP is moved to fill CAP 1. This leave the overhead CAP unmanned for the moment.

Depending the tactical situation, if fairly quiet (and that was my job to determine based on what my intel team could see of enemy activity), it may be OK to leave the overhead CAP open for a bit. As soon as the bogies are dealt with, the former CAP 1 section (now a bit lower on gas) gets reassigned to Overhead CAP where their fuel state is not as critical.

More likely, the enemy is not that quiet, CAP 2 may be vectored too. The Alert-5 section launches to fill CAP Station 1 or overhead CAP if that section pushed to CAP 1…or it might fill CAP 2, the former overhead CAP fills CAP 1 and the former CAP 1 moves to Overhead CAP for a bit, until it can land and refuel/rearm. The Alert-15’s become Alert-5s (and another couple of sections–Alert-30s–get awaken in their staterooms to go set the Alert-15 in the ready room).

CAPs can leave state temporary to tank, and depending on the tactical situation may or may not back to that station…like many things, it depends.

And so it goes. This technique requires the USS Boat to be in a “Flex Deck” condition, where they can land and recover aircraft from the current deck spotting…usually leaving a bow cat and the landing area clear…although the first Alert-5s usually wait on the waist Cats since they will launch before anybody comes back. This condition would allow the section that first engaged the bogies to come back to the boat to rearm, refuel before they get put back into the mix.

Not sure how much that can be simulated…hope that helps.


F-14A’s fuel or fuel burn is bugged in a big way because even with tanks and full gas, as well as a reduced missile load (3xAIM-7, 2xAIM-54, 2xAIM-9), they run out of fuel as soon as they hit the coastline, about 180nmi into their trip. I added a divert field to help out a bit but they abort their mission as soon as the gas runs out. I ended up replacing them with another flight of bugs which, despite using their burners a lot, don’t run out of gas. I had a problem with the second bug simply falling through the deck on the #4 cat, but it turned out I hadn’t setup the takeoff order properly, so fixed that.

It was cool though, because the one bug (crazy bastard) took on four Fulcrums by himself and took out two before he got smoked. The strikers achieved their objective in short order, but I was feeling lucky and so diverted to search for the Fulcrums myself… Caught them and missed my first 9 shot, ended up clipping him with the gun and firing a slammer into his lead while turning with the damaged MiG. He ran out of gas from the fuel leak I helped him out with and it was totally awesome… If unrealistic! Previous tests I struck and got out because I didn’t want to tangle with four MiGs. Unfortunately, this sortie turned into a bust because when I trapped on the carrier, my wingman went right in behind me and stuck his nose up my butt.

Administratively, I’m probably looking at what assets I need to put in the mission to give it a sense of authenticity. The primary mission is the strikers, with a hard min altitude limit of 8kft, soft limit of 10kft to avoid AAA and MANPADS at the target. This isn’t too difficult to achieve and the AI will do CCRP in level flight, though I can pull it off with CCIP as long as I’m careful. Flight altitude is set to 20kft for this. Where it gets hairy is whether or not the mission would be tasked like this or even defended like it; the target is an airfield parking ramp where some dreaded Backfires need to be taken out of action. Damaged or destroyed is the objective. The airfield defenses are light AAA and MANPADS, nothing real heavy but enough to discourage casual loitering over the area. I’d have to dig out some old 80s Soviet doctrine manuals my father gave me to really find out if that’d be accurate, but the strategic scenario is such that it’s less of a concentrated OPFOR effort and more of a broken up mutiny.

The CAP is supposed to search the area of interest and keep any enemy air (randomized) from interfering with the strike. That starts to become a question of whether or not that’s actually CAP or fighter sweep, which I’m unsure of. The intelligence is supposed to be spotty in this regard, as there’s a chance of either Fulcrum, Flankers, Floggers, or Fishbeds in the area. This, of course, begs the question as to whether more detailed recon would be flown prior to the strike or if satellite intel would be adequate; the strategic setup is such that the Backfires represent a known threat to the carrier group that must be destroyed before the carrier group can press forward. I figure it would actually be a scenario for PGMs and probably F-14Ds, but since that’s not an option and the bug doesn’t have PGMs yet, dumb munitions get the nod.

So, long story short is I’ve got a two ship CAP flight to deal with possible air threats to the two ship strikers, backed up by a AWACS and refueler, both of which hang way back from the target area. Do I need to toss in an escort for the AWACS and refueler, or are they good to go? They stay within the protective umbrella of the carrier group, a good 100nmi from the coastline, but I’m unsure if they would not have escorts even in those conditions. Some consideration must be given to the player(s) focus, but anything that can help with overall immersion is the goal.

My next question in regards to DCS would be weather settings. I’d like sparse clouds over the target area, but thus far I can only get weather at the carrier and as soon as I’m 50nmi away, the clouds are gone and it’s very sparse. Is there any guide or details on how to set up weather, static or dynamic, in particular areas or for the mission as a whole?


How high and how fast were they cruising, and how had you configured your engagement ROE?

I ran a mission last night with F-14s with the same load out that had a 10 minute marshal orbit, then a 150nm-ish run in to the target area with combat along the way, a 15 minute orbit with another fight, and they were able to make it all the way back to the boat. (This is not to say that fuel levels/consumption for older models isn’t bugged, because it definitely is. looks angrily at CH-53E)


Cruise speed set to 270 at first, later set to 320; altitude 25kft. ROE is weapons free, engage at will. Given what the bugs were doing, could it be they just ran burner for too fast, too long? I still think there’s an issue with the F-14’s fuel consumption or quantity because the bugs didn’t give up as soon as they hit the coast, but if there’s a way to get the F-14s to work the way they should then I’d probably swap back to them, unless this mission is a good candidate for a 4 ship multiplayer scenario.


Two things possibly come to mind. One is there is an issue with DCS AI where if they’re set too slow they use more gas, because they’re constantly riding a stall and trying to use burner to get out, but not accelerating enough to actually leave the stall. DCS AI is very smart.

I generally run AI at between 450 and 550 Knots GS above 20,000. That works out to between 300 and 400 KIAS, which is a comfortable cruise speed.

The other problem I can think of is what they’re allowed to engage and when. The default CAP and Fighter Sweep tasks that get auto set when you assign that role have the fighter instantly committing (I.E. lighting burners, pointing the bad guy, and going to space today) on whatever enemy aircraft it can see. With an AWG-9 and AWACS support, the AI F-14 can see bandits a loooooong ways away, and will happily start burning towards targets > 150NM distant. Obviously this is going to negatively effect their range.

You can fix this by changing the enroute CAP task, to a enroute “Search Than Engage” task. That allows you to select what sort of targets the aircraft will attack, and most importantly, at which range it will commit to the attack. I use around 50NM.


Thanks, I’ll give it a go next run around. I’d already set the bugs to not start their task until they get closer to the coast, so I’ll try and get them to hit the tanker at a certain point then go forth with the CAP. If they quit using burners, I’ll put the F-14s back and see if they do any better under those settings.


Also, techs in hi-viz jackets walk around and stand next to eachother talking about how to best fix this and inspect the damage. Obviously with a cup of coffee nearby!


I’d like to add that now the F-14s will properly perform their CAP, but they burn a lot of gas in a dogfight and one ends up diverting while the other hits the tanker. Fortunately, they do this after their mission is complete, so there’s that.

Also, per my weather problem: dynamic weather is pretty much required if one wants to have cloud cover over the entire region (without going to pure overcast).


Sounds like you fixed the fuel issue. However, 180 Nm is way to far from USS Boat. If CAP, about the max is 100 Nm; 75 Nm is more likely in a coastal situation.

Real World min altitude to stay out of AAA/MANPAD threat is 10K ft AGL…emphasis on the AGL (you would be surprised how many strike planners forget that)

We would likely use Tomahawk for that kind of strike…but what would be the fun of that in DCS?! If you are dropping CCRP, type of munition is important, as is your aimpoints. If they are on the ramp, all lined up, great. First you need to measure the length of that line and the distance between parked aircraft. (the technical term for this is “image mensuration”).

The distance between aircraft will determine type of munition based on blast/frag effect radius. If they Russians are smart…well if they were smart they wouldn’t have lined the Backfires up…they have spaced them far enough that MK-82s may not have enough boom if one lands near half-way between two aircraft. Check MK-84s blast/frag radius. Hopefully it will do the trick. (I have never seen a Mk-83 in the fleet so I would skip them for realism) If MK-84s won’t work, assign more strike aircraft to that line of targets. If stuck with one aircraft we will need to go with cluster weapons…more on that later.

Given your type of munition, note the max number you can carry.

Take the total distance you measured and divide it by the number of bombs that you can carry. That will give you your interval. BTW, the interval will not match up with Backfire placement, unless you were planning 1 bomb per Backfire…not optimal for a good Pk.

Assume MK-84s. If the interval is smaller than their blast/frag radius, then you have your answer. Your aimpoint is the first Backfire in the line.

If the interval is larger than their blast/frag radius…Re-mensurate the image to get the distance from the midpoint between the first two target planes to the midpoint between the last two target planes. Divide this by number of bombs. Check newly calculated interval against MK-84 blast/frag radius. If blast/frag ≥ interval, MK-84s will work (but at a lower Pk). In this case, the aimpoint is that spot, mid distance between the first two target aircraft.

If blast/frag ≤ interval, take a look at cluster munitions. Hopefully you can carry more than MK-84s. Regardless, recalculate the interval then with HOB to get large enough bomblet coverage areas to cover the entire line. If that still won’t work, beg for another strike jet.

Its a fighter sweep. Should go through about 5 minutes before the strike. Another tactic is to send the fighter sweep through an area near (20-50 Nm) the target about 2 minutes before the strike to draw the enemy fighters away from the target area.

If proper Intelligence Preparation of the Battle Space (IPBS) has been conducted, there will be intel of what is at what base; types and numbers, with a fairly good degree of accuracy (depending on hw long we’ve looked at the area). What you may not know, because it is a dynamic/fluid situation, is what aircraft are airborne at any given moment. Intel and the AWACS/E-2C do their best to let all know what’s going on.

What intel can do is let you know what bases have aircraft on strip alert; numbers and type of aircraft on alert. Assume 2 minute between first detection of Blue aircraft entering the area until the alerts start to launch (it would likely be 5 minutes but could be as low as 2 minutes). That will tell you what and when your fighter sweep is likely to encounter the bad guys (and give you a better idea on how to size that package). It may also tell you what enemy fighters will not be able to react in time to intercept the strike package…but can they catch up to the package on its egress?

In this case, you want the F-14s as CAP since they employ the AIM-54. Obviously you want the strike to take to the Backfires. Failing that, the F-14 CAPs come into play. In this situation, I would “honor” the AS-4 threat and move the carrier way out of range–call it 400 Nm from the shore. Push the F-14 CAPs out to at 100 Nm. E-2C/AWACs positioned so they can see the TU-22Ms taking off–that may require an escort. Use Hornets.

F-14 load out should be 2-2-4 (2 AIM-9, 2 AIM-7 on the wing rails, 4 AIM-54 in the “tunnel”) 2-3 CAP Stations down the threat axis, one overhead, 3 Alert-5 (two and a spare). The idea is to “Shoot the archer, not the arrow” so getting the Backfires before they hit AS-4 range will require long range Phoenix shots.

Remember that this is a team sport. One CG–the Shotgun"–will be positioned 2-5 Nm from the carrier and one CG pushed about 50-75 Nm down the threat axis. In the real world we would deconflict the MEZs from the FEZs but DCS never does Blue-on-Blue so…

All that said…that’s a lot of planes in the air. You will need a lot of gas in the air. Hopefully our good USAF buddies can spare a few tankers to help out the S-3s. The tanking plan will need a lot of work. I imagine in DCS they just head to the nearest tanker…so positioning tankers for CAP stations will be critical. As will vectoring a couple of tankers for the egressing strikers and fighter sweep jets.


Kinda/sorta fixed it; they still run out of gas way too soon. I’ll retask them as fighter sweep, though I’m not sure if that will change their behavior much.

The target airfield is pretty close to the coastline, but I was keeping that in mind, partly because in testing the MANPADS wouldn’t engage until about 6kft ASL.

I figured a handwave of “Black Sea, no way will any parties let the Tomahawks fly,” but that handwaves a lot of other things too, so…

Two jets can pack 6 Mk84s between them, so they could in theory blow one on each Backfire, but I don’t trust the AI well enough with that task. I’ve ran the mission with 4xMk83s for each jet, taking an extra couple of Mk82s or a Mk84 on the centerline. I’ve tried 3xMk84s which allows me to pickle between each Backfire and typically results in enough damage to all six jets for mission success, even if they aren’t completely destroyed. Additional damage done by my wingman (iz hard to get him to do things in a very specific manner) usually results in one or two more destroyed targets; otherwise, just having them damaged to the point that their wings get blown off is adequate for this scenario. Rockeyes might be a better choice, but I’d need to be able to play with the fusing to get a larger area/spread, which I’m not sure if we can do in the bug yet.

Yes, the Russians in this case aren’t the bestest ever, clustering their Backfires so close together. I guess they all wanted to get the crews in as soon as the flag went up!

The F-14s performed well last night when I tried it, they took out every last MiG that showed up – even finished one off with the gun! Only issue was that they ran out of fuel and one went for the divert field while the other went for the tanker, sucked all the gas out of it, and flew endlessly around the boat for some reason. Tanker did the same, too.

Given what you’re telling me about intel, I’ll need to revise the scenario with that in mind. I’m using randomized modifiers in order to make it a bit different every time, so some additional variables are always a good thing.

So, I’m looking at these changes:

  • Additional F-14s to run CAP
  • Additional F-18s to run escort for the tankers and AWACS
  • Additional tanker support – thinking Turkish KC-135, maybe even Ukrainian IL-78 for a “Black Sea” feel
  • Additional escort for the other tanker
  • Dictating refueling for aircraft midway to the area of interest and refueling on the way back – not sure how to get my own wingman to do this as there’s no refuel order for him
  • Pull the carrier back a bit more, if possible
  • I’ve limited the carrier escort to just two ships, as a play toward treaty restrictions (yeah, I know), so will set them up to defend possible axis of attack


So, changes made:

  • Distance to target set to 420nmi.
  • KC-135BDA added with F-4s escorting. Basket is bugged, I got “connected” to the basket at 5ft below it, taking on a bit of fuel before I lost my reference point. Will have to replace with a different tanker; might do the Ukrainian IL-78 instead.
  • S-3B had about 5klb of gas for me before he gave up and RTB’d.
  • F-14s ran out of gas when they hit the coast, causing them to turn around and either divert or try and hit the KC-135BDA. One hit the KC-135 just fine, then went back to the mission area and followed waypoints, not encountering fighters (I did, but evaded them to hit the target).
  • Used 6 Rockeyes and yes, you can set burst height. Set for 500 and pickled one for each Backfire. Two or three went short but the remainder damaged all the Backfires, with one totally destroyed. I don’t think the interval function works.
  • Wingman didn’t engage target, instead turned around and went to waypoint 3, then rejoined me. He was probably huffing glue.
  • Because I couldn’t get the fuel I wanted, ended up trapping on the carrier with 2500lbs left. I was fortunate that the S-3B had that extra 5000lbs on him, but not sure how my wingman managed to do it without running completely empty. Perhaps because I had to make several attempts as the northern wind kept pushing me off course, and I arrived at the carrier with 6000lbs left.


  • AI sucks hard with gas. Doubling the distance from the target really threw them out of whack. I’m not sure the S-3B can provide the gas necessary now, unless I can find a way to get it to refuel from the alternate tanker. I also really need to get the F-14s to hit a tanker if I want them to have any hope of doing their mission.
  • Rockeyes work good, but I’m questioning whether or not they’d be used at an airfield so close to a populated area. There’s basically a town/city surrounding the airfield. Not that Mk84s have any narrower of a blast radius…
  • Would a 800nmi round trip flight be considered long distance? It’s something different for sure and I do enjoy it. There’s a sense of urgency when one gets to the target and wondering whether or not any enemy fighters will show up. Need to add a potential response to the strike to top it off.
  • Stretching the limits of disbelief with a Black Sea scenario. I’m starting to regret the choice of location, though I started with good intentions to begin with.

In closing, if I can figure out how to get the AI to refuel from a tanker (especially my own wingman), I should be able to conquer most of the big issues with this particular scenario.

  • Unless something has changed in the last patch, you can set HOF, but they will always burst at 1500 AGL.
  • Wingmen won’t engage targets unless you give the flight an bombing/attack unit/attack group task, or something of the sort.
  • A USAF agressor IL-78 gives you all the gas, but with a “NATO” callsign instead of that numeric slav trash.