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



There was a definite difference in Rockeye burst pattern this time, I’m sure of it. It was also way different from where it normally hits under CCIP.

Wingman, in the past when the distance was shorter, would engage the targets with “Engage mission and rejoin” command – I set six “attack map object” points for the attack waypoint and while he took his sweet time, he’d pickle bombs off and take out a couple targets. This go around, he just went full stupid.

Don’t mind the Ukrainian alternate name for the IL-78, keeps it authentic. Plus, I can put it on a northerly route and protect it with Flankers – making for fun stuff for IFF!


That got my hopes up, but I just tested it and it’s still hard coded at 1500 AGL. Bare in mind that the speed of the bomb effects the area of the bomblet spread. If you’re in trucking in a steep dive when you pickle the bomb is going to be moving faster, and the bomblets will have less time to disperse, thus a smaller pattern. This will happen just about any time you drop using CCIP at the moment. More shallow deliveries in AUTO will create wider spreads.


It must just be my imagination, but I was pickling from 20-15kft in a straight dive in CCIP mode with no power and the brakes applied.

Also: found out S-3Bs will not refuel from any aircraft. Once they’re out of gas, they’re out of gas. Bummer! I’m not sure if it’s worth it to keep the S-3B in the mission now; if they can’t offload enough gas for at least a pair of bugs, they’re useless.


This is a very interesting project! In my long ramble I was providing the gist of US Joint targeting doctrine and a few techniques, plus our Cold War tactics for fleet defense…basically 29 years of doing this work all mashed together. Seeing that hit the simulated world and a lot of it actually working is pretty cool, as is finding sensible workarounds for the stuff that is not quite the same. Some more ramblings:

Actually you are spot on! Tomahawks flying into the Black Sea might start WW III…but so would sending carrier in…I am now pressing the “I Believe” button and pressing on. :slightly_smiling_face:

For @Franze this is just fine since you want a nice wide/long dispersal pattern. That said, hopefully the Hornet will be able to set HOB at a later upgrade.

I think there is a couple of settings that tells the AI to do only one pass and use All bombs. I set this for a couple of B-52s - 1 loaded to max MK-84 and 1 max with MK-82. The MK-84 B-52 took outfits targets on the ramp and then some. The MK-82 bird had a runway attack mission…it plastered it from end to end.

This is an issue. You have heard me say several times that it is “Gas in the Air” that wins air campaigns. Another way to look at it is the old military saying that “Novices study tactics; experts study logistics” A normal strike/Mig sweep mission will hit the taker going in and coming out…enough gas for the fight / strike and enough gas to get home. If you can’t tell your wingman to “take a drink”…sacrifice bombs for tanks or make sure he has a rubber raft.

Not sure if it is molded…ITRW wingmen use more gas than the lead since the lead sets his throttles and leaves them set, whereas the wingman if forced to make periodic throttle corrections to keep him in place…which may be why DCS wingmen default to a 2 Nm spread.

Still they do seem to run out of gas more often than I do. For example, this unfortunate Viggen wingman ran out of gas on short final…

…the debrief said he ejected safely.

Exactly! You will likely know what aircraft you will face, but when and where? Are they setting CAP or relying on Strip Alert today? Does Strip Alert duty rotate between bases?…so you attack on a Wednesday to learn that the Flankers have the duty tonight; last night it was the Fishbed. How good are the pilots at Base A as compared to Base B? Lots of real world things can be randomized in the sim and will appear very realistic, once yo have a good intel baseline. (BTW, these are questions that Intel tries to answer - they are normally part of the Commanders Priority Intelligence Requirements - PIRs)

One of the reason my wingman ran out of fuel might have been that he never shot his missiles at the targets (ships) despite my trying every radio command…taking heavy missiles with a lot of drag for a ride–and not staying on my wing as we RTB’d…go figure.

No and yes. In the Cold War, any strike into Soviet territory like hitting the Kola peninsula, would be at least that long. Likewise, when we were supporting ops in Afghanistan, it was a long flight to-from the battle area. So in a way we are used to it. Which doesn’t mean that if we do not have to honor a long range ASCM (air, surface or subsurface launch) we wouldn’t put the carrier in closer. I’ve done exercises where you could make out the coast line in the distance.

Did you put wing tanks on the “Hoovers”? (S-3Bs…because they sound and suck in air like a vacuum cleaner) If so, they should have been able to give more gas. Maybe something that can be worked through with some scripting…give them unlimited fuel but make them RTB after 8-10 refuels?


In this case, the carrier is let in under the “humanitarian” reasons. Oh sure, we all know that’s not what it’s really about, but it’s plausible! Also, means only two escort ships.

The settings are in place at least, which is better than the Harrier which doesn’t let you change anything right now – and the Harrier will probably make greater use of Mk20s, anyways!

I need to see if that’s an option for the bugs. I know the B-52s and other bombers will do it, but I’m not sure if I’d have to change the mission type.

The Harrier has a radio command to tell your wingman to get gas, so I can only guess that the bug just doesn’t have it yet. A script might be necessary as an alternative to force the AI to get fuel, because I know I can set a waypoint task for it. He’s actually pretty good with his gas, just that the other AIs aren’t. If he would drop his bombs properly as he did in previous sorties, it’d all be good, but I can’t explain why the longer distance causes him to turn around and go to waypoint 3 instead of doing his mission. The only reason I didn’t throw three bags on the aircraft was I didn’t want to have to make a custom loadout, so I picked from the available ground attack loadouts which were a pair of winders, two bags, and either Mk83s or Mk84s on the outer stations. Given the distance, it might be a better move on the whole. Four Rockeyes is actually more than adequate to cover all the Backfires on the ramp.

I’ll probably see if I can’t put together an alternate radio command to tell my wingman to get gas, if I can get the tanking situation figured out.

Good info and we’re lucky that we can randomize a lot of these things, to include pilot skill. The only part I don’t like is that AI pilot skill (according to documentation) determines countermeasure effectiveness, which is total bunk. The flip side is that at least it’s possible to catch the AI unaware, so there’s that.

S-3B tanker has a wing tank and buddy pod by default, don’t think we can change that. I’m thinking about respawning it later once it gets to the refuel route to give it fresh gas, if I can get some idea of how much it should have when on station. I need it to have at least 5klbs.

More later, gotta run.


So, continuing on:

The S-3B in the game is positively ancient, along with the F-14A. I believe the models can traced back to Flanker 2.0. Given what I’ve seen, I believe that both aircraft likely have incorrect fuel burn rates or incorrect fuel capacity. I’m no whiz on burn rates or how far the S-3B should realistically go, but 200nmi from the carrier shouldn’t burn up 13,000lbs of gas – or at least, I’d hope not! By this point, the bugs have burned about ~3,000lbs, depending on throttle management. For a two ship, logically there should be enough to allow them to hit the tanker once to the target area, though I’ve no idea how much the F-14s would need – I would figure about the same as the bugs. In that instance, offloading 12,000lbs should allow for the tanker to return to the carrier, gas up, and launch again to fuel the returning package. I’m basing this off the calculation of JP-8 weight @ 6.7lb per gallon, multiplied by the S-3B’s internal cap of ~1900gal with a single 300gal external tank and buddy pod, which yields a max fuel weight of 14740lbs.

I don’t know if the buddy pod can carry additional gas, but I do know the S-3B didn’t have a real high fuel consumption (figures I’ve seen estimate about ~1500lbs per hour), so 2,700lbs of fuel should be enough for it to fly out, pass gas, and get home with enough in reserve and for emergencies – especially considering that the midpoint is ~200nmi from the boat. Yeah, it’s not ideal; as an alternative, I could throw in two S-3Bs to handle the tanking duties rather than rely on one… But I’ve no idea if such would be available, especially considering the risks of potentially leaving the wing without tactical refueling in event of problems with two limited, high-use assets. The alternative is either the KC-130 (make-believe it’s an H or T, circa '00s) or IL-78, since the KC-135BDA is currently bugged (in theory, I could use the 135, but it’s tricky with the drogue contact point being separate from the visual model). The only issue I have with these is they’re not organic assets, which I’m trying to roll with in this scenario. Hence, my preferred solution is the IL-78, as the flight route is closer to Crimea than Turkey (as this is '00, not '14, Crimea is still part of Ukraine for this scenario). This isn’t an entirely realistic solution either, but ya gotta do what ya gotta do. Call it CIA passing some bits of equipment and money under the table for a clandestine solution due to strategic implications keeping the USAF from employing their own refuelers.

I wish that the S-3B had a proper in-flight refueling capability because my first solution would be to have the S-3B hit a Turkish KC-135BDA (since the AI doesn’t have issues using the invisi-drogue), then passing that gas to the package as required, but since the S-3B doesn’t have that capability I’m out of options. I could also simply spawn a S-3B at the midpoint when the package gets there, but it’s not my favored solution to the problem, nor does it defeat the existing issue of either capacity or fuel burn on the part of the asset. Plus, having an alternate tanker on standby adds an option that is really needed given the number of fuel-hungry assets in operation.

The tanker issues aside, I ran into another rather annoying problem, that of spawning additional carrier assets. I had previously set the AWACS/tanker escorts to spawn after the player leaves the boat, but you apparently can’t spawn assets on the carrier like that, even if all the assets are not on the boat. They never spawn, even after trigger conditions are met. In the interim, I simply started them off as flying, but once again I don’t really like having to do things that way. It would seem that once you fill the catapults and have two in the parking area, no more can be added or spawned to the carrier – period! I don’t know if this is anything that will be modified in the future, but I certainly hope we’ll be able to spawn late arrival assets as needed on the carrier like this, otherwise we’re really, really, really artificially capped for trying to simulate a lot of scenarios.

In closing, we really need a lot more carrier assets for time periods from 1980-2005. KA-6D, EA-6B, A-6E for 1980-1994, improved F-14A/B/D for the entire 25 year span, C-2 (double on that one, C-2s are important, though in the interim E-2Ds can fudge it), improved S-3Bs and possibly the inclusion of S-3As (not essential), HH-60H for the late-80s SAR, SH-3 for early SAR, and probably a few others that I’m not thinking of right now. We are extremely deficient when it comes to naval assets on this part, both in BLUFOR and OPFOR, but that’s kinda outside the scope of this scenario.

It’s pretty obvious that DCS has been made outside of the scope of this (especially if we consider that Russian thinking is on the tactical situation far more than the strategic stuff), but with the bug, Harrier, and F-14 in the pipe, it starts to become an essential piece of the puzzle. Otherwise, we pretty much end up with a USN carrier in the Black Sea (which already stretches the limits of reality), set to give a few isolated Navy fanboys a place to fly from that is simply slightly different from an airfield. I’ve read that assets are in the pipe for this, but I’ve no idea which ones.

In regards to this scenario, I’ve been debating on throwing away the “Black Sea” and instead calling it something fictional to dispel any questions about treaties or some such. Thoughts?


IMHO, large scenarios like this need to have a significant part already airborne as you man-up your Hornet. If you can leave two fighters on the catapults/parking area, it can serve as an Alert-5, in case you get some leakers.

A US carrier and/or large deck Amphib is not really a “problem” if the war with Russia has already started. Turkey, the guarantor of the Montreux Convention, is NATO as are Black Sea nations Bulgaria and Romania…so …if you are hitting Backfires in Russia, I’m thinking breaking the treaty is one of the least of our diplomatic worries. :yum:


Maybe put the S-3B and E-2D in the air already, with the F-14 fighter sweep launching? AWACS escort and CAP are already in the air, so that’s handled.


Thought I’d add that the S-3B can only pass about ~8,000lbs of gas before they give up.


Ever consider doing a Mission Planning Guide for Dummies? :grin:


Actually, somebody has beaten me to it.

JP5 Click to view…and then Zzzzzzz.



And was paid too…


glances around cautiously Yes… Yes… Someone was paid to make that.


Every… Single… time… this &#$(# topic pops up…


Can’t hold… (…no poetry)

ah well here goes:

Kitties in the night, falling from the sky
Tanker lookin cute, but quickly running dry
Carrier way out back, everybody flyin high
It’s made in the navy, of course the border’s pink, sigh.



S-3B ain’t cute. At least, not yet. There might be an anthropomorphic S-3B out there somewhere on the net… But I’m pretty sure I haven’t seen it.


So, here’s the latest on my tanker experiments:

I did a trial run with the KC-130 and four AV-8Bs (because the bug doesn’t have a radio command to order refueling and the AI apparently won’t refuel on their own yet) and it has enough gas to fill four almost completely empty AV-8Bs up, with two aux tanks per jet. Further on, after I got a bit of gas and my wingman did, they apparently ran out, but this was about 90 minutes into the mission and about 600nmi into the trip (AV-8s flying with KC-130). The S-3B, being able only to move 8,000lbs when full doesn’t yield a lot of hope for my scenario, as I don’t think it has much left when it reaches the designated refueling point – definitely not enough to give 3,000lbs to each jet. So, to make this work with the S-3B, I’m going to have to spawn it at the refuel point and dedicate it exclusively to the strikers, diverting the F-14s to a different asset. I might end up spawning two S-3Bs, one for the F-14s and one for the bugs, then send them back to the carrier and setup a second spawn for their “return.”

For reference, the editor says that the S-3B carries a total of 17,225lbs of fuel in tanker form. So it offloading only 8,000lbs means it must have a pretty high bingo point set.


Let’s talk about the PG map–specifically GOPLATs (Gas and OIL PLATforms), called Oil Platforms in DCS 2.5

The DCS GOPLATs are technically “landable”…I have previously posted screen shots of such.

They are asl assigned a Blue or Red country when you add one. Plus they are destroyable Just as, in the Merchant of Venice Shakespeare asked " If you ■■■■■ us, do we not bleed? If you hit them with rockets or missiles, do they not explode and burn?

(What? Really? Seriously? the bad-word-bot is sanitizing a Shakespeare quote…the hidden word means to lightly stab someone. sigh)

Anyway, that got me thinking about capturing a GOPLAT as one would capture an aerodrome. So I got my Red Hip loaded up with Red infantry and headed for a Blue GOPLAT.

I landed on it…or so I thought(more on that later). Pressing comms produced no results. Not even the standard ATC choice…nothing…no menu at all. As you can see from this screen shot, I had positioned my helo so that when triggered to disembark, most, if not all, troops should end up on a hard surface, not in the water.

As you can also see I also stopped engines on the off chance that had something to do with it…no joy.

When I ended the mission this was the debrief screen:

I have highlighted that it did not record a landing…Takeoff, then Engines shutdown…without a landing that should result in a crash, i.e. the aircraft is still airborne. So a complete landing on a GOPLAT is not recognized as a landing everywhere else…even in the water (if you do it right).

Also, trying to put Land Group items on a GOPLAT,(such as 23mm ZSU AAA, which would be reasonable in a war) you get the Land Objects Cannot be Placed Over Water box.

But you can put a helipad or FARP in the water, like an island which would mean you should be able to get repair, rearm, refuel from them. Even if you could only get refuel from a GOPLAT, it would be cool.

I’ve done some due diligence and looked through ED’s forums PG Map forum and couldn’t find anything.

Bottom Line: I assume making a GOPLAT able to be captured and/or provide refuel services is buried away in the map code and not something one can just add with a few lines of lua code?


Did you try a different radio command? i.e a different radio.

Whilst airborne the standard radio comms are disabled.

I am probably not making sense.

On ground in the f18 the standard coms keystroke works as well as com1 key stroke and com 2 keystroke. So that is 3 in total. IIRC, the hip requires a different keystroke when airborne to work through the radio.