DCS Russian Missile Strategy Help

I am a useless fighter pilot. I’ve always gravitated towards moving mud or machines spinning hard enough to want to fly themselves apart. Unfortunately, the Su-33 (which we aren’t playing @BeachAV8R, it comes out tomorrow I heard) has all sorts of Air to Air mission capability, so time for me to suck it up.

I am at the stage where I can work the radar and other systems well enough, but the Russian missiles are still a bit of a mystery to me. @near_blind gave me a 10 second summary, so I wanted to expand on that. Here’s what he said as we didn’t play the Su-33:

  • A long white pipe with -27 written on it somewhere. If it’s got a R on it, it’s radar. If it’s got a T on it, it’s heatseeking. If it has some letters in-between that, then it’s an extended range edition.

So, here’s what I know and don’t know so far (and need help/advice on):

  • The 27 is the AIM-7 type ‘Fox 1’ semi-active radar white pipe . You need to keep SST locked up while it flies in the R variant. It doesn’t seem to turn corners that well. The kill cone is about 30 km ish, maybe more? I really miss the AIM-120 going pitbull while I leave, as it seems like the 27 wants me to get too close, as in an off-bore closure will break lock if too off-bore? Not sure.

  • The 73 is the ‘Fox 3’ IR based AIM-9M sort of equivalent. It can turn corners pretty well. In a merge I think I am ok as long as I fling my head around and flare like the 4th of July.

  • The 27ET is the IR based, but is constrained with how well a heat signature it can get, so is fairly useless in the front half of the target, i.e. shoot it at the hot end. I think I am using this missile incorrectly, so need help.

  • Going around with my radar on and locking things up all the time just causes the target to jam and know where I am. I need to use AWACS and the Infrared Search and Track (IRST) more. The EO mode isn’t great front-aspect as you’d expect.

So what are the tactics and strategy for me to ‘git gud’ (or ‘git adequate’, I’m fine either way) using these Russian tubes?


The 73 is fox-2, not fox-3 :slight_smile:

the R-27ER outranges the amraam, given an equal altitude and speed, use this to your advantage. It’s an advantage that might be hard to press against other players, but the AI usually has a hard time centering the dot on you when they know that ER is coming.

While using the R-27ET, keep an eye on the ‘launch authorized’ indication on your HUD (if you set your HUD to english it will simply say LA :slight_smile: ), you can usually take a shot at aircraft coming at you in stage 5 burners from a range before you can visually aquire them.

Like the F-15, the Phazotron N-001 has a TWS mode. You can lock up bandits in TWS simply by slewing the cursor over them. This way you can get some info on your bandit without him firing up the SPJ’s (self protection jammers). An added boon of TWS in the flanker is that when the range is almost good enough to go shooter, it will auto switch to STT. TWS doesn’t have all the advantages the F-15 has with the TWS/AIM-120 combo package. You can’t go shooter with R-27(E)R’s from TWS.

Like you’ve already noticed, the R-27ER is extremely sensitive to beaming, and will eat chaff like no other. I’d only use the R-27ER in a head-on or tail aspect shot, and try to close in for an ET or R-73 shot when the bandit is beaming me.

Don’t forget to use the HMS (default key “5”) when merging. If you can get the bandit in your front hemisphere, you can pretty much get an R-73 of the rail as well. The 73 steers great as long as its rocket motor is burning.

For AACQ modes, you need to hold down the lock button. It doesn’t auto-lock like in the F-15, but you also don’t need to mash the button either.

Hope these tips help :slight_smile:


With Russian missiles have a gameplan and strategy to get yourself in to the merge with an opponent. The -73 is the best dogfight missile in the game right now, and used properly it can make fights go your way very quickly.

The bvr fight is difficult but not unwinnable. You are definitely at a disadvantage against an AMRAAM shooter, but you can exploit the F-15’s capabilities to succeed.
If you end up going one on one against an f-15 then you are definitely in a pickle, ideally you would operate as a two ship cause that is when you can truly esploit his capabilities,

Essentially have a gameplan for how your bvr fight will go before you get into it, that is beyond the basics of lock-shoot-crank-dive for the hills that dcs fights usually devolve to.

My ideal single ship gameplan vs an eagle in a flanker would be to get as fast as possible in the initial intercept, closing as fast as possible. Assume he is going to shoot his first shot at 35-30km. At 25 km perform a preplanned maneuver that involves a notch to defeat his radar lock, performed with enough G (6 or more) it should also defeat the missile.

After this immediately pitch back into your target out of the notch. As part of the preplanned maneuver try and get out of his radar coverage, I find what works best is an altitude change if you are single ship. Descend 10000 feet (3500m) minimum as you point back at him. You knew his altitude and heading before you notched so get him in your radar and as soon as you have a lock shoot him and try to close the distance to WVR. If all of this goes well you should be shooting at him around 20km. Just know that inside 20km/10nm you are entering the missile murder zone for both your and his missiles so if he manages to get a lock and an amraam off, odds are high it will get you. Recommend a radar variant followed by a heater variant of the 27 if you can get a track.
How this generally looks start to finish for me is roll in at medium to high altitude. 5-7000 m, perform notch/altitude loss maneuver, turn to put him on beam and then split s down 3000m minimum. After split s turn back to face him and reacquire.

What this is doing is taking advantage of most likely shoot range from him to defeat the shot and break his radar lock. The split s is to get outside of his elevation scan unless he changes it, so done well you can not show back up and be underneath his radar coverage as you are closing to the no escape range for your missile. From there expect him to maneuver when you shoot and then it’s a visual arena fight.

As a two ship it’s pretty simple. At 30-25km perform a split beam, one guy beams left one guy beams right. Hack a watch and hold the beam for thirty seconds.

Then both fighters pitch back hot. If there is a single f-15 out there he can now only lock one of you up and you are outside of his tws multitarget capability. Guy who gets locked defends. Guy who is not locked shoves a -27 up eagles tailpipe.


If it seems like I’m crabby about this, it’s because I am :smile:

Don’t get the wrong impression here. Using the engagement tonight as an example, both sides were committed to an engagement, were moving towards each other aggressively, and had the other on radar. While EO has it’s uses in the Su-33, going radar cold in that situation really wouldn’t have done much. The F-16s have you on their radar, you’re just making it slightly more difficult for you to return fire.

What I was whinging about was going to STT on bandits that were beyond 100 Km. Going STT that far out isn’t going to do a whole lot for us, we’re still well outside of missile range and you’re not gaining a whole lot of information you couldn’t have gotten in the BVR scan screen. What it does do is spook the AI and get them to light off their jammers. In our engagement that wasn’t a huge deal as it was two F-16s. But in more complex scenarios, it can make targeting specific aircraft during the sort more difficult. A better move would have been to use the Flanker’s diminutive TWS mode to gauge missile range, and then go STT once they were suitably in your DLZ.

Where it can be useful to turn the radar off and rely on the EO and data-link is when the engagement hasn’t developed so much. If the enemy hasn’t spotted you yet, you could use this to work your way around them into their blind spot and fire off some high Pk missiles from well within Rmin. Obfuscating terrain helps alot with this (something at a bit of a premium in the middle of the water).


Here is a really simple graphical representation of what I talked about earlier. Hopefully this will make some sense

Keep in mind the 1 v 1 is a crapshoot, you are counting on being able to get inside 10 NM where you have the best ability to get a kill with a missile before he can fire and turn away. The altitude split is the best way to defeat his radar and get close enough to engage without being picked back up. But good eagle drivers will start rolling their coverage up and down to counter this. If thats the case, again a crapshoot. But all 1 v 1 BVR tactics of this sort are. And the Flanker is at a disadvantage going into this kind of straight up fight in DCS.

Assumptions for all of these slides btw is everyone is travelling at .9-1.0 ish mach and co altitude at around 20,000 feet initially

If you wanna get real fancy I have 3-4 ship flanker tactics that can just annihilate eagle formations using various combinations of this kind of thing.
When coming up with tactics and ways to use this stuff, go from the target backwards. IE to kill the eagle I have to get inside 10 miles or so without an AMRAAM active on me. So how do I get to that point alive. This can lead you down various fun pathways but the best thing you can do is have some sort of gameplan that exploits the limitations of your opponents systems and capabilities, and allows you to maximize yours.


Also in addition to what NB said about Jammers and when to lock dudes up. In the F-15 you get burnthrough on all jammers inside 40NM, its approximately the same on the Russkie jets, so ~70 KM or so you will get burnthrough. Inside these ranges Jammers have no effect on your radar lock. Outside these ranges you are not remotely near a WEZ. All jammers in the game can do is delay detection and ranging outside that 40NM/70KM range. Otherwise they are pretty much useless.

One technique I have used with Jammers is to lock them up when they are just jamming strobes and put the Target Designation box in the HUD. It is looking down the Line of sight to the jammer, thus if he is below the horizon you can sometimes get an idea of what geographical feature he is flying over. (in the olden days of yore I could even get tally on them out to 40 + miles :slight_smile: ) If he is above the horizon, you can often spot them in the cons. Just ways to gain SA on where and what they are doing.

EDIT: am bored and have lotsa free time since my flight home has been delayed and I keep thinking of things to talk about.

Next tip/technique for searching with the russian jets radar is to help mitigate one of the most difficult things in the radar display, which is searching an appropriate altitude block.

Image taken straight from Flanker manual

Look at the vertical line on the right side of the scope. One of the hardest things with the flanker HUD in search is telling what altitudes at what range you are covering. Since it has no standard bar scan that is displayed or anything telling you how many meters you are covering it can get tough to tell.

What I do is use the bar on the right side of the scope, the two tick marks sticking out the right side (bracketing the 0 in the image) represent your HUD’s field of view.
If you don’t know the targets relative altitude you can use that to help you optimize your search, especially as a two ship. First set your expected target range to something out a ways, 30-40 KM is usually pretty good. Whatever it is synchronize it between you and your wingman so you are both covering the same altitude block.

Then note the size of the elevation coverage bar and roll the elevation up or down a couple of thousand meters. if the bar is between the two tick marks, it is inside your hud field of view. You can then use this with known geographical points to sanitize airspace. For example having one person scan 4 elevation down and the other scan 4 up.

Not quite as intuitive as setting the altitude range on the F-15 radar, but it works essentially the same.

Another thing I will do if I am running the formation is offset our CAP by 45 or so degrees from the enemies most likely avenue of approach, flying in a butterfly/ figure 8 type pattern. This will allow me to throw my 60 degree sweep down range and only have to look at one or two of the sweep patterns instead of constantly sweeping between all three. Just things to simplify what you are looking at.


Not being cocky or anything, but did you read the manual in DCS? I’m in pretty much the same situation as you, but my reasons for not doing A/A are different (cracky neck) and I’ve been reading up on both the Flankers and Eagle of late - there is a lot more useful info in the manuals than there was last time I looked (admittedly that was back in FC 1.1 times).

There is also lots of useful fan-made info around the net, and I very strongly recommend picknthatbanjo’s radar tutorial videos - the best I’ve seen so far.

here is the kind of thing I watch:

also, tutes on effective use of the radar in the Flankers & F-15 (as well as a ton of other useful stuff)

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You just keep talkin’ and we’ll keep buying’ the beer :slight_smile:


They do - thanks! Especially the use of the odd TWS mode.

Now that’s what I want to see. Given it’s over the sea, so much of the Su-27 ‘git gud’ advice is about using those Causcaus triangle terrain like it’s pacman, when really what I wanted was to get better at Situation Awareness and execute a plan rather than react.

I’m going to practice what you put in the slides, but on a quick read my first questions is ‘What do I do about the 2nd inevitable missile I might get while notching?’, as in here:

…if I get the beam angle right then I think I’m good, but sometimes when I notch and it means I get reacquired and now have a 2nd pipe up closer, about here:

Do I just G turn into 2nd missile, trying to keep my notch angle? I guess if the split-s works then I hopefully wouldn’t get one? Put another way, what do I do if the elevation change doesn’t work? It seems really ballsy. :wink:

Hey @Fridge, want to try this? I really want to try this. :slight_smile:

These slides are fantastic.

By grabthar’s hammer I would love to try the 3 vs 2 stinger pattern as well.

You never seemed crabby, in learning mode I ignore all external criticism anyway. I’m just grateful for the server and players to fool around with :slight_smile:

I could watch a lot of su-27 youtube (and have) from about 2005 up, but there’s more chance of a conversation here, and it’s more fun.

So one thing I’m am really interested in is tactics that use the Russian AWAC’s side of things, as in pure BVR with reliance on that, as the ‘single integrated system’ I think the reds like. Is there patterns that work with AWACS, IRST etc for the Su-33?

This is what @near_blind and I want to do. I think that we have been waiting for @klarsnow to get back in town and be our noble leader. This was also what @near_blind and I were trying to do with the F-15 article a few years (?) ago. I was working on a F-5E/M-2000C mission (in preparation for the F-14/F-18) that we could use as a training bed for this.

Just got to get off my arse and actually do it :-). I’n not a type-A personality so working past that is proving very hard to do.


This is where it gets into the crapshoot that is 1v1 with BVR missiles inside 10 miles. Until 7 miles or so, you stll have a fairly good chance to outright defeat the missile by performing an aggressive max G/ over G exit. Otherwise your only real hope is to chaff and pull G out of plane of the missile. IE the typical barrel roll around the missile. Keep in mind your best bet is to defeat his radar with the notch so he loses his lock and has to reacquire. Thats what the whole Split-S is for, to get out of his initial Radar elevation while you were in the notch, making him have to change his system to reacquire. Giving you time to close the range and get a shot off.

Realistically 1 V 1 Eagle V flanker in DCS the Flanker is at a straight up disadvantage and any time you go closer than 10 miles while spiked It is all a crapshoot and there are no good answers other than try to survive.

Now I have specifically stayed away from talking about taking pre-emptive shots to force him defensive because with non active missiles that you have to support there is not much point to take shots outside of 15NM.

Practice notching, only practice notching the enemies radar, because if you are trying to notch the missile, well good luck with that. It may or may not work, but thats a lot lot harder than notching the jets radar.

Finally the real world answer if the flanker wanted to live in this situation, is if you are spiked through the notch. Leave. You can outrun him you are not in what we call a stern WEZ (no missile in DCS right now can chase you down from ten miles with full burner at any altitude). This is the decision making part of it. Do you elevate your risk by trying to BFM his missiles while all he has to do to shoot you is hit the pickle button? Or do you just run for the nearest friendly and make the guy running you down deal with two angry flankers instead of one.

These are the tough choices :wink:

Ive done tests with this with NB 1v1 and with a good Notch and a rapid dive to the floor I can consistently close the distance to a WVR merge or target him and have him unable to reacquire, and this with me telling him what I’m doing. Done right it can be very very effective. Against a person. The AI is a different story, but the mechanics of the radars and missiles are the same.

Small addition for the Split S to the floor, remember with the Split S you actually can go into the notch 3 times, part of why its so effective. First when you initially notch, second in the split S when you are p ointed Straight down (vertically notching instead of horizontally, still works the same) and third as you pull through the bottom if you do a pure 180 split S you should end up still in the notch. So you have three chances to lose him in this maneuver.

Caveat to all of this for future reference. This is all valid for DCS as of October 2017. If/when the Missile FM’s get updated, if they become more realistic/ the Guidance laws get better, all of this is subject to change. many of the principles will remain the same but the ranges you do them at and what options you have available could all change. IE if R-27ER’s have a better guidance law/ flight model it may be better to take pre-emptive shots at max range to force the opponent on the defensive. But as of right now its just a good way to waste a missile.


I can do this, but no one’s been really chomping at the bit to do srs bsns tactics and I’m not going to enforce my inherent will to power upon the masses. If we want to start doing section/unit tactics for realsies, let me know .




Plus you can launch it on the Nevada map to hits things in the Caucasus map! :wink:


Great thread.

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Made this this morning to hopefully help people understand how defeating BVR missiles outside of the aforementioned 7 miles works. (also hopefully shows part of what is wrong with DCS missiles at the moment and should elucidate the findings in the Phoenix paper)

The key to defeating BVR missiles at range is to make them maneuver AFTER their motor has burnt out. If the motor is still burning I would expect the missile to be able to pull 20-30G and maintain its closure on you.
In which case your only real choice is pull as much G out of plane as you can combined with countermeasures and hope RNJesus saves your bacon. Also terrain masking etc.
However once the motor is burnt out a more modest maneuver will probly defeat the missile. You dont even have to turn to the beam. Just a quick sharp maneuver 45-60 degrees in one direction can be enough to drain the missiles energy. If you really want to kill the missile follow it up with anothermaneuver back accross the nose of the missile. S turning in effect. As long as this is done AFTER the motor has burnt out.



So in terms of timings to practice, in DCS, what’s a typical AMRAAM motor burn time? From when I get the red flashing launch indicator in the RWR are we talking about 10 seconds or so or less? After than, then 5g beam turn?

Ironhand had a great video on the old Flanker Training site before it closed down that talked about just this. I may have it on my computer somewhere - I’ll check.

Everything on his site should have been migrated to his youtube channel. He’s still active over on the ED Boards.

So unless someone fires on you in STT (and the AI don’t), you won’t get a RWR indication for the AIM-120 until it activates it’s own radar seeker, so this is highly variable. The missile goes active somewhere around ten nautical miles. If the missile was fired from near RMax then it will likely be relatively slow once it goes pitbull, and you’ve got a couple of seconds to react. The closer the launcher, the faster the missile will be once active, and the less time you’ll have. Generally speaking the prompter your reaction the better.


Exactly, this is why I recommend ranges when dealing with amraam shooters and not timing from active, you don’t know how far away he was when he shot it, so you don’t know its energy state if you go by timing. However a missile fired in the normal DCS parameters will reliably be defeated by a maneuver as described from 15-8 ish NM. Un normal parameters are if he is much higher and faster, which you can tell by radar locking him, and then no to give yourself a little bit more room. If you do some testing with shots you will see that missiles fired from 20NM and 15NM actually go active at about the same time, and will actually time out pretty much at the same time with the 15NM missile often reaching the target first. This is because of the drag of the missiles so the 20NM missile has much further to travel with the closure before hitting the target and is affected by drag much longer.