DCS Russian Missile Strategy Help

So, just to check my understanding then, in DCS the AIM-120 doesn’t give a LAUNCH on the RWR until it is self guiding and locks on? I saw the states as a sequential SEARCH, LOCK, LAUNCH, but for the ARH but that’s not the case? Put another way, I get the flashing red launch only when it is pitbull on me?

Ok, I can work with that. If I’m generally at the same height, head on, I’m about 20NM or so, with an active radar homing missile type opponent, and I get a flashing LAUNCH then don’t just sit there counting Mississippi’s but go chaff and then notch immediately. Right?

Yep, I won’t take it as a cheat code :slight_smile: just more as general guidance while I practice and get a feel for what happens in DCS sat in the Su-33.

1 Like

It depends. The big red PROBLEM light on the RWR isn’t so much telling you you’ve been launched on, as it’s telling you the enemy radar has begun emitting signals associated with guiding a missile. A semantic distinction, yes, but an important one. Traditional SARH missiles can’t just lock onto any radar reflection that’s in front of them, otherwise in a multi-shooter engagement everyone’s missiles all guide on the brightest return. Instead the radar enters a high-PRF best suited to guidance, and then begins subtley modulating the wave-length it’s emitting to a unique frequency. It then tells the missile “look for this type of transmission”, and launches it (this all goes on in the time it takes you to pull the trigger). The shift is detectable, and that’s the RWR’s cue to start warning you stuff’s hitting the fan.

The AIM-120 is different. It has its own, miniature seeker and an IMU that allows it to know it’s position in space relative to it’s launcher and target. During it’s mid course fly out stage, it doesn’t need precise targeting information like traditional SARH missiles. It only needs enough data to place it within a “basket” where once activated, it’s own seeker can see the target. This means you don’t need the high energy, constant update of the STT radar mode, the less frequent updates of TWS are sufficient. Removing that condition means the RWR will not have enough information to trip “OH LAWD WE GONNA DIE” mode, at least in DCS as it is. This is all programming, and it’s all relative to however whichever air force desires it.

So yes, you only get the warning when the RWR picks up the AMRAAM’s radar emitter (of if the shooter shoots using STT).

There’s an odd middle ground here. The R-27ER and AIM-7P (not in game), combine the two technologies, having an IMU and SARH seeker instead of ARH. Apparently the missile link used in the mid course of the R-27ER is distinct enough to be detected and trigger a launch warning though.


Not true. If you watch the signal strength indicator on the RWR, you’ll get an idea of when the AMRAAM’s radar starts tracking, but you have to watch carefully. I wrote all this up once upon a time on That Other Site. Hang on, I’ll look for it.


Which is still just an indication the RWR has determined the AIM-120’s seeker is now the strongest apparent emitter. The point I’m making is there is no overt warning to indicate enemy has fired an AIM-120 in TWS. If your situational awareness is on point, you can intuit one has been fired based off range to the enemy and if you can spot the enemy entering the crank.

Then you can begin monitoring your own RWR for the early indication, but you’re still waiting for the RWR to pick up the AIM-120.

1 Like

Right, that makes more sense. I can’t find the video I was referring to in the current YouTube channel - I’ll look when I get home. It might’ve been taken down a while back, but it went into detail the one - no-one duel between a Flanker or Fulcrum and the F-15, and how to win. I remember the stopwatch was involved, and yes, required tip-top situational awareness.

1 Like

The stopwatch method can also work, but it requires you to see the launch and hack the watch from there based on ranges. Note that with my tactics you don’t have to crank. And if your opponent cranks it may very well aid you in getting off of his radar scope and into an unobserved entry during /after the notch.

Near Blind is spot on with how AMRAAM’s and R-27ER’s work in DCS. The bottom line is any F-15 driver (And the AI) worth his salt will probly shoot at you out of TWS instead of STT. This is because it does not give the hard spike that STT does so they are hoping to make a covert (ish) launch where the target only knows the missile is inbound when it goes active.

One of the F-15’s big advantages is that its radar is a hell of a lot more intuitive and easier to use and read effectively than the Su-27 variant we have in DCS. Assume if you are within 60 degrees of his nose that he can and does see you. Further assume that he has shot at you inside of 15 miles unless you can definitively prove otherwise.

Use these assumptions against your opponent, by assuming that he will use his radar and his missile to his advantage, then plan to break his system down right at the crucial moment, IE right as his missile is about to go active/ can be defeated relatively easily. You do this by notching, and forcing him to work his systems again to reacquire you. This delays his follow up shot right as you are reaching the range where your systems become on par or better than his. Things happen really fast inside of 10NM of eachother.
They happen even faster if your gameplan gets screwed up and you are scrambling to figure it all out as the bandit (flanker) is taking shots on you.

Things happen slower if it is part of your gameplan and you know every step that you have to do.

Technique for the flanker for reaquiring with your radar quickly after doing the 1 v 1 notch followed by split S. You know as you roll out he will be 10 NM/16 KM in front of you and you know how much altitude you lost.
This is definitely a bit advanced, but in the split S or as soon as you break your radar lock, reset your radar to slew towards him, Expected range 15KM, expected altitude change 3-4000M above. You are now set up for him to fly straight into your radar beam as you roll out of your split S and should get an almost immediate contact as soon as he is within your radar sweep.

The difficulty in this lies in doing this as you are flying/maneuvering the jet. but it can buy you seconds of time you need to put the hurt on him.



Looking that term up (I have no shame), it’s where you use your radar’s gimbal range to keep him on scope but offset from centre? Unlike a perpendicular ‘notch’ this would be more a diagonal aspect to still have a picture but with less closure?

Hey, what they need is a two-seater! :wink:


Slides incoming
So a notch is a particular technique to defeat a doppler pulse radar by entering its doppler notch where it filters out ground returns by in particular being below the horizon and with a closure as close to zero as you can (turning perpendicular to their flightpath)
Notching is defensive in nature you are defeating his radar.

Cranking is an F-pole maneuver or range extension/ offensive maneuver. What you are doing with a crank is turning to use your radars gimble limits to support your missile to F-pole (impact) or A-pole (active for an Amraam) while reducing your closure to the enemy, thus as long as he points straight at you his closure with your missile will remain high, while your closure with him/his missile will decrease. Just do some quick math to see how this works.

If you are both going 500 Knots pointed straight at eachother your total closure is 1000 knots
you each shoot a missile going 500 knots faster than you are going. your missiles closure to him is now 1500 knots, and his to you is 1500 knots.
You turn 90 degrees away (makes math simpler and demonstrates how this works, you would obviously lose him off your scope with this maneuver) and he stays pointed straight at you.

Your closure to him is now only his airspeed 500 knots. his missiles closure to you is reduced now to 1000 knots. Your missile’s closure to him is still 1500 knots. Your missile will obviously hit him first.

It is just happenstance that performing a notch will also reduce closure to the missile, but you are not going to sustain the notch until a missile impact, it is designed to break his lock and then you immediately pitch back in to regain closure, where as with the crank after you have fired you want to minimize closure as much as possible whilst still supporting your missile as long as you can.


Cool, thanks. Since you are doing slides :slight_smile: I think the only other terms I am unclear about is ‘Pump’ and ‘Drag’ which I think means a defensive move away (with Pump being the one leaving)?

1 Like

Drag is usually used as a term when a group in a picture maneuvers cold and remains cold (cold means pointing away from you)
Drag can also be used descriptively by wingmen to communicate a situation (I’m dragging this bandit south, etc)
Pump is a directive term to your wingman/ second element to turn cold, usually used as an offensive term to set up a grinder.

A grinder is a two element launch and leave tactic whereby one element turns cold while the other element remains hot. The hot element targets and shoots and then leaves (this is particularly suited to active missiles) and as they leave the Cold element turns hot and shoots whatever is leftover from the first element. This then can turn into the two elements reforming, or just leapfrogging each other over and over again taking shots.

Since we are talking brevity terms



I found this same doc, but searchable terms (which I needed):

This may be relevant: NATO Air Brevity codes (source: hoggit)

Also, maybe this: AN/ALR-87 (F-5E RWR) (source: hoggit)

1 Like

I love those little cards. Here’s a Mudspike one in honor of @Bogusheadbox’s left foot:



Awwww love it.

My copy of the original video is terribly corrupted (I blame Windows), but I found another copy uploaded to Youtube a few years ago. This was basically my instruction in BVR combat in the Russian birds when I first started getting serious about Flaming Cliffs, and while the original information is old, it still holds up.

1 Like

Thanks for the great discussion