Sim vs Reality Tactics


Some great posts. Lots to think about.

An interesting comment. When I was last in the fleet, mach of the A2A tactics conversations were about the AA-10 “long burn” missiles and how to counter them with AIM-120B…I seem to recall they were a bit more sanguine about the AIM-120C. A long way to say that the discussion here is much like real discussions in fleet ready rooms

While I primarily do SP, these comments have mad me think more about MP. I have not seen AI enemy fighters using tactics such as notching, that are pretty much standard for US fighter pilots. So if I really want a realistic challenge, the only lace to get it is MP. I might have to get a headset after all.

On a somewhat related subject…visibility…obviously if you enter a fight in low light levels with your Nav and Anti-smash lights on in MP, you have a higher probability of being seen, the limits of VR and monitor fidelity notwithstanding. What about SP? Can the AI see you easier / at longer range if you leave your lights on? I ask because in the DCS World guide it does state that lower vis environments reduce your chances of being detected.


True. But at least the NVs had Mig-19’s! …something that many of us Mudspikians do not yet have!

…just let me know when I’ve sufficiently beaten this dead horse and I will stop. :laughing:



Don’t get me wrong, in DCS you can shoot an Amraam farther with a higher Pk than a R27ER right now, but once you get inside that magical 10NM line, the R27ER is faster and will time out faster than an Amraam in just about any situation.

Now the Amraam still has advantages (launch and leave) inside 10NM whereas the R27ER does not. But things start to get really squirrelly the closer and closer you get.


Then the R-27T and ET start entering the fray and all bets are off. Throw in R-73 for good measure, which seems to be the weapon I have the most luck with on the Fulcrum and Flanker.


A great point. So let’s talk about how a Flanker gets to that 10 Nm line. I suppose there are various speed and tactics that can be used, even at 10K+ ft. But one very real way is the requirement to VID a target before shooting…a political reason that can take any BVR advantage and throw it out the window…but one which fighter pilots serving for democracies have to consider.

So taking this to Sim vs Reality Tactics…one advantage the F-14 had in BVR engagements was the ability to VID at farther range by using the TCS. That was something we regularly practiced. It will be interesting to see if/how well the HB F-14 can simulate that.


In my experience, more often than not it’s Blue players getting too aggressive. So as long as you have some altitude and fuel, you can basically run AMRAAMs out of energy from beyond 10nmi. Evading AMRAAM seems to work best at lower levels, so what I try to do is a sharp lateral turn followed by a turn in the opposite direction to run the missile out of energy. It’s very hard to spoof the seeker so I tend to only use chaff if I have no other option; I’ve had more luck doing sharp maneuvers at the last moment which seems to confuse the seeker. Given most Blue at this point either SPAMRAAM and run away or they keep closing in, while this is all going on they’re usually getting close enough that it’s possible to turn and get a shot off. From this point it works fairly well to fire a pair of missiles, typically an ET and an ER.

My preference remains to lure them into a SAM network or friendly aircraft however, because a lot of folks (me included) get target fixation real bad.


Simplest way to get inside ten with a two ship of flankers that works ~80-90% of the time against a two ship is a simple split at 15 miles.

Fly straight at the bandits in a mile or two spread formation, once they lock you keep driving straight. Once you hit 15 miles both flankers immediately do a 90-100 degree turn in opposite directions, one climbs 2000 meters, one descends 2000 meters. Hold that for 30 seconds. Then pitch back to the heading the bandits were on plus about 10 degrees.

You will be 10 miles from the hostiles if they have continued to point at you, and if they have managed to hold onto you so far 1 of you will be outside their TWS coverage both in azimuth and elevation. At best they both dropped lock as you turned through the notch, and are trying to reacquire only being able to see one of you. At worst they held lock and are now separated and you are in an even fight 1v1 pressing inside 10 miles.

In my experience if there is a 2 ship of bandits out there most are not coordinated enough to sort a pair of bandits like that and hold onto them through maneuvers. Whichever one of you is spiked as you pitch hot aborts, the other goes in and gets an unobserved entry on the bandits.

If you have more flankers you can start using range to really screw over the bandits, ie as they are dealing with the two ship in from that just split their radars, have another two ship that’s at 40,000 feet going as fast as they can coming straight down the middle.
The smart thing for blue to do in any if these situations as soon as they lose track of the bandit(s) is to immediately abort and turn cold. From there any time blue turns back they have to turn to provide a shot that will be higher pk for red and blue will be racing to reacquire their lock and get a missile off.


Reading that made me miss my MP air-to-air times…since baby arrival I’ve kept to helos and single player. Hard to keep the SA air-to-air-sharp nowadays.


Reminds me of a Mission in Jane’s FA-18 that flew several times. A low alt, I v 1 against a Flanker - about a 20 Nm set up. Take out the Flanker before you hit a target. Very important to notch after you shot. Add in the FA-18 E’s robust ECM and you had a few ways that you could work. Basically, it mostly came down to who get get their shot off first.

Against AA-10 ERs, inside 10 Nm, I think you must automatically go defensive if the Flanker gets his shot off first. While “SPAMRAM” tactics may work (especially in DCS world where missiles are unlimited and free), the key word is “may”. I’d have to look at the numbers but I’m pretty sure you need to maintain lock for a some amount of tie before the AIM-120s go active on their own. That time even if you notch immediately after launch, may be enough to get you into the no-escape LAR.

Correct me if I am wrong, but I thought the AIM-54 could be shot where it goes active immediately after coming off the rail…it will be interesting to see what MP tactics develop from that.


AMRAAM can be fired Mad Dog without any lock and it goes off searching for the nearest friendly…something I don’t think I have ever used for that reason.

Pass on the 54 - a Navy paper tells me the Active mode on the AIM-54A comes in about 10 miles off target.


Near blind knows more but there is actually a switch in the RIO pit that he flips to signal the phoenix to go active, so he can actually turn it on (depending on the mode its fired in) at any range to the target, apparently this is one of the things heatblur is trying to get ED to change. If he doesnt, again depending on the mode of the missile it will automatically turn on at a set range. Right now there is only one set of behaviours for pretty much all missiles (ARH all acts the same, SARH all acts pretty much the same).
Depending on what mode you fire the phoenix in, if you don’t hit that switch it is essentially a giant SARH sparrow, which may or may not be what you want it to do.

The phoenix is a strange missile that bridged the gaps between Sparrows and modern missiles like the Amraam, so it doesnt really follow the general rules that everybody has for how these various missile types work.

(In the real world all missiles are like that, there are various things about them that make them function quite differently, because each is designed separately for a separate purpose, IE saying an R27ER and Aim-7M are similiar because both are SARH is a vast vast oversimplification of what is actually going on in each of those missiles and what they are capable of).

Now how far the seeker can actually pick up a target is another issue, but its probly going to be farther than an Amraam, due to a bigger radar in the nose.

The Amraam should also be turning its radar on earlier as well, but in HPRF mode instead of what right now is essentially MPRF, and it should then transition to MPRF later. maybe eventually with the missile rework we will get this functionality, adds more to what you can do with it.


Currently, I think there’s some major logic faults with the AMRAAM. I’ve noticed when flying red if I do sudden maneuvers when very close to the AMRAAM, it has a tendency to suddenly pitch away and miss me entirely; same is true of a lot of AI aircraft. The R-77 doesn’t seem to have this problem, though the seeker performance seems to be less overall (except at high altitudes).


There are much more than major logic faults with every missiles guidance. There are core systems due to how the missiles work that end up completely destroying any kinematic energy the missiles have once their motors have burnt out.

If/once the missile overhaul completes and there is somewhat sane guidance, seeker, and autopilot logic for the missiles, then we might start to see some changes.

The missiles aerodynamics really aren’t terrible, you can shoot kinematically at nonmaneuvering head on targets out to ridiculous ranges with the AMRAAM in game, really only limited by the battery life they have coded to the missile (90 seconds). Which equals about a 45-50 mile shot if fired high and fast. The missile makes it there with tons of speed available, it’s just what happens in the last 10 or so miles that really screws up the intercept.


… is probably classified all the way to hades and back, right?


I doubt it, at least not for the types depicted in DCS. I’m no expert on air-air missiles, but it could be something like the difference between a Vikhr and a HELLFIRE: they’re both guided by a laser, but one follows the beam to the target while the other focuses on reflected laser energy to the target. That’s a gross simplification of the nitty gritty, but I suspect it’s a similar case when comparing a AIM-7 with an R-27.


I admit I haven’t tested it in the last few years because every time I do and ask questions about it I get ignored at the ED forums, but judging by everything I know about DCS AI: you come straight from the sun’s direction and the AI will still spot you. Behind clouds? No problem. Against the ground while flying a green camo jet? no problem. Contrailing vs. not contrailing, no difference. I would be shocked to hear if they react to position light in any way.


I believe there is actually some kind of logic built in where the AI sees you from further away with lights on. I remember reading about that some time ago, but I’m too lazy to look it up.