Well, long story short, i was digging and reading in old materials to refresh my BVR-proficiency, taking realistic missiles evasion methods under consideration and trying to apply them in FalconAF aswell in Lockon, just to see where conventional logic matches and differs with environmental boundries due to the coding of the various sims itself and how to take those things in account in order to fly better...well..anyway...long story short....there i stumbled upon a part, which made me JUST SMILE, KNOWING the 51st will LUV it as much they LUV the russian plattforms (Su-27, R77...etc etc)...
.... Take a look at the ARH vs SARH conditions !
Some terminology. The concepts are essential in defining BVR tactics.
A-Pole - Distance from launching aircraft to target when a missile begins active guidance.
F-Pole - Distance from launching aircraft to target when a missile endgames/impacts.
E-Pole - Distance from a threat aircraft that evasive maneovers can be expected to kinamatically defeat any missile the bandit is launching or could have launched.
DR or D-RNG(Decision Range) - Minimum range at which a flight member can execute a briefed notch to beam, assess spike status and execute an abort (extend) while remaining outside the
threats stern weapons employment zone (WEZ). This will be some distance greater then E-Pole to allow time for the notch and assess status.
In order to defeat a threat and survive, we're aiming to get to Pitbull (A-Pole) while still outside the E-Pole. The problem is that both these distances change radically with course variations by
yourself and the bandit. They are not static. A-Pole is at it's greatest distance when you are fast and nose on (dot shot) and the target is hot to you. E-Pole is at it's greatest under exactly the same
This is why we sprint, shoot, decelerate and crank. Sprint and shoot maximises your A-Pole. Decelerate and crank minimises your E-Pole.
Against many threat aircraft, the F16 has a much greater A-Pole and as long as you sort, target and fire, you will win under most circumstances. Sprint, shoot, decelerate and crank is always a
smart thing to do and against Mig 21's and Mig 23's will usually be sufficient to defeat the bandits at no risk. You easily remain outside D-RNG when your missile goes active. Practise this tactic until
The Su 27 / AA 12 (R-77) combo has a greater A-Pole potential than you do in a straight head to head shoot out. You'll never get to pitbull before you enter D-RNG. Charging straight in will never work in
these circumstances. Even if you crank after launch to
minimise E-Pole, if the Su does the same, he has a larger radar gimbal limit than you. The geometry means he can therefore reduce the E-Pole more than you can and you'll never reach him.
However, D-RNG and E-Pole (Rmax2) is somewhat shorter than Rmax1 firing distance. The object of the BVR joust, BVR manoevering and brackets/drags is to get to pitbull while remaining outside
D-RNG or at worst E-Pole. It can be done, but you have to be much smarter.
The anology here is very similar to two boxers pawing at each other at the limits of their reach (A-Pole). The boxer with the longest reach has a clear advantage. The boxer with the shortest arms
sees he has an opening and goes for the biggy, a knockout punch. But to get to this distance, he exposes himself to the counter punch. He has effectively stepped inside the E-Pole! He might get
away with it, but then again he may not. In BVR we're using our jab while avoiding the uppercut!
The jammer works very well in AA combat as it does against older SAM's, but only if used correctly. Here's what it can do for you in a simple example. A good human pilot with a jammer facing a
good human pilot without as jammer will have the ability to deny first lock first launch capability if his opponent is in a similar platform (f16 vs f16 both with slammers). Whilst this doesn't
guarantee first kill, it is a distinct advantage. If I fire a missile at 22 miles before the other guy gets a lock and can fire a missile at me, he is immediately at a disadvantage and has some choices to
make rather quickly. He can continue to charge straight at me in hopes of getting to burn through and getting a shot off, while at the same time running the risk of being killed by my early launched
slammer, or he can choose to defend against the incoming shot, which will then more than likely miss, but thus allow me the opportunity to close for a much higher Pk follow up shot which will be
more difficult to defeat. Either way he dies!
Jammer works best from head on or tail aspect and within a certain altitude difference. It is pretty ineffective in the beam (RP5 manual explains it well). To test if jammer works and how it works,
go BVR with a human opponent (both of you in F16's to make everything equal) first with and then without a jammer. Fly straight at each other.
Without jammer, you'll get a first radar contact at about 50 miles. Before this you'll see nothing. The contact, once it appears, stays on your scope without jumping around. You can't get a bug at
this range, but you can get an altitude by putting the radar cursors over it.
With jammer, you'll see a jamming contact from perhaps 80 miles, but you cannot bug it and cannot get an altitude readout from the cursors. The contact will "strobe" or jump around the B scope.
You'll have no idea what range he's at until he gets closer.
You can bug or lock from 40 miles of more if your opponent is without jammer. With jammer, this drops to about 20 miles, known as "burn through". Use of jammer
outside 20 miles will deny a bug or lock and deny a missile launch unless you wish to fire maddog, which outside of 20 miles has a very low Pk.
The slammer has a HOJ capability, but it needs to know where your target is in order to go HOJ. This means you must bug a target first by getting to burn through range. If your opponent is foolish
enough to keep his jammer on once inside burn through distance, he's no longer denying first lock, first launch, but instead he's acting as a slammer homing beacon. This is all modelled very
effectively in the sim.
The use of jammer adds to the aerial chess game that is BVR combat. Using it too soon will give the enemy an early indication that you are out there. He'll get a bearing on you from much further
away than he could normally do. If he's a team player with wingmen, this allows him to set up a bracket or a posthole or try some other BVR tactic much earlier than he would otherwise be able to
Used at the correct time, you won't give away your position too soon, but you'll be able to deny a radar lock or bug and missile launch until much closer than you would without a jammer.
Once inside burn through distance the jammer is actually a slammer or AA12 homing beacon. You just have to know when to use it and when to turn it off and understand what it is you are trying
to achieve at any given range by using it. The guy who understands how his jammer works, how his radar works and how his missiles work will have the advantage over the guy who doesn't. Read
as much as you can and get up there and practise! Read up on A pole, F pole and E pole, what they are and how to use them.
When you get tired of defeating the AI in an F16, try humans or try doing the same BVR thing with disimilar aircraft (say a Su 27 against a F16). Without jammer you can lock a Su 27 from 40+
miles. With a jammer, you can't get a lock until he's inside of about 18 miles. His jammer is quite powerful. He also has a very powerful radar and he'll burn through your jammer long before you'll
burn through his. This means you must turn off your jammer to deny the HOJ shot as you close the range. You'll find yourself in the uncomfortable position of him being able to lock you and shoot
before you can do the same to him. Leads to many interesting tactical considerations depending upon your opposition and his use of jammer. This also gives you differences in A pole and E pole
which you can exploit. Differences in missile speeds and autonomous ranges gives you M pole combinations too. Confused? Read up and it. SP3 is a good enough sim to use real world tactics.
SP3 has some pretty fancy AI combinations in BVR tactics, but is no challenge at all compared to a good human pilot. The AI can be duped into using ECM by going to STT on him. He'll turn on
jammer and give you a HOJ shot every time. Humans won't do this. They tend to use their jammers in a more unpredictable fashion. They'll blink and strobe, beam and disappear with altitude
variations and generally be very annoying and unco-operative in BVR combat! If I'm going BVR, I'll take two wing tanks, but I'll always take a jammer. I want to be unpredictable too!
Does a HOJ or a normal shot have a higher Pk? Not a simple answer to this question for slammers or AA12's. Missile firing range and closure has a bigger impact on Pk
than guidence. A missile fired at 10 miles head on has a high Pk, while fired from the rear in a tail chase has a low Pk, regardless of it's guidence method. A missile fired at close range will go
pitbull off the rail and is very hard to defeat. Likewise, a missile that goes HOJ at close range will be hard to defeat as well. At longer ranges (especially outside E pole), the Pk will be low
regardless of guidence method. The main advantage of getting a HOJ shot is that the missile goes autonomous earlier and needs no futher help from you. This means you are free to break lock
and bug out or engage another target and do not have to support the missile through it's data link phase until autonomous. A HOJ shot is effectively extending your A pole. If your A pole is bigger
than his, you have an advantage. Against SARH such as AA10's or AIM 7's, all you need to do is break the launch platforms STT lock at any time during the missiles flight and you will defeat the
missile. How you do this (jammer, chaff or beaming) doesn't matter. The missile looses guidence and will usually go ballistic or self detonate without guidence. ARH missiles don't. If there's one in
the air, it's dangerous to friend and foe alike. Without guidence, they'll head towards the last computed intercept point and switch on their radars and look for a target. First one they see, they'll try
and intercept, so defeating the launch platforms radar isn't always enough. You have to get out of the missiles field of view or escape the missile kinematically. With ARH missiles, it's a sensible
precaution to make sure there are no friendlies close to your intended target. If the bad guy breaks your bug/lock before the missile goes pitbull, the missile will simply arrive at a point in space and
turn on it's radar and look for the first available target. If your wingman is between you and the target you fired on, it might well be him.
P76 of the SP3 manual explains the EWS panel and the Mode switch. It can be OFF (self explanatory), STBY which allows the chaff/flare sequence to be reprogrammed through the ICP, MAN,
which is manual chaff and flare deployment and manual jammer deployment, SEMI, where betty will call out "jammer" thus warning you to turn jammer on when you are spiked, but still requiring
you to manually turn on the jammer, while at the same time automatically deploying the selected chaff and flare programme when a missile launch is detected, and AUTO, where the jammer will
be turned on automatically when a spike is detected, while at the same time automatically deploying the selected chaff/flare programme when a missile launch is detected. The key for selecting
AUTO is ALT Z in the standard keyboard mapping.
In BVR combat against platforms equipped with AA12's or slammers, the missile can be launched without STT lock, therefore no missile launch warning will be generated and chaff/flares will not
be automatically released regardless of the EWS mode being in SEMI or AUTO. The jammer will be switched on when a spike is detected if you are in AUTO, but you may not wish to do this since a
spike may indicate a missile in the air and able to go HOJ if the jammer goes on. I usually fly with the EWS mode in SEMI to prevent the jammer coming on unless I turn it on, but I also have to
release chaff/flares manually against a BVR opponent with AA12's or slammers fired in TWS or RWS mode as opposed to STT. I'll use programme 1 for BVR which is just chaff, but I'll switch to
programme 2 (chaff and flares) if it looks like I'm going to the merge and the enemy has AIM 9's, AA 11's or other heater combinations as well.
In BVR combat, I'm using my radar, RWR and HSD for SA on the bandits. I'm using ECM as necessary to deny him first lock capability.
Let me clear up some misconceptions.
Running silent with no ecm or radar does not make you invisable to the bandits radar. He'll pick you up on his radar scope just as easily whether you have your radar on or off. What does make it
more difficult for him to detect you is to get down to a low altitude where his radar is in "look down" mode and this degrades his ability to detect you with his radar. If you can drop down to a
sufficient altitude difference that you drop below his bar scan range (easier at closer ranges than at longer ranges because the cone of his search pattern is smaller), you will not be detected on his
radar. So let's assume he no longer sees you on radar because you've been smart. Now you have radar on and start to look for him. When your radar paints him, he'll get a spike on his RWR. This
will let him know someone is out there and looking at him, even though he doesn't see you on his radar. So running with your radar off in these circumstances will avoid him getting spiked on his
RWR. The downside is that you will also not be able to see him, unless you are working with a wingman who is painting him and then you can see him on your HSD data link. In this case, your
wingman may be guiding you via voice comms to a silent intercept. He'll position you such that you know where the bandit is, switch on your radar, immediately aquire and fire, then shut down
again as soon as your missile gets anywhere close to autonomous. The bandit will see a RWR spike from an unexpected direction and then nothing until he gets the dreaded M symbol in his RWR.
Hopefully by then it's too late.
The jammer will prevent a radar from locking on to a target for a certain length of time, but eventually as the range closes, the attacking radar will "burn through" the jamming and aquire a lock.
The distance it does this is dependant on the power of your jammer and the power of his radar, together with any variables such as aspect and altitude difference that effects the performance of
the attacking radar.
The RP5 manual has a table with all these values in it for all aircraft, jammers and radars in the sim. Use this knowledge to plan your tactics.
The jammer does only work in a cone out the front and out the back as has been stated by others here. It also only works within a certain altitude.
(The jammer pod position on the belly of the F-16 and due to its emmission envelope shape)
You are not protected from the sides, but if you are being painted from the side, you are probably close to the doppler notch or doppler gate and can notch to the beam anyway.
The jammer is an active emmission that can be seen on your radar scope. Using it advertises your presence from much longer ranges that you could normally hope to detect a target. You will see
a jamming target even with your radar in standby. You don't need to emmit a signal intended to bounce back from him. Your radar can detect the signal he's emmiting all by itself. A radar signal is
nothing more than a noise ping which has a frequency and a wavelength. A jammer trys to match the frequency and wavelength but at 180 degrees phase thus cancelling out the signal, but the
jammer signal itself is a perfect source for your radar to detect.
You may not wish to use your jammer at long ranges because of this factor, but you'll probably wish to use it once you are sure that he knows you're there. You'll want to do this BEFORE he spikes or locks you. I disagree that a jammer should be used only
when you are hard spiked. By then it's often too late. If he spikes or bugs you, he's got altitude, range, bearing, aspect and course on you and can use this information to his advantage. He may
have already fired a missile. Once the radar has locked on to you and all the power of the attack radar is focused on you, it's harder for the jammer to break the lock than it is for the jammer to
prevent the lock in the first place. Very often, once locked, turning the jammer on will not break the lock, but again it depends on range, aspect and other variables which you'll have to be flexible in
assessing when to use your jammer.
Let me outline a simple scenario. I don't always do it this way as there are some neat tricks and games you can play, especially if you have a human wingman, but lets assume a standrad sort of
engagement. In most cases, I'll be jammer off until I reach about 35/40 miles. Once I'm at this range, I can be pretty sure that the bandit knows I'm there. He'll be seeing my paint on his RWR and
he'll also be able to see me on his radar so I'm not too worried at this stage about reavealing that I'm there. At this point I'll put my jammer on and leave it on (for now). What I'm trying to do now
is deny him the ability to lock or bug me with his radar and deny him an early missile shot until I can close the range a bit to either get a bug/lock on him or get a higher Pk shot. If he allows me to
bug him at 30 miles, I migh pop off an early slammer anyway, just to see if I can force a response from him. The Pk might be low but he may make a mistake that I can exploit when he sees
theres a slammer inbound.
Once I get close to the range I know that his radar will be able to burn through my jamming, I'll turn jammer off and leave it off. What I'm doing now is to prevent him from being able to fire a
slammer or AA12 at me that will immediately go HOJ. If he gets a HOJ shot, he can turn and run away. I might not even get a shot at him, while I'm forced to deal with his missile. I'd rather do that
to him than have it done to me! HOJ is modelled in the sim. One thing I've noticed is that if you leave jammer on a bit too late and get fired at HOJ, turning your jammer off at this point seem to
have little effect on the inbound missile. I'm not sure this is true to life, but in the sim, a slammer or AA12 fired HOJ has a higher Pk, even if the jammer is subsequently turned off. I therefore
prefer to play safe and turn the jammer off before I get fired on.
There are many other considerations such as E-pole, D-Range, cranking after firing, notching to the beam, use of chaff, etc etc, but that sums up the use of the jammer "in a nutshell" - not much of
a nutshell since it's quite complex!
Use of two jammers will give a very slight increase in the jammer coverage, but otherwise no real advantage, I don't think. I can't say that I've really noticed this and I'm usually too busy to notice
by the time it makes any difference!
There are many reason why a radar lock will be broken. Firstly an STT lock is the hardest to break since the radar is focused on purely on the specified target. TWS focuses less energy on a single
contact because it has to keep tabs on any other contacts. It's the radar mode of choice in BVR however because unlike STT, it doesn't give a hard spike on the bandits RWR, keeps track of multiple
bandits who may all be trying to kill you and works well with the TMS hat right press to lock next target.
If you have a bugged target and it suddenly breaks the bug, it's more than likely he's notched to the beam and entered the doppler gate. He may disappear completely for a time, but you should
pick him up again if you also make a course change. Watch out for him making a radical altitude change when he enters the doppler gate. If he gets outside your bar scan window, you'll loose track
of him completely. Use your RWR to check for him painting you after he's disappeared. It's not nice being painted by a bandit you don't see on radar. Search for him by tilting your radar cone up or
down. Change altitude yourself.
Sometimes a bugged target at say 30 miles will use ECM and break the bug/lock that way, but then the engagement will play out something like the scenario outlined above. You just wait until burn
through, bug him again and fire a slammer that will go HOJ if he keeps his jammer on. "Flashing" your jammer as suggested by Belgian Tiger may do the same thing to break a bug/lock. A
jamming target will not disappear from radar. You'll still be able to see a contact, but might not be able to bug or lock it. If he's dropped off your scope altogether, even though he was bugged,
then he's beaming. If you didn't have him bugged, he'll also drop off if he goes above or below your scan pattern. If he is bugged, your radar will follow his altitude change in this situation.
One thing that isn't causing him to disappear from your radar is him turning his radar off. This will have no bearing on whether you still see him on your radar. It will make the paint on your RWR
disappear, but you'll still be able to track him on your radar.
How do you know if the enemy flight is engaging you or headed for someone else unless you lock them up or bug them to get aspect and course information? Doing this will tip them off that you're
looking at them, so you might not want to do that.
You'll probably start the combat in RWS radar mode as this is the best mode for initial detection, covering a wide volume of sky at the expense of slower updates. You get a contact at 50 miles or
so and you and your wingman decide to engage him. Set up your bracket immediately. Leave your radar in RWS mode and do not bug the target at all. If you bracket left (wingman brackets right),
take the contact out to radar gimbal limits on the B scope - about 60 degrees offset - which for you will be the right hand side of your B scope. Note your heading at this offset and stay on this
heading. Your wingman should do the same on the opposite side. Note that you'll be flying apart at a rapid rate of knots doing this so be prepared to offset back into each other (or shackle) so you
don't get too far apart, but you can establish who the bandit is looking at quite quickly.
Hold course with the contact on gimbal. If the contact continues down the gimbal limit of your B scope without dropping off the edge, and you are flying a constant heading, he's coming at YOU.
This visual cue may be accompanied by an RWR spike as he paints you with his radar. You can now maneuver the jet accordingly.
If the radar contact continually drops off the edge of your B scope and you have to keep making check turns back into him to maintain radar conatct, then he's looking at your wingman. You might
remain "naked" on RWR as confirmation of this. Establish this geometry with your wingman as soon as it's identified.
The fighter who is being engaged is "defensive" and should prepare to defend against a possible missile shot. The fighter who is not being engaged should assume the offensive role and press for
his own missile shot while the bandit is distracted by your wingman. Engaged/support contact in operation against a single bandit or against a welded wing formation is VERY effective.
The scenario I'm looking at here is a both 2 vs 2 and 4 vs 4 BVR against Su 27's with AA12's. Your flight has detected and engaged the Su's at 40 + miles and has initiated a bracket. We're now
observing the Su's response and rapidly getting inside firing parameters for their AA12's. We're not quite in parameters for a slammer shot yet, but one side of your bracket is going for a shot,
while the other arm is about to be forced defensive.
Depending on the geometry of the bracket and the reactive tactics of the Su’s, a defensive drag may actually give the offensive arm of the bracket a tougher time to get within range for his own
shot. To fire as early as possible, he needs the Su’s to be inside the bracket so he can close the range as quickly as possible. He does not really want the Su’s to be chasing down the dragging F16
in the opposite direction. It’s important for him to recognize that he’s the offensive fighter and to get into missile range as soon as he can. This means full burner, CATA intercept (collision antenna
train angle – the course you need to fly to intercept in the minimum distance – calculated for you by the fire control computer and displayed as a little circle or dot in the HUD towards which you
must fly). Any delay in firing will give the Su’s that bit more time and room to “switch”.
If the Su’s are given enough space to “switch” with an inside out move after their missiles are autonomous (they start inside the bracket of the F16’s, but having forced one arm defensive, they can
turn "inside to out" and engage the other arm from inside the bracket which will carry them ultimately outside the bracket), the dragging F16 may not be in a position to reengage and get a missile
off before the Su’s can engage his wingman, especially if the Su’s themselves attempt a split. Whilst it is possible to maintain SA while dragging, it won’t always help if you end up 25 miles away
from the fight and your wingman is on his own against some angry Su’s he’s been trying to close the range on.
When the dragging F16 turns to reengage, the worst-case scenario is that he is faced with 3 contacts at 25 miles, one of which he knows is his wingman. Having said that, there are many
variations on the theme and every situation is slightly different. With practice and co-ordination, various tactics are effective and I don’t suggest it isn’t useful or effective, just that my experience is
that reengaging after the drag requires a quick rebuild of the SA and a rapid closure of the range before you become effective in support again. It’s a real bummer when you watch your wingman
go down just before you get in range to fire.
Generally, the AI will attempt to stay together (at least in pairs), but a four ship may split into two elements. Here again, the tactics differ online and off. The more sophisticated BVR tactics can
generally be expected only from human opponents. In SP3 you will meet a variety of AI tactics with variations in initial formations, beaming, dragging, brackets and splits and various use of the
they have it on and switch it off. Sometimes they keep it on or off throughout. I’ve even seen them get use of the jammer about face and start with it off and switch it on as they close to missile
range. You can sometimes get them to put their jammer on by going STT on them. This might help your wingman get a freebee HOJ shot if he's closer than you. It's also quite distracting for the
bandit who's being locked and your supporting wingman lost in the reaction the bandit makes, thus allowing him to close unobserved. I'll call this technique "baiting".
Use of the jammer is interesting and can make or break success. The AMRAAM and the AA12 will use the jammer to home on (HOJ) if you keep it on inside missile range. If the Su’s keep it on as
they close the range, you can exploit this mistake. You will still need to reach radar burn through and achieve at least a TWS lock to fire the slammer, even with jammers in use. When you fire,
you’ll notice HOJ comes up in the HUD, which means the slammer is autonomous and needs no further support from you. This is different to the time to active and time to impact countdown values
you’ll see in the HUD when the missile is in flight and requires you to support until active. The slammer is normally fired at a point in space where the contact is expected to be when the slammer
turns on it’s own radar. This would generally be a low Pk (probability of a kill) shot against fast moving targets like fighters. To increase the Pk before it goes autonomous, the slammer requires
course corrections via microwave data link while in flight. Against the Su’s, the slammer will generally miss if fired and not supported until active. You can break lock at about A23 with reasonable
Pk, but not before. Slammers will go active at T15.
Similarly with a mad dog shot (a missile released without a lock will go active immediately and lock onto the first thing it sees – like a mad dog), the ranges that initial firing takes place are outside
the range of the missiles own on board radar and consequently the missile tends to not find a target. I have not had much success in forcing the bandits defensive when I’ve simply lobbed a missile
in their general direction from 30 miles because I couldn’t get a lock. Nor in my experience will a missile fired without lock go HOJ and hit something. It needs to know where to look to obtain a
If the Su’s continue to jam inside 20 miles and you have survived to this point, you should now have a decided advantage. You can burn through, lock ‘em up, fire and disengage, which makes this
the tactic of choice under these circumstances. Your missile goes autonomous immediately, leaving you free to beam, drag or do whatever you need to do, while the Su must still support his
missile (always assuming that you have remembered to turn your jammer off).
At present in SP3, SARH missiles are ineffective since there is a bug that breaks radar lock momentarily when you release chaff. (You may have noticed this in dogfight when using ACM radar. The
bandit releases chaff and you get a persistent and repeated “lock, lock, lock” call from betty as the radar breaks and regains lock) This causes SARH missiles to go ballistic. Jim G has released a fix
for this and it will be incorporated into SP4. This will add a new dimension to BVR, since the AA10 A/A missile can be launched at 40 miles or more, but requires the shooter to keep an STT lock
until impact. This should lead to some interesting A pole/F pole tactics and some sweaty palm BVR jousts in this new twist to the game of aerial chess. I can’t wait.
If you start a bracket early (say 40 miles, or even further out on jamming contacts) you'll rapidly get a big seperation between you and your wingman or element. Let it go to 10 miles or so (use the
HSD to keep tabs on each other), but anything over this and you can't really support with a slammer shot at any bandits closing on him. At this point, if you're making little nibbles into the Su 27's A
pole advantage by notching to the beam and then closing a little more, you should try and notch to the beam in the direction of your wingman to close down the seperation on a bracket that gets
If the Su's initiate a bracket of their own or split their formation when you bracket, try a shackle, where you and your wingman notch to the beam by turning into each other and then continue
towards one other and cross over. This sometime collapses the bandits bracket or at the very least confuses them. You never want to be inside the arms of an opposing bracket when the shooting
starts and should always attempt to avoid this. If their bracket collapses when you shackle, simply keep going and start another bracket having swapped sides.
If you are beaten off the mark by an opposing bracket, try a single side offset. Check turn away from the most distant arm of the bracket and attempt to get outside the nearest arm of the opposing
bracket. Take your wing and element with you. You should be aiming to get all your flight into firing parameters against half of theirs before the farthest arm of their bracket can intervene. Go
defensive individually or as elements as necessary, but you should outnumber their split formation and some of your flight will arrive in parameters untargeted. Keep tabs on the other arm of the
bracket and either bug out or pump and re-engage as prudent.
Flight leads and elemnt leads, don't forget to assign high and low scan responsibilities to your wingmen. At these ranges, it's easy for an opposing flight, particularly that singleton with snoozed
radar, to get above or below the radar scan unless you split responsibilities. Once a bandit is through the cone at the end of your radar scan, as he gets closer, it's easier to stay above or below the
Watch out for the baiting tactics described, where a distant contact either locks you up or uses ECM to attract your attention, while all the while his mates are sneaking up on you. The AI won't do
this but humans will. The AI also won't "blink", but humans will. Alternate aircraft switch their jammer on and off and radar lock you on and off from different directions. Very unnerving.
Altitude splits make it difficult for an enemy flight to target all of your flight unless they are good at sorting, but make sure your altitude seperation is sufficient or it won't be effective. You're aiming
ideally for a vertical bracket. Don't leave your element too low to the fight as they will be the most vulnerable if the Su's are coming in at mach 2 and 40,000 ft. The low flight's slammers won't
reach and they're already outranged by the Su's radar and missiles.
When going for a slammer shot, get high and fast to impart as much energy to your slammer as possible, but once fired, slow down and crank to slow the relative closure. Let your missile close
the gap, not you. If you go defensive get low. You're more manoeverable lower down due to the denser air and the enemy missile has more drag
and shorter range down low. Beaming low and forcing the missile to come down after you and then climbing back to altitude can beat a long range shot.
Another useful tip. I have the RWR available in the place of the SMS page in the HUD when I'm in Missile Override mode and in D/F mode. I can then cycle between HSD and RWR as necessary.
Why the RWR in the MFD? Well, active missiles show up as an M in the RWR and they can be defeated by a break turn at the very last moment. This "moment" is when the M hits the inner ring on
the RWR. The RWR in the upper left of the cockpit is too small to judge this distance. I pull up the RWR on the right MFD to do this.
Various techniques have been presented by various folks and barrel rolls or a double break seem to work the best with judicious use of chaff. Get the missile on your 10 o clock or 2 o clock position
and break into it 90 degrees followed by a break turn the other way. The first break turn forces a radical course correction from the missile which is effectively in lead pursuit. You'll loose the lock
momentarily as you notch, but the missile will pick you up again if you don't make the second break. What the second break does is take advantage of the missiles correction one way and causes
an overshoot as you break back the other way. Barrel rolling around the missile forces the same radical course corrections but in this case they are continuous corrections. The missile cannot
correct fast enough as the range closes and it misses. Watch your ping times here between host and client. A slow connection (bloody dial up!) can mean sufficient latency and delayed positional
updates, that the break turn is mistimed. Ever wonder why in a 2 vs 2, the host dodges all the missiles while you as the client gets blatted! Check your ping times.
Whatever formation you choose (and combat spread is simple and effective under most A/A situations), don't make it too tight. You and your wingman should be at least a turn radius apart which
is 3000 to 6000 ft. This is quite loose and allows the wingman to use his sensors to double your SA. If he's concentrating on airshow type formations right on your wing, he'll not contribute much.
Use the HSD to keep uup SA and remain in mutual support. Let the element and his wing drift out a bit further in a loose 4 ship (unless you want to try some of the more sophisticated baiting,
sneaky singleton or other tactics like the grinder).
When you decide that now is the right time to press and fire, if you're a 4 ship and you have your wingman with you and the element is bracketing (as opposed to a 2 ship where your wingman is
bracketing and might be several miles away), try to get on line together and fire together. You're very vulnerable if you are too staggered. One of you might end up double targeted, followed soon
after by the other guy in the same situation. Two slammers inbound have a much better probability of doing damage than a single slammer followed at some distance by another, or not followed at
Whilst all this sounds easy, things happen very quickly once you get started. Poor formations at the initial detection usually just get worse as you progress toward the WEZ and the whole thing falls
apart very quickly. Mutual support is essential in multiship engagements.
React quickly to a defensive posture by the bandit formation. If they start to drag, press and be ready to follow up with a second slammer volley. Do not allow the bandits to pump, reform and re
engage unless you intend to bug out in the other direction.
Watch your fuel at all times as there's often lots of burner involved in BVR. Pointless winning the air battle if you run out of fuel on the way home.
I don't go radar off at 60 miles since I want to know where he is asap and you'll actually have a hard time detecting an F16 at this range anyway unless he's jamming. If you go LRS, you'll get a
contact at 40-50 miles, RWS you'll get a contact at 40 miles. If he's in an F16, he'll see you at about the same time. I won't lock him or even bug him at this point, because he might not yet have a
good idea of where I am. I might go for an offset right now (take him out to gimbals) to work out his course without bugging him. I'll hold 450-500 knots and use AB as necessary depending on
how radical my jinks get.
As the range closes from 40 miles or so, you're trying to deny a lock and first shot against a similar adversary, so jammer on at this point. He knows you're there. You can try notching to the beam
and rapid changes in altitude while turning jammer off to try and make life difficult for him to keep track of you. You don't want him to get a good geometrical solution to the forthcoming shoot out
by being predictable. Notch to the beam in alternate directions and patiently "worm" your way to burn through distance. Once you get to burn through, which will happen at around 18 miles for an
F16 against an F16, then you need to go jammer off to deny the HOJ shot. No point in giving him a homing beacon at this point. You can also try unpredictable use of the jammer. Use it or not,
blink it or keep it on. You may want to invite him to shoot early by allowing him a TWS lock, knowing that you can defeat his early missile. If you stay fast, say 450 knots , it gives any incoming
missiles a greater lead pursuit offset when you notch one way and then notch back the other. This alone is often enough to defeat a missile fired at longer ranges.
Unfortunately, you're still outside of E-Pole at burn through distance. A missile fired at 18 miles is easily defeated kinematically (running away or dragging). What you're trying to do now is get
inside his E-Pole and fire at a distance you can't miss. Anything inside of 10 miles is getting pretty tough for him to beat. Pretty tough for you to beat as well if he fires on you. It's now that you need
that altitude and airspeed. If you were low and slow, you'll not make up the difference now, so try and arrive at shooting distance high and fast. Full burner for shooting to extend your A-Pole.
Question1: When I lock the bogey say at 30NM do I go str8 away towards him or I have to keep him in the gimbal limits?(single side offset)
Generally, you'll want to point directly at the intercept point (CATA) when you shoot (maximising your A pole), but other than that brief moment, your nose will not be pointing directly at the bandit
(reducing his A pole). If he comes right at you, let him. Minimise his A pole by taking an offset. When you are ready to shoot, maximise your
own A-pole by turning into him, shoot and take an offset, immediately reducing his A-pole again. This is often enough to defeat a similar bandit. In multiship engagements, you might want to close
for a shot as soon as possible, as when you're the offensive arm of a bracket, in which case, you'll be full burner and CATA.
Question2: Marlin described excellent the bracketing but what about the vertical one? Suppose i go high and my wingman low. when i lock the bogey to I keep him in the upper gimbaling limits,
then dive towards him or go str8 away towards him?
A posthole is exactly what you describe - a vertical bracket. The principles are the same, but the low guy is vulnerable if he's targeted. When you shoot, go CATA, otherwise take an offset. A
vertical bracket can take the split outside of the bar scan limits of the bandits easier than a horizontal bracket can take the split outside the azimuth limits of the bandits radar, particularly as the
range closes. Once one of your pair drops off the vertical scan pattern of the bandits radar, they can no longer effectively sort. Assess this with a spike status as you approach the bandits and
adjust your tactics as necessary.
Question3: When I fire the slammer and brake to reduce the closure do i keep him at the gimbaling limits with the nose up or down? It makes sense to keep it up to reduce the closure but also
makes sense in keeping the nose down to drag immediately if i have to.
If he's below you when you fire and crank, stay above him until you see that he's fired, then go low. Make him shoot uphill. Give him range and geometry problems that minimise his A pole and
maximise yours. Make sure that you don't crank and drop him off the bar scan.
Objective: deny bandit lock and shot opportunity as long as possible (reduce the A-Pole).
Disadvantage: Early detection if used too early
Disadvantage: HOJ opportunity if used too late
Music On +/- 40 miles
Music Off by 25 miles
A HOJ shot still needs a bug/lock to be fired, but will go HOJ immediately on a jamming contact. Burn through Distance (when your radar can bug/lock a jamming contact) becomes the DLZ and it's
closer than a "normal" Rmax1. While you can reduce the Su's Rmax1 to +/- 25 miles if you use your jammer (and hence reduce his A-Pole), if he uses jammer, he'll reduce your Rmax1 to +/- 18
miles. He still has an advantage. Don't forget to turn your jammer off!!!!! It's easy to forget in the heat of the moment. Leave it on and you'll attract AA12's like wasps at a picnic.
Note that first shot opportunities all well outside E-Pole for both fighters, but with jammer use by the Su27, the A-Pole and E-Pole are much closer together and for the F16 it's getting a bit tight.
For the F16 against the Su27/AA12, your first shot
opportunity is getting pretty close to D-RNG (15 miles). This is OK if he keeps his jammer on as you'll get a HOJ, but if he's smart, he'll turn it off when he reaches your burn through distance, thus
If you fire and crank, A-Pole (separation from the bandit when your missile goes pitbull) is also very close to D-RNG. Hairy stuff!
E-Pole is about 10 miles for the AA12 depending upon airspeed and geometry at the time you commence dragging.
Pumping Dragging and Grinding
Not sure if we need a distinction here between pumping and dragging. A pump is prebriefed and is in response to the bandits. When you run away from a missile, this is dragging. You can also
attempt to drag the bandits, as in "drag and bag", but in this case we're talking about drawing out a missile. When dragging, you control the missile by making it follow you. You are attempting to
give it the longest possible distance it has to travel to intercept. Not only should you fly away from it, but also you should dive as well to increase the straight-line distance the missile has to fly. Get
it down into thicker air where the drag is higher and it's energy depletes faster. This is useful at longer ranges when the missile is loosing kinetic energy. The intent is to simply make it run out of
Unfortunately, if we take our Su 27's with AA 12's as our worse case scenario, they will get first lock, first shot and if your missile defense is dragging, you'll be doing quite a bit of this. This is fine
if it allows your element to get into parameters for a shot themselves, but if the AA 12 has gone autonomous, you'll still be dragging while the Su's have turned their attention to your wing or
element in a switch. This is why it's important that you and your wing or element on the other side of the bracket is about the same distance away from the bandits. In order to engage one arm of
your bracket, the Su's must expose themselves to the other arm. Easy to say, more difficult to execute.
Unlike dragging, when you beam a missile, you are attempting to give the missile intercept problems through a high LOS rate. The closer it gets, the higher the LOS rate and the further the missile
has to lead you. A last minute break should leave the missile no chance to correct. This is useful when the missile is fired from closer in and it still has high energy. Dragging isn't going to work if
the missile has enough legs to reach you regardless of what you do (Rmax2). This is what happens to your bracket if the Su's get an early shot on the other arm of the bracket and have sufficient
time to switch back into you. You messed up and they'll be shooting at you from much closer range. You can still beat the missile, but not by dragging.
Your AMRAAM is a good missile. It flies a flatter trajectory and flies faster that the AA12 and goes active at a longer range. These differences are significant if you can get close enough to shoot. Be
patient and do not simply go charging in head to head. This is aerial chess.
Grinder. We're getting very specific to very specific tactical situations here. Other circumstances will dictate a different response. I'm assuming an enemy four ship here. Su 27's with AA12's. They
will get first lock and first shot under any circumstances. I want pairs (all be it loose pairs - as in an A/A situation) in order to bring on line 2 slammers. A single slammer fired at 4 Su's may not
have quite the desired effect. They'll split into pairs with one pair remaining offensive. I wanted two slammers going downrange to add a little more incentive to a decisive defensive response. The
first pair in the grinder will almost certainly get fired on. They need to open a window of opportunity for the second pair
Lets define some relative distances and terminology as the basis for further tactical considerations.
FBR (Factor Bandit Range) - FBR is the minimum range between threat groups that allows the offensive fighter to achieve F-Pole on the closest group and still maintain first launch opportunity on all
groups outside this range. Other considerations are D-RNG and E-Pole (defined in the BVR thread).
ALL groups inside the FBR must be targeted. Groups outside the FBR can be engaged/avoided as necessary. Groups outside the FBR should not be targeted to maximise firepower on the groups
FBR is determined by threat weapons capability, your own weapons capability, closure speeds and of course, proficiency in execution of the tactics to follow.
Achieve F-Pole while maintaining first launch capability on remaining groups means that you fire on group one and your missile impacts before the second group can fire on you. This is an essential
concept for survivability. Without defining FBR you're gambling.
In most cases, the distance we need to be concerned with is A-Pole, since we'll be using slammers and they go autonomous, leaving us free to notch or extend. F-Pole is of concern if we or the
bandits have SARH missiles which must be supported to impact.
A-Pole is the distance between your aircraft and the target at the time the ARH missile goes active. It's important because this will be the closest distance you need to approach to get your kill. It
will also be the minimum distance that the enemy has to get a killing shot off on you. You will actually have fired the missile some time and distance earlier (RMax1 and RMax2).
In this context, RMax2 constitutes the E-Pole for the target. Again in the case of the Su27, with his phenomenal acceleration potential, this distance may be quite short if we're in a stern chase
situation. WEZ on a retreating Su27 is less than 10 miles and you won't be able to close the gap if you're outside this when he turns and runs. The F16 can't catch him.
Head on at Mach 1.0 +, you might be well inside the DLZ for a shot at 30+ miles. This gives both you and the Su's a 20 mile window in which to establish superiority
through tactics before arriving at D-RNG when you have to notch and possibly extend. This 20 mile window is a very short time indeed!
Note that use of the jammer (ecm) by the target and the HOJ capability of the slammer effectively increases your A-Pole by a huge distance. A HOJ shot is effectively autonomous immediately and
you no longer need to support your missile. The Su27/AA12 combo has this capability too.
Another term we'll need is MELD. This is the pre briefed range where radars come out of their primary search responsibility in order to find their primary target/sort responsibility. When you do
this, you'll loose coverage and are vulnerable. This is why defining the FBR is important.
This is where it gets complicated!
Tactical Range = 35 miles. Lets call this FBR in our examples although it might vary. Anything hostile inside 35 miles becomes a target vs monitor. Assume we’re a 2 ship and the threats may be
equivalent in capability. We’ve looked at the mechanics of BVR in the BVR thread, so don’t forget these principles in Multiple Groups.
If the bandits are a single group, meld into the group. If the bandits are a heavy group (more than 2), we’ll meld into the group and fire if possible but abort our targeting/sort and out at D-RNG on
the group. We can only target 2 of the group so it’s better to retire when outnumbered.
In the following cases, we have 2 groups of 2 bandit aircraft. In one they are split in range, in the other split in azimuth. Note that when one of the groups is outside the FBR, we have two separate
BVR engagements and can flow group to group. If both groups are inside the FBR, we can only engage one group and will make no attempt to engage the far group. Minimum range criteria must
be observed to deny the second group a shot from inside E-Pole. It therefore follows the flow of a BVR engagement against a single group but with much more stringent minimum range criteria.
You must extend at these minimum ranges or the far group will shoot you even if you defeat the near group.
Split range formations
2 Groups range greater than FBR, flow from group to group, target the near group, GCI/AWAC’s monitor the far group.
2 Groups range less than FBR +/- 25 miles apart; we’re not in immediate danger of being killed by the second group, but we will not have first shot opportunity on the second group. We can afford
to be somewhat aggressive on the first group. Target the first group, aggressively crank (with respect to the second group as well if it can be managed). Monitor target status and RWR “spike”
status. Press on the first group if necessary, but minimum range criteria out at E-Pole to the FAR group.
2 Groups range less than FBR +/- 10 miles apart; This one is difficult. We can still engage the first group, but must be much more conservative. Not only will we not have first shot opportunity on
the second group, if we press the first group, we’re
inside E-Pole on the second group. Therefore minimum range criteria out at D-RNG on the NEAR group. Do not press.
Split azimuth formations
2 groups +/- 25 miles apart = 25 degree spread at 60 miles = 50 degree spread at 30 miles, less than 30 miles and we’re gimbaled on one group. Offset at 30-40 miles (choose one side or the
other and don’t get bracketed), 45 to 55 degrees offset, target the near group, shoot and crank. Monitor target status and RWR “spike” status. Press on the first group if necessary. Unlike the first
example of +/- 25 miles, you should not be in danger of entering the E-Pole on the second group. There is a possible option of flowing from group to group.
2 groups +/- 10 miles apart = E-Pole on the second group. Out at D-RNG on the first group. Do not press.
You turn off ECM when it's no longer effectively preventing a radar bug or lock. Read the RP5 manual for the exact distances which depend on a few factors. The power of the jammer and the
power of the radar being the two important ones. A Su 27 will burn through your F16 jammer at about 22 miles, so turn it off at 22 miles. Leaving it on at less than this invites a HOJ shot. You'll
burn through his jammer at about 18 miles, so he needs to turn his off at 18 miles. And you're right, things are moving very fast at this point so don't forget to turn it off and do it sooner rather
than later - before he fires at you.
Remember the principles of what you are trying to achieve with use of the jammer. The jammer is reducing his A-Pole. Once he has aquired you, it's actually doing the opposite and increasing the
distance he'll get an autonomous shot at you. Turn it off at the distance it no longer is reducing A-pole.
Unfortunatly this in not true in Lockon . It would change the gameplay by far in terms of RUS vs US plattforms.
For now i leave it, free to discuss.
Lockon is a no-go in this forum!
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