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really dumb air combat question - 9/12/2017 12:17:49 PM   
kch

 

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Just a quick question. What do you guys usually do when engaging in air to air combat? Do you increase speed (incl afterburners?), do you manually designate the targets? Do you do go head to head?

I have in the past just put my aircraft on a head to head course, at cruise speed and using to auto target designating the enemy aircraft. It does not work very well.. If you dont have all aspect or radar guided weapons you end up with a gun duel and then some very ineffectual dog fighting.

How do you guys do it? Do you use the "intercept" mission or AAW patrol? My manual approach with no mission certainly does not seem to work
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RE: really dumb air combat question - 9/12/2017 12:27:12 PM   
thewood1

 

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I almost never micromanage individual air engagements. Have never really thought it was an issue. I will sometimes designate an auto target if I need to prioritize a defense, but even then, its rare.

I am not sure what the expectation is if you don't have missiles that can engage in head on attacks. I would think a dog fight would ensue. And as in real life, most gun-based dog fights are ineffectual. Are you looking for all fighters to engage in pre-dog fight maneuvers?

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RE: really dumb air combat question - 9/12/2017 1:49:06 PM   
Gunner98

 

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The trick is to get into a position where you can engage the bad guy while he cannot engage you.

To do this you need to have some understanding of your missile/radar capability vs his missile/radar capability. Generally though - if you hand something in front of him to get his attention, then slip in behind him by using terrain or simply radar gaps, you can nail him.

Head to head is not a winning proposition unless you really outclass the bad guy.

B

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RE: really dumb air combat question - 9/12/2017 6:39:50 PM   
kch

 

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Yeah I am looking to learn some pre dog fight manouvres in order to better use the aircraft especially in the scenarios before effective missiles exist. I have also struggled in the brother vs brother scenario where you quite a few kfir c7 but I get hammered by the Venezuelan flankers. I will try to split up and lure the flankers after me and ambush with some kfir.

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RE: really dumb air combat question - 9/13/2017 1:41:27 AM   
Cik

 

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so i would not really bank on beating brother vs. brother. even if you were to execute some daring feat of air tactics you'll still likely get slaughtered as the flankers enter their HOB WEZ and spray you down with archers.

there are a lot of tricks to air combat but most of those are abstracted by the "top down" nature of the simulation. the best you can do is make sure all of your elements have mutual support as much as you are able and mind your spacing such that you are never stuck total-defensive with more aircraft than necessary.

often the most important decision you can make is "should i get tangled up with these guys, and at what range"? the most impactful decisions you can set in C:MANO are winchester/shotgun, and CAP spacings. at least in BVR combat the AI handles it about as well as a human (as long as you intervene with some manual RTBs every now and then.)

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RE: really dumb air combat question - 9/13/2017 1:48:32 AM   
thewood1

 

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"abstracted by the "top down" nature of the simulation"

I think this is the best answer for now. This is a theater-level simulation and expecting too much detail in specific situations is probably not realistic. There is already way more detail in A2A combat than anyone could have reasonably expected. But the devs do manage to surprise us all the time.

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RE: really dumb air combat question - 9/13/2017 1:51:10 AM   
Cik

 

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yeah, it's not a knock on it. you won't find a bigger fan of the sim anywhere.

i'm just saying that the "input skill curve" is not as high as you would find in say, a flight sim where a lot more depends on your intricate knowledge of the particulars of ACM. the skill comes in recognizing your strengths vs. adversary strengths, making a plan that's workable and resilient, and executing it well in relation to your objective(s)

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RE: really dumb air combat question - 9/15/2017 11:20:43 AM   
SeaQueen


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It depends.

In smaller scenarios involving just a few aircraft I might handle them manually. Anything beyond a few v few scenario, though, it gets crazy fast so at that point I tend to rely on missions and the artificial intelligence. Typically the AI goes to afterburner when it engages a target. I spend a lot of time paying attention to the WRA, and sometimes change that in the course of a battle. That way I can give directions like, "Concentrate on the fighters," or "Concentrate on the bombers" without having to manually target anything. Depending on the aircraft and the role I envision it playing in the battle, I might set altitudes and throttle settings on the mission level. That way I can do things like put aircraft closer to the ground or over/under SAM sites ability to engage. Sometimes I set the altitude to take into account weather (above or below the clouds) or terrain. If I see something important being missed (e.g. a tanker or an AWACS aircraft) I might manually target it.

I typically use a combination of intercept and patrol missions. If there's a group of high value targets I want to go after I'll assign aircraft to an intercept mission with those aircraft on the target list. I might also use intercept missions with no targets to automatically launch aircraft if the enemy comes within a given distance of their base.

In patrol missions, I use the mission area to represent a CAP orbit, and then assign it a prosecution area. It's generally a good idea to have the prosecution area larger than the patrol area in order to avoid CAPs being surprised. I might have several patrol areas use the same prosecution area and reassign aircraft to them in order to re-position them in order to better engage threats as they emerge.

I think it's important, especially in larger scenarios, to step back and realize Command is not a flight simulator. It's more like being in the operations center, or maybe in an air-battle-manager's seat on a AWACS aircraft. So, instead of focusing on what individual aircraft are doing, you look at the whole picture and how the air battle is shaping up. The questions change. Instead of, "Am I in the right position to employ this weapons system?" it becomes, "Do I have the numbers of aircraft in the places that I need them?" and "Are they attacking the right things?"

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RE: really dumb air combat question - 9/15/2017 10:38:50 PM   
Rory Noonan

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Cik

so i would not really bank on beating brother vs. brother. even if you were to execute some daring feat of air tactics you'll still likely get slaughtered as the flankers enter their HOB WEZ and spray you down with archers.



I have been on a bit of a kick about this lately.

With Brother Against Brother in particular and operations in general, there is an urge to get out and fight the enemy because they're there. When you're up against superior opposition this is, of course, going to result in high casualties if you fight the enemy on their terms.

Like Cik mentioned, in CMANO the best results are obtained by analysing your opponents capabilities versus your own. In the example of Brother Against Brother you have Kfirs with a short range AAM (all-aspect IIRC, could be wrong on that though) versus F-16s and SU-27s on the other side, some of which have medium range SARH AAMs. If you try to knock them off piecemeal as they're on CAP, you can pretty much guarantee that you will lose all of your aircraft. Given the difference in capabilities, this is to be expected.

The mission however is to knock out a rebel camp. If you resist the temptation to go shoot enemy planes just because they're in the air, and instead use your all of your fighters at once to screen your attack aircraft going in to bomb the camp, then the scenario that some have called 'impossible' actually becomes quite easy. You might lose 2-3 Kfirs but you'll easily bomb the camp and win the mission.

Another good example is F/A-18As with AIM-120Bs vs Rafales with MICA EM/IRs in SIMEX. If you go up against the Rafales in air-to-air combat, you are almost certainly going to lose 2-3 Hornets for every Rafale you shoot down. On the other hand you have lots of strike aircraft, and a decent naval gunfire capability. Much better results come from destroying the Rafales on the ground using NGS or an airstrike, usually more in the order of rougly 15 Rafales destroyed for every aircraft lost (or even 0 a/c losses if using NGS).

In broader terms, my point is that rather than just going to fight because the enemy is there, try to make sure you fight the enemy only when it suits you or is absolutely necessary, and always on your own terms as much as possible.

As for specific tactics when it comes to air-to-air engagements, there is one simple method that I use to good effect: offsetting elements in a line or echelon. Rather than having a single 4-ship group all together, I would use 2x2-ship groups, one trailing the other at ~25-50nm, offset around 45 degrees off the tail of the lead group. This allows you to engage enemies with the lead group, and then while they are maneuvering to engage they are open to shots from the tail group. You can also experiment with differences in altitude to exploit lack of look-down/shoot-down capability, or snap-up/down limitations with enemy missiles. The aim is to try to have one group in a firing position without being exposed to return fire. Even with bad matchups like F/A-18 vs Rafales you can end up getting even odds or better results, against inferior opponents you will often have no losses.

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RE: really dumb air combat question - 9/17/2017 7:26:49 AM   
ComDev

 

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Fantastic post. Read and learn

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RE: really dumb air combat question - 9/17/2017 9:57:27 AM   
HellcatOne


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Great post!

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RE: really dumb air combat question - 9/17/2017 11:38:55 AM   
ultradave


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Thanks for this. Good advice.


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RE: really dumb air combat question - 9/17/2017 7:19:44 PM   
mikkey


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Very nice post, true.

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RE: really dumb air combat question - 9/17/2017 11:43:42 PM   
kevinkins


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Agree, enjoy the tactical discussion.

This is a much more of an operation description.

I am a cautious player and tend to rely on early warning (E-2 Hawkeyes etc..) to develop the situation and then pounce on the enemy as they blunder into my early warning "zone of control". MY EW aircraft are protected at all cost and my air to air missiles must have the range to kill enemy at a stand off distance relative to the EW aircraft to make this tactic viable. Or course, risks have to be taken at some point in the battle to win the scenario. But make sure the battlefield has been shaped to your liking. I play small scenarios so I can vector each A/C individually as enemy appear. I am always looking to retreat my EW A/C to a refuel zone if the situation gets dicey.

To quote apache "In broader terms, my point is that rather than just going to fight because the enemy is there, try to make sure you fight the enemy only when it suits you or is absolutely necessary, and always on your own terms as much as possible. "

Fight them with the lights on and not in the "dark". EW aircraft are your flashlights.

Kevin



< Message edited by kevinkin -- 9/18/2017 12:55:24 AM >

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RE: really dumb air combat question - 9/18/2017 2:42:48 PM   
Primarchx


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I am an unrepentant micromanager when it comes to air combat. I position, allocate weapons and maneuver manually. Here's a few TTPs I use for fighter combat.

Detection & EW
o Keep the nose cold as long as possible to mask your position. Utilize off-board sensors such as AWACS and GCI to the fullest extent.
o Bring radars up once there's no question you've been detected - easy to tell because enemy fighters will come at you at mil/AB.
o Maximize your use of passive sensors. A good ESM platform sniffing the air can give you a good picture of the battle space.
o Jamming a/c pulled in tight with interceptors can degrade enemy a/c AAM engagement range.

BVR - Offensive
o If possible, engage with AAMs at about 2/3 max range to ensure sufficient energy for a good ph.
o Shave as much off the merge rate with incoming fighters as you can when guiding your AAMs by using throttle and off-set course. Wider radar arcs help immensely with this by allowing you to move your nose 60 degrees or more off angle-on-target.
o With active RHMs, losing track of your targets by turning away too soon can often mean your target will not be in the basket when they go active. Where possible, keep track of your target until missile radars come on.
o With SARHs, know what your tracking limits are. Some radars are able to guide beyond the indicated radar arc. Also some radars can't engage typical targets at max range because they don't get sufficient radar reflection (APG-65, for example).
o Be miserly with your missiles. When my a/c have a missile advantage (greater range, ARH vs SARH, etc) I typically only launch single BVR missiles vs enemy targets. This usually gives me more kills and options at the merge than shoot-shoot.
o You can be successful against a/c with superior missiles by stalking them outside their radar arcs and dashing in for shots. It can be a tricky thing and is helped by good friendly off-board sensors and isolating targets from their supports.
o Where ever possible make sure your missiles are in the air before the enemy. Engage at or beyond the edge of their AAM envelopes.

BVR - Defensive
o Remember that incoming SARH missiles need guidance all the way in. If you've also launched AAMs against your target they may turn away and break radar guidance to evade your shots. Use your radar's limits to cut down on this geometry relative to the enemy's nose as well.
o When possible, turn away to incoming AAMs and go to full speed. If you do so early enough you can often outrun them before they can hit.
o If you can't outrun a missile, the best defensive aspect to an incoming AAM appears to be beam-on, at high speed.

Intermediate
If you've got a/c that are coming into WVR range there are some steps you can take to improve your situation.
o Watch your opponent's altitude. If you're shooting at them with BVR missiles they will dive. You don't want to find yourself with a good angle on an enemy a/c at close range only to find you're 20k feet above them!
o Spread out a bit. Split flights so that when an enemy commits to one target your wingman gets a good shooting angle.

WVR - Dogfighting
o Shoot them in the face. If you have any all-aspect weapons fire them as soon as possible. Get your opponents defensive and turning away from you.
o Keep track of your altitude. You'll usually need to be within 10k-15k feet for an IRM shot and 2k feet for a gun shot.
o It's harder to outrun an IRM in a dogfight, but possible. AA-11s are bad news.
o You will be making frequent course changes. I usually make them in 90-120 degree increments between pausing. Be aware that making a course change whose end-point is very close to your a/c's current position can result in it turning away in the opposite direction because that point is within its' turning radius. Not fun.
o Speed has an effect on your turning radius (of course). Slower typically means a faster rate of turn. Your throttle setting does not seem to offset speed loss rate during maneuvering, however.
o AB is a good thing for straight(ish) dashes to get into position.
o Loiter throttle works for slow, high-turn rate maneuvering. I haven't seen an aircraft depart flight from stalling, yet.
o Beware overshooting in close maneuvering. Your opponent will often be at slow speed due to lots of turning when you're close in. Watch their speed.
o Nose-on approaches are dangerous. If you find a merge coming from dead ahead pitch up/down to get vertical separation to spoil a passing cannon shot. Deny the enemy that shot, it can be deadly!
o Don't forget your cannon. It can be very effective in the right situation.

(in reply to kevinkins)
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RE: really dumb air combat question - 9/18/2017 2:45:17 PM   
MikeJ271

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: apache85
As for specific tactics when it comes to air-to-air engagements, there is one simple method that I use to good effect: offsetting elements in a line or echelon. Rather than having a single 4-ship group all together, I would use 2x2-ship groups, one trailing the other at ~25-50nm, offset around 45 degrees off the tail of the lead group. This allows you to engage enemies with the lead group, and then while they are maneuvering to engage they are open to shots from the tail group. You can also experiment with differences in altitude to exploit lack of look-down/shoot-down capability, or snap-up/down limitations with enemy missiles. The aim is to try to have one group in a firing position without being exposed to return fire. Even with bad matchups like F/A-18 vs Rafales you can end up getting even odds or better results, against inferior opponents you will often have no losses.

Excellent post.

Just one little thing to add to the last point: as the first shooters engage, I’ve often found it’s useful to try to actively maintain the lateral separation even as the second/trailing pair is in firing position. In other words, don’t be tempted to barrel in directly towards the enemy bogies, which would usually put both of your own pairs more on the same axis of attack. That offset means that the second flight can cover the break/withdrawal of the lead pair much more easily (and with less risk to itself) as it offers better egress options.
If the enemy flight breaks away from your second pair i.e. to the opposite side to the offset, then you can burn in for more tail-on shots with little risk. Conversely, if it breaks towards the second flight, you should still have the advantage, as well as the opportunity to recover to a safer firing position with the lead pair.

Naturally, this depends upon having a wide enough missile engagement envelope – and the wider it is, the bigger the offset you have to play with – but that’s something you should try to be aware of anyway. Similarly, if you’re using active EMCON, the width of the radar cone will probably also be a factor in how big the split can be.

And this applies to some of the older technology too; it was a tactic I was using during the “Mighty O” and “Deliverance” scenarios of Northern Inferno, where the rear-aspect Sidewinder-armed Crusaders had that one small advantage over the Soviets because of their wider radar cones, which meant they could use an offset approach more effectively.

(in reply to Rory Noonan)
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RE: really dumb air combat question - 9/18/2017 3:26:34 PM   
Primarchx


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quote:

ORIGINAL: apache85


...
As for specific tactics when it comes to air-to-air engagements, there is one simple method that I use to good effect: offsetting elements in a line or echelon. Rather than having a single 4-ship group all together, I would use 2x2-ship groups, one trailing the other at ~25-50nm, offset around 45 degrees off the tail of the lead group. This allows you to engage enemies with the lead group, and then while they are maneuvering to engage they are open to shots from the tail group. You can also experiment with differences in altitude to exploit lack of look-down/shoot-down capability, or snap-up/down limitations with enemy missiles. The aim is to try to have one group in a firing position without being exposed to return fire. Even with bad matchups like F/A-18 vs Rafales you can end up getting even odds or better results, against inferior opponents you will often have no losses.


You can game the system a bit, too. In Northern Fury scenarios with Hornets sporting AIM-120As, I will often place them in a position forward of trailing Tomcats. Even though they are outranged by Flanker AA-10Cs I can get them into a good firing position, pickle the Slammers and then turn-n-burn. Radar contact to the Flankers is maintained by the follow-on Tomcats so that the AMRAAMs guide true.

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RE: really dumb air combat question - 9/18/2017 8:54:30 PM   
Rebel Yell


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Which nicely mirrors the modern tactic of F-35/22's guiding for F-15/16/18 missile trucks.

< Message edited by Rebel Yell -- 9/18/2017 8:55:18 PM >


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