From: Washington D.C.
SAM evasion is a complicated thing. The simulation makes some assumptions. Is it the best assumption in all possible situations? Probably not. Is it an okay assumption? Maybe sometimes. Am I mad at it? Not really. Could it be better? Probably. Would it make a big difference? Probably not.
Surface to air missile systems consist of multiple interdependent subsystems. Each of those subsystems must function properly for the SAM to destroy its intended target. Defeating a SAM requires attacking and defeating at least one of those subsystems. Real SAM evasion techniques attack all subsystems simultaneously in order to maximize the likelihood that at least one will fail. I'll describe each of those subsystems and how Command represents the defeat of them.
1) Propulsion: Typically rocket or sometimes RAM/SCRAM jet propulsion. Defeat of the propulsion system occurs when the missile no longer has enough speed to maintain aerodynamic control and it begins to stall/tumble uncontrollably. The propulsion system can be defeated by dragging. You can represent this in Command using a combination of doctrine settings (for air to air) and taking manual control in the case of surface to air missiles. There are other methods of aerodynamically defeating the propulsion system, including making turns which are intended to increase the bearing rate of the target to the missile, thus forcing the missile to make big turns and bleed it of energy relative to the target, and depriving it of the ability to aerodynamically control itself. Missiles with vectored thrust are less vulnerable to this tactic than ones without because they don't need as much speed to turn. Command doesn't handle this sort of tactic well. The reason is that engines aren't properly represented. Missiles with ram/scramjet sustainers are likewise less vulnerable due to a more constant amount of energy over the course of their flight. Command actually does take that into account as a Pk modifier.
2) Control: The limits of the control system dictate the maximum yaw/pitch/roll rate of the missile. Typically missiles are capable of much higher 'g's than manned aircraft. None the less it is sometimes possible to exceed the maximum turn rate of a missile. This is represented in Command by the attempt to "turn inside" the missile you see as "SAM evasion." A better representation of this would better take into account the flight characteristics of the weapon, the aircraft as a function of speed and altitude. Right now that's not in there. Instead it just makes some assumptions and abstractions. They're not bad ones necessarily.
3) Guidance: Guidance systems connect to the control system of a missile. It's typically either infrared or radar, but it could be laser guided, optically guided, GPS/INS guided or completely unguided! Guidance systems in Command are attacked with chaff/flares/towed decoys, defensive ECM (Pk modifier) and offensive ECM (preventing guidance sensor acquisition). It doesn't represent certain ECM attacks on the guidance system directly, for example, with a command guided SAM it might be possible in some cases to jam the data links connecting the guidance system to the control system. In some cases you might assume that the effect of that is somehow included in the final Pk of the weapon system, but not necessarily. Guidance systems can also be attacked by maneuvering in some cases. Depending on the weapon and aircraft it might sometimes be possible for the aircraft to move more quickly than the weapon's sensors can be adjusted to keep the aircraft in view. I'd argue that C:MO's evasion turn represents this as well. In some cases a jammer is itself a useful source of energy to home on, this is home on jam capability and if a weapon has this then jammers actually have the effect of seducing weapons, not inhibiting their guidance. Command captures that. If facing a home on jam missile turn any offensive jammers of the targeted aircraft off.
4) Fusing. The fusing system tells a weapon when to detonate its warhead. Missiles can be fused a variety of ways. The simplest would be a contact fuse. Greater effectiveness can be gained by providing some form of proximity fusing. Proximity fuses are typically very short ranged radars but could also be laser or possibly acoustic systems as well. There could also be time fuses, or command detonated fuses. C:MO doesn't represent the defeat of fusing very well at all, although many fusing systems would represent an obvious target for ECM. Successful attacks against the fusing system causes the warhead to either fail to detonate or detonate prematurely.
5) Warhead. The warhead is what does the killing. The actual kill mechanism is not modeled in C:MO unless you turn on the detailed damage model. Missile warheads might be shaped charges or blast/fragmentation charges. They might be hit to kill in some cases, and attempt to destroy a target aircraft by transferring its kinetic energy to the target in the form of a violent shockwave which causes the disintegration of the target. Warheads might make use of "expanding rod" or other ways to attempt to ensure a more uniform fragmentation pattern. The fragmentation effect increases the lethality of the weapon by spreading its destructive power over as large an area as possible, making it more difficult to evade the weapon's effects by defeating its control systems. I suppose that C:MO represents this with the agility rating, and its effect on the endgame Pk of the weapon.
The maneuvering you're describing is ultimately only a portion of SAM evasion. Is it possible for a pilot to, in the process of evading multiple SAMs, be brought closer in to the SAM site? Possibly. The actual results depend on the nature of the evasion maneuver. Command makes one assumption about it based on what's been described by Vietnam veterans avoiding SA-2 missiles. That's not necessarily the only possible thing to do. Real SAM evasion tactics depend on a combination of all of the techniques described above, and they're often interdependent. For example, depending on the threat, a pilot might not maneuver at all with some decoy systems because of everything from aerodynamic limitations to the desire to increase the effectiveness of the electronic seduction.
In the modeling and simulation world we have a saying, "All models are wrong, some models are useful." The same can be applied to gaming software. Is C:MO wrong? Yes. Does it provide insight? Sometimes. Could it be improved? Certainly, and the guys work hard to do that within the limitations of ITAR and security issues. In that sense, complaining about realism is missing the point, because the real answer is, "it depends," and that's neither satisfactory to the person complaining, nor is it likely to aid in any improved implementation of the software. Do I care? Eh... maybe a little, but it's not at the top of my list of things I'd like to see.
So how's that?
< Message edited by SeaQueen -- 1/18/2020 12:53:53 AM >