Capability of missiles for ISR and Loiter

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Capability of missiles for ISR and Loiter

Post by Zanthra »

Missiles like the newer Tomahawk cruise missiles, and even more so for missiles like the IAI Harop tend to blur the line between drones and missiles. Back as far as 2015 the US navy demonstrated a Tomahawk's ability to take photos, loiter, then be directed to attack a target at a later time. ... 54203.html

In a previous version of C:MO (or perhaps at some point back in CMANO), missiles would maintain their datalink until impact, using both their own sensors and those available to the linking unit to guide them to the target. Additionally, if the datalink was two-way, like it is for the tomahawk, they would provide their own sensor data into the bigger picture. This meant that once the Tomahawk missile reached it's final approach and turned on it's IR sensor, you would get detections and BDA assessments as it approached the target from the missile's sensor.

A change some time ago made it so that all datalinked weapons dropped their datalink during the terminal phase. For AAM missiles like AMRAAMs, this change was rolled back recently (1.03), so that fighters could continue to direct AMRAAMs until the missile detected the target itself for better reliability against stealth aircraft or in high ECM environments. The rollback did not change the datalink behavior for the tomahawks however.

Additionally, the dropped datalink causes problems if someone wants to change the course of the tomahawk missile, as pressing F3 to change the tomahawk's course while the game is running causes the missile to think it has reach the end of it's course and determine that it needs to go active on the next tick, this causes it to drop the datalink and it won't accept any new course or target changes.

I think there are three things that could be improved with the Tomahawk Missile and other's like it, listed here in order of importance.

1) Maintain the datalink all the way to impact, including sensor fusion so that data from the Tomahawk sensor can be used for BDA. This is simply a reversion to the previous behavior before missiles started breaking their datalink upon going active. This would also allow the missile to remain controllable if you attempt to plot a new course while the game is unpaused.

2) Enable the sensor for selected weapons to be active through the entire flight. See the article above where they used the Tomahawk camera midflight.

3) Allow missiles to enter a loitering mode where the missile circles in place at the end of it's plotted course instead of proceeding to it's target. For missiles like the Tomahawk if not redirected before it runs low on fuel it would proceed to it's designated target, or for weapons like the IAI Harop, they could return to the launcher and land. This would provide the ability to place some of the newer suicide drones into this category of weapon, as they have very similar capabilities of ISR, Loiter, Strike, or recovery.
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