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DCS Dogfighting

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So there's two types of dogfighting :) That which is practiced in the real world and that which gives you PvP kills in DCS. Some topics are shared some only fit with one or the other.

I've collected a lot of information but I still find it hard to leave what i think is the real world behind. Just a quick example... Some practices will result in huge danger in DCS, but your life doesn't matter. Launching every missile you have maybe a DCS method, it's not in any Navy ops book. Would you really go up against 6 incoming fighters as a singleton? Do the currently modelled physics of weapons agree with doctrine? Sometimes, in principal, but with differences.

So whatever comes next, remember, some will preach PvP and others will preach doctrine and physics or mixtures of each. And the answer may be a blend of either or one or the other.

Generally there are useful topics to break this huge topic up into, I've done a little work on this, it's a bit like maths, you need to learn multiplicaiton before you can divide. All students should cover the basics first, may sound obvious but missing out on missile physics theory will not help you to understand why you always miss.

General aviation.

Flying a plane, energy, angle of attack, as well as how to fly about. Holding patterns, landing, taking off, standard turns, tac turns, hard turns, fuel management, handling characteristics under load....topic goes on forever. But at the end of the day, you need to fly and do it in a way thats standardised and understood by all.

Understand the module.
Again, is this obvious? But you would be amazed how many people don't understand the difference between high and medium and auto PRF, the way their SPO or TEWS works, what STT vs TWS appears like on the opponents cockpit and all this jazz. Where is the pitbull timer? what does T or M mean? If this knowledge isn't known the rest will be fundamentally harder or impossible to understand.

Understanding DCS's limitations.
DCS is the simulation, its not real life. To be successful you need to understand it. ECM? Spin up timer? How many vertical bar scans does the F-15 have? Why is this an unrealistic limitation? Why does DCS show a helicopter stationary on the ground on the Radar? Realistic? ECM burn through distance - consistent? What distance? Is that realistic? SPO bars to distance from signal source. Is that consistent, measurable? the SAME?! Note, i'm not giving away all the answers here, but these little pieces aren't in a Navy manual and tricky to pull out of the forums. So its generally a long and hard learn, but fundamentally vital!

The Missile theory.
Rmax, Rmax2, Epole, Apole, Fpole. Active vs Semi Active, Energy, Skate, short skate, Maddog, Pitbull, MAR, Cranking and TACVIEW. Short story long. Understand the above, then go and watch tacview and look at missile launches and watch the launch and the range and the energy and the bandit and after some hours, it begins to sink in.

BFM Theory: BVR
Long topic that talks about a lot of theory and physics. It discusses the BVR dogfight, the missiles involved and the rough key concepts. It has to explain being offensive and defensive at the same time. It's going to explain how to fire a missile with the best chance of hitting and it's going to discuss how not to make it easier for your opponent. From an F-15 point of view you maximise your Apole whilst maximising your opponents Fpole. it's a lot like boxers reaches. Except their arms change lengths and you leave bits behind!. Additionally you need to consider group tactics and movement as a group and versus differing groups, ie Brackets, postholes, cranking, notching, offsets and so on. This one is probably the meat on the bones and fairly long and hard to teach.

BFM theory: WVR
So this is the section of combat where BVR is over, you merged and you are dogfighting in visual range. If the above was hard, this one is worse, it's even more abstract. Whats more its not always one on one either. I gave up trying to create learning on this, if anyone thinks watching The Art of the Kill on YT or reading Shaw's book is going to make them a dogfighter, i'd hasten to break their illusion. In fact, most of it seems to be innate. You can either visually picture your engagement or you can't. I'm terrible. One circle fights, two circle fights, energy, manoeuvers, corner speed....gah, it's horrible.

Threats and technology
Radar is a bit of a tricky one as its very simplified in DCS but the theory generally fits, despite some clangers. Big plane, shine radar at it, comes back on your screen further away than a smaller one. Doppler raadar covers relative changes in return, so slow moving or side aspect targets are detected later, if at all. RWR/TREWS/SPO awesome tools. But give you only the reception of the radar. What type is it, how strong, how long was it presented, is it nails or is he spiking you? Often if you are radar off, this is your primary way of gathering situational awareness. Can you understand aspect at the gimbals? what can you interpret from his facing, aspect height, history, ECM use, radar type, speed etc that can help you defeat him? Ever SEEN a missile launch at 20nm just from his aspect change to 60 degrees off nose? Do you understand everything you see on the TEWS? Difference between a 23 mud and a 23 nails? Whats the difference between notching and beaming? Know how to critically break his lock at just the right range? Which fighter is more suited to this? WHat might you need to do to the engagement flow to create your killer opportunity by exploiting how radar works...or DOESN'T!

Communications
There's generallly a lot to this and its actually fairly translatable into DCS. How to communicate to the flight what you are doing and what you want them to do. Without some typical aids in real life like HSD's and datalinks, it is hard, especially hard for us mortals. Attached to this is the topic of Brevity which is covered well online. Luckily, its mostly learning from someone that already does it well, applying a word you never heard spoken can be difficult. Doing it under stress is harder. But it is documented so all you need is practice. I recommend listening to some radio tapes of red Flag exercises and others. Usually you start by not understanding anything. But translate it manually with the pause button and it begins to drop clear. Keep it consistent. Recognise when you need to use it. Analyse your own radio use....how long did you press for? It's a language of it's own, but in combat it's actually rather useful. How else can you convey to your friend you want him to shoot that guy, go out right a bit, see if he goes for you or me, then press or defend? "2 target bandit, 120 for 25 miles 8 thousand, bracket right, split." It's worth knowing and using. I'm not even covering brevity for using AWACS and how to use an Air Battle manager, of your relative roles. Most of that isn;t well documented and we don't have the same tools. Can;t give Bullseye calls to an F-15C in DCS :(

The PvP "Game"
This is a final but seperate topic that is another one fundamentally picked up over time. It's all about the relative strengths and weaknesses of the SU27 vs F-15C engagement, either in large maps or mass combat of some sort. What are the key strengths? How do you play to them? It is fundamentally Asymetric. They are not equal. The fights are dictated on the mission and the patience of one or the other. A patient SU-27 (and this is an important skill for the reds) will dictate the altitude and range of his engagement and bring the Eagle in closer, typically terrain masking, making use of EOS and the ET ninja combination for a deadly surprise attack. Those kills...are.. awesome and equally disappointing for the Eagle driver. It's not to say an Eagle can't move in the weeds in auto acquisition mode down a gulley, of course he can, but that Sukoi can snap on you faster and without warning. It can be very 50/50 for the first part but it slides to the Sukois advantage after a couple of turns...if you make it that far. Equally, the Eagle would retain energy for his Slammer shot, higher, faster and out of reach. He can turn off when the missile is active and have the epole advantage that makes him, technically invulnerable in a one v one...unless the Sukoi wants to risk his defensive BFM on a slammers terminal active phase. Repeatedly. Risky. Then there are the ECM games, the hide and seek, the carrot and the stick, the posthole ambush and so on. You need to die in many ways before learning them.

Parting message, dying isn't optional, the young have come to assume there is a silver bullet for games, an absolute procedure to perform that is not able to be overcome. An ultimate answer. But no matter how good you are, you will eat a missile, despite your best defensive BFM. All you simply do is minimise his chances as best you can and maximise your own. When it comes to 4v8 engagements, this all goes out the window and network latency can be more an issue.

Ive got details on these topics as part of the Advanced F-15C training in the 42nd VFG archives. But they took me hours to compile so i'll not throw them all out there just yet :)
Posted Aug 31, 15 · OP
Xcom a
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I agree with most of what's written here.

There is always the main problem of realistic vs game.
On one side, you want to win, on the other usually at these levels, people are in it for the realistic aspect.

An idea was raised to hold events with 1 life, this would certainly get people to take the realistic aspect more seriously.
These kind of events could be something we will be looking at in the future.

We should get a weekly session going for dogfighters to come in the Buddy Spike TS and into a server and practice some BVR/WVR/SA and all that goes with it.
I'm in for sure! :d
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Posted Sep 1, 15
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Good post Mule ;)

You are so good at scripts xcom. Create a starting point system for each player. Subtract the cost of the lost aircraft to the point system and disable the player when the account is empty. Add points when the player kills someone or a AI unit.
Posted Sep 1, 15
Xcom a
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wrote:
Good post Mule ;)

You are so good at scripts xcom. Create a starting point system for each player. Subtract the cost of the lost aircraft to the point system and disable the player when the account is empty. Add points when the player kills someone or a AI unit.

That's possible and is actually a nice idea to workaround DCSs supply system which just makes the miz file huge and in return adds to lag.

This will only have to work with Squadrons though.
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Posted Sep 1, 15
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Put all the single pilots in to a expendable squad :d and give them the same point system.
Posted Sep 2, 15
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Good read.

Operation Blue Flag has been THE learning experience of all time for me and many tools have been added to my toolbox. Partly it is simply caused by just being on Teamspeak and listening in on the "old dogs" when they communicate and then trying to create a picture of what they are trying to do. But also because I have been feeling like a drone sometimes when the GCI tells me how and when to go where. So communication and information I would say is the key words for succes in war. Ofcourse you wont get far with out knowing how to use the information. I'm already dead when I take off if I have no one other than my self to help create a picture. im working hard on improving though.

So far I have only been in the Su-27 and I love that machine. I am convinced that it is more about the driver and tactic than it is about the eagle/120 or sukhoi/R-27 module. I am getting better at keeping my cool. But when I watch Tacview it is clear to me that I am to cautious where I should be aggressive and sometimes to aggressive when I should have just run to safety. It can be hard sometimes being a noob but I can only blaim my self for allowing the situation where I get killed, occurred. But it just ad more fun to the challenge of a new flanker driver like me. And I kind of hope that the challenge don't get easier. I got MULEs word for that ;)

More Drama:
So I do not prefer a one life pr. day politic - That would remove my chances to have fun while learning - The alternatives for Operation Blue flag I simply do not see them in the server list. I am here to have fun just like you. I can understand how frustrating it is for some semi-pro players with many years of experience playing with noobs like myself. But plz don't make that my problem. it is not. We all want more players/pilots to shoot at = more versions of this great campaign that Operation Blue Flag is. by the time there will be Squads only server I hope to be in a squad because that is where the fun and learning go hand in hand..
I like to think that for most lonewolfs Operation Blueflag is the reason I/we left SP and Airquake-servers for good.

Now I just need to find a solution for 3x 120s fired in sequences - That is the hardest thing the Internet have ever asked me to mask from :p

Sorry if is there is to much drama in my post. - now you have one more thing to laugh about when you see Tello crashing in front of you ;)
Posted Oct 9, 15 · Last edited Oct 9, 15
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