Hints and Tips for the F-5E BFM Campaign - ED Forums


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Old 12-31-2016, 10:29 PM   #1
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Default Hints and Tips for the F-5E BFM Campaign

When we were asked to create a campaign for the F-5E Tiger II we were thrilled as the F-5E is such an iconic aircraft. Thanks Belsimtek!

Our first thoughts were for an Aggressor style campaign as the F-5E is well known for performing that role.

With DCS having an NTTR map and Nellis Air Force Base it was a perfect fit.

This also gave us a chance to engage different aircraft types in very intense one vs one guns only dogfights which is the premise of this campaign.

We wanted to get it right so we used the following books for reference. They are well worth obtaining if you are into Aggressor aircraft and Red Flag like we are (see attached image below):

Aggressor Aircraft - Chuck Stewart
Bandits - Pictorial History of American Adversarial Aircraft - Dave Parsons, Derek Nelson
Adversary - America's Aggressor Fighter Squadrons
Red Flag from the Ground Up - Kernan Chaisson
Superbase 1 - Nellis - The Home of 'Red Flag' - George Hall
Red Flag - Air Combat for the 1990's - Michael Skinner and George Hall
Red Flag - Air Combat for the 21st Centry - Tyson V. Rininger
STRIKE - US Naval Strike Warfare Center - John Joss
Plus various Combat Aircraft Magazine articles.

The static aircraft parked at Nellis in our missions are based on actual Google satellite image references for Nellis.
We also listened to numerous actual Red Flag recordings to make the dialogue more realistic.


The F-5E is an older aircraft compared to modern standards so navigation is done using TACAN and Dead Reckoning.
This works well on the NTTR map as the departure and arrival routes are well known and there are numerous landmarks to check as a visual reference.

TACAN works by homing off of a base station signal and you fly to a known point that is a set distance and direction from that signal.
For example NAV Point FYTTR is located 33 nautical miles from the LSV TACAN station on a 267 radial (LSV 267/33).

To get there, set the TACAN station to 12X for LSV and set the HSI Course Knob to 267.
Then fly to the point where the course line indicator aligns with the course heading and your distance indicator indicates 33.
Repeat the procedure for all the waypoints on your flight route.

To make this easier we added the NAV Point information to the F10 Menu (F2) and also to the Kneeboard (available with the next update). We also provided it in the PDF document package available in the docs folder.

We also recommend that you use the Kneeboard flight plan map as there is a key command you can use to show your current location.
Multiple presses will show a trail of your flight path. Map these commands to your HOTAS to make it easier to bring up the Kneeboard, flip pages, and mark your location (see attached image below).


You are expected to defeat Blue Air in every engagement (easier said than done). The campaign will progress if you defeat some or all of the Blue Force units but you need to exit the
range and be headed south in the Red Air Corridor. You don't have to land but wait for the final message before exiting to get credit for your wins.
If you lose or are killed the campaign can still progress. Wait a few minutes and check to ensure the RESULTS indicate 60 or greater before exiting to progress the campaign to the next mission.

We included practice missions with in air starts so you can perfect your tactics, techniques and procedures before trying the campaign missions. We found this helped greatly in improving our skills
and confidence. It can be frustrating to take-off, and fly to the range only to be killed quickly in the first engagement. Practice makes perfect!

To open the practice missions, use the Mission Editor and select the folder browser option, then select the directory where the campaign is stored, typically (OpenBeta example):

<your drive letter>:\Program Files\Eagle Dynamics\DCS World OpenBeta\Mods\campaigns\F-5E BFM
We also placed them in their own campaign so you should see them in the campaigns folder.

Working with the existing AI to provide a good dogfight was challenging but we managed to implement a number of triggers that do a good job.
It's not perfect but the following hints and tips should help improve your dogfighting experience.

Make sure you drop your fuel tank before engaging as that will improve your aircraft performance. Fuel management is also important especially if you want to ensure you have enough fuel to make it
back to Nellis. If you use full burner to get to the range you won't have much fuel left for the engagements. Read the mission briefs and follow the instructions for success.

It's all about the merge. The merge really does dictate the outcome. Do you enter high, low, left or right, fast or slow? Every choice can change the way the dogfight plays out.

Head on attacks are usually fatal. Try to approach the bandit with them at the 10 o'clock or 2 o'clock position. Plus this gives you some turning room prior to the merge.

When GCI makes the "MERGED" call that's a good time to make your break and try and engage before they start turning.
Keep eyes on the bandit because they can get behind you quickly - "lose sight, lose the fight".

Sometimes you can sucker the bandit into breaking the Hard Deck for a win if you have trouble getting behind him. To do this climb up high and then nose over.
The bandit will typically turn back and chase you if he sees your tail. Watch that you don't break the Hard Deck as that will terminate the engagement with a loss for you.

If you can predict the bandit's flight path you might be able to get a bullet stream in front of him that he flies through even if you are not behind him (deflection shot).

With practice you will find techniques that work for you.

There are numerous documents and videos about dogfighing and BFM (Basic Fighter Maneuvers). Here are some good references:

Fighter Combat Tactics and Maneuvering - Robert L Shaw
Flight Training Instruction - Naval Air Training Command

This video is also highly recommended:

The next campaign for the F-5E will be Air Combat Maneuvering (ACM) featuring 2 vs 2 engagements using Air to Air missiles (AIM-9Ps or equivalent). We hope to release this campaign early
in the new year. If you think the BFM campaign is tough - the ACM campaign is even more challenging!

Thanks for supporting ED, Belsimtek and Maple Flag Missions!

Happy New Year to all!
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Last edited by Sabre-TLA; 05-20-2020 at 05:18 PM.
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Old 01-12-2017, 09:27 AM   #2
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Hi !

I still struggle with the nav ...

Using the kneeboard, it's fine for me, I can see where I am and where I go ...

But, using the TACAN and your exemple, it's not so easy ...

I achieved your first hint, setting the TACAN once I took off to reach FYTTR, and it was ok, I followed the indication and the nav was fine.
When trying to follow the next waypoint, it starts to be unprecise and setting the right course for the right TACAN, I follow the wrong route compared to the kneeboard route ...

Is there a conversion for the heading to follow from FYTTR to the next waypoint, and so on ?

If not could you just add a demonstration for the first three waypoints to have a better vision of how we should set up our TACAN ?

Thanks in advance for you answers !
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Old 01-12-2017, 10:53 AM   #3
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There is a great tutorial here about TACAN.

Need-To-Know, posted a lot of good content in that thread.

Also check the docs folder
Program Files\Eagle Dynamics\DCS World 2 OpenAlpha\Mods\campaigns\F-5E BFM\Doc

See this PDF --> "RF IFG NTTR.pdf" and scroll to the bottom

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Chuck's DCS Tutorial Library

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to help get up to speed with aircraft quickly and also great for taking a good look at the aircraft available for DCS before purchasing. Link

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Old 01-12-2017, 12:07 PM   #4
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That's an excellent post about TACAN. Thanks for posting that!

In flying the F-5E, TACAN and Dead Reckoning are the only way to go since it's an older bird and does not have a HUD or moving map NAV system like more modern aircraft.

Dead Reckoning is just visual navigation. You locate points on your flight path and as long as you have a visual reference for flying you won't get lost.

TACAN flying is Point to Point Navigation. As long as you hit the appropriate heading at the correct distance from the TACAN station you will be on course.

What we do first is get the TACAN setup prior to takeoff as it saves some time. We turn it on and set it for LSV (12X) and set the course heading to 267 (FYTTR).

We skip the first waypoint (FLEX) since it's pretty easy to hit with Dead Reckoning. Once airborne and past the race track we turn left until we see 4 on the distance indicator - this is close to the FLEX waypoint.

Then we head 270 until we see 15 come up on the distance indicator. That tells us we are at the 15 DME mark so we then make a left turn south to intercept the 267 radial as per the departure diagram.

Once on the 267 radial with the course line indicator lined up with the 267 heading we turn right and follow it until the 33 DME mark which is the FYTTR waypoint.

We then switch the TACAN to BTY (94X) and set our course to 275 with the tail of the course radial pointing at 095. We then fly a heading that roughly splits the 275 heading with the course line indicator (~306) splitting the difference is a more direct line to the waypoint.

Once at the 37 DME mark (JAYSN) we then switch the TACAN back to LSV (12X) and set the course to 285. Again we fly a heading that splits the 285 heading with the course indicator - 318.

Once at the 73 DME mark we set the course knob to 300 and fly a heading to get to the 90 DME Mark - 358.

The TACAN signal to the 90 DME mark (GARTH) gets pretty weak but you can still get it if you have an altitude above 26k.

Once we pass GARTH then we switch the TACAN to TPH (119X) and set the course knob to 108 and fly to BELTED PEAK. Once there then we set the course knob to 92 for INDIA.

The return flight is done similarly only this time we set the tail of the course radial to the course headings for the TACAN stations.

As indicated you can check your flight path on the kneeboard but you don't have to be so precise to still fly the flight path adequately.

You can read about Point to Point or Fix to Fix navigation here which also a good reference.

Last edited by Sabre-TLA; 01-12-2017 at 12:09 PM.
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Old 01-13-2017, 09:43 AM   #5
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Ok thank you guys !

I'll study this in details, but I think I can say it is related to radial intercept and not to a point to fly at, correct me if I'm wrong ^^
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Old 01-13-2017, 02:05 PM   #6
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Yep, You fly a mix of Visual flight rules (VFR) and Instrument flight rules (IFR) for the departure in this type of aircraft and nav system, when not on a radial and station you need to reference a station using a TACAN station distance and radial to that station as seen in the first post here by the member Need-To-Know. Unless you need to fly (to or from) a radial as you mentioned.

Check out the video below at around the 16:00 min mark, his asked by ATC to fly his current heading and intercept BEATTY 129 radial, resume departure. For an example, this is an Instrument flight rules (IFR) flight on PilotEdge if you are wondering.

Also here is a good compass image with a Reciprocal Heading that can come in handy at times.


plus 2 minus 2
Or sometimes when one doesn't work, use the other one.
minus 2 plus 2

150 = 330 (plus 2 minus 2)
270 = 090 (minus 2 plus 2)
050 = 230 (plus 2 minus 2)

Last edited by David OC; 01-14-2017 at 06:56 AM.
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Old 02-02-2017, 11:48 PM   #7
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I just found this thread and have a couple of questions:

1- "To make this easier we added the NAV Point information to the F10 Menu (F2) and also to the Kneeboard (available with the next update)" ...is this update already released?? , Im not sure what you meant about F2 and F10 menu...comms?? in the F10 view I cant see any nav point info...

2- For some reason ,the radials of the nav points in the docs and even the one you said (LSV 267/33) are diferent when I measure them in the ME by a BIG margin , for example:


LSV 025 09 TACAN 12X

APEX Meassured in ME by me:

LSV 039 09 TACAN 12X

this is a very big difference...what am I doing wrong?? I measure them from the central point of the tacan icon to the nav point, just like that:

and as you can see the radial is off by 14º?¿?¿?
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Old 07-24-2017, 10:40 AM   #8
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I just got recently into the F-5 / BCM campaign and had the same issue.
Here's the explanation:

TACAN / VOR is referenced to Magnetic North.
The (F10) Navigation Map, NTTR Chart (as well as almost all Checkerboard Streets in the US going N-S or E-W) are oriented in respect to TRUE North.

The difference is called 'Magnetic Variation', and is in the area north of Las Vegas around 14° East.
(Mag. Northpole of the earth does not coincide with geographical Northpole)

That means that any True Heading (e.g. 090°) converts to a
Magnetic Heading by subtracting 14 (e.g. 076°).

Thats why your LSV Radial 025 (mag) reads 039 (true) in the Chart.

Unfortunately, the Voiceovers in the NTTR Familiarization-Mission where your Flight Lead instructs you HEADINGS to fly are also referenced to TRUE North, which makes things a little confusing (you also have to subtract 14° to get your Steering Heading for your CDI).

I hope that helps,

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Old 10-29-2017, 09:54 AM   #9
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Just got the campaign and I struggle so hard to get behind my target.. in Multiplayer I have about 50% wins in dogfight but against AI I can't seem to get the hang of it..

What is your go to speed range at merge and during dogfights ?

What flaps settings do you use ? Do you change it during dogfights ?


Here is an ACMI file: https://www.dropbox.com/s/fhryliy9bf....zip.acmi?dl=0
critiques welcome !

Last edited by BlackSharkAce; 10-29-2017 at 10:33 AM.
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Old 10-30-2017, 01:58 AM   #10
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Sydy has done an excellent job explaining some techniques he is using in the ACM campaign (with videos).

You can find his thread here.
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