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harpoon flight path and use(less) ?


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hello guys, its really not clear to me if the harpoon is still bugged, if ED has chosen a "game balancing " over realism, or some else.

 

agm84d harpoon are at this date, 100% useless against ships that can defend themselfs with missiles…. that are supposed to be the real target of harpoons, since everybody can sink an undefended cargo ship with every kind of other weapon, starting with simple dumb bombs.

 

so… as far as i know, in real life harpoons can be set to skim water surface to be under the radar of the enemy ship, and get confused with waves, plus to do more damage they usually try to hit the waterline, to cause more water ingress and make repairs way more difficult.

 

in DCS sadly nothing of this happens. even "LOW" flight profile make them fly way too high, i tried launch them with my plane being at 110 feet, and they seem to stay at the 30-40 feet height...until they spot something! at that point they gain some altitude (about 65 feet or more), and usually at this point enemy ship start spamming missiles to shoot down incoming harpoons, having a 100% success rate at it.

 

now… i'm no expert, so asking to you guys, whats up with that harpoons that will never hit a defended target ?

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I can use them even with turning points but it seems like they all go after one ship even if I set the bearing to a 1 degree spread. The range is pretty awesome so the stand off capability is great. Definitely looking forward to improvements though.

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Hi all

 

we still have some work to do on the harpoon, so consider it still W.I.P

 

If you have a specific issue please attach a track so we can take a look.

 

Thanks

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hey BIGNEWY, thanks for your interest in this, well my "specific issue" is that harpoons get shot down 100% of times by theyr targets ...just because they fly too high!

 

harpoons should fly at 20ft or less to have a chance (not 100% but at least a chance) to not get targeted by enemy missile defence, and they still will have to pass the CIWS screen at close range (thats why a single missile has few chance, but 4 or more should guarantee at least 1 hit).

 

in the track i link to this reply can be clearly seen that dropping harpoons at normal height (over 5000 feet) will result in 100% harpoons dead (no matter how many of them are swarming the target) because missile defence can track and kill them on very long range.

 

dropping the missiles at 140ft (quite unusual procedure) will make harpoon stay at that height more or less… but still too much for them to not get targeted by missile defence… and in fact they got killed anyway.

 

TRACK: https://filebin.net/jrv176mzbstrpqcc

 

i'm not an expert but seems unrealistic have a missile tailored for a specific task (kill defended ships) that cant do its job and will never score a hit ( making it 100% useless) just for a wrong height setting.

 

thanks for your attention.

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Hi

 

you have to remember the Harpoon is a subsonic missile and when engaging targets like the Russian cruiser Moskva which is well defended the chance of a hit will decrease significantly.

 

The Harpoon is still under review internally so we may see changes.

 

thanks

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man, you answer like you dont get my point, maybe its my fault so i try to reformulate:

 

the problem is just a cruise height setting on the missile . simple as that.

 

its common knowledge that long range and medium range radar needed to guide missiles to incoming targets have troubles with targets under 20ft (more or less) due to waves reflections and many others factors (like radar being phisically placed on the ship at a Greater height than incoming missile and getting a huge sea waves clutter ecc..)

 

here an example of what i mean:

 

thanks anyway man, lets hope being WIP will be fixed !

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man, you answer like you dont get my point, maybe its my fault so i try to reformulate:

 

the problem is just a cruise height setting on the missile . simple as that.

 

its common knowledge that long range and medium range radar needed to guide missiles to incoming targets have troubles with targets under 20ft (more or less) due to waves reflections and many others factors (like radar being phisically placed on the ship at a Greater height than incoming missile and getting a huge sea waves clutter ecc..)

 

here an example of what i mean:

 

thanks anyway man, lets hope being WIP will be fixed !

 

Maybe I am miss understanding, this is what I am working from

 

LOW, MED, and HIGH ingress altitudes. High is approximately 35,000 ft, MED is 15000 ft, and low is 5000 ft. This option only applies to the ingress portion of the Harpoon attack profile. The TERM option, described below, determines the final approach geometry.

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yep, you're right about flight path, but there should be a way to actually set a lower height and different flight path (i readed that harpoons can be programmed to zig-zag and change height up and down during flight path) and in any case… the terminal flight (when harpoon radar lock the target) should be lower than 20ft !

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LOW, MED, and HIGH ingress altitudes. High is approximately 35,000 ft, MED is 15000 ft, and low is 5000 ft. This option only applies to the ingress portion of the Harpoon attack profile. The TERM option, described below, determines the final approach geometry.

 

Does ingress mean the part of the flight up to the turn point, or up to seeker activation? In the latter case, a cruise altitute of 5000 ft as the lowest option makes very little sense, as this needlessly exposes the missile. It would give the target ship all the time in the world to detect the Harpoon by radar and employ counter measures such as manueveing, employing chaff or shoot it.

 

From a common sense point of view I would expect the following behaviour:

1. Cruise at selected LOW, MED or HIGH altitute to turn point (in order to maximise range).

2. After turn point, descend to sea skimming to approach target area below the radar horizon of target ships.

3. After activating the seeker in the target area, climb to improve search (might not be necessary considering the radar horizon as seen from the missile at sea skimming alt is probably further out than the range of the radar seeker itself).

4. After target lock-on, descend to sea skimming again to approach target.

5. Do the selected terminal maneuver (SKIM or POP).

 

 

In any case, please also note that currently all Harpoons shot by AI self destruct several hundred meteres in front of their target. Perhaps they are missing the code for their terminal maneuver. This basically breaks the weapon for AI use, which makes the saturation attacks necessary to attack warships impossible in single-player.


Edited by MBot
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man, you answer like you dont get my point, maybe its my fault so i try to reformulate:

 

the problem is just a cruise height setting on the missile . simple as that.

 

its common knowledge that long range and medium range radar needed to guide missiles to incoming targets have troubles with targets under 20ft (more or less) due to waves reflections and many others factors (like radar being phisically placed on the ship at a Greater height than incoming missile and getting a huge sea waves clutter ecc..)

 

here an example of what i mean:

 

thanks anyway man, lets hope being WIP will be fixed !

 

Hello,

 

Sorry, but no. Cruise heights and terminal / pop-up heights are all based on available documents. There is no "zig zap" option or lower than the current skim option.

 

Thanks


Edited by NineLine

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Hello,

 

Sorry, but no. Cruise heights and terminal / pop-up heights are all based on available documents. There is no "zig zap" option or lower than the current skim option.

 

Thanks

 

ah...sorry but with that you mean that ED will code useless unrealistic harpoons just because ED didnt had access to some documents ? its quite sad story man !

i dont know if its public information or not (and i dont want to break any law too posting them here), but seems quite reasonable to code an harpoon that actually make sense and has at least one chance to do its job !

an harpoon Flying higher that 20ft will get killed 100% of times by interceptor missiles! makes no sense in real life like in DCS!

come on please, some common sense guys!

thanks!

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The Tor missile system (I assume that's what you are dealing with) is designed for shooting down cruise missiles, which means that it's also very good at it. The harpoon missile is heading towards an enemy ship and it's doppler radar at high speed which makes it very easy to detect.

 

From what I have seen ingame, the missile gets locked and intercepted before it reaches it's skim altitude due to limited range of it's ground mapping radar. A solution to this is to use a higher ingress altitude so that the harpoon's ground mapping radar can see further, find the ship and start skimming before it enters it's radar range.

 

This is not possible at the moment because the harpoon's ground mapping radar can't scan the ground while flying in any other than 'low' ingress altitude.

 

ED you need to increase the Harpoon's radar scanning range to make it usable at medium and high ingress altitudes. The Harpoon as it is right now passes over enemy ships if it's flying at any other than low ingress altitude.

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ah...sorry but with that you mean that ED will code useless unrealistic harpoons just because ED didnt had access to some documents ? its quite sad story man !

i dont know if its public information or not (and i dont want to break any law too posting them here), but seems quite reasonable to code an harpoon that actually make sense and has at least one chance to do its job !

an harpoon Flying higher that 20ft will get killed 100% of times by interceptor missiles! makes no sense in real life like in DCS!

come on please, some common sense guys!

thanks!

 

It is coded to realistic available data, not sure how to change that based on what works better for users if you have something you think is legit and legal you can PM it to me, but we only use publicly available information.

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man, you answer like you dont get my point, maybe its my fault so i try to reformulate:

 

the problem is just a cruise height setting on the missile . simple as that.

 

its common knowledge that long range and medium range radar needed to guide missiles to incoming targets have troubles with targets under 20ft (more or less) due to waves reflections and many others factors (like radar being phisically placed on the ship at a Greater height than incoming missile and getting a huge sea waves clutter ecc..)

 

here an example of what i mean:

 

thanks anyway man, lets hope being WIP will be fixed !

 

Sorry mate this is pure BS. We tracked an incoming MM38 out to 25nm with a WM25 and a TRS-3D radar during a missile fire exercise and this was in 2000 and without fancy track management systems.

 

 

EDIT for better understanding: A ship from our task force fired an Exocet from out of range at our group so in case we miss, we won't get hit. We tried to bring the MM38 down with Sea Sparrow missiles (telemetry equipment instead of explosives) which were semi active guided by our ownship. When you know the threat axis and when it comes you can't miss these missiles on a radar screen.

 

 

 

How do you think a sea skimmer would find his target in heavy sea state at 20ft with his tine nose radar?


Edited by FSKRipper

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i really wish to be constructive and help the development of a good simulation, so sorry if i keep to insist on one point:

i'm no expert at all, but i still have logical thinking on my side, and in my humble (maybe wrong, maybe not) opinion, there are nosense discrepancy in this actual situation.

 

i can fly a big jet (way bigger than an harpoon) with a big radar illuminating the ship (again, way bigger than the harpoon radar) under 20ft and no missile can reach me.

video proof of what i just say:

 

but a tiny harpoon can't ? whats the logic behind it ? my logical thinking tells me that one of the two must be wrong (and all sources i have tells that sea skimming still has chances).

another nosense thing is build an harpoon that simply cant do its job because it will be shot down everytime...just because skim height is few feet too high. (i dont see the problem you mentioned about height and radar lock...even 1 meter over the water gives some miles of horizon, and ship is way taller on the sea than the harpoon flight path…)

 

still.. you didnt mentioned the exocet flight path height, thats is the whole point here.

 

as sources, i try to list "publicly avaible ones" like this:

 

https://books.google.it/books?id=lZJxDwAAQBAJ&pg=PA126&lpg=PA126&dq=agm84+harpoon+skim+height&source=bl&ots=3L-tcpukgS&sig=ACfU3U2wsG1dPtT3XSDr-SEA1QsV3pq2_g&hl=it&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjG6oHu9sPlAhUCyKQKHU-tAIE4ChDoATAHegQIBxAB#v=onepage&q=agm84%20harpoon%20skim%20height&f=false

 

that on page 126 says that sea skimming can be as low as 16 feet !

 

this is quite useful too: https://www.ausairpower.net/TE-Harpoon.html

 

this video can be useful to calculate the missile flight path height considering the ship height

 

hope it helps guys, harpoons are not my reason to live, in fact there are bugs way worse than this, its just i cant stand this nosense, sorry eh, and thanks anyway.

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Hey DLEGION, I will look over your info and see if there is anything to pass along to the team, but understand that we are basing the flight profiles on actual manuals that are not controlled documents, in most cases, using other data would simply not be realistic.

 

Also, when communicating with ED or other users, using statements such as "its just I can't stand this nosense" can be taken wrong, and come off somewhat derogatory, please stick to the point and leave the extra commentary out of bug reports, its the best way to get issues addressed, thanks.

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I think you may be missing an important consideration: at sea-skimming height the missiles own radar range will be severely limited. It is simply not practical for the missile to search for targets from a very low altitude. This is why it flies higher - at the preset cruise altitude - while it's in search mode, and then descends to sea-skimming altitude after it has acquired a target. I do feel the range at which the radar acquires the target and the missile enters terminal guidance mode is fairly short, and this is exactly the sort of thing that may change as the missile systems are further developed in EA.

 

Another consideration is missile range. Flying at very low altitude is hard, and significantly impacts maximum missile range. This is why even very modern supersonic sea skimming anti-ship missiles cruise at fairly high altitude and only drop down to sea skimming height for the terminal phase of the attack. The exact same logic that recommends descending to defend against an air-to-air missile applies here as well. The Harpoon simply cannot fly 60+ miles at sea skimming altitude, it does not have a fuel.

 

Finally, keep in mind that the Harpoon is a fairly old missile, having entered into service in 1977. It should notably struggle against modern sea defense systems. During the Cold War it was the less advanced option compared to the TASM (which does have a zig-zag terminal flight mode), and today the US Navy is rushing to adapt a more sophisticated and survivable anti-ship missile as Harpoon's effectiveness against modern Chinese and Russian sea defense systems is highly questionable.

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I think you may be missing an important consideration: at sea-skimming height the missiles own radar range will be severely limited. It is simply not practical for the missile to search for targets from a very low altitude. This is why it flies higher - at the preset cruise altitude - while it's in search mode, and then descends to sea-skimming altitude after it has acquired a target. I do feel the range at which the radar acquires the target and the missile enters terminal guidance mode is fairly short, and this is exactly the sort of thing that may change as the missile systems are further developed in EA.

 

At 100 ft altitude for example, the missile would have a radar horizon against ships of approximately 20 NM. Flying at 5'000 ft or higher is absolutely unnecessary for searching. In fact it is tactically desirable against a target with a known position for the missile to start searching and acquire the target as late as possible, in order to limit the target's reaction time for counter measures. Radar Line of Sight goes both ways: If the missile can detect the target only at short range, so can the target detect the missile only at short range.

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I don't know any official documentation on the Harpoons, but I have to agree with MBot, the current behaviour doesn't make any sense at all and I have a really hard time to believe that the Harpoons actually behave IRL like they do in DCS atm.

Does ingress mean the part of the flight up to the turn point, or up to seeker activation? In the latter case, a cruise altitute of 5000 ft as the lowest option makes very little sense, as this needlessly exposes the missile. It would give the target ship all the time in the world to detect the Harpoon by radar and employ counter measures such as manueveing, employing chaff or shoot it.

 

From a common sense point of view I would expect the following behaviour:

1. Cruise at selected LOW, MED or HIGH altitute to turn point (in order to maximise range).

2. After turn point, descend to sea skimming to approach target area below the radar horizon of target ships.

3. After activating the seeker in the target area, climb to improve search (might not be necessary considering the radar horizon as seen from the missile at sea skimming alt is probably further out than the range of the radar seeker itself).

4. After target lock-on, descend to sea skimming again to approach target.

5. Do the selected terminal maneuver (SKIM or POP).

 

 

In any case, please also note that currently all Harpoons shot by AI self destruct several hundred meteres in front of their target. Perhaps they are missing the code for their terminal maneuver. This basically breaks the weapon for AI use, which makes the saturation attacks necessary to attack warships impossible in single-player.

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I don't know any official documentation on the Harpoons, but I have to agree with MBot, the current behaviour doesn't make any sense at all and I have a really hard time to believe that the Harpoons actually behave IRL like they do in DCS atm.

 

+1 I’ve been saying this since Harpoon came out.

 

The set cruise altitude should only be for the initial part of the flight.

After some amount of time or distance, exact value is anyone’s guess, but VERY latest, the enable range, the missile should descend to a low (100ft ish) search altitude. This gives it ample radar horizon for its short range seeker.

 

The current modelling makes no sense at all. Even if certain public information is missing, even a modicum of common sense should drive a more realistic behaviour.

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