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AWG-9 development state


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I'll talk about the A primarily, the C is a different kettle of fish being much more of a modern missile.

 

The A as you know was designed to intercept Russian bombers and high velocity cruise missiles right? It was also designed in the 60's much like the AWG-9 radar, and it helps to think of the seeker head as a simplified/more primitive version of that system. So... Based on its mission the use case is as follows:

 

Bomber: Big fat high RCS target, not particularly maneuverable, but can be "fast" depending on which one you mean.

Missile: The AS-4 is a big ass missile, lets call that a fighter sized RCS. It also goes very fast in a straight line.

 

So, the phoenix flight profile is to loft and dive onto the target. So, its looking at the ground when its diving in. That means it needs a doppler shift to track the target.

 

Given that its a 1960s era radar system, it means its not very sophisticated in terms of filtering as we see with the AWG-9 which has way more space and power for that. So ask yourself how well the AWG-9 does versus notching targets that are below it? The answer is quite poorly. So I think its a fair assumption to consider that the missile, with a simpler radar system is going to poorly as well.

 

However in both of those use cases it was designed to do, it will should largely have a good doppler shift, particularly from something like the AS-4, as its likely going to be fired head on towards them or at least in their frontal arc. Same case really with the bombers, and if they turn and try to run, its likely a mission accomplished situation anyway.

 

Now I know someone here is gonna say thiis: Butbutbutbut IRAN! They used them against fighters!

 

Well, context there is also critically important. They were used, and they certainly got kills with them, exactly how many is a bit murkier subject. However the general context tends to be less murky. The Iranians mainly successfully used the missiles during the early parts of the war when the Iraqi AF lacked decent RWR gear, mainly they were using sets like the SPO-10 that reportedly couldn't detect the AWG-9 nails. And given what a crap system it is, even if they could it would probably be lost in the noise of a million other radar sets. So, most of those kills, those guys kept on truckin, again, the use case where that high doppler shift existed. Later in the war Iraqis got more advanced SPO-15 RWR's that were useful against the AWG-9 and you saw successful engagements plummet. Also the Iraqis received advanced ECM equipment (for that time) and the claim at least is that no plane equipped with those pods was ever shot down by a tomcat. I'm not gonna drag ECM into this as its pathetically modeled in DCS, but suffice to say that the A models should be pretty vulnerable to ECM techniques from the 80's and 90's and beyond.

 

Compare that to the use case in DCS. Your 2000's era plane has a sophisticated RWR so you see the F14 coming no problem. You might have a TGP that can spot the launch of a phoenix at range, and even if not, you'd probably assume the guy launched by ~30nmi. Or worst case, you are an idiot and keep going hot until you get the phoenix on your RWR. So you defend, you notch it. Boom, it zooms by wondering where the hell you went. But currently the A model is quite hard to notch in DCS.

 

Of course, thats not even talking about the near 2 years of abusing "magic INS" which of course the A model never had. Or the fact you have to tell the A to go active manually. Or that the AWG-9 is reasonably straightforward to notch which at a guess would also likely result in a miss IRL.

 

Frankly IMO alot of online tomcat players want the big magic "I win" button, and HB has largely accommodated that with the phoenix as well as some other tomcat "features".

 

I'll grant that the C model is better modeled in these regards, as its basically a proto-aamram. But the A model does way better than it should vs an aware maneuvering fighter, even one without actual ECM gear which would also reduce the pH significantly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Those are some nice assumptions you make there. But we digress. Back on topic.

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Those are some nice assumptions you make there. But we digress. Back on topic.

 

LOL, I'd love to hear your ASSumptions on how it works. Or radars in general. But I doubt I'd get much of an answer. But I answered your question, and if you have a problem with my answer I'd love to hear it. Otherwise the corner with the pointy hat is that way.

 

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I'm not sure what the point you are trying to make is. That there are so many bug in DCS? Sure. That there are so many bugs in DCS that we shouldn't be discussing bugs? Nah. I mean, as I've posted above, I have full faith that HB is going to fix them eventually and appreciate the complexity of the task. But we are damn well going to talk about them until they do!

 

 

 

And some people load up 10 AMRAAMs on a Hornet and spam them all and go and land again. And some people mix their whiskey with cola. And some people put one sock on and then the shoe and then the other sock and the shoe. And some people don't wear shoes at all.

 

What's all that got to do with the price of fish???

 

This thread is not about realism. This is about a documented/acknowledged bug with TWS-A and Jester not working as intended in --- and I will say it --- a game. That "intended" bit might or might not correspond to something realistic, but whether it does or not does not make it any more or less broken.

 

Furthermore, sure --- there are all sorts of "unrealistic" gamisms provided for by this game, and there are both features and bugs that make this game less realistic and more gamey. And sure, lots of these should be fixed. But you know what?? None of those other bugs change the fact that TWS-A + Jester is borked right now! Not sure what the relevance of any this is.

 

It is borked, you're right, and I'm sure HB will try to fix it. I guess my point is that the behavior I've observed with this dev, and a few others is that they err on fixing the bugs/features that make the plane more "uber", since this is what is rewarded by certain elements of the community. I wonder how long we will have to wait for the "borked" viggen terminator missile to get fixed... Oh thats right no one cries about that "bug" since it benefits them.

 

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It is borked, you're right, and I'm sure HB will try to fix it. I guess my point is that the behavior I've observed with this dev, and a few others is that they err on fixing the bugs/features that make the plane more "uber", since this is what is rewarded by certain elements of the community. I wonder how long we will have to wait for the "borked" viggen terminator missile to get fixed... Oh thats right no one cries about that "bug" since it benefits them.

 

Looks like someone is late to the party (dress code: tin foil hats). Feel free to continue where appropriate:

https://forums.eagle.ru/forum/english/licensed-third-party-projects/heatblur-simulations/dcs-f-14a-b/bugs-and-problems-bf/247909-dcs-bug-aim-54?p=6044569#post6044569

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@Harlikwin take your poorly informed anti-phoenix brigade to another thread, this one is about TWS track resolution specifically.

 

@rest A lot of you make good points and excellent contributions, but I'd like to ask you to separate Jester related issues and the issues for which I've raised this thread.

 

My POV as a RIO is that Phoenixes do guide and track despite track loss due to the INS issues present in the sim. So multiplayer "effectiveness" of the missile system is not particularly affected when fired at a valid track.

Rather, the track resolution of the AWG-9 is so poor that TWS-A will frequently be dragged to extreme and undesirable angles during guidance, leading to it breaking/losing tracks on possible follow-up shots. Firing on invalid track makes a phoenix go dumb, so this issue particularly limits the use of TWS for multi-target engagement. Not so much TWS/Phoenix engagement per se.

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Remember this as you put old TWS-A against a challenge of high density MP pit and expecting perfect tracking:

In general TWS was a "fairly unreliable" radar mode, and not necessarily the mode preferred to engage targets. It is easy to forget that, as it self advertises as some kind of uber mode, but in fact of course it splits a lot of radar energy across many targets, etc... Maneuvering has a huge impact on it, own aircraft as well as target, and so on.

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Yeah I understand its not meant to be perfectly reliable. Getting fake tracks is something I actually really enjoy. Having no means of resolving even very simple track conflicts just makes the entire mode seem kinda pointless except for in hyper-specific scenarios. It would imply the F-14/Phoenix weapons platform was in fact a very long-range SARH missile in the majority of fighter-to-fighter scenarios, because in real life the weapon could not go active on a lost track.

 

I worry in its current state that when the missile API gets updated, not a single phoenix will manage to make it more than 10 miles before losing track and going stupid. The reason they hit now is because they use old AMRAAM INS guidance, they won't do that anymore.

 

It's effectively impossible to maintain a track for anything that's not flying straight and level at high altitude. Minor course changes already throw off the AWG-9's trackhold to quite extreme levels. I've never seen the AWG-9 actually resolve a track by itself, which makes me question if that functionality is even in at this point.

 

Hence my question being aimed at development status and/or intended behaviour.

 

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Well, I also did the RIO thing and was seing exactly the same issues in the back pit. Sure, as a human RIO you can pull some tricks up your sleeve and maybe hold a lock better but it's still super gimped compared to what it used to be. As for Phoenix "effectiveness" and wrong guidence, I am sure HB would implement the proper guidence logic and PN methods if ED finished their "missile API" but given how borked even the "new" AMRAAM is my hopes are pretty low for that at this point. If ED don't care about the main aspect of modern air combat, which is air to air missiles then that's just sad. I am a huge proponent for having proper guidence and associated active commands for the Phoenix and would like to have seen it last year already but that's the nature of DCS. Also to the people who think the proper guidence will somehow "nerf" the Phoenix and make it less reliable - I can only laugh about that. A properly employed Phoenix with the proper guidence and proper energy-conserving PN guidence will be a lot more deadly, especailly in STT. Your E-pole and F-pole will outrange anything in the game.

 

EDIT: Regarding the magic INS some people are talking about - I have not been seeing this for around 6 months now, if you break a track/lock too soon the missiles will either just fly straight or go straight up into space during the loft (If someone can provide a tacview to prove me wrong I'll gladly change my mind on this one). Obviously it will still go active at X distance and acquire anything in its path, so say if someone just continues flying straight at it and chases the Tomcat that just went cold, he'll still have the Phoenix pick him up as he'll end up in the seeker FOV, which is quite large in itself. It's the same as flying into a high-e, head-on AIM-9M at 9nm or a 27ET at 50km - rookie mistake.

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The Magic INS is only in TWS, not STT. From what I can tell, it is caused by the radar memory in TWS, as it doesnt happen in STT, or for any other ARH missile in game. I will try and find the tacview. Also, as far as the A model being horrible vs fighters, its already like that in game right now. It eats chaff worse than the R-27 and is by far the easiest missile to notch. If you actually think any AIM-54 (A or C) in DCS is hard to notch I dont know what to say lol.

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I'll talk about the A primarily, the C is a different kettle of fish being much more of a modern missile.

 

The A as you know was designed to intercept Russian bombers and high velocity cruise missiles right? It was also designed in the 60's much like the AWG-9 radar, and it helps to think of the seeker head as a simplified/more primitive version of that system. So... Based on its mission the use case is as follows:

 

Bomber: Big fat high RCS target, not particularly maneuverable, but can be "fast" depending on which one you mean.

Missile: The AS-4 is a big ass missile, lets call that a fighter sized RCS. It also goes very fast in a straight line.

 

So, the phoenix flight profile is to loft and dive onto the target. So, its looking at the ground when its diving in. That means it needs a doppler shift to track the target.

 

Given that its a 1960s era radar system, it means its not very sophisticated in terms of filtering as we see with the AWG-9 which has way more space and power for that. So ask yourself how well the AWG-9 does versus notching targets that are below it? The answer is quite poorly. So I think its a fair assumption to consider that the missile, with a simpler radar system is going to poorly as well. And this doesn't really bring into question any of the other issues with radars of that era and the "logic" which I'm sure was pretty simple, i.e. could the seeker go from a hi-PRF to a low PRF. I.e. if you go cold to the missile it may miss as well or at least have a harder time of it. And frankly I'd be surprised if it even had a way of changing PRF.

 

However in both of those use cases it was designed to do, it will should largely have a good doppler shift, particularly from something like the AS-4, as its likely going to be fired head on towards them or at least in their frontal arc. Same case really with the bombers, and if they turn and try to run, its likely a mission accomplished situation anyway.

 

Now I know someone here is gonna say thiis: Butbutbutbut IRAN! They used them against fighters!

 

Well, context there is also critically important. They were used, and they certainly got kills with them, exactly how many is a bit murkier subject. However the general context tends to be less murky. The Iranians mainly successfully used the missiles during the early parts of the war when the Iraqi AF lacked decent RWR gear, mainly they were using sets like the SPO-10 that reportedly couldn't detect the AWG-9 nails. And given what a crap system it is, even if they could it would probably be lost in the noise of a million other radar sets. So, most of those kills, those guys kept on truckin, again, the use case where that high doppler shift existed. Later in the war Iraqis got more advanced SPO-15 RWR's that were useful against the AWG-9 and you saw successful engagements plummet. Also the Iraqis received advanced ECM equipment (for that time) and the claim at least is that no plane equipped with those pods was ever shot down by a tomcat. I'm not gonna drag ECM into this as its pathetically modeled in DCS, but suffice to say that the A models should be pretty vulnerable to ECM techniques from the 80's and 90's and beyond.

 

Compare that to the use case in DCS. Your 2000's era plane has a sophisticated RWR so you see the F14 coming no problem. You might have a TGP that can spot the launch of a phoenix at range, and even if not, you'd probably assume the guy launched by ~30nmi. Or worst case, you are an idiot and keep going hot until you get the phoenix on your RWR. So you defend, you notch it. Boom, it zooms by wondering where the hell you went. But currently the A model is quite hard to notch in DCS.

 

Of course, thats not even talking about the near 2 years of abusing "magic INS" which of course the A model never had. Or the fact you have to tell the A to go active manually. Or that the AWG-9 is reasonably straightforward to notch which at a guess would also likely result in a miss IRL.

 

Frankly IMO alot of online tomcat players want the big magic "I win" button, and HB has largely accommodated that with the phoenix as well as some other tomcat "features".

 

I'll grant that the C model is better modeled in these regards, as its basically a proto-aamram. But the A model does way better than it should vs an aware maneuvering fighter, even one without actual ECM gear which would also reduce the pH significantly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What are these other "features?" I'm not being a wiseguy, I would really like to know.

 

 

 

Beyond that, I know that getting a RIO is the best COA here, but if I don't have one and am still using Jester, should I forsake TWS-A and just tell Jester where to look based on AWACS or something? Will that get rid of the TWS-A losing tracks/RWR switching, etc?

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My experience is that TWS-A works most of the time with Jester in 1v4 SP or 6v6 MP, so:

 

RWS, point the jet to centre the target and then TWS-A ... you can then crank reliably up to 50degs and keep supporting the missile.

 

I've seen 80 mile range Mk60s v F-16 hit using this in MP and in SP reliably 1v4 F-16s and getting 3 or 4 hits.

 

I have had issues with Jester, usually the one where I can no longer switch TWS/RWS/PAL or anything else ... and sometimes, it just cures itself and sometimes I get shot down struggling with Jester.

 

The other option is to STT.

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What are these other "features?" I'm not being a wiseguy, I would really like to know.

 

The two that come to mind for MP are the fact that the cat can employ ECM but is not effected by it (this could be fixed by a server side flag to disable the cats ECM). The other one is that the cat is a tank, which to some extent is probably correct, but in the context of MP play where the other damage models aren't done leads to an imbalance. This tends to get abused on certain servers as you can disconnect while you are falling out of the sky.

 

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Like none of the FF modules except the JF-17 and M2K are affected by ECM so this isnt really a tomcat thing, the cat just happens to have its jammer modeled, while the F-16/18 do not. As the DM goes, its definitely tanky but from both flying it and shooting missiles at it I rarely have seen a cat take a missile and still remain functional. Perhaps if what you care about is what your KD is on the leaderboard yea its problematic but in terms to taking the cat out of action and actually winning the BVR fight its not really that bad

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Again though, kinda not the point of this thread. I'd like it to not get buried in the noise before one of the devs can provide an update on the completion status of the system.

 

Probably HB is busy right now with the A, maybe they fixed something for the next patch, anyway i hope that after the A release (thant honestly i can't wait for :D) radar issues go back on top of the priority list. Anyway yes, let's try to keep high the attention on this. :)

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