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F-18 ECM Jammer Questions


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Why does turning on the jammer shut the radar off and why does this not apply to other planes with ECM jammers?

 

Will the jammer be able to jam “soft locks” in future updates? Right now, it appears as if it can only jam “hard locks”.

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The hornet its the first plane that introduces this somehow "closer to reality" behavior of SPJ in fighter aricrafts. The natural flow would be that incrementally new high details modules will embrace this functionality introduced in the hornet.

 

The rest of Jammers in DCS are just a simplified brute force noise jammer emitting continuously, while in reality normally SPJ in fighters; except for dedicated sead platforms, does not use noise jammers but deceptive jammers using different techniques to break hard locks.

 

Regarding your second question, soft lock are not broken because the receiving aircraft has no way to know it has been "soft locked". A soft lock is normally the generation of a synthetic track by correlating several raw radar hits the FCR thinks belongs to very same aircrafts. But it is just a digital processing on the emitter side, other than that the behavior of the radar is the same as during a normal search cycle.

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I've read unsourced claims that the jammer silences the radar while emitting because it is in actuality the radar doing the jamming, and it can't jam and track targets at once. Can anyone confirm or deny this? If it's the true reason, does this mean the jammer only works to the front? I haven't had time to test it yet.

 

Are there HOTAS commands to activate or deactivate the jammer (I'd hate to lose a lock in a heated BVR fight because the jammer switch was on and I had trouble reaching it)

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5 hours ago, falcon_120 said:

 

Regarding your second question, soft lock are not broken because the receiving aircraft has no way to know it has been "soft locked". A soft lock is normally the generation of a synthetic track by correlating several raw radar hits the FCR thinks belongs to very same aircrafts. But it is just a digital processing on the emitter side, other than that the behavior of the radar is the same as during a normal search cycle.

So if I understand this correctly, aircraft with SPJ’s cannot just Jam any radar source unless it locks them up, correct? For instance, I would still be able to get all the necessary information on a target with an SPJ that I am tracking through TWS in the Hornet, yes? It’s only when I STT them or when an inbound missile goes active when the jamming starts, right? 


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19 minutes ago, THE KING said:

So if I understand this correctly, aircraft with SPJ’s cannot just Jam any radar source unless it locks them up, correct? For instance, I would still be able to get all the necessary information on a target with an SPJ that I am tracking through TWS in the Hornet, yes? It’s only when I STT them or when an inbound missile goes active when the jamming starts, right? 

 

Not in all cases but mostly yes.

 

First clarify that how any SPJ works is in most cases is clasiffied info. Also there are SPJ that not only start working when you lock them but also before by different techniques trying to conceal where the aircraft really is.

 

But for many less sophisticated and less powerfull SPJ in fighters they will start the jamming process when they are tracked by an enemy radar (A2G or A2A under a specific radar frequencies including missiles).

 

I feel that current implementation is a bit more "realistic than the old one" in that regard, although still very simplistic.

 

 


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No, they can jam anything they want as long as they can detect it.  The problem is that they only have enough power (emission power and processing power) to successfuly jam x simultaneous targets, as well, they just get used up so sitting around jamming everything that it can 'see' won't do anything useful.  Therefore they will jam the highest threats, ie. as many radars that are locked onto the aircraft as they can (some can jam 2 simultaneously, others 8 ... etc).

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This is where I see this going in future updates and it has me quite concerned. First off, apparently, the Aim-120 should not be able to loft against a jamming target as it does now in game. See this post for more details, 

 

 

If this is a bug and ED corrects it, then fine, I will take realism over gameplay any day, this is a simulator after all. However, what is questionable is that currently, aircraft like the Jf-17 can jam radars, (either hard locking or soft locking it) AND continue to track targets with its own radar. Now in the last update, it was mentioned that the SD-10 can no longer loft against jamming targets. The problem is however, the Hornet does not appear to be able to jam radars unless they hard lock it. This means that potentially, Jf-17’s will be able to engage non jamming F-18’s in TWS with their already kinematically superior Sd-10’s, (that will be able to loft), while the Hornet is stuck firing it’s AMRAAMS that will not be able to loft. In this type of situation, it would be nearly impossible for the Hornet to kill the Jf-17. 

 

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I tested it some just now.

 

Jamming only works in front of the Hornet, and does appear to use the radar itself to send jamming signals.

 

Jammer became ineffective vs modern Russian jets at around 20ish miles, sometimes a little less. However, it will continue to jam and silence the radar at any range as long as it is locked. 20 miles is roughly a good AMRAAM launch range, so it seems fine to turn off the XMIT button at around this range. Leaving it on as you close through this range is bad!

 

Jammer only does anything vs STT locks. Against SU-27s and older this will be really good, not to mention all SAM types. Against modern 4th gen fighters with fox 3 missiles, this won't do much at all. But then, the Hornet is no worse off than it was before this patch.

 

Remember, in the real world, the Charlie Hornet was never the main air superiority fighter for the Navy - the Tomcat and then Super Hornet were. And the Navy has dedicated jammer aircraft. I have no idea what's realistic, but I wouldn't expect the Hornet's built-in ECM to be able to shut down aircraft as modern as itself (or newer). So I'm not disappointed.

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21 minutes ago, kengou said:

I tested it some just now.

 

Jamming only works in front of the Hornet, and does appear to use the radar itself to send jamming signals.

 

Jammer became ineffective vs modern Russian jets at around 20ish miles, sometimes a little less. However, it will continue to jam and silence the radar at any range as long as it is locked. 20 miles is roughly a good AMRAAM launch range, so it seems fine to turn off the XMIT button at around this range. Leaving it on as you close through this range is bad!

 

Jammer only does anything vs STT locks. Against SU-27s and older this will be really good, not to mention all SAM types. Against modern 4th gen fighters with fox 3 missiles, this won't do much at all. But then, the Hornet is no worse off than it was before this patch.

 

Remember, in the real world, the Charlie Hornet was never the main air superiority fighter for the Navy - the Tomcat and then Super Hornet were. And the Navy has dedicated jammer aircraft. I have no idea what's realistic, but I wouldn't expect the Hornet's built-in ECM to be able to shut down aircraft as modern as itself (or newer). So I'm not disappointed.

Thanks for sharing, haven't have much time to test it myself.

 

Some question from the top of my head. Does anything to break the lock of an incoming FOX 3? Ot does it seems like it helps at all combining it with Chaff?

I'm curious about your comment of working just in the front hemisphere. In the case of the F18C for sure its not the radar that is jamming, that is only a thing in AESA equiped aircrafts, not on our lot 20 hornet.

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21 minutes ago, kengou said:

However, it will continue to jam and silence the radar at any range as long as it is locked.

 

What do you mean by this?  And what do you perceive in the Hornet?  A constant cycle of lock, broken lock, lock, broken lock, ... until burn-through?

 

I haven't had much time to play with the ASPJ yet but didn't notice any difference against an SA-6 or SA-10 when I tried it myself.  I think I may have been too close and/or more than 70-degrees off boresight for the jammer to work effectively.

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8 hours ago, falcon_120 said:

The rest of Jammers in DCS are just a simplified brute force noise jammer emitting continuously

Not quite, they do use deception to spoof range calculations. That's where the false contacts come from.

 

4 hours ago, kengou said:

I've read unsourced claims that the jammer silences the radar while emitting because it is in actuality the radar doing the jamming,

It seems from test reports here that might be the case. Otherwise, I suspect the FCR is being disabled for electrical demands to the ASPJ transmission.. I.E. perhaps there is not enough electrical supply for both at the same time. The radar is one (if not the single) largest demand on the electrical system for these aircraft.

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I haven't tested this new SP jammer yet but it sounds like I'm gonna have to shut it down and use my old trusty tactics, hehe.

 

or... give me some AI Growlers to wreak havoc all over the map😬

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1 hour ago, Smashy said:

 

What do you mean by this?  And what do you perceive in the Hornet?  A constant cycle of lock, broken lock, lock, broken lock, ... until burn-through?

 

I haven't had much time to play with the ASPJ yet but didn't notice any difference against an SA-6 or SA-10 when I tried it myself.  I think I may have been too close and/or more than 70-degrees off boresight for the jammer to work effectively.

So if you're inside burn-through range, say 10 miles, and the bandit has you STT locked, your jammer will continue to attempt to jam it constantly, which silences your own radar and prevents you from using it to lock them. So in this circumstance be sure the jammer switch is no longer in XMIT or you can't use your radar.

 

Outside of burn-through range, once I hear an STT lock, the jammer turns on, my radar silences and says "JAMMING", and after a couple seconds the STT lock ends and then the jammer shuts off. Against the AI, they continue to re-lock you, which will reactivate the jammer after a second or so. In between those cycles of lock-jam-break, I can sometimes get a scan or two on my radar screen to see the target, but it's not very reliable. I recommend having the target on datalink so you can continue to monitor the contact while you jam them, and you're ready to switch off the jammer and attack them at a moment's notice.

 

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2 hours ago, kengou said:

 

Remember, in the real world, the Charlie Hornet was never the main air superiority fighter for the Navy - the Tomcat and then Super Hornet were. And the Navy has dedicated jammer aircraft. I have no idea what's realistic, but I wouldn't expect the Hornet's built-in ECM to be able to shut down aircraft as modern as itself (or newer). So I'm not disappointed.

Problem is, older aircraft, like the Su-27/J-11, can currently “shut down” the Hornet with their jammers. Again, the reason for this being that their jammers can jam TWS tracks while the Hornets cannot. I think right now things are still very much a work in progress but it would be nice to hear from an ED official what their plans are for ECM and jamming in the future. As I also mentioned, if things continue the way they are now, the Hornet will soon be helpless in a BVR fight with other 4th gen fighters which I do not think is realistic in any sense.

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4 hours ago, THE KING said:

If this is a bug and ED corrects it, then fine, I will take realism over gameplay any day, this is a simulator after all. However, what is questionable is that currently, aircraft like the Jf-17 can jam radars, (either hard locking or soft locking it) AND continue to track targets with its own radar. Now in the last update, it was mentioned that the SD-10 can no longer loft against jamming targets. The problem is however, the Hornet does not appear to be able to jam radars unless they hard lock it. This means that potentially, Jf-17’s will be able to engage non jamming F-18’s in TWS with their already kinematically superior Sd-10’s, (that will be able to loft), while the Hornet is stuck firing it’s AMRAAMS that will not be able to loft. In this type of situation, it would be nearly impossible for the Hornet to kill the Jf-17. 

 

Keep in mind JF-17 has to sacrifice one of its very few pylons for jammer pod, otherwise it cant jam. And a whole dedicated external jammer pod is probably supposed to be superior to some small basic builtin jammer.

F-16 will also have an external jammer pod, and if The Other Sim is correct, it will be omnidirectional jamming and wont disrupt the radar either. Just like JF-17.

Also, the RDR PRI function is not implemented yet.

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Has anyone testet how susceptible the new Hornet jammer is to HOJ missiles?

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But I think the principle should be the same. As far as I know jamming your own radar its actually a real problem but not in all cases, mainly when what you are jamming operates in the same frequency of your own radar. So for example it might be a thing jamming your own radar when defending from another aircraft with a radar in the same radar Band, but maybe not true when jamming a SAM site that operates 2 bands below, since your radar can filter all the noise comming in a frequency slightly different from the one he is emitting on.

 

 

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But I think the principle should be the same. As far as I know jamming your own radar its actually a real problem but not in all cases, mainly when what you are jamming operates in the same frequency of your own radar. So for example it might be a thing jamming your own radar when defending from another aircraft with a radar in the same radar Band, but maybe not true when jamming a SAM site that operates 2 bands below, since your radar can filter all the noise comming in a frequency slightly different from the one he is emitting on.
 
 
That makes sense, but AFAIK, DCS doesn't model any of the bands and channels, everything is just "radar". Relevant options in cockpits do nothing. Perhaps the jammer behavior will change as this gets modeled.

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I read that the real Hornet has the jammer pod integrated in one of the pylons, is it going to be modelled?, I think what we are having today is a radar mode to perform an interference on a hard locking emitter, this is why when jamming the radar is stucked.

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3 hours ago, Spartan111sqn said:

I read that the real Hornet has the jammer pod integrated in one of the pylons, is it going to be modelled?, I think what we are having today is a radar mode to perform an interference on a hard locking emitter, this is why when jamming the radar is stucked.

No Spartan, what you mean is the EF-18G Growler. The Growler carries it's dedicated jamming pods on the pylons. That is a totally different airplane, though. The Growler is a dedicated electronic warfare aircraft though it can perform several other roles pretty well.

Our F/A-18C has the ECM equipment installed right behind the cockpit. Ever noticed those two horn-shaped antennas behind your canopy? These are for your ASPJ. And no, what we see when jamming is in progress is no radar mode that performs some kind of interference but a certain self-protection function of the radar when using your own onboard jammer. I will not go into detail with that and why that is but keep in mind that some jammers are actually so powerful that you would also jam your own radar when transmitting with your SPJ.

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1 hour ago, Tango3B said:

No Spartan, what you mean is the EF-18G Growler. The Growler carries it's dedicated jamming pods on the pylons. That is a totally different airplane, though. The Growler is a dedicated electronic warfare aircraft though it can perform several other roles pretty well.

Our F/A-18C has the ECM equipment installed right behind the cockpit. Ever noticed those two horn-shaped antennas behind your canopy? These are for your ASPJ. And no, what we see when jamming is in progress is no radar mode that performs some kind of interference but a certain self-protection function of the radar when using your own onboard jammer. I will not go into detail with that and why that is but keep in mind that some jammers are actually so powerful that you would also jam your own radar when transmitting with your SPJ.

I was wondering why the radar is stopped ( standby / hold / whatever ) ... I tought it was because the radar was being used as an emitter, but I was wrong.

IF you can , can you share some more details ? ( I'm curious 😄 )

Thanks 😄

 

 

4 hours ago, Spartan111sqn said:

I read that the real Hornet has the jammer pod integrated in one of the pylons, is it going to be modelled?, I think what we are having today is a radar mode to perform an interference on a hard locking emitter, this is why when jamming the radar is stucked.

If I remember correctly, those are either the RAAF or the Canadian Hornets , that have a fatter pylon with ECM inside.

I think there's somethign with expendables too, but I really don't remember

 

For example, F-16 have a pylon with 3 chaff/flare dispenser integrated ( station 3 and 7 ) , but I don't know if USAF uses it or if it's only for some countries ( Viper is used all around the world, so everyone has a mod I guess ...  ), and station 2 and 8 pylons can mount a towed decoy.

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6 hours ago, falcon_120 said:

But I think the principle should be the same. As far as I know jamming your own radar its actually a real problem but not in all cases, mainly when what you are jamming operates in the same frequency of your own radar. So for example it might be a thing jamming your own radar when defending from another aircraft with a radar in the same radar Band, but maybe not true when jamming a SAM site that operates 2 bands below, since your radar can filter all the noise comming in a frequency slightly different from the one he is emitting on.

 

Jamming your own radar can be a problem, but most modern systems manage the time between radar emitting, listening, and ecm emitting and RWR listening.   Unless there's an electrical issue OR somehow you're giving the ECM high priority, your radar should work ok, maybe a  bit degraded in some cases.

Having radar in high priority would degrade the ECM somewhat, but we don't know what that really means other than simple facts like less power (less emission time) and without knowing how much continuous time we need to disrupt a system we can't be sure how much effectiveness it actually loses.

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23 hours ago, THE KING said:

This is where I see this going in future updates and it has me quite concerned. First off, apparently, the Aim-120 should not be able to loft against a jamming target as it does now in game. See this post for more details, 

 

 

If this is a bug and ED corrects it, then fine, I will take realism over gameplay any day, this is a simulator after all. However, what is questionable is that currently, aircraft like the Jf-17 can jam radars, (either hard locking or soft locking it) AND continue to track targets with its own radar. Now in the last update, it was mentioned that the SD-10 can no longer loft against jamming targets. The problem is however, the Hornet does not appear to be able to jam radars unless they hard lock it. This means that potentially, Jf-17’s will be able to engage non jamming F-18’s in TWS with their already kinematically superior Sd-10’s, (that will be able to loft), while the Hornet is stuck firing it’s AMRAAMS that will not be able to loft. In this type of situation, it would be nearly impossible for the Hornet to kill the Jf-17. 

 

Let me correct something for you.

 

The JF-17 Block 1 we have in game does not have an internal SPJ.  It is a dedicated pod that has to be mounted on a pylon.  It like the ECM pod on the Su-25A and T, the AV8B Harrier which both of those aircraft don't have a radar.  

 

 

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@diegoepoimaria01

No, I won't give any more details on that issue. But if you read GGTharos post right below yours you might actually find what you are looking for.😆 

Concerning that "fatter" pylon type your describing I guess you mean the one with Raytheon's glorious ALE-50 off-board towed decoys? Pretty helpful little buddies and part of the legacy IDECM suite. And yes, you are right these count as expendables.

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