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Phoenix missile broken on latest beta patch?


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I've been doing the Cage the Bear Campaign mission and a multiplayer mission with a friend. In both missions launching the pheonix missiles at a range of ~40-50 miles head on has resulted in 0 hits. The missiles do not seem to loft the way they did previously as well. However, they are crazy effective at <15 miles . Additionally, it does not seem that the AI planes even have to go defensive or notch at longer ranges. 

Was something changed in one of the recent patches dealing with these missiles? 

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I was using the missiles periodically both SP, and MP PvE in the last couple of patches. They  don't seam more broken the usual. Just make sure you don't lose the lock along the way. If the weapon system doesn't reacquire the bandit before the track becomes too desynchronized, you'll lose the missile.

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I agree they dont seem any more broken. Yesterday I tracked single AI Su-33 from 100 miles in TWS auto co alt with me at +-30k ft, I shoot 54A at 70 miles (lower/closer part of optimal range according to WCS at about 140s TTI) she lofted beautifully tracked fine (no crazy evasive from Su-33), I did slight and slow crank right, got flashing TTI at 20ish second (at that point Su-33 started to evade) so I braked off, lost radar contact, but the missile tracked fine to impact. That was MP in F-14A with Jester, one of the most beautiful long range shot in 14 I remember, guess I got lucky. Also I did not experience any warping/lagspikes during entire mission with ping around 30-40 which might be important)    


Edited by Golo
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I do notice some changes and have questions about how things are working now regarding the 54.

a friend and I were playing test scenarios to see how things act in a controlled environment one of the things I tested was aim 54 mk 60s  as I noticed some different behavior from them. In the past when launching on targets the 54 would immediately start to maneuver towards them now it seems to fly unguided for maybe as much as 10 sec and in some cases then makes a wild correction to make up for lost time.

 

This was most apparent when having the ACM switch cover up and attempting to have the missile guide off the rail. I launched at about 8 miles on a f18 that was moving to my 10 OC. I placed the ADL X on the target and fired the 54 ran straight and never tracked. Again I tested same setup but this time I lead the target by about 8 sec fired and the 54 ran straight then made a hard bank to the left as it was starting to fall behind the target and 5 sec later my buddy told me that he now had a launch warning the 54 did impact.

 

Same is true for head on. At high closure rate ACM up, launch the 54 flew past the target before going active I fired at about 5 miles 

 

What is with this apparent new delay in 54 especially with ACM cover up as in the past it was always active right off the rail.

 

Thanks 

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12 minutes ago, Gun Jam said:

What is with this apparent new delay in 54 especially with ACM cover up as in the past it was always active right off the rail.

Missile to carrier separation delay maybe? Missiles will fly straight after launch for X amount of seconds to gain separation from launching platform before they arm the warhead and guidance. 

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I've got a basic mission set up where I engage a group of four ace level Su-33s head on starting roughly 100nm apart, co-alt at 30,000ft.  Prior to 2.5.6.61527, I would regularly manage to knock down more than two thirds of them on average.  Sometimes it was 4/4, most of the time it was 3/4 and sometimes it was 2/4.  I'd typically fire between 35 and 50nm.

 

Today in the current OB, I'm getting close to 25%.  No changes in technique or strategy.  AI still pumps out chaff as soon as I fire in TWS, and begins to maneuver around 18nm from the -54C.  Setting AI to 0 chaff hasn't yet shown to change my hit percentage.  Setting AI from ace to rookie likewise seems to do nothing.  It's almost like the missiles are running out of energy a bit quicker.

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2 hours ago, Biggus said:

I've got a basic mission set up where I engage a group of four ace level Su-33s head on starting roughly 100nm apart, co-alt at 30,000ft.  Prior to 2.5.6.61527, I would regularly manage to knock down more than two thirds of them on average.  Sometimes it was 4/4, most of the time it was 3/4 and sometimes it was 2/4.  I'd typically fire between 35 and 50nm.

 

Today in the current OB, I'm getting close to 25%.  No changes in technique or strategy.  AI still pumps out chaff as soon as I fire in TWS, and begins to maneuver around 18nm from the -54C.  Setting AI to 0 chaff hasn't yet shown to change my hit percentage.  Setting AI from ace to rookie likewise seems to do nothing.  It's almost like the missiles are running out of energy a bit quicker.

 

 

Attach your mission, please, I will give it a try. 🙂

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Awesome, keen to hear your feedback.  I've added some Tacview files to show some average examples of employment with the older OB vs the current one.  The older files were from the 9th of Feb and the new ones were from earlier today.  I've shared the mission with @Callsign JoNay and we've been chatting about our experiences for a week or two now after I mentioned in another thread that I was not having any difficulties with the 54C at that time.  In this same mission in the older patch, he was struggling to hit the bandits even if he followed every step I performed.

 

Upon spawning and unpausing the mission, I set AP alt hold to on, engaged full burner and began to set up my weapons systems.  Set TID to radar, master arm on, select PH.  Command Jester to open radar settings menu and set to auto radar, and then again into that menu to set target size to large (I'm not sure this makes any difference in the current patch, but the prior patch it seemed to).  Jester will designate the bandits as you'd expect and from that point we've tried a variety of tactics from holding co-alt, dumping the tanks and getting as fast as possible, to climbing, to diving post-firing.  It's over water and the contacts are hot, so there are very rarely any dropped tracks.  Maybe 10% of tracks will drop following a missile launch.
 

Phoenix oldpatch3.acmi Phoenix-oldpatch.acmi Phoenix newpatch.acmi Phoenix newpatch2.acmi Phoenix newpatch3.acmi Phoenix oldpatch2.acmi Phoenix1v4.miz


Edited by Biggus
Added JoNay.
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I don't think you are doing anything wrong, but I'm not a expert. It's just the state of the game. It's because the missiles are completely screwed up. I played several Zone 5 missions last night and another mission today. I have fired around 10 AIM 54's over the last couple of days with no hits. They just fly right past a target that is flying straight towards me and not maneuvering. I also fired Sparrows and watched them track the target and then turn the complete opposite way at the last second and miss. It's frustrating for sure at times.

 


Edited by Wolfman289
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It's been a pleasure collaborating with you, Biggus. Thanks for all the help testing. I do want to say though that this missile behavior is not new to me only on the latest version of the open beta. I picked up the Tomcat late in 2020, and started missile testing in November/December, and I've had very low PK% rates for the last several versions of the open beta dating back to the very beginning of my testing. It's very mysterious that we had different results on the same standalone version of the openbeta until now, but I guess that's DCS for you.

 

One of the common things I hear on the forums when I bring up the challenges with the 54 is that the AI notches perfectly. I do agree this is a factor, but I believe the main issue with the missiles is the missile's current counter measure resistance setting. If the AI notching was the primary reason for the low PK of the 54s, then the PK should be similar verses chaff-carrying and non-chaff carrying targets, but it is not.

 

I did some tests yesterday against targets with chaff and without chaff. The difference is pretty night and day. Against chaff carrying targets I score around 20-25% PK, and against non chaff targets I achieve about 75% PK with the same attack profile.

 

Here is an unlisted video I made of my Tacview analysis. I can post the original tacview too, but sometimes seeing how someone interprets the tacview is as important as sharing the raw tacview itself.

 

 

 

I don't understand why the AIM-54 is so drawn to chaff in this simulator. I'm only a self-educated civilian without any real world experience with pulse doppler radar systems but according to my research pulse doppler radar (like what is found in the AIM-54) should not be seriously affected by chaff.

 

ahXHRka.jpg

 

https://fas.org/man/dod-101/navy/docs/fun/part11.htm#:~:text=Because of its low velocity,not seriously affected by chaff.&text=Chaff is a particularly effective,systems such as surface ships

 

 

But in DCS the AIM-54 bites on chaff, as long as it's within a certain range, as soon as the target aircraft notches. Even when the chaff being dispensed is coming from a notching aircraft. This seems like contradictory behavior to me.

 

Logical suggests that either a radar is immune to notching but vulnerable to chaff.

Or...

It's vulnerable to notching but immune to chaff.

 

Unless I'm missing something, it shouldn't be both things. If anyone out there who is more educated with pulse doppler radar systems is reading this, feel free to correct me.

 

 

Question to the devs:

Is the current counter measure performance in the sim working as intended? I've been told that the CM rejection value is supposed to be 0.2 or 0.3 (lower being better), but a buddy of mine found this in DCS World OpenBeta\Scripts\Database\Weapons\missiles_table.lua, line 4519.

 

shRGi2S.jpg

 

 

Could this be causing an issue with the intended counter measure rejection behavior?

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For me it's more the fact that chaff seems to have a huge chance of destroying a TWS track which causes the missile to go stupid, rather than the missile going for chaff.

Head-on AI targets at co-alt or above dispensing their trademark endless stream of chaff will break tracks quite frequently.

 

If the track doesn't break, my experience is that most shots end up hitting rather than getting decoyed.


Edited by Noctrach
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1 hour ago, Noctrach said:

For me it's more the fact that chaff seems to have a huge chance of destroying a TWS track which causes the missile to go stupid, rather than the missile going for chaff.

Head-on AI targets at co-alt or above dispensing their trademark endless stream of chaff will break tracks quite frequently.

 

If the track doesn't break, my experience is that most shots end up hitting rather than getting decoyed.

 

This nearly matched my experience until the current patch, and the differences are probably due to the scenario I'm testing with being over water against contacts with a reasonably large RCS.  I very rarely dropped a trackfile due to chaff.  This behavior is unchanged for me.

 

The AI psychic deployment of chaff upon a missile leaving my rail in TWS is abysmal and I don't believe that ED really have any desire to change that behavior based upon previous bug reports, because from their point of view, any pilot seeing nails from an AMRAAM platform is going to take steps to mitigate risk of potential incoming missiles.  But for the Tomcat in my experience, the AWG-9 seems to be pretty reasonable at rejecting chaff.

 

The problem for me is that there's some combination of factors in play once the missiles go active.  It could be chaff.  It could be ECM.  It could be bandit maneuver.  It could be the radar not providing sufficient guidance.  It could be the missiles going active too early (18nm on large targets doesn't match the documentation in the manual).  It could be a combination of all of those things.  I know that the -120 is a bit buggy at the moment too, it could well be related.

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39 minutes ago, Biggus said:

The AI psychic deployment of chaff upon a missile leaving my rail in TWS is abysmal and I don't believe that ED really have any desire to change that behavior based upon previous bug reports, because from their point of view, any pilot seeing nails from an AMRAAM platform is going to take steps to mitigate risk of potential incoming missiles.  But for the Tomcat in my experience, the AWG-9 seems to be pretty reasonable at rejecting chaff.

Yeah - WTF is up with that??? How can ED not fix this?  They think it's OK for a sim that stresses realism to behave like this??? I can launch a smokeless AIM-54 from WAY beyond visual range and as soon as the missile is fired, the AI starts dropping chaff???  That is messed up and ED should be ashamed of themselves for not fixing this massive, very obvious flaw!!!


Edited by wadman
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1 hour ago, wadman said:

Yeah - WTF is up with that??? How can ED not fix this?  They think it's OK for a sim that stresses realism to behave like this??? I can launch a smokeless AIM-54 from WAY beyond visual range and as soon as the missile is fired, the AI starts dropping chaff???  That is messed up and ED should be ashamed of themselves for not fixing this massive, very obvious flaw!!!

 

 

That is a problem, but it shouldn't even matter. Pulse Doppler radars should disregard chaff as clutter. Chaff slows down to nearly zero airspeed almost as soon as it's deployed, like a parachute without any weight attached. 

 

 

4 hours ago, Noctrach said:

For me it's more the fact that chaff seems to have a huge chance of destroying a TWS track which causes the missile to go stupid, rather than the missile going for chaff.

Head-on AI targets at co-alt or above dispensing their trademark endless stream of chaff will break tracks quite frequently.

 

If the track doesn't break, my experience is that most shots end up hitting rather than getting decoyed.

 

 

I haven't noticed that. The AI will start to notch before the AIM-54 goes active if you leave the target size set to norm, and that can affect the track if you don't position yourself at a lower altitude first or use the MLC toggle, but if you set target size to large the missile should always pitbull before the AI starts notching. If you watch my video above you'll see that 100% of my missiles pitbulled. There was never an issue with the AWG-9 dropping a track before the PB. Against the AI there is no reason to ever use any target size setting other than Large. They are omniscient and always know where your missile is anyway. Settings other than large should only be used against human opponents in the current build of the open beta.

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Just did a few quick and dirty tests relating to altering target size.

 

My initial impression was that it didn't make any difference which target size I selected, and I was right for the wrong reasons.  The behavior I am seeing is that the AI will begin maneuvering at 18-19nm regardless of what target size I select.  I thought that this meant that the missiles were going active far earlier than they should.  However it soon became clear to me that the missiles certainly were going active at different distances, although those distances did not match up with the manual.  Large was close to 15nm and small roughly 9nm.  Chalking it up to WIP.  The end result is still unchanged though.  AI at every instance begins to react as if they've visually spotted the M3.5 incoming missile and begins to maneuver aggressively before their RWR gets a warning.  Like I've probably said a few times now, this is nothing new despite being absolutely game breaking.

 

 

 

@Callsign JoNay and I initially began discussing this because our results did not match in any way, shape or form in the last patch.  I was getting his with the vast majority of my shots in the attached mission.  He struggled to make hits just as badly as he is now.  We went through every step taken from spawning to completion.  At the time, watching his Tacviews and comparing them to mine, his AI appeared to react somewhat more aggressively.  We'd reached a point where the only real difference could be hardware or the patching process might be skipping over some files related to AI behavior.  Now my PK is as bad as his was.

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4 hours ago, Biggus said:

AI at every instance begins to react as if they've visually spotted the M3.5 incoming missile and begins to maneuver aggressively before their RWR gets a warning. 

Do they still do it even when you don't fire, just keep them in TWS-A?

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9 minutes ago, Biggus said:

Negative.

That's bad and so the argument "any pilot seeing nails from an AMRAAM platform is going to take steps to mitigate risk of potential incoming missiles" does not hold.

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It's kind of tangental to this problem though.  It's related, but it's been like that for a long, long time.  I probably spoke too conclusively with my 'negative' reply, but from what I have seen, they'll only dump chaff if I have fired in TWS.  Not a moment before.  They will hold their countermeasures if I hold my shot, down to 25nm if not a hair closer.  By that time, the AI tends to become more offensive and I haven't really looked too closely at what happens at that point beyond noting that most of my TWS shots at that range in this patch miss.

 

But this has been happening for a long time and yet it's only the last few weeks that I've been experiencing the problem.

 

 

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2 hours ago, draconus said:

That's bad and so the argument "any pilot seeing nails from an AMRAAM platform is going to take steps to mitigate risk of potential incoming missiles" does not hold.

 

Yep the AI is omniscient. They know where the missile is because they know where it isn't, etc, etc, <insert joke here>. But again, it's still not the main issue. The AI knew were my missiles were in the second half of the above video with no chaff just the same as in the first half of the video when they were carrying chaff. The chaff itself is making a big impact.

 

My concern is the Heatblur devs are saying, "Well it's not our problem ED's AI is omniscient. We have to wait for them to fix that for our missiles to be fixed". But we can see that even the C-model of the AIM-54 is spoofed by chaff most of the time, and the physics of pulse doppler radar suggests they shouldn't be. 

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Since the AI is omniscient - in single player, are there negative effects of setting the Phoenix missiles to active off-the-rail via PH ACT on the MSL OPTIONS switch in the RIO cockpit? If not, wouldn't that allow me to fire them and immediately take evasive maneuvers? (Negative effects such as reduced range, etc?)

 

Another somewhat related question - how do I know when a missile has gone pitbull? The manual just states "about 16 seconds from impact" unless I'm missing some other symbology.


Edited by unlikely_spider

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3 hours ago, unlikely_spider said:

Since the AI is omniscient - in single player, are there negative effects of setting the Phoenix missiles to active off-the-rail via PH ACT on the MSL OPTIONS switch in the RIO cockpit? If not, wouldn't that allow me to fire them and immediately take evasive maneuvers? (Negative effects such as reduced range, etc?)

 

Another somewhat related question - how do I know when a missile has gone pitbull? The manual just states "about 16 seconds from impact" unless I'm missing some other symbology.

 

 

Active off the rail at long ranges is not a good idea, because the missile's radar is not as powerful as the AWG-9. So if you shoot a missile from beyond it's radar range it will receive initial guidance from the AWG-9 off the rail, but basically fly blind to where that target last was, and go active on the first thing it sees when it gets to that area. The problem is targets are usually moving and may not necessarily be at the same point in space when you shot the missile by the time the missile arrives to that point in space. Also, active off the rail means the missile will usually take a straight line trajectory to the target which is inefficient compared to lofting.

 

You can tell your missile has gone active when the TTI counter to the right of the contact on the TID starts blinking.

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The WCS knows the target is moving and tells the missile to pull appropriate lead for an intercept. The real problem when launching active off the rail (aside from the loss of range) is that it can’t account for target maneuvers after launch. The missile will eventually fall back to semi-active if it fails to find a target on its own but, of course, by then it may not be in a position to see the illumination, either.

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40 minutes ago, r4y30n said:

The missile will eventually fall back to semi-active if it fails to find a target on its own...

Where you got that info from? Afaik the missile is lost to the WCS when already active. Only Sparrow can look for flood illumination as a last resort.

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