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AIM-54C not so improved in DCS?


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Shouldn't this missile perfrom significally better than the AIM-54A?

"The first real further development of the Phoenix began in 1977 . In the Aim-54C, analog components in the target search and flight control have been replaced by digital ones. An improved engine increased speed and range, and the target acquisition against small and low-flying objects as well as the electronic protective measures were improved. The first of initially 15 prototypes was delivered in August 1979. In 1981 the first launch of a C took place against a target 70 miles away, which tried to deflect the missile by means of electronic warfare, which did not succeed. The C version was finally produced from 1982 and reached operational status two years later. While the C was still in production, the warhead of the initial version was exchanged for a 20 to 25% more effective one."

Back to DCS. I have trouble seeing these improvements. Other than for historical reasons, the AIM-54C should be the big daddy and the AIM-54A kind of obsolete in comparison. Besides being smokeless, I cannot see improved motor performance or better targeting characteristics. Lots of players still choose the AIM-54A MK60 for better kinematics, but it really makes very little sense as it in reality would be outperformed in every way by the much more advanced AIM-54C. I have not fact-checked article quote, but it aligns quite well with what I have read on several other places.

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This runs into the same problems that most discussions of this type do - its not specific. Most of these videos produced by the Navy or Raytheon will say bombastically that the missile / FCR / engine / whatever is massively improved compared to the last. While completely avoiding any metrics for how thats measured, usually with a few talking head aircrew and admirals to underline just how massively improved said system is.

 

To be clear - I don't doubt any of the individuals on their expertise and/or opinion. But there are no published numbers for exactly what was made better. There is not even a published list of components that were upgraded that we could even infer realistic changes from.

 

We could just take all the AIM-54 numbers and double them...why not....? except that it takes us from simulating reality to best guesstimates and thats a slippery slope.

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Also the areas where the -C would be a large improvement over the -A are mostly in the EW domain, which is not simulated well (or at all) in DCS anyway

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Posted (edited)

There should be more to the C than the smokeless engine. Digital components is a pretty big deal. A flying computer compared to a vaccum tv.
AIM-54A should not be a choice over AIM-54C in DCS in any circumstance other than historical. Right now many players are using the AIM-54A MK60
in modern missions because it's engine performance, when it in reality should be outclassed by the newer C variant.

How this is best implemented in DCS I don't know. But making the C a lot more resistant to chaff aswell as giving it a more efficient flight path and
targeting is a good start. On the other hand, It might be the A models that are overperforming...      


Edited by Schmidtfire
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As I said a couple of months ago: since hard documentation on the AIM-54C appears to be impossible to come by for the time being (and foreseeable future), HB should collect all the soft data they can (from their SMEs and unclassified literature) and make their best guess regarding C-model performance. At least for single player (by far the larger player base in DCS). 

 

For MP, either implement that as well but leave it up to server admins, or simply don't bother with the C at all.

 

Edit: Provided ED lets them. Ultimately, all missile performance appears to be in ED's court. 🤷‍♂️ 

 


Edited by Jayhawk1971
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8 hours ago, Schmidtfire said:

There should be more to the C than the smokeless engine. Digital components is a pretty big deal. A flying computer compared to a vaccum tv.
AIM-54A should not be a choice over AIM-54C in DCS in any circumstance other than historical. Right now many players are using the AIM-54A MK60
in modern missions because it's engine performance, when it in reality should be outclassed by the newer C variant.

How this is best implemented in DCS I don't know. But making the C a lot more resistant to chaff aswell as giving it a more efficient flight path and
targeting is a good start. On the other hand, It might be the A models that are overperforming...      

 

 

Aw say it ain't so...

 

Though TBH at least online I can't hit a fucking thing with A models...

Offline, I'm a murder machine with em...

 

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As much of a blackhole of conversation this thread is probably going to turn into, I do believe there is a much needed rework to the C variant of the phoenix seeing as the digital electronic suite made such a major improvement that the US Navy actually admitted the use of the C variant against fighter targets where the A variant in the Navy was limited almost strictly to use as a fleet defense missile for bombers and the like. Obviously, Iran put their 54A mk47s to good use, but the US Navy clearly saw the reliability of the A as bad enough to trash its offensive use until the C came out.

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4 hours ago, Prez said:

.... where the A variant in the Navy was limited almost strictly to use as a fleet defense missile for bombers and the like. Obviously, Iran put their 54A mk47s to good use, but the US Navy clearly saw the reliability of the A as bad enough to trash its offensive use until the C came out.

 

Any proof ?

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6 hours ago, Prez said:

[...] where the A variant in the Navy was limited almost strictly to use as a fleet defense missile for bombers and the like. Obviously, Iran put their 54A mk47s to good use, but the US Navy clearly saw the reliability of the A as bad enough to trash its offensive use until the C came out.

I'd say that's mostly due to the high cost of the missiles. I heard the Navy changed their stance when the MiG-29 and Su-27 entered service: those were a much higher threat than earlier Soviet fighters and thus warranted using a Phoenix on.

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3 hours ago, Raubritter said:

 

Any proof ?

Look up Iran-Iraq war. Iranian F-14s got a very VERY good PK rate with the 54A mk47s even with its degraded CCM and ECCM

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Posted (edited)
23 minutes ago, BreaKKer said:

Look up Iran-Iraq war. Iranian F-14s got a very VERY good PK rate with the 54A mk47s even with its degraded CCM and ECCM


Also to note is that many of the kills was against Soviet aircraft. A MiG-29 pilot on the RU forums has stated that the SPO-15 version he used was unreliable and could not detect launches except Nike Hercules air defence missiles. It was also generally quite unrealiable as far as giving good information. The older SPO-10 was even worse. Both most likely went totally bonkers in the presence of the strong AWG-9 radar. 


Edited by Schmidtfire
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22 hours ago, TLTeo said:

Also the areas where the -C would be a large improvement over the -A are mostly in the EW domain, which is not simulated well (or at all) in DCS anyway

This!
But also.....

13 hours ago, Harlikwin said:

 

Aw say it ain't so...

 

Though TBH at least online I can't hit a fucking thing with A models...

Offline, I'm a murder machine with em...

 

It is very hard to judge missile performance in DCS, because of the above reasons. MP VS SP gives wildly different results and on top of that, AI VS human players adds even more to the complexity of the issue.
I've been using A-Mk60 and C-Mk47 extensively in SP and MP and am yet to have a clear idea as to which one is better. Aside from the pure kinetic performance that is. MP is especially difficult to assess, as every engagement is very different from the others and desync plays a major role in ALL missile performance.

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3 hours ago, Schmidtfire said:


Also to note is that many of the kills was against Soviet aircraft. A MiG-29 pilot on the RU forums has stated that the SPO-15 version he used was unreliable and could not detect launches except Nike Hercules air defence missiles. It was also generally quite unrealiable as far as giving good information. The older SPO-10 was even worse. Both most likely went totally bonkers in the presence of the strong AWG-9 radar. 

 

 

Yup. And it sure as hell wouldn't see an active Phoenix or Amraam, let alone give you any useful info when using your own radar.

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3 hours ago, BreaKKer said:

Look up Iran-Iraq war. Iranian F-14s got a very VERY good PK rate with the 54A mk47s even with its degraded CCM and ECCM

I know that.

 

I  about it "A variant in the Navy was limited almost strictly to use as a fleet defense missile for bombers and the like...he US Navy clearly saw the reliability of the A as bad enough to trash its offensive use until the C came out"


Edited by Raubritter

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Honestly, given the lack of actual hard data on the specifics of the C all we can hope for is a noticeably improved CCM and potentially internal radar seeker performance from the C. Currently in DCS there is barely a difference between the C and A.

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22 minutes ago, Skysurfer said:

Yup. And it sure as hell wouldn't see an active Phoenix or Amraam, let alone give you any useful info when using your own radar.

 

Not sure where all these comments are coming from.  The Phoenix operates in the X-Band, so an SPO-10/15 will see it without modifications.  AMRAAM operates on a higher frequency and would require some modifications.

 

As well, no, the SPOs would not 'go bonkers in the presence of the powerful AWG-9 radar' ... that's just an uneducated statement.   They operate fine in the presence of far more powerful SAM radars.

Lack of reliability can have plenty to do with maintenance, which we know was lax at times due to economic issues.

 

 

As far as Phoenix differentiation goes, right now there's simply not much that can be used to differentiate them in DCS:  The only relevant parameters are the g allowance and chaff resistance, possibly a couple of other small things but there's now real way to represent analog vs digital equipment for example.   And it's not like anyone here is offering any useful information on how to model it, merely nebulous statements like 'digital is a big deal' - that's well know, what does it mean in practice?

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Posted (edited)
46 minutes ago, GGTharos said:

 

Not sure where all these comments are coming from.  The Phoenix operates in the X-Band, so an SPO-10/15 will see it without modifications.

 


How would you know that? I mean the missile comes slamming down at high Mach, so antenna placement is also a factor. SPO-15 had difficulties with ownship radar interference aswell.

Not saying you are wrong, but from what I have read and heard, both SPO-10/15 had issues. Would they give pilot enough and correct warning to take evasive action in the case of AIM-54 going active?

The story about the AWG-9 overpowering the SPO might actually be lore, but there are stories about STT lock overwhelming multiple antennas at the same time.       


Edited by Schmidtfire
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1 minute ago, Schmidtfire said:

How would you know that? I mean the missile comes slamming down at high Mach,

 

Know a missile that doesn't?  What about low-to-high or high-to-low shots?   Besides:

 

1 minute ago, Schmidtfire said:

so antenna placement is also a factor. SPO-15 had difficulties with ownship radar interference aswell.

 

Ownship interference is dealt with since ages past - and antenna placement is not a factor in any realistic scenario.  The lobes of these antennae are huge.   

 

1 minute ago, Schmidtfire said:

Not saying you are wrong, but from what I have read and heard, both SPO-10/15 had issues. Would they give pilot enough and correct warning to take evasive action in the case of AIM-54 going active?

 

Every RWR (or piece of equipment) universally has 'issues'.  This is irrelevant if you don't know what the issues are and why they're occurring.  In other words, if you can't tell that a piece of equipment is unreliable due to manufacture OR maintenance, you may as well assume that unless otherwise proven, it's reliable in manufacture.

 

1 minute ago, Schmidtfire said:

The story about the AWG-9 overpowering the SPO might actually be lore, but there are stories about STT lock overwhelming multiple antennas at the same time.       

 

It's lore.  There's no point is carrying an RWR if it isn't going to do it's job because it's easy to overwhelm.   The SPO-10/15 series have some notoriety because of the way they present information to pilots, not because of reliability.  Consider the SR-71's RWR ... about all it would tell you is that a radar is locking you and/or shooting.   And really, for that aircraft it as about all you needed to know at that time.

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I imagine the main issue the SPO-10 would have is that it locates emitters so poorly that the picture perfect notches DCS players are used to would not be possible (without GCI control at least, which is very much part of RL ops, but that's besides the point...), which would definitely make any Phoenix shot really scary. Otherwise yeah, there is no reason why the AWG-9 would magically be able to "overwhelm" a RWR, whatever that means...

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Even if it located them perfectly it only has 3 lamps to tell you where the signal is coming from, so at best you get 45 degree slices.  You can get more accuracy than this by being smart about watching your lamps, but basically that's about as good as the hardware can do.  It tells you in which direction to look to spot the shot.

 

At that point you can fly a good notch visually.

 

On a long shot like Phoenix could achieve where you might not see the launch, there are other ways to deal with it - from tactics to spoil TWS shots from the beginning to procedures used for missile evasion later in the 'game'.  This, however, relies on knowledge, planning, and training, and according to some sources 'cranking' back in the 70's and part of the 80's wasn't even a thing, you just followed the missile in.


Edited by GGTharos
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1 hour ago, GGTharos said:

 

Ownship interference is dealt with since ages past - and antenna placement is not a factor in any realistic scenario.  The lobes of these antennae are huge.   

 

 

Except it's literally in the 29 and 27SK manual and was also confirmed by the Flanker and 29 pilots on this forum? The SPO15 won't show you anything useful when your ownship radar is turned on, let alone when you have a STT lock on someone. 

1 hour ago, TLTeo said:

I imagine the main issue the SPO-10 would have is that it locates emitters so poorly that the picture perfect notches DCS players are used to would not be possible (without GCI control at least, which is very much part of RL ops, but that's besides the point...), which would definitely make any Phoenix shot really scary. Otherwise yeah, there is no reason why the AWG-9 would magically be able to "overwhelm" a RWR, whatever that means...

 

Yeah the overwhelming part is made up by some people on here. The SPO15 will detent the AWG9 in both RWS and TWS modes and have two different indications for long range and short range. This is described in the 29 (9.12) and 27SK pilots manuals (found online). 

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8 hours ago, BreaKKer said:

Look up Iran-Iraq war. Iranian F-14s got a very VERY good PK rate with the 54A mk47s even with its degraded CCM and ECCM

 

So, put up or shut up time. Where can I find an actual accurate PK rate for the iran iraq war. Seriously, if there are actual documents you start listing them and linking them.

 

8 hours ago, captain_dalan said:

This!
But also.....

It is very hard to judge missile performance in DCS, because of the above reasons. MP VS SP gives wildly different results and on top of that, AI VS human players adds even more to the complexity of the issue.
I've been using A-Mk60 and C-Mk47 extensively in SP and MP and am yet to have a clear idea as to which one is better. Aside from the pure kinetic performance that is. MP is especially difficult to assess, as every engagement is very different from the others and desync plays a major role in ALL missile performance.

 

Yeah, IDK, the A seems way too good in SP IMO, and then online against vaguely compenent people its totally useless. So frankly I think more "tweaking" is desirable, and yeah the whole desynch thing online plays a role I'm sure. I love the tacview of some guy defending a phoenix turning back in starting his attack on the F14, and "gib" he's dead, like 30+ seconds after the phoenix missed him. 

3 hours ago, Schmidtfire said:


How would you know that? I mean the missile comes slamming down at high Mach, so antenna placement is also a factor. SPO-15 had difficulties with ownship radar interference aswell.

Not saying you are wrong, but from what I have read and heard, both SPO-10/15 had issues. Would they give pilot enough and correct warning to take evasive action in the case of AIM-54 going active?

The story about the AWG-9 overpowering the SPO might actually be lore, but there are stories about STT lock overwhelming multiple antennas at the same time.       

 

 

All depends on range doesn't it... R^2 and all that.

 

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Main problem was cycles of sorties with missiles, USAF suffered from the same thing, just not as badly, they weren't pounding the snot out of their weapons by slamming them repeatedly onto decks of carriers over multiple sorties.  Hence the Iranians not suffering problems to the same degree.  Digital weaponry exponentially expanded the sortie life cycles, increased reliability under long term storage and less manpower wasted on sortie cycle based inspections and rebuilds of the weapons.  Digital components handle the rough environment better for longer periods of time, not that they function any better, there's just less in them to go wrong. 

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11 minutes ago, Nodak said:

Main problem was cycles of sorties with missiles, USAF suffered from the same thing, just not as badly, they weren't pounding the snot out of their weapons by slamming them repeatedly onto decks of carriers over multiple sorties.  Hence the Iranians not suffering problems to the same degree.  Digital weaponry exponentially expanded the sortie life cycles, increased reliability under long term storage and less manpower wasted on sortie cycle based inspections and rebuilds of the weapons.  Digital components handle the rough environment better for longer periods of time, not that they function any better, there's just less in them to go wrong. 

 

Probably one of the most intelligent things posted here... Too bad DCS will never simulate that. 

 

Also is there a spud involved? 

 


Edited by Harlikwin
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7 hours ago, Skysurfer said:

Except it's literally in the 29 and 27SK manual and was also confirmed by the Flanker and 29 pilots on this forum? The SPO15 won't show you anything useful when your ownship radar is turned on, let alone when you have a STT lock on someone. 

 

What exactly does the manual say?

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