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Bug- AIM-54 issue - PSTT launches dumb and seeker going active


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Posted (edited)

Recorded 5/3/2021 on most up to date OB patch: At ranges beyond 10 miles, the AIM-54 fired in PSTT goes dumb right off the rail. The enemy RWR (in this case, my buddy in the F-18) does not get a launch warning until the seeker goes active at ~10 miles, which you can clearly see happens in this tacview. This is also not functioning properly, as the AIM-54 fired in PSTT should never "go active" itself. The missile should be lost if the lock is terminated. The missile was not instructed to go hot off the rail.

To me, it appears that the AIM-54C is using the same guidance logic as the 120, maybe pre-missile-API update.

The tacview below shows the missile flying straight (dumb) until it turns on its seeker at 10 miles and jerks toward the F-18. You can reproduce this by STT locking a target at 25 miles, instructing Jester to switch to PSTT, then firing the AIM-54.

https://youtu.be/ngPEzeSf5i4
 

Track File: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Ya_dpDfRArJCqjHXxMvxcJnNk77350hc/view?usp=sharing
 


Edited by Banzaiib
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Posted (edited)
12 minutes ago, Banzaiib said:

This is also not functioning properly, as the AIM-54 fired in PSTT should never "go active" itself.

This is incorrect, in P-STT the missile should be active off the rail (and the seeker head of the missile is slewed to wherever the radar is pointing), in PD-STT it's a Fox 1 and doesn't go active. http://www.heatblur.se/F-14Manual/general.html#an-awg-9-radar


Edited by TLTeo
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Regardless of the OP's description... The aim54 does have this strange behavior where it appears to fly straight for a couple miles and then make a hard turn to track the target when in STT. I cannot imagine that being correct behavior while there is an active lock. It's like it doesn't get guidance instructions. 

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57 minutes ago, DoorMouse said:

It's like it doesn't get guidance instructions. 

 

In PSTT it doesn't get post launch guidance instructions. At best it gets pre-launch antenna cueing instructions if the target is > 30 degrees off bore.

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9 hours ago, Banzaiib said:

Recorded 5/3/2021 on most up to date OB patch: At ranges beyond 10 miles, the AIM-54 fired in PSTT goes dumb right off the rail. The enemy RWR (in this case, my buddy in the F-18) does not get a launch warning until the seeker goes active at ~10 miles, which you can clearly see happens in this tacview. This is also not functioning properly, as the AIM-54 fired in PSTT should never "go active" itself. The missile should be lost if the lock is terminated. The missile was not instructed to go hot off the rail.

To me, it appears that the AIM-54C is using the same guidance logic as the 120, maybe pre-missile-API update.

The tacview below shows the missile flying straight (dumb) until it turns on its seeker at 10 miles and jerks toward the F-18. You can reproduce this by STT locking a target at 25 miles, instructing Jester to switch to PSTT, then firing the AIM-54.

https://youtu.be/ngPEzeSf5i4
 

Track File: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Ya_dpDfRArJCqjHXxMvxcJnNk77350hc/view?usp=sharing
 

 


This is working as intended. P-STT always launches active and is not supported as pulse can’t command/support the missile. The missile itself won’t track until at about 10NM even if it is active as in DCS the missile seekers have a hardcoded range of 10NM. That is also why the rwr warning appear at that time and that’s not something we as a 3rd party dev can control.

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3 hours ago, Naquaii said:


This is working as intended. P-STT always launches active and is not supported as pulse can’t command/support the missile. The missile itself won’t track until at about 10NM even if it is active as in DCS the missile seekers have a hardcoded range of 10NM. That is also why the rwr warning appear at that time and that’s not something we as a 3rd party dev can control.

PSTT is always active off the rails and gets no post launch guidance? Even at 30 miles? Does it at least get English bias so it goes towards the lock? 

 

This is new to me... I was under the impression you could PSTT lock and engage targets at significant ranges. I certainly have in the past and seen the missile guidance work... I thought

 

And just to.be clear about what the behavioral OP is describing, the Phoenix comes off the rails ballistic like a Zuni rocket and does not track anything till it gets to what I suppose is that 10 mile limit.

 

 

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5 minutes ago, DoorMouse said:

PSTT is always active off the rails and gets no post launch guidance? Even at 30 miles? Does it at least get English bias so it goes towards the lock? 

 

This is new to me... I was under the impression you could PSTT lock and engage targets at significant ranges. I certainly have in the past and seen the missile guidance work... I thought

 

And just to.be clear about what the behavioral OP is describing, the Phoenix comes off the rails ballistic like a Zuni rocket and does not track anything till it gets to what I suppose is that 10 mile limit.

 

 


The AWG-9 can’t send commands to the missiles in pulse, only in pulse doppler. So when launched in P-STT it gets a pre-launch active command and an azimuth and elevation to fly out along, but in effect it’s a maddog shot along the sensor line of sight (tcs or radar).

 

The 10NM limit is how missiles in DCS works so the missile won’t be seen on rwr or guide until within that limit.


Edited by Naquaii
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Posted (edited)
16 minutes ago, Naquaii said:


The AWG-9 can’t send commands to the missiles in pulse, only in pulse doppler. So when launched in P-STT it gets a pre-launch active command and an azimuth and elevation to fly out along, but in effect it’s a maddog shot along the sensor line of sight (tcs or radar).

 

Appreciate the reply!

 

Ah so, I think that queueing/english bias is not working properly, often the missile just flies down the ADL even with a lock. It should at least be going to the target area?

 

By the way- The manuals last sentence is confusing, how can it preposition, without a track?

 

 

Quote

"ACM active is commanded when BRSIT (boresight) is selected on the pilot ACM panel, when having the ACM active without a WCS track and when using a non pulse doppler radar mode or TCS track. When using boresight or ACM without a track the missile will launch along the ADL locking onto the first target seen while launching at a non pulse doppler radar track the seeker head will be prepositioned onto that track."

 

Additionally:

 

My understanding from the manual is that if you are ACM Active+BRST then it should SAHR until it gets a lock. This also does not work consistently and you have the same ballistic ADL launch even when you have a lock

 

Quote

 

"PH Active:

If the target is not detected actively by the seeker it will still fall back to SARH until the seeker can acquire on its own like in the two SARH modes"

 

 

 

Finally, the tomcat is currently banned In much competitive play (SATAL) due to either real or perceived issues with the Aim54/AWG9, specifically PH Active and ACM modes causing Desync in multiplayer (banned in TACT).

 

I would love If you had something to say about that either being a known issue and being fixed, or dispelling that notion.

 

Thank you!

 

 


Edited by DoorMouse
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In the active launch case the missile does not use english bias, it simply flies straight down the indicated sensor line of sight while going active. As long as there is either a radar or TCS track this should work. I've yet to see this not work under the right conditions and it has been working recently for me but I can try to have a look at it when I have the time.

 

I guess it is this sentence you are referring to: "When using boresight or ACM without a track the missile will launch along the ADL locking onto the first target seen while launching at a non pulse doppler radar track the seeker head will be prepositioned onto that track."

The first part refers to BRSIT or ACM without a track and that it launches along the ADL in that case while the second part describes that the seekerhead will be prepositioned to make the missile fly out along the line of sight of the sensor tracking that target. (At launch that is as the missile can't be controlled afterwards.)

 

With ACM and BRSIT the missile will always launch along ADL as BRSIT selection forces the missile into boresight mode and disregards all tracks.

 

As for fallback to SARH, that does not work in DCS as it's not currently possible for us to model that. It's on my todo list to clarify in the manual that this describes how it should work but that it's not implemented like that in DCS due to limitations atm. That said the fallback to SARH would only work specifically for PH Active which is when you have the radar in TWS or PD-STT but manually select active launch. Like I said before the pulse modes are technically incapable of controlling the missile in any way, so no SARH. PH Active is a different thing than ACM Active which is what you get in ACM.

 

As for the desync issues we have been looking at those but as far as we've seen this is related to poor latency and general connection between server and client and unfortunately and issue out of our hands as it's not in our code. That said my personal opinion is that there seems to exist a strange bias against the F-14 and the AIM-54 due to the range of the Phoenix in the competetive PVP environment while the AIM-54 is absolutely not an undefeatable missile, in many cases it's much easier to defeat than the other allowed missiles. And additionally the desync issue is not unique to the F-14 even though it occurs more often.

 

That said we do ofc still very much want this issue fixed.

 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, DoorMouse said:

By the way- The manuals last sentence is confusing, how can it preposition, without a track?

P-STT or TCS track = missile looks in the direction of the radar/TCS track, active off the rail

ACM cover up/BST selected and no track = missile looks along the ADL (ie, the cross on the HUD), active off the rail

 

1 hour ago, DoorMouse said:

My understanding from the manual is that if you are ACM Active+BRST then it should SAHR until it gets a lock.

SARH/DL guidance until the radar seeker goes active and locks on the target = TWS launches (meaning the missile homes in on radar reflections off the target, but it's antenna doesn't turn on until the WCS commands it)

SARH all the way to the target, missile does not go active = PD-STT launches (meaning the missile homes in on radar reflections off the target until impact, the WCS never tells the antenna to turn on).

Missile active off the rail = any other time you fire a Phoenix.

 

I honestly don't know how else to explain it without stating exactly what the manual already states. On a related note, @Naquaii, going through this thread I realized that the manual contains 2-3 parts where the AIM-54 modes are summarised: the table with the AWG-9 modes, and the section about the AIM-54 itself, which doesn't mention P-STT or TCS tracks until the "AIM-54 in DCS" section. It would be nice if you could consolidate all that information a bit, detailing how it works in DCS (ie, no SARH fallback until it's in for example) and maybe adding a few recommendations (like don't expect TWS launches to reliably hit maneuvering targets). I feel like that alone would cut down on the complaints about the AIM-54 being broken significantly.

 

 


Edited by TLTeo
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Posted (edited)
8 minutes ago, TLTeo said:

On a related note, @Naquaii, going through this thread I realized that the manual contains 2-3 parts where the AIM-54 modes are summarised: the table with the AWG-9 modes, and the section about the AIM-54 itself, which doesn't mention P-STT or TCS tracks until the "AIM-54 in DCS" section. It would be nice if you could consolidate all that information a bit, detailing how it works in DCS (ie, no SARH fallback until it's in for example) and maybe adding a few recommendations (like don't expect TWS launches to reliably hit maneuvering targets). I feel like that alone would cut down on the complaints about the AIM-54 being broken significantly.

 

 

The part about the missiles in the AWG-9 section is more about what the different radar modes can support but I might add a link from there to the AIM-54 section and add some more tips and tricks about the missile in the DCS section.


Edited by Naquaii
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6 minutes ago, Naquaii said:

In the active launch case the missile does not use english bias, it simply flies straight down the indicated sensor line of sight while going active. As long as there is either a radar or TCS track this should work. I've yet to see this not work under the right conditions and it has been working recently for me but I can try to have a look at it when I have the time.

 

I guess it is this sentence you are referring to: "When using boresight or ACM without a track the missile will launch along the ADL locking onto the first target seen while launching at a non pulse doppler radar track the seeker head will be prepositioned onto that track."

The first part refers to BRSIT or ACM without a track and that it launches along the ADL in that case while the second part describes that the seekerhead will be prepositioned to make the missile fly out along the line of sight of the sensor tracking that target. (At launch that is as the missile can't be controlled afterwards.)

 

With ACM and BRSIT the missile will always launch along ADL as BRSIT selection forces the missile into boresight mode and disregards all tracks.

 

As for fallback to SARH, that does not work in DCS as it's not currently possible for us to model that. It's on my todo list to clarify in the manual that this describes how it should work but that it's not implemented like that in DCS due to limitations atm. That said the fallback to SARH would only work specifically for PH Active which is when you have the radar in TWS or PD-STT but manually select active launch. Like I said before the pulse modes are technically incapable of controlling the missile in any way, so no SARH. PH Active is a different thing than ACM Active which is what you get in ACM.

 

As for the desync issues we have been looking at those but as far as we've seen this is related to poor latency and general connection between server and client and unfortunately and issue out of our hands as it's not in our code. That said my personal opinion is that there seems to exist a strange bias against the F-14 and the AIM-54 due to the range of the Phoenix in the competetive PVP environment while the AIM-54 is absolutely not an undefeatable missile, in many cases it's much easier to defeat than the other allowed missiles. And additionally the desync issue is not unique to the F-14 even though it occurs more often.

 

That said we do ofc still very much want this issue fixed.

 

Appreciate your responses, thank you.

 

So if I'm understanding this. In PSTT it will never get course guidance, english bias, or any course instructions prior to launch.... and will fly ballistic with the seeker head pointed at the STT locked target area, hoping to see it and go active. Basically you need to lead your target and hope it sees it?

 

The SAHR stuff is clear- the game can't handle the complexity of the missile... Yet!

 

And regarding the competitive stuff- I suspected this is people just being sticks in the mud and apprehensive about the Phoenix and tomcat. God forbid the hornet and amram aren't the best, or the hornet pilots reality shatters 😄

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6 minutes ago, DoorMouse said:

So if I'm understanding this. In PSTT it will never get course guidance, english bias, or any course instructions prior to launch.... and will fly ballistic with the seeker head pointed at the STT locked target area, hoping to see it and go active

Yes. It's basically like CAGE/SEAM with the AIM-9 actually, where the radar is just telling the missile where to look, and then the missile does its own thing. The difference of course is with Phoenixes you don't get a tone to know whether the missile is going to lock on the target or not before launching.

7 minutes ago, DoorMouse said:

Basically you need to lead your target and hope it sees it?

With a P-STT or TCS track you don't need to lead your target because the missile is already looking at it. With an ADL launch - probably?

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10 minutes ago, TLTeo said:

P-STT or TCS track = missile looks in the direction of the radar/TCS track, active off the rail

ACM cover up/BST selected and no track = missile looks along the ADL (ie, the cross on the HUD), active off the rail

 

SARH/DL guidance until the radar seeker goes active and locks on the target = TWS launches (meaning the missile homes in on radar reflections off the target, but it's antenna doesn't turn on until the WCS commands it)

SARH all the way to the target, missile does not go active = PD-STT launches (meaning the missile homes in on radar reflections off the target until impact, the WCS never tells the antenna to turn on).

Missile active off the rail = any other time you fire a Phoenix.

 

I honestly don't know how else to explain it without stating exactly what the manual already states.

 

 

The nuances of what I'm asking are being lost in text. This would be clear with a whiteboard and verbal communication, but I'll make a go at it.

 

 

Boresight no track is clear, I was never unclear on that behavior. The sentence structure in the manual is not proper, and meshes what should be two independent sentences into a single confusing one.  

 

PSTT not providing any guidance, and only prepositioning the seeker is new to me. If that's the correct behavior then fair enough.

 

And finally the SAHR description you gave is incorrect or you misunderstood the question- but Naquail clarified. 

 

The INTENDED behavior is that if THE MISSILE (not the awg9) loses lock it reverts to PDSTT/TWS SAHR mode. I was not describing the TWS Active handoff. According to Naquail, that behavior is too complex for the current missile API so it does not work.

 

 

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5 minutes ago, DoorMouse said:

Appreciate your responses, thank you.

 

So if I'm understanding this. In PSTT it will never get course guidance, english bias, or any course instructions prior to launch.... and will fly ballistic with the seeker head pointed at the STT locked target area, hoping to see it and go active. Basically you need to lead your target and hope it sees it?

 

The SAHR stuff is clear- the game can't handle the complexity of the missile... Yet!

 

And regarding the competitive stuff- I suspected this is people just being sticks in the mud and apprehensive about the Phoenix and tomcat. God forbid the hornet and amram aren't the best, or the hornet pilots reality shatters 😄

 

Nope, only a command to go active at launch and what direction to head out at. That's not a launch at an area though, it's a launch att the exact track direction but within those parameteres it behaves like a maddog launch. Leading the target will at most only cancel out any after launch turn the missile will have to do to go in the correct direction. If you lead the target the missile will launch but then immediately turn directly at the target cancelling out the lead. The missile will only begin to lead the target once it acquires a track itself, prior to that it has no idea of target aspect or velocity, only the direction of it.

1 minute ago, DoorMouse said:

The INTENDED behavior is that if THE MISSILE (not the awg9) loses lock it reverts to PDSTT/TWS SAHR mode. I was not describing the TWS Active handoff. According to Naquail, that behavior is too complex for the current missile API so it does not work.

Just keep in mind that this is specific to when you have manually set the missile to PH Active in PD-STT or TWS, no other active launches.

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1 minute ago, TLTeo said:

Yes. It's basically like CAGE/SEAM with the AIM-9 actually, where the radar is just telling the missile where to look, and then the missile does its own thing. The difference of course is with Phoenixes you don't get a tone to know whether the missile is going to lock on the target or not before launching.

With a P-STT or TCS track you don't need to lead your target because the missile is already looking at it. With an ADL launch - probably?

The issue the OP reported is that the missile often does not see the locked target when you fire, which would probably happen irl too... However in DCS there is a 10 mile hard coded limit to missile tracking according to Naquail... Which is probably responsible for the strange behavior

3 minutes ago, Naquaii said:

 

Nope, only a command to go active at launch and what direction to head out at. That's not a launch at an area though, it's a launch att the exact track direction but within those parameteres it behaves like a maddog launch. Leading the target will at most only cancel out any after launch turn the missile will have to do to go in the correct direction. If you lead the target the missile will launch but then immediately turn directly at the target cancelling out the lead. The missile will only begin to lead the target once it acquires a track itself, prior to that it has no idea of target aspect or velocity, only the direction of it.

Just keep in mind that this is specific to when you have manually set the missile to PH Active in PD-STT or TWS, no other active launches.

Ok, now we are getting somewhere.

 

So you are saying the missile SHOULD maneuver towards the PSTT track immediately and IS getting instructions on where to MANEUVER to... Not just slew the seeker head.

 

Because what I am reporting and the OP is describing is that with an PSTT lock on a target the missile flies ADL... Does not maneuver, and then some time later (2-3miles) appears to make a hard turn to the target.  It is not getting any instructions on "What direction to head out at"

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Posted (edited)
12 minutes ago, DoorMouse said:

The issue the OP reported is that the missile often does not see the locked target when you fire, which would probably happen irl too... However in DCS there is a 10 mile hard coded limit to missile tracking according to Naquail... Which is probably responsible for the strange behavior

Ok, now we are getting somewhere.

 

So you are saying the missile SHOULD maneuver towards the PSTT track immediately and IS getting instructions on where to MANEUVER to... Not just slew the seeker head.

 

Because what I am reporting and the OP is describing is that with an PSTT lock on a target the missile flies ADL... Does not maneuver, and then some time later (2-3miles) appears to make a hard turn to the target.  It is not getting any instructions on "What direction to head out at"

 

Prepositioning the missile seekerhead means that as soon as the missile is free to meanuvre the missile will turn towards where the seeker is looking. So in effect it will make an immediate turn and then fly off towards the direction of where the track was at launch. That is not an additional command to the seekerhead positioning, it's the same thing.

 

What you're describing sounds like a boresight launch where the missile flies along ADL and then engages when it finds the target, that should only happen when you have no track or have set BRSIT. What you described earlier sounded like ACM with BRSIT set, if you set BRSIT you override and force a boresight launch along ADL.


Edited by Naquaii
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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Naquaii said:

 

Prepositioning the missile seekerhead means that as soon as the missile is free to meanuvre the missile will turn towards where the seeker is looking. So in effect it will make an immediate turn and then fly off towards the direction of where the track was at launch. That is not an additional command to the seekerhead positioning, it's the same thing.

 

What you're describing sounds like a boresight launch where the missile flies along ADL and then engages when it finds the target, that should only happen when you have no track or have set BRSIT. What you described earlier sounded like ACM with BRSIT set, if you set BRSIT you override and force a boresight launch along ADL.

 

To be clear, what I'm saying and what the OP posted with a track is:

 

1) PSTT lock 

2) ACM Cover DOWN/Unengaged

3) Phoenix fires down ADL with no English bias or course instructions

4) after some indeterminate but short distance/time the missile makes a high G maneuver towards the target

5)PSTT is maintained throughout the encounter (not that this matters other than proving there was a positive lock at launch that didn't drop just as the missile was fired)

 

This happens frequently and is reproducible. 


Edited by DoorMouse
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33 minutes ago, DoorMouse said:

To be clear, what I'm saying and what the OP posted with a track is:

 

1) PSTT lock 

2) ACM Cover DOWN/Unengaged

3) Phoenix fires down ADL with no English bias or course instructions

4) after some indeterminate but short distance/time the missile makes a high G maneuver towards the target

5)PSTT is maintained throughout the encounter

 

This happens frequently and is reproducible. 

 

I mean, there usually as a set timer for the fuze to arm etc. the missile won't make a hard turn just off the rail or right next to the aircraft. This also might be another DCS limitation since our missile API is very limited and seemingly only tailored towards the amraam and sparrow, amraam even less so since there is no HPRF to MPRF.

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5 hours ago, Naquaii said:


The 10NM limit is how missiles in DCS works so the missile won’t be seen on rwr or guide until within that limit.

 

 

 

Can you expound on why that is in DCS? I'm sure its a hold over from Flanker 1.0 or something just like the 8mile laser limit, but couldn't that be done better? I'm sure different seekers have rather different acquisition ranges. 

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2 hours ago, DoorMouse said:

To be clear, what I'm saying and what the OP posted with a track is:

 

1) PSTT lock 

2) ACM Cover DOWN/Unengaged

3) Phoenix fires down ADL with no English bias or course instructions

4) after some indeterminate but short distance/time the missile makes a high G maneuver towards the target

5)PSTT is maintained throughout the encounter (not that this matters other than proving there was a positive lock at launch that didn't drop just as the missile was fired)

 

This happens frequently and is reproducible. 

 

 

Yeah, I understand what you mean. Was asking cause it behaves as if you have BRSIT enabled. I have yet to see this myself but I'll try to have a look at it in the weekend.

 

3 minutes ago, Harlikwin said:

 

 

Can you expound on why that is in DCS? I'm sure its a hold over from Flanker 1.0 or something just like the 8mile laser limit, but couldn't that be done better? I'm sure different seekers have rather different acquisition ranges. 

 

Not really, you'd have to ask ED about this. I'm not entirely certain it's exactly 10NM but it's somewhere around that number. IRL that number would depend greatly on seeker performance and target RCS. It's not an unreasonable number, just very generalised. The biggest issue as it is is the RWR behavior as the RWR should be able to see the missile seeker from much farther out even if the missile does not see the aircraft carrying the RWR.

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Just now, Naquaii said:

Not really, you'd have to ask ED about this. I'm not entirely certain it's exactly 10NM but it's somewhere around that number. IRL that number would depend greatly on seeker performance and target RCS. It's not an unreasonable number, just very generalised. The biggest issue as it is is the RWR behavior as the RWR should be able to see the missile seeker from much farther out even if the missile does not see the aircraft carrying the RWR.

 

Yeah, I mean I figured it was "reasonable-ish" number, just like 8 mile laser thing is (for ground jtacs at least, and I'm sure this is where it originated). Yeah I get the RWR thing. It just seems like they could do a better job on that part of the code.

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1 minute ago, Harlikwin said:

 

Yeah, I mean I figured it was "reasonable-ish" number, just like 8 mile laser thing is (for ground jtacs at least, and I'm sure this is where it originated). Yeah I get the RWR thing. It just seems like they could do a better job on that part of the code.

 

Yeah, the RWR not needing to see reflections bouncing back from a target but instead the signal directly from the emitter means that a maddog shot should really be like having a screaming maniac coming at you. Everyone should see it clearly quite far out on their RWRs. But the current DCS implementation just doesn't allow for that afaik.

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Just now, Naquaii said:

 

Yeah, the RWR not needing to see reflections bouncing back from a target but instead the signal directly from the emitter means that a maddog shot should really be like having a screaming maniac coming at you. Everyone should see it clearly quite far out on their RWRs. But the current DCS implementation just doesn't allow for that afaik.

 

Yup... R2 vs R4... 

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3 hours ago, Skysurfer said:

 

I mean, there usually as a set timer for the fuze to arm etc. the missile won't make a hard turn just off the rail or right next to the aircraft. This also might be another DCS limitation since our missile API is very limited and seemingly only tailored towards the amraam and sparrow, amraam even less so since there is no HPRF to MPRF.

It actually should take a turn, in the sparrow it's called missile English bias and it kicks out with "English" off the wing because of some limitations turning on the seeker before it is clear of the aircraft.

 

In the Phoenix, according to Naquail, it should slew the head towards the target and then upon launching try to zero out the seeker directly on that course, causing an immediate maneuver to target. 

 

So- it should do exactly that. Make a turn right off the aircraft up to the maximal gimbal limit of the missile seeker I'd suppose. 

 

 

 

 

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