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I'm a little confused by the countermeasure switch on the F16. In a certain other F16 simulator it is set up such as this:

UP: Dispense selected program
LEFT: Dispense Program 5 (out of 6)
DOWN: Consent SEMI/Turn on ECM
RIGHT: Stop Consent/Stop Auto/ECM off
SLAP: Dispense Program 6

However in DCS it's somewhat different. (Page 299 in manual)

Fwd: Dispenses selected manual program
Aft: Gives consent in SEMI and enables AUTO dispense modes
Left: No function
Right: Disables AUTO dispense mode
Slap Switch: No mention in manual (Section I-28)

On top of all of this there are 5 programs in the CMDS DED page.

Online I could find this information (Page 63), but I don't which one is correct or if there are multiple different software versions or whatever. It seems to however make no sense to me to leave Left with no function.

Fwd: Select Manual program 1-4 or if BYP selected MDF programmed program
Aft: Semi Consent, Enable Auto
Right: Disable Auto, ECM off
Left: ECM on
Slap: Dispense program 5 (Page 224)

I am also confused on how Auto and Semi work. Does it actually check which programs have what type of programming in them or does it use some other, internal programs that are not set via DED, does it use the default program numbers even though you might have changed them. How does it determine which program to use/how to dispense the countermeasures.

Personally I prefer to have two controls for chaff and flares separately so I don't waste any time fiddling with the mouse to reach for that little knob down there and select another program or waste expendables and potentially give away my position by dumping both.

It would be really nice if we could set up our CMDS programs like in the jf17 in the main menu. And indeed have that for all aircraft that have different programs. At least until we have our DTC. (when?)

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I share your feelings regarding the defensive suite of our Viper, but I am certain 

that ED will revisit it, sooner or later.


In the meantime, to only dispense either chaff or flares, I set program 1 to dispense flares and set program 5 to chaff, since in a BVR engagement there's always the time to take the hand off the throttle and to use the slap-switch (or in our case, to press the appropriate key on the keyboard).

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Posted (edited)

My understanding of the EW described in the HAF doc (which really shouldn't be assumed to resemble the USAF system) is that SEMI/AUTO dispensing happens based on MDF definitions. MDF determines how the system responds on a per-threat basis and what level of consent is required: blanket consent or per threat. Manual programs are simple affairs as set in DTC and activated by CMS forward. If the knob is set to program 1 (or 2, 3, 4), program 1 (or 2, 3, 4) is dispensed (or not). The system does not determine manual program selection, pilot does.


Semi and auto dispense work on the concept of consent. Semi requires consent from the pilot once per defensive engagement while auto has persistent consent across multiple engagements. E.g. in semi mode someone fires a missile at you, VMS says "counter", pilot chooses to give dispense consent by button press, system dispenses until threat is over. Later if a second missile is fired the pilot is again prompted and would have to press the button again. In auto mode pilot sets consent and system dispenses in reaction to all threats.


EW equipment can change a lot between country and by year perhaps more than any other system. CMS left switch does different things to different customers.

Edited by Frederf
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I understand that there are different versions and excuse me for not finding the USAF manual. I found what I could get my hands on.
I also understand the difference between semi and auto. I just wonder how it chooses what program to execute, if any, that is if it makes a program up on the fly.
Still CMS left as nothing seems like an obvious bad choice for a free hotas control.

I guess I'll just bind it to the slap switch and set program 1 to flares and program 5 to chaff.

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You won't and neither will I. The RWR finds a threat and looks in the MDF file to find the appropriate response to it. The system sends a dispense program to the dispenser. Anyone who knows how the threat input gets turned into dispenser output isn't allowed to say. It's at least as sophisticated as a table look up of one program per threat but could be multiple options per threat (MiG-29 far in front, close front, behind, etc.) or even intelligently created on the fly (probably not).


CMS left seems to often control jammer stuff and since we don't have jammers yet there's nothing to put there.

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Yup, the DCS CMS is true to the HAF dash34, with the addition of EMC controls. I'm not sure where BMS got their info from or if it's any more accurate to a USAF jet or not. 


In DCS the slap switch dispenses Program 5. Program 6 is used for Bypass mode, I'm not sure if that's a real label or if that's just the way it's coded in DCS because it is entered after the slap switch in the file. 


In DCS Auto and Semi draw from a different set of programs that are not able to be edited in the jet. I would assume that this is true in the real jet as well, as I don't know how the system would associate customized manual programs to specific emitters. 


In DCS you can modify any of the programs in the .lua file, including the Auto and Semi ones, not that they're implemented yet anyway.

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Thank you to all for the information. I've been practicing using the Viper CMDS and trying out various modes on the Canyon Run mission on the Syria map.

I don't see indications that the system detects a threat as the manual indicates on the panel when in SEMI or AUTO mode.
Are the SEMI and AUTO modes implemented in game yet?
They don't seem to be working for me, must be doing something wrong.
Just curious if those modes are implemented right now? June 7th 2021, 2.7 Open Beta

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I tried and SEMI or AUTO didn't appear to be implemented. CMS aft or right have no function as far as I can tell. FDBK is on but I don't hear VMU "Counter" when SA-2 launches at me.

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