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AIM-54 vs R-33


Strider21
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Not intended to be a complaint but just wondering what peoples thoughts about going against the AI Mig-31 in DCS. I have run some engagements and I have noticed the R-33 has a significant kinematic advantage over the AIM-54. If co-alt (25K, 0.9 Mach), the AI will fire at about 65 nm. If you fire a AIM-54 at the same time, crank and support, the R-33 will reach you well before your missile goes active (TGT Size - Large). This presents a challenge for the F-14, even though the R-33 is SARH because of its kinematic advantage you cannot launch and leave against it with the AIM-54. 

 

Some options I have tried are to notch at 65nm. The R-33 appears to lose tracking while in the notch but will start tracking again once you come out. It is not like the other SARH missiles that can you can trash and then continue. The AI seems to only fire and support R-33 at a time. So notching going cold and then trying to re-commit at a range to get a AIM-54 shot seems the best strategy. The challenge is that the R-33 remains a threat as soon as you re-commit. Against 2xMig-31s this becomes very challenging. 

 

Anyway wondering if what peoples thoughts/tactics are for dealing with the AI Mig-31s in DCS. 


Edited by Strider21
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There's a guidance problem with the AIM-54 at the moment that is bleeding excess speed. 

I'd also recommend firing at the AWG-9 suggested ideal launch zone. 


Edited by BreaKKer
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Posted (edited)

Can you clarify by off-angle press? Is this essentially a crank pre-employment. 

 

I understand your plan but the challenge is that in the crank/post-employment you will face a high energy R-33. I have found you need to go cold at 65nm to sufficiently bleed the R-33 before turning back hot but once you add a second Mig-31 this becomes very challenging and you ultimately end up having to defeat/evade a number of R-33s. To a certain degree it becomes a game of chance.

 

I have added two examples. One successful and one unsuccessful.

 

 Tacview-20210802-142746-DCS.zip.acmiTacview-20210802-142037-DCS.zip.acmi


Edited by Strider21
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2 hours ago, Strider21 said:

 

Any tips to getting to that range while facing an inbound R-33? 

When in TWS the R-33 shows up on the AWG -9.  I shoot -54s at the -33s while doing a support crank (~50deg) and then barrel roll into the targets if the R-33s go active.  Bagged two MiG-31s in BVR with four -54Cs that way.

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Posted (edited)
21 minutes ago, Spurts said:

When in TWS the R-33 shows up on the AWG -9.  I shoot -54s at the -33s while doing a support crank (~50deg) and then barrel roll into the targets if the R-33s go active.  Bagged two MiG-31s in BVR with four -54Cs that way.

 

The R-33 is SARH it doesn't go active. If you employ and crank the R-33 will reach you long before your -54s go active. Not sure if this has changed but that is the current performance delta. When you barrel roll do you maintain TWS track and continue to support? How do you time your barrel roll? Do you have an example TACVIEW file? 

 

Thanks


Edited by Strider21
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1 hour ago, Strider21 said:

 

The R-33 is SARH it doesn't go active. If you employ and crank the R-33 will reach you long before your -54s go active. Not sure if this has changed but that is the current performance delta. When you barrel roll do you maintain TWS track and continue to support? How do you time your barrel roll? Do you have an example TACVIEW file? 

 

Thanks

 

 

Don't barrel roll. You can crank and dive post TWS launch, abort at the MAR for the R-33, get into a notch then potentially snap-shot a 20nm Phoenix in Pulse STT and flow cold. Personally I hever really found the AI Mig-31's to be too big of an issue unless they changed something - the R-33 also should not be outranging a Phoenix like that by a substantial margin. Make use of your jammer as well. I will run some tests myself against AI and see what I can find then post the tacview here. So stay tuned I guess.


Edited by Skysurfer
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1 hour ago, Strider21 said:

 

The R-33 is SARH it doesn't go active. If you employ and crank the R-33 will reach you long before your -54s go active. Not sure if this has changed but that is the current performance delta. When you barrel roll do you maintain TWS track and continue to support? How do you time your barrel roll? Do you have an example TACVIEW file? 

 

Thanks

 

I did do the barrel roll to continue support, I thought I used a different RWR tone to cue the timing of the roll.  Maybe I used a Jester callout when he got a visual on the missile.  This was done on a previous computer so I may not have the TACVIEW for it.  I also fired from ~43,000ft and 1.4ish Mach and they were also ~45,000ft and 1.5M.

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What @Skysurfer said.  It takes some practice. Don't fly into the missile and make it fly to you. 

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Also, the Mig-31 has a fairly large RCS - so setting the target size to large might be a smart idea so your 54 can go active sooner. It's technically still a SARH vs ARH fight so you should be abe to win unless the R-33 somehow really has a ton more energy and speed.

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14 minutes ago, Skysurfer said:

Also, the Mig-31 has a fairly large RCS - so setting the target size to large might be a smart idea so your 54 can go active sooner. It's technically still a SARH vs ARH fight so you should be abe to win unless the R-33 somehow really has a ton more energy and speed.

 

It does, by a lot. 

 

The 107th has been doing liberation campaigns fairly regularly and our last one was over Syria.  What we found is the AI Russian AF would buy MiG31s non stop. The Tomcat crews (usually two of us with RIOs) were tasked with handling the threat.

 

We did Tacview after Tacview debreifs and the lessons learned were harsh.

 

Basically, expect an R33 launch between 50 and 40nmi.  

 

Launch your 54s around the 45nmi range, crank to gimbal limit in safe direction. Missile target size set to large.  When missiles go active, split S and burner out while the other F14 is flying in to launch if your missiles don't score kills.  Think about it like a two ship grinder where the other cat is in trail by 15 nmi or so. 

 

What the Tacview shows is this profile provides you with a 5-10 second window to GTFO and avoid an R33 with about Mach 3 coming at you. Your 54 will hit around Mach 1... thankfully the MiG31 has terrible RWR, terrible maneuverability, and a huge RCS.  Combined with high closure rates (because AI) and you get some nasty results if your timing is off slightly. 

 

We got REALLY REALLY REALLY good at dealing with the R33 threat.

 

That said, the R33 has some absolute BS dynamics in game where it loses no energy at all while the Phoenix dumps huge amounts of energy after the loft. 

 

Another tip:  At 65nmi, go burner, start a shallow climb. When you are about to launch, pitch up and launch the 54 with a 45 degree nose up attitude. Doing so gives you the best hope of that 54 having some energy at impact. It also drags the R33 high and forces it to run through a little more air to get you when you Split S and GTFO.


Edited by Whiskey11
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20 hours ago, Strider21 said:

The R-33 appears to lose tracking while in the notch but will start tracking again once you come out.

 

 

Is this really true? Because that would clearly indicate a bug. Or am I missing something and the Mig31 radar has the ability to redirect a missile that is already trashed after losing target lock, once it locks on to another target?

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Skysurfer said:

Also, the Mig-31 has a fairly large RCS - so setting the target size to large might be a smart idea so your 54 can go active sooner. It's technically still a SARH vs ARH fight so you should be abe to win unless the R-33 somehow really has a ton more energy and speed.

 

Take a look my TACVIEWs. The R-33 has ton a more energy when fired at the same alt/speed/distance it will hit you before your missile goes active if you crank to gimbals. Also, as per my first post, I am already setting TGT Size - Large. 

 

4 hours ago, Whiskey11 said:

 

It does, by a lot. 

 

The 107th has been doing liberation campaigns fairly regularly and our last one was over Syria.  What we found is the AI Russian AF would buy MiG31s non stop. The Tomcat crews (usually two of us with RIOs) were tasked with handling the threat.

 

We did Tacview after Tacview debreifs and the lessons learned were harsh.

 

Basically, expect an R33 launch between 50 and 40nmi.  

 

Launch your 54s around the 45nmi range, crank to gimbal limit in safe direction. Missile target size set to large.  When missiles go active, split S and burner out while the other F14 is flying in to launch if your missiles don't score kills.  Think about it like a two ship grinder where the other cat is in trail by 15 nmi or so. 

 

What the Tacview shows is this profile provides you with a 5-10 second window to GTFO and avoid an R33 with about Mach 3 coming at you. Your 54 will hit around Mach 1... thankfully the MiG31 has terrible RWR, terrible maneuverability, and a huge RCS.  Combined with high closure rates (because AI) and you get some nasty results if your timing is off slightly. 

 

We got REALLY REALLY REALLY good at dealing with the R33 threat.

 

That said, the R33 has some absolute BS dynamics in game where it loses no energy at all while the Phoenix dumps huge amounts of energy after the loft. 

 

Another tip:  At 65nmi, go burner, start a shallow climb. When you are about to launch, pitch up and launch the 54 with a 45 degree nose up attitude. Doing so gives you the best hope of that 54 having some energy at impact. It also drags the R33 high and forces it to run through a little more air to get you when you Split S and GTFO.

 

 

This is great info. I am not sure what the difference is but in 1v2 I find the AI consistently firing at ~65nm when it starts at 25000, 0.8 Mach with ACE AI on the Nevada map. See attached TACVIEW as an example. 

Tacview-20210802-143827-DCS-F-14 vs Mig31x2 BVR.zip.acmi


Edited by Strider21
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3 hours ago, Lurker said:

 

Is this really true? Because that would clearly indicate a bug. Or am I missing something and the Mig31 radar has the ability to redirect a missile that is already trashed after losing target lock, once it locks on to another target?

 

I am not sure how it relates to the real life Mig-31/R-33 but apparently it is due to the PESA radar on the Mig-31 in that it is not traditional SARH with continuous CW illumination. 

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To be fair, there's a huge amount of speculation regarding the capabilities of the BRLS-8B "Zaslon" and the R-33, though the ability to supposedly guide 6 missiles at once (whether those can all be SARH types - i.e. R-33s - is not clarified) indicates an impressive capability. Remember also that the Phoenix/AWG-9 is at it's core 1960's technology (albeit partially upgraded) so even given the typical 5-10 year disparity in Soviet-Western Technology, the BRLS-8B "Zaslon" and the R-33 are still more modern, so arguably should be better; the very fact that the Zaslon is a PESA brings obvious advantages.

 

Curious as to what the disadvantages vs a traditional TWS Pulse Doppler dish the PESA has, if any, given that in engineering there is rarely such a thing as  free lunch and improved capability generally comes at a cost somewhere else....

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4 minutes ago, DD_Fenrir said:

To be fair, there's a huge amount of speculation regarding the capabilities of the BRLS-8B "Zaslon" and the R-33, though the ability to supposedly guide 6 missiles at once (whether those can all be SARH types - i.e. R-33s - is not clarified) indicates an impressive capability. Remember also that the Phoenix/AWG-9 is at it's core 1960's technology (albeit partially upgraded) so even given the typical 5-10 year disparity in Soviet-Western Technology, the BRLS-8B "Zaslon" and the R-33 are still more modern, so arguably should be better; the very fact that the Zaslon is a PESA brings obvious advantages.

 

Curious as to what the disadvantages vs a traditional TWS Pulse Doppler dish the PESA has, if any, given that in engineering there is rarely such a thing as  free lunch and improved capability generally comes at a cost somewhere else....

 

Zaslon is still a PD radar - the beam is just simply formed and steered electronically - freq. and beam agility and splitting like with an AESA doesn't really apply here. But yes, when it comes to the actual guidence methods and components of the R-33 it's one big speculation. 

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Not intended to be a complaint but just wondering what peoples thoughts about going against the AI Mig-31 in DCS. I have run some engagements and I have noticed the R-33 has a significant kinematic advantage over the AIM-54. If co-alt (25K, 0.9 Mach), the AI will fire at about 65 nm. If you fire a AIM-54 at the same time, crank and support, the R-33 will reach you well before your missile goes active (TGT Size - Large). This presents a challenge for the F-14, even though the R-33 is SARH because of its kinematic advantage you cannot launch and leave against it with the AIM-54. 
 
Some options I have tried are to notch at 65nm. The R-33 appears to lose tracking while in the notch but will start tracking again once you come out. It is not like the other SARH missiles that can you can trash and then continue. The AI seems to only fire and support R-33 at a time. So notching going cold and then trying to re-commit at a range to get a AIM-54 shot seems the best strategy. The challenge is that the R-33 remains a threat as soon as you re-commit. Against 2xMig-31s this becomes very challenging. 
 
Anyway wondering if what peoples thoughts/tactics are for dealing with the AI Mig-31s in DCS. 

I’ve tried these same tactics and have gotten the same results as you. I gave up after getting shot down by beaming an R33. I lost the RWR tone and turned into the threat. Wtf.

Problem with the approach/evade technique is you end up consuming most of your gas in the process.


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25 minutes ago, DD_Fenrir said:

Curious as to what the disadvantages vs a traditional TWS Pulse Doppler dish the PESA has, if any, given that in engineering there is rarely such a thing as  free lunch and improved capability generally comes at a cost somewhere else....

Range at off boresight angles.  A PESA or AESA will have a percentage of it's maximum radiated energy available equal to the COS of the off center angle.  The rare mechanically steered ESA radars (Irbis-E, Captor, Raven) allow to turn the array by ~50-60degrees and then losses go from there, meaning full 90 degree off boresight has an output of COS(30), or 87% of maximum power, at an angle that traditional MSA or ESA cannot reach at all.

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10 hours ago, Whiskey11 said:

 

 

 

That said, the R33 has some absolute BS dynamics in game where it loses no energy at all while the Phoenix dumps huge amounts of energy after the loft. 

 

 

 

No big surprise there, it seams to be using the old AIM-54 FM (or something very similar), which means mach 3+ at 10-15000ft. In other words, laws of physics are thrown out of the window.....

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On 8/3/2021 at 12:31 PM, Skysurfer said:

 

Don't barrel roll. You can crank and dive post TWS launch, abort at the MAR for the R-33, get into a notch then potentially snap-shot a 20nm Phoenix in Pulse STT and flow cold. Personally I hever really found the AI Mig-31's to be too big of an issue unless they changed something - the R-33 also should not be outranging a Phoenix like that by a substantial margin. Make use of your jammer as well. I will run some tests myself against AI and see what I can find then post the tacview here. So stay tuned I guess.

 

 

I would love to be proven wrong as it would make this engagement a lot easier but currently the R-33 significantly outranges the AIM-54. You cannot employ, crank, support to pitbull, and then abort without facing a a high energy R-33. What are you using as a MAR for the R-33? 

 

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Here is a little video i made for this topic. I did everything (well almost everything) wrong here, except execute the cranks. Even in the F-14A (which means no going past mach 1), without target size set to large, using the AIM-54C (inferior to mk60 A's) AND wasting my shot by firing too early, i still get inside visual range with the MiG-31, set to ACE, armed with 4 R-33's. I did this from the first try, in 2AM, with 2 glasses of rum inside me. On the 2nd try i shot the thing down from 48NM away. So..... yea...... practice your time tables and cranks mate....
 

 

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12 hours ago, Spurts said:

Why am I not surprised you also defeated them? 

It's not that hard really. It just takes some practice 😄

Current modules:

FC3, Mirage 2000C, Harrier AV-8B NA, F-5, AJS-37 Viggen, F-14B, F-14A, Combined Arms, F/A-18C, F-16C, MiG-19P, F-86, FW-190A, Spitfire Mk IX, UH-1 Huey, Su-25, P-51PD, Caucasus map, Nevada map, Persian Gulf map, Marianas map, Syria Map......ah yes, forgot the Super Carrier! Shows you how often i fly these days....

Modules in waiting: MiG-23, A-6, F-4U, F-8, Falklands Map

Wish list: South East Asia map, F-4J/N, F-15A/C, Su-27, Sea Harrier FRS.1, Mirage III, MiG-17.

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