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PAPADOCS ("Aunt Mary's") BVR hints (with help from Wags and Talon)

So you've been flying this high tech fighter all this time H2H without missiles, eh? Wimp! It's time to stop that foolishness, no one in their right mind would take a real Flanker into a war zone without missiles so why in the most realistic flight sim for H2H are you not carrying missiles? Because you're scared, because it's hard, because it's not fun. Get over being scared, you're right it is hard but if we wanted easy we would be flying something else not Flanker, and no it's a lot of fun but you have to know how - or someone like Wags, Talon or myself will come along and ventilate your plane from afar. Repeat after me...BVR is fun BVR is fun....practice practice practice....BVR is fun <VBG>.

What follows are some general guidelines, that will be subject for revision as we get better at flying them. In essence when fighting the same type of aircraft i.e. Su27 vs. Su27 armed with the same loadout--as would be standard in H2H Match play, the person who gets to the launch parameters quickest at the highest speed then stops his ingress into the range of the bandits missile envelope the quickest will win. This article discusses the use of the R-27re, R-27r, R-27t,(R-27te, and) R-73. Keep in mind that you must keep lock on the bandit, you are playing a game of chicken and the first one who blinks is at a distinct disadvantage. In the first launch of SARH missiles the lock must be held through the flight till impact.

The following are the steps involved in a typical BVR fight. The setup is 2000m alt, 55km separation head on aspect. Upon entering the cockpit full afterburner and a dive to gain speed as quickly as possible. Gaining altitude is not a viable alternative for a couple of reasons. Apparently the missiles do not model less range due to having to climb to height (I would love to be corrected on this point). It is imperative that you gain more speed and get into firing parameters before your opponent. Be careful of your dive angle. If you dive too steeply you will bottom out too soon and will be forced to fly level and thus lose speed. Rather, if you fly at ~15 degrees down, you can build up more speed than someone who dives at ~45 degrees who has to level out.

On your way down go to BVR mode engage IR and Radar and lock up the bandit. This will give you some indication of what's what's going to happen. If the bandit is gaining speed more slowly than you, your missile will be launched first and if you fly correctly arrive first. The missile will be able to travel farther with a higher aircraft launch speed - and to quote a Civil War General to win battles you need to get there "first'st with the mostest" <G>. To gain even a little more speed, remember to unload (zero G) your aircraft as it is descending.

When you get the launch signal NP, launch! A moment wasted here is going to get you killed. I generally launch two missiles here but this may be incorrect because of the next part is so essential. After launching your missiles YOU MUST HALT your ingress into the range of the bandit's missiles without losing lock. This is imperative. This is usually done by deploying the airbrake, and turning in the horizontal hard, put some G's on the airframe, but don't forget to keep lock as all will be for naught if you lose lock. Deploy flaps and maintain around a 20 degree nose high AoA. This will slow you down even more. I generally won't clean up the aircraft until around 600 kph. You don't want to get too slow or you'll be unable to maneuver quickly enough if you need to crank into the notch.

Now the playing Chicken part comes into play. You were paying attention to your bandit's speeds weren't you? If his speed was significantly lower than yours at your launch time then you may (only may) assume that yours will arrive sooner. Because the next step requires you to either honor the threat of the missile warning and evade the missile or ignore it and keep lock. It helps a great deal to watch the skies as the missiles are visible, at first as smoke from launch then as a black dot, then it will sparkle white- this is when you missile warning will go off. If you evade by turning hard to put the missile on your 3/9 at this point you can usually avoid significant damage, but you will lose lock. I have forced people to lose lock at the last second and the missile R-27re will explode harmlessly and I have waited too long and gotten a R-27 in the face - it carries a significant punch and will kill or disable. Your decision will be based on your observation of the bandit's speeds at launch. You can get a good idea of what the other guy is doing by monitoring his vector on the BVR HUD mode. His flight vector is represented by the arrow connected to the bottom portion of your missile engagement envelope on the HUD. This gives you a constant update of his nose angle on you and is much more accurate/timely than the information given on the MFD. By monitoring the vector on the HUD, you can tell when he has broken defensive and thus that your safe from this incoming AAMs. Watching the MFD is somewhat useful at this point as you can see in a delayed fashion your opponent's reactions and whether is blinking first or not. Keep in mind that it may be possible to force him to lose lock and keep lock yourself by observing his aspect angle and taking advantage of it. For instance if he is moving to his right his radar coverage may be less than what you may be capable of and so he may lose lock and lose the fight. One should be using the MFD for two things at this point.

If you are forced to go defensive, use the enemy emitter reference on your MFD to place it at exactly 90 or 270 degrees from your line of bearing. While keeping the bandit at your 3 or 9 o'clock, dispense chaff and flare as fast as possible and either be nose up or nose down - don't fly level. By doing this, you have a good chance of avoiding his AAM. Once his missiles have sailed by, crank back into the bandit and engage.

The key to successful engagement is keeping the bandit at the absolute gimbal limit of your radar. This is generally 50 degrees right or left. By keeping your nose as far as possible off the bandit while maintaining lock, you are increasing the flight distance his missiles must fly to reach you. The tricky part is finding that gimbal limit without going too far and losing lock. Once you lose lock you are screwed and must reacquire.)

If the first volley misses the process starts anew.....

Some things to practice.

  1. How far can you turn while keeping lock.
  2. Missile evasion is required - you will have to be able to beam missiles. Turning away completely will allow the bandit to close on you and I guarantee that a human will take advantage of that - you will have a nice spread of missiles coming your way when you decide to bring your nose back into the fight. Keep in mind though that if you have brain overload go completely defensive and release chaff and flare - better to stay alive for five more seconds than to just take a missile in the face. Then vow to practice some more so that next time you make him have brain overload, and stick him with the missile. More fun trust me...<VBG> Once you have a guy on the defensive, it is best to have at least one missile in the air at all times to keep him on the defensive and thus not be able to put his nose on you to take a shot.
  3. Another possible way to fight this fight is stealth, force the bandit to lose lock and to lose you by going low, below 25p, and behind obstructions.
  4. Practice using all the missiles against AI targets, learn how they work. For instance the R-27t must be locked then unlocked and relocked for it to be launched.
  5. Another tactic - you can notch the guys radar until he closes within heater range and thus eliminating a SARH F-pole fight.
  6. It's completely crazy to fly straight into the battle waiting for a shorter range shot - the R-27r will hit the target from maximum range if lock is maintained, and besides you want the other guy worrying about something. If you don't put a missile in the air he will be playing solitaire on his way to killing you.
  7. Practice practice practice. To me BVR fights with a worthy opponent may be more fun and intense than gun fights, and I never would have thought that. Indeed I thought BVR fights would be boring. THEY ARE NOT. What they are is a great test of your ability to keep several balls in the air at once. And its not a bad game of chicken either <VBG

Yours Truly Auntie Mary....