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#31 CV32

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Posted 04 March 2011 - 10:39 AM

First, despite having played Harpoon for at least 15-20 years, I was totally unaware of that "b" capability. (That'll be fun to play with! ;) )


You can take some comfort in the fact that the feature is fairly new, or at least, has evolved somewhat in HCE.

Second, it reveals that we weren't really on the same page in terms of the situation I was trying to describe... and may explain the confusion. The situations that I'm referring to are those where I simply order an attack on some group, and (I assume) because some or all of the units in the group are not "fixed", after I allocate the weapons, any target which is not "fixed" will cause an individual instance of a dialog regarding activation distances for a bearing-only attack. (This dialog does not offer the ability to change anything other than the activation distances). (As an aside, I always have trouble figuring out which target is involved in each instance of the dialog, which is part of my annoyance factor with that procedure).


Okay, I kinda wondered that myself, but figured I might as well go ahead and eliminate it as a potential issue.

You are describing a somewhat different situation where you have detected a target, but it lies in an uncertainty zone, and you have weapons that are 'theoretically' capable of seeking out and trying to find that target on their own.

Without going into a great amount of detail (yet), the bearing to the target and the size of the yellow uncertainty zone are of paramount importance here. If you have don't have a narrow bearing range and/or if the uncertainty zone is large, your chances of your weapon detecting and attacking the target (or the correct target) are significantly reduced.

To optimize your chances, what you're looking for, ideally, are a very narrow range of potential bearings to the target (just a few degrees at most) and an uncertainty zone that looks more like a fine line than a fat polygon.

#32 TonyE

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Posted 04 March 2011 - 11:13 AM

To optimize your chances, what you're looking for, ideally, are a very narrow range of potential bearings to the target (just a few degrees at most) and an uncertainty zone that looks more like a fine line than a fat polygon.


Right on, and if it wasn't clear, best when that fine line is pointed directly towards your launching platform suggesting that you have a good idea the enemy is heading straight towards or away from your firing platform, increasing the chance that the target will be within the seeker cone of your weapon. That still assumes you guess the right activation distance.

#33 CV32

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Posted 04 March 2011 - 11:18 AM

Right on, and if it wasn't clear, best when that fine line is pointed directly towards your launching platform suggesting that you have a good idea the enemy is heading straight towards or away from your firing platform, increasing the chance that the target will be within the seeker cone of your weapon. That still assumes you guess the right activation distance.


An important point, as a narrow bearing and small uncertainty zone will be of no use to you if it lies between the target and another unit (the detecting unit), and not between the target and your shooter. (Maybe I do need to produce another set of screenshots, as this is a bit cumbersome to describe in words).

#34 Joe K

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Posted 04 March 2011 - 12:34 PM

First, despite having played Harpoon for at least 15-20 years, I was totally unaware of that "b" capability. (That'll be fun to play with! ;) )


You can take some comfort in the fact that the feature is fairly new, or at least, has evolved somewhat in HCE.

Second, it reveals that we weren't really on the same page in terms of the situation I was trying to describe... and may explain the confusion. The situations that I'm referring to are those where I simply order an attack on some group, and (I assume) because some or all of the units in the group are not "fixed", after I allocate the weapons, any target which is not "fixed" will cause an individual instance of a dialog regarding activation distances for a bearing-only attack. (This dialog does not offer the ability to change anything other than the activation distances). (As an aside, I always have trouble figuring out which target is involved in each instance of the dialog, which is part of my annoyance factor with that procedure).


Okay, I kinda wondered that myself, but figured I might as well go ahead and eliminate it as a potential issue.

You are describing a somewhat different situation where you have detected a target, but it lies in an uncertainty zone, and you have weapons that are 'theoretically' capable of seeking out and trying to find that target on their own.

Without going into a great amount of detail (yet), the bearing to the target and the size of the yellow uncertainty zone are of paramount importance here. If you have don't have a narrow bearing range and/or if the uncertainty zone is large, your chances of your weapon detecting and attacking the target (or the correct target) are significantly reduced.

To optimize your chances, what you're looking for, ideally, are a very narrow range of potential bearings to the target (just a few degrees at most) and an uncertainty zone that looks more like a fine line than a fat polygon.

AND Tony's follow-up (which I apparently can't quote here without cut-n-paste :rolleyes: )

That makes sense... and I imagine it was the situation in most cases that I tried - especially in the cases of targeting a group where there were some fixes. I mean, usually if you're within weapons range, then the uncertainty window is fairly narrow by default. If I could get better triangulation results, that should improve things, too? (I'm still a bit puzzled why I typically get only one uncertainty zone indicator for targets, when I have several groups of the same aircraft type arrayed around said target... (?))

Anyway, now that I know that I can have finer control of BOL, I'll try using that instead of the distance-only dialog, and see what happens.

Thanks. :)

#35 VictorInThePacific

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 02:19 AM

I would like to address the question of attacking static defenses. A lot of other posters have already provided a lot of good ideas, but still, it was rather general, so hereís my detailed ďcookbookĒ approach. I will be using somewhat irreverent language; this amuses me.

Please refer to my Thanh Hoa Bridge scenario AAR:

http://www.matrixgam...m.asp?m=2104380

This scenario is quite different from modern scenarios, because the Americans have hardly any stand-off weapons (according to the scenario instructions) and they certainly donít have stealth bombers, but then the Vietnamese also have limited technology. In fact, the Vietnamese in this scenario actually have a pretty weak defence. The American bases are never under any threat, so it is purely a set-piece battle against a static defence.

General requirements for dealing with a static defence:

1) Get yourself an RA-5C. Better yet, get half a dozen. This unit has capabilities that other units (including AWACS) just donít have. It can detect things that do not emit radar signals! Since this capability is so important, I am sure that the modern arsenal includes units that can do it as well. However, I donít know what those units are. This is a deficiency in Harpoon. Whatever that capability is called, it should be listed in the database unit properties in the same way that weapons ranges are, but it isnít.

Now if you have these recon planes, just follow along the AAR. But if you donít, new techniques will be required.

2) Be prepared to creep with your airplanes. You may ask, how does a jet plane creep? Well, keep in mind, we are not really concerned with such things. The point is that there will be times when a particular geographical area is free of enemy units, and that area will have a boundary. Beyond that, there could be enemies, in particular, hard-to-locate ones. So you creep your planes forward and hope that the enemies reveal themselves by shooting at you before you canít escape or you see them before they shoot. Bear in mind that, even if they think theyíve got you dead to rights, you do have an emergency speed that they probably didnít take into account.

As Kavik Kang pointed out, first of all you have to eliminate the enemy fighters.

Phase 1: Obtain air superiority

Phase 1a: Scramble ALL your fighters in the ATA role. Yes, ALL! Re-arm ALL your available units for the ATA role if necessary. Yes, ALL! DO NOT attack ships or bases in this phase.

Phase 1b: Place ALL front-line fighters (with long-range missiles) on the front lines. You may prefer a verb indicating high speed, but keep in mind that we arenít really concerned with such things here. You want your units to be in specific places. Eventually they will get there. Place your AWACS assets where they will see incoming aircraft before your fighters are threatened. If necessary, use your second-line fighters to deal with whatever gets through the front lines. As an example, a Harrier with Sidewinders may be able to deal with ASMs, but probably not with Flankers.

Phase 1c: Taunt the enemy. To learn how to do this properly, watch this video:



Incidentally, that is the first hit if you google ďtaunt youtubeĒ. Otherwise, there is a scene in Braveheart that is also relevant. If youíve seen Braveheart, you know what I mean. If not, ask yourself what a Highlander wears under his kilt. Ask yourself what you should never do to a werewolf. You will get the picture.

Bottom line is, all the enemy fighters are now charging blindly in your general direction. Pick them off with your long-range missiles.

Phase 2: Eliminate enemy ground defences

Your fighters play little role here. Put all units that matter on the ground attack mission. The front line now consists of attack aircraft and such.

Phase 2a: Locate the enemy radars. This includes base radars and attached radars and anything that has a radar. Many of these units donít turn their radars on unless provoked, so provoke them. Fortunately, all that may be necessary is to paint them with your own radars.

Phase 2b: Neutralize enemy radar-guided weapons. You can do this by eliminating either the radars or the weapons. If all the radars are dead, the SAMs canít shoot. At least, Iím pretty sure that this is true. Use stand-off weapons.

Phase 2c: The hard part. You now have to deal with units that are hard to find. But these units will also have short ranges, right? So you may be able to simply ignore them. You donít need to destroy all these units, do you? You just need them to not hurt you. So clear one narrow path to the objective; thatís all you need.

And now I will do what every good teacher does. I will leave the hard part as an ďexercise for the readerĒ. :lol:

#36 Joe K

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 09:45 AM

I would like to address the question of attacking static defenses. ...

General requirements for dealing with a static defence:

1) Get yourself an RA-5C. Better yet, get half a dozen. This unit has capabilities that other units (including AWACS) just donít have. It can detect things that do not emit radar signals! Since this capability is so important, I am sure that the modern arsenal includes units that can do it as well. However, I donít know what those units are. This is a deficiency in Harpoon. Whatever that capability is called, it should be listed in the database unit properties in the same way that weapons ranges are, but it isnít.
...

2) Be prepared to creep with your airplanes. You may ask, how does a jet plane creep? Well, keep in mind, we are not really concerned with such things. The point is that there will be times when a particular geographical area is free of enemy units, and that area will have a boundary. Beyond that, there could be enemies, in particular, hard-to-locate ones. So you creep your planes forward and hope that the enemies reveal themselves by shooting at you before you canít escape or you see them before they shoot. Bear in mind that, even if they think theyíve got you dead to rights, you do have an emergency speed that they probably didnít take into account.

Phase 1: Obtain air superiority

Phase 1a: Scramble ALL your fighters in the ATA role. Yes, ALL! Re-arm ALL your available units for the ATA role if necessary. Yes, ALL! DO NOT attack ships or bases in this phase.

Phase 1b: Place ALL front-line fighters (with long-range missiles) on the front lines. You may prefer a verb indicating high speed, but keep in mind that we arenít really concerned with such things here. You want your units to be in specific places. Eventually they will get there. Place your AWACS assets where they will see incoming aircraft before your fighters are threatened. If necessary, use your second-line fighters to deal with whatever gets through the front lines. As an example, a Harrier with Sidewinders may be able to deal with ASMs, but probably not with Flankers.

Phase 1c: Taunt the enemy. To learn how to do this properly, watch this video:
...

Bottom line is, all the enemy fighters are now charging blindly in your general direction. Pick them off with your long-range missiles.

Phase 2: Eliminate enemy ground defences

Your fighters play little role here. Put all units that matter on the ground attack mission. The front line now consists of attack aircraft and such.

Phase 2a: Locate the enemy radars. This includes base radars and attached radars and anything that has a radar. Many of these units donít turn their radars on unless provoked, so provoke them. Fortunately, all that may be necessary is to paint them with your own radars.

Phase 2b: Neutralize enemy radar-guided weapons. You can do this by eliminating either the radars or the weapons. If all the radars are dead, the SAMs canít shoot. At least, Iím pretty sure that this is true. Use stand-off weapons.

Phase 2c: The hard part. You now have to deal with units that are hard to find. But these units will also have short ranges, right? So you may be able to simply ignore them. You donít need to destroy all these units, do you? You just need them to not hurt you. So clear one narrow path to the objective; thatís all you need.


It's interesting, because I generally follow this strategy (well, except for the occasional situation that has special requirements)... yet I often don't achieve as good results as one might expect. Some of your comments may explain this "deficiency" of mine:

First, the usual lack of anything with capabilities comparable to an RA-5C is a distinct disadvantage. The AWACS and other AEW/EW platforms often have a puzzling (and maddening) lack of ability to detect things - at least in a timely manner.

I have a fair amount of success with "turn and burn" tactics when dealing with ATA engagements... BUT very little success with that when attempting to provoke ground units - who usually have weapons with much longer ranges than my detection ranges, leaving far too little escape time.

I had to chuckle about re-arming everything with ATA weapons right out of the gate. That seems to be such an SOP for me that I do it as a knee-jerk, sometimes without thinking of the immediate need (that is, getting adequate ATA assets into the air right away - even if their initial loadouts are non-ATA), nor considering other potential attack needs. Generally, it works out well, though. I also tend to put up a whole lot of fighters right away, pending the arrival of "situational awareness" through AWACS coverage, etc.

One thing that I try to do whenever practical is to use only the minimal ATA weapon that is applicable, to conserve the other, more capable, weapons for possible needs against targets possessing comparable weapons. What I mean by this is to override the suggested weapons allocations and instead use weapons that are just superior to the target's weapons. For example, when attacking a target that has a 9 nm best AAM range with an F-14, I'd close the range and use Sparrows instead of the default Phoenixes. Or when attacking a recon type, I might close the range to use guns instead of missiles. Similarly, I might send the F-5s (armed only with Sidewinders) to intercept a flight of bombers, rather than vectoring F-15s (armed only with longer-ranged AIM-120s) after the bombers. That way, the longer-ranged weapons are conserved for use against the gaggles of front-line fighters that the AI typically throws against the player. Obviously, though, I always try to catch the bombers before they can launch their missiles - even if that means "wasting" some long-range AAMs, if necessary to accomplish a timely intercept.

I have fairly good luck taunting the AI... ;) but there are a couple of gotchas that are just a bit frustrating: First, the AI seems to have the uncanny ability to have its interceptors arrive on scene at the exact moment that my "hunters" run out of fuel... and quite often, it isn't possible (due to timing issues or lack of assets) to provide continuous fighter coverage for the "bait". The other thing is the puzzling ability of the AI interceptors to weave their ways unseen through numerous pickets enroute to attacking an AWACS, often remaining undetected until they are right on top of the AWACS - or worse, never being detected at all and only their missiles being detected moments before killing the AWACS. Except for these difficulties, the baiting tactics have worked well for me.

When attacking ground defenses, I always go after the attached recons and then the active radars. Once those have been dispatched, the trouble starts. There are reportedly SAMs that don't require radar, so they can track and kill my planes at stand-off distances where they remain totally undetected by any means. I've yet to find a tactic to address this, short of brute force. Unfortunately, these stealth SAMs are typically arrayed around the objectives, so there's no way to skirt them, and so they must be dealt with. It is not uncommon for me to experience no aircraft losses up to this point in the progression, but then suffer debilitating losses in short order when trying to deal with these undetectable SAMs. And after that, there's the AAA - also generally undetectable except by in-the-face visuals. I can usually deal with this stuff if I have considerable assets to burn, but eventually the planes run out... or my pilots start defecting. :rolleyes:

Now, one of my personal mission objectives (when no victory conditions seem to be forthcoming) is to try to destroy all of the AI's assets. This may mean going after bases, etc. ... and that means dealing with those stealthy SAMs and AAA. This mayhem may continue until either I can't find any more targets, or I run out of capable assets... And probably 75% of the time, despite all the carnage, neither side achieves any victory conditions. (Since I have no scenario editor, I can't check the victory conditions to see why this is the case, but it tends to be rather frustrating). :(

#37 CV32

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 10:01 AM

Get yourself an RA-5C. Better yet, get half a dozen. This unit has capabilities that other units (including AWACS) just donít have. It can detect things that do not emit radar signals! Since this capability is so important, I am sure that the modern arsenal includes units that can do it as well. However, I donít know what those units are. This is a deficiency in Harpoon. Whatever that capability is called, it should be listed in the database unit properties in the same way that weapons ranges are, but it isnít.


First, the usual lack of anything with capabilities comparable to an RA-5C is a distinct disadvantage. The AWACS and other AEW/EW platforms often have a puzzling (and maddening) lack of ability to detect things - at least in a timely manner.


Nothing particularly special about the RA-5C as far as HCE goes (sorry, Patrick), but it does have both ESM and FLIR, which most (if not all) other platforms would be lacking in the Thanh Hoa Bridge scenario where it appears. That's probably why it appears magical there.

#38 mavfin

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 02:20 PM

Get yourself an RA-5C. Better yet, get half a dozen. This unit has capabilities that other units (including AWACS) just donít have. It can detect things that do not emit radar signals! Since this capability is so important, I am sure that the modern arsenal includes units that can do it as well. However, I donít know what those units are. This is a deficiency in Harpoon. Whatever that capability is called, it should be listed in the database unit properties in the same way that weapons ranges are, but it isnít.


First, the usual lack of anything with capabilities comparable to an RA-5C is a distinct disadvantage. The AWACS and other AEW/EW platforms often have a puzzling (and maddening) lack of ability to detect things - at least in a timely manner.


Nothing particularly special about the RA-5C as far as HCE goes (sorry, Patrick), but it does have both ESM and FLIR, which most (if not all) other platforms would be lacking in the Thanh Hoa Bridge scenario where it appears. That's probably why it appears magical there.


Yeah, a lot of the more modern platforms have FLIR, and the F14 has the camera system, etc. ESM is found on almost any EW aircraft. Prowlers are great for ESM. I think F18C has FLIR, for example? But yeah, in the 60s/early 70s, the -5C would have been magical.

#39 VictorInThePacific

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 10:05 PM

Joe, from your descriptions, it is clear that you are using very good tactics.

Some further comments:

AWACS apparently is not useful for locating ground units (eg. SAMs attached to bases). So you really do want an RA-5C or modern equivalent for the mission being discussed.

Complicated question: You have a bunch of F/A-18s armed with Harpoons and Sidewinders at the start of the scenario. Do you
a) re-arm them with Sparrows right away and risk being hit before they're ready, or
B) put them up as is right away, or
c) dither, or
d) cheat by playing the scenario twice to learn the future?

Your comment on using minimum weaponry is right on.

When I say, put all fighters on the front line during the air superiority struggle, I don't really mean that. You need to keep some back as replacements for when the first lot runs out of fuel so as to maintain continuous coverage. What is the proper ratio? That is unclear. 2/3 up front to start with? In any case, the AWACS can't be up there if you don't have adequate fighter protection. So you have to deal with that problem as well.

If enemy fighters can freely approach your AWACS, then something is very wrong. I do have a couple of suggestions. First, pickets are not the issue. Detection is from the AWACS, not the pickets. Second, depending on which one it is, an AWACS should have a good air search radar and maybe a good ground search radar. Now, as I understand it, and please correct me if I am wrong, the AS radar does not work at all altitudes. So a plane at low or VL can safely and invisibly drive right up to your AWACS unless it has a good GS radar. Third, maybe you are dealing with real stealth fighters. Fourth, I am assuming that your AWACS is flying as high as possible, otherwise the radar ranges go down. Fifth, good jamming may degrade the AWACS radars.

I don't really have any good answers to what I called Phase 2c above. However, by then, your fighters are all expendable, right? You, Tommy, go skirmish those guns! (Sorry, Tony.) Are you really sure you don't have any RA-5C-equivalent in the arsenal? Personally, I might not play such a scenario.

If you decide you need to kill all the AI units for your own satisfaction, then maybe you might find yourself removed from command after throwing your planes away unnecessarily. If the mission is to destroy ground units, you may find that you get units with the capacity to actually do the job. Scenario victory conditions are usually given in the orders.

#40 VictorInThePacific

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 10:14 PM

Regarding taunts.

The action in Braveheart was intended to provoke the English to charge, so that

"The Hielanmen, wi their lang swords, [could lay on them] fu sair".

It failed. Those nasty, professional English soldiers committed their archers, against which the Scots had no defence.

In Harpoon, the defending fighters have some advantages, and the AI can usually easily be provoked to charge.

#41 VictorInThePacific

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 10:21 PM

Kavik Kang:

I don't think that the AI has a special hate-on for AWACS. (Again, Brad or Tony can say so for sure.) As I understand it, the AI will attack anything it sees. And AWACS may be the only thing it sees.

If an AI fighter is intercepting your AWACS, and it stumbles over your fighters, it will or will not attack your fighter instead. This is probably a choice that definitely goes one way, but I have no idea which way it goes.

#42 donaldseadog

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Posted 09 March 2011 - 04:06 AM

Kavik Kang:

I don't think that the AI has a special hate-on for AWACS. (Again, Brad or Tony can say so for sure.) As I understand it, the AI will attack anything it sees. And AWACS may be the only thing it sees.

If an AI fighter is intercepting your AWACS, and it stumbles over your fighters, it will or will not attack your fighter instead. This is probably a choice that definitely goes one way, but I have no idea which way it goes.

This is a very good question, well worth a study. My impression has always been that on first detecting me the AI will only attack with the nearest plane with AAms but that some time later (I don't know how long) it kind of thinks to its self, ..."that plane group is in range of my fighter (that is already on an intercept) should I fire, and it does". Trouble is for AI you've either gotten out of range or shot him down in the meantime. I think this is one of the 'dumb' parts of AI, in air defence or groups already assigned a target.
Now my perception here could easily be wrong, I've not had a close look, just a feely thing.
Don Thomas

#43 Joe K

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Posted 09 March 2011 - 11:01 AM

...

AWACS apparently is not useful for locating ground units (eg. SAMs attached to bases).

Apparently. It leaves me wondering what types are good at finding them... because the RA-5Cs are rarely provided in the scenarios that I've played... in fact, maybe only in that bridge scenario.

Complicated question: You have a bunch of F/A-18s armed with Harpoons and Sidewinders at the start of the scenario. Do you
a) re-arm them with Sparrows right away and risk being hit before they're ready, or
B) put them up as is right away, or
c) dither, or
d) cheat by playing the scenario twice to learn the future?

All of the above. ;) It depends on the situation, and what's available. Unless it's dire circumstances, or unless I'm expecting imminent missile attacks, I generally won't deploy anything that doesn't have a Sparrow or better for ATA defenses. So, in that case, I'd likely re-arm those types right away - as reserves.

From experience, I know that scenarios typically involve AI attacks of some nature very soon after the scenario starts AND that the provided initial loadouts on player's aircraft generally aren't well-suited to meet the particular attacks that will show up. So, I try to throw up an adequate defensive posture to cover all those potential attacks to the degree possible, at least until I can get some AWACS or other platforms in place to provide situational awareness... and then adjust my coverage accordingly.

Because I'm running the demo these days and have only a limited number of scenarios to choose from, I suppose I sort of cheat via recollections of past play. But, there have been a few cases when I played a scenario and was almost literally decimated almost before I could even assess my assets... and I re-played those scenarios with some tactical adjustments according to my glimpse of the near future. (I remember one in particular - although not its name - where the player's group was northwest of Norway and literally moments after the scenario started, what must have been several hundred bombers and incoming missiles were detected. Those blew right through the few CAP assets that had gotten up, and swamped the shipboard defenses, and literally wiped-out my fleet. The AI achieved total victory within five minutes of game play, and left me in the "What the ____???" mode. Well, I replayed that scenario and immediately turned on all the radars, and launched literally every plane that had any AAW capability in the direction the previous attack had come from. I then turned on all the radars of those planes - so they would attack any missiles that came within range (because there was no time to intercept the bombers). Well, between much fewer attackers the second time through, and having some assets in position to knock down some of the incoming missiles, my carrier was able to survive, although damaged... and I still lost several escort ships, but still had something left to continue playing the
scenario. So, yes, I cheated in that case... but I also think that the scenario cheated a bit to begin with. <_< (I still can't figure how the scenario was set up so that AI bombers were in position to launch their missiles so soon after the scenario started, nor did I ever figure out how they were detecting/targeting my carrier group in that first run, where I hadn't even had time to turn on the sensors nor start the group moving. It also seemed a bit unreasonable that the AI had something over 700-800 Tu-22 type bombers available to attack my group. :rolleyes:


When I say, put all fighters on the front line during the air superiority struggle, I don't really mean that. You need to keep some back as replacements for when the first lot runs out of fuel so as to maintain continuous coverage. What is the proper ratio? That is unclear. 2/3 up front to start with? In any case, the AWACS can't be up there if you don't have adequate fighter protection. So you have to deal with that problem as well.

Yes. My comments were simply regarding the initial deployment at the outset of the scenario. Once I've gotten a feel for what's going on and what enemies are lurking around, then I get down to the business of establishing air superiority. But I try to get lots of fighters up initially, in order to fend off attacks that come in before I can find out the big picture.


If enemy fighters can freely approach your AWACS, then something is very wrong.

My thoughts, exactly. :(

I do have a couple of suggestions. First, pickets are not the issue. Detection is from the AWACS, not the pickets. Second, depending on which one it is, an AWACS should have a good air search radar and maybe a good ground search radar. Now, as I understand it, and please correct me if I am wrong, the AS radar does not work at all altitudes. So a plane at low or VL can safely and invisibly drive right up to your AWACS unless it has a good GS radar. Third, maybe you are dealing with real stealth fighters. Fourth, I am assuming that your AWACS is flying as high as possible, otherwise the radar ranges go down. Fifth, good jamming may degrade the AWACS radars.

1. Pickets: What I meant by "pickets" in this case are various air groups that happened to lie along the ingress route of the AI interceptors that were going after the AWACS. I typically array some defenders at low altitude, with short-cycle intermittant radar - partly in order to try to detect any sea-skimmers. In addition to that there typically have been other air groups, and even surface groups, with active or intermittant radars along the presumed ingress route of the AI interceptors. Yet, none of these pickets typically detect the AI group as it presumably passes near them.
2. Low/Vlow approach: That's one of the reasons that I park those defender groups at low altitude with short-cycle intermittant radars.
3. The only scenario that I recall that had any sort of stealth fighters involved some Eurofighters. The undetected interceptors in most of the other cases have been things like MiG-29s, MiG-19s, etc. and usually in groups of three or four. (In some cases, the interceptors were never seen, so I don't know what they were - and can only infer what they may have been based on the unit types that were in the particular scenario. Generally speaking, there were no stealthy types involved - at least not ones that are known to me to be stealthy).
4. Yes, the AWACS are always stationed at their default altitude - which I believe is their maximum allowable altitude.
5. I don't recall ever seeing any jamming indicators on the AWACS in these cases.

If you decide you need to kill all the AI units for your own satisfaction, then maybe you might find yourself removed from command after throwing your planes away unnecessarily. If the mission is to destroy ground units, you may find that you get units with the capacity to actually do the job. Scenario victory conditions are usually given in the orders.

LOL! I should reiterate that the "kill all the AI units" situation usually happens when no victory conditions have been achieved, and so I continue playing and about all I can do is to try to destroy as many AI units as possible in hopes of possibly satisfying victory conditions. I must say that I regularly satisfy the stated victory conditions, yet no victory announcement is forthcoming in many of the cases. That's why I wish I could check the actual victory conditions via the Scenario Editor, so see why the orders (or my understanding of the orders) differ from the actual requirements. Unfortunately, that's not an option while lacking the Scenario Editor.

#44 Joe K

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Posted 09 March 2011 - 11:24 AM

I don't think that the AI has a special hate-on for AWACS. (Again, Brad or Tony can say so for sure.) As I understand it, the AI will attack anything it sees. And AWACS may be the only thing it sees.

From my observations, I would agree: The AI seems to attack everything that is there - even things that it seemingly shouldn't have detected. However, I assume that an active AEW type is the most likely thing to be detected, followed by any air groups at high altitude (especially if their radars are operating).

If an AI fighter is intercepting your AWACS, and it stumbles over your fighters, it will or will not attack your fighter instead. This is probably a choice that definitely goes one way, but I have no idea which way it goes.

Again, from my observations, an AI group bent on intercepting a particular group - especially if it is an AEW type of group - will go headlong for that target group, while virtually ignoring other nearby air groups. The only times I recall them doing differently is when the target group gets destroyed by something else, or when some other group attacks the AI interceptor group. In the latter case, it seems the AI group will return fire, and maybe even go evasive, but then continues to attack the original target (rather than breaking off and pursuing the "interruption").

Incidentally, these AI groups that are "target-fixated" on an AEW target are the most likely to demonstrate the "impervious AI air group" effect, where I'm vectoring multiple groups to attack the AI interceptor group, yet it shrugs off volley after volley of missiles, and blows through to kill my AEW. Whether this is generally true, or simply some artifact of my own installation of the game, remains to be determined... but this is my fairly consistent observation here.

#45 VictorInThePacific

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Posted 10 March 2011 - 01:04 AM

Lest anybody say that the way the Harpoon AI behaves in complex intercept situations is wrong, consider the following real life scenario:

An attack on an American CVBG. The only time this really happened was in WW II.

Commanding the American fighters, you know that your only base must be protected at all costs. The incoming bombers are escorted by fighters. Do you

a) ignore the enemy fighters and go for the bombers, thus losing more of your fighters in the air combat, or
b] engage the fighters first and risk losing the carrier?

A human will make a choice, which might be good or bad.

An AI must choose one option, or there could be some randomness. But there will always be situations where that choice is wrong, and then it is easy to say that the AI is defective.

Incidentally, is there any way of changing the emoticon B) so that my lists don't have emoticons in them?




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