Report article RSS Feed Report 041: Electronic warfare

Beyond pure power and stealth, there are more factors to consider in battle, otherwise you'll be just a toy in the enemy hands.

Posted by timeSymmetry on Aug 18th, 2013

This time, this news post will be not to talk about a actual update, but to talk about the latest development progress.
I’m still not used to this new phase, so I was waiting to all content to be ready to show it all at the same time, but there really no need to do that, if far better to smaller posts and report how it is has been progressing.
In this case, this report will be about electronic warfare.

A lot of thought has been given to make this system.
The idea was to make something unique that could impose interesting challenges to the jammed aircrafts while retaining balance in the gameplay. Of course this has been thought with the multiplayer in mind as well.

First let’s start with buffing, most of you are already aware of its existence since it was mentioned a couple o reports ago and already in the game, although for now, only a few units in the game are actually using of this system.
The Su-30 is one of them.

The buffing will be used to help allied units by giving them a boosted electronic performance in some specs, this boost will be enabled for an unlimited time while the respective units is still present in the effect range.
The players should use this to their advantage, like if they are close to ground radar they will have boosted range.

Or if they within a EWAC range, it will increase their missile detection range.

Then we have debuffing, similar to the last one, but this is to be used against enemies to reduce their electronic performance.

Whoever for debuffing, every units has a resistance value, the debuff will not be applied if the resistance is higher than the effect strength.

To be implemented:

The data sharing will enable teammates from the same squadron to compile all the targets by all the squadron and share to each individual member. This only will be possible if there is at least one aircraft in the squadron has this capability. but the receivers must be modern enough to be able to obtain and use that data. So aircrafts like for example F-104 are unable to receive that shared data from their teammates.

One of the usefulness of this ability is to use for stealth spotting. if there is a recon aircraft in squad, or one plane using similar role, that plane can be in the vanguard searching for stealth units, as soon they discover some, the other members from that squad will receive visual identification that will be allowed to lock on them if they have weapons capable of that, so one approach is to use BVR missiles to shoot down those stealth units at long range

Also the aircrafts that have data sharing have a maximum connection range, so if the team is too disperse, these pilots must be sure to be positioned in a way that enables to everyone receives the data.

Then we go to the jamming, before mentioning the different types of jamming let’s explain how it all works.
First a jammer can have one or multiple types of jamming abilities that will be show below.

Then each of these abilities will have their power and range, while all other units will have their own resistant values to that effect.
However that effect is strong near the jammer, but drops as jammer and target get more distant.

As it was exemplified in this image, all tree aircrafts have the same resistance value to jamming, however the closest to the jammer is affected, because the jamming signal in that spot is stronger than in the other units.

A rule of thumb, no matter how good and modern is your aircraft, is safer to just keep your distance to any jamming aircraft, unless you have your own jamming units to back you up.

Also, there is the possibility to some jammers having a very low limit of how many aircrafts they can jam at the same time, one approach of the targets is to rush to the jammer, spamming it with targets and the ones that are unaffected take up the role of neutralizing this unit.

Another weakness of some of the jammers, sometimes they can flicker, this means there is a brief moment where the jamming is not in effecting event if you’re close to the jamming. Use this moments to your advantage if your are having a hard time being the target of those effects.

Another point is that some jammers will flicker more frequently as they affect more units, in this cases the pilot of the jammer must consider how many units he wants to jam at the same time and avoid highly concentrated zones.

With that explained, now we can move on to the jamming types:

Let’s start with the more usual, this one is simple, every enemy within the effect range will be unable to lock to enemies. The pilots can either go with guns, use missiles simply as rockets or alternatively try to get out of the effect range.

This type of jamming makes the affected units see multiple false copies of the jammer. These copies are pure radar signals.
This is more an annoyance to BVR players as you have to get close to the jammer to be able to look carefully and find which of those radar signals correspond to the actual unit.

To be implemented:
Aircrafts that use synthetic vision are more vulnerable to the effects of this jamming, since they will interpret those fake signals as real and will add a physical model to those signals.

This is similar to the self copies, but in this case the jammer will make a fixed amount of copies to a limited amount of allies within a restricted range.
This can easily trick the enemy in believing that they are being attacked by a large wave of fighter.

Considering the existing AI, if they are surprised by an overwhelming (Fake) force, they may chose to be evasive and run for their lives when they thing they have no chance of winning.

This may be insignificant if you are a lone wolf, but the most fearsome jamming if you are in a squad. This jamming has the ability to make all the affected units be unable to distinguish between friend of foe.

Whoever, if you know your team well and know which plane they are flying, you can easily advert the effects of this jamming. But, just to be sure, double check before firing. Also avoid using weapons that auto lock to a target on their own when you are experiencing these effects, because they may lock to one of your teammates.

This jamming ability disables the global map and forces all units acquire every target own. So units with weaker radar will become severely affected and non-stealth units but with small RCS, like the MiG-21 will easily go unnoticed in the battlefield.
One of the usefulness of this jamming is to hide tactical movements from the affected units, this way it will be easier to ambush them or make them unaware of the flow of battle.

To be implemented:
This will also make weapons that use GPS guidance to become completely unguided.

To be implemented:
Aircrafts that use synthetic vision will have the scenery displayed in wireframe.

To be implemented:

This ability prevents the buffers and debuffers from using their effect. But for this to work, the buffer/debuffer must be inside the canceller range. If it's not, they can still buff and debuff any units inside this jammer range.

So this is a weakness, since the jammer must obligatory be close enough to this type of units to be in full effect.

This ability grants the power on hide a fixed number of units from also a restricted number of targets, however this to work the enemies must be the jammer effect range, and the allies must be inside the hiding range as well (which is tighter). This is not a solution to avoid BVR attacks, but is instead actually the opposite, to keep the enemies at distance or to protect the stealth units from close range detection.

This jamming type as a weakness of these units can’t be shielded with their own hole neither with another allied jamming unit. So look carefully for these units, it’s very likely they are hiding something.

To be implemented:

This one is simple; this jamming simply prevents the targets to use data sharing. since this result is easy to achieve by pumping noise signals to the atmosphere, this type of jamming as usually wide area of effect. It can affect a normal squad unit to prevent receiving/sending data, of it can affect the element that acts as a hub, and in this case the whole system goes offline.

One use for this, is that it can be employed to cut the communication line between the recon unit and the stealth hunting team.

This system disables all the information about enemy targets, so you are unable to know who is the pilot, squadron or aircraft name, this more useful in medium/long range engagements since you can distinguish the aircrafts.

Also this jamming appears to be almost inoffensive on its own, but combined with other jamming abilities; it becomes dangerous cocktail to the enemy units. Just imagine combining this with the NO IFF, you'll become instantly unable to determine which units are your allies unless you get close to them.

To be implemented:
Aircrafts that use synthetic vision will be unable to display a physical model so it will be replaced by a place holder.

These are all the jamming that it will be present in the game, most of them are already been added, they are also being balanced so the jammer that does have an undeniable advantage over their victims, but it has to play smart to succeed. Also if you play with a 4 aircraft team, instead going all offensive, you may consider losing some attack power to add more jamming aircrafts and combining those effects, like creating false copies of the allies and other jammer create a detection hole to include the originals.

But the amount of possible solutions is wide and considering that they are most effective only in some situations, the team must carefully plan their strategy and predict the strategy that will be used by the opposing team.
A bad strategy will completely nullify any advantage the jamming may bring, but a well chosen strategy will completely stomp over any opposition.

Later it will be made several fictional “super weapons”-type units, and each will use one of these systems in various levels of the single player campaign.

Stay tuned, more reports will follow.

Post comment Comments
D_M
D_M Aug 18 2013, 5:51am says:

Holy shat, that's one hell of a game design.

+5 votes     reply to comment
DEathgod65
DEathgod65 Aug 18 2013, 6:02am says:

Very cool! How will the different ECM types be implemented? Through different types of jamming pods?

+2 votes     reply to comment
Nergal01
Nergal01 Aug 18 2013, 6:14am replied:

Seeing how the Su-30 could get a built-in buff/debuff feature, maybe built-in too.

+3 votes     reply to comment
SpootKnight
SpootKnight Aug 18 2013, 8:32am says: Online

This has to be the most complex ECM I've ever seen in the flight combat simulator genre. I'd imagine my 32-bot Skirmish matches being extremely chaotic if they were allowed to spawn with randomized ECM.

Hilarious, even.

+5 votes     reply to comment
Nergal01
Nergal01 Aug 18 2013, 9:50am replied:

Pretty much whatever kind of possible ECM type, I'd say.

+1 vote     reply to comment
monotone56
monotone56 Aug 18 2013, 2:32pm replied:

I take it you've not played DCS. the ECM in that game is scary complex. To the point where if you fly over a large body of water you get radar backscatter. It's amazing. On another note, this game has progressed amazingly and I'm looking forward to giving it a shot.

+1 vote     reply to comment
szboudreau01
szboudreau01 Aug 18 2013, 7:39pm replied:

Well, the complexity of DCS' ECM is because the game is strictly a full-realism air combat simulator; as close as you'll ever get to reality. Though backscatter would be awesome :D

+1 vote     reply to comment
Nergal01
Nergal01 Aug 18 2013, 7:53pm replied:

I'm talking about arcade games and not counting hyperrealistic sims (yet).

+1 vote     reply to comment
szboudreau01
szboudreau01 Aug 18 2013, 9:35am says:

My.. god...
There's literally no need for a plane, the ECM madness is enough! My god, that's complex!

+2 votes     reply to comment
MobiusOne
MobiusOne Aug 18 2013, 10:19am says:

Thats some awesome stuff you came up. I like it!

+1 vote     reply to comment
IbizenThoth
IbizenThoth Aug 18 2013, 7:07pm says:

I'm already salivating.

+3 votes     reply to comment
bornloser
bornloser Aug 18 2013, 10:28pm says:

There should be an achievement for scaring off an enemy with the mirrored allies buff.

+5 votes     reply to comment
szboudreau01
szboudreau01 Dec 4 2013, 1:51pm replied:

Hehe

Call the achievment "Boo!", and make it an electric ghost booing an aircraft :3

+1 vote     reply to comment
Midsummersnow
Midsummersnow Aug 19 2013, 5:33am says:

I'm really looking forward to synthetic vision even more now. :D

+2 votes     reply to comment
p*a*t*t*o*n
p*a*t*t*o*n Aug 19 2013, 11:46pm says:

will missiles with a "home-on jam" feature be able to target jamming a/c?

+1 vote     reply to comment
Nergal01
Nergal01 Aug 20 2013, 12:24am replied:

Do you mean like those anti-radiation/SEAD missiles but for use against jammer aircrafts?

+1 vote     reply to comment
p*a*t*t*o*n
p*a*t*t*o*n Aug 21 2013, 12:01pm replied:

kind of; certain missiles such as the aim 54 have a secondary home-on-jam feature designed to take out EAW aircraft

+1 vote     reply to comment
Nergal01
Nergal01 Aug 23 2013, 8:10am says:

Could the buff/debuff radius grow/shrink depends on the altitude anyway? (i.e a similar case; there are some missions in Ace Combat where you must avoid radar detection radius that grows/shrinks depends on how high you fly)

+1 vote     reply to comment
timeSymmetry
timeSymmetry Aug 23 2013, 3:19pm replied:

I haven't thought of that, but that is a great idea, it can be also applied to the jamming as well.
I can make the jammers take more risk and remain at altitude instead of relying on ground cover.

+1 vote     reply to comment
bornloser
bornloser Aug 23 2013, 6:51pm replied:

Having to make lots of decisions like that would make for good multiplayer (although I think the sidewinders would have to be smarter than they currently are in order to see any use there.)

+1 vote     reply to comment
dhannemon13
dhannemon13 Oct 13 2013, 11:42pm says:

Finally, electronic warfare! :D

+1 vote     reply to comment
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