Version 1 / 4min read / Updated Tue 25 Feb 2020 / 161 views
There are a number of things that can be done to limit the threat of anti-aircraft weapon systems. Several methods of tactical prevention are listed below, broken down by whether they're general methods or more specifically oriented towards gun or missile threats. In addition to that, countermeasure systems are discussed, as are evasive maneuvers.
Tactical Risk Prevention
Tactical prevention is simply the art of using proper aircraft employment and maneuver tactics to minimize the threats posed by enemy air defenses.
These guidelines can be used to protect you from any anti-aircraft threats, regardless of type.
- Limit exposure over enemy areas. The less you're around to be shot at, the less shot you'll get.
- Mask with terrain. If they can't see you, they can't hit you.
- Maintain high speeds. If they can't lead you effectively, or you're exposed for short periods of time, they probably can't hit you.
- Use unpredictable flight patterns. If they can't predict where you'll be due to your maneuvers, they probably can't hit you.
- Avoid flying directly at/away from enemy infantry. If you're presenting a target that is moving relative to their perspective, it's much harder for them to hit you.
These guidelines can be used to protect you specifically from anti-aircraft guns
- Fly at altitude. The higher you are, the harder it is to lead you.
These guidelines can be used to protect you specifically from anti-aircraft missile systems.
- Dump flares when going into an attack run if you expect a MANPAD threat on the ground.
- Dump flares when pulling out after an attack run. The enemy will very likely wait for a rear-aspect shot before engaging - putting flares in the air after an attack run will cause them to have difficulty locking you up, and will confuse any missiles already in flight.
Aircraft have two main types of countermeasures - flares and chaff. In Arma 3, both are launched at the same time if an aircraft is equipped with them via using the 'countermeasures' key, though some mods may split them into different features that can be toggled independently.
Flares are burning objects ejected from aircraft to attempt to spoof infrared (heat-seeking) missiles. They typically dispense in a burst that takes a second or two to complete, leaving a dramatic flame and light show behind the aircraft.
- Effective against: Infrared-guided (IR) missiles. The heat of the flares confuses the missile seeker, causing it to chase after a heat source that may not be the aircraft itself. Flares can also prevent the missile from being able to lock onto the aircraft in the first place
- When to deploy: Whenever you think an IR missile has been launched at you, or when pulling out of an attack run or overflying known enemy positions.
Chaff is a packet of thin metallic strips that spread into a cloud upon release and act to confuse radar systems.
- Effective against: Radar-guided missiles. The metallic strips of chaff give false radar reflections, confusing the missile guidance and frequently causing them to seek out invalid targets.
- When to deploy: Once given a launch warning or when you think one is imminent (such as when 'locked up' and hearing a radar warning indicator)
There are several standard types of evasive maneuvers available to aircraft pilots, regardless of whether they're flying a jet or a helicopter.
This is the act of making sharp, sudden, and unpredictable evasive maneuvers. Jinking makes it difficult to track and lead an aerial target. It is most effective against unguided weapons such as machineguns, cannons, rockets, et cetera.
A break turn is a sudden, sharp turn typically of 90 degrees or more. This is often used to attempt to evade a rocket or missile system, or when a heavy machinegun or anti-aircraft artillery piece has engaged the aircraft.
An emergency climb or dive simply consists of the aircraft gaining or losing altitude rapidly in an attempt to evade a threat.
Used most frequently by helicopters, a defensive roll involves the helicopter rolling so that the bottom of it is between the threat weapon (typically machineguns) and the helicopter crew. A roll is usually accompanied by pulling the aircraft in the rolled direction, resulting in the aircraft pulling away from the threat.
UNITAF Standard Operating Proceedure (SOP) is adapted from two primary source materials - in addition to our own experience and past learnings:
US Army Techniques Publication, Infantry Platoon and Squad (ATP 3-21.8) ->view online
Dyslexi's Tactics, Techniques, & Procedures for Arma 3 (TTP3) -> view online