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IFF and Identification of Unknown Contacts


MBot
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Before Desert Storm BVR combat was the exception rather than the norm due to the challenges of identifying targets. Exemplary is the Israeli experience in the 1982 Beqaa Valley campaign: The Israeli Air Force operated under a standing visual identification rule, unless clearance for BVR was given by GCI/AWACS. F-15 armed with AIM-7F and supported by E-2 scored 41 kills, of which only a single one was BVR.

 

In order to improve the DCS air combat environment for eras before Desert Storm, I suggest the following improvements to IFF and ROE:

 

1. IFF interrogation shows friendly if the radar contact has a working IFF transponder or otherwise unknown.

2. For DCS-level aircraft the IFF transponder needs to be turned on manually (disregarding any modes, codes or other settings).

3. For FC level aircraft the IFF transponder is on by default.

4. For AI aircraft the IFF transponder is on by default for airframes equipped so. IFF transponders can be turned on/off in the mission editor or by script (similar to EPLRS). This allows to simulate random equipment failures or incorrect codes.

5. IFF transponders can become inoperable through combat damage.

6. AI (including air, ground, sea and AWACS) is introduced the concept of unknown contacts. Unknown contacts need to be identified as hostile to be engaged. Whether AI is ignoring unknowns or prosecuting them to identify is set in the mission editor.

7. Rules on how an unknown contact is declared hostile is defined in the mission editor per coalition. Possible options include any combination of the following:

a. Unknown = hostile (might be necessary sometimes despite the danger of fractide).

b. Visual identification of type or if type is ambiguous (same type used by both coalitions) visual identification of markings.

c. Observation of hostile act against friendlies.

d. Observation of hostile intent (difficult subject, to be further defined).

e. Continuous observation after observed take-off from hostile base.

f. Non Cooperative Target Recognition (identification by radar return).

g. Any combination of heading, altitude, speed (bigger, lower, equal) or zone (inside, outside).

h. Identification by external party to which a radio-/data-link is established.

8. Defined ROE are valid for all units per coalition, but can be overridden by specific ROE per group.

 

 

I think this would cover the basics. Special equipment such as the Combat Tree hostile-IFF-interrogator or the effects of jamming could be considered in addition.

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Interesting subject, which could add a lot to the immersion and realism.

 

In order to improve the DCS air combat environment for eras before Desert Storm, I suggest the following improvements to IFF and ROE:

 

I would not limit this to a certain time. AFAIK even in Desert Storm F-15 CAPs considered every contact, which operated outside briefed corridors or altitudes as hostile. I read that stragglers from returning strike packages were afraid to fall out of their time-window or briefed corridor not only because of midair collisions, but because they might be considered as hostile.

 

I guess that is still valid for today for most scenarios.

[sIGPIC][/sIGPIC]

 

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I would not limit this to a certain time. AFAIK even in Desert Storm F-15 CAPs considered every contact, which operated outside briefed corridors or altitudes as hostile. I read that stragglers from returning strike packages were afraid to fall out of their time-window or briefed corridor not only because of midair collisions, but because they might be considered as hostile.

 

I guess that is still valid for today for most scenarios.

 

Of course you are right, this is a subject independent of any specifc time frame. What I meant is that the introduction of NCTR made the equation a lot easier to solve for many fighters. Of course a Stinger guy on the ground even today has to depend on visual identification of his target or a specific ROE that allows him to shoot at unknowns.

 

 

One aspect I forgot to mention under ROE is RWR/ESM data to identify bogeys. Though this is a bit fuuzy, since it cannot always be traced to specific contacts.

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Wondering If is possible to force the AI to shoot only when in WVR.

 

Maybe with a script it could be. You could change it's ROE when it is within a set distance from an ennemy aircraft (but then it wouldn't actively pursue "uknown contacts"). Or, with the Engage Advanced actions, you could maybe set it to use noly "guns" then switch to "any weapon" within a certain range.

 

Maybe there are other ways, this is just out of the top of my head. Of course you would have to write a script that periodically checks if there is any ennemy aircraft within visual range.

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