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RB 75 Seeker Range


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In John's very nice tutorial video about the RB 75 I noticed he locked and launched the first missile at a range of 16 km. At a first glance this seems excessive to me and I think it warrants further investigation. I do not doubt that the missile has the kinematic range to do so, as evident by the following chart:

 

attachment.php?attachmentid=156229&stc=1&d=1485896241

(source: http://www.f-16.net/f-16_armament_article4.html)

 

I remember reading that the AGM-65A (RB 75) was always limited by the distance at which the TV seeker can discern enough target contrast for a successfully lock and that this range is considerably shorter than the kinematic range. This is supported by the introduction of the AGM-65B only a few years after the A, which featured a scene magnification feature with a 2.5° FOV over the old 5° FOV.

 

I unsuccessfully tried to find hard data about the effective range of early TV Mavericks, but I came across an interesting document: https://www.google.ch/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=26&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwj9r9fjoO3RAhXBXBoKHT33BM84FBAWCCgwBQ&url=http%3A%2F%2Fhandle.dtic.mil%2F100.2%2FADA361645&usg=AFQjCNHF5xsbhZkz2JZjHHyK1RgQ4DlGDg&bvm=bv.145822982,d.d2s

 

The document describes a series of test launches with the Maverick, one which includes the firing of 11 AGM-65B:

 

attachment.php?attachmentid=156230&stc=1&d=1485896241

 

attachment.php?attachmentid=156231&stc=1&d=1485896241

 

What stands out is that all 11 AGM-65B in that test were shot at a slant range of less than 3 km against tank targets. Also keep in mind that the AGM-65B has twice the seeker resolution than the AGM-65A/RB 75.

 

While this is no factual evidence about the true range capability of the AGM-65B, I think it is a strong clue that the seeker range of the RB 75/AGM-65A in game is grossly overestimated, perhaps as much as 5 times. I think this issue should be followed up more in depth.

mav_range.gif.3cb6533f1ade73c200d0f01be3e88d9e.gif

launch_summary1.thumb.png.b0dabecce0b0ff9dd24352ab60cd3af8.png

launch_summary2.png.ca11dd4b3fc9d5444c710d4376585e3e.png

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I agree too! So what should I set the seeker max distance to? 4km slant range?

 

Tbh, we should focus as much as possible on facts, rather than "agreeing" on what seems plausible. There could be a number of reasons why the tests are concealed to this range, but truth be told we don´t know. Please notice that the document describes "when the missiles were fired". It says nothing about when the sensor locked onto them. It`s impossible to lock and launch a missile in an instant from the same range. Therefore, it is a fact that the seekers must have locked on before the launch range.

 

Maybe we can go for another clue, like the statistic of fired Maverick missiles? Trying to look for it as we speak.

 

EDIT:

 

Having found something that might point us somewhere, keep in mind that I have NOT checked the validity of the below mentioned book, but I will investigate how reliable it is:

 

https://books.google.no/books?id=FW_50wm8VnMC&pg=PA423&lpg=PA423&dq=agm+65a+vietnam+war&source=bl&ots=ShhNwZwdZS&sig=8ML4crGHSkFawnix2L7ORlLcjBA&hl=no&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjf9ZvIwO3RAhXLJsAKHZIOAxkQ6AEIPzAE#v=onepage&q=agm%2065a%20vietnam%20war&f=false In the paragraph starting with "The Hughes AGM-65 Maverick..." it`s written that many missiles were fired and indeed some lost lock during flight and missed the target. One could only suspect that this is a likely reason why the missiles in the tests above were fired closer, because even though they got the lock, there was a higher chance of loosing the lock the longer the missile flew (basically the further away it was shot).

 

Thinking about it, the 65A being used in both Vietnam and Yom Kippur war, if anyone is willing to help me search for info related to statistics from these days, I`m sure we`d eventually get somewhere.


Edited by zerO_crash

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Yes it does, it also depends much on the clarity of air. Any type of smug, or optical interference makes it potent to loosing lock to some degree. Question is what degree? That`s probably a very difficult thing to model considering there is no info on it IRL, therefore probably out of the question. With that said, it still points to the missile`s seeker being technically capable of launching rather far if conditions permit.

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Good post, I also remember reading seeker range for Mavericks, especially the early ones, weren't really all that impressive.

 

I think even later ones on the A-10C locks at shorter ranges, but I may be wrong, been quite awhile since I've flown the DCS Hog last.

 

Hope we can find reliable data, but if not I guess something can be extrapolated from using newer versions available in sim as yardsticks.

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Just two notes...

 

Yes the missile can't be locked and launched from same distance, but I think we are talking about so small difference like 2-5 seconds that aircraft has not moved much at all in that speed.

Ie. 450km/h is 125m/s so 5 seconds would be a little over 500m.

Why 5 seconds? To call it via radio and confirm lock correctly etc.

I don't see reasons to lock and then wait for long times like 30-60 seconds. That would be more like testing locking without launch. But these might be tests to try to get lock as far as possible and then launch at extremes so they can test the range and mean error of lock failures in mid-flight. Meaning "lock and launch as early as possible".

 

So 3-3.5km range would be then about it.

 

But then comes another question.

How to do the range limitation?

I don't like that I can see a target via seeker, but I don't understand why seeker doesn't lock when the target is so clearly visible!

 

Hence how to visually "block" or "nerf" the seeker/targeting video feed?

Like with TIS I can very well understand how a everything beyond range is just "black" and you start to see things when getting closer, like you would be carrying a torch. But addition a blurry view so that it starts soft view where you see something, but getting closer it just gets brighter and sharper and eventually you get enough contrast to lock on.

With a TV seeker this wouldn't be case, just the blurring as the seeker can't just resolve enough.

 

And that puts lots of stress for graphics engine to be able render such effects.

 

 

It is very interesting to see what really are the Maverick lock ranges, as it will eventually change as well the A-10 capabilities, and even more KA-50 and Su-25T when same technique is applied to those.

 

So eventually we might be in situation where our 16-18km release distances are limited to 3-8km release distances as seekers are so incapable to achieve lock optically, and even more about pilots being able to spot anything beyond those ranges.

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Doesn't maverick seeker range heavily depend on the terrain/contrast of its targets?

 

Sure, but since DCS (probably?) can't do that, we need some reasonable average number.

 

Going from memory here, but the modern Mavs on the A-10 are lockable at like 10 nm.

 

I also checked the SFI, but there's no range mentioned in the sections describing Rb-75 employment. Isn't that a bit strange? I mean, this must have been communicated to the pilots somehow.


Edited by Corrigan

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Just two notes...

 

Yes the missile can't be locked and launched from same distance, but I think we are talking about so small difference like 2-5 seconds that aircraft has not moved much at all in that speed.

Ie. 450km/h is 125m/s so 5 seconds would be a little over 500m.

Why 5 seconds? To call it via radio and confirm lock correctly etc.

I don't see reasons to lock and then wait for long times like 30-60 seconds. That would be more like testing locking without launch. But these might be tests to try to get lock as far as possible and then launch at extremes so they can test the range and mean error of lock failures in mid-flight. Meaning "lock and launch as early as possible".

 

So 3-3.5km range would be then about it.

 

But then comes another question.

How to do the range limitation?

I don't like that I can see a target via seeker, but I don't understand why seeker doesn't lock when the target is so clearly visible!

 

Hence how to visually "block" or "nerf" the seeker/targeting video feed?

Like with TIS I can very well understand how a everything beyond range is just "black" and you start to see things when getting closer, like you would be carrying a torch. But addition a blurry view so that it starts soft view where you see something, but getting closer it just gets brighter and sharper and eventually you get enough contrast to lock on.

With a TV seeker this wouldn't be case, just the blurring as the seeker can't just resolve enough.

 

And that puts lots of stress for graphics engine to be able render such effects.

 

 

It is very interesting to see what really are the Maverick lock ranges, as it will eventually change as well the A-10 capabilities, and even more KA-50 and Su-25T when same technique is applied to those.

 

So eventually we might be in situation where our 16-18km release distances are limited to 3-8km release distances as seekers are so incapable to achieve lock optically, and even more about pilots being able to spot anything beyond those ranges.

 

How would you know about the locking time? There is nothing in the mentioned tests on what they were actually testing. A pilot is taught to prepare himself as early as possible for an interdiction, that gives him more time and offloads him when he needs to make the decision whether to pull the trigger or not. If this was a simulation of the weapons effectiveness in a real scenario, one could imagine the same tactic being used as was used with the A10A, where the maverick sensor was used as a means to identify a target through the Maverick optics. In which case locking on early would be the preferred option.

 

Again, let`s not extrapolate things that are clearly insufficiently described through a couple of diagrams.

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I've been messing around with the RB75 as well and honestly it is so much fun the way that it is that I don't want it to change LOL. However, I agree that it's probably not accurate and accuracy needs to come before fun I suppose :) I set up a SEAD type mission vs. SA6 and was able to lock and launch around 17km. Honestly I could get lock before seeing anything through the maverick sight. I knew exactly where the sam site was which is the only reason I could find him to acquire a lock. Here is a link to the videos I made of this mission, part 2 includes the RB 75 launch. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KQitkiFofyM (for reference M1 is the sam location, you can use the waypoint distance as accurate distance to the sam.)

I think that if RB 75 lock occurs at about the same time that the target is visible through the sight it would feel pretty good, as this distance is MUCH closer than the distances I was firing at. I have NO idea what is realistic though. I'm curious about the speed of the RB75 also, seems slow. I know the Viggen is much faster than the A10, but should it be able to out run a Maverick as easily as it does https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hiF_Wr6z8T0? Also wanted to point out that the RWR doesn't always beep the way that it is supposed to, the SA6 video shows evidence of that as well. No sound from the RWR throughout most of the video, until the end and I made no changes to the RWR settings.


Edited by Bullitthead
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Going from memory here, but the modern Mavs on the A-10 are lockable at like 10 nm.

 

6-8nm seems to be pretty common in the A-10, I don't recall ever reaching 10nm. Translates to 11-14km

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I agree too! So what should I set the seeker max distance to? 4km slant range?

Is it possible to scale the seeker lock range with target size/contrast ?

 

If not, with a range of 2 - 12 nm, I'd suggest 4 nm = 8 km (weighted to the low end as there are many small targets in dcs). it'd over perform for typical targets (2-3 nm / 4-6 km), while retaining a little extra range (but under performing) against shipping.

 

It's probably unrealistic to have a single 'TV lock' range figure as

  • a large high contrast ship in the open sea will be seen/locked sooner and at greater range.
  • than tank sized vehicles
  • and TV lock becomes impossible for low visibility/low contrast/camouflaged targets i.e. white tank on a snow field, etc. (hence the RB 05 as a fallback weapon)

Note: the 'ball park' range figure is from FLIGHT International, 10th March 1984.

https://www.flightglobal.com/FlightPDFArchive/1984/1984%20-%200408.PDF


Edited by Ramsay

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Sure, but since DCS (probably?) can't do that, we need some reasonable average number.

 

Going from memory here, but the modern Mavs on the A-10 are lockable at like 10 nm.

 

I also checked the SFI, but there's no range mentioned in the sections describing Rb-75 employment. Isn't that a bit strange? I mean, this must have been communicated to the pilots somehow.

For whatever reason the AJS 37 SFI part 3 doesn't have a systems overview section for the rb 75 nor for the rb 05, like it has for rb 04E and rb 15F. The AJ 37 SFI had those sections, but the AJ 37 SFI we have access to (my PDF) is an old copy that predates the rb 75. We do have one 90's "patch" or update for the AJ 37 SFI, and from the index in that we can see that the rb 75 systems description section does exist, but none of its pages were updated in that particular patch so we don't have the content.

 

I suspect that the reason the AJS 37 manual lacks these sections is that they were instead issued as separate publications. There should therefore be a classified "Beskrivning rb 75" somewhere in the national archives, but I haven't looked into it. Got too many outstanding declassification requests already...

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I haven't yet had a chance to try the DCS RB 75s, but way back in my USAF career I trained on AGM-65As and Bs on the F-4. Remember these were the TV versions - NOT IR - and had a real problem finding the target in the black & white video; especially the non magnified A versions. I remember a particularly irritating mission when I was trying to lock up a bright orange school bus (with a TGM-65A captive training missile) and while I could make out the bus in the video clearly - and out the window - the seeker just saw a grey bus against a grey asphalt road and refused to lock on. I'm sure the kids in the bus enjoyed our repeated passes on them!

 

As far as lock on range, I remember the limitation being the size of the target. It had to be a certain minimum size (relative to the gap in the crosshairs) to get a lock. Of course you could lock a building outside firing range, but a tank-size target required you to get a lot closer before you could be sure you weren't locking up a "tactical bush"! (plus this was before HUD seeker boxes, so it was all up to the video) So the ranges you see on that WSEP report reflect the ranges the aircrew were sure they were locked on to the actual thing they wanted to hit, not the range at which they could lock the missile to anything.

 

Of course, the AGM-65D with it's IR seeker changed everything and made the Maverick actually useful, before that it was really pretty useless against anyone with a can of paint...

 

But a lot of fun.

 

Hope this provides some context. I would say lock on as soon as you can, but don't shoot until you can see what you are shooting - then the ranges may make more sense.

 

Cheers,

 

Vulture


Edited by Kirk66
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Is it possible to scale the seeker lock range with target size/contrast ?

 

This, and also would be nice if the shader you use in the EP-13 scales resolution accordingly - I have the feeling is too high at the moment (although I have to say that the chromatic aberration effect is awesome!)

 

Regards!



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I haven't yet had a chance to try the DCS RB 75s, but way back in my USAF career I trained on AGM-65As and Bs on the F-4. Remember these were the TV versions - NOT IR - and had a real problem finding the target in the black & white video; especially the non magnified A versions. I remember a particularly irritating mission when I was trying to lock up a bright orange school bus (with a TGM-65A captive training missile) and while I could make out the bus in the video clearly - and out the window - the seeker just saw a grey bus against a grey asphalt road and refused to lock on. I'm sure the kids in the bus enjoyed our repeated passes on them!

 

As far as lock on range, I remember the limitation being the size of the target. It had to be a certain minimum size (relative to the gap in the crosshairs) to get a lock. Of course you could lock a building outside firing range, but a tank-size target required you to get a lot closer before you could be sure you weren't locking up a "tactical bush"! (plus this was before HUD seeker boxes, so it was all up to the video) So the ranges you see on that WSEP report reflect the ranges the aircrew were sure they were locked on to the actual thing they wanted to hit, not the range at which they could lock the missile to anything.

 

Of course, the AGM-65D with it's IR seeker changed everything and made the Maverick actually useful, before that it was really pretty useless against anyone with a can of paint...

 

But a lot of fun.

 

Hope this provides some context. I would say lock on as soon as you can, but don't shoot until you can see what you are shooting - then the ranges may make more sense.

 

Cheers,

 

Vulture

 

Well since the RB 75 in question is a AGM-65A

(with us also getting a AGM-65B additionally)

your experience with the AGM-65A /B should probably be indicative of what we might end up with in the game.

 

But it also depends how the ED engine is able to handle things =P

If they can give it Dynamic lock on ranges based on the Conditions / size of target that would be amazing and the optimum solution,

but if they have to make it a set range no matter target type etc i hope they are a bit on the generous side to find a happy medium.

Since i feel like its better to be able to lock on a tank from a 1km or 2 further away then having to get much closer then realistic in order to lock up a ship or building etc.


Edited by mattebubben
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Wait is RB-75B a AGM-65B varient?

 

There was no RB 75B realistically (as Sweden never acquired the AGM-65B)

so yes the RB 75B is simply a fictional name for the AGM-65B in Swedish service (To accompany the Realistic RB 75 and RB 75T designation) as Leatherneck decided to add the AGM-65B as it would have been compatible with the AJ/AJS 37 even if it was never acquired by Sweden and the additional zoom of the AGM 65B seeker would come in helpful in the game (As Resolution limits etc might make the RB75/AGM 65A even harder to use / see things with then it would have been IRL).

 

Personally i feel like they should simply use the AGM 65B designation instead of the RB 75B (And leave the RB 75 designations for the historical weapons)

thereby avoiding any confusion having that additional (non historical) RB 75B designation thrown into the mix.


Edited by mattebubben
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I think even later ones on the A-10C locks at shorter ranges, but I may be wrong, been quite awhile since I've flown the DCS Hog last.

 

Considering the fact that the more recent A-10C's EOs can't even lock a Strela past like 0.5nm (= <1km) distance which is absolutely ridiculous, something must be off here. I vote for both rainbowdashwink.png

 

Force Correlate FTW dealwithit.png

dcsdashie-hb-ed.jpg

 

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I feel like we're never going to see a truly accurate maverick seeker simulation from ED or Leatherneck.

 

In DCS mavericks will only lock on non destroyed buildings and living ground units. Because the Mav is purely optical, it shouldn't give a damn if it's looking at a tank, tree, or a square painted in the sand, and lock anyway.

DCS modules are built up to a spec, not down to a schedule.

 

In order to utilize a system to your advantage, you must know how it works.

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