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Options for alternate AI escort behavior


funkyfranky
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Situation:

Fighter (F/A-18C) gets task to "Follow" or "Escort" a B-52 bomber. The bomber has task "Bombing" a location on the map.

 

Result:

Fighter follows bomber as expected. Once the bomber starts the "Bombing" task, the fighter stops the follow/escort task and proceeds to its next waypoint where it orbits until the bombing task is accomplished.

 

Question:

Maybe this is intended but I see no reason why the fighter would stop the escort when the bombing task is active. So is the the intended behaviour and if so, is there a way that the escort task is not "paused" while the bomber attacks?

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Question:

Maybe this is intended but I see no reason why the fighter would stop the escort when the bombing task is active.

One reason for this behaviour I can think of would be not risking A2A fighters while bombing takes place (danger of AAA, SAMS, ...).

Does this really work that they proceed then with the escort? cool ...

Have to take this into account when designing my next mission! :D

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One reason for this behaviour I can think of would be not risking A2A fighters while bombing takes place (danger of AAA, SAMS, ...).

Well, what if the danger are enemy fighters? Having the escort fighters staying out of danger in that case would be pretty dumb. Or what if I send a SEAD escort with the bombers?...

That behaviour can't be right. :huh:

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Hm, I agree.

At least you have the ability to set the WP in the vicinity where the escort orbits, and for this WP you can set actions like ROE = Weapon free, and all other things ...

Otherwise we would have to adjust parameters like how low they are allowed to fly, how much distance from bombing point, separation, bla bla bla

This would lead to complex settings boxes in the ME ... which we are not used to have right now ... are we? :D

Not an easy story I think, without trying to make everything more complicate :no_sad:

 

 

SEAD can be timed, without having a "link" between different aircraft groups (like in the Viggen Red Flag campaign). The link is the time in this case.

Thinking of it ... for ESCORT this counts as well ... I know ... also a half solution and placeholder. Like DCS. :p


Edited by TOViper

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I don't know the exact settings without having my DCS computer in front of me, but I'm pretty sure I've managed to make fighters escort through every manoeuvre and task of a bomber, so I think (standard caution for just having bad memory) that it can be done…

 

 

…and as a stab in the dark, based just off the top of my head and that unreliable memory, are you using any stop condition or “last waypoint” setting for the escort task? If so, are they set right to fully encompass the entire bombing run? If not, what happens if you add them?

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I don't know the exact settings without having my DCS computer in front of me, but I'm pretty sure I've managed to make fighters escort through every manoeuvre and task of a bomber, so I think (standard caution for just having bad memory) that it can be done…

 

 

…and as a stab in the dark, based just off the top of my head and that unreliable memory, are you using any stop condition or “last waypoint” setting for the escort task? If so, are they set right to fully encompass the entire bombing run? If not, what happens if you add them?

Sounds interesting. I did not set any stop condition as I wanted the escort on the whole way. I did play around with the last waypoint option quite a bit (on/off). Result was always the same.

 

I also tried a task for the B-52 to orbit before the bombing run. There the fighter stayed in formation, i.e. the follow task was working as expected.

 

Funny thing is that the "Follow" task must still be active during the bombing run as the fighter resumes the formation as soon as the bombing run is over. (Not sure if I had mentioned that explicitly earlier.)

 

I'll attach a little test mission later or tomorrow. That gives us a more solid foundation for the discussion :)

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So here is the miz (PG map unfortunately). Tasks are pretty trivial and straight forward.

FollowTask.miz

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Nice. I'll double check when I can get to my old mission again if it works like I remembered. It could also just be that it's a version thing because the one I'm vaguely recalling was from back in March or so — even if it worked back then, it's not exactly unheard of for behaviours to change over time.

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  • 1 year later...

Attached a demo mission and track file.

 

The northern group shows the desired behavior: the escort aircraft stays with the bomber through the entire flight plan. That bomber has no tasks, so it works as expected.

 

The southern group shows the problem. When the bomber begins its attack task the escort wanders off until the attack is complete, at which point it rejoins.

 

Would love to see a fix for this. The workarounds are pretty clunky.

broken escort.trk

escort.miz

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  • ED Team
Attached a demo mission and track file.

 

The northern group shows the desired behavior: the escort aircraft stays with the bomber through the entire flight plan. That bomber has no tasks, so it works as expected.

 

The southern group shows the problem. When the bomber begins its attack task the escort wanders off until the attack is complete, at which point it rejoins.

 

Would love to see a fix for this. The workarounds are pretty clunky.

 

Hi,

 

just spoken to the team this is intended behaviour, the escort will follow until the bombers task starts and re-join after the task is completed to continue the escort.

 

thanks

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Could we get a task option or a different task type for the other behavior? Unfortunately the follow task has the same behavior. I could not find a way to create a close escort mission that protected the bomber during its attack. Workarounds seem to be:

  1. Use Search Then Engage and plan the same route for both groups. This has the large downside of the escort potentially leaving the objective area before the bomber if the bomber needs to make multiple passes to complete its objectives.
  2. Use Search Then Engage for all waypoints up to the IP, and then use Search Then Engage in Area on the target area, stopping based on a flag set when the bombers complete their tasks. I suppose this works (untested), but it seems like there should be a simpler answer.

Should I report this elsewhere if it's a feature request rather than a bug?

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  • ED Team
  • Solution

Hi

 

Please post as a feature request.

 

thank you

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  • 6 months later...

Any luck? Any more info I can provide?

 

We're quite interested in getting a fix for this because not being able to predict the path that the escorted group takes (or how long they'll take to finish their attack) means that we currently rely on just setting the escorts on a path through the target area. If the attacker is quick, the escorts loiter in a dangerous area and don't escort the attacker out of the area. If the attacker is slow, the escorts might leave before the attacker is done, leaving them unprotected.

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  • 8 months later...
  • ED Team
On 5/21/2021 at 12:02 AM, ColonelPanic42 said:

Any luck? Any more info I can provide?

 

We're quite interested in getting a fix for this because not being able to predict the path that the escorted group takes (or how long they'll take to finish their attack) means that we currently rely on just setting the escorts on a path through the target area. If the attacker is quick, the escorts loiter in a dangerous area and don't escort the attacker out of the area. If the attacker is slow, the escorts might leave before the attacker is done, leaving them unprotected.

Hi, I am finally able to dig into this, I set up my own test mission and it seemed to work fine, I never saw the fighters leave my B-1B as it carpet bombed from 30000 feet. Maybe give me a test mission where you see a problem and I can look at it closer. Thanks.

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  • 2 months later...

I have a set of 4 missions reproducing it. 

Scenario A:
One A-10C, vanilla CAS, guns only, waypoints brings it near a column of 6 BMP-1s.
One F-16C, escort, on WP1 it gets an escort task on the A10 with an end at escortee's WP5. WP2 is off to the side.
Outcome: The F-16 sticks to the A-10 as best as it can, even joining in being AAA target. As the A10 reaches its exit waypoint, it continues to its WP2.

Scenario B:
Scenario A, but the A-10C is given an attack group task on its WP1, roughly colocated with F-16 WP1.
Outcome: No difference.

Scenario 😄
As previous, but A-10 is now tasked with "Ground attack" and given a bomb load. WP1 gives it a bombing task.
Outcome: F-16 runs off to its "after-mission" WP2 as soon as the A-10 hits WP1. Once the attack is completed, the F-16 flies max speed to rejoin, but it got fairly far away.

Scenario 😧
As C, but the F-16 now has a new (inserted) waypoint 2 past the target area, and the escort task is followed by a "switch waypoint" task to the after-mission waypoint.
Outcome: When the A-10 hits WP1 (and instruction to hit the bombing target) the F-16 zooms ahead to WP2, staying ahead of the A-10 in a manner which would keep it protected. When the bombs are dropped, the F-16 returns to the A-10. When the A-10 exits, the F-16 continues to WP3 (old WP2) as intended.

 

Quote

Another option would be the ability to set a custom loiter position while the bombers complete their tasks. If I could position the loiter over the target, or between the target and the expected enemy approach, that would solve a lot of problems. It seems that currently they just loiter back toward the previous waypoint, which is exactly the wrong direction to go 🙂

 

Conclusion: This already exists, but is undocumented and only obvious to codeheads.

(I have not tested interactions with further tasks on the while-escortee-is-busy waypoints.)

If anything, it's the stick-too-close behavior of A and B I have an issue with.

 

There's no obvious way for this forum post editor to turn off auto-discorrect. 😄 😧 

Escort issue reproduction.zip


Edited by mahuja
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  • 9 months later...
  • 1 year later...
On 1/25/2022 at 10:54 AM, NineLine said:

Hi, I am finally able to dig into this, I set up my own test mission and it seemed to work fine, I never saw the fighters leave my B-1B as it carpet bombed from 30000 feet. Maybe give me a test mission where you see a problem and I can look at it closer. Thanks.

Sorry, apparently email notifications weren't enabled so I never saw this until now. The original post (this was originally filed as a bug, but we were asked to refile as a feature request) had the track file showing the problem: 

 

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