Shared by Matt Wagner in yet another mini-update for the DCS: F-16C Viper, it appears that a lot of behind the scenes efforts to improve the overall simulation of electronic countermeasures and electronic attack in general is underway.
The role of electronic warfare is not a new thing. In WWII both Allied and Axis powers made use of various schemes to electronically attack or confuse their opponents sensors. However, it is the last 30-40 years where the role has become more pronounced as more of the battlefield becomes electronic.
DCS World has historically kept ECM fairly simple and until recently jamming wasn’t even a feature that aircraft like the Hornet or Viper had or were affected by (I guess its only fair). Now we’re seeing those features come to more aircraft.
Matt’s latest update is specific to the F-16 but his follow up comments suggests a wider scope. First, the F-16:
Since I created the Viper ECM video, we have been able to enable separate SPJ responses for the XMIT switch in Position 1 and 2. We hope to include this in the next update, but it will depend on testing results.Matt Wagner
Matt goes on to explain that the F-16’s jammer settings will now have two effects:
- When XMIT is in Position 1 we have Radar Priority. When in Radar Priority and the jammer is transmitting and ownship radar and HARM/HTS performance is reduced by 40%.
- When XMIT is in Position 2 we have ECM Priority. When in ECM Priority, the FCR and HARM/HTS are silenced unless an AIM-120 is the active weapon. In this case, it behaves the same as Position 1.
And now that wider scope that they are working on:
The overall jamming effect on hostile radars has also been substantially increased. We plan to also implement this for the Hornet’s jammer, but I do not have a time estimate yet. Electonic attack will be playing a bigger role in DCS in 2022.Matt Wagner
It’s that last line that I think is interesting. It suggests to me that one of their roadmap items for 2022 will be electronic countermeasures and the various systems that this entails. Testing from a couple of years ago suggested that ECM had a negligible effect on things like SAM radar engagement ranges with some ECM seemingly producing no effect at all. Ralfi’s “Are Jammers Effective??” video revealed that they did work… but were not very effective.
But it seems that we may be in for some changes here with more modeling fidelity to the electronic countermeasure space. ECM is an area that is, unsurprisingly, highly classified and so whatever work Eagle Dynamics does here will no doubt have a layer of speculation. Still, even without detailed documentation on how these systems work it may be enough to have the basic procedures and overall effects modeled at a level higher than is present now.
Stay tuned for more on that!