Thursday, June 25, 2009

DCS Black Shark Tactics Primer (Part 3)

The attack

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Several forms of attack are described below. You will have to choose among those based in the following considerations:
  • The mission objective (area objective, groups of units, individual units, etc)
  • The firepower and maneuver opportunities available to the enemy
  • Terrain
  • Climate
  • Fire support available (number of helicopters in your flight, indirect artillery fire, etc)
  • Time available to complete the mission
  • Collateral damage to civilians
Attack from the horizontal flight

Once you have determined the area where you want to attack (usually without knowing the exact position of the targets) you climb keeping forward speed until you reach the minimum altitude that allows you to detect the enemy. As soon as you detect the enemy, you stop climbing and continue the horizontal flight trying to get your selected weapon in range. After firing the selected weapon, you break right or left and simultaneously drop altitude so you can better use the terrain to mask your return in the opposite direction of the attack.

The good
  • You can use a great variety of weapons with this form of attack
  • The time you spent above the minimum altitude is relatively small
  • Can be used under unfavorable climatological conditions, like low ceiling
  • You can use non-guided munitions
  • (Very little piloting skills needed!)

The bad
  • Short time available to detect and destroy enemy units
  • There is always a chance to be detected and engaged by enemy anti-air defenses while you fly at altitudes above the minimum

Attack from the dive

This type of attack can be used against area or individual targets. You can use un-guided munitions or the cannon in this type of attack.
You start flying at minimum altitude and maximum speed. Around 6 km from the target, you climb abruptly up to an altitude such as you can descend on a dive with your nose pointing directly to the targets. This altitude is generally higher than the minimal altitude needed to detect the targets. You then dive towards the targets, firing your weapons. You then quickly break and return towards the opposite direction of the attack.

The good
  • Better chances that you will detect the targets because of the high altitude used during the approach
  • Better chances of hitting targets with non-guided rockets
  • (Adrenaline rush!)
The bad
  • You will be flying higher during the approach and enemy anti-aircraft systems can detect and engage you
  • Impossible to use under low ceiling conditions
  • You need to keep an eye on airspeed and rotor rpm

Attack from the hover

You start from a position where your hovering helicopter is covered by terrain and bob up or pop sideways to acquire the targets. These movements must be conducted in a way that quickly allows you to return to the covered position in case the enemy detects and/or engages you.

The good
  • Ideal for ambushing the enemy
  • If you are flying with wingmen, you can distribute targets with the other members of the flight more easily
  • (Allows the virtual pilot to sip beer and eat pizza during the attack)
The bad
  • Ideal for the enemy ambushing you
  • Almost impossible to use non-guided rockets
  • Difficult to implement for flights of more than two helicopters (it's difficult to find a terrain feature big enough to cover 3 or more helicopters)
  • Risk of brown-out and/or impairment of optical systems performance
  • (Increased risk of beer-spattered keyboard and cheese-stuccoed monitor monitor if the enemy is waiting for you right behind that bloody hill)

Attack from the climb

This form of attack can be used only with rockets or bombs. This type of attack should be considered an exception rather than a norm.
You start a climb with horizontal speed with the nose of your helicopter at a positive angle. At certain distance form the target, you launch your rockets or bombs in a way that they fly in an arc. You then reverse your flight trajectory and simultaneously dive towards the safety of terrain cover.

The good
  • This form of attack increases the range of rockets and bombs
  • You keep more distance from the target
  • Can be used even when climate conditions are such that visually acquiring targets is difficult
  • (If you hit something of value, you will have eternal bragging rights)

The bad
  • Low precision
  • Munitions impact on a wide area
  • Watch out for not accidently letting your rockets and bombs on friendly troops


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