Hello, in this post I will explain the two types of IRCCM (listed as ECCM in game) in War Thunder currently and their workings (from my understanding, so if you have more ot add, please do so). I will do this by comparing the AIM-9M and R-73, as they both have only one type or IRCCM. This should cover both types of IRCCM in game then. Furthermore, considering the AIM-9M was added today to the Dev Server, some might get the wrong impression the AIM-9M is completely unflareable. I hope after this post, that more of the playerbase will be aware of this obscure, yet very important, game mechanic.
Let’s get started!
AIM-9M’s tracking suspension type IRCCM can be defeated by knowing its mechanics. If the seeker spots a flare (easily doable considering it still has the large 3.6° FoV). it stops using seeker tracking and instead uses inertial tracking. During this you MUST change flight direction, preferably while still popping another flare or two in order to prevent relocking on you. If you don’t change flight direction, the missile will either reacquire you or just slam into you based on inertial trajectory.
R-73’s IRCCM for context is of the spatial seperation type in the form of FoV gating. Fundamentally the missile functions just like every other missile, it however has just a much smaller FoV. In front and rear aspect, this means that it is still easily flared off. But in side aspect and closer ranges it is very hard to flare to not flareable. To flare ensure your flares can be seen, you need to put yourself at more of an angle or front/rear aspect, not much extra needs to be done at longer ranges.
Tracking suspension/memory type IRCCM:
- Good against non or barely maneuvering targets. As a result, better flare resistance in front aspect (people often dont turn much in front aspect).
- Good at long range, people don’t maneuver as much at long range and the FoV can cover more area, giving enough time for flares to burn out and then to retrack the plane.
- Strong against slow targets. Slow targets can not maneuver well and the missile will inertially track into the vicinity (and proxy range) of the plane.
- Strong in side aspect. Flares seperate the fastest in this aspect, allowing for the seeker to turn back on to track as soon as possible (even with relatively large FoV of 3.6°, as seen on the 9M). Making you need to flare reaaaaally rapidly in order to keep seeker from turning back on. Most planes don’t have the capability to expend so many flares.
- If you flare and change direction, the missile is always defeated, possibly even with afterburner on. AIM-9M works on rise time detection, so any flare willl be detected in WT (100% reliability) and it will shut off the seeker, even if the afterburner is hotter than the flare.
- Preflaring is still effective against it, as it prevents the missile seeker from obtaining inertial tracking information.
Spatial seperation/FoV gating type IRCCM:
- Good at close range, at close range, small FoVs may often not even see flares being deployed at all. Making them unflareable in those scenarios.
- Strong in side aspect. Side aspect shows the broadest surface to the missile seeker and the fastest possible seperation speeds with flares.
- Can track through flares. If the engine heat is still greater than the flares, the seeker is able to track through the flares opposed to just shutting off completely. This allows it to hit targets that change direction after flaring.
- Weaker in rear and front aspect. In these aspects, flares can barely if not at all be spatially seperated from the aircraft. They encompass the same space in the FoV. Making this IRCCM basically useless in these aspects.
- Weaker at long range. At long range, even a small FoV can cover a big area, making them see flares just like all other missiles. I am unsure if seeker FoV switches back to regular ungated FoV on losing lock, I think not. In the case not, it also has a much harder time retracking the target once the flare has burnt out, because the plane might have already left its FoV.
- As vulnerable still to preflaring as other missiles, because often the FoV before gating is still regular or large sized. On acquiring a flare post launch, seeker FoV will be small and there will be little chance to “accidentally” reacquire the plane.
This means that AIM-9M is quite affect by trailing your flares, as long as you are changing flight direction. I think this is also one of the only ways to reliably defeat such IRCCM. Mainly AIM-9Ms are just very strong if you maneuever before flaring or don’t at all. For existing behavior of this IRCCM type, see manpad type missiles in game (TY-90 in particular due to its higher G load).
Furthermore, personally I think the AIM-9M should not be added to the game in current implementation. Simply for the fact, too few people know how to deal with this as it works fundamentally different from most missiles (it caused manpads to be deemd “unflareable” by many in the community) and it is not well explained (actually not explained at all in game). Either AIM-9Ls should be retained, I think they’re fine, or a nerf to the inertial tracking needs to be made perhaps (just suggestions, not sure if that would work well).
Game datamines and Stepanovich (dev). First time the IRCCM mechanics were explained was in late 2022, around the time of Apex Predators. However, I can not find it anymore due to the old forum being a pain in the (…) to navigate now. Luckily Stepanovich (k_stepanovich if you want to search) has made posts on this new forum which also include confirmation of the IRCCM mechanics.
EDIT: Added side aspect pro to tracking suspension type. Added preflaring con to FoV gating type.