The AIM-54 Phoenix missile - Technology, History and Performance

Does anyone live near or have access to this library? I’d like to see the range figures and data for AIM-120 and AIM-54 from the book as they are cited in other works.

Not sure they’ll let just anyone in to read it though.

Take for example the AIM54, when the missile is in flight and I’m watching it on TWS. The enemy fighter can fire a missile and MY (TWS) LOCK transfers to the missile making the AIM54 go stupid. It also happens when the aim 54 is active, the enemy fires a missile and aim 54 guides to the missile instead. Ignoring the weighted centroid which favors the target.

You also don’t take into account the use of filters which i’m sure digital processing units can do, and you can even do then in an analogue way. Kalman would allow the system to look the target where it’s expected to be, weight it and leave behind chaff or missiles.

ANd with radar centroid its imperative to have increased RCS side aspect/bottom aspect.

I get that the MLC bandwidth is increased but the spectrum is taken from R (frequency) to R2 ( frequency AND RANGE). You are ignoring the main use of range bins(created by FM), creating a range - doppler map. Sure, if you only view the sum of all ranges of a doppler bin, noise is increased. But once you separate those ranges, it becomes evident where there’s a signal.

If there’s no doppler shift but you are still looking down and distance to target is less than distance to MLC, you can continue the tracking if SNR is sufficient. Like picture above. He’s not claiming(nor I) that detection of notching targets may happen(radars like apg 63 and 66 have variable notch size selector).

F14, F15 and F4 (HPRF RWS and CW) the pulses have their frequency linearly modulated(CHIRP). Take for example the F15, It is linearly modulated in 3 phases and sawtooth( ascending and descending FM) is not used due to a mix in frequency used for doppler and ranging). If FM is such an issue, it would not be used.
This is from the APG63 PSP (1980)
2023-09-20 (1)
2023-09-20 (3)
2023-09-20 (4)

The F4 as shown tripod has the CW signal FM by 85Hz in the carrier frequency.
And a radar technician for the F4J gives for the main HPRF signal.

Radar TX has fllowing modulation characteristics
a) FM ranging - frequency modulated at 85 cps ±0.25% with a deviation of 2Kc ± 3% when tracking in a PD mode.

cps is Hz and Kc no idea.

1 Like
  1. First flyght 1977
    F-16 first fyght 1974


Theres definitly something wrong with the RCS of missiles. Radar missiles shouldnt be getting decoyed by other missiles so easily, and I’d go out on a limb and say the AIM-54 shouldnt be visible on radar at basically all ranges…

I did check the AIM-54C code and its receiver has an RCS of 2 which i assume is 2m^2, but im not sure if thats the actual RCS of the missile or if that line of code means something else.

Do you mean this one?


If yes, I think it means that the value "range": 16000.0 applies to a target with an "rcs": 2.0

Ah, that would make sense yeah.

Then I’m not sure why the AIM-54 is visible on radar at extreme ranges. It seems they gave it the same RCS as an aircraft because its treated as such by radar

I dunno, man. Had quite a few R-27ERs go for it.

That line is the receiver, it detects a 2m² targetat 16 km. Thats not the missiles RCS, dunno where the planes/missiles RCS line is, never found it at all.

1 Like

I can’t find anything under any of the planes either, if anyone knows lmk.

My theory is that RCS is related to a the 3d model or something since I can’t find it as a variable anywhere

Even then, how tf are radars spotting something thats 380mm wide getting spotted out at 60km by radars that struggle to lock things at said range…

1 Like

its for BALANCE komrad

Yeah, this is what I dislike. Not the balance but the artificial nerfs or just being blind to all bugs until something else comes into the picture. I will say that when the R-33 comes into the game, all bugs will magically be fixed on the Aim-54A/C. I will put money on that.


I doubt, the R-33 is a SARH missile with maximum overload around 18G. The AIM-54 information necessary to correct it’s performance was not found or submitted until this month so I expect them to take a little while to go over this information. Should be fixed next major patch if it’s considered a priority.

It does take time to go over these kinds of changes and adjust the in-game values to reflect them. There are some things they could have done that were easier such as the reduced smoke motor for AIM-54C.

Even though the info was submitted this month, I still expect it not to get fixed anytime soon. We all know the slow grind to getting the bugs fixed and how slow it takes to implement them. And considering that the 54A/C are still the only ARH missile’s in-game we might not see the fixes till end of the year or even next year.

Range bins means that speed-range unambiguity is solved by using special FM patterns and signal processing. This works for on-board radars like AN/APG-63/65, N-019, but unlikely it is implemented on SARH or ARH seekers before AIM-120 was introduced.

It doesn’t matter how much RCS is greater in side aspect in comparision to the front-aspect RCS. It may be greater 100 -1000 times, but if MLC was greater 10000-50000 times and now it is only 500-10 times greater the target still can’t be detected. MLC is normally 30-50Db higher in I-band and doesn’t decrease great enough as flight altitude inreases.


1 Like

Yeah thats what I’ve(an others) been arguing about the use of FM( linear FM).

ANd you are ignoring all those posts Flame has put regarding the sparrow and skyflash knowing the distance to target through FM.

the Sparrow requires further information which is provided by using coding and ranging signals to frequency modulate( FM) the RF carrier. Together, these help prevent extraneaous signals from affecting the Sparrow missile flight path and enable the missile to determine the range to the target during flight.

YOu are not reading anything we are posting as proof that they do. Just because R27s don’t measure range to target doesn’t mean other missiles don’t. 7M has a digital guidance unlike the 7F which is analogue, digital allows wayyy more stuff to be done.

Of course it matters. If a doppler range map is used, the increased RCS will give a favorable SNR compared to the sidelobes during the notch, that is IF the target is not in the range bin the MBC is.
It also matters in a lookup scenario indifferent to PD-pulse. The increased belly-aspect or side-aspect RCS will move the power centroid towards the plane, rather than the chaff. A single chaff cloud shouldn’t be able to pull the lock away in a beaming target like it does ingame.

1 Like

It’s honestly disappointing seeing all this good information be continuously provided and subsequently ignored…


Past forum, some guy was used dcs table numbers aproximation of aim-54A/C, it ins’t right?
If it are wrong, there is some source avaliable that Tell about the real numbers of the: burn time, thrust, maximum G’s pull and etc?.