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22/5/2020 Red Top missile has incorrect range at low altitude, seeming due to having too much drag


At low altitude the Red Top missile appears to be significantly lacking in range compared to what it could achieve in real life.


This diagram is from the document DEFE 69/489: RED TOP/SIDEWINDER missiles on PHANTOM F4 aircraft shows that when fired from directly behind a Mach 1 target at sea level, the Red Top should be able to hit the target if fired from within 1,350 yards (1.23 km).






To test this I set up a user mission with a target flying straight and level at Mach 1 and myself in a Lightning flying at Mach 0.9 directly behind the target at <100 m altitude (as close to the test conditions in the diagram as possible). I started 0.5 km behind the target and waited until a 1.23 km gap had opened up between myself and the target so that at the point of firing I was at Mach 0.9 the target was at Mach 1.0 and there was a 1.23 km gap between myself and the target, matching the document as close as possible. As can be seen in the video below the missile ran out of momentum long before it reached the target.



I repeated this process several times, reducing the distance at which I fired the missile, until I reached a point where the missile was able to hit the target. I found that the missile could only consistently hit the target when fired from 0.9 km away or less under these conditions. This shows an approximate 27% deficit in the Red Top's maximum engagement range at low altitude, when compared to the official documents.


Here is a video of a missile being fired at 0.95 km separation to prove that even at this range the Red Top still runs out of energy just before reaching the target:



And just for completion, here is a Red Top fired from 0.90 km hitting the target



As the Red Top's in game weight (167 kg), thrust (36,000 N) and motor burn time (2.5 s) are historically accurate I believe this short fall in performance is due to the missile being modelled with too much drag and thus bleeding speed too quickly on its way to the target.

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  • 3 weeks later...
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  • Rapitor changed the title to 22/5/2020 Red Top missile has incorrect range at low altitude, seeming due to having too much drag
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