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Red Top: Rear aspect launch range underperforming at all altitudes (especially at low altitude)


Flame2512
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# Game version

My game version: (2.23.1.35)

 

# Description

 

The rear aspect launch range of the Red Top missile is currently underperforming at all altitudes. This is especially true at low altitude where the Red Top is missing about 1/3 (33%) of it's historical launch range. I have previously reported the low altitude performance of the Red Top missile, but since then a much more comprehensive source has become available detailing the performance of Red Top under a much wider range of conditions. I have also conducted more detailed testing which I believe warrants a fresh report.

 

The Red Top Final Release To Service document contains a large number of range diagrams for the Red Top missile. For this report I have tested against all the diagrams which cover non-manoeuvring targets at altitudes at or below 36,000 ft (11,000 m), as altitudes higher than that are not really relevant for War thunder gameplay. As this report is only about aerodynamic range the type of target used does not need to match the target listed on the range diagram (the target type is only relevant for IR signature and tactical purposes).

 

For these tests the target aircraft has had it's speed and altitude locked to the value listed in the RTS document. The interceptor aircraft has had it's speed locked to the value listed in the RTS document and is piloted to release the missile at the appropriate height. The height and speed used for the fighter correspond to the missile launch values, rather than the start of interception values (see below for details).

Spoiler

The launch conditions in the RTS document may appear a little unclear, so here is a quick explanation. In this example profile B is being used (in this instance it refers to a direct tail on attack). This table is saying that the Lightning starts the intercept procedure while at an altitude of 15,000 ft and a speed of Mach 0.9; however by the time the missile is launched the Lightning is expected to have climbed to an altitude of 18,850 - 19,340 ft and accelerated to a speed of Mach 1.31 - 1.32. The later set of numbers (referring to the point of missile release) are the ones that must be used for testing.

luFhty1.png

 

For each test I have demonstrated that the launch range specified in the RTS document cannot be reached, then conducted a second firing to show the maximum range that the missile can be fired at in game and still hit the target. It should be noted than in these tests the missile is usually almost completely out of energy by the time it hits the target; however the firing range diagrams in the RTS give the maximum range at which the missile can be fired and still have a significant amount of energy left when it reaches the target. Specifically at the point the missile passes the target the RTS document requires it to have a closing velocity of at lest 200 ft/s (61 m/s) and a velocity of at least Mach 1.1 (see below for details).

Spoiler

This section of the RTS details how the aerodynamic launch zones of the Red Top are defined for the the launch zone diagrams. There are two conditions that are relevant here:

  • The missile speed when it passes must be at least Mach 1.1
  • The missile must pass the target with a high enough relative velocity for the fuze to function correctly (see below).

JejEg2u.png

 

While the RTS does not specify what the required relative velocity for the fuze is, a second document AIR 16/1468 Trial 3: rear hemisphere attacks with RED TOP against subsonic targets at medium and low levels states that it is 200 ft/s (61 m/s).

WaWEPNI.png

 

Here is a summary of my testing results. The Red Top should be adjust (likely by reducing drag - as the motor stats are near enough accurate to real life) so that it can achieve it's historical launch range at all altitudes, while retaining enough energy that it has both a minimum relative velocity of 200 ft/s (61 m/s) and a minimum speed of Mach 1.1 at the time it reaches the target.

2XvkbEP.png

 

Here are the detailed results of each test (including videos).

 

Fig 5: Mach 1.5 target @ 36,000 ft vs Mach 1.8 fighter @ 35,600 ft

Spoiler

From this page in the RTS document it can be seen that the maximum aerodynamic range of the Red Top when fired from directly behind the target is 4,000 yards (3.66 km). The maximum firing range achieved in game was 3.55 km.

m1qa2eS.png

 

Here is a video of the testing:

 

Fig 11: Mach 0.9 target @ 36,000 ft vs Mach 1.34 fighter @ 35,668 ft

Spoiler

From this page in the RTS document it can be seen that the maximum aerodynamic range of the Red Top when fired from directly behind the target is 6,250 yards (5.72 km). The maximum firing range achieved in game was 5.52 km.

DV7dZft.png

 

Here is a video of the testing:

 

Fig 17: Mach 1.2 target @ 36,000 ft vs Mach 1.8 fighter @ 35,600 ft

Spoiler

From this page in the RTS document it can be seen that the maximum aerodynamic range of the Red Top when fired from directly behind the target is 6,500 yards (5.94 km). The maximum firing range achieved in game was 5.00 km.

UjTAmrK.png

 

Here is a video of the testing:

 

Fig 23: Mach 0.7 target @ 20,000 ft vs Mach 1.31 fighter @ 18,850 ft

Spoiler

From this page in the RTS document it can be seen that the maximum aerodynamic range of the Red Top when fired from directly behind the target is 4,500 yards (4.11 km). The maximum firing range achieved in game was 3.78 km.

UrYuKnL.png

 

Here is a video of the testing:

 

Fig 25: Mach 0.9 target @ 500 ft vs Mach 0.98 fighter @ 500 ft
 

Spoiler

From this page in the RTS document it can be seen that the maximum aerodynamic range of the Red Top when fired from directly behind the target is 2,000 yards (1.83 km). The maximum firing range achieved in game was 1.23 km.

Z9xhroP.png

 

Here is a video of the testing:

 

 

# Steps to reproduce the issue

  1. Watch testing videos (or recreate test yourself if you wish)

 

# Additional Information

N/A

 

# Affected vehicles

  • Lightning F.6

  • Lightning F.53

  • Sea Vixen FAW.2

 

# Files

See testing videos in #Description

 

# Sources

AIR 20/12527 Red Top Missile System Final release To Service

The firing range diagrams above all come from this document.

Spoiler

 

AIR 16/1468 Fighter Command Trials Unit - Trial No 3 Rear Hemisphere Attacks with Red Top Against Subsonic Targets at Medium and Low Levels

This document states that the minimum relative velocity required for Red Top proximity fuse to work reliably is 200 ft/s (61 m/s).

Spoiler

 

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  • Technical Moderator

Hello!

Thank you for your interest and help improving the game.

Your information has been forwarded to the Developers for their consideration.

If there is anything further regarding this report a Technical Moderator will contact you.

Thank you again for your support.

Cheers

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