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Nuclear Option How to Defeat Missiles

How to defeat the various missiles that will be thrown at you in the game.

Nuclear Option How to Defeat Missiles

It’s beeping at me!

You have a missile about to kill you. On the bottom left corner, just above the map, it will show a list of all the missiles chasing you (that you know about). They are represented by a flashing yellow/red arrow approaching you on the map, or a flashing missile icon on the HUD.

Firstly, all missiles have one weakness in common – terrain. Terrain is your friend and you should remain close to it if you want to stay alive.

Another common weakness shared by missiles is other missiles. If you’re fast enough, you can choose to shoot down the missile in your path with another missile. Compared to the terrain, this is a very costly way to defeat missiles and I don’t recommend it unless you are out of other options.

If you’re caught high in the air and wont be able to shoot the missile down, then this next bit matters:

The missiles will have a type in [brackets] and a distance. Missiles can be:

  • Optical [Optical]
  • Infrared [IR]
  • Semi-active Radar Homing [SARH]
  • Active Radar Homing [ARH]

How to defeat (Optical) Missiles.

Optical missiles are intended for ground targets – as such they do not lead their target, and cannot steer very well. If you are fired at with one, that is because the enemy is insulting your ability as a pilot.

An optical missile will steer almost directly towards its target’s position, largely failing to account for the target’s velocity. They are only ever dangerous when fired from directly in-front or directly behind at very short range. Any plane can out-steer an optical missile (although AGM-68s are noted to be effective against darkreaches from behind), and they are almost guaranteed to miss when chasing a target flying perpendicular to it.

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Optical lock cannot be broken other than by breaking line of sight. All you have to do is turn so it comes at you side-on and misses. If you’re unsure, jink sharply to guarantee it misses.

How to defeat (IR) Missiles

An IR missile lock can be broken either by firing flares to distract it, or passing behind terrain to break line of sight between you and the missile. While you can potentially out-manoeuvre an IRM-S1 (fired by vehicles, and sometimes crickets and chicanes), an MMR-S3 (available on most aircraft) is a terrifying device capable of 40g turns and will inevitably hit you if it keeps its lock.

The process:

Before you even get fired on, start popping a flare every second or half second. Pre-flaring is very effective and breaks the lock at the moment of launch.

If locked onto: Drop your throttle to zero and wait for the engine to spool down. Pop a flare every half a second until the lock breaks. Depending on the situation, it might be a good idea to turn away from the missile to give yourself more time to break the lock.

If by some small chance it does not break, increase the rate of flaring until you are mashing it just before the missile arrives, and pull very hard in some direction hoping it explodes out of your way.

Note that a missile fired head-on towards you, even if you tricked it with a flare, may hit you anyway if you didn’t get out of its way.

How flares work:

The moment an IR missile is fired, it does a dice roll to see if it should lock onto the target it was fired at, or any flares within 100m of the target. The probability of chasing a flare increases with the number of flares within 100m of the target. This dice roll is much more favourable than trying to break an active lock, so you should always start popping flares prematurely if you think you’re about to be fired on.

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While the missile is chasing a target, firing a flare does another dice roll as to whether the missile will continue chasing its target or switch to the flare. The probability of the flare succeeding changes with current engine thrust (heat) and the number of flares already around the target. Aspect is not considered.

How to defeat missiles.

Firing flares will also add some randomisation to the missile’s detonation timing. if the missile is about to hit and is amongst a bunch of flares it may detonate slightly outside a lethal range.

How to defeat (SARH) Missiles

Semi-active radar homing is currently used by SAM sites and some mobile SAM launchers. It means there is a radar, separate from the missile, which sees the target and remotely steers the missile towards it. If you are being watched by a radar, an orange bar will appear on the map indicating its direction with a periodic beep noise. All radars signals look the same on the map, but the guidance radar is specific to the launching platform – the missiles can’t be guided by just any radar.

Radar in Nuclear Option sees in a straight line with 4 limitations:

  • Line of sight – radar can’t see through mountains or buildings.
  • Maximum range – radar cannot see things beyond 10-40km depending on type.
  • Notch angle – Objects travelling perpendicular to the radar’s emission can become invisible due to having no doppler shift.
  • Ground Clutter – Objects less than 20 meters off the ground are invisible to radar.

Dodging a SARH missile is as simple as dodging the radar emission. Using terrain is easier than with other missiles because you only have to break line of sight between you and the radar and the missiles will stop tracking. Once the missiles have lost tracking, they cannot start tracking again even if you are reacquired by the radar. New missiles have to be fired.

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If you are flying too high to use terrain, you must turn and notch, preferably while diving toward terrain. Notching is flying perpendicular to the radar, keeping it directly at your 9 o’ clock or 3 o’ clock.

How the Jammer Works

The jammer is available on the Compass, Revoker and Darkreach. The Darkreach’s jammer is especially powerful. The jammer reduces the effectiveness of radar – specifically increasing both the notch angle and the height of ground clutter. Radar missiles become slightly less accurate, but using the jammer alone is not enough to defeat them. You must notch or fly low while using the jammer to break a lock. If you are out of time to notch, then jamming while performing a last second hard manoeuvre can potentially make the missile detonate outside a lethal range.

How to defeat (ARH) Missiles

Active radar homing missiles work just like Semi-active radar homing missiles, except now the radar is inside the missile, giving it the combined benefits of all previous missiles. They are extremely dangerous.

The Scythe (only ARH at the time of writing) has a 10km radar range, before which it is guided via datalink.

In order to escape it during the datalink phase, you must break contact with whatever is providing your target to the enemy. This may be other units or the enemy plane’s own radar if it has one. It could even be your own radar if it’s switched on. If, by the time the Scythe reaches radar range and its target is not within 1km of where it should be, it loses its target and cannot reacquire it.

If the scythe enters radar range, it will show up as a radar contact with the same orange line as the other radars. You must defeat the missile’s radar the same way as radars in previous section. Like the S3’s, trying to outmanoeuvre them is generally futile.

Written by Squeegy Mackoy

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