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UAV limitations


Bahger
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I am very glad that UAVs are not overpowered as I am sure that they are no more all-seeing in real life battles as they are in CMBS's. For example, ChrisND emphasized in his video playthrough that they can see vehicles much more reliably than troops. However, do they not have thermal capabilities? I have found that they can only spot vehicles on the move or in the open and that you cannot expect them to see vehicles in trees or other forms of top cover. This would seem to suggest that they cannot pick up a heat signature from a vehicle with a running, or recently shut-off engine.

It is quite possible that these limitations apply only to the mid-sized UAVs that I have been issued with and that the bigger ones are more all-seeing (within limits of their own). Can anyone comment?

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Maybe they are designed to perform more effectively the smaller the search area. It would be interesting if a dev or beta tester could comment. Meanwhile, using them to cover wide areas in my last battle, I don't think I can recall them being reaponsible for a single spotted vehicle. However, as I mentioned, my AI enemy was operating a pretty static defense from very well concealed positions in forested terrain, so being the attacker was a bit like facing a series of ambushes. I am happy to give the UAVs the benefit of the doubt in this instance but would expect them to have thermal detection capacities as this is what they appear to have on Fox News.

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FlIR does not like tree cover at all. FLIR does not like water and will not see through it, yet!.  Trees and leaves  being mostly water, well there you are.  I've used Airborne FLIR from it's inceptions  up until 2003.  Obviously it is most effective in Winter.

 

However there are probably systems out there now which can do more.  I saw one such where you could see into a vehicle and through flesh.

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I tried US and russian UAV, and never obtain any spot from them, in campaign, scenario or QB mode.

I remember Chris said they were not very active on infantry units, especially in forest or structures, but If Chris (or a beta tester) can help us to understand how they really work.

It's about ten games played and no spot, it seems I'm not bright with them :D .

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Compared to the sediment expressed so far, I find they work quite well in the scenario 'First Clash'.   The US forces get a Raven and a Grey Eagle.

 

I positioned the Grey Eagle on maximum area coverage over a village with a number of unknown contacts and the Raven on linear search over a treeline just before one of my objectives.

 

In the space of 10 minutes, the Grey Eagle has spotted 3 T-90 tanks (some of them in the treeline) and 5 BMP-3 and a AA vehicle buried in hedges and beside buildings.  In the same amount of time, the Raven spotted 3 BMP-3s in the treeline near the objective.

 

Not all the contacts came up immediately but as the 10 minutes ran, the contacts developed over time.

 

All vehicles were stationary and I confirmed the only spotter of the vehicles was the observers running the UAV missions.

 

So, they do work.  What I suspect might be the case is people are not allowing enough time for contacts to develop.  For the Raven in the case I outlined above, it took about 4-5 minutes for the first contact to show (stationary BMPs in a treeline) but by the end of ten minutes, I had three BMP contacts.

Edited by BlackMoria
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Compared to the sediment expressed so far, I find they work quite well in the scenario 'First Clash'.   The US forces get a Raven and a Grey Eagle.

 

I positioned the Grey Eagle on maximum area coverage over a village with a number of unknown contacts and the Raven on linear search over a treeline just before one of my objectives.

 

In the space of 10 minutes, the Grey Eagle has spotted 3 T-90 tanks (some of them in the treeline) and 5 BMP-3 and a AA vehicle buried in hedges and beside buildings.  In the same amount of time, the Raven spotted 3 BMP-3s in the treeline near the objective.

 

Not all the contacts came up immediately but as the 10 minutes ran, the contacts developed over time.

 

All vehicles were stationary and I confirmed the only spotter of the vehicles was the observers running the UAV missions.

 

So, they do work.  What I suspect might be the case is people are not allowing enough time for contacts to develop.  For the Raven in the case I outlined above, it took about 4-5 minutes for the first contact to show (stationary BMPs in a treeline) but by the end of ten minutes, I had three BMP contacts.

 

It does take a few minutes for contacts to develop. It seems that you gradually move from possible enemy to somethinf rather more concrete. I have ot yet made up my mind as to whether a linear search or an area searcxch works best. Possibly start with linear and change to area if something interesting turns up. Rather like what yu might do in modern naval wargames.

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In the first mission in the US campaign, the 2 Ravens have spotted numerous vehicles and even a squad of infantry. Though so far it seems dependent on the vehicles AND infantry being out in the open as I don't recall them being able to spot anything in the trees or tree lines. But I do know they work and I've only used the area command at max range so far.

Extremely handy little things!

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Regarding thermal capabilities it might be very hard to know whether what you are looking at is friendly, hostile, civillian, animal or something else generating heat.

 

IRL, generally, you watch the right arms for a weapon and their backs for weapons or military equipment.

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I have used American UAVs (Raven and Grey Eagle) on two different missions, letting them observe suspected enemy positions... they couldn't spot anything, I am not sure why :P

Most likely trees blocking the view, I'd imagine.

 

Well I have only used the raven so far - US campaign - and they are awesome in what they give you from what I have seen A real game changer. Wont post why as it may be spoilers - but so far I would take one of them over a platoon of M2's.

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I tried US and russian UAV, and never obtain any spot from them, in campaign, scenario or QB mode.

<snip>

can help us to understand how they really work. It's about ten games played and no spot, it seems I'm not bright with them :D .

 

 

In the space of 10 minutes, the Grey Eagle has spotted 3 T-90 tanks (some of them in the treeline) and 5 BMP-3 and a AA vehicle buried in hedges and beside buildings.  In the same amount of time, the Raven spotted 3 BMP-3s in the treeline near the objective.

 

Not all the contacts came up immediately but as the 10 minutes ran, the contacts developed over time.

^^^ this. It varies a lot with terrain too. In the open you will see quite well under light tree cover you will still see lots of vehicles but might not see all the infantry. In the woods you might not see much. Also the one that sees what the UAV sees is the FO that is managing the mission. If they are connected with one of those nifty battle field management systems then other connected command elements will often get to see some of the stuff too but over the regular radio net your units will only get ? icons. Which is still helpful as they move into new areas because it means they will spot fully quicker.

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Regarding thermal capabilities it might be very hard to know whether what you are looking at is friendly, hostile, civillian, animal or something else generating heat.

 

Not with the current generation of optics.  Weapons are fairly distinct if they're being carried, as are military equipment (helmets), and target posture (so even if the weapon is hard to make up, the hot human shape still assumes a certain position when there's a rifle in their hands).

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Well I have only used the raven so far - US campaign - and they are awesome in what they give you from what I have seen A real game changer. Wont post why as it may be spoilers - but so far I would take one of them over a platoon of M2's.

 

Edit - sorry - confusion with the new forum!

 

Yeah, I found them very useful in the first scenario, but had more 'fun' with them in the second!

Edited by Zatoichi
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The big UAVs feel a bit too slow at spotting vehicles in the open. If they have thermal optics it shouldn't take more than few seconds to detect that there is a vehicle in the open at spotting area. The transition from unidentified contact to identified contact is usually pretty fast however, it would seem more likely that you would get unidentified contacts from most of the vehicles in the area during first minute of two of the spotting mission and then start slowly receiving more accurate identifications. The small UAVs spotting probabilities feel more believable.

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The big UAVs feel a bit too slow at spotting vehicles in the open. If they have thermal optics it shouldn't take more than few seconds to detect that there is a vehicle in the open at spotting area. The transition from unidentified contact to identified contact is usually pretty fast however, it would seem more likely that you would get unidentified contacts from most of the vehicles in the area during first minute of two of the spotting mission and then start slowly receiving more accurate identifications. The small UAVs spotting probabilities feel more believable.

Part of the slowness is the narrow field of view. It has to scan around and around as the search area gets bigger.  The ones I have used worked fine for me, got many precision arty tank kills.  What can be very tricky is things moving fast through their field of view, they can miss that.  It is also expensive to assume some place is still empty because you checked it 20 minutes ago.

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Hello...

 

Can the UAVs crash ? ON MAP !!! :)

 

Tonight i started playing an american mission that have som UAV support.

 

I ordered my Raven to observe over an enemy held village giving it maximum area coverage.

 

This Little guy worked very well...Within a few minutes (3-5) it had located a number of veichles (Tunguska, trucks and APCs).

 

I ordered an artillery strike on the Tunguska and managed to take it out with one shot. Unfortunatelly the Tunguska managed to fire at my UAV and shot it down before my artillerystrike arrived :angry:

 

This emmidiatelly resulted in my spotted contacts becoming only suspected enemie contacts...(The UAV worked as intended....This willage had alot of building and a fair amount of trees to help hide the enemy veichles).

 

 

The cool thing though...I Think...

 

A few seconds after being shot down.....it crashed right infront of some of my men ! ...almost killing them in the resulting blast...

 

 

If that was not the UAV causing the blast i dont know what it was ?

 

 

 

 

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A few seconds after being shot down.....it crashed right infront of some of my men ! ...almost killing them in the resulting blast...

 

 

If that was not the UAV causing the blast i dont know what it was ?

152mm artillery spotting round?

Ravens are pretty small now big was the explosion? But yes air assets do some times crash on map.

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Yes, when the uav gets whacked, it crashes and usually at the map edge. It might always be at the map edge. If you get chased by a SAM at night, pan upwards with the camera and you get a nice view of the contrail/exhaust plume and a bottle rocket boom at the apex.

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