The developers of War Thunder introduced air-to-air missiles in Update 1.85, allowing your aircraft to engage with others in the sky. AAM, as they’re also called, can be divided into four categories. Each type has a different method of controlling, and players must know the basics to be effective in combat.
If you’re new to AAM in War Thunder, look no further. These missiles are potent additions to your arsenal, and with practice, you can surgically destroy enemies. Learn how by reading to the end.
AAM Types in War Thunder
Currently, there are four types of AAM in the game. They are:
- Command Guided Missiles
- Beam Riding Missiles
- Infrared Homing Missiles
- Semi-Active Radar Homing Missiles
All four have their respective pros and cons, and it’s up to each player to use them effectively. Pick the one you think corresponds to your playstyle or what your aircraft can support.
Command Guided Missiles
The pilot manually controls these missiles, and without input, they travel like unguided rockets. When controlling such a missile, you lose the ability to pilot your aircraft. Due to this requirement, it’s best to fire only when you know the surroundings are safe.
Command Guided Missiles are difficult to steer without practice, but experts can take advantage of their larger warheads and proximity fuse. These features make it easier to land a hit.
As a bonus, such missiles don’t trigger missile launch warnings for enemies.
When you fire a Command Guided Missile, you have to press the key to switch over and use the WASD keys to direct it.
Beam Riding Missiles
Beam Riding Missiles are controlled by using the plane to point at a target. It’s an older form of guidance technology but is effective nonetheless. This type also doesn’t trigger missile launch warnings.
Controlling a Beam Riding Missile is as simple as firing and keeping your aircraft pointed at the target. The missile can’t turn quickly, necessitating an emphasis on careful aiming. The further away from you, the less accurate it becomes.
Compared to Command Guided Missiles, Beam Riding Missiles are easier to use, even though you’re trading precision for convenience.
Infrared Homing Missiles
This section covers heat-seeking missiles, and they can reach targets without human input. Infrared Homing Missiles may be automatic, but they have a relatively complex firing method, unlike manually-controlled warheads.
Here are the basic steps of firing one:
- Turn on your aircraft’s IR seeker.
- Wait for it to finish warming up.
- When the seeker is ready, you’ll see a solid gray circle on your screen.
- Center the ring over the target.
- Fire the missile.
Infrared Homing Missiles can only lock on to the rear of aircraft, and you may even accidentally kill friendly planes. Thus, you have to fire at the right target when the opportunity presents itself. Aiming at the sun can also work, though this action is nonsensical.
When you lock onto an enemy, they receive a warning.
Semi-Active Radar Homing Missiles
SARH Missiles have the most extended range among all AAMs, and the pilots can even lock on to targets out of sight. As the name suggests, these missiles employ radar to hit enemy aircraft. You don’t have to control it after firing.
When you lock on to the target before releasing a missile, it’s preferable to do so at higher altitudes, as the ground may confuse the targeting systems. The opponent should also be level with or above you.
The cons of SARH Missiles include poor maneuverability and the need to maintain radar lock all the way. Launching one at targets flying from the side is also less effective.
Your End Is Near
Advanced air-to-air combat involves more than machine guns, and AAMs are the perfect tool to down enemy aircraft. While there is some skill required to use all four types effectively, practice can eliminate this problem.