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Basicfield – Airpower – Guide to Aircraft – Battlefield 4 (BF4)

September 21, 2019


Hi YouTube, Darth Here: Today I want to give you a guide about Airpower
in Battlefield 4. Specifically I’m going to be talking about the Jets in Battlefield 4.
I’ll go over Helicopters another time. Jets are one of the features of the game that
I see people shy away from because they believe there is a steep learning curve to them. Well,
there is a learning curve, and it’s not that steep, and I’m going to do a good bit of the
explaining in this video – particularly if you’re new to jets or want to learn more.
I’m by no means the best Jet pilot in the world, but over the last few months I like
to think I’ve learned a few things that I’d like to pass on to you. So let’s get started. First up, I want to talk about the ground
rules I use when approaching air combat. I see plenty of players break these, and I think
it’s something that every pilot should consider when getting into the air in Battlefield 4.
The first rule is this: if enemy airpower is up, it’s your job to bring it down. For
the most part, I’m talking about the enemy jets. Although it’s a rare occurrence that
helicopters may fall into this category. As a Stealth Jet, or as an Attack Jet, your
primary threat is the enemy team’s jets. If you don’t prioritize bringing them down, and
instead try to attack other targets, you can sure bet the next time you see them will be
when they’re on your tail and you’re going down in flames. Always prioritize enemy air
before any other target, as it’s hunt or be hunted in the skies.
The second rule is: never start fights you can’t finish. I think one of the most curious
things I see when I’m in the air is pilots that will make a single pass at me, fail,
and go about their merry way. In any case, I’m going to immediately engage with them
and take them out. If they’re not trying to win a maneuver war against me, they’re going
to die. Whenever you start a fight in Battlefield
4, be sure you can finish it. If you engage with a jet, you don’t stop until it’s dead.
The third rule is: assume your enemy is better than you. I don’t mean for this to intimidate
you, but if you’re not doing everything in your power to win an engagement, you’re going
to turn your multi-million dollar aircraft into burning junk pretty fast.
You don’t know how good that enemy pilot is until they start turning and shooting. Always
assume that you are their number one target, and that they are maneuvering to kill you.
The final rule is: always be on the attack. The jets are the single fastest, most maneuverable,
survivable, firepower-laden vehicles in all of Battlefield 4. There is a reason that some
pilots go on many dozens long killstreaks, and that’s because they kill and survive.
For example, whenever I kill a target with my jet, I’m generally picking my next target.
Following these rules will make you better than at least half the pilots out there, and
that’s before knowing anything else about jets. Before I get into more advanced topics, I
want to talk about what I use to maneuver with my jet in Battlefield 4. You don’t need
advanced flying controls like a joystick, thrust stick, or rudder controls. On PC, all
you really need is your mouse and keyboard. There’s really only one major adjustment I
make to my setup from the default: I have unbound shooting from my spacebar, and instead
use spacebar for pitch down. If your controls are not reversed, you’ll need to assign this
to pitch up. Why do I do this? So I can get a consistent
turn with aircraft. It gives the same smooth turning advantage as a joystick, so if you’re
using a console controller, you’ve already got this set. Trying to only turn with a mouse
on the PC is going to lead to situations where you simply run out of mousepad, or micro stutters
in your turn when lifting your mouse. Otherwise, my setup is pretty typical. I use
the mouse for shooting and fine aiming, the A and D keys for using my rudder, and Shift,
S, and W for speed control. So let’s talk about some basic maneuvering
for jets. First, I control rolling my jet with my mouse.
The most common time I roll my jet is generally when I’m about to perform a turn. This is
where in my setup, I’ll start holding down the spacebar to commit to my turn.
The rudder controls the left/right yaw position of your plane. Generally it’s good for pulling
turns to the left or right slightly faster than you would be able to with just a roll
and pulling up or down. This is a little bit complicated, but I usually use the rudder
if I’m performing a maneuver that takes me up and to the right or left.
If I’m in the middle of a dogfight, I’ll often perform all of these in concert to jockey
for position. The best place to practice basic maneuvers
with any jet is not the Battlefield, it’s the Test Range. Be sure you’re accustomed
to how your jet moves before you get into aerial combat. So now I want to talk about air-to-air maneuvers.
What’s going to separate the great pilots from the mediocre ones is how well they can
maneuver in air-to-air combat. Now there’s a lot of experienced pilots out there that
are going to jump in and try to tell you all about all of these named maneuvers like the
“Split S,” “High-Low Yo-Yo,” or “Rolling Scissors,” and how you need to memorize them.
Well, air-to-air engagements aren’t chess and if you’re constantly thinking about move
and counter-move in terms of what named maneuver you should be making, you’re going to miss
opportunities. In other words, don’t waste your time memorizing those until you have
the basics down, and you understand how those maneuvers work. It’s really more about improvisation
than memorization. So let’s take a look, instead, at some general
principles. When I talk about jets, I’m going to refer to their orientation like the hour
markers of an analog clock – 12, 6, 9, 3, and so on.
When you’re maneuvering for position to get a kill shot on another jet, you’ll generally
want to be behind their “3/9 line.” There’s a lot of ways to get yourself into this position,
and the most common is to generally put yourself into a pursuit course toward your foe. Give
yourself room to turn into them, and then take your shot when you’re in range.
If you’re up against a completely ignorant pilot, they’ll let you do this without adjusting
their course, and it’s wonderfully easy. If your target is counter-maneuvering against
you, this is where experience, awareness, and control are going to win the day.
Let’s start by talking about 1-v-1 maneuvering. A pretty common situation I see is both pilots
have entered the same airspace, and are approaching each other at their respective 12 o’clocks.
When it’s heads up like this, both pilots should be thinking about missiles and guns.
If I have missiles, this is where I will tend to use them because hitting a needle-nose
target straight on is kinda difficult with guns.
Most of the time in this situation, pilots who are intent on getting the kill shot here,
are just going to run into each other or the wreckage from the enemy pilot. This is typically
where accusations of “ramming” will run amok, but in all honesty, both pilots were being
stupid. Instead, what I’ll usually do is maneuver
for position by avoiding their fire and getting higher than the enemy pilot. In air combat,
height advantage is king, as it gives you room to turn and a speed advantage over the
enemy in a dive. Additionally, pilots are not always good about checking high. Once
they pass me, I’ll roll and pull into position for a turn. If the enemy pilot turns with
me, I’ll work to keep myself behind that plane. In Battlefield 4, Stealth Jets outturn Attack
Jets, so you’re going to be in trouble if you’re in the latter fighting the former.
If you’re fighting your clone, a pilot who is just as good as you in a similar jet, there
are a couple of things you can do to keep yourself winning the game.
First, if you’re in a game mode that uses the minimap, be sure you’re keeping an eye
on where the enemy is in relation to your jet. It’s not a perfect representation, and
it will only represent the two-dimensional position of the aircraft. I mostly use radar
when I’m beginning engagements and looking for targets, but it’s also useful for reacquiring
aircraft that have flown out of your sight and sound.
Second, use your eyes and ears to keep a read on where the enemy jet is. You should be using
this knowledge to plan where you’re going to be when you’re going to make your kill
shot, and to keep yourself out of the enemy’s sights. 3D audio will generally give you an
idea of the position of an aircraft if it’s close, so be sure you’re listening carefully.
I like to fly in third person, as this helps me to see more of the airspace around me.
If you’re in a tight maneuver battle, using the enemy jet’s contrails will let you know
you’re on the right path. If they deploy ECM, you’ll lose them on the radar, but the smoke
clouds are a giveaway to their current heading. It’s like a crumb trail to victory.
Third, controlling your turn radius is vitally important. In the live version of the game,
the closer you fly your plane to 313 knots, the better your turn radius is going to be.
In a stealth jet, this means slightly backing off on the thrust when you’re in a horizontal
turn, speeding up in an upwards vertical turn, and slowing down in a downwards vertical turn.
Be very careful when using the afterburner, as it will leave a trail and potentially makes
the radius and turning angle of your jet much larger – which means an easy target for a
pursuit jet. Now, this 313 paradigm is gone on the CTE,
so if you’re flying there, or in a future version of Battlefield 4, keep in mind that
turning radius is still vitally important. This is where clever maneuvering and experience
is going to take over. The most common maneuver war I see happen
in the game is what I like to call the “circle of death.” This is where two jets follow each
other in a constant spiral until one gets bored or makes a mistake. Whatever you do,
don’t leave the circle without a plan. Staying in the circle is also an option, as time is
life in aerial combat. Your teammates can help you out by breaking it up with a surface-to-air
missile, or an allied jet may show up to help you out.
Being caught in an even maneuver war is where having experience, a plan, and maneuvers in
mind will work to your advantage. But specific air combat maneuvers are advanced topics that
would make an entire video themselves, and I’ll cover them in a future video.
So my best advice to you is to plan ahead and outsmart the enemy before the fight ever
begins, and always be thinking of how to get an advantage over your foe once it does. The
best place to practice air-to-air maneuvers against a live pilot is probably a server
with instant vehicle respawns, as there will always be a supply of replacement aircraft
and targets. Don’t get discouraged by early losses, as
it takes practice to outplay advanced pilots. Once the sky has been swept clean of aggressor
aircraft, you can concentrate on helping the land and sea battles. To make my job easier,
I generally like to keep a key bound to the map button, and use it whenever I’m looking
for my next target. In my setup, this is my middle mouse button.
Once I’ve found a target, I’ll fly high and come down on my target with guns, missiles,
rockets, or bombs. Attacking ground targets is much more suited to the Attack Jet, but
the Stealth Jet can also contribute with guided rockets.
When attacking ground targets, you want to give yourself as long an attack run as possible.
This means putting distance between yourself and your intended target until you’re ready
to begin your run. There are some trade-offs here.
Generally low angles-of-attack give you longer to use weapons on your target, and you aren’t
in as much danger of running into the ground. But low angles of attack make it infinitely
easier to shoot you down. High angles of attack give you less time on
target, and much more danger of running into the ground if you don’t pull up in time, but
make you very difficult to shoot down from non-guided ground fire.
Remember, you can almost always make another pass, so there’s no sense in driving home
an attack if it means you’re not going to be able to safely return to the skies. Always
try to exit the target area as quickly as possible to avoid reprisal attacks. Turn and
make another pass once you have enough distance again.
The important thing to remember when attacking ground is your threats. Your threats, in descending
order, are: enemy jets, the mobile anti-aircraft, shoulder-launched surface-to-air missiles,
and unguided projectiles. In non-instant vehicle servers, you’ll want
to keep a mental note of the last time enemy air was shot down. If it’s been about 90 seconds
or longer, expect the threat to reappear. This is about four to six good passes on a
target in a jet. You don’t want to get caught in an attack
run when the enemy jets are up. This is also why it’s important to keep an eye on your
minimap radar while you’re in an attack run – as you’ll need to immediately abort if enemy
aircraft show up. The mobile anti-aircraft is your next biggest
threat. The most important thing to remember is that it can’t follow you into the sky.
So as long as you are aware of its effective combat radius, and stay away, it’s only an
annoyance. The MAA is most effective within 500 meters, and is modestly effective out
to 800 meters. On paper, the MAA can reach targets beyond
800 meters, but in reality it rarely does. Combine this with the fact that most MAA jockeys
keep it in the backfield, and you’ve got three-quarters of the map to call your playground.
If you’re feeling capable, you can take the MAA out, and I made a video all about that
which I’ll link below. Dealing with surface-to-air missile threats
is fairly simple: use your countermeasures and fly away from their source. Generally
I like to fly high and get away from my target as quickly as possible to avoid lock-ons.
But if you get one, you’ll see the target source as a white indicator around the center
of your HUD. You’ll want to put these threats behind you and put as much distance as you
can between you and them. Sometimes you’ll end up out-flying an active lock-on, but if
you get hit, taking the hit from behind is easier to manage without flying out of control.
One last thing: be aware of the base AA on most maps. You can use your own AA to your
benefit, but it’s also very dangerous to fly near the enemy’s AA. The base AA only shoots
at spotted targets. I have a minuteman video about this that I’ll link below.
With a little practice, this process of keeping the air clean, and finding ground targets
becomes almost meditative. Finally, I want to talk about my preferred
loadouts for the jets. I’ll break this into sections for the Stealth Jet and the Attack
Jet, since they carry different weapon loads and are primarily focused on separate roles.
For the Stealth Jet, you’ve got the choice of guns, missile, countermeasure, and an upgrade.
Until the CTE changes roll to live, and make a difference in your choice of guns, the different
calibers simply determine how much damage, the spread, and how quickly your cannons fire.
The 30mm cannons fire the slowest and spread the least, but each bullet does more damage,
while the 20mm cannons fire the fastest at 2000 rounds per minute and spreads quickly,
but each bullet only does about a third of damage of the 30mm.
I like to run with the 25mm as it has a good amount of damage, has a good rate of fire,
and doesn’t spread too quickly. If you have a difficult time landing shots, the 20mm might
be more to your liking, or if you’re a sniper in the sky, the 30mm is also a possibility
as each shot does a whopping 17 damage. Next up, for missiles, it depends on what
I think my role is. If I’m going up against other Stealth Jets with pilots who are as
good or better than me (meaning I’ve already been shot down), I’ll arm with an air-to-air
missile. Generally I like to use the Active Radar missile, as it has nearly infinite range
and little warning when it locks on, but requires a good prediction of where the enemy will
be. The other air-to-air missiles are okay, but their lock-on warnings give good pilots
time to use countermeasures or react to your jet.
If you’re interested in an air-to-ground role in the Stealth Jet, Laser Guided Missiles
are pretty much your only bet. Just remember that you’re vulnerable the whole time you’re
guiding them to your target. Be especially careful to keep an eye on the minimap for
air threats. Since Laser Guided Missiles only do 30 damage apiece to large targets, outside
of hardcore you’re going to have to make multiple passes to kill a ground target like a tank.
However they’re particularly effective against small targets like the RHIB boats, the Jet
Ski, the quads, and the bikes. Now, for choice of countermeasure, I typically
run with the ECM Jammer. Good timing is required, as in order to break a lock, you’ll have to
use it before the solid beep that means a missile is already chasing you. Once active,
it will render you immune to lockons for about eight seconds. It also has the added benefit
of making you invisible on the minimap, which is very important if you’re trying to hide
yourself from enemy jets. Otherwise, you may wish to consider the IR
flares, which will break the lock of any missile in flight and also reloads quicker. But it
doesn’t hide you from the minimap, and it only breaks existing locks, meaning if an
enemy reacquires you, you’re going to eat a missile.
Finally, my upgrade of choice is the Stealth Coating. This provides just a little bit of
extra time to escape a lock-on source. This is particularly useful if you’re on a map
with a lot of lock-on surface-to-air missile threats.
For Attack Jets, things are a little different. You don’t get a choice in cannon, but the
30MM G.A.U is a shred-everything you point it at badass, so you really don’t need a choice
there. For my secondary, I use Hydra Rockets. They
have a lot of advantages in raw damage-per-second, and don’t require that you make your jet any
more vulnerable. Plus they’re pretty easy to use. Now, I have played with all the other
options, but I find for their intended role, the Hydras are reliable and highly lethal.
Like the Stealth Jet, I use the ECM Jammer and Stealth Coating in the Countermeasure
and Upgrade slots. I find jet combat to be one of the most rewarding
experiences in Battlefield 4. If you can sweep away your opposition in the skies, and play
smart, you can be rewarded with a huge amount of firepower and survivability on the Battlefield.
You’re not going to make a losing team win, and you’re not going to be able to capture
points in Conquest, but you certainly can make things a lot easier for your team by
removing key assets from the enemy team. There’s a lot of depth to jet combat, and
I can’t cover it all in one video. If you felt like there are topics that you’d like
to see me cover in future videos, I’d love to do so. Be sure to leave a comment below
and I’ll try to accommodate you as best as I can.
That’s it for this Basicfield video all about jets. Let me know if you found this video
useful by leaving a like, and if you’re new around here, I’d love it if you would check
out my channel and consider subscribing. As always, thanks for watching and I’ll see you
next time, YouTube.

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