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PCML Explained

Posted: Tue May 15, 2018 1:23 am
by Wombat
The PCML has never been a favourite amongst most players but recently, it seems to be even more hated mainly due to it's seemingly weak power. On server#1 last week, I remember playing a mission where there was a fair number of enemy IFVs which turned into the bane of the mission since they seemed to just shrug off our PCML missiles until we were out of AT ammo. It was only after the mission in debrief that I realised the main reason why; many players still haven't learnt how the PCML operates post-patch (Tanks DLC).

The PCML has 2 firing modes which you can toggle using "F" key:

Direct
  • Missile flies directly to the centre of the vehicle and delivers HE explosion on impact
  • Due to using HE without HEAT, it does minimal damage against anything armoured. It can disable an MRAP but anything heavier will have little effect
  • Best mode to use when dumb-firing without lock-on
Overfly
  • Missile flies over the roof of the vehicle and then fires an EFP (explosively formed projectile) downwards towards the weaker roof armour.
  • Since it uses an EFP rather than just HE, it does considerably more damage to most armoured vehicles with the potential of one-shot killing most IFVs. MBTs still take a few hits thanks to ERA and dodgy EFP trajectory but can sometimes score firepower kill in a single hit.
  • Not worth using when dumb-firing since the missile will not fire it's EFP without lock-on
So to summarise:
  • Direct = HE = Use against light skinned vehicles and infantry
  • Overfly = EFP = Use with lock-on against anything armoured
Hope this helps and please notify the AT rifleman in your squad on gamenight about these changes to avoid wasting PCML missiles.

Re: PCML Explained

Posted: Tue May 15, 2018 6:55 pm
by Smolof
Fair enough but I still think it's the weakest launcher of them all. Mainly because the lock on mechanism is completly unrealsitic. The tiniest obstruction - be it bush or just a branch - will make the launcher not lockon and therefore useless. And with this change you can't even use a direct shot to compensate for that flaw.

Re: PCML Explained

Posted: Tue May 15, 2018 8:45 pm
by Rory
Relevant It's a javelin, but its the same idea

Its a pain to lock on

Re: PCML Explained

Posted: Tue May 15, 2018 8:56 pm
by Eagle-Eye
As there is only 1 type of missile for the PCML, any idea why it uses HE in direct, but EFP in top-down mode?

Re: PCML Explained

Posted: Wed May 16, 2018 3:52 pm
by Wombat
Eagle-Eye wrote:
Tue May 15, 2018 8:56 pm
As there is only 1 type of missile for the PCML, any idea why it uses HE in direct, but EFP in top-down mode?
It's BI attempting to better emulate the operation of the real-life MBT LAW (NLAW) which their fictional PCML is based on.

Check out the short video below; the first 2 shots are using overfly mode against armoured targets while the 3rd shot is using direct mode against a helicopter.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hupsUq-fzq8
Rory wrote:
Tue May 15, 2018 8:45 pm
Its a pain to lock on
Indeed. There are two problems with lock-on:
  • Even a small bush can obscure the centre of the vehicle and then Arma will just say "nope" to lock-on.
  • Most armoured vehicles carry 2 rounds of launched smoke counter-measures which will cause the missile to lose the target.
However, despite these two problems, it is still better to attempt to use lock-on overfly mode against IFVs and MBTs since they can only spoof 2 missiles with smoke and then they are vulnerable whereas even an IFV can shrug off >6 direct mode missiles.

Re: PCML Explained

Posted: Wed May 16, 2018 4:03 pm
by Smolof
They basically made it as hard as trying to kill an AI Helicopter with AA. Instant counter measures = no chance.

Re: PCML Explained

Posted: Wed May 16, 2018 4:38 pm
by Wombat
Smolof wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 4:03 pm
They basically made it as hard as trying to kill an AI Helicopter with AA. Instant counter measures = no chance.
The funny thing is, if BI emulated the MBT LAW's operation with the PCML 100% accurately, then it would use "predicted line-of-sight" (PLOS) guidance rather than the hard-locked, optical sensor guidance it has in-game. This difference would mean that smoke countermeasure would do nothing to disrupt the missile when in-flight because the missile is simply following a pre-calculated flight path based on the aiming inputs made by the operator before firing (inertia sensors).

On server#2, ACE3 mod actually changes the PCML/NLAW so that it actually uses PLOS similar to real-life (speaking of which, I don't think I've ever played a server#2 mission where we actually get to use the NLAW).