Vehicles equipped with this weapon
|Lock range||16 km|
|Launch range||150 km|
|Maximum speed||4.3 M|
|Maximum overload||17 G|
|Missile guidance time||160 secs|
|Explosive mass||54.64 kg TNTeq|
The AIM-54 is equipped with a 54 kg TNT warhead, capable of destroying targets with a wide proximity fuse.
Comparison with analogues
Compared to its predecessor, the AIM-54A, the AIM-54C introduces a slightly better seeker head to improve proportional navigation when not actively guiding the missile; however, it comes at the cost of being slightly heavier, reducing its manoeuvrability slightly, and prone to bleeding more energy. Otherwise, the AIM-54C is very similar.
Compared to other radar missiles in the game, the AIM-54C, when used correctly can beat any other radar missile in terms of range. Being an active radar homing missile is also another huge advantage, not needing to guide it fully. AIM-7F/Ms and R-27ERs can out-accelerate and are more manoeuvrable than the AIM-54C, making closer range engagements tricky if you only have AIM-54s.
Usage in battles
Along with the AIM-54A, the AIM-54C is best used at altitude and at very far ranges, as it takes a while to accelerate and get up to speed, and can be out accelerated by AIM-7Fs and R-27Rs and R-27ERs. It is best to be high and fast when using the AIM-54C to increase the chance of a connection. With the F-14B being the only carrier of the AIM-54C, taking up to 2 AIM-54Cs is ideal, saving room for AIM-7Ms for the closer range engagements. Taking more than 2, or even carrying only 6 Phoenixes is not recommended as the slightly increased weight of the AIM-54C weighs the aircraft down heavily despite the F-14B's better flight performance. Using and launching 6 AIM-54Cs a few minutes after take-off is heavily disregarded as you will be wasting your radar missiles, even if there's a slight chance of hitting an enemy.
Track While Scan (TWS) mode is heavily recommended as it does not alert the enemy of you locking them, and it gives you the opportunity to see what targets to pick and choose to launch the AIM-54C at. The AIM-54C does not require a hard lock and can be launched in TWS mode, and at multiple targets at once. TWS will give updated positions of enemy aircraft as the AIM-54C guides its way toward the enemy. The AIM-54C can track the enemy without TWS updates, especially with the improved proportional navigation system it has, though most likely there's a chance that it will miss the enemy still.
The ideal altitude to best use the AIM-54C is between 5-11 km (16,000-36,000 ft) along with having a very high speed. Mach 0.9 is ideal, or even breaking past Mach 1, having the missile at speed and ready for launch in the less dense air. The ideal range is no more than 50 km (~31 miles), and no less than 20 km (~12 miles). Beyond 50 km is possible, though only in the right conditions, and using the AIM-54C below 20 km is not ideal, with the AIM-7M being superior below 20 km.
Pros and cons
- Active Radar Homing seeker head, fire and forget is possible
- Similar to the AIM-54A Phoenix, has the most range out of any other radar missile
- Fast velocity at high altitudes after launch
- Can be used in Track While Scan (TWS) mode, doesn't warn the enemy until the seeker goes active
- Large warhead, can damage enemies even if it slightly misses its target
- Slightly improved seeker head, reducing drift slightly when not actively guiding it
- Has maximum overload of 17G, can be dodged by aware enemies
- Slightly heavier than its predecessor
- Slow acceleration
- Heavy and large missile
- Chance of hitting friendly teammates if the missile has gone pitbull
- Can lose lock after launch if the TWS lock is gone
- Due to the long burn time (30 seconds) and big engine, its motor smoke trail is thick and is visible for a long time, making it easy to spot
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