There are multiple defense mechanisms that are provided as unlocks for air vehicles in Battlefield 3. My friend and I were debating when to actually deploy ECM vs Flares. Personally, I have my own system with my gunner to evade missiles / getting locked but he was assuring me that my practice was wrong.

His version: Deploying ECM when missiles are fired and tracking to the target.

[I told him my version:]

My version: Deploying ECM after about 2 seconds of 'getting painted' or getting locked on. While ECM is being deployed, I either try to asses where the threat is coming from or bug out. If they are able to gain another lock on my helicopter, I coordinate with my gunner for when to deploy his flares. Most of the time, the missile misses us and my ECM jammer is reloaded. In theory, this would keep us up for a long time [ as long as we don't get killed by a SOFlam / Javelin combo or guided shell].

When is the best time to deploy ECM Jammer ?

Side Note: I have already seen this post, and they are not the same question.

2 Answers 2


Your version will actually help against Soflam + Javelin/Guided shell (assuming they didn't fire in that two second window). Your friend's will not.

However, if you discount that situation, your friend's way is better because then the chopper is only using the ECM/flares when you have a missile coming your way and thus you can stay in the fray longer (since not every lock results in a missile being fired and, unless really close/unlucky, should send non Soflam projectiles astray).

Your way is safest in terms of staying alive. So, really, you can answer your own question by answering this question: What is most important, staying alive as long as possible, or staying in the midst of battle as long as possible?

Edit: With the new patch, I'm thinking the best strategy now will be to pop ECM instantly on solid lock, and have the gunner pop flares on any missile locks and never leave the midst of battle. When ECM dies out, the gunner would fire flares if a missile locks on after ECM is gone. By the time the flares are gone, your ECM should be back. Hypothetically, you should be able to stay up in the air a damn long time since now Javelins and such can miss because of flares. Of course, it's now also a lot quicker to lock onto targets with most missile launching vehicles/weapons.

  • But wont my method allow for me to stay in the midst of the battle longer? They wouldn't be able to get a missile on me (minus Laser designator + guided missile combo)....Correct?
    – Zero
    Mar 30, 2012 at 13:30
  • 1
    You say you sometimes bug out when you get painted, so I was assuming you, at that point, weren't actively engaged in the battle. That's how I read that when formulating my response. I was assuming your friend would be in the battle longer since he only fires flares on missile lock and since not every paint results in a missile being fired, hypothetically he should be in there longer. This new patch might have changed this answer though... will be curious to see how all the changes interact with each other and play out. Mar 30, 2012 at 13:47
  • @Foxtrot Added an edit for what I think the current patch might do for this situation. Mar 30, 2012 at 14:05

Looking at the tool-tip for the ECM, your version is the correct form. From the tool-tip:

Electronic countermeasures including chaff launchers and deceptive transmitters prevent your aircraft from being locked on to by enemy weapon systems for a short time when activated.

That means once the missile has been launched, launching your ECM is useless as it will not deter the missile. Now, if you were to use the IR Flares which are described to work as:

Infrared flare launchers that when launched will distract incoming missiles and cause them to miss their locked target.

Then, your friend's version is correct. Using the flares AFTER the missile has been fired is the correct method since it will deter the missile.

  • ECM does, in fact, deter missiles after they've launched if they weren't laser targeted, regardless of what the tool tip says. It matters where you are in relation to the chaff cloud and the missile but generally it's pretty effective at anything except close distance. Mar 27, 2012 at 12:24
  • ^^ I am going to try and verify this tonight. I used to think [close] to nothing prevents a guided missile from losing track of the target.
    – Zero
    Mar 30, 2012 at 13:32
  • Easiest way to test would be to have someone fire at you and you fly away in a straight line, firing off your ECM after missile lock. If the tool tip was correct, I would die a heck of a lot more because I often fire my ECM on missile lock and, without even much fancy flying, avoid dying (as long as the missile wasn't coming from a laser paint). Mar 30, 2012 at 13:52

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