BF4 Jet Beginner Guide

We4re0ne

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Here's a little guide based on my own experience as a pilot. Maybe it helps you to get started with jets in Battlefield 4. I hope that I've listed the most important things here. Some texts and images are taken out of Battlefield 4.

Basic Stuff

First of all, there are two different types of jets in BF4: Attack Jets and Stealth Jets. These differ in loadout, speed and handling quite much. Attack Jet takes the air-to-ground role, Stealth Jet takes the air-to-air role. Attack Jets have separate customization from Stealth Jets. Both types of aircraft may be available in certain game modes and maps.

The jets speed is visible in the cockpit on the upper left side. On the upper right side you see your flight altitude. This is important as there is the risk of flying into the pudding at a height of about 1500+. You're getting slowed down and automatically turned downwards as this is the sky limit.

Below Radar is a permanent vehicle specialization and is enabled by default for all air vehicles. It functions almost identically to its Battlefield 3 counterpart, but it is available by default and does not hinder Spotting. Below Radar will protect against weapon locks from all anti-air vehicle missiles, including those from Mobile Anti-Air vehicles. Below Radar is automatically activated once the aircraft is below 25 meters in all Helicopters and below 50 meters in all Jets. Unlike its Battlefield 3 predecessor, the piloting aircraft's HUD symbol will not disappear from the Air Radar but will however, disappear from enemy and friendly ground and air vehicle's Air Radar and thus, making it somewhat more difficult to identify whether the aircraft is below radar quickly at any given time without having to refer back to the vehicle's altimeter.

Stealth Jets in contrast to Attack Jets can use an Afterburner, which is normally bind to left shift key. It allows you to gain a speed boost even while flying upwards. Use that for your speed control (see chapter Speed Control in Tips and Tricks later on).

Stealth Jet

J-20 (CN)
BF4_j20.png
F-35 (US)
BF4_f35.png

Su-50 (RU)
BF4_su50.png

Primary weapon
  • 20mm Cannon; Very high rate of fire, nearly no bullet drop. Excellent to be used against hostile air vehicles. Low damage per bullet but great because of the fire rate. Does nearly no damage to ground vehicles (about 10 in one complete attack). Hard to kill infantery with it since it causes very little damage.
  • 25mm Cannon (12000 points); Mix of 20mm and 30mm cannon.
  • 30mm Cannon (24000 points); Low rate of fire and strong bullet drop. Each bullet deals more damage then 20/25mm. Stronger against infantery and (small) vehicles.
Secondary weapon
  • Heatseekers (default): Missiles that can lock on air vehicles and other flying things like MAV. Can't lock on low flying targets and targets out of sight. Ammo: 2/1; Two missiles loaded, one extra. However the one extra missile seems to always load up to two missiles again.
  • Passive Radar (6000 points): The missile requires constant lock tracking on its target. The Passive Radar missiles can reacquire lock if it is broken (visual obstructions, countermeasures), one common tactic is to fire at the target, break the contact as the target releases countermeasure, then reacquire the target. The Passive Radar missiles can be fired without the need of an initial target lock, but must still be locked and aimed at the target for it to home in and impact. Good on wide, open maps like Silk Road where the target has less cover to break locks. Ammo: 2/1; Two missiles loaded, one extra. However the one extra missile seems to always load up to two missiles again.
  • Laser Guided (18000 points): Missiles that can lock on ground vehicles, stationary weapons and water vehicles. You leave your normal cockpit view when using this missiles and don't see much what happens around you anymore. Often used by strong dogfight pilots which are able to deal with other jets with their 20mm cannon to also have something against ground targets. Ammo: 1/1; One missile loaded, one extra.
  • Active Radar (30000 points): It fulfills the role of a long-range target engagement weapon. The weapon is a dumb-fire fire-and-forget-type missile that automatically identifies, targets and guides itself towards the closest enemy aircraft it is fired at. Contrary to popular belief, the missile is not required to be fired and lead in front of the target for the missile to begin tracking. The missile will automatically track any aerial targets pointed at by the center mil dot prior to launch, regardless of difference between distance of the missile fired and the target. The Active Radar missile will be unable to guide itself if the target is either out of range, too close to the launch source or if the target is “Below Radar”.
Countermeasures
  • IR Flares (unlocked by default): IR Flares are effective against heat-seeking weaponry such as the FIM-92 Stinger, SA-18 Igla, and the anti-air missiles on Jets, helicopters, and Mobile Anti-Air. To counter these weapons, flares can be either deployed before or after receiving a "missile lock" or "locking..." tone—high-pitched fast beeping at a steady tone—and before the missile is in striking range of the aircraft. When deployed before missile launch, the countermeasure can spoof the lock source momentarily before exposing the aircraft again unless the aircraft travels below radar for protection.
  • ECM Jammer (15000 points): The ECM Jammer's description mentions the application of deflecting an incoming missile. When activated, this counter-measure will prevent targeting systems from locking onto the player and will disrupt any incoming missiles for a short time before it needs to be reloaded. However, the ECM Jammer only prevents the missile from tracking the vehicle; if the player flies very high, it is possible that once the ECM Jammer deactivates, the missile will reacquire its target. If activated after hearing the "incoming missile" tone (short high beeping), any launched missile will still track the vehicle's general vicinity, but circle around attempting to locate its actual position. The pilot can fly near terrain or buildings that can catch the orbiting missile. If the missile is still live when the ECM Jammer deactivates, it will cause damage as normal. Furthermore using ECM Jammer will hide you on the map which can be used to make unpredictable moves when being chased by another jet. Some also suggest IR Flares to be more accurate.
  • Fire Extinguisher (21000 points): When activated in a vehicle that is disabled, it will extinguish the fire, stopping any further damage to the vehicle and allow the vehicle to recover from the damage. Unlike its use in Battlefield 3, the fire extinguisher allows a vehicle to regain full mobility following a critical hit. Ground vehicles do not recover armor above the vehicle's disable threshold. Air vehicles retain recovery to 37%, which allows the pilot to endure further damage while retreating. Since you have nearly no chance to get away from lockon weapons like Stringer or heli/jet heatseekers, I never used the Fire Extinguisher.
Upgrade
  • Air Radar (built in by default): Scans for air vehicles.
  • Gyro Stabilizer (unlocked by default): It reduces the stability penalty from Mobility Hits, allowing the jet not to dive or roll sporadically, and allowing the pilot to stay in the air without crashing at lower altitudes.
  • Belt Feeder (3000 points): An enhanced mechanism that reduces the time taken to reload.
  • Proximity Scan (9000 points): Scans the area surrounding the vehicle, revealing enemy movement on the minimap.
  • Stealth Coating (27000 points): Special plating that increases the time that it takes for targeting systems to lock onto the vehicle.
My Stealth Jet loadout and opinion
  • Primary: 20mm cannon, since your main job in a Stealth Jet is to fight enemy jets and helis. The 20mm is the best choice here.
  • Secondary: Active Radar; The weapon I get flamed for the most. Pretty good against enemy jets and helis. When flying straight to an enemy jet or heli fire these just before making a turn to give him no chance to use ECM Jammer or IR Flares. They will most likely hit the enemy, disable them and therefore unable to make a turn. When hitting the enemy Attack Jet while he flies his attack on ground targets, he will most likely crash after getting disabled in the nosedive. When you're good enough with your primary weapon and have the air dominance, you may want to use Laser Guided Missiles to be effective against ground targets and not get bored in the air.
  • Countermeasures: ECM Jammer; I'm not getting hit by lockons that often after activating my ECM, therefore I don't use IR Flares. Both have advantages and disadvantages. With the ECM you can also try to fly a little bit up and down to hide if you're directly chased by another jet. Can also be used to hide from the enemy Air Radar and make some great turns.
  • Upgrade: Some guides suggest the Stealth Coating or Gyro Stabilizer as the best upgrade. I used to play with Proximity Scan a lot but don't know whether it had an effect at all. Switched to Gyro Stabilizer on Stealth Jets now.
 
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We4re0ne

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Attack Jet

Q-5 Fantan (CN)
BF4_Q5.png

A-10 Warthog (US)
BF4_a10.png

Su-25TM Frogfoot (RU)
BF4_Su25.png

Primary weapon
  • 30mm GAU cannnon (default, cannot be changed); Strong against vehicles and infantery; Due to their bullet drop it's not always easy to hit air vehicles, however if you get the right angle on an enemy jet you destroy them in no time.
Secondary weapon
  • Laser Guided (Default): Missiles that can lock on ground vehicles, stationary weapons and water vehicles. Since you leave your normal cockpit view when using this missiles and don't see much what happens around you anymore, these are only useful to unlock the Heatseekers or Hydra Rockets. Ammo: 1/1; One missile loaded, one extra.
  • Heatseekers (7000 points): Missiles that can lock on air vehicles and other flying things like MAV. Can't lock on low flying targets and targets out of sight. Since the Attack Jets are meant to be used as air-to-ground, these are not recommended. If you don't like Laser Guided Missiles, use these to further unlock your Hydra Rockets. Ammo: 2/0; Two missiles loaded, none extra. After shooting the first rocket, it starts to load another one.
  • Hydra Rockets (14000 points): 14 rockets that can fired in a about 2 seconds. Ammo: 14/14; Fourteen rockets loaded, fourteen extra.
  • TV Missile (25000 points): A TV guided missle like boats and Attach Heli 2nd seat can have them. Since you leave your jet view completely and slow down while shooting (!) this is definitely not recommended to be used. If you hit your target with a TV missile you deal relatively much damage (tanks and boats about 35-50%, helis up to 90%). However you're on a silver plate for every Stealth Jet, AntiAir vehicle and even to infantery with SRAW (hello friedensreich) or other Attack Jets. Ammo: 1/1; One missile loaded, one extra.
  • JDAM Bomb (32000 points): A strong unguided bomb that can be thrown on enemies. After switching from your primary weapon to the bombs you get into a cockpit view with a small screen where a little map with a crosshair can be seen. Some enemies are highlighted on this map. If you hit your target tank or boat, it will be a critical hit that disables the enemy vehicle for a short amount of time. Normally you deal about 30-50% damage with a hit on a ground vehicle as far as I know. However the splash damage is really small, so to kill infantery with the bomb you have to aim really good. You want to make a nosedive (about 45-80°) onto your target, maybe shoot your primary weapon before switching to JDAM Bomb to throw it on the right spot and then fly up again.
Countermeasures
  • IR Flares (unlocked by default): IR Flares are effective against heat-seeking weaponry such as the FIM-92 Stinger, SA-18 Igla, and the anti-air missiles on Jets, helicopters, and Mobile Anti-Air. To counter these weapons, flares can be either deployed before or after receiving a "missile lock" or "locking..." tone—high-pitched fast beeping at a steady tone—and before the missile is in striking range of the aircraft. When deployed before missile launch, the countermeasure can spoof the lock source momentarily before exposing the aircraft again unless the aircraft travels below radar for protection.
  • ECM Jammer (17000 points): The ECM Jammer's description mentions the application of deflecting an incoming missile. When activated, this counter-measure will prevent targeting systems from locking onto the player and will disrupt any incoming missiles for a short time before it needs to be reloaded. However, the ECM Jammer only prevents the missile from tracking the vehicle; if the player flies very high, it is possible that once the ECM Jammer deactivates, the missile will reacquire its target. If activated after hearing the "incoming missile" tone (short high beeping), any launched missile will still track the vehicle's general vicinity, but circle around attempting to locate its actual position. The pilot can fly near terrain or buildings that can catch the orbiting missile. If the missile is still live when the ECM Jammer deactivates, it will cause damage as normal. Furthermore using ECM Jammer will hide you on the map which can be used to make unpredictable moves when being chased by another jet. Some also suggest IR Flares to be more accurate.
  • Fire Extinguisher (21000 points): When activated in a vehicle that is disabled, it will extinguish the fire, stopping any further damage to the vehicle and allow the vehicle to recover from the damage. Unlike its use in Battlefield 3, the fire extinguisher allows a vehicle to regain full mobility following a critical hit. Ground vehicles do not recover armor above the vehicle's disable threshold. Air vehicles retain recovery to 37%, which allows the pilot to endure further damage while retreating. Since you have nearly no chance to get away from lockon weapons like Stringer or heli/jet heatseekers, I never used the Fire Extinguisher.
Upgrade
  • Air Radar (built in by default): Scans for air vehicles.
  • Gyro Stabilizer (unlocked by default): It reduces the stability penalty from Mobility Hits, allowing the jet not to dive or roll sporadically, and allowing the pilot to stay in the air without crashing at lower altitudes.
  • Stealth Coating (3000 points): Special plating that increases the time that it takes for targeting systems to lock onto the vehicle.
  • Proximity Scan (10000 points): Scans the area surrounding the vehicle, revealing enemy movement on the minimap.
  • Belt Feeder (28000 points): An enhanced mechanism that reduces the time taken to reload.
My Attack Jet loadout and opinion
  • Primary: 30mm GAU cannnon
  • Secondary: Hydra Rockets; This is in general the secondary weapon you want to use. You deal about 40-50% damage if you hit most rockets on a tank. After that shoot with your primary weapon and/or make a turn for a second round of rockets. Can be used against infantery as well pretty good. JDAM Bomb is the only secondary weapon I would recommend besides the Hydra Rockets. However it's far more difficult to hit moving vehicles and you deal not very much damage when you don't hit your target directly.
  • Countermeasures: ECM Jammer; I'm not getting hit by lockons that often after activating my ECM, therefore I don't use IR Flares. Both have advantages and disadvantages. With the ECM you can also try to fly a little bit up and down to hide if you're directly chased by another jet.
  • Upgrade: Played with Proximity Scan for a long time on Attack Jets too, but don't know whether it had any effects. Switched to Stealth Coating now.
 
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We4re0ne

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Tips and tricks

Speed Control

Dogfighting and getting away from or killing another jet as an jet is all about holding the perfect speed in the turns. The magic number is about 310-313. Try to always hold this speed in a dogfight with another jet, since you'll be able to make the faster turns with this speed. Use W and S to stay around this speed. While learning to fly the correct speed, try to stay between 300 and 315. If needed, use your Afterburner (left shift) as a Stealth Jet. Especially in the loopings you really need to watch your speed, since you'll be faster while flying downwards and slower while flying upwards. As soon as you notice your speed is going up while flying down, use your Brake (S) to control your speed and to stay under 320. When you're getting up again, use your Afterburner (Shift) up to three short times, to hold your optimum speed.
As an Attack Jet, dogfighting is not easy since the jet is heavier, slower and can't turn as fast as a Stealth Jet. Furthermore you don't have an Afterburner available as an Attack Jet. Watch your speed even more and regulate with W and S keys.

Key Binding
Flying vertical or horizontal loops normally require steady mouse repositioning. Therefore you should bind your Nose Up to something like the spacebar key. Nose down can be usefull too, I have bind that to the alt key. You're now able to fly infinite loops without touching the mouse.

After Spawn
A general tip for vehicles that can hold ammunation like Tanks, Attack Jets, Boats and Attack Helis. If you have your weapons loaded like 14/14 Hydra Rockets, shoot once after starting and reload. This way you have 14/13 and start to regenerate a full set of ammunation, ending up with 14/27. In a longer fight this can save you important time.

Attacking enemy vehicles
When attack Boats, AntiAir vehicles, Tanks or Helis, make sure to attack from a steeper angle. AntiAirs and Boats cannot shoot 90° up into the air. Use this to nose dive onto enemy vehicles e.g. as an Attack Jet. For hostile Helis it's useful too, since they have to look up to aim at you. It happens quite often even to really good Heli pilots that they aim up to get you in a Jet, just to fly backwards against a building, into the water or crashing the ground.

Priorities
As a Stealth Jet your first priority is to kill the enemy jets. First try to get their own Stealth Jet as this one will be your largest threat. After that get down the enemy Attack Jet to save your ground vehicles and infantery. Then target Attack Helis and Scout Helis last. If nothing is flying you can try to spot enemies or try to get a bit of damage on vehicles. When you choose Laser Guided missiles you can be effective against ground vehicles too. However you have to fight your enemy jets only with your primary weapon.
As an Attack Jet you're especially strong against ground vehicles. However you should make sure that the enemy jets are taken down by your teammate in the Stealth Jet or take them down on your own. Be careful since the enemy Stealth Jet could be a strong pilot killing you before you get behind him as he may outmaneuver you. When the enemy Attack or Scout Heli has got Heatseekers equiped you might want to get rid of these before goind after ground vehicles as they might go after you with these. When the air is cleaned, go after hostile ground vehicles like Boats and Tanks. Try to avoid being near an enemy AntiAir as it will rip off your ass in no time. If you can, try to attack the AntiAir from above. After you or a teammate killed the enemy AntiAir, you can freely go after other vehicles.

Dogfight
As a Stealth Jet hunting for enemy Stealth Jets I usually fly around the map watching for my targets. If I can, I try to attack them from the side when they fly down or try to attack them from above. Not that many are aware of me watching the minimap. But even if they are and fly straight at me, I sometimes shoot my primary weapon a bit and when they're close I shoot both Active Radar missiles. When they hit the enemy he will be most likely disabled and can't get away from you really good. Use this time while they can't turn to attack them with your primary weapon. After getting better and better, try to force the enemy jet into vertical loopings in a dogfight as they might not be as good as you in holding the speed in a vertical looping. The tip with using Afterburner two or three times while flying upwards is worth gold here. If it doesn't work, try to make unpredicable moves.
When playing an Attack Jet I normally try to avoid dogfights with other jets. When I see they're attacking someone else I sometimes try to attack them from above. However when I see that they noticed me (and especially when they have a good Stealth Jet pilot) I try to fly back to the base, look behind and try to spot the enemy jet. This way they might fly over the stationary AntiAir in the base and die in no time. Another method could be to slow down completely and hope they don't kill you until they fly over you. Then you can shoot them down or try to save your ass.
Also, dogfights against better pilots are what makes you better. So use them to train your speed control as this will most likely win you the fight.

Field of View
I have my field of view for vehicles set to 73 (default 55). This way you have a larger view and can better see what happens around you. You can find this in the Settings in the Video tab.

View
I often fly in 3rd person view to have an overview over the map. If it gets to shooting enemies I switch to cockpit view to have a better aim and to check my speed. It's also possible to tell if you fly the perfect speed based on your jet positioning when flying in 3rd person. See the following screenshot.

To test and train this, get into a jet and fly horizontal infinite loopings pressing W and Space (don't forget to bind this one to Nose Up first). Then use your Afterburner to get a high speed. Then stop using Afterburner and instead use your break. So hold Space and S now. You'll slow down and once you reach about 305-315 you should notice that your view changes a little bit to a flatter view. Speed up and slow down a few times to learn how it looks when you reach the optimum speed. Train holding this speed by using W and S to adjust your speed. Use Afterburner again when you're getting under 300.

BF4_Speed_Comparison.png

Getting Flamed
If you do what I do and play with Active Radar as secondary weapons in Stealth Jets and try to pull enemy jets over your base to let the base AntiAir kill them, prepair for being flamed. Most people hate getting hit or even killed by Active Radars. They say that they are noob weapons and good pilots use only their primary weapons. Give a shit about this. I use what's in the game. And when I get an advantage against the enemy dogfighter by using Actives, I use them.

Ramming
This should not be your only weapon. It sometimes happens even to the best pilots (like me lol). When two jets collide and none even tried to dodge, usually one starts to blame the other for ramming. Don't give shit about this neither.
Pro rammers just touch the enemy vehicle and push them down a little bit so they crash into the ground or something. Can be used against helis relatively good. This is also called hugging them (just invented this name).
When ramming vehicles, try to shoot them first to deal at least a bit of damage and jump out just before hitting them. Don't forget to pull out your parachute. Most likely tanks won't get killed by a ram. Make sure to pull out C4, mines or your rocket launcher after that.

Using Jets for Transport
If you want to make a good jet pilot cry, use the jet as a transport to another flag. But seriously, try to avoid using jets for this. There might be another pilot waiting for it to support the team and kill enemy jets or vehicles with it. This is far more worth as you can get to that flag with ground vehicles like Jeeps or Quads too.

Vapor Trail Easter Egg
When you get all 6 Jet dog tags (500 kills with each of the 6 jets) and equip one of those as the right dog tags you'll have orange and blue smoke coming from your jet (Vapor Trails).

CFOYFwcWAAABjVi.png
 
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Lord-Bonaparte

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The young people are there, they codify the website with all these guides, watch out for you old fossils :ROFLMAO:

Thanks @We4re0ne for all these tips, I have to apply this now !

PS : you forgot to share us your most secret weapon : the ram :p
 
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We4re0ne

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Sure this time will come. In 50 years maybe :D

Can we get a server message for this like the one for the wiki too? Lately see many players that want to learn jet.
 
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We4re0ne

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Also a 1v1 Dogfight between two pros with a commentary. Really helpful to see some tricks.

 

glenwilson

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I have come to terms with just being shite when flying (OK everything🙂) and no amount of practice or tutorials will help. But, will have a look at these just in case.

Is it possible to use a yoke or joystick when flying? I have tried setting it up but it never works.
 

We4re0ne

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Uff, I have no idea. Read that it should be possible somehow, but normally playing with mouse and keyboard is easier in my opinion, especially when you jump out or switch to infantery / ground vehicles.
 

SCAR-H

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Too paranoid to tell it :P
Is it possible to use a yoke or joystick when flying? I have tried setting it up but it never works.
This is not answer to actual question but its just my experience how i used to do and how it worked. Some gaming mouses like my Logitech G500S have quick buttons for changing of sensitivity. I used to switch it to high sensitivity when flying jets and back to normal for everything else. I used to fly helis with normal sensitivity for more stable aiming, hopefully victims remember my scout heli streaks lol. :D I cant remember anymore if all flying have same sensitivity setting or jets and helis have their own settings. And im not sure is something changed since im played BF4. But i think moving between flying jets and other gameplay that way worked very well and then you dont need juggle with several control devices.
 
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We4re0ne

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Had some conversations the past days with a better pilot than I am and got some new key bindings, settings and loadouts. Will first test these a few weeks before updating this guide. It really feels awkward flying this way.
 

We4re0ne

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I am currently discussing with HypeCpt about flying like a pro. He gave me a 27 page PDF about several maneuvers and more. Therefore I changed the title to Beginner Guide, as I made fairly good with the guide above (until HypeCpt came and destroyed me). I am testing completely new key bindings and settings these days and will share these when I managed to get better. Currently I am not hitting anything, I can't even ram on purpose, but it happens quite often unintentionally :D