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Temporary protection against new weapon locks
Air vehicles (Pilot)
The ECM Jammer is a specialization for pilots of air vehicles. When deployed, the ECM hides you from enemy radar and prevents enemies from acquiring weapon lock. This is in contrast to IR Flares, which are designed to dispel heat-seeking missiles. The ECM Jammer is the last unlock for the jet.
The ECM lasts for five seconds and requires 10 seconds before it can be reactivated. Since recharge time is counted from when the jammer is first activated, this leaves a minimum exposure time of 5 seconds between uses.
In attack helicopters, good defensive strategy is for the pilot to use the ECM to take cover behind a hill, building, or mountain until the Jammer recharges.
Although the game makes no mention of this ability, the ECM Jammer can occasionally deflect incoming missiles. The 1.05 Patch (June 2012) intends to make this effect more reliable. Prior to the patch, ECM performance against missiles was severely limited.
The ECM Jammer is very useful for helicopters, most notably in the attack choppers. This works quite well when hovering and deploying ECM when you hear the "Missiles launched" warning tone (short high beeping). 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 retrack the vehicle. It often depends on the distance between you and the enemy who launched the missile.
The ECM Jammer is very useful for helicopters, most notably in the attack choppers. 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.
On jets, however, ECM doesn't work as well when it comes to deterring launched missiles. It is better used to prevent weapon lock.