In Battlefield 4, the Engineer class has a variety of launchers available for anti-vehicle purposes. Some of these launchers are extremely versatile, while others are extremely specialized, such as the anti-air launchers. There is also a lot of variety in ease of use, as some “smart launchers” lock or track targets automatically, while other “dumb launchers” require more skill in the prediction of target movement and projectile flight. The player starts BF4 with the most versatile and easy to use launcher and unlocks others as points are accumulated while using the Engineer class. This guide discusses those launchers in the order they are unlocked.
Launchers can be equipped in either of the Engineer’s gadget slots, though only one launcher can be equipped at a time, preventing players from carrying both anti-tank and anti-air launchers at the same time. A player carries up to five missiles (four in inventory, and one loaded), and they can be resupplied by ammo boxes and supply drops. However, if a player is using the anti-tank field upgrades, reaching level 2 allows a player to carry up to seven (6 + 1 loaded).
The default launcher available from the start is the Main Battle Tank Light Anti-tank Weapon, or MBT LAW. The MBT LAW is a smart launcher that operates much like a dumb fire launcher in that no lock is required to fire. The player simply aims the launcher where they wish and fires. The projectile will detect enemy vehicles within a small cone of approximately 5 degrees from its flight path. If a vehicle is detected within this cone, the projectile will redirect to impact the vehicle. The launcher’s smart detection works on vehicles on land, sea, and air. If no vehicle is detected, either because the user did not aim close enough to the vehicle or did not aim at a vehicle, the projectile will continue a straight flight path. This makes the launcher useful against infantry in a pinch. The MBT LAW is also capable of locking on to laser designated targets. Because of its versatile and easy to use nature, the MBT LAW inflicts the least damage of all the available launchers.
The Stinger is unlocked at 24,000 points. It is a fire-and-forget anti-air launcher. The Stinger has a relatively short range of only 300 meters, which is easily exceeded by air vehicles due to the size of Battlefield maps. This launcher typically does enough damage to inflict a mobility hit on air vehicles, but 2-3 are required to destroy a vehicle. To fire the Stinger, the player must first lock on to the air vehicle. The targeted vehicle will receive a warning tone while a lock is being achieved and may evade the lock using flares, ECM, or by moving out of range. Once a lock is achieved, the player fires the missile, which will then track the target automatically, so long as countermeasures are not fired. The most reliable way of hitting targets with the Stinger is to obtain a lock after the target has fired countermeasures. This can sometimes be done by locking a target, but not firing. This bluff will sometimes prompt a pilot to panic and fire countermeasures prematurely, allowing a new lock to be obtained if the pilot remains within range. Because of the short range and ease of evasion, the Stinger is most effective as an area denial tool.
The RPG-7V2 is unlocked at 43,000 points. It is a dumb-fire rocket launcher with high damage output capable of mobility hits to the sides and rear of heavily armored vehicles. The RPG cannot lock onto laser-designated targets and requires aiming by the user. It has a curved trajectory, so a player must compensate for drop over distance when aiming. Because of its unguided nature, the RPG can be utilized against any target. It is a one hit kill against light vehicles and most aircraft.
The SA-18 IGLA is unlocked at 53,000 points. The IGLA is an anti-air launcher that requires the player to hold the lock before the guided projectile will impact. This AA launcher has a slightly longer range than the Stinger at 500 meters. The IGLA also has the capability to reacquire a lock if a target is still within range when countermeasures expire, if the launched missile has not expired. The IGLA is capable of locking laser designated air targets; doing so turns it into a fire-and-forget weapon, so the lock is not required to be maintained.
The MK153 SMAW is unlocked at 96,000 points. It is an unguided launcher, like the RPG, however the missiles fly at a more flat trajectory and inflict less damage. Because of the flatter trajectory, the SMAW can be easier to aim relative to the RPG. The SMAW does have some drop, but it is not really noticeable until beyone 100 meters. Its projectiles also fly at a higher speed than the RPG, requiring less anticipation of an enemy target’s future movements. The SMAW can also be utilized against any target and cannot lock laser-designated targets.
The FGM-148 Javelin is unlocked at 119,000 points. It is a guided launcher that requires a constant lock to impact its target. Like the IGLA, the Javelin can reacquire a lock should the target’s countermeasures expire before the missile. Like other guided weapons, the Javelin is capable of locking laser-designated targets, and will typically obtain a more effective and damaging angle of impact with laser designation. Because it now requires a constant lock, the Javelin in BF4 obtains a lock faster than it did in BF3.
The FGM-172 SRAW is the last launcher unlocked at 131,000 points. It is a wire-guided rocket allowing a player to guide the missile’s path in-flight. The SRAW can be fired as an unguided weapon when hip fired. When using the launcher in aimed mode, it will track toward whatever physical object, be it an enemy vehicle or obstructing cover, the center reticle is aimed at. This allows a player to fire the weapon in aimed mode and place the reticle on a target, and the missile will track to the target, so long as no obstructions block its path. The missile will continue tracking wherever the reticle was last aimed, even if the player leaves aimed mode before impact (however, if a player is killed while in aimed mode, their player model remains in aimed mode while falling, thus the missile will track down into the ground). More skilled players are capable of guiding the missile into moving targets and around cover.
Additional general details and tips:
* Angle of impact matters. Try hitting armored targets at a 90-degree angle for maximum damage.
* Area of impact also matters. Armored targets are strongest in front and weakest in back. You will do the most damage hitting a tank in the rear, medium damage from the side, and lower damage in front, so try to flank that tank!
* All vehicles except light transports have a warning system that informs the driver when you are locking them with guided weapons. If you wish to catch enemies by surprise, try using unguided weapons. Just remember to lead moving targets. Knocking a chopper out of the sky with an RPG is a gratifying experience!
* Team up with a recon carrying a PLD. Guided weapons are likely to hit for more damage when fired at a laser-designated target. Plus, you both get points!