I tried to force a launch in long mode, but no go. I've used the grinder plenty of times in Flanker. You should be able to detect the targets with plenty of time to kill (oh, that was a good pun...oh yeah). IRST doesn't detect targets easily when they're facing you, but has a more effective maximum range at max range than your radar. So you might want to use the extended range IR 27's to get a stealthier kill. You also need to make sure you're kenematically preped to make long range locks. The system won't lock if you can't impact the target at your current altitude and relative velocity to the target. I know JF-18 and TAW cheated the effective ranges of AMRAAMs slightly. I doubt anything like that was done with Flanker. I'm not sure about Falcon. The issue of using the grinder is if you miss, when you come back around you'll probably get tagged. On the single missions where there are no AWACs to confirm the splash, that's a big annoyance. Normally I'd ***** about not being able to fire without a lock (I like the *****ing), but I've got Off FCS on the second trigger for cobra manuvers, so unless I free up another button I'm content. Almost forgot something: if you have AWACs in the air, make sure you're locking from there, not with your own radar. And if you don't have any, don't try to go to a lock from raw scan. TWS is the mode to lock from manually, otherwise the blips go in and out. Not sure what else to tell you.