The Air-to Ground weapons are listed in the same order as the loadout table in the simulation. I have listed the specs for each weapon and the practical usage. Again, these specs may not be perfect, but they will allow you to choose the right weapon for the job.
Seeker: TV,IR Laser with magnification
Length: 8ft 2in
Warhead: 125lb shaped charge
Range: .6 to 14 miles
The Maverick is an optically guided weapon (E/O or electro/optical) or a IR (I/R or infra red)guided weapon, or a laser guided weapon used mainly against tanks, BDRMs, and other vehicles. It uses a TV-imaging seeker or a wide scan IR seeker with area magnification so that you can find targets from greater distances. This is a fire and forget weapon. To get a lock-on with the Maverick, you must be in EO or IR mode on the MFD. This is actually a day-time weapon in reality. The AGM-65D is the laser guided version mainly used at night. You can also use the FLIR and RADAR to effectively "hand-off" the target to the Maverick. You must have a target lock first.
Seeker: Passive RADAR
Length: 13ft 9in
Warhead: 145lb fragmentation
Range: 11 miles (up to 30 miles in reality)
HARM stands for High Speed Anti-Radiation Missile and is used solely in the role of defeating and destroying RADAR systems. The HARM can be used against both Pulse-Doppler and Continuous Wave RADAR systems. When the HARM locks on to a RADAR signal source, it stores the coordinates and flies towards the target after launch. If the target stops illumination, the HARM "remembers" the last saved coordinates and continues to head in the same direction. This keeps the enemy from cutting the signal and losing the HARM. It has it's own lock-on procedure.
Seeker: TV without magnification
Length: 10ft 9in
Warhead: 460lb shaped charge
Range: 1 to 10nm
The AGM-62 Walleye is another electro/optical weapon which has
a TV-imaging seeker mounted in the nose of the weapon. The Walleye is a
glide-bomb which saw excellent results in Vietnam and Desert Storm where
it was used on bridges, buildings, and other stationary heavy targets. The
Walleye is best used from a medium to high altitude such as 10,000 to 18,000
ft. The range of the weapon increases with altitude as well as the damage
it inflicts. The weapon image in the MFD is called "gate". The Walleye is
not like the Maverick where the TV-imagery can be slewed in many directions.
The gate is stationary and the target must be locked on while it is in the
middle of the gate. This weapon can be locked using it's own TV-imaging seeker
or handed off via the RADAR and FLIR pod.
Laser Guided Bomb (LGB)
Seeker: Infrared-imaging seeker
Weight: MK-82 - 600lb
MK-83 - 1100lb
MK-84 - 2100lb
Warhead: MK-82 - 275 lb high explosive
MK-83 - 416 lb high explosive
MK-84 - 945 lb high explosive
The LGB is designed around the 500 lb (Mk-82), 1000 lb (Mk-83), and 2000 lb (Mk-84) iron bomb with an infrared imaging seeker mounted on the nose and a glide body mounted on the rear of the bomb. The bomb is used in conjunction with the FLIR pod to designate targets and lock the bomb on to a target. The FLIR pod in this particular sim contains the necessary laser gear to designate the target. But the laser designator in the sim does not accurately portray the actual procedure. This is evident when you lock the target. The bombing computer goes into AutoCCIP instead of laser designator mode. And when the weapon is dropped, it does not follow the target if moving, but hits where the target designation took place. Being this as it is, this bomb should only be used for stationary hardened targets like bunkers and civilian targets that require exact precision.
Weight: MK-82 - 500lb
MK-83 - 1000lb
MK-84 - 2000lb
Warhead: MK-82 - 275 lb high explosive
MK-83 - 416 lb high explosive
MK-84 - 945 lb high explosive
Range: Varies with delivery method and altitude
This weapon has been around since WWI when it was used by lumbering bombers. Although the physical shape has changed, the mission has not. This bomb comes in two types in this simulation. The LD (Low Drag) and HD (High Drag, also known as the Snakeye). The LD series can be used for small buildings, tanks, warehouses, storage tanks (oil & chemical). The larger MK-84 should be used against ships, hardened shelters and bunkers, factories, and large buildings. The HD series allows the attacker to drop the bomb at a lower altitude with safe egress from the target.
Targeting can be used performed by several methods. First is via CCIP (constantly computed impact point). The HUD (heads-up display) shows a bomb free fall line and an impact cross (X) where the bomb will hit. Second is Automode. Automode is recognized by a circular reticle called the A/G reticle. When the target is selected, an ASL (azimuth steering line) appears. All you have to do is make sure the ASL stays in the center of the HUD and the release cue will move down the free fall line as the computed target release point gets nearer. When the release cue hits the pull-up cue, the weapon will automatically be released. The third and last method uses the FLIR to hand-off the target to the bombing computer and the automode is selected.
CBU-59B Cluster Bomb Unit
Length: 7ft 8in
Warhead: 202 combined-effect bomblets
Range: Varies with release altitude
The CBU-59B is used as a wide dispersal weapon. The unit contains small bomblets that are released at a preset after-release time. The dispersal area varies with the drop altitude. This weapon is designed to take out light armor, infantry, and other soft targets. This weapon can be dropped via the same methods as the iron bomb.
Length: 8ft 2in
Warhead: 330 lb high explosive
Range: Varies with delivery method
The Durandal is actually a French designed weapon used primarily for the purpose of destroying runways. When the weapon is released, it deploys a parachute to point the weapon in the downward position. After the weapon senses that it is pointing downward, it fires a rocket motor to increase the penetration capabilities of the steel encased warhead deep into the runway. The explosion causes a heaving effect in the runway making it very hard to repair.
Seeker: Thermal imaging with magnification
The FLIR pod (Forward Looking Infra-Red) is the heart of the E/O system. It is solely for use in the air-to-ground role. In the real world, the FLIR pod would be used for navigation and target acquision, but in the simulation, it is totally worthless for navigation. The FLIR pod display in the MFD looks just like the Maverick/Walleye view, except that the screen displays thermal imagery. Targets may be more easily spotted against their background when using the FLIR pod.
The FLIR pod is used to aim air-to-ground missiles or select targets for use with laser guided bombs. The FLIR itself is not a Laser Designator (LD or LST). In this sim, the LD is contained within the FLIR unit and is used to illuminate a target with a specific frequency of laser light that the LGB picks up with it's infrared seeker and tracks to the designated target. LD's emit a laser light beyond the human visible light spectrum.
The FLIR pod can also be used to designate bomb targets which is advantageous when there are AAA guns close by. You don't have to dive as much as you would when dropping bombs using the CCIP sight. With good technique you can safely over-fly AAA gun range (flying above 2500 feet) as you make your bomb run.
TACTICS & STRATAGEM
PLANNING THE MISSION
Although the weapons in simulation are by no means the only available in the real world, you should be able to complete your mission with the weapons provided. But the question is which weapons do I use to do the job? For example, what is your primary mission objective? Escort? Strike? Will you be flying a short distance, or is fuel going to be a key concern? Is your objective a "hard" or "soft" target? These are some of the questions you'll need to ask yourself.
The majority of the missions revolve around the air-to-ground role, so your missions will involve attacking ground targets. But no matter what the mission, you must always be prepared for anti-aircraft threats such as AAA (anti-aircraft artillery). Since you are allowed to land and rearm/refuel at nearby friendly bases, you should consider dropping your ordnance if attacked by hostile aircraft. This is particularly useful when you need to jettison your bombs to outmaneuver hostile aircraft.
MK-82 500 lb bombs are sufficiently powerful to destroy tanks,
small buildings, AAA batteries, and any "soft" targets. They can be dropped
safely from fairly low altitude (see chart below). But due to their "average"
blast radius, you must place your Mk-82s pretty close to your intended target.
Mk-82s are also available in a "Snake-eye" variant, which is designed to
be dropped from a very low altitude. Since the Mk-82 is the smallest of the
iron bombs, they will affect your aircraft's handling the least.
Mk-83s are big enough to destroy all but the "hardest" targets. They are mounted in pairs (one pair per pylon), giving you twice as many chances to hit your target as you would with the larger Mk-84s. Mk-83s can also be dropped safely from fairly low altitude.
The MK-84 should only be used when it absolutely necessary. Even though this weapon provides the largest warhead, it also exacts a tremendous penalty on aircraft handling. These are 2000 lb bombs mounted one per pylon. Mk-84s can be released with a lesser degree of accuracy and still destroy the target due to the great blast radius of the weapon.
LGBs should be selected when maximum precision is needed. These weapons first gained public exposure during Desert Storm, when FLIR "replays" were shown daily on television (with impressive results). LGBs must be used with the aid of a FLIR pod to get the full use of the weapon. Once the target is locked-on, select and arm your LGB, and fly as needed to keep the ASL centered on the HUD. Release is computer controlled.
Select cluster bomb when the mission calls for strikes against tanks, personnel carriers, and troops. Cluster bombs contain many small bomblets made up of forward-firing, shaped charge explosives. These bomblets are dispersed when the cluster bomb breaks open, at a predetermined height above the ground. This has the effect of blanketing a large area with many explosives . These are vicious weapons, but are not realistically represented in Hornet.
There are several methods used in the delivery of the weapon. Your choice of delivery should be determined based on the following criteria:
Threats exposed to en route to your target
The type of bombs your are carrying
The type of target.
Zoom climb up to about 20,000 feet and fly straight toward the target, until you're just two or three miles away (the navigation display in look-down view shows the distance to your waypoint). Next, roll inverted and dive steeply towards the target. You should be descending almost straight down, and this has two benefits: first, it increases your accuracy, and second, it will allow you to release your bombs quickly so that you can pull out of the dive without descending into AAA range (hopefully). While you're diving, throttle back to idle and use the speed brake to slow your descent.
SHALLOW ANGLE BOMBING
The CCIP computer allows for shallow angle bombing by using Auto CCIP without completely de-grading bombing accuracy. To hit a AAA emplacement for example, you need only make sure you can lock-on to the emplacement without diving below 6000 feet (AAA max. effective altitude). Once you've locked-on, level out and fly as required to center your velocity vector on the ASL. The release-point distance and TOF information is placed below the altitude windows on the HUD.
Once this figure hits zero, your bomb will automatically be released, find its target. Once the AAA is gone, you may strike your target with impunity.
Accuracy with any bomb will be greatly improved by flying steady prior to weapon release. In other words, if a bomb drops while your wings are banked to one side, the bomb will tend to stray off to that side, decreasing your precision.
BOMBING WITH THE FLIR POD
FLIR allows you to select the target and move into position without diving whatsoever. FLIR allows for the handing-off of targets to the bombing computer. Automode is selected and a straight and level bombing run can be made. FLIR is also used solely for LGB delivery mode. Use the FLIR pod to lock on to the target. Use the trigger to select the target. Once locked on, select the LGB and the targeting computer will upgrade to AutoCCIP mode and the target will be lased. Maintain the ASL in the center of the HUD. The weapon will be released automatically.
FLIR can also be used in conjunction with the GMT (ground-moving target) mode of RADAR to lock onto moving target. Tanks, personnel carriers, or AAA can be selected. To acquire a target, select a radar target and activate your FLIR pod. The infrared camera will automatically begin tracking the target.
Next, lock the FLIR camera on target. You may now select your bombs, and once again, fly as required to center your velocity vector on the bomb release impact line. Your targeting computer will do the rest.
HARMs should be carried for every mission if possible as they are the best defense against SAMs and AAA. To acquire a target and lock a HARM takes only seconds. There are three main factors that determine the Pk (probability of kill) of the HARM: range, altitude, and aiming.
HARM range is within 10-15 miles of the target. Getting closer
than 7 miles is inadvisable since you'll be a sitting duck for SAMs. HARMs
are also more accurate when "looking down" at their target. Try and launch
from above 3,000 feet (5,000 ft is better). To ensure accuracy, place the
velocity vector within the target box on the HUD. As the HARM uses it's own
onboard passive seeker to target the weapon, the RADAR does not need to be
on during target acquisition and firing.
USING ELECTRO/OPTICAL WEAPONS
Mavericks are a stand-off weapon used primarily to destroy small, hardened targets for which precision is required. They are mostly used against tanks, trucks, and armored personnel carriers. The Maverick has an effective range of approximately .6 to 14nm.
The AGM-65B contains a TV-imaging camera in its nose, whose
picture may be viewed on the left-hand MFD (multi-function display). The
missile does not transmit video. Once it is fired, you will lose the picture.
The pilot aims the missile by lining up cross hairs on the MFD with the desired
target, and locking-on by selecting the target with the trigger. The missile
seeker can also be slewed via arrow keys on your keyboard, and the camera
zoomed in/out with the Control - and Control = keys. Once the missile is
locked, a target designator square will appear on your HUD. A cue will signal
if the target is in range.
The AGM-65B may also be locked to a target by using the RADAR to select targets. In GMT mode, select your target and hand the target over to the AGM-65B. Now press the trigger to lock-onto that target. You should see a targeting cursor in the Maverick E/O view on your MFD. The Maverick should also report that it is "caged" to the RADAR. Wait until the in range cue appears, center the pipper, and fire your missile. Remember, this is a self-guiding, stand-off weapon designed to keep you from having to over-fly a target.
Using the FLIR to lock a target is just as easy. Select the target with the FLIR and then hand it off to the Maverick. The Maverick will have the target in view. When you get the in range cue, fire the weapon.
Since it will take a few seconds to manually select a target, you may find it to your advantage to fly slowly (at least below 400 kts). Flying slow will give you more time to lock-on and allows you to fire from further out. Just remember that flying too slow will leave you in a bind if you're jumped by bandits because of your low energy state.
Since the Walleye is a glide-bomb, a different delivery method must be employed. Targeting is the same as the Maverick. It's primary advantage over the Maverick is its larger warhead. Walleyes can destroy virtually any target, but their range is only only 1-10 miles (depending on your altitude and speed).
You should climb to at least 10,000 feet before dropping a Walleye
allowing increased acceleration as it descends. The faster the acceleration,
the more damage it will inflict upon impact. Range also increases with altitude.
So the higher you fly, the more range the Walleye will have. And since the
warhead is so large, with the increased blast radius, near-misses are more
likely to destroy your target.
If I have forgotten anything, please forgive me. This is an awful lot of information to deal with at one time. For additional Information please see Chapter 7 of the VNT-1 Ground School.
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