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#2141669 - 02/19/07 08:39 AM LOMAC/FC: Training Mission #13  
Joined: Jan 2001
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BeachAV8R Offline
Lifer
BeachAV8R  Offline
Lifer

Joined: Jan 2001
Posts: 24,314
KCLT


Tonight we have a special night mission where well explore the capabilities of the Su-25T to fight in darkness. Before we start I have to admit this is the most difficult mission Ive created and flown thus far in LOMAC/FC. I must have flown and re-flown this mission at least a dozen times before I finally trained my fingers to move correctly on the HOTAS to fight and fly the aircraft. It is my opinion that this type of mission could perhaps reflect just how hard it is to fly combat missions in real life. Not because the enemy threat is difficult, because it isnt in this mission, but because maintaining situational awareness and focus can be extremely difficult once you take away the crutch of bright daylight. Throw in the assault on your kinesthetic senses in real life and I can only imagine how difficult and stressful this type of combat flying must be.

On this mission well depart Gudauta airfield to attack an enemy column that is headed up a tight mountain canyon just northwest of the airfield. The column consists of 11 vehicles with the lead vehicle being a ZSU-23-4 anti-aircraft vehicle while the trail vehicle will be a 9A35 Strela-10 short-range SAM system. Well proceed out to the west toward the first waypoint prior to turning north up the valley. The distances are very short and setup time for the initial attack run will be brief.



Accompanying us on our flight will be two support aircraft that are tasked with dropping illumination flares (SAB-100s) over the target area. The support flights consist of a Su-17M4 and a Su-25. Our aircraft will be carrying FAB-100 bombs on multiple ejector racks, a single Kh-25ML, two SAB-100 illumination bombs, SPPU-22 gun pods, and the Mercury low-level television (LLTV) camera for targeting. Since the mission is so short we will be carrying a reduced fuel load of 50% fuel giving us a relatively low weight of 83% MTOW.



The cockpit of the Su-25T glows with diffuse lights in the darkness. LOMAC/FC has some of the best lighting effects Ive seen in any sim; you almost feel immune from the elements ensconced in your warm cockpit.



The landing lights illuminate the runway as we prepare for takeoff. The weather is pretty good tonight with great visibility and a high unbroken cloud layer. It will definitely be dark.



Some screenshots have been run through PhotoShop since the pitch black screenshots obviously didnt come out. Using the color enhancement features of PhotoShop I was able to bring out the screens with colors similar to night-vision googles.

Immediately after takeoff I would highly suggest a right turnout around to the south to allow time for the support flights to become airborne and lead the way into the valley. As I stated before, this mission took me a dozen or so times to get right because of the Su-25T is a handful to fly and fight in the best conditions; at night you can multiply that factor by 10! This mission really made me rely on the many useful modes of the autopilot. Just after taking off Id engage the roll and pitch autopilot (ALT-1) so that you can fly hands-off through the first part of the turn-out to the south. Meanwhile your support flights will take-off and head directly for the target area.





Once we pass through the 180 degree heading or so I switch autopilot modes from roll and pitch hold to route following mode (ALT-6 or A) so that the aircraft will climb to a good initial attack altitude and it will follow the waypoints to line-up on the valley on the correct inbound heading. If you manually fly just be aware that cutting the corner will result in you not getting line-of-sight on the enemy convoy early enough (probably) to get a shot off unless you can play your HOTAS like Eddie Van Halen plays the guitar.

The Su-17 roars down the runway heading for the target area.



The Su-17 reaches the valley first and ejects flares as it detects it is being tracked by radar.



As he passes up the valley the Su-17 drops the first of his SAB-100 illumination bombs. These nifty little bombs drop and eject parachute equipped flares that burn as they float down to the ground. The higher they are dropped, the longer the illumination time. Obviously they only illuminate a finite area, but they are quite effective. As I head toward the valley I can see the flares igniting and the effect is surreal; the valley lights up and the bottom of the overcast reflects the flares as well. Very moody!



As soon as we hit the first waypoint and head toward the target area I disconnect the autopilot and engage level flight hold (ALT-3) so that I can use the sensors without having to worry about flying the plane. The best tactic is also to keep your speed relatively low (< 450 kph) to give you time to work your optics. First I turn on the air-to-ground mode, switch to the Kh-25ML missile (D), and then turn on the Mercury LLTV (CTRL-O). On the TV display I move the cursor using the mini-mouse on my throttle until the small dots representing the convoy are in sight. I select a spot at random, magnify the image (+), then slew the targeting box over the last vehicle in the convoy and it automatically locks onto it. Next I turn the laser on (Shift-O not Shift-L which I did multiple times, and that will definitely ruin your attack!), dump the nose a bit, make sure I get a launch authorized and squeeze the trigger.





The Strela goes up in a ball of flames, fortunately before he has a chance to fire on me or the support aircraft.



The valley is eerie lit by the wash of the falling flares.



If you have time (I didnt for the first 8 or 9 times I ran this mission) you can set up your bombs for a ripple delivery but I elect to just fly down the line and attempt to take out the ZSU at the head of the column. The burning Strela is a good landmark; leaning in with the TrackIR works well and the flares are doing a great job of keeping things lit up well. Unfortunately my aim is a bit poor and my first stick of bombs hits just wide of the ZSU.





As my bombs explode the Su-25 support plane flies popping self-defense flares after delivering another illumination bomb over the valley.



I escape up the valley as the ZSU sends some lead flying in pursuit. The rounds zip all around me and I hear a thump or two on the airframe but all my systems check out fine. Exiting the valley by climbing out to the north I swing around to the south to set up another run up the valley. This time I come in and drop my remaining bombs in one pass as the ZSU gets a bead on me and gives me a serious thumping as parts fly off my aircraft. Unfortunately my bombs angle ever so slightly across the column and I only get two of the middle vehicles. As I scream down the valley the ZSU once again opens up as I exit and more bullets riddle my ride.





Once again everything seems to check out fine as I continue up the valley. Instead of exiting the valley I put some flaps in and make a tight turn inside the valley to head back at the convoy from the north. Maneuvering in the tight confines of the valley is a pretty serious challenge at night, particularly if you are outside the area illuminated by the flares. Out of bombs I now select the wing mounted gun pods which have the interesting capability of being depressed to fire downward. As I come back down the valley from the north I put the pipper on the column and squeeze the trigger.





True to form my canon work is really poor. Dust and smoke kicks up all around the vehicles, but amazingly none is struck. Here is a close-up view of the gun pod with the barrel depressed slightly. I was able to capture this screenshot as I passed by one of the flares floating down in the valley. If you look closely you can also see the fuselage is peppered with AAA damage; they even tore a big chunk out of the SimHQ logo!



As I pull up from my run at the south end of the valley I can see the illumination flares dropped by the support aircraft are getting ready to hit the ground, which will put the valley in darkness. I select my own SAB-100s and climb up to just below the cloud deck so I can drop my own into the valley. Unfortunately the other flares go out prior to me releasing mine, so I have to do it somewhat blind. Hitting the pickle button Im disappointed to see that mine have ejected over the ridge instead of the valley. It will only take a minute or so for mine to drift down and extinguish on the higher elevation ridge.





Since my flares are so far up the ridge, the road is only barely at the periphery of the illumination. I roll in anyway hoping to catch site of the convoy. For sure I can see the ZSU because the steady stream of tracers arcing up at me gives me a great idea of where he is! Unfortunately my guns pass is a bit long and I dont hit anything again.





Across the valley the Su-25 support aircraft drops another load of flares on the opposite ridge which leaves the floor of the valley in dim light instead of bright light. At least we have them bracketed!



Since I cant see anything I turn my LLTV pod back on and hunt around for the convoy using the wide field of view. Im able to lock on to the ZSU and then I try to super-impose my gun reticule on top of the LLTV aiming circle. When the two meet, I pull the trigger and watch my rounds fly into view on the LLTV scope.






Dammit! I miss again! How terrible am I with these guns?! As my rounds pound the dirt next to the ZSU he replies in kind and gets massive hits on my airframe.





As I roar down the valley something is wrong with the aircraft. She wants to roll heavily to the left and there is nothing I can do to stop it. I thumb the trim to the right to counter the rolling and after rolling about 90 degrees the plane starts to respond to my full right stick and trim inputs. I look down at the engine gauges and the left engine doesnt appear to be giving as much power as the right engine but it isnt on fire or anything drastic. I stagger out of the valley but as my speed increases Im able to back off some of the trim and things feel better. As I reduce power a bit the left engine comes back up and stabilizes just fine.



More flares illuminate the valley behind me as the Su-17 makes another pass, this time the flares are right on the mark and I figure I might as well give one last pass with my gun pods and empty them on the convoy and hope for the best.



I circle back around toward the head of the convoy because I want another crack at the ZSU. The convoy is slowly moving out of the cone of light but I can still just barely see the lead vehicle as I put the reticule on the convoy and squeeze the trigger and hold it until the guns run dry.





Despite a million rounds hitting right around the convoy not one vehicle is hit! I suck. As I pass under one of the flares floating down Im horrified to see the damage to my aircraft. No wonder I have such a severe rolling moment to the left, the left inboard flap and the left aileron are gone! Additionally the tail stinger is ripped off, the left engine cowling is gone exposing the engine and the panel on the right side behind the cockpit is missing too. Scores of holes perforate all of the surfaces. Im amazed the thing is still flying. I retract the flaps and that relieves much of the asymmetric lift and allows me to ease off the trim even more.







Ive had enough. My shoulders are aching from the tension, and even though I have the internal cannon still I know I likely wont hit anything with it. My left engine seems to run fine at low to mid power settings, but at full power it bogs down and doesnt give any thrust. I decide to nurse my airplane back to base.

It is a short flight back over to Gudauta but even flying the pattern is stressful at night with no real reference points out the window. I concentrate of slowing the aircraft and getting it configured for landing hoping that not too many systems are damaged. With the part of the flaps missing I elect to do a no-flap landing due to the asymmetric left problem. The landing gear extends normally though and I get three green lights.





I touchdown near the beginning of the runway at about 280 kph and as I suspected the landing chute has either been damaged or has been shot away. Using the brakes Im just able to get the aircraft stopped before running off the end. My landing lights illuminate the overrun area and I note how ironic it would have been to have crashed into a fire truck.



Back over the target area the Su-25 has dropped his last flare and is bugging out for base above the clouds. I have to hand it to the AI guys, they did a great job sticking over the target area and helping me out.



This was a fantastic mission, not because of the mission design, but because it gives a glimpse into just how hard it is (at least for me!) to fly and fight this airplane at night. All of these years flying F4, Janes F-15, -18, Longbow 2all with their night-vision goggles and HUD-FLIR technology have spoiled me. Those planes are so much easier to fly and fight than the Su-25T. I think I can at least begin to understand how hard it must have been for A-10 pilots during the first Gulf War when they were flying and targeting using their IR Maverick soda straws as a poor mans FLIR. Half of the battle in these night missions is not killing yourself on the way to and from the target. This mission made it clear how important knowing your autopilot is; the autopilot can relieve a lot of the workload if you use it properly under the right circumstances. Flying under the flares is a fantastic experience and tying it all together with the Mercury system is extremely challenging and gratifying. This mission was another great example of how great the Su-25T damage model is also. Great stuff. Unfortunately my gunnery skills are still seriously lacking. The SPPU-22 gun pod system is very cool and I look forward to getting better with it. I also learned that FAB-100 bombs are pretty useless unless you are dead on with them. Definitely room for improvement all around for this pilot.



This mission can be downloaded here: http://www.mudspike.com/lomac/simhq13.zip

BeachAV8R



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#2141678 - 02/19/07 08:59 AM Re: LOMAC/FC: Training Mission #13 [Re: BeachAV8R]  
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EvilBivol-1 Offline
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LA
\:D


EB
Belsimtek/TFC Associate
http://www.digitalcombatsimulator.com
#2141679 - 02/19/07 09:01 AM Re: LOMAC/FC: Training Mission #13 [Re: EvilBivol-1]  
Joined: Jan 2001
Posts: 24,314
BeachAV8R Offline
Lifer
BeachAV8R  Offline
Lifer

Joined: Jan 2001
Posts: 24,314
KCLT
Originally Posted By: EvilBivol-1
:D


\:D I actually flew this mission last night..and did the text and formatting this evening.. Would have rather flown w/ you than type all this up...hehe...catch ya' on another night though for sure!

BeachAV8R



#2141683 - 02/19/07 09:14 AM Re: LOMAC/FC: Training Mission #13 [Re: BeachAV8R]  
Joined: Jan 2007
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Axel Offline
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Axel  Offline
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Germany
Wow, outstanding report (once again \:\) )...

I am impressed times and times again at how much atmosphere this game can deliver, and especially those lighting effects are a blast.

Can't wait to try this mission at home this night !

Thanks a lot,
-Axel-


System: E6600, 2GB, X1950Pro, X52, TIR4
#2141707 - 02/19/07 10:18 AM Re: LOMAC/FC: Training Mission #13 [Re: BeachAV8R]  
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Groove Offline
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Hey Beach, finally my words reached you about the workload in the 25s \:D

Next time try to fly from the side on the targets, i get pretty good results flying a 90 degree attack run on them. Okay, in this valley this was not possible ...

Did you used your laser to let the gunpods be always on the target ?

#2141711 - 02/19/07 10:31 AM Re: LOMAC/FC: Training Mission #13 [Re: Groove]  
Joined: Jan 2001
Posts: 24,314
BeachAV8R Offline
Lifer
BeachAV8R  Offline
Lifer

Joined: Jan 2001
Posts: 24,314
KCLT
Originally Posted By: Groove
Did you used your laser to let the gunpods be always on the target ?


Uh....was I supposed to? \:D I didn't know that was the way to do it..maybe that explains my lack of success with the guns. Should I be lasing the target for the gun-pods AND the internal gun??

Oh..one more question..I didn't turn my nav-lights off prior to the attack. I think I recall in Falcon 4 that if you left your lights on you were more likely to be "seen" by the enemy...is that the case for LOMAC as well? Is there a penalty for leaving your lights on? (There should be..)

BeachAV8R



#2141772 - 02/19/07 01:30 PM Re: LOMAC/FC: Training Mission #13 [Re: BeachAV8R]  
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Groove Offline
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I dont know about the lights but when you turn you laser on the guns will automaticly depress themself to the point the laser is lasing. This way you will have greater accuracy on pinpoint gun attack and a flat ingress flight.

#2141856 - 02/19/07 03:30 PM Re: LOMAC/FC: Training Mission #13 [Re: BeachAV8R]  
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BBQ Offline
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BBQ  Offline
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Beautiful, rolling, wooded hil...
Another great mission/read--can't wait to try this one!


BBQ
#2142011 - 02/19/07 06:43 PM Re: LOMAC/FC: Training Mission #13 [Re: BBQ]  
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Corsair8X Offline
Dagestan, Dover, DMZ
Corsair8X  Offline
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Oakville, Ontario, Canada
That was great - especially all the cool lighting and stuff. Wow. Great story for a great mission.


Corsair8X

virtually making history 30mm at a time
#2142085 - 02/19/07 08:01 PM Re: LOMAC/FC: Training Mission #13 [Re: BeachAV8R]  
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EvilBivol-1 Offline
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EvilBivol-1  Offline
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LA
LOL, no, I was just smiling having enjoyed the AAR. Our conversation earlier didn't even occur to me.

Originally Posted By: BeachAV8R
Originally Posted By: EvilBivol-1
:D


\:D I actually flew this mission last night..and did the text and formatting this evening.. Would have rather flown w/ you than type all this up...hehe...catch ya' on another night though for sure!

BeachAV8R


EB
Belsimtek/TFC Associate
http://www.digitalcombatsimulator.com
#2142506 - 02/20/07 12:50 PM Re: LOMAC/FC: Training Mission #13 [Re: EvilBivol-1]  
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Freycinet Offline
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Freycinet  Offline
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This reminds me of a mission I made that bugged me for a long long time: flying up a valley and attacking a column there, but with a dastardly overcast that effectively shut me up inside the valley. Made for some harrowing turns close to the cliff faces! Doing it at night would have been even worse, OMG...

Thanks for the wonderful AAR!


My Il-2 CoD movie web site: www.flightsimvids.com
#2142940 - 02/20/07 09:55 PM Re: LOMAC/FC: Training Mission #13 [Re: Freycinet]  
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Joe Offline
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Joe  Offline
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Lasing for the gun pods keeps them automatically depressed to the proper elevation. The Azimuth is fixed to the aircraft, of course, so you still need to control that. The other thing you can do is to map the "target specified size" to a rotary. When gun pods are selected you can spin the rotary to quickly change the gun pod depression angle. I find it much easier to tweak the angle than to tweak the aircraft pitch. You can then use the rotary to control the depression and the aircraft roll to control the lineup. Don't let your speed get too high.


Overall, though, here's my theory on cannon attacks: doing them at night is just asking for trouble. At the very least, pop the air defense vehicles (Strela, ZSU, etc.) with guided weapons (i.e. Vihkr) and use the cannon on the defenseless folks. Riding down the chute trying to put the gun pipper in exactly the right place, paying attention to lineup and aiming angle and airspeed and altitude, all while a 4-barelled radar-guided gun is shooting at you like his life depends on it (which it does), is not a wise decision.

The A-10 guys didn't cannon strafe at night in Desert Storm, did they?

#2142946 - 02/20/07 09:57 PM Re: LOMAC/FC: Training Mission #13 [Re: Freycinet]  
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vScorpion503 Offline
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vScorpion503  Offline
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Excellent report and images! I was wondering what those Flare bombs were for..lol It's cool how they lit up the valley. I guess it's the only way to get those TV pods to register.

To ramp it up even more, add a little wind and turbulence, very tough having those flares drift across the valley plus bomb accuracy is effected too, then of course landing a damaged AC in a crosswind can be fun, too. The mission looks tough enough as it is...lol.

Last edited by vScorpion503; 02/20/07 10:05 PM.
#2143209 - 02/21/07 07:39 AM Re: LOMAC/FC: Training Mission #13 [Re: vScorpion503]  
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Hobnail Offline
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Hobnail  Offline
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Nice!

But as has been said, lock up that Zeus with the Mercury pod and let the targetting computer handle the depression angle of those gunpods.

#2144168 - 02/22/07 01:06 PM Re: LOMAC/FC: Training Mission #13 [Re: EvilBivol-1]  
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FlashHeart Offline
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FlashHeart  Offline
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5256'N 002'W (UK)
I'm enjoying reading these and flying them. Thanx for your efforts.

I really like those Fitters - been a favourite of mine since I first saw one in the late 70's. I'd love to fly one (in LOMAC, of course!)


"The way you keep forgeting things, you'd think you'd remember"
- my wife
#2145031 - 02/23/07 02:08 PM Re: LOMAC/FC: Training Mission #13 [Re: FlashHeart]  
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Groove Offline
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Groove  Offline
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Beach, i tried your mission yesterday. I think the clue is to use the Missile on the Shilka and evade all the Strelas and kill the Strela with guns / bombs.

This AAA pwned me when i tried to kill it with the gunpods.


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