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Hornet Mini-Updates


Wags

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  • ED Team

When creating our F/A-18C Hornet, our goal has been to create the most accurate simulation of a LOT 20 Hornet possible. One area we ran into issues with though is the defensive systems. While we had great information on the ALR-67, ALE-39, and ALQ-162, we ran into a lot of trouble finding good data on the newer ALE-47 and ALQ-165 ASPJ systems. Because of that, we had to use the older defensive systems panel in the bottom center instrument panel.

 

After a lot of hunting, we’ve been able to put enough open source information together to create a rather accurate simulation of the ALE-47 and ALQ-165 system operations. The ALE-47 in particular provides a lot more capability in creating manual programs and the semi-automatic and automatic programs.

 

Attached, you can see the new Integrated Countermeasures Control Panel (ICMCP). As you will probably notice, this panel is rather spartan. This is because most of the functions have been moved to the EW DDI page.

 

Thanks,

Matt “Wags” Wagner

Senior Producer

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Now that the team is back from holiday, work resumes on the Hornet. One of the big areas that you can see visible results is the EW page. Attached are a couple WIP images of the main display page and the manual (MAN) programing page.

 

I’ll do a full academic video on this later, but in a nutshell, the bypass mode allows single release of chaff and flare from the countermeasures dispense switch on the throttles and when in the ON mode, it can use semi-automatic (S/A), automatic (AUTO), and manual (MAN) modes. When set to MAN mode, the ARM PB brings up the programming edit page that allows you to create and save dispense programs. It's a very easy to use system.

 

You may also notice the O1 and O2 counts, these are for GEN-X expendables.

 

On the radar front, much of the work is on the locking of targets in STT and LTWS modes. This is also critical for the ACM modes.

 

Other focused work continues on the flight model / FCS, bombing HUD, INS, and audio.

 

A small thing, but we also adjusted the DDIs and MPCD to not be smudgy messes.

 

Thanks,

Matt “Wags” Wagner

Senior Producer, Eagles Dynamics SA

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Navigation System Update

 

A very important aspect of creating a realistic navigation systems is accounting for magnetic variation. Over the past week, the team has been implementing this. We now have a Magnetic Azimuth Detector (MAD)and Magnetic Variation implemented as part of the Mission Computer (MC) 1 code. Note that the MAD is actually a separate system that provides data to the Air Data Computer (ADC), which in turns sends the data to the MC. For the two Mission Computers, we are essentially creating them virtually. This allows us more accuracy, particularly in regards to failures.

 

This will now allow proper magnetic heading differences (true heading vs magnetic heading and will be available on the HSI.

 

Realistic magnetic and true heading computations for DG/SLAVE/COMP INS are also in progress.

 

This is all in parallel to getting the INS Waypoint systems up and running, a crucial item of the Early Access release.

 

Thanks,

Matt “Wags” Wagner

Eagle Dynamics, Senior Producer

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For today's update, we have a video look at the HUD, UFC and IFEI.

 

Side note: The IFEI color depends on the internal lighting Mode switch. Green when set to NITE or NVG or orange when when set to DAY. Additionally, the IFEI brightness knob is only functional for NITE mode.

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • ED Team

A few years ago, I had the pleasure of visiting Lemoore NAS to get some time in one of their F/A-18C dome sims. It was a great experience and provided a great perspective to flying the Hornet. One item that caught me though was just how fragile the gear doors can be when over-sped. Today, we added this as a new damage element to our Hornet.

 

As mentioned in this week’s newsletter, progress on the Hornet is moving along quickly with much of the work focused on the air-to-air radar modes, defensive systems, INS waypoint navigation, and flight dynamics / Flight Control Computer. Our next Hornet academic video will instruct on Hornet TACAN and ADF navigation.

 

Thanks,

Matt “Wags” Wagner

Senior Producer

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Under the category of small details, we implemented differential engine modeling this week. Rather than each engine underlying modeling and IFEI indication for RPM, EGT, FF, and OIL PSI being the same, they are now modeled as separate, dynamic entities. While this may seem like a rather small thing, it has required quite a bit of work, but we feel it will provide a much more realistic modeling of the F-404 EPs. In the end, this was a must-do.

 

Thanks,

Matt “Wags” Wagner

Senior Producer

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Over the past several months there has been a lot of work going on behind the scenes that has been confined to code… nothing visible to really show. More recently, more and more of this work is now being tied together and integrated into the larger simulation. The included screen shot shows some of this work:

 

- Air Combat Maneuvering (ACM) modes. The Hornet has several ACM modes that include boresight acq, vertical acq, wide acq, and long range auto acq. In the image, you can see vertical acq selected, illustrated on the HUD and attack display. Much of the radar effort is currently focused on Single Track Target (STT) logic.

 

- Not as obvious in this image, but target aging is also now implemented. Unlike our current implementation of air-to-air radar that is based on target IDs, the Hornet moves us to a much more realistic air-to-air radar model that faithfully simulates the radar beam.

 

- On the Azimuth Display (aka RWR scope), we now have detection logic working that uses a much improved simulation of radar detection. In a related matter, the Control Indicator Panel is also now function that allows the Azimuth Display and DDI EW page to tailor the displays. This also includes the correct BIT.

 

- On the left DDI you will note that waypoint data is now displayed on the HSI with the ability to select one of three sequences. You may also notice TACAN and ADF information is also displayed.

 

In the second image, you can observe some improvements we are making to the reflective properties of the displays.

 

Thanks,

Matt “Wags” Wagner

Senior Producer

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • ED Team

Hornet update time!

 

As mentioned earlier, a lot of the work is focused on the air-to-air radar, and Single Track Target (STT) mode in particular. This uses “electronic roll” logic and we are now finalizing the antenna scan and limits. Once that is done, we can finish up the ACM modes and STT lock in BVR mode. This would also then allow us to finish up air-to-air symbology for the HUD and attack display.

 

I had hoped/planned to next do an IFR field landing video, but we first want to set up proper instrumentation for the approach. USN Hornets are NOT equipped with standard ILS equipment. Instead, they most often use ACLS, PAR, or ICLS. We had first planned ICLS, but it appears this is no longer used, so we will instead develop ACLS ground stations that can be placed at an airfield, but like a TACAN station. Instead, I think the next academic video will be aerial refueling (became functional this week).

 

The waypoint system is making great progress, with just a few items to clean up on the DATA page and include the appropriate HUD data.

 

The art team further improved the cockpit by adding an albedo property to the textures using a PBR rendering method. This gives the surfaces a more authentic paint on metal look. You can see this in the two attached images.

 

Other advancements have also been made on the Hornet external sounds and the vapor effects.

 

Thanks,

Matt “Wags” Wagner

Senior Producer

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  • ED Team

Over the weekend the team implemented both big and small items into the latest build that move us ever forward to an Early Access release. We are still on track for an Early Access release prior to the end of Spring 2018. However, we have no tighter estimate at this time given the complexities involved and the unknowns of how long testing will require.

 

1- The Waypoint navigation system is now functional in the simulation and tied to the Inertial Navigation System (INS). This includes indications both on the HSI and HUD. This also includes most of the functionality for the HSI/DATA/WYPT page. This will provide most waypoint functions used by players. After Early Access release, we will implement the option for the programming of three waypoint sequences in the Mission Editor and the creation of Offset Waypoints using the HSI page. The last big item for waypoints in the Early Access release will be implementing the Waypoint Designate (WPDSG) option, that will set the selected waypoint as the target point. This is important for both weapon and sensor cuing.

 

2- Starting from an airfield or aircraft carrier has some key differences when setting up the cockpit controls. For example: When starting from an airfield, the Hook Bypass switch should be set to FIELD and the Anti-Skid switch should be set to ON; when starting on an aircraft carrier, the Hook Bypass switch should be set to should be set to CARRIER and the Anti-Skid switch should be set to OFF. This weekend we enabled the ability to set default cockpit configurations for Ramp, Hot, and Runway starts to account for the starting location.

 

3- Aerial refueling is now implemented. Now I just need to get good enough at this to not embarrass myself too much in a video.

 

4- Fuel dump logic and animation has been implemented. This can be quite important to meeting max trap weights.

 

Onward and upwards!

 

Thanks,

Matt “Wags” Wagner

Senior Producer

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  • ED Team

Our latest Hornet squadron addition for DCS World: VFA-34 "Blue Blasters".

 

Please note that we are first prioritizing skins for actual operators of the F/A-18C, that includes the USN, USMC, Finland, Switzerland, and Kuwait. After which, we hope to include "what if" skins for F/A-18A operators like Canada, Australia, Spain.

 

As for the USN squadrons, we are first prioritizing those squadrons that have yet to or recently move to Super Hornets.

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War Party Rocks! VFA-87 “Golden Warriors” is our latest addition.

 

For the DCS: F/A-18C Early Access launch, there will be more skins included than any previous DCS World module. As stated before, our first priority is for squadrons that have operated the F/A-18C. After that, we’ll take a look at other A, A+ and upgraded squadrons (Canada, Australia, etc.).

 

As with most of our projects, we will release the skin template once it is complete such that users can also create their own skins.

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Hornet Radar Update

 

As noted in the last several updates, one of the primary tasks is coding the air-to-air modes of the AN/APG-73 radar for the Hornet. The current focus is on Single Track Target (STT) mode as this will be vital for radar directed gun, radar-slaved AIM-9, and PD illumination for AIM-7. This work is currently revolving around target angles/range filtering and symbology display behavior.

 

Work is still in progress on search/acquisition radar modes in regard to scan limits applied by antenna servo electronics, in addition to physical antenna gimbal limits. This all involve coordinate transformation (antenna/scan frames, SPRS (Space Pitch/Roll Stabilized), body frame while accounting for antenna electronic roll stabilization.

 

In parallel, the needed data for future MSI (Multi-Sensor Integration) routines and modes like LTWS (latent TWS) is being coded and would be sent to the MC2 (Mission Computer 2).

 

A lot of work is being done on code-structure refinement. Given all the functionality is being worked on, we have to avoid the code from becoming spaghetti-like.

 

The implemented and in-progress data structures and algorithms (like target search, target data filtering, antenna electronic roll stabilization, etc.) will help us in later projects, and we hope this will reduce those development times.

 

Attached is a very simple debug screenshot.

 

Thanks,

Matt “Wags” Wagner

Senior Producer

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • ED Team

As we mover ever-closer to the Early Access release of the Hornet, more and more of our work is shifting to the air-to-air radar and weapon systems.

 

Over the past several weeks, the focus of air-to-air radar work has been on Single Target Track (STT) mode. This is critical for what we plan for the Early Access release. This week, it is initially operational in the simulation, as you can see in the attached. The next big step is to complete the attack radar symbology and data and then the various HUD information. Still very work-in-progress.

 

Similar to SPI in the A-10C, the Hornet allows you to designate a Target Point (TP) that can then be used to slave sensors and weapons to. There are several ways to create a TP, but the one we are finishing up now is the ability to set a waypoint as a TP using the WPDSG function on the HSI. HSI symbology is complete, as well as most of the HUD data. We just need to set up the target diamond of the TP location when looking through the HUD.

 

Earlier we talked about the ability to set a course line based on a selected TACAN station or Waypoint by using the course knob. This week we also added the ability to set a course using the UFC… much faster.

 

Thanks,

Matt “Wags” Wagner

Senior Producer

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  • ED Team

A lot of the most recent work has centered around getting the navigation systems up to where we want it to be for the Early Access release. This has mostly included fleshing out the waypoint systems to include:

 

- Add waypoints to sequence

- Delete waypoints from sequence

- Insert waypoints to sequence

- Time On Target (TOT) support

- Select sequences

- Sequence display (HSI)

- Waypoint HUD data

- WPDSG function

 

Once the Early Access is released, we will return to navigation and work on additional items like GPS, Mark Points, Offset Aim Points, and more detailed alignment procedures. For now though, our team will focus their efforts on weapon delivery items.

 

This video takes a look at waypoint navigation.

 

 

In the video, I did forget to show/mention that you can also select a waypoint at set that as the center of a courseline (just like we showed in the TACAN and ADF video).

 

Thanks,

Matt "Wags" Wagner

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  • ED Team

DCS World Live Stream Recording- 8 April 2018

 

This live stream recording focuses on the DCS: F/A-18/C Hornet and DCS: Persian Gulf map, with attention to the Iranian side of the map.

 

If you have questions about the Hornet, please first take a look at the FAQ here: https://forums.eagle.ru/showthread.php?t=197186

 

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We are very much in a sprint now to create a Hornet press preview, which will then fold into the Early Access release version.

 

As is probably a familiar mantra by now, much of the work is focused on the air-to-to air radar with implementation of STT, accurate gimbal limits in reference to the antenna frame, and SRPS scan being done “electronically” based on gimbal command to correct azimuth and elevation values. This results in the actual antenna maximum sweep azimuth varies with aircraft roll angle in RWS. The antenna servo electronics have additional scan limits applied to gimbals: 40 degrees of elevation at maximum azimuth, and 50 degrees of azimuth at maximum elevation. This results in the gimbal scan limit having the shape of octagon (gimbals physical limits + the limits applied by servo electronics). This can be observed by moving the antenna up or down using manual elevation control on the throttle. You’ll be able to observe this by not touching manual elevation and set the aircraft roll to 90 degrees.

 

In the attached image, you can see some of this new radar code now manifested on the HUD in regards to target range and Vc. A big push is now on auto-lock for the ACM modes and correct attack radar symbology on the HUD and radar display (AA Gun, AIM-9, and AIM-7).

 

Navigation is basically done for the Early Access, but we’ll return to this after Early Access release and add additional functions like the GPS, Mark Points, Offset Aim Points (OAP), and ICLS. For now though, you will have TACAN, ADF, and Waypoints.

 

With Early Access navigation ready, this part of the team has now moved to implement the AG bombing modes on the HUD and clean up the AG gun HUD mode. Once this is done, we’ll be able to create some pretty cool videos.

 

The flight models is undergoing continual refinements and tuning, and it’s already quite close. However, we strive to make it even better!

 

We have completed all the planned skins for actual F/A-18C squadrons and we’re now working on skins for F/A-18A/A+ squadrons. We have not forgotten about you Canadians, Australians and Spaniards!

 

We will have seven interactive training missions at the launch of the Early Access Hornet to include: Introduction, Cold Start, Taxi and Takeoff, TACAN and ADF Navigation, Waypoint Navigation, Straight In Landing, and Overhead Pattern Landing. More will come as Hornet systems come to completion!

 

The Early Access Hornet Guide is undergoing art creation, and it’s our hope that we can release this prior to the Early Access release of the game.

 

Thanks,

Matt “Wags” Wagner

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  • ED Team

Welcome DCS World the Blue Angels!

 

PLEASE READ:

 

1- We plan an option that will allow the pylons to be removed.

2- There will be the option to include each aircraft number of the team. It's just not ready in these WIP images.

 

Thanks!

Wags

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  • ED Team

A common request for our cockpits has been a pilot model when in the cockpit view. Today, we have just that in the Hornet! While particularly immersive when in VR, the pilot model is a valuable element to allow the player to feel “grounded” in the cockpit.

 

Naturally, this can be defaulted on or off from the Options menu, and manually turned on and off while in a mission.

 

Thanks,

Wags

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