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Old 10-30-2016, 02:50 PM   #102
archimaede
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For the Community A-4E October Update, we’re excited to present a number of new features and capabilities for our mod:


Lighting

With the very-generous tips and suggestions from both SkateZilla and one of our 3rd party developers, we’ve implemented our first exterior lighting; red and green wingtip navigation lights, a flashing anti-collision beacon on top of the avionics hump, a white navigation light on the tail, and a bright taxi floodlight on the right main gear door. Navigation, tail and fuselage lights support both bright and dim settings, and may be programmed to flash or shine steadily. (Fuselage lighting and the refueling probe light will hopefully make it by next month.)

We also have early test interior lighting as well, with red and white flood lights in the cockpit. Realistic lighting is proving to be a challenge considering our limitations as unofficial developers, but we’ll keep plugging away.


AN/APG-53A Radar
We’ve been able to implement the AN/APG-53A terrain mapping radar in our A-4E mod. This radar features four main operating modes and submodes:

SEARCH: Long range scanning of major terrain features, using a 5 degree cone that sweeps 60 degrees of azimuth. Useful for identifying coastlines and mountains at night or in bad weather. Manually adjustable search beam from +10 to -15 degrees of elevation relative to the flight path. Search range is adjustable to 20nm or 40nm.
TERRAIN CLEARANCE - PLAN: Scans 60 degrees of azimuth along the flight path using an adjustable 1-5 degree beam height, at a range of up to 20nm. Plan range is adjustable to 10nm or 20nm.
TERRAIN CLEARANCE - PROFILE: 1-degree-wide vertical scan that sweeps antenna elevations from -15 to +10 degrees, to show altitude of terrain relative to the current flight path. Radar returns are overlaid with a virtual -1000’ scribe line. Includes aural and visual obstruction (OBST) warnings for impending low clearance. Profile range is adjustable to 10nm or 20nm.
AIR-TO-GROUND: Measures slant range along weapon datum for more accurate deployment of unguided munitions. Capable of locking terrain up to 15,000 yards away, with a fixed scale of 4000 yards per line on the scope. Requires a dive angle of at least 10 degrees over flat terrain to ensure enough return signal strength to hold a lock.


Additional APG-53A controls & adjustments:
Brilliance - brightness of the radar return screen
Storage - alters how long radar return data stays on the screen
Detail - adjusts cone diameter in TC-PLAN and TC-PROFILE modes
Gain - adjusts the filtering of weak radar returns
Reticle - alters the contrast of the range/azimuth markings on the screen (not yet implemented)
AoA Compensation - aligns radar elevation to flight path
Volume - controls the volume of the OBST warning tone
Red night filter - flips down to improve night vision

Mod limitation: The real APG-53A would be able to see a return from large ships in the ocean, for example. Our radar, however, will not show a return for ships or other vehicles.

Check out a 2 part detailled overview of the radar here:




ASN-41 Navigation Computer
APG-153(V) Doppler Navigation Radar

Next, we implemented the ASN-41 Navigation Computer and the APG-153(V) Doppler Navigation radar. The ASN-41 Navigation Computer features reports present position (in latitude/longitude) and stores up to two destination waypoints (D1 and D2) which the user can switch between at any time. Destination waypoints are manually adjustable mid flight. Bearing, Suggested Heading, and Range to waypoint are output to the BDHI (Bearing-Distance-Heading Indicator) when the BDHI is in NAV CMPTR mode. Traditionally, the pilot would either 1) Keep D2 as home base and adjust D1 as needed for each waypoint or 2) Ping-pong adjusting D2 while flying to D1 and vice versa.

For accuracy of position and calculation of suggested heading when there is wind in a mission, the ASN-41 receives ground-speed data from the APG-153(V) doppler radar, which allows it to calculate wind direction and speed relative to your indicated airspeed, and use that to adjust the recommended course to fly. This radar has Land and Sea modes (it’s more accurate when you correctly select the terrain you’re overflying). For cases where the radar fails to pick up a ground return, it remembers the most-recently gathered data and continues to feed that to the ASN-41 in “memory mode.” If the APG-153 has completely failed, you may enter wind strength, wind bearing, and magnetic declination manually into the ASN-41.

Mod limitation: To ease the use of the ASN-41 in DCS, we implemented waypoint switching based on mission waypoints that were created in the mission editor. “Next Target” and “Previous Target” keybinds will cycle the D1 waypoint through the coordinates defined in the mission. D2 will initialize itself to your home airbase. Pilots are free to ignore these keybinds and program D1 and D2 manually, if they want to be more realistic.


ARN-52(V) TACAN
The ARN-52(V) TACAN receiver is a homing radio used to provide bearing and range to specially designed TACAN beacons on the ground. It supports 126 channels on the X band (1X through 126X) in either REC (bearing only) or T/R (bearing and range) modes. It has an effective range of up to 225 nautical miles, provided the station isn’t obscured by terrain. This model of TACAN radio cannot receive “Y” channels.

Bearing information is displayed with needle 2 on the BDHI when the BDHI is in “TACAN” mode. Range information is displayed on the same gauge when in T/R mode. If the signal is lost, the needle will revert to a default position and the distance measuring equipment will show the “OFF” flag.

Mod Limitation: Air-to-air TACAN ranging is not supported.


Angle-of-Attack Ladder
Per the design of the AoA system in the A-4, it will highlight when you’re on a stabilized on a 4-degree glide slope by showing the amber circle. If you’re descending too steeply (more than 0.5 degrees above glide slope), the green carrot will light up to indicate that you should accelerate. If you’re too shallow (more than 0.5 degrees below glide slope) then the red carrot will light up indicating you need to slow down.


Check out an overview of the systems and combat mission here:


Thanks for all of your support so far, and stay tuned for more next month!

Last edited by archimaede; 10-30-2016 at 03:02 PM.
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