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Hornet Mini-Updates


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Hey everyone, I answer this everyday on FB and YT, but I wanted to provide a little update here as well regarding the next Hornet video (start up). Most of the primary systems we need for an authentic cold start have been completed like electrical, hydraulics, fuel, AMAD/ATS, engines, display groups, and most sounds are done. There are certainly areas though we still plan to improve like the IBIT, DDI/MPACD fonts, cockpit art, and some sounds.

 

The big item we are still working on, and thus this hold up, has been the caution and warning system. This is a very complex system for the Hornet and the team has now completed most of the coding logic. This week, the team will hook up the display and control of those notices.

 

Once that has basic functionality is in place, we can move on to the next episode.

 

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Dear all,   For the next, big Open Beta update, we plan to include several new Hornet features that include:   Pre-Briefed (PB) mode for the HARM to include both HRM and A/C sub

In our next big update for the Hornet, we will be introducing the ATFLIR targeting pod. The ATFLIR is the targeting of choice for US Navy Hornets, and like the current Litening targeting pod, it

In the next update for the Hornet, we will introduce two new AGM-88C HARM modes: Pre-Briefed (PB) and the Pull Back sub-mode for the Self Protect (SP) mode. The Pre-Briefed mode allows you attack

One of the big elements to get the Hornet to the point we can do a comprehensive cold start has been the Built In Test (BIT) system. Although there is still some tuning to do and some of the BIT elements to complete, the general system is now completed and functional with several options including:

  • AUTO BIT
  • SELBIT and pressing BIT Group OSBs on the main BIT page
  • ALL for a selected BIT Group
  • Selecting individual items on a BIT Group using OSBs 1-5 and 11-15

This brings us one step closer to the next video.

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As mentioned earlier, a lot of effort is currently focused on the caution and advisory system. This includes various indicator lights around the cockpit, voice message advisories, and tones. Another element are the advisories that are the displayed in the DDIs with their own set of display logic.

 

Here is a work in progress on creating the masking areas. Ignore the purple color.

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While some parts of the team are toiling away on the caution and advisory system, other members have been busy with the Hornet’s navigation system. For the Early Access version, we plan both TACAN and Waypoint steering. Attached you can see a work-in-progress of the TCN system up and running in the game. The guys are now busy with the Waypoint system of navigation.

 

Having a functional waypoint navigation system is another required aspect of the start up video.

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In addition to creating the most realistic Hornet possible regarding the graphics, systems, and flight dynamics, another very important aspect of the simulation is great sound. This includes an authentic recreation of the sounds in the cockpit and from the outside.

 

Here is a little sample of some of the new, in-games external Hornet sounds. Please note that this still very much a work in progress.

 

 

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Although you’ll be starting the Hornet using battery power almost all the time, the ground power electrical bus panel will also functional. However, you’d only really use this during systems tests when you do not want to start up the jet. After requesting external electrical power from the ground crew, you will enable the main external electrical power switch. With external electrical power enabled, you can use the four ground power switches that each controls a separate group of systems/instruments. The control bus for each switch is listed on placard below the DISP button.

 

I’m discussing this now because I probably won’t touch on this during the Hornet Start Up video.

 

Work continues on the caution and advisory system.

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Today was a big step forward with the advisory and caution system in that we committed it into the rest of the Hornet simulation. Unlike yesteryears when such systems based on simple scripts, the system being created for our Hornet is all being based on all detail simulated sub-systems and all the correct display, clearing, priority logic. While being something that may appear from the outside as rather mundane and simple, it’s been far, far from it. With it now being “live” in the rest of the Hornet simulation, we can begin the process of debugging this complex system. At the same time, this a big step toward completing the sub-systems damage modeling.

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In just 24 hours since the Caution and Advisory system was moved into the simulation, the team has already rocketed through almost half conditions. Here you can see the right engine started, but not the left yet. I’m just waiting on a few key audio elements now before I can get started on the Hornet start up video.

 

Getting close! :)

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As much of the code team is busy working on the caution and advisory system (the last and toughest ones are always the worst), the art team has been working on the new stores for the Hornet. While there are many stores existing in DCS World that we can use, there are several that we are creating from scratch.

 

While not as interesting as a new bomb or missile, a new external fuel tank has been badly needed for the Hornet.

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A well-known visual characteristic of the Hornet has always been the vaps down the length of the Leading Edge Extension (LEX) during hard maneuvering. As has been eluded to earlier, we’ve been working on a new effect to properly implement this in DCS World. Rather than a simple shape file, we’ve used a partical-based system to allow the vaps to be very dynamic and variable based on aircraft maneuvering and the humidity. Not only are vaps based on the AoA of the aircraft, the humidity level is also a huge factor. In addition this effect working along the LEX, it is also being used for over the wings when appropriate.

 

Attached is an early work in progress image of this effect.

 

In addition to the Hornet, we plan to apply this effect to other aircraft, and this tech has been passed to our 3rd parties to use for their aircraft.

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One of the planned air-to-air weapons for the Early Access will be the AIM-7 Sparrow. In addition to the M version, we also plan the F and P versions. While still very much work-in-progress, the AIM-7 SMS page is taking shape and some of the basic HUD symbology. Still Sparrow work to do on radar integration, along with FLOOD and HOJ modes.

 

Work on the caution and advisory system continues with good progress; this has been a very complex and time-intensive undertaking. Other areas being worked on are the bombing HUD modes, A/A radar, INS waypoint system, RWR, and countermeasures.

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There have been a lot of questions regarding what sensors and weapons will be available at the launch of the early access DCS: F/A-18C Hornet. This decision is based on balancing a great, first experience, while getting quickly into the hands of those prefer early access adoption. We realize that early access is not for everyone, but for many, it is. If you prefer a completed product, we ask that you wait for the final release. Take that time to monitor previews and early access reports to make an informed purchase.

 

We believe that starting with the more “simple” systems at early access roll-out allows a more shallow learning curve at the start. By then adding new systems gradually, it introduces the Hornet’s sensors and weapons in a more structured manner… much like what a real Hornet pilot goes through when learning the aircraft. This also allows us more time to fully develop the more complex systems in a way that delivers the most realistic experience possible.

 

Note that this is all very much subject to change for our mid-2000s F/A-18C USN Hornet.

 

Sensors:

  • A/A radar with RWS, STT, and ACM modes

 

Weapons:

  • Mk-82 series
  • Mk-83 series
  • Mk-84 series
  • CBU-99 and Mk-20 Cluster Bombs
  • BDU-33 Training Bomb
  • BDU-45 Training Bomb
  • 2.75 inch rockets
  • 5 inch rockets
  • 20mm cannon
  • AIM-9L/M and CATM Sidewinder
  • AIM-7F/M Sparrow

 

Following the early access release, we plan to include many more sensors, weapons, and decoys for the final product. Please note that this list is also subject to change:

 

Sensors:

  • A/A radar with TWS, SCAN RAID, AZ/EL
  • A/G radar with MAP, EXP1, EXP2, EXP3, SEA, GMT, and TA
  • AN/ASQ-228 ATFLIR Targeting Pod
  • Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System (JHMCS)
  • Link-16
  • AWW-13 Datalink Pod
  • NVGs

 

Weapons:

  • AGM-88C HARM
  • AGM-84D Block 1C Harpoon
  • AGM-84E SLAM
  • AGM-84K SLAM-ER
  • AGM-65E Maverick
  • AGM-65F Maverick
  • AGM-154A JSOW
  • AGM-154C JSOW
  • Walleye II ER/DL
  • GBU-10 Paveway II
  • GBU-12 Paveway II
  • GBU-16 Paveway II
  • GBU-24B/B Paveway III
  • GBU-38 JDAM
  • GBU-31 JDAM
  • GBU-32 JDAM
  • AIM-9X Sidewinder
  • AIM-7P Sparrow
  • AIM-120B/C AMRAAM

 

Decoys:

  • ADM-141 TALD

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It’s a small thing, but some of the art for the HUD camera control panel and the UFC has been cleaned up a bit. As these portions of the cockpit are often in your face, it’s pretty important to get these looking as good as possible.

 

Also, we have had to move the Mk-77 to the post-Early Access release list for weapons. Not only will the Mk-77 require a new object and napalm effect, but an all new warhead type needs to be created (quite different than HE and pen-aid warheads) and all units and objects will need to be updated to account for this all, new weapon type. As you might imagine, it's going to be a lot of work to support this.

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In case of a departure, the Hornet was provided a spin/departure recovery system that instructs the pilot on how to command the controls to exit a spin. However, this did not really help with a much more serious “falling leaf” departure... As the Hornet evolved, the Flight Control System (FCS) became advanced enough that the jet could automatically recover itself by simply taking hands off the controls and allow the jet to fly itself out of the departure. In fact, the spin recovery switch should not really be used in later F/A-18s.

 

However, to be complete, we plan to model this system. Here are some work-in-progress images of it in action.

 

It’s been a very long haul with the Caution and Advisory System that has entailed the simulation of many other systems that feed into it like electrical, fuel, hydraulic, navigation, mission computers, flight control system, engine, AMAD, TAWS, and others. However, we are getting pretty close now to have functions in place to create an authentic Hornet start up. Thanks for your patience on this.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Let’s talk a little about sensors…

 

A key aspect of the Hornet early access release will be the air-to-air radar modes that consist of Range While Search (RWS), Single Target Track (STT), Latent Track While Scan (LTWS), and the Air Combat Maneuvering Mode of Boresight Acq (, Vertical Acq (VACQ), Wide Acq (WACQ), and Long Range Automatic Acq (AACQ). A lot of our efforts are now devoted to this.

 

Attached is an image just showing a symbol test. Several items are quite incorrect (it’s just a symbol test), so please don’t get too wrapped around the axle on this.

 

Once that is complete and the Early Access version of the Hornet has been released, we’ll be using the air-to-ground radar technology we’ve been developing over the past few years to create the A/G modes of the AN/APG-73 radar we are simulating. Our goal is to create the most realistic simulation of an A/G radar ever done for a game. This will be in addition to including the remaining A/A radar modes and functions.

 

Upon wrapping up the APG-73, we’ll move on to the ATFLIR, and at that time, develop a new and improved FLIR technology to provide the best and most realistic simulation of such a sensor.

You may also note in the image that we’ve been working on the lighting system for the IFEI. In fact, the panel was modified.

 

As for the Hornet start up video, we are just waiting on one critical item to be resolved with the caution and advisory system. The AV-8B will have the limelight to itself this weekend, but I hope to the Hornet start up video to you the week after… finally.

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As many of you know, we’ve had to push back the Hornet start up video much longer than we had originally hoped. This has primarily been due to getting most of the Caution and Advisories at start up correct. One of the more obvious start up elements is the ”deedle-deedle” and “flight controls, flight controls” audio at right engine start up. While it would be easy to simply script it at right engine start, we need to understand exactly what causes this and make sure we account for the factors that lead to it.

 

These audio elements in fact goes hand-in-hand with the Master Caution. Anytime a caution is triggered, the Master Caution light comes on the Master Caution Tone (“deedle-deele”) is heard. There are MANY items that can trigger a caution and this has been keeping the team busy the last couple of months. For a start-up, this is generally triggered by a Flight Control System (FCS) caution. There are several items that can lead to and FCS caution, but the one that we care about in this case is either a FLAP OFF or AIL OFF cautions. Either of these will in turn trip an FCS caution. An FCS caution in turns results in a “flight controls, flight controls” audio caution.

 

Unfortunately, despite having literally hundreds of Hornet manuals, there is no good information why these two FCS warnings manifest themselves at right engine start up. Through some of our great SMEs (Hornet pilots and ground crew), we now understand that these control surfaces can “droop” over time, once the aircraft shuts down (further than the FULL down position at shut down). When the aircraft starts up, the system sees this as an a flap or aileron failure and thus trips the caution. We are now in the process of updating the aircraft for accounting for control surface droop.

 

These would also be indicated on the FCS page and an FCS Reset and running a BIT would be required to clear them.

 

Anyhow, it’s these little details that we feel are important for the proper simulation of this aircraft, but it has resulted in additional development time. In the end, we think it will all be worth it and provide you the most authentic Hornet flight simulation for the PC.

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  • 2 weeks later...

As we continue working on the Hornet’s system needed for a proper cold start video, I’ve put together this little video that shows off the Hornet flying around the updated Caucasus map for DCS World 2.5.

 

We are at the point that we are satisfied with the caution and advisories for the startup video. They will not be 100% complete, but all the major indications are now in. Last week I wrote the voice over script and handed it over to a couple Hornet pilots to review. While they are pleased with it, they noticed a few missing items. There are several items like setting up the ZTOD and FLBIT that are not mentioned in the NATOPS checklist, but we want to include to be thorough.

Also, for the next video, we plan for it to be more extensive and include pre-flight, startup, taxi, and takeoff.

 

In the meantime, we hope you enjoy this video.

 

 

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Just a short note today:

 

As of today, we are at the point where enough of the Hornet systems are functional to make a great, authentic Hornet startup video. I'm starting to create this video today. It will take a few days to complete the video.

 

Thanks!

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This is our third introduction video to the Hornet, based on a Work-in-Progress build. In this video, we take a look at the preflight, startup, taxi and takeoff procedures in the F/A-18C Hornet. While most of the startup functions are now complete, there are still a few more to go.

 

 

For the next video, I plan to do a more detailed look at the basic HUD functions, the Upfront Controller (UFC), the Built In Test (BIT) page, and the Integrated Engine / Fuel Indicator (IFEI).

 

Thanks!

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Most of the current work on the Hornet is focused on the air-to-air radar, flight model and Flight Control System (FCS), and defensive systems.

 

- Range While Search (RWS) radar mode is functional and detecting targets. Functions like antenna elevation, bar, range, and azimuth setting are all functional. There is of course much work to still do on the A/A radar prior to Early Access release.

 

- The flight model and FCS are undergoing a lot of work to properly simulate both the Up and Away (UA) mode and the Powered Approach (PA) modes. Both modes have a very different feel. PA mode is critical for landing when the flaps are down and the trim hat controls AoA.

 

- Initially we planned the ALR-69, ALE-39, and ALQ-126B due to available data. However, we now feel we can do a pretty accurate simulation of the ALE-47 and ALQ-165 systems. This will also involve an update to the cockpit to include the Integrated Countermeasures Control Panel (ICMCP).

 

- Additionally, work continues on the INS/WYPT system, A/G weapon HUD displays, the EW page, the Azimuth Indicator, additional caution and advisory messages, autopilot modes, improved display fonts, and a better effect for the display of HUD information.

 

On the art side, we continue to tune both the external model and the cockpit. Let’s see who can first spot the cockpit art change in the attached image.

 

Also, with the release of the Preflight, Startup, Taxi, and Takeoff video earlier this week, we got some great feedback to further increase the accuracy of our Hornet simulation.

 

Thanks and have a wonderful holiday!

Matt “Wags” Wagner

Senior Producer, Eagle Dynamics

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Just another little detail…

 

When the cabin pressure switch is set to RAM/DUMP position, the Cabin/Defog RAM Air Inlet Door Assembly is now animated.

 

You can see this in the attached image, just behind the nose wheel landing strut.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Time for a mini-update!

 

Most of the team has been on the Russian new year’s holiday the past 10 days, but work will resume in full force on Tuesday. We are in sprint mode now to bring the Early Access build of the Hornet to release status as soon as we can.

 

As mentioned before, much of the current work revolves around tuning the flight model / Flight Control System (FCS), weapon integration (SMS page, HUD, and objects), the air-to-air radar, the INS system to support waypoints, and whole lotta systems and sound tuning.

 

Once more weapons come online, we’ll be showing them off and their delivery modes. Our art team is also working on some new skins that we should be showing off soon. Today we have an image of LAU-61 rocket pods and ZUNI rockets for the Hornet.

 

For the next Hornet academic video, we’ll dive into the HUD, Upfront Controller (UFC), and Integrated Fuel and Engine Indicator (IFEI).

 

Thanks,

Matt “Wags” Wagner

Senior Producer

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