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6 minutes ago, WinterH said:

Thx for the info Blaze! Interesting to find out about AN/AWG-21 + AGM-78 equipped variant too.

No problem WinterH.  Regarding the Ironhand mission, there were even I think three subvariants of the 'B'!

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I'll repeat it, so it comes "from our mouths" here as well, and there is no doubt: Stay tuned for the A-6E and KA-6 being added to DCS World as AI units in the near future as part of the dev

Hey everyone,   Just crossposting some thoughts from hoggit; We were super happy to take part in ED's wonderful cloud video today with an early version of the AI A-6's - hope you enjoye

Too early to discuss such details just yet, SWIP, TRAM, etc... the first step will be to finish the AI now first, then we will see, and of course keep you in the loop, as always. 🙂 In that sense, plea

Given the equivalent cross-over for the F-14, I’d honestly expect an -E.
That means I don’t expect a STANDARM as by then HARMs we’re going to Prowlers and Hornets. At the same time, I’d personally prefer that we get the earlier models, I suspect that a 70s/80s era Intruder is more likely given the surrounding environment.


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17 minutes ago, ghostdog688 said:

Given the equivalent cross-over for the F-14, I’d honestly expect an -E.
That means I don’t expect a STANDARM as by then HARMs we’re going to Prowlers and Hornets. At the same time, I’d personally prefer that we get the earlier models, I suspect that a 70s/80s era Intruder is more likely given the surrounding environment.


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I worked on the A-6E Tram at VX-5 in 1982. AQnd they were carring the HARM then.

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16 minutes ago, TLTeo said:

Thanks for the info Blaze1! I assumed the STARM disappeared together with the platforms dedicated to launching it.

Your welcome.  I think STARM disappeared because cracks were being noticed in there motors apparently, but at the same time HARM was reaching IOC, so the STARM was retired.

 

MBot:thumbup:

 

 


Edited by Blaze1
Mbot beat me to it. :)
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For the love of God ED/HB, since we still have plenty of time, it would be awesome if you could somehow get Willem Dafoe to play the next AI/BN voice.  I think even he would get a kick out of it.

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While they claim it's 'too early' to consider variants, I actually disagree. At least, on our end as consumers. I think it could be helpful to coalesce a general idea if what would be the most popular. That way, when it's time for HB to start discussing this, they can weigh what is most popular against what is most accessible for them to develop. To that end, I wanted to detail the A-6 family. Sure, you would be forgiven if you assumed the MiG-21 was my favorite aircraft.

 

Truth be told, I don't really have a defined favorite. I love too many and I seek to fly as many as I can before the grim reaper grounds me. You could say the MiG-21 is my favorite Eastern bloc aircraft and you'd be absolutely correct. But, hands down, my favorite American Cold War aircraft is the A-6 Intruder. I've also been an Intruder fan longer than I've been a MiG fan. I befriended an old MiG jockey who moved stateside to be with family and that's where my interest for that came from. A-6? You already know I'm going to say Flight of the Intruder.

I think I finished that book when I was.. 8? Either way, I love Intruders is what I'm getting at. So, here it goes:

 

Standard Intruders

A-6A- The A-6A was the first production run of the A-6 series. It was kind of a big deal, especially as a carry-decked strike aircraft. Prior to the A-6, if your company got bogged down in a firefight in bad weather? You were on your own. But, with the A-6, you finally had something that could provide close air support in all weather. This was owed to two things: The DIANE (Digital Integrated Attack & Navigation Equipment) suite and the gutsy crews willing to fly in this kind of weather. DIANE has been described as a series of radars ducttaped together. It consisted of the AN/APQ-92 search radar, AN/APG-46 tracking radar, AN/APN-141 radar altimeter, AN/APN-122 Navi Radar, AN/ASN-31 INS, Air data computer (I'm having trouble identifying of the A had the SDADC), and the AN/ASQ-61 Ballistics computer. When it worked, it was a real winner. That said, it did have some teething issues. They'd be eventually sorted. The A-6A carried respectably diverse payload. Of course, there's its bombs and rockets (including Zunis), but it could also carry Shrikes and Bullpups. For self defense, it could carry Sidewinders (AIM-9D). In total, they made 480 examples.

 

A-6E - The Echos first deployed in '71 and they were a huge refinement upon the existing A-6s. DIANE was out and she was replaced by the AN/APQ-148 Multi-Mode radar set. Basically, unifying multiple systems into a singular, even more sophisticated package. They also received a pair of new INS sets; AN/ASN-92 and CAINS (Carrier Aircraft Inertial Nav System). In '79, they started to receive the TRAM (Target Recognition & Attack Multisystem) upgrades. This included the AN/AAS-33 Detecting and Ranging Set, AN/ASQ-155 target computer, and that distinctive little chin turret. It's gyrostabilized FLIR sensor with laser designator. Paired with the TRAM upgrade, Es received the AN/APQ-156 radar set. All this allowed the Intruder's bombardier/navigator to utilize both radar and FLIR to gain a very accurate fix on a target. The FLIR could also be used without the radar in an effort to minimize radar output and stay hidden. 

 

That wasn't it, though. The A-6E received another upgrade program in the 1980s called WCSI or Weapons Control System Improvement. This gave it Harpoons and Skippers. Eventually, it got limited SLAMer integration. A WCSI bird could launch a SLAMer, but a SWIP bird would have to designate.

 

Oh yeah, and there's SWIP or Systems and Weapons Improvement Program. This was the final upgrade for the fleet. It gave the Intruder access to Mavericks, SLAMers, Walleyes, HARMs, and improved Harpoon capabilities. The AN/ASQ-155 received a hardware upgrade to keep up. Also, most of the fleet received a wing upgrade to a composite wing. There were fatigue issues, so a newer wing was developed. It was a double edged sword; it cured wing fatigue issues, but it also stressed the fuselage a lot more. The final batch of Intruders were A-6E SWIPs with their new, composite wings and delivered in 1993. In total, 440 A-6Es were produced or converted from earlier airframes.

 

Specialized Intruders

A-6B - One of the surprises of the SEATO was the strength of North Vietnamese air defenses. 19 A-6As were stripped of a lot of DIANE's kit and it was replaced with equipment specialized for the SEAD mission, called Iron Hand by the Navy. Unusually, these Intruders weren't put into their own unit, but found themselves assigned to established Intruder squadrons to fly alongside them. The original search radar and navigational radar were replaced with an AN/APQ-103 and an AN/APN-153 respectively. Of course, this Intruder carried the Shrike, but it could also carry the Standard ARM. Eventually, they'd be converted to the E standard.

 

A-6C - The A-6C is an interesting example as it seems to have been purpose made for combatting the flow of arms along the Ho Chi Minh trail. 12 were converted from the A spec to the C. The upgrades included the AN/APQ-112 search radar, AN/APN-186 navigational radar, AN/APQ-46 fire control radar, and the Trails/Roads Interdiction Multisensor or TRIM. The TRIMpod is the easiest identifier on the C as it hangs midway down the fuselage belly. All would eventually become Es.

 

KA-6D - The KA-3Bs were showing their age by... probably 1960, but the Navy does like to work slow. In early 70s, over 70 A-6As and a dozen A-6Es were converted to the KA-6D spec. This removed the DIANE set all together and an internal fuel transfer system replaced it. KA-6Ds would be assigned to each Intruder squadron, much like the A-6Bs. If you were an Intruder jock, you'd have learned to operate both the standard Intruder and one of the tanker Intruder. The responsibility fell to the entire squadron evenly and you could probably expect a good chunk of your time in the air during a cruise to be spent in a KA-6D. Given that the KA-6Ds were not only servicing their own squadron, but also the whole carrier air group, it would be safe to say the KA-6Ds were run absolutely ragged. The A-6 fleet, save for those built in the last few years towards production, were in a pretty haggard state. The KA-6Ds were probably held together by positive thoughts and Bondo.

 

EA-6A - I've heard this one called the Electric Intruder and, yes, it's the predecessor to the EA-6B Prowler. It had the AN/ALQ-86 ECM suite that was carried in that distinctive tail that'd be carried over into the Prowler. It actually had an AN/APQ-129 fire control radar and could, in theory, be used to employ the Shrike anti-radiation missile.

 

EA-6B - This one's basically it's own airframe at this point. The most obvious difference is the stretched fuselage to accommodate a four-person crew. It's really outside of the scope of our interests here.

 

The A-6's service history obviously includes Vietnam, but it was used for quite a bit more afterwords:
-Multinational Force in Lebanon '83
-Operation El Dorado Canyon '84

-Operation Praying Mantis '88

-Desert Shield '90-'91

-Desert Storm '91

-Iraqi No-Fly zone enforcement

-Operation Restore Hope '92-'93

 

Conclusion

You're welcome to draw your own conclusions, this is just my opinion.

 

The A-6 provides a pretty diverse set of potentials for DCS. My own recommendation? My own preference? My interest lies mostly in the 1980s and early 1990s for theatres of operations.

 

I'd recommend either A-6E TRAM, WCSI, or SWIP and a KA-6D. Sure, Heatblur has demonstrated a willingness to provide new variants later on, but it still might seem like it'd be asking for a bit much. Let me explain, though.

 

Simply put, both aircraft are part of the A-6 squadron experience. You trained on an A-6E and the KA-6D. You were proficient in both missions. So, I see it as pretty vital to have both available to the DCS player and the DCS mission maker.

 

How will I employ it? Why should I be interested?

Questions that will be inevitably asked. After all, DCS isn't starved for dedicated attack birds. What sets the A-6 apart from the A-10 or the A/V-8B?

 

The A-6's element is a thick cloud layer. While it seems redundant under VFR conditions, the A-6 comes into its own when it's socked in. The A-6 is going hide in a layer of clouds, seek out the target thanks to its tech, and destroy said target without the flightcrew ever actually laying eyes on it.  If hurtling through a layer of clouds or operating at night in all weather appeals to you? If you're someone who actually messes with meteorological conditions? The A-6 is going to be an airframe of interest to you.


Edited by MiG21bisFishbedL
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On 9/20/2020 at 9:32 PM, Southernbear said:

 

Yeah and lets see where thats got us. F-16 was released without even a damage model and half baked and even with the additions in a few days its still not going to be finished (tho I will say ED has gotten a lot better) and neither is the F-18 finished

 

As for RAZBAM they have routinely shown their inability to put out a module without major issues. the Harrier, Mirage and Mig 19 had terrible launches to the point where they had to get the French airforce in anyway to help them with the Mirage.

 

The Harrier is now "feature complete" and out of EA despite its current state so RazzleBazzle can now push the F-15E out before or around the end of the year despite not even having a physical model yet (they're using the AI F-15E current) to say I'm skeptical about the F-15E's release and anything else from RB would be an understatement.

 

Razbam said that the license for the A-6 was taken already...and heatblur has stated their new module will be 2 engined and "complex" yet also stated that they aren't moving over to it till the F-14 is totally finished which is currently projected to be around March 2021.

 

Nick has already stated ED barely runs at a profit and that hes had to put his own money to pay for some things and thats EVEN WITH all the sales and other stuff. The reason HB don't do sales is because they only have 2 products and they know people will buy them at full price anyway because they are quality products.

 

For all we know they may have been working on a full fidelity module of an A-6 for years now but like they did with the Tomcat but haven't told us because Heatblur doesn't need to ride the hype train to sell EA products before people repeat the process of "realizing" that the product they've bought doesn't even have a damage model.

 

 

I don't know about you but I would prefer to wait a little longer and buy a quality product at $127 AUD then buying a 20% off EA product that is half baked and won't get all its systems and weapons for another 2-3 years

 

All good points...

Don't forget the Viggen that was released in Nov 2, 2017 for the Viggen and still not out of beta lol ... 3+ years ago.

We still don't have an official mission for the the Viggen was designed for operating out of roads.

 

While I agree on you waiting 1-2 years for a "proper" release, these 3rd party devs need the pre-release income to support their business which IMO is a dangerous game.  The downside is 3rd party's devs feel pressured to release something, when they do lot's of bugs and issues and the buyer complains, kinda dammed if you do, dammed if you don't... plus IF one of them was to go out of business before its released don't expect ED to give you a refund, its a digital product and might we will be fairy dust lol 

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Eh, you're comparing apples to oranges imo. The Viggen and Tomcat may still be labelled as EA, but they are feature complete and have been so since launch, more or less. Per the last trailer, the A6 model is already at an extremely advanced stage, or ED would not have included it.

 

Meanwhile, the main system in e.g. the supposedly out of EA Harrier (the ARBS/DMT) is not simulated at all (just to name one glaring issue out of many) nor will it ever be because RB claim they don't have enough information on it (despite the patent explaining the exact functioning of the system being available on Google). And RB have announced dozens of modules "in the pipeline", but they haven't shown anything beyond either a very early 3d model (e.g. A29, Mig 23, EE Lightning) or tests using ED's existing 3d assets (the Strike Eagle).

 

Honestly as it stands, it looks like the A6 is much farther along than anything that isn't a Hind, F4U, Mirage F1, MB-339 or Mossie (or possibly the Apache, but we will see...).

 

Oh and btw, I think the talk about variants is redundant. It's clear from the trailer that we're getting at least a TRAM jet, and a SWIP is highly likely given it would coincide perfectly with the Tomcat timeframe.

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4 hours ago, TLTeo said:

 

 

Oh and btw, I think the talk about variants is redundant. It's clear from the trailer that we're getting at least a TRAM jet, and a SWIP is highly likely given it would coincide perfectly with the Tomcat timeframe.

Not really. HB is adding multiple Tomcats and the specialized A-6 variants would offer even greater variance. 

 

A-6E TRAM of some stripe, then the KA-6D, then a DIANE bird, for example.


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I worked on the A-6E Tram at VX-5 in 1982. AQnd they were carring the HARM then.

My mistake! Good to know we have at least a little more options then. Perhaps it will satiate the folks wanting a Prowler, seeing as how that’s about as much as it would offer to DCS until ECM and jamming is more accurately modelled.


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How did the A-6 compare to or complemented the A-4 and A-7? 
Was it the sophisticated night bomber while the other two were the dirty day-time bomb-porters? I am pretty ignorant as to its place in US carrier groups during Vietnam/the 70s.

 

Personally, I’d much rather have a Phantom by Heatblur - that would have been an instant buy, but the A-6 may still be interesting enough for me to buy to play offline/cold war server (since we won’t get an official A-4 either).

“Mosquitoes fly, but flies don’t Mosquito” :pilotfly:

- Geoffrey de Havilland.

 

... well, he could have said it!

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I have the impression that A-6E is a given, so the question is whether TRAM or SWIP. With regards to the eventual flyable variant at least, for the AI version it won't really matter externally.

 

I am strongly in favor of the TRAM, as with its service entry in 1979 it represented the Navy's primary attack platform for this critical Cold War era. SWIP only entered service in 1990 or so and in the 1991 Desert Storm, only 2 of 9 participating A-6E squadrons flew SWIP instead of TRAM. So in my opinion, TRAM is definitely the most historically significant variant.

 

I understand that many will desire the latest and greatest weapons added with SWIP, most importantly HARM. Personally I think that HARM turned out to be a rather boring weapon (as experienced in other DCS modules). Shrike was a much more interesting and exciting to use, as it required the shooter to fly into the threat envelope of the SAM. The same with SLAM.

 

I would caution to not repeat the mistake done with selecting the AJS-37 over the AJ-37, where in my opinion the "best" variant took away some of the charm of the original design. HB went to great length to model the peculiarities of the Viggen's original navigation system, then added the TERNAV system of the S modifications which basically made making any nav fixes unnecessary. Wasn't it frustrating for HB to see, that after spending so much effort to simulate the nav fixes, almost no one actually uses them (with TERNAV, the Viggen basically navigates as effortless as with GPS)?

 
1 hour ago, ghostdog688 said:
12 hours ago, bC3660 said:
I worked on the A-6E Tram at VX-5 in 1982. AQnd they were carring the HARM then.


My mistake! Good to know we have at least a little more options then. Perhaps it will satiate the folks wanting a Prowler, seeing as how that’s about as much as it would offer to DCS until ECM and jamming is more accurately modelled.

 

I would caution that VX-5 was a test an evaluation squadron. HARM hit the fleet with the A-6E SWIP in 1990.

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11 hours ago, Devil 505 said:

For the love of God ED/HB, since we still have plenty of time, it would be awesome if you could somehow get Willem Dafoe to play the next AI/BN voice.  I think even he would get a kick out of it.

 

Or Brian Blessed. 'HARM IS ALIVE!'. 😄

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4 hours ago, MBot said:

I would caution to not repeat the mistake done with selecting the AJS-37 over the AJ-37

Quite honestly, the mistake would have been to make AJ37 instead of AJS37. And I say this as someone who is gettig mighty annoyed that we seem to get more 2000s aircraft in DCS these days instead of 60s-90s ones. All you need for turning into an 70s AJ is not using TERNAV (which, I'm not sure but I think can be disabled), and not loading RB 74s, RB 15Fs and Mjölnirs. Otherwise it is very much the same aircraft.

As I have said, I do agree with sentiment of all the upcoming 2000s+ aircraft is getting boring. I very much do agree. But in case of these oldies, I prefer later variants either 80s or, depending on the aircraft up to early/mid 90s (as in case of Heatblur's excellent F-14B). For A-6E though, I'd be quite happy with TRAM.

 

I can understand argument for TRAM instead of SWIP. Because in this case SWIP would probably have a different cockpit, and navigation system, thus would somewhat alter the experience. But in Viggen's case, calling AJS instead of AJ to be a mistake is, interesting... as the difference is so negligible, and does not invalidate the possibility of getting AJ37 experience from the module as far as I know. AJS adds, optionally, the ability to make it still somewhat relevant up to 90s-2000s, without completely detracting the possibility of enjoying it a'la 70s-80s. That's why I really hope when we get F-4E it will be the 80s block Belsimtek was making, to make it a great 80s strike fighter that can still kinda work up to early 2000s.

 

Anyway, in case of A-6, I would honestly be very happy with all generaions: A-6A with DIANE for that retro-advanced experience, A-6E TRAM, with or without WCSI, and A-6E SWIP with all the missiles. They each offer something unique. But a TRAM is a pretty happy medium I'd say. Also, with Flying Iron's upcoming A-7E, we are getting a non targeting-pod capable naval striker already, so TRAM turret would add something unique in comparison.

 

Also, I'd like to say that I'm happy that we are still getting things like A-6E, A-7E, 4 variants of Mirage F.1, F-8J, EE Lightning, Mirage III, Pucara, Mi-24P, and MiG-23MLA among all the post 2000s stuff. Especially more so the latter two as they are from the other side of the fence! 🙂 Now if we could add MiG-27K, Su-17M3 or M4, Jaguar, and perhaps also the Buccaneer to that list...

Modules:

MiG-21Bis, Fw-190D, Bf-109K, P-51D, F-86F, Ka-50, UH-1H, Mi-8MTV2, Hawk T1A, C-101, FC3, A-10C, CA, Mirage 2000C, Gazelle, L-39, MiG-15Bis, F-5E, AJS 37 Viggen, Yak-52, Christen Eagle II, MiG-19, I-16, JF-17, F-14, F/A-18C, Fw-190A8, AV-8B/NA, Spitifre IX

 

Mods:

A-4E, MB-339, Edge 540

 

Utility modules:

Combined Arms, NS 430 GPS

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5 hours ago, ghostdog688 said:

Someone can voice Morg, as long as he says something along the lines of “man hope we don’t catch a golden BB today”


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Wrong movie brother.  That was Air America, but still a GREAT movie.  If we ever have a proper military cargo plane, maybe we can get Robert Downey JR to be the AI. LOL.  The golden BB line was "Jack" actor Art LeFleur.  Funny guy in that movie.  

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