The TID displays the velocity vectors of the targets scanned by the AWG-9 or Datalinked. It sounds clear and simple but there are aspects and information provided by the TID that may go unnoticed or even be confusing.
This article introduces the Ground Stabilized mode.
The Tactical Information Display mode is selectable by a dedicated knob placed under and to the left of the TID Control Panel.
According to the manual:
Velocity vector emanating from center dot of tracks when velocity vector display is selected.
Vector direction represents track heading and length represents track speed so that the max indicated speed (1 800 knots) is 1.5 inches on the TID.
In TID ground stabilized mode the vector direction represents track true heading and the vector length represents track ground speed.
In TID aircraft stabilized and attack modes the vector direction represents track relative heading (to own aircraft) and the vector length represents track speed relative to own aircraft.
To better understand what the manual means, I created a simple mission and observed the results.
This scenario is very simple. The speed of each aircraft is 200kts, each flying at 10,000ft. Our F-14 is flying at 430kts.
This is a capture of the DDD:
Note of the position of the targets on the DDD reflects their closure rate.
The details of the DDD in PD mode are beyond the scope of this article. More information can be found on the manual.
Ground stabilized mode
The Ground Stab mode is the easiest display to understand. It’s a “Bird’s eye” or “God’s eye” view as sometimes is called. It resembles some sort of RTS game and each vector clearly indicates the direction and the speed of the aircraft (i.e. If the aircraft were faster, their vectors would be longer). Our aircraft doesn’t play any role in this view, it doesn’t affect the representation of the contacts.
The Ground Stab view is very handy to better understand the AO and establish and improve the Situation Awareness: the top part of the TID is always North and the Vectors are not relative to our aircraft, this makes the situation clear and understandable at a glance.
Necessity is the mother of invention. Again.
This view offers an immediate picture of the area and can be used to establish a simple means of understanding Bullseye calls. This is not a precise a method at all, rather just a palliative, and requires a lot of eyeballing. Nevertheless, by creating a waypoint on the bullseye coordinates, we can sort of understand the calls.
For instance, in the following picture, a Bandit is DL and we fairly quickly understand its Bullseye reference. For the distance, we can use the radar boundaries: dashes are 20nm each, and the target seems to be a little short 4 dashes. Let’s say 75nm. The angle seems close to 60° (remember that the TID is distorted when watched from default point of view). This method works better to understand Bullseye calls, rather than provide them. Nevertheless, no one expects you to provide and understand perfectly such references until the proper function is implemented.
A neat function of the TID is the Offset (Controls→F-14B RIO→”HCU Offset”): if a part of an area we are interested in is, for instance, placed on the limits of the TV screen or out of such limits entirely, we can hook a more favourable position and press the Offset button to re-center the TID there (I used it in the very first picture to present a better view of the contacts).
The Ground Stabilized mode of the TID is immediate and flexible. It can be used for quick calculations and to get a better idea of the SA. The next part will go into the details of the Aircraft Stabilized mode.