News from Heatblur (and new tests ahead!)

Heatblur has recently release a Dev update about the F-14 and the Viggen. If you have missed it, there it is.

Among many great news (yay, RIO inputs!) the AIM-54 rework is definitely one of the most interesting parts, having spent so much time making the AIM-54 PK model and studying the WCS guidance:

We’re pleased to note that we’re finally able to use the new missile API to control the AIM-54 active mode from the F-14!

These changes are currently live in our experimental build branches, and we are currently testing to ensure that everything works as it should. Here is a brief summary of what these changes include. We’ll delve into more depth once this feature is ready to ship:

  • TWS with range >10NM: LTE 3s, loft, SARH/DL, missile goes active at 16 seconds time-to-impact
  • PDSTT with range >10NM: LTE 3s, loft, SARH/DL, missile does not go active (SARH/DL all the way to target)
  • TWS or PDSTT with range <10NM, or PH ACT selected: LTE 3s, no loft, active directly after launch
  • PSTT or BRSIT or (ACM cover up with no track or PSTT or PDSTT): LTE 1s (unless STT and angle >15deg then 3s), no loft, active immediately

This also means the in-flight missiles with TWS will no longer go active if tracking is lost, the F-14 is destroyed, the radar is disabled (..etc), before 16s TTI. However, the WCS can keep a track file stored for up to 2 minutes (for targets under missile attack) and send an active signal to the Phoenix pointing it into the target’s likely position, if the track has not updated for a certain time.

We’ll continue testing the Phoenix and ensuring that it behaves as accurately to the real thing as possible.

This rework means that my models may not be accurate any more. Moreover, I decided to suspend some tests I was working on and wait for the delivery of the new Phoenix implementation.

When the new implementation is deployed, I will initially focus on the new WCS guidance: the differences between each delivery mode open up a broad range of employment tactics. I’m curious to test, for instance, if a TWS launch can be followed up by a PSTT lock to reacquire a notching target and the effect that this has over the WCS guidance and the trajectory of the missile.

Another important tests concern the “hunches” in the AIM-54 flight path due to high G pulled in different moments of the envelope. If such high-G episodes are smoothed out, the AIM-54 can definitely become an even greater threat, especially the C and the A Mk47, both sporting a rocket motor less powerful than the AIM-54A Mk60.

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