Jabbers has released this preview video about the upcoming TWS Auto a few hours ago:
These are my thoughts, right after watching the video.
Is this a real game changer? It definitely is for single Pilots relying on Jester, although I wonder how it can categorize the contacts displayed on the TID. I haven’t checked but knowing Heatblur, they must have found about a solution.
What about the human RIO instead? Well, I’m not really sold, the biggest plus of TWS Auto is that now Cranking will not have the old issue of losing contacts. Moreover, the RIO does not have to follow the pilot’s manoeuvre with the AZM knob, allowing him to focus immediately on the SA and planning the next step.
It also makes the soft lock more reliable versus altitude changes and finally provides a visual reference to the pilot. Therefore, it is a brilliant tool, especially post launch (and in fact, TWS mode switches to Auto as missile is launched).
What about the previous phase instead? Here, I am not sure. Considering that the go-to mode is RWS and TWS before Employment is used especially for IFF or evaluate tracks, TWS Manual may still be the best option. In order to take the best out of TWS Auto, the RIO needs to assign “rules” to contact, on top of the IFF. Since the assigned classification is lost if the track itself is lost (albeit there are ways to make it more persistent) I am not sure how often I would do that pre-Employment.
On the other hand, skipping the classification can be a problem in complex missions, with dozens of aircraft in the air: for instance, if I’m aware of contacts spaced both on azimuth and elevation, how is the WCS knows what I want to focus on (which can be different from WCS’s logic)? Is it going to override my settings (e.g. I set 2B and it switches to 4B)?
Something that may come handy is using TWS Auto to centre the antenna towards a specific target, therefore avoiding the burden of having to calculate the Elevation manually (in very chaotic situations, it can cost precious seconds).
Most of these questions will be answered after reading the updated manual and spending a few minutes playing with this new feature. Meanwhile, let’s enjoy Jabber’s excellent video; and a big thank you to Heatblur for their amazing work!