Back from holidays, whilst I was chilling at the seaside (btw, use a proper mask and stay safe folks!) I had an idea about something different: putting together a list of common questions answered in 3-4 lines.
The answers are by no means exhaustive as the goal is be concise. In order to provide more info, I added a good number of relevant links pointing mostly to the F-14 Manual or the Wiki as my content is usually spread over multiple articles (this is a classification by topic)
If this list becomes too long and hard to read, I will split it into different articles.
I have hard time refuelling
Air to Air
AIM-9: Sidewinder, FOX-2 = IR (fire and forget);
AIM-54: Phoenix, FOX-3 = ARH (soft lock from launch to a range where the missile is activated – “A-Pole“).
AIM-54A Mk60: original seeker, more powerful rocket motor;
AIM-54C Mk47: improved seeker, original rocket motor.
AIM-54. Which one is better?
AIM-54. How does it work?
Later it will depend on the radar mode used. In TWS it is guided by the AWG-9 WCS until it is at a certain distance from the target, then it is commanded to activate its radar. At that point it is independent.
Can the RIO select AA weapons?
Air to Ground
COMPUTER PILOT vs TARGET. Differences?
COMPUTER PILOT vs TARGET. How do you remember the difference?
Simple but effective.
Why line of sight is always requested?
What is the difference between HD and LD?
LD: Low Drag, such as the standard Mk-82.
Long story short: LD fall faster, HD slower hence are suitable for low-level bombings.
Can the HD work as LD?
What are the ZUNIs?
It is a quite effective weapon against armoured targets but, due to how the damage model in DCS is since ~2012, they and have to be carefully delivered.
What is the TALD?
How do you calculate the ripple distance?
Problem is, only the interval can be set by the RIO. Everything else is in the hands of the pilot.
LANTIRN: how do I use it?
GBU-12 Paveway II → Mk82 500 lbs
GBU-16 Paveway II → Mk83 1000 lbs
GBU-10 Paveway II → Mk84 2000 lbs
GBU-24 Paveway III → Mk84 2000 lbs
Difference between Paveway II and Paveway III?
NOTE: I haven’t tested the GBU-24 in more than a year, they may have fixed it by now.
Best tip for new RIOs?
Difference between Pulse and Pulse Doppler?
Pulse Doppler, high PRF, uses relative speed. Grater distance but it can be notched.
What do you mean with “Notching”?
It affects Pulse Doppler radars.
What is the MLC filter?
What do you mean with “ZDF”?
ΔV between target and F-14 close to zero. Happens, for example, when chasing a cold target. The RIO can’t do much about it as it is due to hardware limitations. He can instead recognize the situation and command the pilot to accelerate/slow down, for instance.
What is STT?
What radar mode you use the most?
What information are displayed on the DDD?
What is the average detection range?
AN/ASN-92 (Inertial Navigation System) and AN/APX-76 (IFF)
What is the INS?
What are the easiest way to correct a drifted INS?
- Copying the latlongs from the NS430;
- TACAN fix;
- Copying the latlongs from the LANTIRN;
- Visual fix;
- Radar fix.
I input wrong data during the alignement of the INS and the avionics is showing weird stuff. How do I fix it without respawning? (New 29/07/2020, thanks Nathan!)
Mistakes happen and there is no Ctrl+Z in the F-14 so better restart the alignment if you made a mistake as it can compromise the whole mission (I did a error and we realized when we reached the Hold Short position. We ended up doing a full re-alignement in an apron nearby).
More details are in the manual.
How do you fix a broken/borked INS (e.g. due to Over-Gs)? (New 30/07/2020)
What is the IFF?
How does it work?
Tips about the IFF?
- Since it uses a different antenna (and behaves like Pulse) it can provide a quick AZM vs Distance view on the DDD without losing the TID picture.
- It can also spots targets not seen by the AWG-9, in that case there is no radar echo in the IFF symbology on the DDD.
- When applied to a locked/soft locked target, it “zooms in” and allows to spot targets that previously were not discernible from the DDD/TID.
Are squawk codes supported?
AN/ALE-39, LAU-138 and Countermeasures
How do define what is loaded in each CM slot (Weight-on-wheels)?
How many Chaffs each LAU-138 provides?
What is the default CM config?
How are Chaffs and Flares deployed?
How the pilot chooses to drop Chaffs or Flares?
What are Jammers?
Any interesting tip for new RIOs?
Bonus inutility point: By mixing and playing with the AN/ALE-39, both Chaffs and Flares can be deployed as a radar threat is detected. Don’t do that.
TACAN, Radios and Comms
What does TACAN mean and what is it?
The F-14 has two control panels but only one TACAN can be used. A switch to commute between the two control panels is present in each cockpit.
What is the TACAN Yardstick?
It works by setting the TCN to A/A then a first aircraft to a channel, e.g. 63Y, and having the other setting 63 channels more, in this case 126Y.
Note that the TACAN has a warm-up time of a few minutes so you could be Timber Sour if you test it immediately post startup.
Why is the Yardstick limited compared to Ground/CV TCN stations?
Tankers instead, being much bigger planes, provide both distance and bearing.
Tips about the TACAN?
- I usually have the pilot set the Yardstick, then as RIO I control everything else. By doing so, I know that when he has control, we have Yardstick indication displayed.
- To monitor the TCN distance (especially Yardstick) I usually rely on the BDHI-Bearing Distance Heading Indicator rather than having the pilot switching to TCN Dest.
Who manages the radios?
If the RIO gets saturated, the pilot should be proactive and help.
Differences between the radios in the F-14?
The AN/ARC-159 (“Forward” radio) is the pilot’s. It is UHF only.
The AN/ARC-182 (“Aft” radio) is a V/UHF radio located in the RIO’s cockpit. It can monitor Guard frenquency by changing the mode to T/R + G.
Can the F-14 use ADF?
What is the difference between VHF and UHF?
UHF: Ultra High Frequency.
The F-14 have two UHF capable radios and only one VHF capable radio.
How does the crew communicate internally?
TID – Tactical Information Display
What is the TID?
How does the TID work?
How are radar modes displayed on the TID?
- nothing displayed
- Search: nothing displayed;
- RWS: UNKN symbol displayed depending on the range;
- TWS and STT: IFF ID symbol displayed depending on the range, plus track vector;
What is the NAVGRID?
NAVGRID is displayed in TID GND STAB mode only, but the references are shown in A/C STAB mode as well.
What is the TID AVIA?
- Vertical Velocity;
It is useful to monitor and help the pilot during CV landings, especially in low-vis / bad weather.
Can the TCS be slaved to the radar?
Can the radar be slaved to the TCS?
Does the F-14 have a Datalink?
What is the difference between LINK4A and LINK4C
LINK4C is a Fighter-to-Fighter DL mode. Up to four F-14 can share information by this DL mode. It is very handy in case no AWACS are present in the area or the terrain or the range impedes them. It can also be used to fix a drifted INS (hence I dubbed it “Buddy-INS Fix”).