70 Years ago Today

70 years ago today 90,000-166,000 people (the exact number is unknown) died either in the blink of an eye or from the effects of radiation poisoning over the next few years when Little Boy was dropped on the City of Hiroshima Japan by Allied Forces in an attempt to force the Military ruling party of Japan to admit defeat and come to the surrender table, it would take a second bomb dropped in 3 days time to achieve that effect.
Today 70 years ago the world changed forever, the power of the Atom was used in anger by humanity for the first of two times, a nation whom I will not debate the right or wrong of the event for we do not live in those times, was decimated and humanity learnt a lesson.. We could now create weapons so powerful.. so devastating that we could annihilate ourselves with their use.
70 years have passed since the drop of the first bomb in anger.. in 3 days 70 years will have passed since the drop of the second and last.. let us hope another 7,000 pass before we ever need to do so again.

Tacpack Scenarios

So ok something I get asked about from time to time is how I created a few of the new scenario’s that RAAFVirtual.org is using with Tacpack. There isn’t a lot of documentation out because well the file format in and of itself is kinda ‘straight forward’ but I figured I’d cover some of what Jon and Chris over at VRS Simualtions have done and how I use it.

First off you should understand that the .tps file format is a text based one, so what you see here = what is in the file itself.

Secondly you should be aware that to load a scenario you need to go into the Add On’s menu – Tacpack Misc (VRS MISC?) Debug – Load Scenario option and then select the file. There is a way to do it from command line but I never use it so i can’t remember.

So with that being said lets look at the actual file format here we have the example supplied by vrs better known as test-KSJC.tps


//VRS TacPack KSJC test scenario file

[SimpleAI_Aircraft_00]
Title=Mooney Bravo
LatDeg=37.656016
LonDeg=-122.305641
AltM=1000
HdgTrueDeg=350
KTAS=105

[SimpleAI_Aircraft_01]
Title=Airbus A321
LatDeg=37.359374
LonDeg=-121.919811
HdgTrueDeg=270
OnGround=1

[SimpleAI_Boat_00]
Title=cargoA
LatDeg=37.656016
LonDeg=-122.305641
HdgTrueDeg=0
SpeedKts=10

[SimpleAI_Boat_01]
Title=cargoB
LatDeg=37.656016
LonDeg=-122.305641
HdgTrueDeg=180
SpeedKts=15

[Drone_00]
LatDeg=37.109613
LonDeg=-122.125397
AltM=10000
HdgTrueDeg=72
KTAS=300
Behavior=1

[Tanker_00]
Index=0
LatDeg=37.548618
LonDeg=-121.989613
AltM=6000
HdgTrueDeg=90
KIAS=250
Team=3
OrbitType=1
FreqTACAN=108.00

[Carrier_00]
Index=0
LatDeg=37.798949
LonDeg=-122.501335
HdgTrueDeg=270
SpeedKts=30
Team=1
PointDefenseState=0
FreqILS=111.00
FreqTACAN=108.10

[SAMSite_00]
LatDeg=37.359973
LonDeg=-121.925207
Team=5
Enable=0

 

So looking at this we can see that it’s broken up into basic regions lets look at each one.

[SimpleAI_Aircraft_00]
Title=Mooney Bravo
LatDeg=37.656016
LonDeg=-122.305641
AltM=1000
HdgTrueDeg=350
KTAS=105

In this block we are telling tp we want to create a simple AI aircraft, the _00 = the number we want so 00,01,02 etc.
The title is the aircraft.cfg title of the aircraft in this case the default Mooney Bravo
The LatDeg, LongDeg = the Latitude and Longitude of the aircraft at it’s starting point in DECIMAL format.
AltM = Altitude in Meters, in this case 1,000 Meters.
HdgTrueDeg = The heading in TRUE Degrees not Magnetic.
KTAS = Knots true airspeed, so the TRUE speed of the aircraft not the Indicated or Ground speed.

Once you fill all these in a simple aircraft will spawn and fly in what ever direction. you’ve set. There is one other tag you can use which is OnGround=1 this tells the sim that it’s on the ground and not in flight.

[SimpleAI_Boat_00]
Title=cargoA
LatDeg=37.656016
LonDeg=-122.305641
HdgTrueDeg=0
SpeedKts=10

This works exactly as SimpleAi Aircraft but obviously your making a boat and there is no altitude.

[Drone_00]
LatDeg=37.109613
LonDeg=-122.125397
AltM=10000
HdgTrueDeg=72
KTAS=300
Behavior=1

Make an AI Drone, set it’s Lat/Long, altitude heading, knots like with a simple AI aircraft And then the new flag Behavior = 1,2,3 etc.. this coresponds to the normal drone behavior types in tacpack.

[Tanker_00]
Index=0
LatDeg=37.548618
LonDeg=-121.989613
AltM=6000
HdgTrueDeg=90
KIAS=250
Team=3
OrbitType=1
FreqTACAN=108.00

So ok now we have the tanker, index = 0 I believe is the tanker type based on the tacpack list so 0 = the first in that list etc.
LAT/LONG etc are the same as the others.
Team = the Tacpack Team.
OrbitType = the orbit, should be either 1,2,3 or 0,1,2 based on what i can remember (short, long or straight)
FreqTacan = the Tacan Normal Freq, so 108.00 would be I believe 15x.

[Carrier_00]
Index=0
LatDeg=37.798949
LonDeg=-122.501335
HdgTrueDeg=270
SpeedKts=30
Team=1
PointDefenseState=0
FreqILS=111.00
FreqTACAN=108.10

Here we have the carrier, again Index = the carrier type based on your TP list. Latlong speed = the normal for these.
Team = the TP Team
PointDefenseState= 0 or 1 is if the PDS is on or off
Freq ILS = ILS Frequency.
FreqTacan = The Tacan Frequency in normal

[SAMSite_00]
LatDeg=37.359973
LonDeg=-121.925207
Team=5
Enable=0

Set the Lat/long that the Sam will be placed.
The team
if it’s on or off 1/0

So from this you can now create basic scenarios and share them.. Want to put in a mass of sams and a single ground target at Nellis Range? You can do so, so long as you remain within the TP limits of such. Couple it with some of the features in A.T.R for example and you are on your way to having a very POWERFUL set of tools for making combat viable in Flight Simulator and P3D.

Why the C-27J is not a ‘Bou’ replacement But it’s own thing.

Australia has just welcomed it’s first C-27J in country and while I look forward to seeing her and her sisters serve our nation long as I am a avid supporter of the Spartan and believe it fills a vital roll in our Air Mobility Group’s lift capability I am on record as stating that I laugh when I see or hear people call it the ‘Caribou’ replacement.

There is a reason for this grounded in fact and reality and based solely on the performance data on both aircraft. If you look at the STOL capabilities of the two they do not match the DHC-4 is capable of landing  and taking off in far shorter distances than the C-27J had we been able to the DHC-5 would have been a much better buy as the DHC-5 Buffalo is a Caribou with a Turboprop engine, giving it even better capability. However at the time of our seeking a replacement for the aircraft we had, the DHC-5 was not being made. Rather we had two options when it came to a replacement, Airbus’s offering (EADS CASA C-295) and Alenia and L3’s (The C-27J), after comparing the two aircraft looking at various factors we choose to purchase the C-27J Spartan Battlefield Airlifter from Alenia and L3, we did so because it offered us Commonality between our Turboprop fleet (The C-130J-30 and the C27J share a majority of systems with each other including cockpit, engine and prop components), the fact we could get the aircraft ‘cheaply’ by joining a US buy at the time and also due to the fact that unlike like Airbus it could take the standard pallet sizes we already use on both the C-17 and C-130J-30 airframes.

While all these are a bonus there is however one thing that we lost during the replacement and that was take off distance, the C-27J is not capable of making the same take off distance as the DHC-4, based on published performance data the DHC-4 needs 1,200ft Maximum take off weight to get airborne, at Minimum weights the C-27J needs the same and it increases obviously as weights go up. Our own Defence Force and Government release papers have acknowledged this fact and based on their published documents it is their feeling that the sacrifice of some short field capability in return for the benefits gained are worth the change especailly given that we had little choice in replacing the DHC-4 which had been in service for over 35 years and showing their age.

To be a true Bou replacement the Spartan would have to be able to match the Bou and or beat it in all regards, it can not. But that’s alright, the Spartan is a great aircraft and it can and will no doubt prove such in the years to come and if it can’t? Well we have shown in the past that when a bird doesn’t do what we want it to do at the start, we’ll find a way to fix it.