Firing guns and rockets

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This article is meant as an tutorial to operate cannons and rockets.

There are 2 types of cannons:

  • slewable cannon
  • fixed cannon (in a pod)

All rockets in this game are unguided in flight. It's the pod itself which can alter its pitch and yaw angles. This is also the case with fixed cannon pods. Both are described together.

Contents

Firing slewable gun

Manually

When no target is selected, the slewable gun is slaved to the pilot's head movement and is aiming where the pilot's view is aiming1. Or at least it will try to, but the gun does have limits to how much and how fast it can move. The pilot himself will have to take bullet drop and leading of moving targets into account, so this method is unlikely to be very accurate at anything but very short ranges.

1 This is configurable with the cannontrack setting in eech.ini.

Automatically

If the targeting system has a target, then the fire control computer will automatically adjust the gun to take bullet drop and target leading into account. This should prove to be fairly accurate, up to the gun's effective range.

Aiming is unlikely to be very accurate if the laser or radar is not used for getting accurate range1.

1 When manual_laser/radar is enabled in eech.ini the user has to turn on and off the laser manually, otherwise the computer takes care of that.

Firing fixed rockets and cannon pods

US firing system

Automatically

The US helicopters (AH-64 and RAH-66) have fixed rocket pods. The entire aircraft has to head towards the target to make it hit the target. The rocket pod can adjust itself only in pitch. The HUD provides a rocket sight.

The Apache and Comanche rocket sight.

To achieve a successful hit, the sight (symbolizing the actual aircraft heading) has to be aligned with the I-beam (symbolizing the angle of the helicopter with the target). When the I-beam is on the left of the sight marker, the target is also on the left of the actual heading of the aircraft. Like in this case. So the aircraft heading has to be adjusted towards the left.

Note that the sight has not to be aligned with the target maker itself! It is just there to inform where the actual target is.

Don't be confused by the target being to the right of center in the HUD. This is because the HUD is slightly left of center and thus not aligned with the helicopter heading.

Remember that to enable the laser (seen in the lower left corner) for accurate aiming.

The fire control computer will adjust the pods in pitch to take rocket drop from gravity into account.

A properly aligned sight. So... fire!

The helicopter is now turned to the left and that the sight and I-beam are aligned.

Now, the target is straight ahead for the helicopter. Fire, and it will hit.

And it was a hit!

Manually

There's no information available about firing rockets manually, with no selected target.

Russian firing system

The Russian helicopters (Mi-28N and Ka-52) have only fixed rocket and cannon pods, not slewable. The entire aircraft has to head towards the target to make it hit the target. The HUD provides a gun/rocket sight.

The Russian rocket sight system.
The Russian rocket sight with a target. To get a proper hit, the rocket sight has to be aligned with the target. In this pictured situation a little to the left and pitch down.

The yellow bar in the picture shows how much the rockets will drop in the 1.9 km to the target. That much drop is hard to aim accurately without the help of a correctly calibrated sight!

Automatically

If there is a active targeting system (e.g. radar or EO), the sight will be automatically calibrated to the range of the current target (if any). When laser is enabled the accuracy of range will improve.

Manually

If there's no targeting system active (press Shift-DEL to deactive targeting system), the sight can be calibrated to range of the point under the gun/rocket sight. Enable the laser and it will send a short laser pulse to the point to measure the range, and calibrate the sight to that range. The EO camera will be slaved to the same place as the gun sight. The rockets/bullets should hit where the EO camera is pointing as long as the range is calibrated correctly. This can be used to get a close up of the sight point.

Concept example

This next series of shots shows sight and EO display without a target lock.

The target is to hit the base of the left cooling tower.

HUD sight EO display
Initially the sight is well above the target. The helicopter has to be pitched nose down.
Rocket-aiming2.jpg
The sight is approximately where the target is. Lase to get a range to that point.

Note that the laser will only turn on for a brief instant. Just enough to determine the distance.

Rocket-aiming3.jpg
As a result of the lasing, the sight moved down a little. Which means the target was further away than the default range, hence the rockets will drop more, and the sight moved down to compensate.

The nose has to be pitched up a little.

Rocket-aiming4.jpg
The sight is again pointing at the target. Lase one more time to confirm a proper aiming at the base of the tower.
Rocket-fire.jpg
Now fire.

Noticed how high the rocket is fired compared to aim. It will drop that distance by the time it reaches the target.

Rocket-hit.jpg
The rockets hit almost precisely at the designated spot. From 2 km away!
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