Gunship! - Part IIFlying the Gunship!
By Kurt Giesselman
There has been a lot of chatter on the newsgroups about Gunship! Let me state for the record that I enjoy realistic simulations, as do many people, because it is as close as I am ever going to get to flying in one of these birds. Unfortunately, my tiny brain can only focus on one study sim at a time because of the level detail required to master it. I have noticed that some people seem to use only one measuring stick for any simulation. And they are going to beat any horse with that stick if it does not measure up. There can be many types of simulations from 'study' sims that focus on only one or two vehicles, to 'theater' sims that model all the vehicles of a particular class (helicopters) in a particular theater of operations, to 'force' sims which model a specific country's Air Force or Naval fleet. None of these types of simulation are inherently good or bad. They all have a particular target audience and market strategy. Gunship! fits into the theater category in my opinion.
There are four helicopters modeled. The AH-64 Apache comes in the form of the USA's older A model and newer D model with its Longbow radar and Great Britain's Westland WAH-64D Apache. The manual states that only one out of three US Apaches tasked will be equipped with Longbow radar. There are separate front and rear cockpits for all helicopters.
Fig. 1. Apache Pilots Cockpit
All helicopter cockpits are beautifully detailed but none are clickable. On the other hand, since I have not categorized this as a study sim that generally has most of the individual cockpit switches and buttons workable in some manner, so this is no surprise. The View, Weapon, and Cockpit controls in Gunship! for all choppers are easily mapped to a simple programmable joystick I recommend a voice controlled keyboard input product like Game Commander for the Pilot and AI Comms.
Fig. 2. Apahce Gunners Seat
You can choose a particular helicopter to fly by choosing an engagement from Single Battle that tasks helicopter, the airborne division which uses that helicopter in campaign mode, or by using the Battle Builder to design a single battle with the helicopter of choice assigned to be flown. The use of the Battle Builder requires an entire article by itself. The layout of the helicopter varies but the keyboard commands are identical, as are the MFD displays.
Fig. 3. Havoc Cockpit
The most important and valuable advice I can give anyone learning this sim is to view it as two different simulations. The first, flying in the Pilot's seat, is a more typical of the simulations that many people already own. There are a few important differences. Remember that all the helicopters modeled have team in the cockpit. As the Pilot, although you can target weapons yourself, you can rely on your Gunner to handle the targeting chores. Use the weapons mode to change to TADS mode then observe, via your Heads Up Display (HUD) where the Gunner is looking after he declares a target. Direct the helicopter in a direction that will bring the nose of the helicopter to bear on the Gunner's target. You can either direct the Gunner to Fire At Will, so that he fires the weapon of his choice as soon as it is within firing parameters, or fire the weapon you have selected yourself.
Remember that to fire the radar ATGM (Hellfires) that one MFD must have the radar display called up. To fire the laser guided missiles you must have the laser turned on. The gun swivels to target whatever you have locked up or fires directly ahead in Boresight (LOS) mode. Rockets only fire directly ahead and you can only target them in one of the IHADSS modes.
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