Gunship Academy

by Richard Sheffield

The Apache and Weapons Systems

The numerical model used to simulate the Apache is the most complex aerodynamic algorithm used in an Army simulator to date. In an attempt to make the simulation as real as possible, the cockpit is identical to that of an Apache and all instruments and displays function as they would aboard the real aircraft. Both crew members use the IHADSS helmet. Views of the outside are provided with a display screen outside each of three windows.

The effect of firing weapons is factored into the model also. The crew feels and hears the result of firing a Hellfire Missile or the 30mm gun, and the aircraft reacts appropriately. Even making mistakes has a realistic effect. If the aircraft is not high enough to launch a missile without it hitting the ground, the missile will explode beneath the helicopter—resulting in a significant jolt to the crew and possible damage to the aircraft. A similar situation will result if the aircraft is not sufficiently above a ridge used for cover when firing. In this case, the crew would see the missile hit the ridge in front of them with the resulting bright flash and possible damage.

Mistakes like this are the best argument for realistic simulations. If they were made in combat or even in training with live rounds it could be very dangerous to the crew—not to mention expensive (with Hellfire rounds running $30,000 a pop).

All weapons can be visually observed in flight toward the target. If the weapon is correctly aimed, either a hit or a kill will be recorded, depending on the type of weapon fired and the hardness of the target. Trucks can be hit and killed by the 30mm gun, but a battle tank can only be hit. Anything a Hellfire missile hits is considered killed.

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