by Richard Sheffield
The Enemy Threat
A great deal of effort has gone into the modeling of the enemy weapons to be faced in the simulator. They need to be as lethal and as smart as the real thing or the whole process is meaningless. These systems must constantly attempt to sight and engage an Apache and, when all appropriate constraints are satisfied, to register an Apache kill. All types of Soviet weapons are used in the simulation: T-80 Tanks, BMPs, ZSU-23-4 antiaircraft guns, SAMs, and even Hind-D helicopters are modeled. The best information available regarding these weapons are used in the model, including the following:
Maximum rate of fire
Number of rounds fired at the Apache
Muzzle velocity or missile time of flight
Effects of poor visibility
Time of day
Effect of proper use of backdrop when unmasking
Effect of Apache countermeasures; that is, jammers, flares, and chaff
The instructor can choose one of ten levels of difficulty. These levels change the enemy weapons' lethality to correspond to the crew's level of expertise. Once this level has been established, the computer will constantly evaluate the above factors in deciding whether a hit or near miss occurs. If a hit occurs, the crew will feel it and hear the impact, and the aircraft will react. Depending on the size and type of round, an appropriate damage level will result. The simulation will continue after a hit, forcing the crew to make important decisions, such as continuing the mission, returning to base, or making a forced landing.
The enemy threat has been superbly designed for this simulation and given a large amount of "intelligence." They'll fight to win and survive just as hard as the Apache crew.