by Eagle Flight and Wombat1940
Introduction by Home Fries.
<Article Still in Process (Pre-Draft)>
Targeting and engaging unitary targets such as T-80s, SAMs, and Shilkas with the AGM-65G Maverick missile has always been a straightforward affair in ADF and TAW: You just generate a shoot list, select your targets, and ripple fire until all desired targets have been destroyed. However, engaging static targets (e.g. buildings, hangars, and bunkers) has always been more labor intensive and required the use of "free-lasing."
Quite simply, free-lasing is keeping the LANTIRN locked onto the desired target in FREE mode, and making sure that the LANTIRN crosshairs do not deviate from the target during the flight of the missile or guided bomb. Such an act is both labor intensive and requires that the pilot be zoomed into the LANTIRN (usually on the Attack MFD), and therefore not actively flying the aircraft.
This article discusses how to engage multiple static targets with the AGM-65G Maverick missile without ever having to zoom into your MFD, which also allows you to fly a low altitude, tactical profile to engage your targets. Additionally, employing a shoot list of static targets is not limited to the AGM-65G; shoot lists can be developed with the Cannon (in Air to Ground mode) and the LAU-68 rockets selected, and the same shoot lists will be available for all unguided munitions (e.g. Mk82/83 series iron bombs, Mk20 Rockeye cluster bombs).
- by Home Fries, edited by Eagle_Flight
You can use the padlock view to look at static objects (such as the buildings, hangars, or bunkers you wish to destroy). Then while you have them padlocked, you can add them to your shootlist. This puts a triangular target marker around the object, at which point it is useful both as a visual reference and a means of guidance for the AGM-65G Maverick. Padlocking multiple static objects, then adding each one to the shootlist has the effect of creating a shootlist of multiple targets, which you can cycle through to designate an active target (just like you would with multiple aircraft or unitary targets). Once you have designated the target you wish to destroy (which will be marked with a circle around the triangle marker), you can engage the target with your AGM-65G and as long as you maintain the lock on that target, the AGM-65G will successfully hit.
All of this is accomplished without ever going to the Attack MFD, selecting LANTIRN, finding/locking the target, or monitoring the crosshairs while your aircraft flys itself!
Eagle would like to give a special thank you to Wombat1940 and Redfalcon for continued help with testing these findings.
Eagle would also like to give a special thanks to Krycztij, Mikew, DrKevDog, Home Fries, Nephilim, Hawkx, and the many friendly and helpful folks at the combatsim forums!
Shootlists with Padlocked ObjectsEdit
- by Eagle_Flight
You can target padlocked objects, thus creating a shootlist for your weapons, by pressing 'S' while an object is padlocked AND you have a proper weapon selected to take out that padlock type. This will add that object to the shootlist, and put it in position 1 on the shootlist. The top of the shootlist (Position 1) will get designated any time a HUD is brought up, that has a previous shootlist in memory. If there was a pre-existing shootlist, all previous target positions get bumped down, and the newly aquired target gets position 1. This works for aircraft, ground mobiles, and also for static targets. This is case 1 below, however 'S' functions in more than one way, as seen in cases 2 and 3:
Case 1 - Adding: 'S' - If the padlocked object is not on the shootlist, it will now be in position 1 on the shootlist.
Case 2 - Removing: 'S' - If the padlocked object is already in the shootlist, and in position 1, it will be removed from the shootlist.
Case 3 - Prioritizing: 'S' - If the padlocked object is already in the shootlist, but not in position 1, it will now be in position 1 on the shootlist.
(Note: Normally, multiple targets on a shootlist will appear with different numbers in the HUD, reflecting which position they have in the shootlist. For Static Targets, you will only see the number 1 in the HUD, regardless of which position the target actually has on the shootlist. The Attack MFD will properly display the correct position number of the respective targets. - However it does not display which target is currently designated. The only way to tell your targets appart is by visually identifying which one is further away, and comparing that to the target-range-markers on the Attack MFD - The range to the various targets will be displayed there.)
How to engage Static Targets in the ShootlistEdit
In order to engage a static target from the shootlist, it needs to be designated (circle around it), and you need to have a proper weapon type selected. You can cycle through the AGM-65G shootlist with 'C' / 'X' like you can with normal AA shootlists.
(Note: You can only cycle to the first/last targets on the shootlist of the AG Cannon/Rockets HUD, other targets get skipped for some reason)
Recommended: After you have designated a target, you will want to to put it on position 1 of the shootlist before engaging it. (Why is explained below in the Advanced Tactics section) In case it isn't yet in position 1, padlock it with 'F2' and press 'S' to put it in position 1. If it was already in position 1, it will have removed it from the shootlist entirely. Just press 'S' again to get it back in position 1 and designated.
Now you are ready to fire. For the duration of the flight of the missile, it is advised to maintain the designated lock on the target you want to taken out.
After the engagement, you can remove a designated target from the shootlist, by padlocking it first ('F2'), and then pressing 'S'.
(Note: In case it did not yet remove the target, then it wasn't position 1 on the shootlist. Pressing 'S' has now put it in position 1 and a further 'S' is needed to remove it from the shootlist.)
Advanced Tactics when EngagingEdit
- by Eagle_Flight
There might come a time, when you need to switch your attention to an incoming bandit. You might have just engaged a building with the AGM-65G and might now want to pay attention to something else. You can in fact switch HUD modes without worrying about the maverick you just fired! The trick is to always have the maverick flying for the position 1 target of the shootlist.
Here's why: Whenever you switch HUD modes, a previous shootlist from memory might be brought up. If this is the case, whichever target is in position 1 on that shootlist will get designated.
What this means: Regardless of which target you have cycled to and designated with 'C' / 'X' - When switching back to a HUD mode, it will set the designation to position 1 of the respective shootlist.
Test Example 1: I am currently in the AA HUD, have a shootlist with 3 bandits. I am currently designating position 3. I switch HUD mode to something else, and back to AA HUD - position 1 will be designated.
Test Example 2: I am currently in the AGM-65G HUD, have a shootlist with 3 buildings. I am currently designating position 3. I switch to the AA HUD, and back to the AGM-65G HUD - position 1 will be designated.
Example 3: I am currently in the AGM-65G HUD, have a shootlist with 3 buildings. I am currently designating position 3. I fire off a maverick. The maverick will start flying for the target in position 3. Then I switch to the AA HUD. The maverick will still fly for the target at position 3. I switch back to the AGM-65G HUD - The moment I switch back to the AGM-65G HUD, Position 1 will be designated, and if the maverick is still in the air, it will start flying for position 1.
Example 4: I am currently in the AGM-65G HUD, have a shootlist with 3 buildings. I am currently designating position 3. (This is the recommended step from above:) I padlock it first with 'F2' and then press 'S'. My desired target is now in position 1. I fire off a maverick. Then I switch to the AA HUD. The mav will still fly for position 1. I switch back to the AGM-65G HUD - The moment I switch back to the AGM-65G HUD, position 1 will be designated, and the maverick will continue to fly towards my desired target at position 1.
So Example 3 will not work, but Example 4 will work.
(Note: In the other HUD modes you have complete freedom to create, edit and clear shootlists and padlocks, as those functions will only affect the respective shootlist for that HUD mode and it will leave the AGM-65G shootlist intact.)
Stacking Targets on the ShootlistEdit
The shootlists in TAW work like a stack to remember the order of targets. New targets added with 'S' get added to the top of the shootlist while pushing present targets down. If the top target gets removed from the shootlist, the rest of the shootlist numbers get pushed up. To further illustrate the stacking function, here is a short example:
10 buildings in a line, 1, 2, 3, etc.
I'm looking at the first building in front of me, and I see building 10 all the way at the back.
I cycle the padlock through available objects with 'Z' and add building 2 with 'S' - then continue with 'Z' until I find 5, then 'S' - then 6 - then 8 - then 9.
My stack/shootlist for targets looks like this: (Example for case 1 using 'S')
9 - 8 - 6 - 5 - 2
9 is the most recent building, 8 the second most recent, etc. Now, The most recent building will be at the top of the shootlist and it is also still my padlocked object, so I can remove it by pressing 'S'. My stack/shootlist would then look like this: (Example for case 2 using 'S')
8 - 6 - 5 - 2
Now, after removing a target, the next target in the shootlist will become the designated target, so my target ring should now be over target 8. If I wanted to remove target 8, I would now need press 'F2' first to padlock it, then 'S'. (Example for case 2 using 'S')
Let's say I wanted to remove target 5 instead of target 8: I will cycle with 'C' and 'X' until target 5 is the designated target. The stack still is the same as before (8 - 6 - 5 - 2) - But now, If I press 'F2' and 'S' once, it rearranges the stack/shootlist so that 5 is now on top, while the others get bumped down: (Example for case 3 using 'S')
5 - 8 - 6 - 2
To remove 5, I now need to press 'S' a final time, and it gets removed. My stack would afterwards look like this: (Example for case 2 using 'S')
8 - 6 - 2
with 8 being the next active target. BUT THAT'S NOT ALL......
Let's say I didn't yet remove 5, but I did put it on top of the shootlist.
So it looks like this: 5 - 8 - 6 - 2. I can now also put 6 on top of the shootlist, by marking 6 as the designated target with 'C' and 'X' and then pressing 'F2' and 'S' once. (Example for case 3 using 'S')
The new stack looks like this: 6 - 5 - 8 - 2.
- The stack/shootlist will keep the order in which the targets were added.
- Newly aquired targets via padlock then 'S' will get added to the top of the shootlist.
- The shootlist order can be manipulated, and targets in the middle of the shootlist can be prioritized and brought to the top of the shootlist.
- Only the top target on the shoot-list can be removed. If you try to remove a target which is not at the top of the shootlist, it will first place it as top target, and then you can remove it in a next step.
Executing the ProcedureEdit
This section discusses the steps required to padlock static targets and add them to your shootlist, and also addresses best practices, techniques, and other tactical considerations.
Given the speed at which things happen in tactical aircraft, it is highly advisable that you practice these procedures and technques so that tactical employment will become second nature during your missions or dynamic campaigns.
The Training Mission by Wombat1940Edit
If you'd like to setup a simple training mission to test "Adding Padlocked Static Target(s) to your Shoot List", here's a way to do it:
Select Custom Combat with the following setup:
You fly an F22 in the Hills, Mid-day, Low Level, Land Mission, with 14 AGM-65G's (Mavericks), short distance, single tank as a target also at short distance.
Climb into the 'pit, ignore the tank, fly straight ahead to the city in the dip. Hit PAUSE when approaching the city and when the static buildings are clearly in view. These are potential static targets and in a real mission could include "T" designated mission targets.
Select Mavericks from your A-G weaponry.
Choose "Static Targets" by cycling through the padlock filters with 'F11'.
Now cycle through padlocked static targets with 'Z' and select six targets for your shootlist by hitting 'S' when visually padlocking each of them. Each time you hit 'S' it will put a triangle around the target with a circle around the triangle showing the currently designated target. You'll finish up with 6 triangles, with a circle around one of them, which is the currently designated target. You can change the designated target anytime by cycling with the 'C' or 'X' key.
Hit 'F1' to bring up your normal Cockpit View, UNPAUSE the mission and fly away from the city and coming around to face the targets.
All of this is not new, but the next bit is. Line up the designated target (remember, you're still in your Cockpit View, 'F1'). That's the one with the circle around the triangle. Wait for the shoot queue and fire. As soon as the target is hit and destroyed, and not before, push 'F2' then 'S'. This will remove the destroyed target from your shoot list and you're back in the normal Cockpit View (i.e. the 'F1' view). Come round to make another pass and there'll be another designated target. So its: wait for shoot queue, fire, wait to be destroyed, press 'F2', then 'S' and that's another target down.
You can keep repeating this until all six static target have been destroyed.
[IMPORTANT. If you cycle though your targets with the 'C' or 'X' you'll need to use 'F2' 'S' 'S' (i.e. 'S' twice) to remove the selected destroyed target from the shootlist.]
You can also remove any non-destroyed designated target by hitting 'F2' 'S' (or 'F2', 'S', 'S' if cycling).
You can add more static targets to you your shootlist at any time with 'Z' 'S', but be careful not to remove an already selected target or an already destroyed target.
With practice, you can stop making multiple passes to destroy targets, as they can be selected and destroyed on the same pass.
[TIP: For those with a programmable 'stick, you can program a button with the 'F2' 'S' combination to remove selected targets which have been destroyed or otherwise. When cycling to a new static target, the 'F2' 'S' 'S' combination to remove a target, works just as well with the programmed 'F2' 'S' button by being pressed twice in succession.]
Once you get the idea you can add and remove targets from the shootlist before firing, before destroying, whatever.
If you want to remove the complete shootlist use the 'U' key. However use with caution as any acquired shootlist can be hard and dangerous in achieving.
Finally; if you need to engage other targets with other weapons (A-G or A-A), the previously selected static targets will remain targeted with the Mavericks awaiting action upon your return.
Thanks to Eagle Flight, for without his investigatory work, this training mission could never have been written.