The McDonnell Boeing (formerly Douglas) AV-8B Harrier 2 N/A (NightAttack) is a night attack variant developed out of Harrier line of planes. Unique to the Harrier series of planes is, despite only featuring a single central engine, it can be used for both forward and VTOL flight, courtesy of the 4 nozzles positioned on the sides of the aircraft fuselage that can be rotated on pilot command. This allows the Harrier to flexibly operate from all manner of airfields (the Harrier can also take off in a conventional manner from airfields) and carriers: Harriers will typically operate from STOVL class carriers that only feature a flat deck and no further carrier implements (ramp, catapult, arresting wires). The Harrier does not require these as it can take off and land vertically: however, with any meaningful load (stores, fuel tanks) on the aircraft it will typically perform a rolling takeoff / landing instead.
The AV-8B Harrier N/A is tailored specifically towards the attack / strike role, allowing for quick attacks thanks to the high speed it can attain in forward flight. Despite the relatively small size of the Harrier it can carry a good amount of ordinance and it has a slew of sensors built into the aircraft, including a sensor package mounted on the nose containing a FLIR (Forward Looking Infrared) sensor combined with a normal video camera that can detect objects, lock onto laser designations and provide relevant targeting information for weaponry. The AV-8B can also bring the AN/AAQ-28(V) LITENING targeting pod on one of its stations to provide its own laser designation, in addition to providing a larger azimuth range in which the sensor can be slewed. This extensive sensor package allows it field a whole range of both dumb and smart weapons, such as the Mk-82 bomb and its laser counterpart the GBU-12/-16, the AGM-65 Maverick anti-tank missile with CCD/IR/Laser guidance seekers, 2.75" Folding Fin Aerial Rockets (FFAR) in rocket pods, AIM-9 sidewinders and the AGM-122 Sidearm anti-radiation missile for short range SEAD / DEAD (attack of radar-guided SAM sites).
- 1 Weapons List
- 2 HOTAS
- 3 Flight Controls and Landing Gear
- 4 Cold Start - Ground
- 5 Cold Start - Ship
- 6 Engine
- 7 Stability Augmentation and Attitude Hold System (SAAHS)
- 8 Avionics
- 8.1 Heads-Up Display (HUD)
- 8.2 VREST Computer
- 8.3 Navigation
- 8.4 Electronic Horizontal Situational Display (EHSD)
- 8.5 Defensive Systems
- 8.6 Sensors
- 9 Armaments
- 10 Resources
- AIM-9M infrared guided air to air missile
- BDU-33 dummy bomb trainer (smoke only)
- Mk-81 LD 250lb unguided bomb
- Mk-82 LD 500lb unguided bomb
- Mk-83 LD 1000lb unguided bomb
- Mk-81 SNAKEYE (HD) unguided high drag bomb
- Mk-82 SNAKEYE (HD) unguided high drag bomb
- Mk-82 AIR selectable high or low drag 500lb unguided bomb
- Mk-20 cluster bomb
- GBU-12 laser guided bomb (LGB)
- GBU-16 LGB
- AGM-65E Maverick laser-guided air-to-ground missile
- AGM-65D/G Maverick infrared-guided air-to-ground missile
- TGM-65G Maverick TRAINING missile
- AGM-65H/K Maverick Electro-Optical (EO) guided missile
- ZUNI Mk71
- FFAR M156 WP
- FFAR Mk1 HE
- FFAR Mk5 HEAT
- 2.75" Rockets M257 (Parachute Illumination), M274 (Practice Smoke), WTU1B (Practice)
- SUU-25 flare dispenser
- Not Yet Implemented GBU-38 500 lb JDAM
- AGM-122A Sidearm Air to Ground
- GAU-12A 25mm rotary cannon pod
- AN/AAQ-28 Litening II TGP
- AN/ALQ-164 DECM
- Smokewinder smoke only Sidewinder training pods
The AV-8B(NA) has a throttle and control stick system for for thrust and flight direction. Additionally, both have additional controls termed "Hands on Throttle and Stick" (HOTAS) to control various various functions, especially combat-critical ones, without taking the hands off the throttle or stick.
Similar control stick as the F/A-18 and F-15, but the position of the trim hat and sensor select switch are swapped.
Flight Controls and Landing Gear
Cold Start - Ground
- 1) Get your loadout ready, set fuel and color our fuselage as you want it
- 2) Toggle your battery ON
- 3) Make sure you've got your throttle set to cut off
- 3.1) If your engine is on Idle, find a small lever hidden behind the throttle (cutoff throttle laver) and press it
- 4) Set JPTL ON, toggle all your fuel switches on
- 5) Turn the engine startup switch
While your RPM is rising to the idle level of 092 RPM
- 6.1) Toggle your MFDs
- 6.2) Turn ON all of your lights
- 6.3) Turn INS to Align/Ground
- 6.4) Switch ON MFCP switch
- 6.5) Switch ON FLIR
- 6.6) Turn ON all the internal and external light
- 7) Move your throttle (once the RPM stabilize on 092 RPM) to idle by actually moving your HOTAS
- 8) Toggle your HUD and radios ON
- 9) turn ON your flaps
- 10) Make sure your Limiters are all ON
- 11) Turn OFF antiskid
Cold Start - Ship
Nozzles closest to the front divert cool compressor air. Nozzles aft divert hot air. The Harrier is balanced on columns created by these when pointing down during jetborne flight. Air is diverted from the engine and released from reaction control system valves located on the nose, tail, and wing tips to provide yaw, pitch, and roll control in jetborne flight.
Despite not having an afterburner, the Harrier has a trick up it sleeve to set it further apart from other ground attack aircraft like the SU-25T and A-10C. The engine is allowed to run harder (RPMs beyond 100%), and hotter (higher jet pipe tempurature) for limited periods of times especially with water injection. In hot weather jet pipe temperature JPT becomes the limit, while in cooler weather RPM tends to be the limit. There is no throttle detent for these power settings, so the pilot must be disciplined. As a rule of thumb, a careless pilot can fire wall the throttle for 15 minutes before a limiter turns on to prevent further wear and tear.
The landing gear system consists of a nose gear, a main gear with twin wheels in tandem with the nose gear and two single wheel wing gears. Accidental retraction, when the aircraft is on the ground, is prevented by a weight-on-wheels (WOW) switch and ground safety locks.
Nosewheel Steering (NWS)
The NWS system is an electro-hydraulic operated system that provides directional control for ground operations with three modes
A steering mode indication is provided in the lower right hand corner of the HUD. The indications are:
- CTR: Centered
- CAST: Caster
- NWS: Lo Gain
- NWS HI: Hi Gain
With the HUD in VSTOL mode, indications provide cues as to steering position and mode. Whenever the nose wheel is within 30 of neutral, a C will appear inside the slideslip ball.
- Caster: Nose wheel does not respond to rudder input and is free to rotate. Activated with Anti-skid set to ON.
- LO GAIN Steering: The rudder pedals are connected to the system. Nose wheel has a range of movement between -14° and 14° degrees.
- HI GAIN Steering: The nose wheel range of movement is increased to +/- 45°. HI GAIN steering is undesirable above 20 Knots Ground Speed due to poor directional control characteristics YOU WILL ROLL LIKE A PIG IN MUD AT HIGH GROUND SPEED AND NWS INPUTS. When throttling past 75% for takeoff, HI GAIN is turned down to LO GAIN.
Anti-Skid and Landing Gear Handle Interactions
The landing gear retraction lever and Anti-Skid interacts with NWS modes. With the landing gear handle DOWN, the NWS mode is controlled by the anti-skid switch and the [AG Target Undesignate/NWS/FOV Toggle] button on HOTAS.
With anti-skid set to ON, CASTER mode is selected. With the anti-skid switch set to NWS, Pressing the [AG Target Undesignate/NWS/FOV Toggle] HOTAS button increases the steering mode by one gain so that from CASTER mode it changes to LO GAIN mode and from LO GAIN mode it changes to HI GAIN mode.
A fourth steering mode, centered, is used for gear retraction. When the landing gear handle is placed in the up position, the nose wheel will automatically steer to the center position at which time the landing gear retraction will commence.
A NWS light, on the caution/advisory panel, illuminates to indicate that a steering failure has occurred.
Stability Augmentation and Attitude Hold System (SAAHS)
AKA Autopilot. Not a very complicated system. First, engage AFC then engage ALT HOLD.
The autopilot of the Harrier is not very complicated to use.
Make sure you have all your Yaw, Pitch and Roll SAS switches ON
Set aircraft in desired altitude/attitude and make sure that the following conditions are respected or the autopilot will automatically disengage:
- You are not in a steep climb/descent (+/- 2000 ft per minute)
- Airspeed must be greater than 160 kts
- Your bank angle must be lesser than +/- 20 deg
- Your pitch angle must be between -15 deg to +20 deg
You can use your trim controls while the autopilot is engaged to fine-tune your aircraft attitude.
You can disengage the SAAHS using the Emergency SAAHS Disconnect Switch, toggling the AFC, or moving the stick. Unlike the AFC found in the community A-4E or the F15C, the Harrier is currently modeled such that stick inputs cannot be used in lieu of the trim hat to fine-tune AFC attitude.
Heads-Up Display (HUD)
According to NATOPS, the is symbology on the HUD is less disorienting in VTOL Master Mode in IMC conditions. FLIR can be over layed onto the HUD by setting the brightness selector below to NIGHT and pressing sensor select down.
VTOL Range, enduranse, speed, and time (VREST) Computer is found on the MFD Menu page. It also ties in with the navigation systems and EHSD to pick a waypoint.
From the pilot's perspective, many inputs are automatically accounted for due to sensor input or ground crew input. Gross Weight is the air frame's weight plus fuel and ordinance loaded by the ground crew. Ordinance also varies in shape and therefore drag. Drag Index (DI) is automatically taken into account after re-arming and updates such as when you jettison external fuel tanks along the way.
When completed, the pilot may manually enter values using the ODU and UFC. An asterisk will appear next to these values.
Basic values before complications such as payload and weather are piled on.
- BAW: Basic Aircraft Weight including stuff that can't be jettisoned and returns with the aircraft.
- H20: Water weight
- BDI: Basic Drag Index when the aircraft is in a clean configuration with no stores.
VL and VTO
Displays the maximum sum of fuel and water weight in pounds (F+W) that be on board when performing vertical takeoff or landings. WET implies using the engine with H20 injection in either ON position. Both VL and VTO are the same VREST Page, despite the H20 switch having a separate landing and takeoff setting. Dry implies using the engine with the H20 in middle OFF position. Gross weight is automatically taken into account as well as other parameters.
- GWT: Gross Weight
- OATC or OATF: Outside Air Temperature in Celsius or Fahrenheit. Warmer air is less dense and your engine's JPT gets hotter sooner requiring a lower GWT.
- FELV: Field Elevation of runway or FARP. A higher place is in thinner air which decreases thrust production.
- ALTM: Altimeter Barometric Pressure. A lower number is lower pressure indicating thinner air which decreases thrust production.
It's up to the pilot to monitor these pages and stay within them. A really hot weather on the Persian gulf map may limit engine performance. Trying to VL on a mountain FARP on the Caucus map might have you unexpectedly drop out of the sky.
For Vertical Takeoff:
- First ask ground crew to load the aircraft with armament.
- Then adjust fuel and water to match one of the parameters. Unfortunately, the rearming window in DCS shows fuel as a percent and does not show lbs of H20. As a guide, rearm so that total weight is around 25,000lbs for a WET VTO or 23,000lbs for a Dry VTO.
Alternatively, if you're not in VR and have a calculator:
- Slide Fuel to 0% and choose your armaments.
- Add F+W WET to current weight to get the Total Weight the rearming window should display
- Slide Fuel up to achieve desired Total Weight
Vertical Landing: Jettison fuel or water until F+W is equal to or less than one of the values and flip the H20 switch accordingly.
Displays parameters relevant to performing a Short Takeoff.
- NRAS: Nozzle Rotation Airspeed
- NOZ: Nozzle setting in degrees
- GROL: Minimum ground roll distance
- DT50: distance required to clear a 50 foot obstacle such as a tree.
To perform a STO:
- On the MFD select Menu-VREST-STO and the list can be understood as follows: Throttle up and "jump" once you reach (NRAS) knots by slapping the nozzle to (NOZ). This should take at least (GROL) feet and you'll reach 50 feet in (DT50) feet.
- Press VSTOL Master Mode
- NRAS is automatically selected on the ODU. Punch in the NRAS value using the UFC and hit ENTER.
- When NRAS is reached, the airspeed on the HUD will be boxed.
The LHA Tarawa has deck markings along the yellow strip to help you determine if you have enough deck in front of you for the ground roll. The last marking before the back edge is 750, but the whole deck is about 800ft if you reverse up to the back edge. The FARP asset is also about 800ft long along an edge. If you know how to use the full length of the Tarawa, you know how to STO across the green FARP pad (not the helicopter pads).
The Cruise page has two columns that help the pilot cruise optimally. The altitude cruise (ACR) maximizes cruise performance at the current altitude, while the optimum cruise (OPCR) column suggest the best altitude and other parameters to achieve maximum cruise performance overall.
Currently CRUS seems borked. Use the ACR Column, but borrow the MRNG and RFUL value from the OPCR column. While not implemented yet, OPCR can be overriden with pilot values. For example, a pilot may input an altitude to limit OPCR to just below cloud cover.
Simply match the calibrated airspeed or mach the corresponding column to the airspeed displayed on the HUD in NAV or VSTOL master mode.You can translate the ACR list as follows: Fly (CAS) knots or Mach (MACH). The next waypoint is (RANG) nautical miles away, and you will arrive there with (RFUL) lbs of total fuel left. Overall, you have a max range of (MRNG) nautical miles and will be left with 800lbs of fuel upon reaching that.
Between CRUS and BNGO appears the chosen waypoint CRUS is calculating off of. It is synchronized with the EHSD selected waypoint and the arrows increment it the same way. In fact, when en-route you could display both CRUS and EHSD because they provide complimentary information.
Climbing to Cruise
Climb based on a constant airspeed, and then switch over to a constant Mach climb once you reach it. Climb at 300KCAS airspeed, or 250KCAS if planning to level off at 10,000ft MSL.
- While transitioning out of takeoff configuration you should already have the witch hat matched to the pitch carets which represents 6 nose up. Turn on AFC to hold this for you.
- Adjust throttle to maintain 300KCAS which should automatically put you in a sustainable engine RPM range.
- Open VREST-Cruise and monitor OPCR.
- Continue to maintain 300KCAS by balancing throttle or nose pitch
- Intercept the optimal Mach and switch over to referencing that.
- Finally, level off at the noted altitude.
RAZBAM hasn't documented this yet, and it may be borked in the same way the cruise page is. Although not implemented yet, some of these parameters can be edited as hinted by the ODU.
Similar to cruise but ties in with NATOPS and Bingo procedures. It assumes you start to climb up to the altitude and fly the parameters. The most notable feature is the calculation of DCRG or the range from the current waypoint to start descending and reach sea level with the throttle at idle. The bingo knob near the fuel indicator does not affect these calculations. Similar to cruise, 800lbs of fuel is subtracted from total fuel during calculations for max range.
For example, you loitered around too long during a mission or squeezed in a few too many gun runs. You feel like you'll barely make it back when you view the cruise page. There's CAP so you're also comfortable ascending to fly more efficiently. Select VREST-BNGO and figure out your options.
The Harrier uses GPS and falls back onto INS. Radio-navigation is available as TACAN or AWLS (ILS).
Electronic Horizontal Situational Display (EHSD)
The EHSD page displays the map, overlays a horizontal situational indicator, as well as controls and presents other navigation data. Use this page in conjunction with the UFC and ODU to do some of the following:
- Create and edit waypoints
- slew an existing waypoint to reposition it
- designate a point for sensors to slave to
- setup radio-navigation using AWLS or TACAN to navigate towards (finding a tanker or airstrip)
In real life, the EHSD can overlay the RWR as a rudimentary SA page. The data cartridge could also populate the moving map with briefed locations of units similar to the how units appear in the DCS KA-50's ABRIS.
Electronic Counter Measures
Digital Electronic Counter Measure (DECM) pod
Mounted centerline between gunpods or LID strakes. Two radomes indicate the presence of two different antennae with each jamming a different way.
Simulation and Modeling
DECM degrades an enemies ability to lock you for weapons employment. You will be able to get closer with a DECM until they burn through and finally launch at you. Efficacy against AA ground units depends on the skill level of the AI set through the mission editor.
Depending on the unit, a DECM may not help a Harrier get any closer to employ conventional standoff weapons which is why it seems useless. It's still useful to create gaps in a line of air defenses to traverse through, or orbit closer to a SAM site while spotting with a TPOD. You maybe able to get close enough to an SA-8 Osa or SA-19 Tunguska to use IR Mavericks. Against Kub and S-300 Grumbles use it to get close enough to loft AGM-122 Sidearms, and maybe bait units to "wake up" and look your way. See AGM-122 Sidearm.
You may be able to substitute DECM for chaff by turning it on after an enemy launches if you are on the very edges of their radar effectiveness.
DMT has a roll limit of 450° which is not implemented.
An unimplemented feature is that the DMT is able to slave to the sidewinder's sensor for visual identification similar to the F-14's Tactical Camera System. The Sidearm should also able to this infrastructure and one should be able to visually identify an emitter. For example, one could avoid shooting at a friendly Hawk site.
A fixed FLIR that can be projected onto the HUD.
An unimplemented feature is using this to mark hotspots with carets (^) that are potential ground units. Think IRST, but for air-to-ground.
AN/AAQ-28V Litening II Targeting Pod
General purpose bombs
Cluster bomb unit
Laser guided bomb
Training bomb unit
AGM-122 Sidearm is ashort range anti-radiation missile. They were surplus Sidewinders repurposed with a different homing head which is the reason for the first half of the name. The other half of the name, ARM, refers to it being an Anti-Radiation Missile. The entire name also refers to how it was supposed to be a backup self-protection weapon, rather than a primary SEAD weapon like an AGM-88 HARM.
Just like its air-to-air equivalents, a series of tones indicate whether a target is locked:
- A steady tone indicating a missile is selected and master arm is on
- A slightly warbling tone indicating an emitter is getting closer
- A violent warbling tone indicating a target is locked. The reticle uncages and slews towards the emitter.
A current bug is that the reticle is not on target, but shifted below it. The target is always above and outside the circle (12 o'clock).
They are fire and forget and will home in on an emitter. Due to limitations of DCS AI units, emitters don't try to hide from an incoming anti-radiation missile. An antenna that is appears on your RWR is sure to track. If the RWR display is too crowded, search for unfolded and rotating antennas on using a TPOD.
AGM-122s do not only track a target after launch, but acquire one as well. As long as it catches an emitter within its field of vision, it will start tracking and steering towards it. This means they can be lofted like AGM-45 Shrikes during the Vietnam War in hopes that they find something on the way down. They must find a lock within about 15NM. otherwise they will not steer against gravity and they quickly tip straight into the ground.
- 10 NM directly pointed at it if you can't wait for a lock on tone
- 15 NM @ 45° (hi angle loft/entry) or @5° (low angle loft/entry)
- 20 NM @ 30° (med loft/entry, most reliable)
- 25NM @ ~15° (Unreliable)
- Point your velocity vector at the target to account for wind.
- Near sea level at M0.82 pitch up starting at the noted distance so that the missile's boresight lines up with the angle. Release at about 3,500ft ASL
- Sometimes it is advisable to loft a missile at 15NM and then gain altitude while continuing towards the target and orbiting out of firing range. For example, you can intentionally catch the attention of an early warning radar so it can bait a nearby SA-15 Tor or SA-8 Osa to start tracking you. This gives the Sidearm something to track by the time it is heading down.
Laser Guided missiles
Infrared guided missiles
1. Redkite tutorial videos:
- Full Tutorial Playlist from Redkite lots of good stuff in here
Cpt. Creosotes Harrier Sound Mod 1.2
-Much improved APU sound -Improved start-up ambiance -Improved internal sounds when flying -Adjusted external sounds -Modified sound distances