Well, as I’m sure you know, the original purpose behind VSTOL was in anticipation of the inevitable first strike by the Soviets against the NATO airfields.

But for this circumstance, the Marines just liked the notion of having a bomb truck with them rather than on a fairly vulnerable ship that might need to be elsewhere at some inconvenient time. The AV-8 just has the virtue of being able to operate forward and, if memory serves, was the most forward deployed F/W asset during DS1. Significantly, it generally operated without the need for air refueling which was more common for other assets.

The concept of “push CAS” where CAS aircraft are stacked to the moon just looking for a place to dump their bombs obscures the need for responsive CAS a bit. In a less air rich environment sending a Strike Eagle on a 12 hour CAS mission would be a waste of a deep strike asset that would probably be better used for Deep Strike or BAI.


I think the Marines’ enthusiasm for the Harrier is heavily influenced by their experiences in the Guadalcanal battle. There the landed force was left on the island unsupported when the Navy withdrew its ships after taking heavy losses. I think since then the Marines never really trusted in air support by carriers and wanted to bring along their own fixed-wing aircraft onto any beach they landed. A useful capability for the next World War, but in practice it hasn’t really been needed since WWII.


That is very true MBot, Having air assets ashore is something that is important to Marines. But it doesn’t need to be a world war type situation.

Any creditable threat to the landing ships or the carrier group, whether land, sea, or air based encourages naval forces to employ standoff or mobility, both of which require sea room. When the Gulf War kicked off, there was serious talk of having the Navy wait outside the gulf, rather than enter it.

Of course, supplying a forward base or bases is always a challenge in this scenario. Attack aircraft, whether fixed wing or rotary, can really eat through some ordnance, fuel, and expendables…especially when those aircraft are rotating through once an hour or less!


Considering the effort Russia and China have put into “carrier killer” missiles, I don’t think the USMC mindset is at all wrong. Sure, it hasn’t been needed lately, but we’ve been fighting mostly nomads with stolen equipment, not a true trained and effective state military.



Sweet I can’t get enough of the new lighting effects and it really suits this plane too


Regardless of the new map, I’m really looking forward to the new 2.1 lighting in a few days. So glow! :slight_smile:


FLIR gun footage:


Is it me or do computers make it darker than it is in real life?

Personally, I find it far easier to see things in the dark in reality than in any PC title, especially when the sky is light.

I don’t know if it’s because my night vision is above average or if the developers’ is just below average. :wink:


No that is fairly accurate.
Flying home at night over the desert, if there is no moon it is darker than you can possibly think. So dark that the NVG’s only make the ground a pitch black blob, with no stars, as opposed to the pitch black blob above you with no stars. It is literally darker than closing your eyes in a dark room.
It is very easy to get disoriented looking outside, because you have absolutely no references and you cannot trust any references you do see, because lights on the ground start to look like a horizon or stars and then your inner ear starts telling you things that aren’t true.
Night strafe is even worse, because you are going downhill in this aforementioned black hole and other than your symbology you have no idea at all where the ground is, and usually a pilot cannot see the target even with NVG’s, so they just strafe symbology.

The night is dark and full of terrors.

Also, the FLIR image on the HUD, in the strike eagle it is now rarely used, because the pilot is wearing NVG’s, and you can’t see the FLIR image clearly (or at all) through the NVG’s. We still turn it on, because it is great for the WSO in his HUD repeater.

Issues with it are alignment. the FLIR pod is offset from the HUD itself, so your image is also offset, and most of the time pilots don’t align it. You can have things being quite far off from your symbology (parallax errors) which can make things rather interesting (are we going to hit that aircraft that the FPM is on? or is it offset? Are we landing on the runway or 300 Meters to the left?) Combined with the lack of resolution in the HUD display, NVG’s are honestly superior.

The advantages of FLIR are that it sees on a different wavelength than NVG’s so if you combine the two you can get some interesting effects. Heat sources of course light up quite nicely in FLIR in a way they don’t in NVG’s, and they both can see through different types of clouds. Overall, for a pilot, once you have decent NVG’s the FLIR is not particularly useful except in some edge cases.
Doesn’t diminish the coolness factor of it though.


Agreed. I shot an ILS out in Bermuda a few nights ago (well, my FO did)…and part of the missed approach and takeoff brief was…“and we will not get spatial D over the ocean if something goes wrong”. Dark nights are dark. Scarily dark. Mountains at night are the same way…or large expanses of wilderness. Anything less than no clouds and a half moon can put you in a bad way if you aren’t paying attention. Carrier pilots have it the worst. Lots of sources of vertigo inducing problems…


Technically speaking the dark is really neat, as Klarsnow aptly explained!


ya mountains are terrifying at night. You see pitch blackness everywhere and subconsciously realize there is a giant pit of even blacker black out there that you can’t see and that part of it is above you… But you sorta can see it, but not really.

Some of the most terrifying flying is low levels at Nellis at night. Some of the routes we plan will go 500 feet running parallel along a cliff edge, below the cliff. The TF is telling you OBSTACLE to the right, but without the NOG’s you can’t see anything. but you know there is a thousand feet of cliff right next to you, zipping past at 450 knots. And all you can do is trust that the TF is doing its job, and that you will be just fine…


Good Desert Storm night mission for the F-15C linked on this page. Have any of you flown it and lived through the takeoff the first time out? Hint: resist the urge for a displaced threshold departure :slight_smile: I’ll edit it for the AV-1B to be in the strike package when released. Fun mission.



Gonna have to try that one…


Incidentally, I wonder if they are going to incorporate NVGs into the RAZBAM AV-8B, it’s really meant to be flown with both as Klar points out.

The AV-8 has the capacity to auto turn off the NVGs when you look at the HUD so you don’t have that overlap, IIRC.


Huh. I had to look this up. For other aircraft the solution is to just turn up the HUD brightness so you can read it with NVGs, this setup sounds interesting. I don’t think I’d want it unless the FLIR footage was displayed on the HUD, however, as losing NV capability out the front to look at the HUD seems like a bad idea. I’d be curious to get a dude that flew Harriers to give his perspective on the system.

[quote]The “Cat’s Eye” is a Type II (projected image) Gen III NVIS made by GEC-Marconi, and is standard
in the AV-8 series of Harrier aircraft. The weight is slightly over 1 lb. The two optical combiner lenses
have the image displayed for out-of-the-cockpit viewing. The combiner has see-through capability
to view the aircraft’s HUD. When the pilot is looking at the HUD, the imagery is automatically
turned off to allow visibility of the HUD symbology. [/quote]



Well, I was a Harrier dude, but I only got a brief exposure to Night Systems, before my good deal FAC tour. :wink:

I recall it being pretty nifty. Actually, since it had been so long ago, I pulled out my TACMAN to make sure I wasn’t full of beans.

The part I had forgotten to add is that the entire NAVFLIR image can be removed from the HUD via the HOTAS scene reject control. The cool part is that this also turns off the IR sensor which blanks the goggles.

So, if you want to see both scenes simultaneously, you can do that. And if you want to see forward through the NAVFLIR or the NVGs alternately, you can do that too with just your thumb.

While I didn’t get to use the NVGs much (they were an advanced qual at the time) I used the hell out of that NAVFLIR. I would take that over poking your nose into a pitch black target area any day of the week! :grin:


It is kind of neat that some of this tech has filtered down to the civilian world… Just the other night I shot an ILS into Boston using a HUD with EVS (FLIR)…


Some of the tech in those corporate planes is incredible…and miles ahead of the steam gauges still in the airlines. I only saw EFVS in the sim, but it was awesome.