STOVL with a ramp? :wink:

One day, one day…


Ramp. All of the excitement and none of the breakdowns.


I’m going to preface this I’m guessing on a fair bit of this, I’m not exactly in tip-top shape critical thinking wise atm, and I don’t want to look like an ass in front of the resident forum Harrier Pilot :stuck_out_tongue:.

I’m assuming the actual attack logic is similar to the Hornet’s in that there is a logical object called a designation, which is roughly analogous to the SPI from the F-16/A-10. It can be a waypoint, coordinates, a radar fix, a TGP position, or a position designated directly from the HUD, but it basically is something the Mission Computer recognizes as the thing you would like most to kill at the moment.

If I had to guess your options in the AV-8B would be selection INS coordinates as a target directly, selecting a target utilizing the Angle Rate Bombing System (ARBS), a compilation IRTV unit and LST in the nose, using the TGP, or selecting a target via the HUD.

INS ought to be easy, there’s a MFD command to designate a waypoint as a target.

ARBS as you’ve found out, has two basic modes. The first is the Dual Mode Tracker (DMT), which is a TV that locks on to contrast. Using angle and elevation information from the aircraft it estimates range and can generate a CCRP (AUTO in the McD product line), or CCIP Lead). The second is LST, which is Laser Spot Tracking, or latching onto a spot provided by another source.

TGP is the mode I know the least about, but this should be the most similiar to the A-10 (It’s the same pod). My understanding from the lack of mention in this manual, and comments by Zeus, is that it’s more or less “after market”, with less stream lined integration compared to the other sensors.

Finally I assume there is the ubiquitous ability to select targets directly off the HUD.

Thus ends me talking out my rear.


Here is a question out of left field - The castle switch on the F-18/Harrier grip looks , I don’t know, less ergonomic to use? Is it better or worse than what we are used to for a thumb switch, or is it designed for a specific function? Is it also CMS or does McD do it very different?


The castle up in pic of RAZBAM AV-8B Harrier II looks a bit like a combination of the A-10C Coolie hat for switching MFD’s and the TMS. It’s marked as the ‘Sensor Select Switch’. Is that the one you meant?


So it does different things in different jets.

In the F/A-18 it’s function is similar to the DMS in the A-10/F-16. Essentially it shifts TDC Priority (the clit mouse) controls between the four primary displays: the HUD, the Left and Right DDIs (MFDs), and the MPCD (Map screen). Additionally, depending on which MFD, and what that MFD is displaying, it has additional functions. For instance, say your TDC Control is set to the MPCD. (which would be castle switch down), and you press down again. This automatically flips the MFD display from the default HSI, to the Situational Awareness display, which is a sort of fusion between your radar, TGP, RWR, and map. If you had the HSI selected on your left DDI, and you castle switched left, the same thing would happen.

If you have your A/A radar selected on the right screen, for example, using the castle switch will then command the close combat modes for the radar. E.G. Up Commands Vertical Scan, etc.

Finally if you’re in CCIP mode for any sort of munition, selecting the HUD as the TDC Priority display will activate AGR (Air Ground Ranging) radar mode.

Tl;dr, it’s highly situational. For further reference, CMS is controlled by a hat on the throttle, and what we consider the “CMS” button on the stick is actually a quick select for air to air weapons.

The Harriers seems to be a quick select for specific sensors.


Yep, I’m going to need that Thrustmaster F/A-18 and AV-8B new grip pre-order button (or ideally new combo package) real soon…


So clearly all I had to do was look at the diagram you posted to answer my question. It is Friday and I have had a pint so I apologize.

I had read in a couple places mention of the castle switch and assumed the term referred to the thumb switch on the left side lower of the stick. Now that I look at the diagram clearly it is the Rook switch (my alliteration, and much better in my opinion) top right for Sensors.

So it is the A/A switch that doesn’t look that ergonomic to me, or at least just different than how the falcon/warthog switches are laid out.

Also - McD lays it out very different. Should be interesting.

Edit: Thanks @near_blind that explains it for me.


So I looked at that photo again and two things jumped out at me (other than a beautiful night for carrier ops)

  1. Whats with the leather gloves? Are Brits incapable of driving Spits/Triumphs/Harriers without gloves?

  2. He has figures and maths jotted directly onto his knee. This is what my knee would say: LEFT HAND FORWARD GOES FAST


Ok, so France … I get it. :wink:


The gloves are a tradition in British military aviation. What you can’t see from this photo are the “L” and the “R” stitched into the back of them…


Yeah i can see how that could get confusing. :wink:


Near Blind, I don’t know what your talking out of, but you couldn’t be more right. :grinning:

That’s it in a nutshell.

A little clarification on history. AFAIK there were no NAs deployed for Desert Storm. They were all day attacks. The Day Attacks (just DA to save me typing) were ARBS only and carried the -406 model engine. The NAs were standing up in mixed squadrons starting on the west coast a little before my time frame in '94. NAs can (and at the time did) use both the -406 and the -408 engines which means that you had a mutt or a purebred in the NA depending on which engine you had since the NAs were heavier.

Original NAs weren’t plumbed for the TPOD which meant you couldn’t self lase. The TPOD was introduced sometime towards the end of the '90s/early 2000s but could only be hung on stations 3 and 5 it seems due to the wiring. So at this point you see a lot of shots of goofy tanked Harriers with tanks on stations 2 and 6 with a TGP on station 3 or 5 and a something on the opposite station. I’m not sure if that something was intended to be dropped or to stay onboard as a counterweight. This isn’t really a great or usual configuration due to the possibility of asymmetry which the Harrier is fairly sensitive to for several reasons.

In the early to mid '00s the TPOD got hung on the centerline which might be a bit of a timeline mismatch for the RAZBAM Harrier circa 2002, but one which I’ll gladly take for the better loadout and VSTOL performance.

You can always fly goofy tanked if you want. :wink:

The ARBS is a fun and challenging configuration to fly and I’m glad that you’ll have the chance to fly without the radar “crutch” for awhile. Without the radar providing air to ground ranging, you really need to be smart about your systems choices to get the best accuracy out of the Harrier.

The sensor cascade (my Weapons Training Instructor would be so proud that I used that term) went something like this.

If you had a target coordinate, you’d roll in with it designated to get your eyes on. If not, you’d have the dot in the VV for designation. High angle you’d roll in BAUT (Auto mode, Baro Height Above Target). Low angle probably RAUT; or RCIP if you didn’t think you’d have the time to designate. We had some GPS options as well, but I’d need to look back and see when those were preferable.

If the designation looked good, you’d castle back to hand it off to the ARBS. AUTO with a TV (i.e. ARBS) lock was the best delivery you could get. It was reported to us that it was actually more accurate than a radar based auto or CCIP solution, simply because of the resolution of the TV locking on a physical object. That was of course easier said than done and the designation might not be spot on and your attempts to sweeten it might be fumble fingered or the TV might just run away if it couldn’t find enough contrast. In this case you had to castle forward to stop the TV and revert to an INS designation. You then also had revert to BCIP or RCIP since your designation wasn’t on the target anymore.

If the TV wasn’t exactly on target but within the “wings” of the CCIP cross, you could still use the TV designation to calculate your bomb solution. You just had to drop CCIP (BCIP or RCIP).

It looked like this,


Also, once the Harrier got the Litening I’m assuming it changed this flow quite a bit. Now you could spot the target and designate it from much farther away. I also assume that you can hand off the designation to the TV for the AUTO solution and perhaps even self (or buddy) lase and use the LST portion of the DMT/ARBS for a delivery.

Still, it should make for many good moments of “switch piggery” where you totally screw away your designation attempts and sling your bombs way off target. Our squadron had a golden pig for the award’s latest recipient to put money in. It helped with the next squadron party.


One last thing and I’ll shut up.

I think if TM does the stick well, you’ll find it pretty comfortable and easy to use. The Castle switch (which if you read above you’ll see that you’ll be getting a lot of use out of) has a good solid feel and throw with those castellations on it.

The A/A switch may look funny in the pics, but it also has a good feel to it in all four directions (and down) and, in the radar bird, down and all four directions.

Having never tried the actual 16 stick, I don’t know how it actually compares naturally.


@Deacon211 Thank you very much for sharing your insights!


You have a license to keep giving these sweet sweet AV-8B info posts as much as you like. :slight_smile: They are great, love em.




Paging @komemiute for possible livery work in the future lol


That is going to make him blush. Gah. I might have to stay off teamspeak for a week :slight_smile:

That being said, if there is one non-military guy in our midst to know his alphabet and numbers i amd sure @near_blind is right there with them.

I knew there was a term for what i tend to do :slight_smile: