Aircraft Operation

The AH-64A/D is not operated like a typical helicopter in ArmA2; while it still uses the same basic functions as standard helicopters, there are a number of additional options that make it much more complex in terms of handling and functionality. To ignore these is to invite certain peril.

Getting In

Before getting into the aircraft, you must lock any rifles you are carrying in the cockpit storage area. Otherwise, you will be forced to discard any rifles, machine guns, etc. when you get into the aircraft. Storage space is limited and you cannot mount weapons heavier than a generic carbine in the racks. Pistols can be carried by the crew with no inhibits. Soldiers transported on the side can carry any weaponry, but the crew must be careful not to fire wing mounted weaponry or any riders on the side will take damage.

Controls

There are certain control functions that have keyboard shortcuts; these generally have to be mapped to gain functionality. Some controls are only possible through the Crosshair Action function. Table 4-1 lists these controls.

Table 4-1

Function

Control

Description

FCR On/Off

Salute

Turns FCR on or off.

FCRAA/FCRAG/HMD/TADS sensor selection

OpticsMode

Selects FCR/G, FCR/A, or TADS/HMD sensors.

Cycle right MPD page

Custom User 1

Cycles current page on right MPD.

Cycle left MPD page

Custom User 2

Cycles current page on left MPD.

WAS/Weapon Action Switch

Custom User 4

Switches between the first live available gun, missile, rocket, or air to air weapon.

Crosshair Action

Custom User 20

Key for interaction with cockpit equipment.

IHADSS Mode

Custom User 15

Cycles between Transition, Cruise, Hover, and Bob-Up IHADSS modes.

Gun tracking

Custom User 3

Selects TADS, HMD, Automatic, or Fixed gun/pylon tracking modes. WPN page must be active.

Gun Burst, Rocket Salvo, HELLFIRE trajectory

Binocular

Switches gun burst, rocket salvos, and HELLFIRE trajectory modes/settings. WPN page must be active.

IR Jammer toggle

Custom User 11

Turns IR Jammer on or off. ASE page must be active.

RF Jammer toggle

Custom User 12

Turns RF Jammer on or off. ASE page must be active.

Manual/Automatic Jammers

Custom User 13

Sets IR/RF jammers to manual or automatic. Linked to autopage setting. ASE page must be active.

ASE Autopage

Custom User 14

Cycles between ASE autopage off, track, or launch settings. ASE page must be active.

TSD/FCR target filtering

Custom User 6

Cycles between target filters for tracked, air defense, wheeled, or PFZ targets. TSD/FCR page must be active.

TSD Range Setting

Custom User 7

Sets TSD range scale for 1, 2, 5, 10, 25, or 50 kilometers. TSD/FCR page must be active.

TSD Mode

Custom User 8

Sets TSD to NAV or ATK modes. TSD/FCR page must be active.

PFZ Selection

Custom User 9

Cycles between PFZ sets 1-8. TSD/FCR page must be active.

PNVS

Look Up/Down/Left/Right

Analog Look

Pans the PNVS turret (pilot). Analog look controlled by using the action "Head Tracking On/Off" to enable usage with TIR and other head tracking hardware.

Crosshair Action

The Crosshair Action is a function that allows usage of cockpit equipment by looking at the button or component and then pressing the key to activate it. It is indicated with a small pipper in the center of the screen and a light blue hint text when something usable is highlighted (this can be turned off with the "Click Helper Toggle" action).

Cockpit Backlighting

If so desired, cockpit backlighting can be turned on with the Crosshair Action. The switch is obscured by the pilot's arm but is located on the left hand side of the cockpit. Using this turns on lights to assist in night operations inside the cockpit.

Starting Engines

By default, the aircraft must be started in the following process:

1 - Turn the battery on.
2 - Turn the APU on.
3 - Flip both engine switches to start.
4 - Push both power levers to the FLY setting.
5 - Disengage the rotor brake.

From there you can increase the throttle/collective to take off.

Weapons

The AH-64D's primary weapon systems are the M230 Chain Gun, Hydra rockets, and the AGM-114 HELLFIRE missile system. FIM-92 Stingers are also optional.


The M299 digital HELLFIRE launcher is capable of launching all HELLFIRE type missiles. The M299 can only be used on the AH-64D and later helicopters. The AH-64D can mount up to 4 M299 launchers for a total of 16 missiles.


The M261 rocket pod carries up to 19 2.75" (70mm) rockets. The AH-64 retains the legacy AH-1 Cobra rocket fusing system and all rockets are divided into 5 zones: Zone A, located on stations 1 and 4; Zone B, located on stations 1 and 4; Zone C, located on stations 2 and 3; Zone D, located on stations 2 and 3; and Zone E, which is on all three stations. The AH-64 series can mount up to 4 pods for a total of 76 rockets.

AGM-114 HELLFIRE Missile Family

The AGM-114 HELLFIRE (Helicopter Launched Fire and Forget) missiles are the primary weapon of all AH-64 aircraft. Despite the name, only the AGM-114L is a true fire and forget weapon; all others require constant laser guidance to hit their target.

The AH-64D refers to each type based upon seeker generation: SAL1, SAL2, and RF. SAL1 missiles are first generation, which includes AGM-114A, AGM-114B, AGM-114C, and AGM-114F. SAL2 missiles are second generation and include the AGM-114K, AGM-114M, AGM-114N, and later SAL missiles. RF refers to the AGM-114L Longbow HELLFIRE.

Except for the AGM-114L, all missiles have four launch modes/trajectories: LOBL, LOAL-DIR, LOAL-LO, and LOAL-HI. LOBL is the default mode and requires illumination of the target prior to firing. All LOAL modes can be launched and then illuminated mid-flight. The AGM-114L has no distinction between trajectories; it always flies the same flight path. The missile is always operating in either LOBL or LOAL mode; the distinct LOAL trajectory settings have no effect on the missile beyond defining an LOAL mode. In LOBL mode, the FCR must be on and an LOS must be present to guide the missile. In LOAL mode, no active radar source is required, only the target location. However, LOAL mode cannot track moving targets.

The SAL LOBL and LOAL launch modes represent the form of guidance and trajectory used for the missile. LOBL or Lock On Before Launch requires a target to be within LOS and an active acquisition source before launching. LOAL or Lock On After Launch only requires designation prior to the missile's terminal phase. When using self designation, only one target may be illuminated at one time; that is, the current target is the target for all SAL missiles regardless of what the previous target was. The advantage of this is you may launch missiles in salvos, timing between launches, and as each target is hit, the next target is selected and hit by the next missile, and so on. This is called repeat fire. An alternative strategy to this is called ripple fire, where the first missile is sent to a remote designator and the next missile is sent to your own designator.

The LOBL trajectory sets a maximum climbing height of 560 meters; this is reduced depending on the distance of the target. There are three trajectories associated with LOAL mode: Direct, Low, and High. Direct is similar to LOBL with the same maximum height but increased angle to the target. Low trajectory sets a maximum height of 400 meters, but with sharper angles to the target. High sets a maximum height of 600 meters with the same sharp angles of the Low trajectory.

As described above, for the Longbow HELLFIRE, the trajectory is the same regardless of LOBL or LOAL mode. Maximum height attained is 850 meters.


The AGM-114A is the first HELLFIRE missile to enter operational service. It is a Semi-Active Laser (SAL) guided missile that requires constant illumination with a laser designator to hit it's target. It has a maximum range of 7km and cannot reacquire a target if it is lost in flight. The warhead cannot defeat reactive armor. Minimum range of 1km.


The AGM-114C improved on the AGM-114A's shortcomings, primarily in motor and autopilot functions. It maintains the same warhead but has a low smoke motor. It includes a reacquire capability in case it loses the target mid-flight.



The AGM-114K is the most advanced SAL HELLFIRE missile available. Referred to as the HELLFIRE II, the AGM-114K is capable of defeating reactive armor, has improved tracking capabilities, reacquire capabilities, and increased range out to 8km. Minimum range of 1km.


The AGM-114L Longbow HELLFIRE is the most advanced HELLFIRE model available. It has a true fire and forget capability and is guided by a millimetre wave radar rather than laser energy. It does require a Longbow FCR to attain maximum capability, but can be used without the radar if necessary. Maximum range is 8km. Minimum range of 1km.


The AGM-114M is identical to the AGM-114K except that it replaces the shaped charge warhead with a blast fragmentation warhead. This makes it more useful as an area effect weapon.


The AGM-114N is identical to the AGM-114K except that it replaces the shaped charge warhead with a thermobaric warhead. This makes it more useful as an area effect weapon.

Hydra 70 rockets

The Hydra rocket consists of a basic Mk 66 rocket motor with a selectable warhead and fuse. There are several variations of the rocket motor; the types represented here use the Mod 6 motor, which is designed to reduce combustion of launch gasses in the engines of the firing aircraft. Hydra rockets use a folding fin and are launched from pods, typically either a 7 shot M260 or 19 shot M261 pod.

Hydra rockets can be fired in salvos of 1, 2, 4, 8, 12, 24, or ALL. A single trigger press will launch the indicated number of rockets.


The M151 rocket is a 10 pound warhead mounted to a Hydra 2.75" (70mm) rocket. The warhead is a standard high explosive fragmentation warhead. This version has a contact fuse. Maximum range is 4.5km.


The M229 rocket is a 17 pound warhead mounted to a Hydra 2.75" (70mm) rocket. The warhead is a standard high explosive fragmentation warhead. This version has a penetrating fuse. Maximum range is 4km.


The M261 rocket is a submunition warhead mounted to a Hydra 2.75" (70mm) rocket. The warhead contains 9 bomblets capable of penetrating light armor and include fragmentation effects for anti-infantry purposes. Maximum range is 4.5km.


The M255 rocket is a submunition warhead mounted to a Hydra 2.75" (70mm) rocket. The warhead contains over 1,000 flechettes that are capable of penetrating light armor. Maximum range is 4.5km.


The M257 rocket is a flare warhead mounted to a Hydra 2.75" (70mm) rocket. The warhead contains a single flare that can illuminate a large area 3km from the launch point.


ATAS or Air-To-Air Stinger is a twin pack containing FIM-92 Stinger missiles. The FIM-92 uses an IIR (Imaging InfraRed) seeker and has a maximum range of 5km. Minimum range of 1km. The AH-64D can mount two launchers on the wingtips for a total of 4 missiles.


The 230 US gallon auxiliary fuel tank extends the aircraft's endurance by approximately 2 hours. Up to 4 can be mounted.


The M230 Chain Gun is a 30mm cannon firing M789 HEDP (High Explosive Dual Purpose) rounds at a maximum of 650 rounds per minute. It has a maximum range of 2.5km. In the AH-64's turret, it has an elevation +12 -60 degrees and an azimuth +-86 degrees. The AH-64 can carry up to 1200 rounds of M789 rounds for the cannon, but there are modified internal aux tanks that can extend range at the price of magazine capacity; one offers an additional hour of endurance for a 300 round capability; the other omits the magazine entirely for an additional 90 minutes of flight time.

The M230 is limited by burst settings to allow the gun to cool after firing. The longer the burst, the longer the cool down time. Settings of 10, 20, 50, and 100 are allowed.

In addition, the gun and pylon elevation can be controlled by inputs from the TADS, HMD, automatic, or fixed. TADS mode is the default, where gun and pylon elevation are linked to the TADS elevation and azimuth. HMD mode is linked to the pilot's HMD and aims the weapons at a point indicated by the pilot's crosshairs. Automatic mode aims the weapons at the current target, either TADS or FCR; if no target is selected, then it operates as in HMD mode. Fixed mode fixes the gun 10 degrees up from the centerline and pylons 4.5 degrees up from the centerline.

Arming Dialog

If so enabled, the Arming Dialog allows rearming and changing weapons in the field. Use the action "Arming Menu" to open the dialog.



  • 1 - Aircraft type/model and hardpoints

  • 2 - Load Area

  • 3 - Weapon Information

  • 4 - Weapon List

The Arming Dialog enables a number of configurations and sub configurations for weapons and ordnance on the aircraft. The Load Area is the key to this capability, allowing individual M299 rail and M261 zone configuration. Usage is as follows:

  • Select the M299 rack or M261 pod from the weapon list.

  • Click on the center of the load area ("No Weapon" icon).

  • Select the desired ordnance from the weapon list.

  • Click the dashes next to the rack/pod to fill that position with the ordnance. For the M299 rack, the dashes represent a forward view of the launcher; for the M261 pod, the upper left dash is Zone A/C, the upper right dash is Zone B/D, and the lower left dash is Zone E.

  • Click the desired station in the aircraft area to place ordnance there.

  • If so desired, alternative M230 magazine options are 1200, 300, or 0 rounds. Click the round counter on the aircraft center to change this. Selecting less than 1200 rounds will add an Internal Auxiliary Fuel System to the loadout.

  • When finished placing weaponry, click the Load button. A radio message will indicate when loading is complete.

  • Close the menu with the Close button.

Note that in some cases, weaponry can be limited; if this is the case, the limitation will be indicated in the Weapon Info box. If more than the available loadout is selected, an error message will come up to indicate changes must be made.

Sensors

The AH-64D has two sensor systems: TADS and FCR. The TADS is the cylindrical 'bug eye' on the nose, separated into day side and night side. The starboard side is the night side and contains the FLIR sensor, while the port side is the day side and contains the DTV (DayTime Television); older aircraft equipped with DVO (Direct View Optics) locate it here as well.

The FCR or Longbow Fire Control Radar is located on top of the rotor mast. It is a millimetre wave radar that is capable of detecting targets out to 10km. It works in conjunction with the Longbow HELLFIRE missile by providing an accurate data source for LOBL mode.

Although not a sensor per se, the HMD also ties in with the sensors and weapons. The aircrew can look at a target and add it to the target database. By extension, weapons can be slaved to aim at the position indicated by the HMD.

Sensors can be selected with the Optics Mode key. There are three options: FCR/G, ground radar mode; FCR/A, air radar mode; and TADS/HMD. FCR/G uses the FCR as the primary sensor and acquires targets through the TSD database. FCR/A uses the FCR as the primary sensor but sweeps a 360 degree area around the aircraft to scan for aerial targets and restricts acquisition to aerial targets only. TADS/HMD is a combined mode, using the TADS sensor assisted by the HMD. TADS/HMD acquires targets based upon visual signatures and what can be seen.

Regardless of selected sensor, the current target for SAL and FIM-92 missiles will always be the TADS/HMD target. This is indicated by the default targeting box. If the TADS/HMD is the selected sensor, then the target crosshairs will move over this target. If the current sensor is the FCR, then the target crosshairs will be over the current FCR target and the gun and weapon pylons will slave to this target when set to the automatic tracking mode.

Target Filtering/Designation

Filtering

The TSD/FCR displays can filter targets shown on their displays based upon type or PFZ. Available selections are: All, Tracked, Air Defense, Wheeled, or PFZ 1-8. As only up to 30 targets can be displayed on the TSD at any one time (16 for the FCR), in a busy environment it can be useful to filter for specific types and locations set with PFZs.

PFZs

PFZs or Priority Fire Zones represent a group of targets separated by a two dimensional boundary. These are created as basic rectangles that encompass the current targets within an area. There are 8 PFZ slots available, selectable by the Custom User 9 key or the "PFZ Select" action. Once a PFZ has been selected, use the TSD "ADD" option or the "PFZ CREATE" action to create it.

Two options are available to create a PFZ: the first uses the TSD and the Crosshair Action by looking at one point on the TSD screen, pressing the crosshair action, then looking at another point and pressing it again. This will create a PFZ where the two points represent the two corners of the PFZ rectangle. This method is somewhat inaccurate, and a more precision option is available by opening the map and clicking on the two locations that will become the corners of the PFZ rectangle.

When the second corner has been selected, the PFZ is created and any targets in the PFZ area are added to that PFZ. If the FCR is the current sensor, then cycling targets will only cycle through targets in the current PFZ. If TADS/HMD is the current sensor, then current PFZ selection will have no impact on what can be targeted; however, targets in the PFZ will be indicated as white icons. Once a PFZ has been created, targets in that PFZ will remain in that PFZ until destroyed or until the PFZ is recreated.

PFZs can be transferred to other aircraft in a network game. To do so, create the PFZ with the targets and use the TSD "XMIT" button or the action "PFZ SEND" to upload the targets. Any other AH-64D aircraft can then use the "PFZ RECV" action or the TSD "RECV" button - they can either add them to a PFZ slot of their own or to their entire target database.

SAL SELF/REMOTE Modes

When using SAL missiles, it is possible to use the REMOTE designation mode. Remote designation enables firing a SAL missile without having a target selected, but configuring it to search for a specific laser signal from a broadcasting unit. The action "MODE REMOTE" will cycle through available laser designators based upon position while "MODE SELF" will revert back to self designation for SAL missiles. Pressing the "MODE: SELF/REMOTE" button on the WPN page will also perform this function. When using a remote signal, missiles must be launched in an LOAL mode.

Should you wish to become a remote designator for other aircraft, you can use the "LRFD FIRST" button on the WPN page or the "BROADCAST REMOTE CODE" action. Doing so adds a laser designator to your weapon selection which is aimed with the gun. The HMD will reflect this by showing "LRFD ON/OFF". When 'fired', "LRFD ON" will be displayed. Other aircraft may then select your laser as a remote target and engage it with SAL missiles. When finished designating, use the action "CEASE REMOTE CODE" or press the "LRFD FIRST" button to turn off the laser and remove it from your weapon list.

Defenses

The AH-64D has three basic defensive measures against anti-air threats: Chaff, the Radar Jammer, and the IR jammer. A small chaff launcher at the base of the tail contains 30 chaff cartridges for spoofing radar guided missiles, the IR jammer is located just behind the main rotor, and the Radar jammer is located in the nose. The Common Missile Warning System or CMWS typically includes two flare launchers at the base of the tail; in addition, the CMWS can detect IR missile launches. The Block II does not have this system.

Guidance Systems

There are three basic guidance systems that can be fooled or detected by the Apache: Laser, Radio Frequency, and InfraRed. Laser guided weapons cannot be fooled, only detected; RF guided can be detected and fooled; and unless equipped with CMWS, IR guided can only be fooled. Some air defenses use a radar for initial detection but launch passive guided missiles; in these cases, the radar warning receiver will indicate a signal but will be unable to determine when the threat is launching or engaging.

AN/ALQ-144 IR Jammer

The AN/ALQ-144 is an active measure IR jammer that works by emitting infrared pulses that can inhibit acquisition and proper guidance of IR missiles. It can be used continuously for up to 60 seconds, after which an equivalent cooldown period is required to return to a ready state. It can be activated before the cooldown time is reached, but it will only be functional for the amount of time it has cooled down. The UFD and WCA page will display "IR JAMMER OHEAT" when the IR jammer has reached it's maximum operating time.

The IR Jammer can be turned on or off with the "IR JAMMER" action, the Custom User 11 key, or the ASE "IR JAM OPER/OFF" buttons. In addition, the IR Jammer can be linked to the ASE autopage settings in event of Track or Launch events to automatically activate; use the "JAMMER MAN/AUT" action, Custom User 13 key, or the "IR JAM STBY" ASE page button.

AN/ALQ-136 RF Jammer

The AN/ALQ-136 is an active measure RF jammer that emits electronic radio frequency noise to confuse radar systems and radar guided missiles. It generates false signatures that can confuse hostile radar systems. Like the IR jammer, it can be used continuously for up to 60 seconds, after which it must cool down. The message "RADAR JAMMER OHEAT" will be displayed on the UFD and WCA page when it's operating limits have been reached.

The RF Jammer can be turned on or off with the "RF JAMMER" action, the Custom User 12 key, or the ASE "RF JAM OPER/OFF" buttons. In addition, the RF Jammer can be linked to the ASE autopage settings in event of Track or Launch events to automatically activate; use the "JAMMER MAN/AUT" action, Custom User 13 key, or the "RF JAM STBY" ASE page button.

AN/APR-39 Radar Warning Receiver

The AN/APR-39 is a system consisting of four sensors that can detect specific radio frequency signals and classify them from an internal database. This is tied into the ASE page which displays the threats, distance to the helicopter, and whether they are passive, tracking, or launching at the helicopter. This system does not work against passive guided (IR) threats.

AN/AVR-2 Laser Warning System

Laser detection/warning is provided by the AN/AVR-2, which uses four sensors on the aircraft to detect guidance lasers aimed at the aircraft. This system is tied in with the ASE.

M130 Dispenser

The M130 dispenser is a flare/chaff launcher containing 30 cartridges of either type. Flares and chaff cannot be mixed; on the AH-64D, there is a single M130 dispenser on the left side of the tail that is only used for dispensing chaff. The CMWS upgrade adds an additional two dispensers at the base of the tail loaded with flares only.

AN/AAR-57 Common Missile Warning System

Although not equipped on the Block II, the AN/AAR-57 CMWS provides the ability to detect launching of passively guided missiles toward the aircraft. It operates with four UV sensors tied into the ASE and is controlled with an additional panel in the pilot's cockpit. CMWS upgrades typically include two flare launchers at the base of the tail. Upgraded Block II aircraft can have this system, sometimes referred to as Block II+.

Damage

When the aircraft takes damage, it is not as simple or straightforward as with other aircraft. It is possible to remain flying but otherwise not combat capable and various systems can be damaged or destroyed when hit. Table 4-2 describes the components that can be damaged and the effects from that damage.

Table 4-2

Component

Systems

Effects

Nose

TADS

PNVS

TADS Degraded - No effect.
TADS Failure - laser disabled, cannot self designate SAL missiles, cannot acquire TADS targets.

PNVS Failure - PNVS disabled.

Cockpit

Crew

Gunner Injured - No effect.
Gunner Death - Loss of TADS targeting capability, SAL self designation capability.

Pilot Injured - No effect.
Pilot Death - Subsequent crash or failure of the aircaft.

FABs/EFABs

Weapons Processors

Display Processors

Single Weapons Processor failure - No effect.
Dual Weapons Processor failure - Loss of pylon elevation, auto tracking, and gun tracking capability.

Single Display Processor failure - Single MPD failure.
Dual Display Processor failure - Loss of both MPDs and IHADSS.

Wings

Wingtips

Pylon 1

Pylon 2

Pylon 3

Pylon 4

Failure - Loss of weapon on the pylon.

Fuselage

Fuel tanks

Main Transmission

APU

Fuselage Damaged - Fuel tank leak.
Fuselage Failure - Destruction of the aircraft.

Transmission damaged - No effect.
Transmission Failure - Loss of power to rotors.

APU fire - Potential loss of aircraft.

Engines

Engines

Damaged - Performance degraded; fuel consumption increased.
Failure - Loss of power to rotors.

Fires - potential loss of aircraft.

Tail

Tailboom

Horizontal Stabilizator

Vertical Tail Fin

Tail Rotor

Tailboom Damaged - No effect.
Tailboom Failure - Loss of tail and subsequent tail rotor failure.

Horizontal Stabilizator Damaged - No effect.
Horizontal Stabilizator Failure - Instability at high speed.

Vertical Fin Damaged - No effect.
Vertical Fin Failure - Loss of tail rotor.

Tail rotor Damaged - Reduction of yaw authority.
Tail rotor Failure - Loss of yaw authority.

Main Rotor

Main Rotor

Fire Control Radar (if equipped)

Main Rotor Damaged - Oscillations in cyclic.
Main Rotor Failure - Loss of lift and subsequent failure of aircraft.

FCR Failure - Loss of FCR scanning capability; loss of Longbow HELLFIRE guidance capability.

Gun

Gun

Damaged - Possible jam, turret failure.

Fire Suppression

The AH-64 has three fire detectors and two fire suppression bottles. The system works by arming the indicated location and then discharging one of the fire suppression bottles. Arming of a location is indicated by the green "RDY" light. Any locations not armed will not be extinguished. When the fire bottles have been used, they are indicated with a green "DISCH" light. If Repairing is enabled on the Arming Dialog, repairing will reset the fire bottles, but the indicators must be reset manually with the fire panel test switch. Note that fire suppression works exclusively with the Crosshair Action key. As an alternative, landing and shutting off the engines can help to put out fires.

Display Processor Failures

Should you suffer a display processor failure, you will only be able to operate one MPD display at a time. Only the live MPD can be hot-keying; the dead MPD can be initialized with the DMS menu button (MPD "M" button) which will enable hot-keying for that display, at the cost of shutting the other display off. If both display processors fail, then you will also lose IHADSS and will have no MPD capabilities. Only the UFD and standby instruments will remain functional. If you repair your aircraft, you will have to reinitialize the IHADSS with the "IHADSS Toggle" action (which may take several tries) and re-initialize the MPDs through the DMS menu on each MPD.