I've spent some time today practicing with the targeting pod. I was interested in quickly pointing the targeting pod (TGP) back and forth across different areas of the battlefield.
For the mud-moving pilot, taking off towards a series of pre-planned waypoints (including a IP and target area) is complex enough. An additional layer of complexity is when that pilot doesn't know where he will drop his payload. In the case of the A-10C, a tactical air control party will frequently provide the target's location and the aircraft has a truck load of avionics and target acquisition systems to make sure that ordnance is delivered within feet of where it was intended.
What about when the pilot is granted a "kill box", where he can target any enemy forces within it? In this case, the pilot better know how to use his target acquisition systems, because there will be no waypoints, coordinates or laser designators to guide him towards the important stuff.
In addition, a view of the battlefield from thousands of feet above the ground is not to be wasted and the A-10 can be tasked as an airborne forward air controller. As the saying goes, there is always more targets than bombs, so the airborne forward air controller needs not only a solid performance on his instruments but also the coup d'oeil of an infantry man to be completely successful. Knowing what piece of terrain is tactically important is as an important skill as proficiency with all the gadgetry.
Pilots that can't master the A-10C's target acquisition system need not to apply.
I got myself into the DCS A-10C's mission editor and put a couple of insurgent teams, each of them on separate bridges, miles away from each other. I also put myself on an A-10C with a targeting pod, some 75 miles away from the action. I wanted to practice pointing the targeting pod towards specific places of my choice. No coordinates, no TAC party to guide me to the target. Just a general idea that the insurgents are crossing the bridges towards the town of Narktala.
|With the TAD as a sensor of interest (SOI), I move the cursor onto the north bridge and I make a short press righton the target management (TMS-righ-short). The point where the cursor now becames a markpoint, in this case is markpoint "B".|
|Rinse and repeat. Now I have created another mark, "C". Every new mark gets a name that is the next letter of the alphabet. TMS-right-short, baby!|