A: Harpoon 3 is the latest and most realistic of the Harpoon series of naval warfare simulators. Detailed information and screen shots on the various versions of computer Harpoon can be found on the What is Harpoon page.
Harpoon 3 offers much more than simply full Windows compatibility. Performance increases of up to 900%-1500% have been recorded. Scenarios that would either crawl (too much stuff happening on screen) or crash altogether (memory limits) in earlier versions of Harpoon now run like a breeze. In addition, a mile-long list of bugs has been fixed and more are being addressed with each successive exe release. New versions have also added new features such as a detailed after-action log, fully-working nuclear weapons, true thermal layer (which the AI subs use deviously), fully-working terrain-following, custom GIS overlays and many others. Harpoon 3 is a continuous work in progress and we would not be surprised to see features in it that we've not dared imagine until now.
A: Yes, the simulator will work on Windows 95 / 98 / ME, NT 4.0, Windows 2000 and Windows XP. The minimum requirements are:
- 486DX2, 50 MHz processor.
- 190 MB hard drive space.
- Minimum RAM is whatever your version of Windows requires.
- DirectX version 3.
- Video card capable of running Windows at 800 x 600 x 256 colors.
A: The simulator will run on any PowerMac running System 7.1 or later, including iMacs, G3s, G4s, and also older PowerMacs and PowerPC clones. The minimum requirements are:
- 16 MB of Physical RAM
- QuickTime (requires 3.0 or later)
- 100MB of hard drive space
A: The faster your computer is, the better. For PC we recommend any Intel or AMD processor running at 300MHz or faster, and 64MB of RAM. When playing larger and more complicated scenarios Harpoon 3 will require a faster CPU and more memory to keep up. Most scenarios play well on a 1GHz Thunderbird, and run like a breeze on AMD XP1600+. If you want to run at higher resolutions up to 1200x1024 it will require a better video card. For Macintosh, Harpoon 3 will run fairly well on a PPC 601, runs great on a G3, and screams on a G4.
Life is full of options and fortunately so is Harpoon Three. Outside that bit of wisdom you may be wondering where to find this stuff with your new game. Well the developers (old and new) have given you plenty to chose from and two different methods to change them. I hope to give you a quick and easy explanation so you can get right to the fun stuff.
The first mechanism of change in the game is the infamous harpoon .ini file. You got to remember that back in the gaming day this was the primary method to change the properties of one's game. So being that this game is rooted in that period its usage still exists. This file is a small 10 kilobyte file found in your main harpoon directory (c:/harpoon3 by default) and goes by the filename of harpoon3.ini. You open it by simply double clicking the file which will give you notepad like display of all your options. You'll know you are in the right place when the first line you see is: [Harpoon3]. As a note, you created this file when you ran setup so this is where all the values derive from.
Change the ini file is an easy process. At the end of each entry there is a value that you are allowed to change (marked in this piece by a bold font). You simply scroll down to that entry and replace it with the appropriate value of your choosing and then save the file. I will explain the proper values of each one in this document. As with all editable files, there is great value in backing up the original version and we suggest you do so if you make any changes.
Section of ini
===================================== ; Super VGA Modes Supported ===================================== ; 101 640 x 480 x 256 ; 103 800 x 600 x 256 ; 105 1024 x 768 x 256 ; 107 1280 x 1024 x 256 ; ; Anything other than one of the ; listed modes results in the ; screen resolution set to 101 =====================================
The first item you will see is your display options. As you can see this simply is a listing of possible display modes of computer. 800 by 600 is always the default but you may change as desired. Keep in mind this isn't really necessary as your windows operation system gives you these options as well. So consider this one a blast from the past and best left alone.
===================================== ; Sound Directives ===================================== ; 0 No Sound ; 1 Voice only ; 2 Music only ; 3 Voice and Music only ; 4 F/X only ; 5 Voice and F/X only ; 6 F/X and Music only ; 7 Voice, F/X and Music =====================================
The next section of the ini deals with your sound options. This is fairly self-explanatory and works the same as the above mentioned section of the ini. You simply replace the value after sound to suit your needs. Keep in mind the voices are neat but Jesse is no Barry White. I suggest you turn these off particularly in larger scenarios as you may get many Vampire calls concurrently.
===================================== ; Animation Settings: Can be set to ON or OFF =====================================
===================================== ; Animation window persistence, may be on or off =====================================
===================================== ; If Animations are set to ON, the following settings ; may be specified. If Animations are set to OFF, ; these items are always off in the game, no matter ; what the following settings are. =====================================
The next section of the Ini has to do with the Animation settings. The Animation settings are the little movies that are displayed when certain actions take place in the game. As you can see you have a wide range of settings to play with in this section of the file. The first section, Animations, is a general setting which allows you to turn them all on or off. If you do not wish to have any animations, you simply set this one to off and your job is done. If you wish to keep them on with changes you must work through the rest of the section. Animation persist simply gives you the option to allow the animation to remain on your screen until you turn it off or not. Finally, the last five options gives you control of each animation individually.
===================================== ; Aircraft Logistics Setting ; Set this variable to ON if you want to limit ; the number of aircraft weapons available to ; the contents of the parent unit's magazines =====================================
The next section of the ini covers aircraft logistics which is fairly important to most players. The basic premise behind this one is giving yourself an option of limited ammunition with your aircraft or unlimited. You choose "ON" to enforce aircraft logistics and "OFF" to ignore them.
===================================== ; Class Restrictions - Scenario Editor Only ; Set ClassRestrictionByCountry ON if you wish ; to limit the classes available to ones used ; by the selected country. ; ; Set ClassRestrictionByTime ON if you ALSO wish ; to limit selection to classes and individual ; units which were historically in service that ; year. This option only works if ; Class RestrictionsByCountry is set ON. =====================================
Next we've got a section designed for scenario writers only called Class Restriction. What these do is allow the scenario editor to view the database only by class or year. Changing these values is simply done by change the default values from "OFF" to "ON". When you turn "Class Restriction by Country" to On and then access the scenario editor and choose to add a unit a list of nations is produced from the country file. When you select the desired country a list of its platforms will be produced for you to select. When you turn "Class Restriction by Time" on and then access the editor you will be given a selection based on the date you've chosen when first creating the scenario.
*The DB2k does not support the country file so these options will not function properly. This function will work with the default database.
The next set of options really should be left alone except under certain circumstances. The only options that would be a concern to any player are the res, dat and dat2 locations. These must be changed when using other databases. The database writers should include a detailed file explaining how to change these values correctly with any database release. The DB2000 and default database do not require you to change a thing which means that these values should be left alone.
===================================== ; Map Preferences ===================================== ; ; 1 Show coastlines (should ALWAYS be on) ; 2 Show international borders ; 4 Show ice caps ; 8 Show land ; 16 Show water ; 32 Show data blocks ; 64 Show ice pack ; 128 Show unit paths ; 256 Show groups ; 512 Show sonobuoys ; 1024 Show current unit data block ; 2048 Show current unit path ; 32768 Show reference points ; 65536 Show communication networks ; 131072 Show wind data ; 262144 Show cloud data ; 524288 Show precipitation data ; 1048576 Show surface threat zones ; 2097152 Show submarine threat zones ; 4194304 Show air threat zones ; 8388608 Show restricted navigation zones ; 16777216 Show neutral zones ; ; Add the values for the features you wish ; to have displayed =====================================
The next set of editable options in the ini are the map options. As you can see a bit of math is required to get your desired result. It is worth noting that you can change these options within the game however, they will only work for your current game. The default value is suggested as adding anymore may clutter your map.
===================================== ; Map Lat,Lon Line Increment ; Lat,Lon lines can be added at 1,5, or 10 degree intervals. ; A zero for this value will turn the lines off. =====================================
This next section deals with displaying latitude and longitude lines on your map. Again this information can be set within the game but you will need to set them each time you play the game
===================================== ; Realism levels: ; 0 Full realism ; 1 Auto DataLinks ; 3 Instant Side ID ; 7 Instant Unit ID ; 15 Instant Detect ; ; Automatic networks gives the user instant comm ; with all units on his side that have comm equipment. ; Instant side ID gives you the allegance of all contacts. ; Instant Unit ID automatically classifies contacts. ; Instant detect will show you all units in the game. ; ;=====================================
This next value in the ini allows you to change the reality settings in the game. This is of particular interest to all those wondering why they can't communicate with their subs. As mentioned in the description there are five settings to chose from which are: full realism, auto data links, instant side ID, Instant Unit ID and Instant Detect. Full realism will enforce communications rules. Meaning if you have units which leave the communication threshold you will not be able to issue them orders until they enter that threshold once again. Submarines are the best examples and will only surface to communicate when they reach waypoints. Auto Datalinks allows you to communicate with units that have left the communication threshold. Most players of this game utilize this setting as it allows them the most control while still maintaining some degree of reality. Instant side ID gives you the ability to know the contacts side identification on contact. Instant unit ID gives you the ability to know a contacts identity on contact. Instant Detect gives you omnipotence as you will see everything on your map.
===================================== ; Executive Officer Box Popup preference ; Add values for the following popups ; New Contact 4 ; Contact Change 8 ; Hit or sunk ship 16 ; General Information 32 =====================================
The next setting is the Executive Officer Popup Box Preference option. You simply add the values of the options you would like to include to activate each popup. Keep in mind that all of this information displayed by the popup is displayed in your message box within the game. Only select those you feel that you would need as the popups can become cumbersome. I especially advise you to make sure that you leave the new contact popup out of your game as the start of your game could flood your screen with them
===================================== ; The following preference is for the ; amount of assistance the AI gives the human ; player. The bits in the value are assigned as ; follows ; ; Navigate path 1 ; Allocate weapons 2 ; Assign threat axes 16 ; Default formations 32 ; Manage Air Assets 64 =====================================
The next option is the executive officer assistance selection. You simply add the values of the options you would like to include to activate each options. There are five which are Navigate Paths, Allocate Weapons, Assign threat axes, default formations and manage air assets. The Navigate paths, Allocate weapons and assign threat axes are fairly self explanatory and must for those who do not wish to spend a lot of time micromanaging their formations. Default formations set fixed formations within the formation editor. You can change them but if they are not set the AI will assign a standard formation which is suitable but may not be exactly what most harpooners would use. Finally, the Manage Air Assets selection gives the computer control over the air assets within your formation. It will assign all variants of the missions offered in the formation editor. It is highly advised you turn this option off as it is not the best manager of your air assets. It will often take aircraft that you would use for your missions and is anything but efficient.
===================================== ; Selects the size of the button on the ; map/zoom window's toolbar.
; ; Values are: ; Small 0 ; Medium 1 ; Large 2 =====================================
The next selection in the ini file allows you to adjust the size of the buttons that are displayed on your map window within the game.
===================================== ; Selects the type of icons that will be ; displayed on the map/zoom windows. ; ; Values are: ; NTDS 0 ; Stylized 1 =====================================
The next option in the ini file is the symbol set option. This selection allows you to change the unit Icons within the game. The NTDS (Navy Tactical Data System) symbols are the standard symbols used in military circles. The Stylized icons look like the units they are depicting.
===================================== ; Mouse Acceleration ; 2 is the default ; larger values slow down the mouse ; 1 is faster =====================================
The final selection is the mouse speed selection. To change this setting you simply edit to value to match the mouse speed you would like.
The second mechanism of change within the game are the option files (.opt). Jesse Spears has included these files with the current build of the simulation to allow you to turn certain features on and off. If you look within your Harpoon 3 directory you will see a folder named options. Within that folder you will see a folder named disabled and in each you will find the files that correspond to each available option which I will describe in detail below. To activate options you simply leave the corresponding files in the option folder. To deactivate options you move the corresponding file to the disabled folder. Jesse does update these folders when appropriate you can always find the newest set of options files at Harpoon 3 Developer's Homepage
This file enables usage of the AA log that will be placed in the "AALogs" folder when activated.
This file fixes an earlier bug from Harpoon II. The thermal layer is now at the correct depth.
This file fixes a problem with optical sensors.
This option provides a little extra information about point defense but keeps the messages short to just tip off the player that certain things are being used. (ex. You will see the worlds "buzz" or "zap" when various types of ECM are being used). This option is not recommended as the messages are a bit cryptic.
Allows every computation involved in point defense to be included in the AA log.
This file enables the snapshot feature.
This file allows Harpoon 3 to be run in a window rather than full screen mode.
This prints out some basic information to the AALog and must be on for ExtraShortPointDefense.opt and ExtraVerbosePointDefense.opt to work.
This file enables the usage of nuclear weapons within the game. It is highly adviced you leave this option off unless you are running a scenario that specifically deals with these weapons.
If you have this option enabled you will receive extra feedback about weapon detections and targeting. You must have the AA log option enabled or be in watch mode.
Now all of this seems like a lot of work to play the game. Fortunately, Paulo Moneta has written a small application called the Harpoon 3 Launcher that will allow you to edit the ini file and arrange your options with ease. It can be found in the Utilities Section and works marvelously. This application is very intuitive but the writer has included a help file to get you through setup and its usage. The Harpoon HQ suggests you use this application.
A: All the Harpoon II / 3 scenarios available for download at the HarpoonHQ are DB2000-certified. Your choice of DB2000-certified scenarios is as great and varied as of those on the CD: we have updated about thrity of the original (CD) scenarios to work with the DB2000 (and also fixed the AI and corrected the OOB), and created another two hundred from scratch. And the stock CD scenarios are finite and numbered (nobody is developing scenarios for the original H2AE database anymore - and good riddance!), while the DB2000-compatible scenarios keep on coming. You can get them from the Harpoon 3 scenario download page.
A: Not all scenarios are being converted; typically those are the 'classic" ones from each of the original battlesets. There are many scenarios that we simply revisit "one more time" again and again for some reason or another, and these naturally have priority in being made DB2000-compatible.
Rebuilding a scenario that was made with a different database is not all that simple. First of all, we have to check for unit-reference inconsistencies. For example an US Navy Aegis cruiser in the old database may be a Russian Osa boat in the DB2000, and the F/A-18 Hornets may end up being armed with a simple MiG-23 ground-attack loadout instead of the intended AMRAAM air-to-air loadout. Next, we have to make sure that every single ship, sub and land facility has its magazine rebuilt, we have to make sure the weapon/sensor changes have been "understood" by the scenario, etc.etc.etc. And that's just the "technical integrity" part. After that, we have to make sure that the changes haven't unbalanced the scenario. If we have given side Blue a new super-weapon, for instance, we somehow have to beef-up Red side and/or rewrite the scenario orders to compensate. And of course we have to keep a "realism check" at hand (don't want to stuff 200 fighters in a CVN...). So yeah, it's a long and unthankful process.
A: Please e-mail us right away. On a normal day the problem will be fixed within 24 hours. Please do not make the correction yourself and send the updated scenario to us. The DB2000 database and scenarios are constantly updated, and the new files you sent to us will most likely be outdated by the time they arrive in our mailbox. Thanks.
A: There are two ways. 1. Send us all the info you got on the platform and we will add it as quickly as possible. 2. You make the platform yourself in Jon Reimer's Harpoon 3 Database Builder, extract it to a HCF (Harpoon Component File) and e-mail it to us. We'd appreciate if you mail us in advance about any platforms you are planning to make, as they may already exist in the database under a different name. To keep the database as small (and thus, from Harpoon 3's point of view, fast) as possible, we only add platforms that you are planing to use in a new scenario.
A: The DB2000 has multiple database entries for the same platform to cover all operators, main versions, subversions and weapon configurations. If you access the database or scenario editor you will see that most units have a '|' letter at the end of their name followed by a comment or note that describes each entry. The comment holds information about the service entry year, operator/country, weapon upgrades, and so on. Harpoon 3 has been programmed to ignore everything written after the '|' letter during runtime, and this extra information will only be displayed in the database editor and scenario editor (for the benefit of the scenario/database designers), and not during actual gameplay. For example the unit named "F-14D Tomcat|1998/LANTIRN" will appear as "F-14D Tomcat" during gameplay. The "CG 52 Bunker Hill|2000/SM-2IIIB" will appear as "CG 52 Bunker Hill". The unit comments suggest this is the year 2000 version of the cruiser and uses the Standard Missile Block IIIB as it's primary weapon.
A: The released version of Harpoon II (which is Harpoon 3's predecessor) is not even a shadow of what it was originally planned to be. The simulator was supposed to have waypoints, terminal trajectory for weapons and many other features. But the original Harpoon II developers ran out of time and money and all these features were eventually left out. And since neither Harpoon II nor Harpoon 3 currently supports these fields, we have never bothered to fill them in. However, Jesse's Harpoon 3 project is aimed at implementing most if not all of these features eventually, and in that case the database will definitely support them.
A: The nuclear (TLAM-N) and anti-ship (TASM) variants of the Tomahawk were withdrawn in the early 1990s as the Cold War came to an end. TASM was withdrawn because there was no longer any chance of blue-water engagements against a navy with large, high-value targets like the Soviets, and many of the missiles have since been converted to land attack. The TLAM-N was withdrawn as per a 1991 agreement with Russia to not deploy nuclear weapons at sea other than strategic ballistic missiles.
A: The Viking's ASW role was removed in 1999. US aircraft carriers now deploy with four to six S-3 Vikings; four for the tanker role, and two aircraft dedicated to ASuW armed with iron bombs, Harpoons and Mavericks. The ASW mission is now only carried out by Seahawks and Orions.
A: Stealth and low-observable aircraft and ships in the database have smaller radar, visual and IR signatures than other units. Older-generation stealth aircraft like the F-117 is not all that difficult to detect with AEGIS and other high-end air-search radar systems, and detection ranges approaching 40nm are not uncommon. Thus, you need to use active ECM if you want them to survive an attack on a heavily defended target. The F-22 has a similar Radar Cross Section (RCS) in real life, but in the DB2000 we've also taken into account the fact that the F-22 will use Active Stealth (similar to Rafale's Spectra active-cancellation system) in addition to passive stealth, and the end result is a significantly smaller signature than that of the F-117. Finally, there is the B-2 bomber which, thanks to its "cost-not-a-factor" stealth treatment, is extremely difficult to detect even with the use of advanced sensors.
A: The TALD and ITALD are just extra targets for SAM and radar sites, so just fire them along with other ASMs or ahead of your strike aircraft. The hotkey to fire air-launched decoys is Ctrl + F1 (the same key is also used for BOL-attacks). The AI cannot use decoys.
A: All SpecOps submarines in the DB2000 carry SEAL teams. The SEALs work the same way bombs do, and are deployed using the Attack button. A limitation with this implementation is that the SEALs cannot be retrieved afterwards.
A: Anti-ship cruise missiles are extremely difficult to shoot down. And even if destroyed in mid-air, the missile may still cause serious damage if the warhead detonates at ranges closer than 500 yards from the target, or if the ship is hit by debris from a disabled missile. In the Falklands War, only one of six Exocet missiles fired at British ships were shot down, and this kill is not even 100% certain. Harpoon 3 Probability of Kill (PoK) is calculated for a burst of fire - this can be either just one round (for larger guns) or up to several hundred (for Mk15, AK-630 etc) - and the chances of hitting a target within a given amount of time. We are also taking into account limitations in the Harpoon 3 game engine. There is no separate range figure against aerial targets and we're forced to use the max anti-surface range. This gives the defender a 1/3 to 1/2 longer range than in real life, and we have reduced the PoK even further to compensate for this.
A: Some aircraft like the F-22, Tu-22M, MiG-25 and MiG-31 have varying cruise speed (i.e. a high-Mach cruise speed that increases with altitude) and the AI may run the aircraft out of fuel when using full and reheat throttle settings. Therefore, you can not use other speed settings than cruise and loiter.
A: The DB2000 database has a completely redesigned sonar model, further details can be found here. In addition, Harpoon 3 uses a pretty weird formula for calculating the sonar range circles. So the circles in the simulator are not actual sonar ranges, and it therefore recommended to play with sonar range circles OFF.
A: When you decide to go after a group of MiG-25 or MiG-31 interceptors it is important that you order your fighters as high and as fast as possible. Due to the way Harpoon 3 calculates firing parameters and no-escape zones, a missile like the AIM-54A Phoenix has a launch range of only about 40nm against these speeding targets. If your own fighters are traveling at Mach 1.5, the enemy air-to-air missiles will have a reduced effective range too, about 25nm for the AA-6 and 40nm for the AA-9. If your fighters are flying at lower speeds you give the enemy a major advantage since he can launch his missiles at longer ranges - in most cases before you can.
A: You should use Jon Reimer's Harpoon 3 Database Builder to view the database. You can get the tool here. This is a fast and easy-to-use database editor and it has lots of really great built-in aids and features. You need MS Access to open the editor. Access is a program included in the Microsoft Office Suite which includes Word, Excel, Access, Outlook, PowerPoint, Publisher, and FrontPage.
A: The Harpooner's Point Forum is the single best place for answering any questions you might have on playing Harpoon 3. The HarpoonHQ guys, along with a community of myriad, are ready to answer any sort of question and provide all the support you may need. No question is stupid, no call for help is lame is our motto.
A: First of all, there is a setting in your Harpoon3.ini file that allows you to turn off AI handling of Formation Air Patrols. You can edit the Harpoon3.ini file manually in a text editor like Notepad or Wordpad, or download the Harpoon 3 Launcher which is a GUI (Graphic User Interface) program designed to help you configure Harpoon 3 as well as set up the option files.
To delete a patrol zone do this: when in Formation Window, click on the desired air unit, then click once on the Air Ops Button. The unit immediately returns to its base and, if no more in-flight units are assigned to that Patrol Zone, the Zone itself will be deleted at the very moment the unit lands, and no more units will take off after that. You can actually see it happen if you enable the proper option for showing Patrol Zones (Sonobuoy, Dipping Sonar, Station, etc.) in the Formation Window. Of course, the only problem comes when you have more than a single aircraft assigned to a particular PZ; the AI may launch another unit to replace the returning one in the meantime, so you'll have to repeat the process to land it or else you'll never have that zone deleted; so you may end up with some more units than expected being grounded for 30 minutes or more.
A: If there are units in the Task Force formation which are off of their designated stations, the whole formation slows down a bit to allow them to get where they are supposed to be. Be patient; the speed will resume when the Task Force AI is satisfied.
A: Make a Zoom window around the submarine. Then, click on the PREF button and click on Water Depth. Chances are the water is not deep enough for the sub to dive as deep as you ordered him. Alternatively, turn on the toggle ("5"-key on the numeric keypad), which will display information (including the current depth/height) about every location where you click the mouse. This information will be shown in the Incoming Messages window.
A: There may be one or more staff message boxes hidden behind your map. After clicking on the one you see, if the time still goes to 1:1, try minimizing all the windows and seeing if there are any open staff message boxes. Closing them all cures the problem. There is a check box in the Staff Message window that should be checked if you desire the game *stay* at 1:1 after you close the message window. We recommend you to play with staff messages turned off.
A: Any units on the "Plotted" mission belong to you. Your automatic Formation AI will not touch them. Neither will the Mission AI. They are completely yours to operate however you see fit.
Any units that are "Unassigned" have no mission, and may be assigned to any mission (included "Plotted" if you wish control of them). The Formation AI will take unassigned units and use them if needed. The Mission AI will not use "Unassigned" units. It will only use units on a mission that are assigned to that mission.
A: When a ship is assigned to a mission, all unassigned aircraft on that ship are also assigned to that mission. When you give the carrier a path, it changes from "Unassigned" to "Plotted." The aircraft change too. You can either make the aircraft missions first or unassign them using the "Remove Aircraft" function of the mission editor.
A: Some aircraft have no adjustable loadouts. These aircraft are generally good for only one type of mission. Examples include and E-2 Hawkeye early warning radar plane or a Boeing-747 passenger liner.
A: The probability of an air-to-air missile hitting the target depends greatly on the geometry of every situation, as well as which kind of missiles and targets are involved. Many factors will increase or degrade the probability of a hit or a miss. A common occurrence of this is when a missile is fired at a target that is moving away (an opening shot). Another common situation occurs when non-dogfight capable missiles such as the AIM-54 Phoenix are employed against nimble fighters. These missiles are designed for shooting down heavily laden, unsuspecting bombers, and as such, don't work very well against most modern fighters. Other factors that affect missile hit probabilities include target speed and altitude, maneuverability, ECM, the image signature of your target (i.e. does it have a highly visible radar cross section), weather conditions (affects optically guided missiles), and many more. As you can see, firing a missile at a target doesn't necessarily mean that you are going to paste it!
If you are *really* doubting the validity of the model, you can activate the AALog.opt option in Harpoon 3. The simulator will then print all the factors, modifiers, etc, of *every* missile engagement to a text file. Detailed information on how to use option files can be found here. Keep in mind that this will also ruin part of the fun of playing the game because information not normally available to you will be shown. We call this "cheating".
A: Strike aircraft do not launch until they have a known hostile contact within range. If you specified a target when you created the mission, the aircraft will wait until that target comes into range. If no target was specified, they will wait until the first appropriate target shows up. Keep in mind that aircraft combat ranges will be much shorter than the optimal ranges shown in the Launch/Ready dialog. This is because combat aircraft conducting strikes must fly faster and sometimes lower to avoid radar and enemy defenses. This consumes fuel at a much higher rate than normal flight.
A: First of all, we stronly recommend you to play Harpoon3 using the AUTO DATALINK difficulty level. However, if you still want to play with comms on, Harpoon uses a fairly realistic communications model, and several factors can drop a unit off the network. Some common ones are:
a) The unit is out of range of your comm gear.
b) The unit, either by design or enemy action, is now under water.
c) Your communications gear or their comm gear has been destroyed or turned off.
When the communication net breaks down, you will retain control of those units which are on the same net as your designated flagship. Others will act as their mission dictates. Aircraft which have flown beyond contact range will return home when they run out of path or complete their missions. If an aircraft runs low on fuel it will also return home. Submarines without orders will rise to periscope depth and 'phone home'. Submarines on patrol will periodically do this anyway. When these 'lost' units return to your local network, they will share with you any contact information they currently hold.
The "Auto Datalink" option (as part of the Difficulty Settings selection menu) prevents this modeling and allows you to talk with all of your units, regardless of range or depth. When you play in this mode, if a unit will not talk to you then it is either dying/badly-damaged (eg. no radios), or it's not on your side. As stated earlier, we strongly recommend to always play Harpoon3 with the "Auto Datalink" difficulty setting.
A: Select the aircraft and hit the "Unassign Aircraft" hotkey (the "U"-key). After this point, the plane (or air group) is yours. It is moved into the unassigned list and will loiter until given further instructions. If the plane was landing because of fuel considerations ("BINGO") it will still stop and await orders; it's up to you to get it to a tanker or a base before it runs out of fuel.
A: At any difficulty level but full reality (HARD), the pause key will still allow the user access to the entire interface. This can be set at will using the Custom difficulty settings. The "Enforce Realtime" check box, if checked, causes the modal (blocking) pause and will not let you effect the game until you unpause it.
A: Check to make sure your flagship is on something reasonable. Designating a submarine as the flagship is liable to leave all your other units on their own when you submerge. If there are no units under your control at all, they're all dead. Better luck next time; Select Resign from the File menu and see how you did.
A: Contact colors indicate two things; your posture towards them and the certainty with which the contact is known.
Posture: Initially, most contacts are unknown, and are displayed as such. If an unknown contact is seen to take hostile action, it will change to the Hostile shape/color, although you still may not really know what side it is on. You may designate an unknown (or a known) contact as Hostile with the Mark Hostile hotkey ("H"-key), but you ought to have a good reason for suspecting them or you may be cited for a Rules-of-Engagement violation in your evaluation.
Certainty: In the default palette set contacts are brighter if you have an exact location for them. They tend to grow dimmer if there is some uncertainty about their location.
A: Strike and ferry missions are single events, and all launch together. All other missions are attempting to maintain a steady on-station presence. These missions will try to keep one third of their aircraft in the air at once, replacing them as needed. If you wish to saturate an area immediately, the aircraft can be ordered to launch manually, and will join the mission. Be aware that you are leaving yourself open to shortages down the road.
A: There are two methods of getting an intercept. a) Select the interceptors, hit the air-ops button, and select the target. This is very fast, but does not provide much information about ranges or times. There may be other air assets better capable to intercept the target than the one you chose. b) Select the target (any contact), and hit the air-ops button. This will bring up a dialog listing all air units available, with ranges and loadouts listed. This takes longer, but allows you to pull units out of group CAP or ASW stations pretty fast, and allows a more considered response.
A: Aircraft can be removed quickly with the "Unassign Aircraft" hotkey. For all other units, bring up the mission editor dialog, select the mission, and de-allocate the units. This also works for all aircraft, launched or landed.
A: Select the mission in the mission editor dialog. Aircraft in the air will be in the Assigned Units column. Landed aircraft can be viewed using the "Remove Aircraft" button in this dialog. This is also a way to change the loadouts of assigned aircraft; it is not necessary to remove them.
A: Bring up the mission editor and delete the mission. All units on the mission will become "Unassigned." Mission generated launch orders and paths will be deleted for these units, and the units will become unassigned as well.
A: Select the reference points, then bring up the mission editor. The "Remove" button under "Selected Reference Points" will remove the selected reference points from the list used by the selected mission. The "Add" button does the opposite. This makes some actions a two step process. If you have an anti-ship patrol "MOVING WINDOW" around reference points 1,2,3,4, and you want it to use 3,4,5,9 the following actions are needed.
1) Select reference points 1 and 2.
2) bring up the mission editor.
3) Select MOVING WINDOW.
4) Hit "Remove", then "Ok" to leave the mission editor.
5) Deselect points 1 and 2. (Don't forget this!)
6) Select points 5 and 9.
7) Bring up the mission editor and select "MOVING WINDOW".
8) Hit "Add", then "Ok" to leave the mission editor.
A: Aircraft on patrol are fairly curious about unknown contacts. They will wander over and attempt to ID contacts that match their patrol types (e.g. Surface patrols look at ships, AAW patrols look at aircraft, etc). This 'closer look' might take them beyond their defined area by a few miles. Known hostile contacts will be attacked by Patrol missions if possible, and avoided (but reported on) by Recon missions.
A: Select Game Preferences from the Settings menu and turn off the more common ones. The messages will still be shown in the "Incoming Messages" window; the only difference is that the Staff Message pop-up windows allowed you to put the game in 1-1 time.
A: Map windows won't move outside the defined scenario boundaries. If a Map Window is against one or more of the scenario boundaries, it will not move or expand further in that direction. The main map window contains the entire area of the scenario and can't be moved at all.
A: If the contact is uncertain, it is displayed in the center of the uncertainty region for the contact. This sometimes shows contacts over land, especially for detections that reveal only a relative bearing or direction (e.g. "We hear something over that-a-way, but we're not sure how far"). ESM detections commonly do this.
A: These are the uncertainty regions mentioned above. The uncertainty region is created by the accumulated information from the most recent detection cycle, and then it ages when the contact is no longer detected. These concepts are explained very thoroughly in the tutorial section of the Harpoon 3 manual.
A: The theoretical engagement distance for semi-active missiles is much longer than the engagement distance against low targets. These missiles require direction from radars on the firing platform, and any target over the radar horizon can't be engaged. This will display as "Target not Illuminated". Sometimes you will see a range ring that indicates an optimal engagement range against closing targets. This optimal range is not often realized and you must frequently wait until the geometry is more favorable (i.e. the target is closer). The missile will also fail to allocate if the projected intercept point is beyond the range of the missile. This will display as "Out of Range."
A: If the missile does not have a command data link, it must be tracked with a search radar just like everything else. You have to decide if your curiosity about the fate of that Tomahawk is worth giving away your location by turning on a radar. But that's up to you.
A: For the same reason you don't know what is happening anyplace else you can't see. If you don't have a current visual/IR/passive-sonar track on the target, or a datalink with your missile, you will not know what is going on. You can later fly over the target and perhaps you'll see some visible damage. Perhaps your plane will be shot down instead. But that's a kind of target damage assessment too, now isn't it?
BDA (Bomb Damage Assessment) is always shown for individual land facilities. Make sure you have UNITs showing instead of GROUPs and you will see any relevant damage to facility targets. You can switch between unit and group view by pressing the "9"-key on the numeric keypad. If you can no longer find the target facility (which are always automatically detected) then you have destroyed it. If the facility is not destroyed or visibly damaged, that does not mean it has any functional equipment remaining.
A: Point defenses are automatically fired for you. This includes chaff and flares, deceptive ECM (if you have the appropriate gear), and point defense guns and missiles. If you do not have the "Weapons Tight" option set, missiles will be engaged by longer ranged SAMs as soon as an intercept is possible.
A: The ON/OFF switch can be found in the Sensor dialog. This will activate any barrage/noise jamming equipment for the selected platform. This will certainly give away the location of the jamming platform, but may hide other platforms or weapons from detection.
A: Broadcast communications gear can be intercepted by ESM equipment, and may give away your location. Most modern communications gear, when employed properly is hard to detect. This type of datalink is shown in the "Secure datalink" color. Some units aren't capable of using this type of equipment (or have moved beyond its' range) and must now broadcast openly to remain in communications with you. These units have datalinks shown in the "Broadcast datalink" color. Units will always attempt to use secure gear where possible. Turning communications to Active gives the selected unit permission to broadcast (if needed) to stay in communications. Broadcasted communications links only give an ESM cut to listening enemy units. Since most units are capable of secure communications, we recommend you just keep this on for most units. The AI opponent does NOT currently take advantage of communications ESM cuts so there is no penalty.
NOTE: Sonobuoys will self-destruct via sinking if they lose their datalinks with their parent unit. Selecting a buoy and turning off its comm gear is a good way to drop unneeded sonobuoys.
A: Passive sonobuoys use passive sonar. Active sonobuoys will give a more positive location on the enemy, but can be easily detected by submarines and tells them how close to being discovered they are. Active sonobuoys are also useful in shallow water, where all passive sonar works poorly.
A: This is a style question. Generally speaking, the following holds true;
Iron Bombs will give you the most destruction per aircraft. The disadvantage of bomb loadouts is that you must fly very close to the target.
Standoff loadouts tend to work on heavily defended ships where the price for a close-in attack with bombs may be too high.
PGM (Precision Guided Munitions) require a fairly close attack (though not as bad as iron bombs), but promise a much higher hit ratio.
SEAD (Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses) tends to be either decoys or anti-radar missiles and can help reduce the defenses around a target.
Air-to-Air is good for shooting down other planes.
This is by no means an exhaustive list... Many variations on loadouts exists such as long range loadouts which tend to trade ordnance for extra fuel. This means you can strike targets further away. Read up on how modern aircraft are generally employed and as always, experiment.
A: Obviously, anything with a tanker loadout will do, as will any loadout containing a buddy-store. Single purpose tankers will not have loadouts, but will be described in the platform display. Common tanker aircraft include the KC-135, the KC-130, the KA-6D, and the Tu-16 Badger.
A: The principle ASW threat comes from the PIM (Path of Intended Motion), because a sub in front of your group can wait quietly for you to set the shot up for him. Elsewhere he must make noise to close range. We therefore tie the ASW axis to the group path, as per USN doctrine. If resources permit, ASW units are placed behind the group as well to prevent nuclear attack submarines to sneak up from behind.
A: The formation editor window is sized to include all of the vessels in the group and all of their stations (even if they're not there yet). The range rings are then placed evenly out from the center. If the group is less than 2 miles across, the described behavior will occur because we round the displayed number down the nearest mile. Don't panic, the rings can be dragged to wherever you want them and the window can be zoomed.
A: Threat Nav zones are placed around areas where positive danger exists, such as around enemy SAM sites. Detection Nav zones are used for areas where detection is either possible or certain. They operate in the same way, but units can always be told to ignore any of them separately.
A: Mounts will automatically reload from on-board magazines when completely empty. To change the loaded weapon or reload early, use the reload toolbar button. The dialog works similar to the Weapon Allocation dialog.
A: You are probably getting uncertain contacts from several different detecting units. Not all of these will get hits every cycle, so the contact may be updated differently. This is pretty common when a sub crashes through a sonobuoy line.
A: When planes are launched as a group, they must form up as a formation before they can go anywhere. This means that all of the planes you launched as a block will wait until they are all airborne before they set off on a path or mission. Generally speaking, planes launched together will form into groups of 4. If you don't want them to be in a group, break them into single unit launch requests.
It is also possible that the plane is going home, either because it has run low on fuel or ammo, or perhaps has completed the mission it performing. These must be unassigned before they will follow orders.
A: You cannot get DATABASE information on unknown contacts because you do not know what they are yet. If you selected a ship whose exact identity is known, or if you selected one of your own ships, then you will see the database entry for the class of ship to which your selection belongs. For example; If you selected the USS Eisenhower and pressed DATABASE, you would see the entry for the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier because the Eisenhower is a member of this ship class.
A: Many of the bases in the Harpoon 3 scenarios are groups of facilities. Use the hotkey ("9"-key on the numeric keypad) to toggle unit view to see the individual components that you have been targeting during your attacks. Each individual facility will have a damage level.
A: Diesel subs use electric motors with battery power when submerged. The fuel status indicator shows the endurance at the current throttle setting. If you switch from creep to cruise you should see a dramatic drop in the amount of endurance. To charge batteries, you need to go to at least periscope depth to run the diesel engines to charge the batteries. The battery charge process happens automatically when you reach periscope depth as the sub will start using the diesel engines as soon as the snorkel can be deployed. There are two fuel indicators for diesel subs, one shows the endurance at the present speed and the other shows the endurance capability of the batteries.
A: Waypoint orders can only be set AFTER the course has been plotted. If you are in navigation mode (pencil cursor) any order you give a waypoint will not be retained as the waypoint does not exist until after you click on the Navigation toolbar button to exit the navigation mode. After the course has been created you can assign waypoint orders
A: Most of the DICASS buoys in Harpoon 3 operate in medium frequency (MF) range and are subject to the pathloss limits of that frequency range. Since we attenuate the figure-of-merit appropriately for different frequencies, (not to mention location, seasons, shipping noise, etc.) you will have a reduced chance of detecting signal sources outside the normal range of the receiver. Additionally, each model and type of sonar set has a different sensitivity and S/N level.
Yes, you can get passive MF detections with a DICASS buoy. No, MF passive sonar isn't very good, and you won't get detections on every platform unless they are pretty loud or *really* close. Passive MF also implies direct path (or possibly bottom bounce), non-integrated source signals. The detection period is adjusted for this as well.
A: Nukes have been activated in Harpoon 3, and you can obtain nuclear release by using the Nuke option file. The various routines for handling nuclear weapons were also included in Harpoon II, but were not activated.
A: Remember; if you assign an airgroup to intercept, only those planes capable of executing an ATA attack will split off (and they WILL split off) individually. If you want to split a couple of planes off, select the airgroup and then go to the formation editor and split off a few planes, then assign them to an Intercept mission. Remember that an air group will loiter at its optimum fuel-saving altitude.
A: Groups are a bunch of units that are in formation with one another, and their relative positions can be assigned in the formation editor. You can combine several units into a Group by clicking on the center of a unit and dragging a line from the unit to another.
The two methods of creating a group are: Select all of the units by using the drag-select or by using shift-click to select each one individually. Once all of the units are selected, use the hotkey ("G"-key) to create a group with all of the selected units; or select a single unit and hold the mouse button down to drag a line from the selected unit to another unit, the two units will then form a group. This is explained more fully in the manual.
A: There are two methods for viewing your units; the absolute view and the relatively uncluttered group view. Often the volume of information can become overwhelming, and so we allow for it to be managed this way. Normally, what we do is toggle back and forth from the group view to the unit view and back again with the hot key (9 on the numeric keypad) to see the ranges. To find the range-to-target, we suggest making a Zoom Window around the target, make the window tracking, then toggle unit view for that window ("9"-key), and watch all the range circles necessary, while the main window is still in group view.
A: The inherent problem with range circles is how to best show them. We could show all of them but that would defeat the purpose of having the group view. We could only show the outer limit of the overlapping ones. This also has the effect of slowing down the game to the point where it would become unacceptable. Nevertheless, many people have requested this option and it may appear in a future version. We recommend you try using the group view and switching to the unit view (via the "9" hotkey) for ranges.
A: The reason that enemy weapon range circles are not displayed is due to the fact that you would not have access to this sort of information in a real-life encounter. After all, how can one tell what weapons the opposing ship has available to it?
If one really wants to know the weapon ranges they can be looked up in the database under the appropriate ship. This information will indicate what the standard loadout for that vessel is, and what the ranges on the weapons are. You can then subsequently use range and bearing to determine if you are in the danger zone for what you think they might have. It should always be remembered that loadouts vary, even for ships...
A: You can get info on enemy contacts, but only once you have identified them. You must first get the name and unit type, then select them and click on the database key. The database will then jump to the unit type.
A: If you make a mission that is not a specifically targeted strike mission, then only 1/3rd of all of the planes assigned to the mission will launch at any one time. If you want to take out that base, launch a strike mission with it as the designated target.
In addition, when you want to attack specific parts of a base, toggle groups to units and you will see all of the base parts (a base is a group of land units).
A: Strike missions that have no specified target will launch one group (of at least one up to how many you assigned to that group, default is 4) of that type of plane at the first target that satisfies the mission. Any additional groups of plane types will wait for the next viable target. If you create a mission to attack a specific target then all of the units (planes, ships, lifeboats, etc.) assigned will move to attack with.
A: When you select a unit in the FE, the current threat axis for that unit's station is shown. Every station has a threat axis, and the station is always relative to that threat axis. An example; you have an aircraft on a station that appears about 90 DEG (East) from the group center, and the active threat axis for that station is the AAW axis, and the AAW axis is 000 (North); If the AAW axis is moved (either you drag it manually, or the staff decides a new threat warrants reorientation) to, say, 270 (West), then the air station will now be at 000 (North). All stations are attached to an Axis. When the Axis moves, the station moves with it.
You can change the Axis a station uses by selecting a unit with a station and then picking some other Axis (the triangle tags). The ASW axis points along the path of intended motion for the group, so Station Keeping type stations tend to use this axis by default.
A: 1) For patrol missions, assign three times the number of A/C that you actually want on station at any given point in time. The AI launches only 1/3 of the assigned A/C in order to provide for relief.
2) Even though dissimilar A/C types can (and should) make up a mission, they will launch, transit, attack and recover in separate groups by A/C and loadout type. For example, a strike mission assigned 2 A-6s with HARMs, 4 A-6s with Harpoons and 2 Tomcats with AIM-54s will launch as 3 separate groups.
3) Reference points are not placed relative to a formation or base. They are fixed points in space. This means that your CVBG can sail under your BARCAP, unless you manually move the reference points.
4) Unlike Harpoon Classic, you do not get range circles for groups. They are available for units, however. If you like to have your main battle management window display groups, then one option is to use the "9" key on the numeric keypad to toggle the display to "show units" for a moment, check the shown ranges, and then toggle back to a unit display.
5) With your display zoomed out, selecting a particular unit in a crowded area can be frustrating. To fix this: Zoom in until you can distinguish the individual units. Select a unit in the center of things and convert the window to a Tracking window. The window will now always follow this designated unit, and you can iconize the window until you need it (for increased speed). Also, do not forget that the "space" and "backspace" keys work as they did in Harpoon Classic. (See the Harpoon 3 Hotkeys for details.)
6) If you play at Full Reality, don't blindly set a submarine at Deep, Speed at Creep, and lay out a 400nm course. As soon as he descends, he is out of contact and control, and will not come up until he finishes his orders! Lay in your course carefully, with many surface checks for new orders.
A: IF YOU ASSIGN UNITS TO MISSIONS YOU ARE GIVING CONTROL OF THEM TO THE AI. If you want to make a plane group fly a roundabout course to a target, don't put them on a strike mission. Move them to Plotted. Plotted means it is under your control. If you want your planes to avoid a particular area of the map, you should use a Navigation Zone. Look them up in the Manual for details on how to use them.
A: With earlier releases of the simulator, there is a very infrequent bug causing A/C that are landing after completing a mission to remain invisible to the Mission AI. These A/C will show up in your Launch/Ready A/C window, and you can reclaim them by launching them, and them assigning them to whatever missions you desire.
A: You must only assign the number of aircraft that you want to _stay_ on the station. No 1/3 rule applies. The AI will only allow aircraft with certain capabilities to replace an aircraft returning to base. For example, an advanced dipping sonar Lynx may be replaced by a dipping sonar Sea King, F-14s may be replaced by F/A-18s etc. HOWEVER, if you have turned *ON* AI handling of Formation Air Patrols, ship groups and air bases will use all unassigned air power for base defense, and aircraft will take off uncontrollably. Strike aircraft returning from a successful strike mission will be unassigned, and if they carry self-defense air-to-air missiles or guns (i.e. have an offensive A/A rating) they will often be given a patrol station by the AI too.
A: A unit can only have one mission. So if you want a SSN to sail to a specified point and attack an enemy base with cruise missiles you have to decide whether to use the Transit mission or Ground Attack mission.
A: The "x" symbol shows up on any actively-emitting platform when someone is jamming your radar. If you have detected the enemy unit carrying the jammer, a small flag-like symbol is displayed in the upper right-hand corner on this unit.
A: The flag-like symbol shows up on any enemy platform trying to jam your radar systems. If your units are being successfully jammed, a small "x" symbol is displayed in the upper right-hand corner on these units.
A: There are two ways to find out if a radar is no longer active. First, you can click on the Report button in the Unit Status window when you've got the target highlighted. If all of that type of radar is wiped out, you won't see a "*" next to it when you see a "*" next to any other radar (the "*" means that the radar is active). Note; several platforms have more than one of the same type of radar, and Harpoon 3 does not display how many of these radar systems are active. The second is to target that vessel with another ARM. This method will tell you how many of a specific type of radar is transmitting. Just a note with manual ARM attacks; if you ask a single attacking platform to launch more than 1 ARM at a target in a single manual attack, it will use all of the ARMs launched in that attack on the one radar you targeted.