July 14, 2023 · Posted in Command, Command PE · Comment 

Command Professional Edition v2.2.4 is now available, and with it, Pro access to a major milestone: v500 of Command’s massive simulation database. We’re very excited to reach DB v500, as it gives us an opportunity to reflect on what we have achieved over the past decade.

The Command DB has had a number of stewards over the years, each of whom left a distinct mark on it. The steadily ripening fruit of their collective labor can be seen just by looking through today’s databases. Though we often collectively refer to “the DB”, Command actually has two separate databases: the “Cold War DB,” or “CWDB,” which covers the years 1945 to 1980; and “DB3000”, for everything after. Combined, the DBs include platforms of today, tomorrow, and yesterday, as well as also modeling some hypothetical platforms ranging from likely to ludicrous.

Aircraft 6,645 4,630
Ships 4,351 2,983
Subs 744 573
Facilities 3,827 3,442
Ground Units (New) 432 N/A
Satellites* 162 26

* Each “satellite” entry actually represents an entire constellation, so each will contain specific TLE data for several or even dozens of satellites.

The Ground Units annex was added comparatively recently and represents only a year or so of additions as opposed to the decade spent on the others, hence its lower numbers. However, these additions were specifically chosen to include nearly all mainline American, Soviet/Russian, and Chinese combat vehicles.

On their own, the numbers are impressive, but they become even more so when considering the work that goes into each entry. Each entry contains dozens or even hundreds of individually researched fields. The Command DB is entirely open source, and therefore reliant on original research from the DB team and community contributors. We have no automated web-scraper or third-party source from which to consistently pull information, nor do we settle for single-source data. Everything must be corroborated. Sometimes, team members have even analyzed overhead imagery to confirm dimensions or armaments. Finally, all research is vetted to ensure that leaked classified sources are not used in the DB. Every one of our thousands of entries represents hours of painstaking research work from the DB team – and, increasingly, from our dedicated community members, who spend countless free hours creating Github tickets, bug reports, etc.

The result is no less than one of the world’s foremost open-source global military equipment databases. At professional events, we often challenge visitors to our booth to come up with something not in the DB; few have yet managed it. Regular bi-monthly updates keep the database relevant in a world where new platforms emerge seemingly weekly, as well as ensuring a constant stream of fixes and improvements – and you get all this support free with your license!

For all these flowery words, at the end of the day, the DB v500 release is just that: the latest in a string of releases. There are countless platforms yet to add, there are features still to implement, and there will be bugs to fix. By the time this post is released, DB v501 will have already been released to commercial users for public testing, and the DB team will be hard at work on DB v502. The gears turn; the cycle continues.

But as we mark this moment, we’d like to wholeheartedly thank everyone who has helped Command and its database so far: from every member of the dev team, past and present, whose work is entwined in those thousands of entries; to the eagle-eyed contributors on our forums and Github repos; to every player who opened Command for the first time and asked “gee, what don’t they have in here?” Reaching DB v500 is not merely a testament to the toils of today’s DB team and their proud predecessors, but rather a reflection of years of sustained support by the entire dev team and our valued community.

In the wake of War Planner: Community Scenario Pack #47 now available

January 27, 2023 · Posted in Command · Comment 

Following the triumphant release of the “War Planner”, Command’s biggest-ever update until now, it is now the turn of the acclaimed Community Scenario Pack (CSP) to benefit from the new features.
Brandon Johnson (Kushan) has updated the pack to version #47, with updates & refreshes to all existing scenarios. The default WRA firing ranges for AAW weapons have been set to “No Escape Zone”, to adjust them to the improved AAW missile kinematics and aircraft evasion logics .
In addition,  7 brand-new scenarios have been added. Let’s take a look:

Final Count Down, 1941: You and your fleet come to the unknown space and time. You noticed that the time has change – it seems like you teleported to the WWII era. All reports indicate you are now in the vicinity of Pearl Harbor, on the eve of December 7th. Can you stop the Japanese surprise attack?

Indian Fury 8 – Red Sea Rumble, 1994: You’re commanding a major convoy which originated in the Persian Gulf, transited the newly re-opened Straits of Hormuz and must now pass the Bab el Mandeb (BeM), the narrow gateway between the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden on its way to bring vital oil and supplies through the Mediterranean to France.

Iran Strike, 2025: In January 2025 Iran’s leader overturned the fatwa against the acquisition, development, and use of nuclear weapons. In May 2025, indications began to surface of nuclear detonation in remote part of the country. This was followed shortly after by confirmation by the Iranian government that they had detonated their first nuclear device. This test was condemned by the United States, Europe, Israel, and several middle eastern countries and across the middle east contingency plans for such an event were about to be put into action.

Mediterranean Fury 6 – Hammer to Fall, 1994: You command the USS Nimitz CVBG, newly arrived in the Med from the 5th Fleet Area of Operations (AO) in the Indian Ocean. Now tasked to 6th Fleet, the replenished Nimitz group as well as supporting naval forces and significant air forces will commence attacks to compel Syria to either sue for as separate peace or be reduced in their ability to conduct offensive operations.

Nuclear Shadow of East Asia – Sino-Soviet Conflict, 1986: Sino-Soviet conflict set in 1986.

Team Chicago Gets Busy, 1974: This scenario assumes that tensions in Europe erupted into open conflict between NATO and the Soviet Union in 1974. At present, it is the early hours of the Third World War.  American forces in the Pacific have been tasked with eliminating any Soviet ships or submarines in the area that could threaten American, allied, or merchant shipping.

Team Chicago and Vietnam Get Busy, 1974: This is an alternate version of the above scenario with the addition of some South Vietnamese units.

The new community scenario pack is, as always, available for download at the Command Team site, and also on the Steam workshop.

The CSP now proudly counts 575 scenarios in its stable!

Cry “Havoc” and unleash the War Planner!

January 24, 2023 · Posted in Command · Comment 

It is finally here! Command’s biggest ever update is now available on Steam and Matrix Games.

Full release notes HERE

Our complete pre-release coverage of the revolutionary features of the new update:

Countdown to War Planner: Simulation Additions & Improvements

January 5, 2023 · Posted in Command · Comment 

Command’s “War Planner” update (aka “Tiny”) is set to release just a few days from now. Are you ready for Command’s biggest update yet?

In this multi-part series we take a look at the various key features introduced in this massive, FREE upgrade to Command.

We have already seen in sequence the “headline” major new features of this release; this time turn or attention to various smaller-scale but still critical additions & improvements on the simulation engine, who altogether raise the fidelity and power of Command as a wargaming and simulation tool to new heights.

This article concludes our pre-release coverage of the War Planner update and its major enhancements. We would like to thank everyone who assisted in the public beta of this massive release and provided useful feedback. You have been very much a part of this update – so enjoy it!

In this series:

Simulation Additions & Improvements

NEW FEATURE: Energy-based flight model for boost-coast missiles

Boost-coast anti-air missiles (ie. most tactical missiles that are not powered continuously) now use a much more realistic flight model that distinctly models the initial boost-sustain and post-burnout regimes, and takes into account the effects of gravity (shedding speed while climbing and regaining it when diving) and aerodynamic drag. The drag changes with altitude, built-in drag coefficient and whether the weapon is maneuvering (pitching/turning) or not. This change makes it possible to apply real-life “exhaust the threat” tactics and further constrains edge-of-envelope shots.

The onboard fuel (and thus boost duration) varies with the type of missile propulsion. Most AAW missiles (e.g. Sidewinder, Sparrow, all Standards, pre-D AMRAAMs etc.) still rely on the “traditional” boost-(optional sustain)-coast sequence, in which case the rocket motor is active usually for a few seconds. Some missiles (SA-4, SA-6, Sea Dart, Meteor etc.) use ramjet propulsion to provide for a much longer burn duration, and this allows them both a much higher average speed-to-target but also a higher energy state on the terminal engagement, which increases their chance of impact. Other new systems like the AIM-120D use “dual-pulse” rocket motors to again achieve a substantially higher overall energy state.

(NOTE: On missiles that use this model, the “fuel bar” indicator now represents only the remaining boost-sustain fuel, NOT to the total remaining energy. After burnout, the fuel bar is removed and the weapon will coast until it reaches its stall speed.)


Significant changes in default aircraft defensive maneuvers

Instead of beaming and diving to the deck by default, now they will first try to outrun an incoming missile while matching its relative pitch (i.e. climb if the missile is below them, or dive if it’s above them), and if the missile closes the distance they will then attempt to beam it (or its parent guidance) while also reversing their climb/dive.

To counter these counters, new additional WRA firing-range settings (including “No-Escape Zone”) are available, offering a much more comprehensive set of range options (see the UI improvements article). A2A and S2A missile engagements are, as a result, both more dynamic and far more realistic now.

(NOTE: These two changes have been arguably the most controversial ones during the public beta of the War Planner. The typical complaint by many players is “My AMRAAMs are now useless unless if fire them almost at point-blank range”. Our response to this is: EXACTLY. Welcome to the real-world kinematic limitations of most AAW missiles (against agile & alert targets, at least). This part of the reason that most (all?) real-life BVR kills have been achieved at significantly less-than-nominal launch ranges. Watch this BVR tactics video from F4 BMS and note how on each case the missiles are dragged-out rather than outmaneuvered.  WRAs and configurable firing ranges are a thing – and with the new percentage-based settings and NEZ they are more powerful than ever. Learn them, practice with them and use them. Or get used to becoming your adversary’s chew-toy, first by the enemy AI and later by other human players as MP comes to commercial CMO.)


NEW FEATURE: Passive Coherent Location System (aka “Passive Radar”)

The term “passive radar” has grown to broadly encompass two significantly different concepts; one is ESM/SIGINT-based air-surveillance systems and the other is multistatic radars with third-party emitters. The latter is called Passive Coherent Location System, and for a general background on the technology and CONOPS see here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passive_radar

PCLS systems can be very capable against VLO targets (if the geometry is right), and their passive nature makes them inherently less vulnerable to SEAD attacks (although of course the emitters-of opportunity may themselves be targeted). On the other hand the geometry restrictions can be a tough taskmaster (the emitter, the receiver and the target must form a clean-LOS triangle otherwise there is no detection) and the signal propagation geometry sharply reduces the effective detection altitude. Therefore such systems are most effective when combined with other traditional active & passive surveillance sets rather than operating completely on their own.

The v488+ releases of the DB3000 database contain several “non-detecting emitter” platforms such as radio, TV, and cellular antennas or navigation beacons such as LORAN. It also contains a prototype PCLS vehicle that can be used in testing and as the basis for operational variants.


NEW FEATURE: Distinct mobile ground units

In addition to modelling mobile forces as “aimpoint facilities” (see: https://www.warfaresims.com/?p=1159 ), it is now possible to explicitly model individual vehicles with their own customized properties such as armor, propulsion, mounts, sensors etc.

The new-style ground units have unlocked certain brand-new capabilities, such as true amphibious vehicles (with distinct speed & fuel consumption properties overwater and on land).


NEW FEATURE: Intermittent emissions

This band-new feature allows to control the behavior of emitting sensors so they emit in intervals instead of only continously or never.

Alert levels

The first thing to do is to configure a unit’s interval according to the alert level. The alert level is set in the EMCON setting of any unit and affects the whole side. Below, in the “Active Emission Interval” we have the intermittent emission configurations for each alert levels. The side’s alert level will determine which intermittent emission configuration to use:

Emission Intervals

Let’s configure an EMCON behavior for the yellow’s alert level. By default, the interval type is set to continuous, this is the usual behavior in command where an enabled sensor will emit continuously. Emission Duration is the duration in seconds of an emitting phase. Interval is the duration in seconds of a silent phase between 2 emitting phases. Interval random variation is the random duration in seconds we add to an interval. This allows unpredictability of the cycle and is particularly useful to disrupt the enemy’s plan:

The action of waking up mean that the radar will temporarily turn into continuous and ignore intermittent behavior, until time until sleep mode is elapsed. The Wake when detecting threat checkbox controls this behavior, a threat is a unit defined by the checkboxes group includes stance and includes ID. If the radar detects an unfriendly or hostile or unknown contact with any identification level, then we wake up the radar.

If you want a unit to inherit all configuration from its parent check Use parent group parameters:

NOTE: intermittent emission will NOT make a radar active or inactive as depicted below:

Intermittent emission controls whether or not an active radar will be silent or emitting at a given moment.

Custom emission intervals configuration

If you want to use all alert level, you will need to define each interval configurations, and perhaps you want a way to override the alert level and have some units feel special and use their own rules:

To do this, populate the Custom interval tab as you will and make sure the Use custom preset only checkbox is checked.


NEW FEATURE: Custom Environment Zones 

Multiple & moving weather fronts? Check. Bend the laws of physics on a localized area? Can do. Specify carefully hand-picked weather, terrain and other environmental properties in order to test or compare sensors and other environment-dependent components? Yup. Unleash your inner nature wizard with this puppy.

Using this new feature, you can define a zone where you can tailor the environment & weather properties. This can be useful if you want a “controlled environment” for sensor checks, mobility & damage tests etc., but can also be used as a localized “weather override” for scenario purposes. 
To create a CEZ, bring up the Refpoint Manager and switch to the “Cust Env Zones” tab. Create a zone as usual, and then click on “Edit”. A new window should appear, in which you can define the weather & environment properties:


NEW FEATURE: Palletized weapons and other stores

This is a new capability that has been making the public rounds lately, as a result of a series of videos by AFRL  on the Rapid Dragon concept. using pallets packed with guided weapons, aircraft not usually associated with frontline attack operations (such as transports) can contribute to the firepower volume allocated at enemy forces.

As usual, there are caveats. The fact that weapons are fired from released pallets, rather than individually fired from the parent platform, means that weapon allocations must happen in batches; if a single missile in say a 12-pack is allocated, the full dozen has to be allocated either on the same target or others. (There exists of course the theoretical option of allocating only the desired amount of weapons and just sacrificing the rest of the pack, but the cost of the majority of modern weapons makes this an unlikely scenario).

Therefore, accurately modelling this new capability (and the decisions & restrictions it enforces) to Command has been a lot of work. Here’s what we’ve come up with:

  • Pallet Weapon: the paradroppable system (usually a pallet, but may also be a container etc.) containing the payload
  • Pallettized Weapon: the content of the pallet, the actual weapon that will be delivered

Pallet Weapons can be fired by specific aircraft that are equipped with suitable loadouts (C-130, C-17 etc.). Several new representative loadouts have been included in the DB3000 database:


Pallet and Weapon Allocation

Pallet Weapons can be allocated to a target both as a Pallet or by assigning a single target for every Palletized Weapon in the aircraft Loadout. When allocating a whole Pallet, all the weapons within it will be added to the salvo, and all of them will share the same target as the Pallet:

Single (individual) Pallettized Weapons can also be allocated clicking on the relative node in the tree:

NOTE: As mentioned, due to the nature of the weapon system the whole Pallet is dropped even when some of the weapons within are not allocated. So take care to allocate the full pack! A message will serve as a reminder in order to avoid wasting weapons:


When the Pallettized Weapons are allocated separately, the system will recognize how many Pallets are needed to fill the requested salvo quantity and will drop the appropriate amount of Pallets:

Pallet and Weapons Behavior

When dropped from an aircraft, the Pallet will align itself following the correct loitering pitch, and after reaching that pitch it will deploy the parachute and start to loiter. After the Pallet starts to loiter, all the allocated weapons are fired from the Pallet:

Example with multiple Pallets:

Pallets have one more tick up their sleave: Because they remain in coms (datalink) with their parent aicraft, you can allocate additional weapons remaining in them while they are para-dropping. Obviously this can be very useful for delayed fires against targets as the tactical situation evolves. This can be done simply by clicking on a Pallet and then allocating its hosted weapon(s) as usual:

ZueeFXi.png (1017×609)

Effect on WRAs

All the WRA will now include the weapon info for the Pallettized Weapons. Since the Pallet itself is just a carrier, it is not subjected to any WRA and will follow the WRA of its hosted Pallettized Weapons:


New facility category: Surface + Underground

This new facility category represents facilities that are buried underground but also have major access from the surface in order to operate. Examples are all ballistic missile silos, some command bunkers, retractable coastal-defense turrets like ERSTA etc. These facilities are vulnerable to damage/destruction both from direct weapon impacts on their surface area and also from underground shock from near misses by penetrator weapons (or exceptionally powerful surface detonations e.g. from a multi-megaton warhead or asteroid impact).


Significant improvements on ballistic missile kinematics 

Ballistic trajectories have been reworked from the ground up, using true Kepler equations to reflect the movement of planetary bodies. This produces true-to-life boost-phase profiles and overall trajectory parameters (this is important in order to more faithfully model the abilities & limitations of BMD systems).

Improvements in ABM DLZ calculations

ABM systems have additional fail conditions in their DLZ evaluations compared to normal SAMs. A prime example is the intercept “hard floor” for exo-atmospheric systems. For instance, SM-3 cannot make intercepts under 100km in altitude (because its “warhead”/kill-vehicle is effectively a miniature spacecraft with a very sensitive IR seeker and no aerodynamic control, and thus cannot function within the atmosphere). This factor severely restricts the system’s intercept window: If the estimated intercept point is within the atmosphere, it is already too late to shoot. This screengrab from a LM THAAD-ER promo video illustrates this well:

In addition, the case of “intercept will happen within weapon minimum range” has been added as a fail condition to DLZ checks.


Overhauled Reaction Times

The differences in reaction times, and their effects, are now more critical than ever. All units use common-reference “Combat System Generation” (“Cockpit Generation” for aircraft) to model the modernity of their combat systems, combined with an “Ergonomics” value to handle intra-generation differences (the atrocious switchology on early missile-age aircraft will most definitely get you killed now). Older, WW2-era ships may take up to 5 minutes to engage a target, while Aegis cruisers fire in <20 seconds. Cold War fighters will be beaten to the draw by modern, fifth-generation fighters. Overmatch, that ever-elusive dream, is now possible – but beware, it goes both ways.

Until now, the existing OODA model was hobbled by two major problems. First, most values were way too fast. Detection, targeting, and/or evasion usually took less than 20 seconds. This works for ships equipped with modern combat systems, e.g. upgraded Aegis; not so for Cold War clunkers (or, heaven forbid, a pre-WW2 battleship). Second, having to manually set OODA values per-ship meant inconsistent reaction times across combat system generations.

For the revised model, we’ve added a new component to ships: the Combat System Generation (CS Gen), which can range from Gen 1 (1945-1950) to future Gen 7 (2030+). Whether you’re plotting contacts on a plotting board, federated CPUs, or an integrated system – and the age of the components making up those systems – will have a huge effect on your ability to quickly react to and engage targets. A modern Aegis ship can spot, track, and engage a contact in about 20 seconds; for a ship with a WW2-vintage CIC, the process balloons upwards to almost five minutes. If your first detection of an incoming missile comes from your own radars, it may not be enough.

There is an exception for small craft, which regardless of age generally have extremely fast reaction times (this is because their targeting process essentially consists of shouting at the guy on the MG to “shoot that guy over there RIGHT NOW”). However, this is mitigated by their comparatively less powerful sensors and weapons: being quick on the draw doesn’t help much when the Mk1 Eyeball on your RHIB spots a Hellfire inbound.

“But wait,” we hear you object. “Doesn’t this mean that, given an especially old ship and a modern threat, I may find myself completely helpless against an incoming missile?” The answer is yes: those Final Countdown scenarios are going to play out very differently now. This was a major concern for naval planners during the Cold War (the development of NTDS, the US Navy’s first automatic data-exchange system, was driven by classified exercises & wargames in which USN ships were consistently sunk before they could react to incoming air & missile strikes).

For aircraft, the flying equivalent to the “Combat System Generation” for ships, the “Cockpit Generation” is a way for us to approximate pilot load – and subsequently reaction times – based on cockpit design. Aircraft can be assigned one of six cockpits: “Basic Instruments Only,” intended for the simplest aircraft; “Steam Gauges, ” as for WW2-era fighters; “Complex Steam Gauges,” for the nightmarish mid-Cold War fighters; “Partial Glass Cockpit,” for transitioning aircraft of the ‘70s-90s; “Glass Cockpit,” for most modern aircraft; or finally a “Panoramic Cockpit Display,” representing the new single-screen touch displays coming to a fifth-generation fighter near you.

Just as a ship is only as good as its CIC, your aircraft are only as good as their cockpits – and whether your pilots are forced to fiddle with a forest of knobs, switches, and dials or able to glance at an easy-to-read LCD will affect their performance. Of course, the difference between aircraft cockpit generations is far less than the difference between ship CS generations, measured in seconds rather than minutes – but in an aerial engagement, seconds do count.

For submarines, facilities and mobile ground units, we have followed a similar path. We split submarine combat systems into six distinct “generations,” ranging from the early Mk1/3/4 TDC used in WW2 to the modern AN/BYG-1 and future witchcraft as featured in SSN(X). Facilities and ground units required a slightly different system: rather than using multiple “generations” as with ships and subs, these annexes distinguish between fixed and mobile systems and whether said system uses manual or assisted guidance. For example, radar-assisted AAA (e.g. Skyshield) will be faster to engage than a manual gun (ZSU-57); both (towed) systems will be slower at evasion than a SPAAG. The same is true for manually laid artillery vs. those with digital fire control, towed artillery vs. SPGs, etc. While less detailed than our system for ships, subs, and aircraft, we felt this was “good enough” for the level at which these platforms are simulated in Command. (And, of course, we always have the manual override for when we have specific platform data.)

This is obviously is a major set of changes and potentially game-breaking for older scenarios. For this reason, the SBR tool now also includes the ability to preserve “legacy” OODA values when migrating scenarios to v494+ databases. For pro users, the DB Editor also offers the ability to explicitly set custom values and selectively override the generation-derived ones.

Extra wrinkles: Ergonomics

Not every aircraft built with steam gauges was equally difficult to fly; not every ship built in a certain decade could react with identical speed. Certain platforms gained a reputation for being especially easy to operate (the Viggen, for example, had a remarkably well-designed cockpit); others, like the Komar-class missile boat, were the bane of their operators. Much of this can be ascribed to ergonomics, the consideration (or lack thereof) of human factors in design.

The new “ergonomics” field – ranging from “Awful” to “Excellent” – is intended to reflect these intra-generation differences, acting as a sort of OODA “buff/debuff” and giving the ability to adjust values to reflect upgrades, etc. without needing to take the drastic step of upgrading the combat generation.

And, of course, you still have proficiency in the mix. Players now have an interesting mix of factors to consider:

– “Tech generation,” e.g. CS/cockpit generation: when was your platform designed/built, and what sort of tech was in play at the time? Are you working with ancient WW2 plotting boards or Aegis?

– Usability/ergonomics/design: are you working with beautiful, top-of-the-line COTS human interface tech or the nightmare that was mid/late-Cold War Soviet systems?

– Proficiency: Do you have well-trained, well-rested/motivated crews, or are you dealing with bottom-of-the-barrel conscripts?

Those three factors will all have to play into your operational planning.


Radar & IR Stealth Modifier Improvements

Sensor improvements come coupled with a massive overhaul of signature modifiers in the DB, which significantly improve the realism of our stealth model by drawing clearer distinctions between shaping and RAM generations.

Prior to the v494 DB releases, we could classify an aircraft as having “light,” “medium,” or “heavy” stealth shaping … and that was it. These modifiers were applied always in all aspects (no ability to define e.g. a frontal-only reduction modifier). Modeling of IR signature suppression (IRSS) techniques was even more limited.

In v494+ we completely overhauled our existing VLO modifiers to account for shaping and RAM generations. In addition we also added several special flags to indicate the presence (or lack thereof) of certain stealthy design features. This allows us to model not only general, whole-craft stealth but also context-specific or aspect-specific features such as S-shaped intakes, exposed fan blockers, active cancellation, and stealth pylons. For example, S-shaped intakes reduce the likelihood of being detected head-on, while LO pylons reduce the impact of externally-carried stores.

This overhaul also extends to IR modifiers. As with radar stealth, we completely rewrote our “general” modifiers to represent whole-aircraft IR signature suppression techniques (distributed vs. conventional fuel tanks, low-E coatings etc.) and added several additional aircraft codes to represent specific IRSS features. These codes include shielded “anti-Strela” exhausts, masked exhausts, heavily masked / slit-shaped exhausts, and peak temperature reduction or “cool-air mixing”. Note that certain IRSS features come with downsides and limitations: slit-shaped exhausts, for example, will make you harder to spot but paradoxically easier to lock on to with IR weapons due to back pressure penalty; in another example, anti-Strela exhausts are most effective against someone trying to get a lock from below.

The full list of added signature modifiers is:

  • RCSS – Active Cancellation
  • RCSS – S-Shaped Intake(s)
  • RCSS – Exposed Fan Blocker(s)
  • RCSS – Stealth Pylons
  • IRSS – Shielded Exhaust (Anti-Strela)
  • IRSS – Masked Exhaust
  • IRSS – Heavily Masked / Slit-Shaped Exhaust
  • IRSS – Peak Temp Reduction (Cool-Air Mix)

We’ve backfilled all LO/VLO aircraft in both DBs with these features as best as we could determine. (Naturally, in many cases and especially with contemporary stealth fighters, exact details are sometimes hard to come by.) These changes mean that various LO/VLO aircraft are now much harder (or easier) to detect than you may be used to. We have solid confidence in the results; comparisons with known real-world RCS & IR data yield accurate numbers. However, we’re also open to feedback: expect tweaks in future DB releases as we hone the new values. Pro users can of course manually input their precise classified figures as before.


IR & Visual Sensor Improvements

Closely related to the above, this was initially presented and discussed in the professional edition context (see presentation side to the right) but applies equally to the commercial edition.

IRSTs and high-mag cameras are no longer near-magical counter-VLO sensors. They may still be your best bet for detection, but you won’t be volume-scanning for stealth fighters at >100nm anymore. (You can still spot/track them pretty far enough IF something/someone else first cues you there). Abhirup Sengupta broadly explains the tech background behind this limitation well in this Quora post.

The relevant sensors now have a dual value in the search range listing in the DB value, to make it more explicit where their volume search extends to. For example, this listing for the PIRATE IRST system on RAF’s Typhoon Tranche 3:

…indicates that the system can perform un-cued volume search out to 20nm, but can track already-detected targets out to 100nm (both cases under ideal conditions).

Visual and IR checks are now also susceptible to look-down clutter. For example, it is easier for an IRST (or the plain Mk1 Eyeball) to pick out an aircraft over the horizon line than against the surface background.


Degree-Definable Sensor Arcs and Vertical Scan Limits

This is a seemingly small but important improvement to our sensor modelling: at last, sensor arcs can optionally be defined in degrees, rather than just in “pie wedge” set sectors. We’ve also implemented vertical sensor arcs, which were especially important during the Cold War. Older air-to-air radars were often limited to a small chunk of vertical space (20 degrees or so), which meant that fighters would struggle to detect aircraft far below or above them. For air planners, this meant “Low CAPs” and “High CAPs” were necessary. Soon you too will have to consider altitude in your CAP coverage.
(Note that current DBs do not have vertical sensor arc data backfilled, so this won’t have an immediate effect on gameplay until we can do a bit more research. Expect to see an RFI in the public Github for arcs and scan limits.)


Parallelized attack salvo calculations

The creation of attack salvos is now largely run in parallel instead of sequentially.

Some background to this: Until now, the creation of attack salvos was done purely sequentially. Unit-1 examines if it can attack (both doctrinally and physically) a contact; if yes, it creates a new salvo or adds its weapon(s) to an existing one for the same target with same weapon ID. Then Unit-2 does the same, etc. etc. until a suitable salvo for the given target is filled to capacity. This presents a number of issues:

  • Because of the sequential nature, a potential “Unit-3” which perhaps is better located to attack the same target, or perhaps has a more suitable weapon for it, may not be considered at all (if a suitable salvo for the given target is filled-to-capacity by previous units). This can lead to problematic situations like this.
  • Again because of the sequential calculation, this process does not exploit multiple CPU cores and can significantly slow down a pulse execution in a large/busy scenario.

Units now perform the salvo evaluations in their own individual threads and submit “firing proposals” to their side. The parent side groups firing proposals per-target and selects the most promising one, based on criteria that depend on the nature of the target (e.g. for aerospace targets an important factor is time-to-impact). Once selected, the salvos are executed as usual.


Weather effects for surface ship speed

This is an optional new feature. When enabled, deteriorating weather conditions (and especially increasing sea state) has an adverse impact on the maximum speed that ships can travel. This effect is particularly acute on small-displacement ships. Depending on sea state and ship size, a ship may be forced to run at 3/4, half, 1/4 speed or even heave (effectively remain stationary).

The information about the weather-related limitation is shown in various ways:

Because this feature can potentially unbalance existing scenarios, it is optional (can be toggled on the “Scenario Realism Features” window) and is “ON” by default when making a new scenario, and “OFF” by default when loading an existing scenario.

Aircraft maximum airborne endurance


This fixes the “aircraft may stay up indefinitely by multiple A2A-refuellings” realism flaw. Aircraft are now limited in their total airborne endurance depending on their size, type and crew complement. The information about current airborne total time and maximum endurance is listed on the fuel panel and is color-coded for at-a-glance evaluation (dark red is bad). If an aircraft reaches it max endurance limit, it enters an “RTB – Exhaustion” state, turns straight for its home base and will refuse any manual orders to change course or engage in any other activity.


Other simulation bits and pieces

– Added new ASuW doctrine option: “Use missile waypoints” (NO by default). When set to Yes, ASuW missile shooters will use the missile’s waypoint/dogleg capability (if present and if the range allows it). If set to No, ASuW missile shots will always go “straight in” (for old-timers, this is the default CMANO pre-v1.10 behavior).

– Non-ABM-optimized AAW missiles (e.g. Stunner) use a direct-flight profile when engaging ballistic targets (even if they have a lofting/cruise altitude set in the DB)

– An AAW missile’s attitude control type is now taken into account when determining Ph reduction due to reduced terminal energy:

  • Interceptors with non-aerodynamic control (e.g. SM3, THAAD) have no reduction at all
  • Interceptors with aerodynamic-only control (ie. most SAMs) have the as-standard reduction
  • Interceptors with combined aero & non-aero control (e.g. Aster 15/30, 9M96) halve their Ph reduction (the non-aero control diminishes the negative effect of low terminal energy on maneuverability)

– Optional speed improvement: Do not share-and-deduplicate contact messages between allied sides.

  • HOW TO ENABLE: On Command.ini, under the category [Game Preferences], add this: “DedupAlliedMessages = False”
  • PROS: In scenarios with numerous sides allied to each other, this can provide a significant boost to sim performance.
  • CONS: When this is enabled, sides do not receive contact-related messages (new contact, contact status change, contact lost etc.) from their allied sides. NOTE: The contact data itself is shared as always, it’s only the log-messages that are not shared. This may or may not be a significant hindrance depending on your gameplay style.

– Ships & submarines now attempt to evade incoming torpedoes more realistically, following these guidelines. Submarines will additionally alter their depth to avoid the torpedo(es) if appropriate.

– Added new sonar sub-type: Vertical Flank Array (DB v494+ required). These have been present in some Russian sub classes for a while, and are now backfitted on the Ohio class and earmarked for future US SSNs. They provide improved tracking capability (can establish a high-quality TMA track sooner).

– Expendable UAVs (and weapons/decoys) can now have their plotted course programmable in throttle & altitude

– Surface targets are now affected also by underground explosions, though not nearly as much as underground facilities (they receive much less of the transmitted shock). This makes it possible to damage/destroy buildings through near misses by penetrator weapons.

– New simulation feature: Certain weapons occupy their launcher while they are enroute (e.g. most wire-guided torpedoes & ATGMs). The mount cannot be reloaded before the weapon is destroyed one way or another. (Requires DBs v489+)

– ADDED: RWR detection of SARH/TVM illumination auto-generates an (incoming) missile contact, even if the missile itself has not yet been detected yet. This provides realistic ahead-warning (and thus evasion opportunity) to the targeted aircraft.

– New simulation feature: Daisy Chain-type weapon datalinks (DB v489+ required). This allows weapons to communicate directly with each other instead of being slaved to a datalink platform.

– The AI can now employ Mobile Air Decoys (MALD/TALD) (DB v489+ required).

– Support missions can now be created without a ref point (with a visual warning). Example use: Turn on ground based radars without having to turn them on the side-level or individually.

– AI improvement in wingman logic: Distances when evaluating contacts is measured from the group LEAD (not from itself), so the wingman will not chain-investigate away from lead. Also, wingmen do not investigate contacts alone if some other aircraft in the same mission is checking it. So if there are more unknowns than flights, wingmen may start breaking off to investigate them when they are in weapons range of their lead, otherwise they will not.

– Dual-seeker ARMs (e.g. AARGM) can now be fired (non-BOL) against non-emitting targets

– Relaxed the “have reached formation station” check threshold for aircraft (makes them less eager to throttle up to get to station)

– Ship attack AI tweak: When attacking with a contact bomb (ie. saboteur or kamikaze), if possible use flank throttle to minimize the target’s reaction window.

– The visual & IR signature modifiers of in-flight missiles have been tweaked so that they are picked up at shorter ranges. This prevents unrealistic early detection of incoming missiles and thus too-effective maneuvering against them.

– Aircraft AI tweak: When in normal loiter mode (no mission flight or plotted course), wingmen ignore their formation station and just stick close to the leader

– Added: Fuel resupply and rearm for submarines

– Tweaks to sonar cavitation model:

  • Cavitation is now dependent on desired speed (ie. screw turn rate) rather than current vessel speed
  • The noise boost from the onset of cavitation is now gradual (instead of all or nothing), and its magnitude depends on how much above the cavitation threshold the desired speed is

– Aircraft will now pitch up/down as necessary if weapon release is blocked by vertical boresight limits

– When undetected units fire gun/missile weapons, their visual signature blooms temporarily and they are susceptible to detection.

– BOL-fired torpedoes will snake if they are able to

– Added new navigation doctrine option: “Direct path” for ground units. This causes land units to head straight towards their destination without any pathfinding considerations.

– Added: Mine-Clearing mission can now also use “repeatable loop” movement style (so e.g. use explicit sweeping lanes)

– MIRVs are now released from ballistic missiles in sequence, one every 5 seconds (instead of all together)

– ARMs are less effective against low-band emitters (increased chance of a miss)

– Active sensors on aircraft are temporarily de-activated when approaching a target tanker for refueling (this is a safety measure to avoid igniting the tanker’s fuel).   

– ALARM parachute loiter capability added (this requires DB3000 v489+)

– Vehicles now use cargo load/unload time calculation similar to aircraft

– Cargo transfers now attempt to keep grouped units (that are stored in cargo) together when possible.

– Amphibious vehicles assigned to an active mission but stored in cargo will be checked against available docking facilities on their host unit. If available, they will self-unload into the docking facility. This is currently checked every 30 seconds though only one unit can self-unload per check. Amphibious vehicles cannot use davit type docking facilities.

– Docked amphibious vehicles that are assigned to an active mission will launch automatically if they’re in range of the mission area. This is the same behavior as boats currently perform for cargo missions, but amphibious vehicles auto-launch for all mission types.

– Ground Units can now perform cargo missions.

– Added “X days underway” tracking value for subs (example).

– Tweak to radar clutter logics: AESAs which refresh/revisit existing target tracks can narrow their beams and effectively cancel-out clutter altogether. This does NOT apply to volume-search scan against not-yet-detected targets.

– Implemented distinct horizon propagation values for different sensor types. Typical factors are 1.23, 1.5, and 1.06 for radar, ESM, and EO/IR respectively. These parameters are defined in the “Electronic Warfare and Radar Systems Engineering Handbook”.

Countdown to War Planner: Cargo 2.0 – The Logistician’s Nirvana

December 28, 2022 · Posted in Command · Comment 

Command’s “War Planner” update (aka “Tiny”) is set to release in less than a month. Are you ready for Command’s biggest update yet?

In this multi-part series we take a look at the various key features introduced in this massive, FREE upgrade to Command.

Today we are looking at a feature which, per the well-known quote, amateurs will mostly ignore and professionals will fall head-over-heels in love with: Cargo 2.0.

In this series:

Cargo 2.0 – The main points

Command’s existing cargo system was hitherto geared more towards the transfer of combat forces & personnel rather than materiel. This changes radically with Cargo 2.0. You can now transfer both combat units and also weapons, stores, fuel and any arbitrary material. Place your cargo on a multitude of different container types, from standard ISO-blocks to specialized boxes, each with its own peculiarities. Transload cargo at airbases, ports etc. in order to haul it over even transcontinental distances. Automate all this through cargo and (new) transfer missions. Set up complex logistical chains from mainland factories all the way to the front line. Expeditionary commanders from Napoleon to Alexander and Eisenhower would have given their right arm for such a tool – and it’s now included in Command for free.


Mission Editor / Mission Behavior Changes

(New UI elements circled in red)

A new cargo-oriented mission type has been added and the original type of cargo mission has been renamed.  The existing cargo mission behavior is now called a ‘Delivery’ cargo mission.  The new cargo mission type is a ‘Transfer’ cargo mission.

Delivery cargo missions work as before, with the destination being a zone defined by RPs on the map.  This type of mission will unload cargo into action / for use in the simulation (units will unload from cargo onto the map where they can be given orders, etc. Ammo and fuel will move into unit fuel records / magazines.)

Transfer cargo missions, on the other hand, are for moving cargo from one holding unit to another –from airbase to airbase, port to port, or supply facility to airbase, etc.  The cargo is not unloaded onto the map but instead moved from the starting cargo source into one of the transporting units assigned to the mission, transported to the destination, and then moved from the transporting unit into destination unit’s cargo.

Creating a Transfer cargo mission uses the same procedure as creating a ferry mission – select a destination unit (rather than a group of reference points) before you create the new mission.

Ships and aircraft transfer or deliver cargo from their starting host unit. Ground units assigned to a cargo missions should start the scenario loaded as cargo within the source unit (i.e. a ship, fixed facility, airbase, etc.)  They will automatically exit cargo and appear on the map as soon as the mission activates and they are within range of the mission destination. 

Move All Cargo From All Available Sources: This is a new option for any cargo mission to move all the cargo from the available source(s).  You can click this checkbox instead of having to manually go through and assign every possible cargo item.  It also allows cargo to ‘flow’ through a system of cargo missions without the sim needing to know what cargo is / is not going to be transferred to a cargo source by some other cargo mission. 

Vehicles Stored in Cargo May Self-Transfer: This is a new option found on the ‘Transfer To’ tab for cargo transfer missions.  Setting this option ‘on’ allows ground units (not mobile facilities or other cargo) that are assigned to the cargo mission to transport themselves from the starting cargo source to the destination unit’s cargo. They will exit cargo onto the map, travel to the destination unit, and then enter the cargo of the destination unit.  In order for this to work the ground unit needs to be in the mission source’s cargo, assigned to the mission, AND in the list of cargo to be transported (or you have the ‘move all’ option set to on.)


Cargo / Edit Cargo Changes

A new cargo type, ‘container’, is now available (NOTE: DB v493 or later is required). Cargo containers are added/removed from cargo the same as other types of cargo.  Once a container has been added to cargo you can select it from the current cargo list on the left and click ‘Edit Container’ to put other cargo inside the selected container.

Cargo containers can contain ammunition, fuel, or user-defined contents. User-defined contents can be assigned a name, size, and mass via the Edit Container window. Containers are loaded and moved in the same manner as other cargo types but cannot be unloaded directly to the map as independent entities – they are always in cargo.

If cargo containers are moved as part of a cargo delivery mission they will be delivered into nearby (within 2nm) existing supply-type facilities if possible, or a new ‘forward arming and refueling point’ facility will be created to hold the containers if none are available.

Fuel in cargo containers that is delivered via a cargo delivery mission will be added as available fuel of the destination facility.  This fuel can then be used by other units to refuel.

Ammunition in cargo containers that is delivered via a cargo delivery mission will go into the magazine of the destination facility.  These can be used to rearm other units that use the same ammunition type (NOTE: Check the DB ID number to confirm your cargo ammunition matches the type used by the unit you want to re-supply).

User-Defined Cargo: This is a catch-all type of cargo for items the user wishes to move and track as cargo but which have no effect within the Command simulation.  User-defined cargo can be used to track the movement and delivery of items like food, medical supplies, spare parts, etc.


Chaining multiple Cargo Missions

A single cargo mission can handle movement of cargo from the assigned source(s) to one destination. By using the ‘Move All Cargo’ option, however, you can create a sequence of cargo missions to ultimately move cargo through a series of intermediate destinations and on to delivery in the field – or in an extreme example, move material from homeland factories all the way to the expeditionary frontline. The ‘Move All Cargo’ option is required for this sort of system, as individual cargo missions do not intrinsically know what cargo may be delivered to their cargo source(s) by other cargo missions.  

The ability to use multiple cargo missions to route different cargo items from the same source to different destinations is currently limited to ‘originating’ cargo sources – i.e. those where you know no other cargo mission will be delivering cargo TO the cargo source.


New Game Option: Show US Units of Measure in Cargo Editor

This option will change the display values show in the Edit Cargo and Edit Container forms to use US units of measure (feet / square feet / tons / pounds / gallons) rather than metric units.  This option applies ONLY to those two forms.  The forms will refresh automatically if change the option.


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