It's a Bird, It's a Plane, no its an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle.
Welcome to the UAV guide fellas. UAVs are lovely little things with a whole secret world that not many people know about. Soon I may leave so I'd like to share my knowledge which is how to utilise the power of robots to destroy the baddies.
There are multiple variants of Unmanned Vehicles which are the:
- Ground Vehicles or UGVs (UGV Stomper(BLUFOR), UGV Saif (OPFOR).
- Rotary-Wing (MQ-12 Falcon(BLUFOR),AR-2 Darter(BLUFOR,INDEPENDENT), Tayran AR-2(OPFOR).
- Fixed-Wing (YABHON-R3 (BLUFOR, INDEPENDENT, OPFOR), UCAV Sentinel, Burraq UCAV(OPFOR), Pchela-1T(OPFOR).
Sadly, in this guide I will not be covering the UGVs since they are slightly different to the UAV and will likely make a separate guide or maybe include it here later on.
Fixed-Wing and Rotary-Wing
Fixed Wing Drones could be considered the most useful and efficient killing machines but with the new update I can see the Falcons getting some of the action as well. This guide will hopefully help you understand them a bit more.
Step 1 - Gear Up
Gearing for a drone operator is easy. Main item you need is a UAV Terminal under Terminals-> UAV Terminal, which matches your character's side. NATO is BLUFOR, CSAT is OPFOR and AAF is Independent.
Depending on what types of drones Zeus allows, you may also take a rotary-wing quad-copter, which are found under Backpacks->UAV Bag. These drones are purely for scouting purposes and can identify and lase a target for another drone or a friendly asset.
If you are using multiple drones, do tell Zeus to enable data receive on your drones so that they can send each other radar information.
If you would like to change the loadout of your drone, there is a munitions guide in the Shooting section below.
Step 2 - Connect and Take-off
You need to connect to the drone. As long as the drone matches your player's side and has not been placed empty by the Zeus you can use your UAV Terminal to connect to the drone. You can either open the UAV Terminal and click the box on the top right to select your drone or physically walk up to the drone and connect to it. Open your AV terminal, select your drone and take control of the driver on the top right. You will then have to use your plane controls that can be found under Options-> Plane Controls, to taxi and take off from a runway. For Rotary Wing, simply use the helicopter controls to take off and you are good to go.
For Medium sized drones such as the YABHON-R3 the take off speed is around 90-100 km/h.
Step 3 - Automation
After take-off put the drone to a reasonable flight path and use the scroll wheel option to Release Controls. If you enter the UAV Terminal again you will see that your UAV terminal is focused on the drone you were controlling. Here is the hidden bit. There is a whole set of controls for ordering the UV to do things for you.
LMB - Set an invisible waypoint for UAV to go to.
LeftShift+LMB - Set a visible waypoint for UAV to go to.
LeftCtrl+LMB - Set an indirect waypoint for UAV to go to.
RMB - Shows the options that can be changed for a way-point.
Ctrl-T - Gunner camera lock-on
There are 3 options which consist of:
Type: Shows the types of actions the drone can make.
Move - Just moves to where you set the waypoint
Destroy - Destroys a target that has been laser designated
Seek and Destroy - Will destroy multiple targets which have been laser designated.
Hold - Tells AI to keep flying over the way-point. The way-point is not deleted after a pass.
Sentry - Used for UVGs
Guard - Used for UVGs
Support - Goes over the way-point then goes in for a landing at the nearest airport. Not too useful.
Cycle - Follows a number of way-points. Can be useful if Loiter does not meet the requirements.
Loiter - Most useful of the action types. Tells the AI to fly in a circular motion around the way-point. Brings up a menu of different radii for the circular motion. The radius length depends on the type of UAV.
Land - Is meant to land but is the worst thing in the world. Accidentally set it to land once and it will not follow orders until it has landed. The scroll-wheel option is much better.
Behaviour: Sets the engagement rule for the gunner.
Never Fire - Tells the AI gunner to never engage the enemy. This will be used the most since it won't get shot at in the first place.
Hold Fire - Tells the AI gunner to never engage the enemy, unless fired upon. Use this if you won't take over the gunner of the drone.
Hold Fire, Engage at Will - Will hold fire and engage when AI deems necessary. Use this if you won't take over the gunner of the drone.
Open Fire - Will openly engage the enemy. You should never use this.
Open Fire, Engage At will - Will actively try to engage anything it can spot. You should never use this either.
Altitude: Will have the different altitude options you want your drone to stay at. At lower altitudes they are relative to the ground, not sea level.
For fixed-wing, the most useful and efficient way of approaching an AO is to set a way-point around the centre of the AO, set it to loitering, select a radius of 500, 750 or more depending on the size of the AO and make sure you have set an altitude of over 1000 meters. Below 1000 meters the AI will actively engage your drone and put the drone in the danger zone. I usually set it to 2000 metres since it puts the drone at a safe altitude above the AO but if you prefer to be lower you can manually take control and set the height yourself.
For rotary-wing a closer approach is better. You will usually use a set of ATGMs and AGMs depending on what you're fighting against. A set of DAGRs combined with 3x AGM-114K does the job most of the time.
Step 4 - Shooting
Now, this is the fun bit. Keep in mind, you are a support role, not a 'nuke the whole map' machine.
Your main duty as a UAV is to scout, the AGMs and GBUs are there in case the infantry need help. Through the AV terminal you can select your drone and select the gunner spot on the top right. You can zoom in and zoom out using the '-' and '+' keys. You can switch to different Vision Modes with the default keybinding 'N'. Your drones will have Night-vision and Thermal Imaging to help you find and identify your targets. Keep in mind, thermal imaging is often a very bad choice to spot vehicles for your teammates. A few of OPFOR armoured vehicles and many of BLUFOR armoured vehicles are designed to keep their external heat difficult to spot and will make minimal heat signatures on your camera. This effect is even more drastic if a vehicle is stationary since the engine will not be running and the vehicle will be invisible to your thermal imaging.
General rule of thumb is check to check the AO for thermals for a brief few seconds and if nothing other than few infantry come up switch to normal or night-vision. Tell or mark enemies you find using the grid referencing on the bottom left and seek for permission to strike. If platoon gives permission, go through the checklist of engaging and sending away a nice package.
When it comes to munitions you should use to kill your targets, I usually roll with either GBU-12s, 9K121 Vikhr's or a combination of both.
Step 1: While controlling the gunner, press default 'F' to switch between different ammunition. Since GBUs are laser locked bombs you need to switch to the laser designator press LMB to turn on the lasor which will be indicated with a red laser icon.
Step 2: Aim the laser at your target and press Ctrl-T which will lock your camera to your target, whether it is a moving vehicle or a compound in middle of nowhere.
Step 3: Once you are satisfied with where your camera is locked press 'T' to lock on to your laser. Make sure the line of sight with your target is clear and send away the GBU. Keep the laser on the target until the impact. If you did it right you should see a mini-nuke go off any infantry and destroying any vehicles in its radius.
9K121 Vikhr AGMs are different from a GBU in a sense where you don't need a laser lock on on your target. The missile can lock on to a heat signature or can be free-fired where the rocket will follow the cross-hair of your gunner's camera without the need of a laser lock on. For moving vehicles it is sometimes better to use the free fire mode since it doesn't need the fire cone and allows you to lead the rocket to be able to get a hit if the target is moving too fast.
List of different munitions the drones can use (NATO):
GBU-12: Laser-guided bomb with maximum destruction
AIM-9 Sidewinder: Short-range air-to-air missile with IR guidance.
AIM-132 ASRAAM: Medium-range air-to-air missile with Radar Active Homing (RAM) guidance. Needs radar to be switched on to lock on to targets.
9K121 Vikhr: Infra-red and wire-guided AGM missile capable of precision strikes.
Hydra-70: Dumb-fire missiles with 2 variants.
DAGR: Infra-red and laser guided ATGM. Capable of penetrating heavy armour.
Mk82: Dumb bomb. You click, it go.
AGM-114K Hellfire: Laser-guided AGM
Note: Only GBU-12 and Macer IIs can be mounted on the UCAV Sentinel.
Role of a Quad-copter:
There have been a few discussions on the usefulness of the quad-copters that you can carry on your back so I'd like to point out a few advantages of quad-copters, some of them introduced by the Jets DLC.
Jets DLC introduced new radar and sensor systems for all of the drones. With this addition, the quad-copters were introduced with a new Infra-red Search and Track (IRST). The IRST system allows detection of air (at 1.5km) and ground (at 1km) targets as long as the gunner of the drone is tracking the vehicle. It does not have the usual visual sensor or radar so it cannot spot any targets out of gunner's visual cone. The quad-copters also come in with a special built in motion/thermal sensor that is designed to track humans at a range of 500. They can spot the infantry and bring it up as radar information. Why is it useful? If you ask the Zeus to enable data link receive on your drones (I've found this feature is off most of the time) it allows your drones to send information to each other. They can feed valuable information to your other drones, which can detect and engage much more easier.
If you didn't know, there is also great trick I used to use on multiplayer servers where you could attach explosives to the quad-copter. If there's something that needs blowing up, drones are pretty good at it. It gets shot as you get close to your target? No worries, the charges stay on its carcass so you can still get your revenge.
Tip: To reset the gunner camera to its original position while controlling the driver press 'T'.
Final note: I know I've said this before but to drive my point home, most of the time you are RECON, not shoot everything with a GBU machine. You keep a close eye on the squads and give information to the nearby units of things they cannot see such as number of infantry and their location. You spot something big coming their way? Tell them and ask for permission to engage. If its a small motorised infantry like a technical and you drop a GBU on it, you can count that bomb wasted.
There are some bugs with UAVs such as the AI wanting to land by itself which happen rarely, but still take place. The fix for this is to let it land, turn off autonomous, disconnect, connect and turn autonomous back on again.
There is also a problem when dying as a UAV operator since you lose your connection with your UAV and cannot connect to it. This can be fixed by looting the UAV terminal you had on your body, which is still connected to the UAV.
The AI WILL SUICIDE if you land a fixed-wing UAV and release its controls while it has landed and has its engines on. Make sure to turn engines off before release controls after landing.
If I missed something please do let me know. Thanks for Reading!
Edited by Sarissa