On this page of the DCS game guide for the AH-64D Apache add-on, we present detailed instructions on how to use the M230 30mm Chain Gun AWS - Area Weapon System. We explain how to calibrate the Chain Gun sight and how to use it in combination with the HMD helmet sight. We describe how to use the Chain Gun from the pilot's seat, the gunner's seat and with the use of Georg AI.
- M230 30mm Chain Gun overview
- Necessary buttons for assignment
- M230 30mm Chain Gun settings
- Using M230 30mm Chain Gun as the pilot
- Using M230 30mm Chain Gun as CPG
- Using M230 30mm Chain Gun as George AI Helper
M230 30mm Chain Gun overview
The M230 caliber 30mm is the core component of the M139 Area Weapon System (AWS). It is mounted between the two front landing gear shins on a hydraulically controlled turret. It allows the gun barrel to be automatically directed to where a crew member is targeting by using the IHADSS, FCR or TADS systems. By default, the Chain Gun is loaded with M789 High Explosive Dual Purpose (HEDP) ammunition, but it can optionally be replaced with the M788 Target Practice training ammunition.
NOTE - In the current version of the DCS, the maximum amount of ammunition is 300 rounds. In the future, it will be possible to increase it to 1,200 units at the expense of an Internal Auxiliary Fuel System (IAFS) the so-called "robby tank", which is now installed by default.
The turret of the gun can tilt it within a range of up to: 60 degrees down, 11 degrees up and within 86 degrees sideways. The firing rate is 625 rounds per minute, but it is common practice to reduce it to extend barrel life and thus its replacement intervals. The theoretical range of fire is just over 4 kilometers. The effective range for destroying targets and ensuring accuracy as such is about 1.5 kilometers. However, during a mission, it is best to attack targets that are 800-1000 meters away. The Chain Gun is an area of effect weapon, not a precision weapon - projectiles disperse not only with increasing distance.
The M230 Chain Gun can be used by both crew members. The pilot uses the IHADSS or FCR radar to aim, and the gunner has the TADS system at his disposal. In practice, the 30mm Chain Gun is the domain of the pilot who finds and destroys the closest targets, while the CPG manages Hellfire missiles against targets several kilometers away. The Chain Gun is designed to destroy lightly armored targets or infantry units.
It is definitely worth getting a head tracking device for the DCS AH-64D Apache. Only then can you fully experience the mechanics of combining the Chain Gun with the HMD helmet display and the ability to shoot wherever you look. VR goggles provide an even better experience, but a simple device based on a PlayStation 3 camera is enough to completely change the comfort of flying an Apache.
Necessary buttons for assignment
Pilot and CPG
- Weapon Action Select G (Up) - activation of Chain Gun
- Trigger Guard Open - trigger released and unlocked
- Gun Trigger 1st Detent - trigger
- RHG Weapon Action Select G (Up) - activation of the Chain Gun on the right TADS hand grip
- RHG Sight Select (Up, Right) - sight selection: HMD or TADS
- RHG Sight Manual Tracker - the sight control knob
- LHG Weapons Trigger - the trigger on the left hand TADS grip
- LHG LMC - Linear Motion Compensator - stabilization of the TADS sight
- RHG LRFD Trigger 2nd detent - laser beam trigger
M230 30mm Chain Gun settings
The Chain Gun can be properly configured in flight or while still on the ground in preparation for take-off. To activate the ground override options, press the G-ORIDE (Ground Override) button. The pilot settings are not automatically transferred to the CPG settings. Press Weapon Action Select G (Up) to activate the Chain Gun. The Chain Gun symbol on the screen will be highlighted and the frame in front of it around SAFE (or ARM) will become a thick dashed line.
Select the maximum number of rounds in one burst, that is, how many will be fired while still holding the trigger. With a higher limit by briefly holding the trigger you will fire a correspondingly smaller amount. In practice, it's best to stick to short, 10-round bursts (or shorter) and make adjustments to aiming on a regular basis before firing more. The available options are: 10, 20, 50, 100, All (All - the turret will fire as long as the trigger is being pressed).
Select the gun operating mode: NORM - normal - the gun aims automatically where the crosshair is looking or FXD - fixed - the gun is set to a fixed point in front of the helicopter, calibrated at a distance of 1575 meters. Aiming is done only by properly piloting the helicopter
Set the range for which the gun sight will be calibrated in the NORM mode. The default is 1500 meters for the pilot and 3000 meters for CPG.
Calibrating the crosshair for a specific distance means bullets will land near the center of the crosshair only when firing at the set distance. By shooting closer or farther it will cause bullets to land respectively under or over the center of the sight, and you should then take the appropriate adjustments when aiming. It is worth setting a value between 800 and 1000 meters here. The AUTO mode is also available, in which the computer calibrates the weapon's sight on an ongoing basis and depending on where we aim it at the moment, basing the calculations on the "acquisition" point. For example, a nearby point on the map with a provided elevation. Auto mode is not always 100 percent precise. It works best on relatively flat terrain.
Press the MANRNG (Manual Ranging) button.
Enter the selected distance in meters on the keyboard and confirm with Enter key...
... or type A letter to enable automatic calibration mode. Confirm with Enter.
If you are starting from the Cold Start stage, calibration of the head sight, as described in the Cold Start chapter, is required for proper aiming with the IHADSS.
NOTE - in VR goggles, the calibration of the sight will probably not be very accurate. This feature is not yet fully developed. To avoid problems with aiming the chain gun, it is best to start the missions in "hot start" mode, with your engines running.
Using M230 30mm Chain Gun as the pilot
Press TRIGGER GUARD - OPEN to unlock the trigger. It's best to do this right after take-off - you won't find any indication as to whether it is locked or unlocked.
Make sure that the weapons are armed - the A / S button on the ARM.
Press Weapon Action Select G (Up) on the cyclic to activate the Chain Gun. The Chain Gun symbol in the middle will be highlighted and the ARM text above will be surrounded by a dashed frame. The number of shells remaining is shown in the center of the gun symbol.
In any IHADSS mode, the crosshair is a LOS Reticle. At the bottom, the current distance of the sight calibration (M or A XX) and the number of remaining bullets (ROUNDS XXX) are being provided.
Due to the automatic calibration, the provided distance is the distance calculated by the computer to the place where the sight is currently pointing (A1.6 - Auto 1600 meters)
If a fixed value in meters has been entered for the calibration, only that specific value will be displayed as MXX (M0.8 - Manual 800 meters).
Look in the direction of your targets. Aim at them by using your crosshair and press the trigger. The number of rounds shown in the display will decrease.
Watch where the bullets fall after the clouds of dust and mini-explosions. Shoot in short bursts and make the necessary corrections in case of each enemy.
In FXD mode, the Chain Gun is permanently aimed at a specific point in front of the helicopter, at a distance of 1575 meters. This method is best for launching attacks during a quick flight over a properly set group of targets, to wipe out a moving convoy or targets moving along the convoy.
The Cued LOS Reticle cross is used for aiming. The distance is pre-calibrated at 1500 meters, although the IHADSS will show the values for the NORM mode.
Pay attention not to confuse the Cued LOS Reticle sights, because the one from the Chain Gun in FXD mode is identical to the crosshair of the "acquisition" source. The Gun Fixed Reticle is always under the Head Tracker diamond, which is also always in the same place and shows the direction in which the helicopter's nose is pointing.
Targeting in FXD mode consists in flying the helicopter with precision. Fly in such a way as to direct the Gun Fixed Reticle at the target.
Wait until you're close enough. Open fire when the crosshair is as close as possible to the destructible objects. Use short bursts after making corrections on the fly. Observe the hit sites in the field to correct the reticle position accordingly.
Using M230 30mm Chain Gun as CPG
Make sure that the weapons are armed - the A / S button on the ARM.
If you intend to use the trigger on the cyclic, press the TRIGGER GUARD - OPEN to unlock the trigger. It's best to do this right after take-off - you won't find any indication as to whether it is locked or unlocked. You don't have to do this if you only use the TADS system and hand grip trigger to operate the Chain Gun.
At the CPG seat, the default Chain Gun calibration is 3000 meters. It is worth reducing it or setting it to automatic.
Turn on the HMD helmet sight. Shooting with it is exactly the same as in the case of the pilot, except that we will mainly be using NORM mode here. Keep your eyes on the target and press the trigger.
Shooting in the FXD mode is possible, as long as you take controls from the pilot with the REQUEST AIRCRAFT CONTROL keys - by default C key.
The TADS system can also be used for firing the Chain Gun on the CPG seat. Set TADS as the active sight by pressing Sight Select HMD (Up).
Activate the Chain Gun by pressing Weapon Action Select G - Gun (Up).
Aim the TADS at the chosen target. If necessary, press LMC (Linear Motion Compensator) to stabilize the sight.
Press and hold the 2nd detent trigger of the LRFD laser pointer to lock the target with the laser beam. Thanks to this, the computer will get the exact distance to the target and calibrate the Chain Gun according to this value.
While holding the laser trigger, press the Chain Gun trigger. Correct your aiming as needed before the next bursts of bullets.
Restrictions - why the Chain Gun cannot be used?
First make sure the trigger is unlocked by pressing the TRIGGER GUARD - OPEN key. This is the most common reason for the lack of response when trying to fire a chain gun in the current version of DCS World.
Firing a Chain Gun is not always possible. This is indicated by messages from the "weapon inhibits" category on the IHADSS or TADS display. Depending on the situation, you can see:
Ballistic Limit appears when the gun is aimed beyond its range. The message will appear during the automatic calibration, when the computer immediately calculates the distance of the point at which the LOS Reticle is aimed (in this case 7.5 kilometers).
Elevation Limit appears when the sight is aimed too high or too low than the gun barrel can yaw.
Azimuth Limit occurs when the sight is pointed too far to the left or too far to the right than the gun barrel turret can rotate to.
COINCIDENCE is a message about the lack of convergence between the point at which the sight is being directed and the point at which the gun barrel is directed. It usually appears for a fraction of a second, when you turn your head with the HMD sight in the opposite direction too quickly and the turret has not yet had time to aim at the new location.
Using M230 30mm Chain Gun as George AI Helper
While flying in the pilot's seat, we can rely on George's AI Helper to take control of the Chain Gun and use it. The only thing to consider is that in the current version, George is not very good at aiming at objects moving left or right in relation to the helicopter's orientation - he cannot aim ahead. The AI mainly destroys stationary targets or targets that move parallel to the helicopter's flight, e.g. in a long convoy.
Invoke George's command wheel with the Left Ctrl V keys. The Chain Gun will be the default selected weapon.
Press George Interface UP LONG to change ROE to Weapons Free (green) - George will open fire immediately after selecting the target
Optionally press George Interface RIGHT SHORT to change the number of bullets in a burst
You can view targets selected by CPG by turning on the video image on one of the monitors. Press the VID button and select the TADS source.
Point the LOS Reticle cross at the target area and press - George Interface UP SHORT to have the CPG search for available targets. If the AI gunner detects something, a list of targets will appear on the left.
Once the target list is displayed, it becomes the active interface. Press George Interface UP SHORT and DOWN SHORT to select a target from the list. If the active "acquistion" source is TADS, the helmet display will show a Cued LOS Reticle cross from target to target.
The currently selected target can also be seen on the TADS video screen.
After selecting a target from the list, press George Interface RIGHT SHORT to order the target to be destroyed. George will open fire with the selected number of bullets in a BURST.
After destroying the target, press George Interface DOWN LONG to repeat the search in the last location and display the list again. Press George Interface UP SHORT to start a new search.