The P-3 flies like a truck, which it should. It turns and climbs like a WW2 bomber, something it appears to look like. Simple things that should be on the plane, like trim or even flap control are not present in the game. This means that simple would be the best thing to call the flight models of both aircraft in the game.
I could critique the game based upon flight simulation standards but that would be unfair. Yes, there is no virtual cockpit, heck there are only three views in each cockpit. If this was a flight simulation of the P-3C Orion or the MH-60R then I would slam the flight models and dynamics, the simplistic controls and the lack of views.
Having said that; I need to point out that this is not a flight simulation, but a simulation of naval warfare where someone decided to allow the game player the option of taking the controls. I highly suspect that most players will occasionally take the controls but in general they will allow the AI the mundane task of flying to a certain point.
Each aircraft has essentially similar jobs and somewhat similar stations although of course they had different capabilities and purposes.
First the MH-60. The ATO station (Airborne Traffic Officer) station is the place where you can launch almost all of the weapons on the helicopter. This is also the place where contacts are designated and targeted. The radar station, where you can track surface contacts is in the game as well as the acoustic station, where underwater contacts are tracked, where sonarbouyes are dropped and the dipping sonar is monitored.
In addition there is a nice little feature of the MH-60R called the MAD/ESM system. Not included on the latest versions of the MH-60 this item monitors potential contacts by looking for the magnetic distortion a large object like a submarine makes. Not effective if the helicopter is too high or if the contact dives it may have some effect if the sub is close to the surface.
The P-3C is a much more capable aircraft, with longer range, more weapons and a better sensory capability. It still maintains is primary role as the main ASW weapon of the US Navy but now monitors more than just the underwater threat.
As I said before, some of the stations in the P3 are similar in purpose as the MH60. There is a MAD/ESM station in the aircraft with a similar job. There is a radar station as well as an acoustic station where sonar buoys are monitored. Finally there is the TACCO station (Tactical Coordination Center) where all the info is put together and a weapon is deployed to destroy the enemy ship. In addition there is a camera station on the aircraft where you can get a view of what you are shooting at.
All of these stations are cool but I still think that the most important station isn’t really a station. Most folks will find that they will still spend most of their time in MAP mode monitoring everything that is going on. You have the option, like in the rest of the game, to automatically assign most functions to the crew. This gives you the option to put the plane or copter exactly where you want it to be, to monitor what is going on, and then put the sensor or weapon where you want it to be.
Overall, don’t get excited about flying in the game. Yes there is an opportunity to fly in the game but if you really want to fly a P-3 Orion, look for a FS2004 add on. If you want to fly the MH60, do the same. I suspect that buyers of Dangerous Waters will probably not show more than a passing interest in the flyables in the game.
I suspect there will be some people who will be immensely interested in the stations in the aircraft and the manual does an excellent job in covering the basics of detecting, monitoring and destroying enemy surface and underwater targets. I must be honest that my abilities continue to be lacking in these quarters. That is the way a game like this should be though, too easy and it wouldn’t be enjoyable.
The damage sustained to the hull is represented as a percentage figure. The percentage figure is only for hull integrity and damage to any other part, such as the ESM mast will not add to the hull damage figure. The hull damage is cumulative, should you sustain 41% damage through either an attack or a collision and then sustain a second instance of 31% damage your total damage is 72%. Once you have reached 100% your platform is dead.
Modern warfare is not my area of expertise. As such, I am unable to comment on the accuracy of the damage to any platform from any of the weapons used. Sonalysts say that every weapon in the game has a ‘warhead’ value in the objects database that closely corresponds to their real-world warhead values in kilograms. A ‘armor’ value for all the submarines, surface ships, air platforms and land-based buildings is used to determine when those platforms would be considered ‘damaged’ or ‘destroyed’.