Notes on Reading In ATOs
JFORCES can accept ATOs written in the 1998 or 2000 format as inputs to initialize scenario aircraft. This is done within the Scenario Designer under the “Scenario Design->Design macros->Mass DB Updates->Read in ATO” GUI path. These are read in the native format, but there are some tricks to reading in the data. These are:
This process assigns aircraft, but it does not create them. it's up to the analyst to create them. But as covered below it provides information to help populate the aircraft information correctly.
This only needs to be done once, but can be run multiple times if required. It cleans out pre-existing air mission data at the beginning of the ATO read-in. This is a mixed blessing. It permits users to run this process multiple times and get the expected results. But it does wipe out any information on missions that were loaded using any other mechanism (e.g. through user specification. So run this process before assigning any air missions through specific operational tasking.
The JFORCES' ATO only assigns aircraft to the “teeth” missions. These include: INT, FCAP, DCA, XDCA, ESC, EW, AEW, XEW, XAEW, XINT, XATK, XCAS, SEAD (the abbreviations are in accordance with USMTF standards).
The ATO relies on having the key aircraft types, locations, airbases and squadrons. For this reason loading an ATO is generally not a one-time pass activity. Instead an ATO is read in, parsed, and any generated errors are rectified prior to actually executing the command to load the aircraft into the scenario. To do this use the GUI path specified above, select the source ATO file to read in, and review the resulting error report. A sample report follows:
The end of the report gives a synopsis of categorical problems, and generally these should be fixed before the small problems are addressed. But after these are addressed scroll up and consider all of the problems highlighted in red. Lines in green confirm that the mission specs have been loaded into the database.
To fix common errors proceed as follow:
To fix missing locations enter the data into the “LOCATIONS” scenario database table. Sorry, but there's no GUI for this; currently the information must be loaded through database techniques.
To fix problems related to missing aircraft types go into the “Entity Designer” and create a platform of the appropriate type. Don't neglect putting the subsystems (comm terminals, armament, warheads, etc). Without this subsystem information the aircraft will be unable to perform its mission.
To fix problems related to missing bases go into the Scenario Designer and follow the “Scenario Design->Specific Elements->Individual Assets” GUI path (or any other path that takes you to an interface to create an asset. Then create a base asset with the site ID as required (e.g. KMU0 for the first base in the picture above). This asset must be of either and “AIR BASE” or “Carrier” type (these are the categories shown in the upper left corner of the individual asset specification GUI).
There's really no way to rectify missing mission types. The mission types are limited to what JFORCES can automatically implement.
To fix base/squadron/ac type errors create a squadron at base using the scenario designer. Follow the “Scenario design->Specific Elements->Squadron” GUI path. Where you see “any” defined as the squadron use any unique name that pleases you. If anything other than “any” appears in this column you must use that name – it's specified by the ATO. For simplicity you can add multiple aircraft types to the same squadron as long as they're to fly from the same base. So, for simplicity (although unrealistic) you can create one squadron at a base, add F16s, A10s and E3s to it, and satisfy the three lines of missing data in this interface.
If you see errors like “Package spec for pkg_4147 Aircraft F35A Unit sq3 IGNORED because aircraft will not be ready in time” you might have too few aircraft of this type at the source base, or the intermission turnaround time for the aircraft is unrealistically long, the platform type cruise parameters might be wrong, or your locations in the database might be wrong. What's happening is the system's evaluating aircraft aircraft availability based on prior mission assignments, distance to fly, cruise conditions and turnaround time. If this estimated time on target is too large the system will not assign the mission.