Ok so this is proving to be a pain in my ass. Among the many other issues I'm fighting atm is the joy of animating ammo feed belts in Arma3.
If you've never tried to do complex compound animations you probably won't understand the frustration. If you have you are probably looking at the picture and thinking, 'masochist'.
IF THIS IS SO HARD, WHY BOTHER?
Simply because its such a big visual feature of the AW159 Wildcat and AH9A. This huge .50 Cal monster, stuck like a limpet, on the side of the helicopter is a visually striking and intimidating thing and I think it deserves and needs to be done properly.
... at least in my sleep deprived mind anyway.
THE NEXT GENERATION OF 50CAL
The M3M Machine gun was brought in to British service to improve the effectiveness of the Lynx series of helicopters. Equipping the Royal Navy's HAS3 and HMA8 naval Lynxes, Merlin HM2 as well as the British Army's AH9As in Afghanistan.
The first British M3Ms to see service were mounted on the RN's airframes for drug interdiction operations in the Caribbean. Where more than a few Drug Runners in Go-Fast Boats got a bit of a wake up call.
The M3M is made by Fabrique Nationale Herstal (FN Herstal) the M3M system also features a soft pintle mount, spade grips, a feeding chute connecting the gun to a 600-round ammo box and a spent round chute. Classic iron sights are fitted on this gun. But night vision or other optical sights can also be fitted above the spade triggers.
Chambered in the classic .50BMG (12.7x99mm) the M3M is a single barrel rapid fire machine gun specifically designed for helicopters. Firing 1100 rounds per minutes out to a range of 2000 meters the M3M is an advancement on the classic Browning M2, thanks to a new open-bolt and dual recoil buffer design the weapon doesn't pass as much vibration to the airframe as the M2 does which makes using it on helicopters of all sizes so much easier and less dangerous for the aircrew.
A BIGGER PUNCH OVER THE GPMG
The first M3M equipped Lynx AH-9As were airlifted out to Afghanistan in May 2010 and begin support operations soon after. This was the culmination of an 18 month Urgent Operation Contract that saw the upgrade of the AH9 airframe to improve the aircraft's "hot and high" performance as well at the attack and ISTAR capabilities of the type. Something closer the spec of the Wildcat that would eventually come to replace it much later.
Previously the largest caliber weapon the Lynx could mount was the 7.62mm GPMG machine gun. The addition of the M3M meant that the AH-9A could now be used to escort troop carrying Merlin and Chinooks freeing up the British Army's Apaches to prosecute more pressing targets and support Troops in Contact elsewhere.
Before the rivet counters (yes I am usually one too) chime in and start to heap criticism; yes there is some missing details. This is because i'm trying to work out the basic functions and animations first. Full detailing and fiddly bits will all come later. Assuming I survive animating the ammo feed channel so it moves properly with the turret.
And before people start to moan about specific of gun mounts and features, there are several different generations and iterations of the gun mounts in service out there. The Lynx and Wildcat mounts both have subtle differences thanks to the different generations of products and experience in Afghanistan. The Merlin HM2 has a different mount all together which is in-turn different that the mounts used by USN and USMC aircraft.
Whats the take away from this? One size does not fit all kids.
Recently I've been beset with 'forum-experts' telling me about the many, many things I have wrong. As I hopefully proved on the BI Forums recently I really do try to do proper research and do actually seek the help of genuine experts in the field. This input may sometimes be impractical to implement in game but I do try very hard to make things are realistic as the game engine (or my patience) allows.
Anyway, its 0115GMT. I've only had 2 hours sleep in the last 24 and I'm getting grouchy and I really do need my beauty sleep.
Hope you like the updates. If you have genuine questions please do ask. I'll try my best to answer them. If not I'll try not to be too sarcastic.
6th Feb 18