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Greetings Mission Planners,

I've been posting newer versions of Excel2FV Mark II on my webpage without any formal anouncements.  The changes let Excel2FV run on machines it didn't work on before and help do a better job with misformed coordinate strings.  Let me know if you have any issues or problems with the latest version as the reported problems/limitations have been fixed.

NGA recently posted new information on the characteristics of finished vs. unfinished SRTM DTED.  Do to operational need, some "unfinished" DTED was distributed for regions where there was incomplete Level 2 DTED coverage.  That data has been superceded by the finished data.  Translation:  Find the old stuff, delete any data you loaded and destroy the CD's.  The USGS nearly has worldwide SRTM Level 1 data (3 arc second / 100 meter posting) available for purchase on their webpage.  Hopefully  you're receiving the same data from DLA.  

The MPSSF's added breaking news announcements about the September EUROPESAC CD (ain't comin') and the Iraq ICM CD (it is).  Although it hasn't made the breaking news (yet), a new CWDS CD has arrived at some units.  Version 10.0 has the biggest CWDS improvements seen  in a long time and is a quantum leap from the 9.x releases.

A problem was found printing dithered (highlighter style) threat masks using a printer's PostScript driver.  The printer was "installed" again, this time with the PCL driver and that time the masks plotted correctly.  You can have a printer connected to a PC (or a network) and set it up as a PostScript and as a PCL printer.  Select the driver you want when you start printing.  If you're not sure what this means then try different printer drivers until you find one that works.  

Speaking of printers, we live in an amazing world when you can buy color laser printer after printer after printer for less than $500.  Heck, you can buy this one for less than $400.  I probably spent more than that on my NEC P6 dot matrix...

Finally, with Hurricane Ivan approaching most of "Team Eglin" has abandoned the quest for better Mission Planning in favor of the quest for plywood.  Hopefully all will return to normal within a few days. 

Mission Planning Tip: Using TaskView To View An ATO

Last week's TaskView tip stopped with the ATO and ACO files loaded:

In the image above "Package" is selected on the left and the ATO's packages are listed on the the right.  The first package ("-") is the "null package", i.e. missions that aren't assigned to any package.  The second package is named "ALPHA".  

What's a package?  In the "Big War" it can take lot of aircraft to strike a target.  A package might need Air Superiority (F-15's), HARM Shooters (F-16 or F/A-18's) and Jammers (EA-6B's), to support a handful of Bomb Droppers.  The ATO assigns the necessary assets to a package.  The package commander works to choreograph the airborne ballet necessary to gain local Air Superiority, force the enemy to turn off their radars (and punish those who don't) and put iron on target.  After you've gained Air Supremacy and taken down the IADS the need for packages decreases.  As  package count goes down the mission count in the null package goes up.

You can view missions assigned to a unit by selecting "Task Unit":

In the above screenshot the Squadron names are cut off  because the TaskView window isn't wide enough.  Starting in version 3.3.1 you can resize TaskView in both directions to show more of a unit's name and show more units:

Double clicking on a unit name brings up the missions it's been assigned.  In this case double clicking on the 493rd Fighter Squadron brings up:

Going back to the Task Unit list, selecting the 493FS and clicking on the View As  "Text" button brings up the ATO's description of the unit's missions:

In the lower left corner of the window "View Formatted" is selected.  This makes the USMTF ATO "human readable".  Switch to "View as Text" to see the original ATO text:

Returning to the Task Unit list, selecting the 493FS and clicking "Tree" brings up a tree view of the 493rd's missions:

Missions listed in green text can be plotted in FalconView and missions in red text can't.  Mission 0153 can be plotted:

The mission includes a departure, a target DMPI (Designated Mean Point of Impact) and a recovery location.  Right clicking on Mission 0153 in the tree view plots it on FalconView:

What about the missions that can't be plotted?  Lets look at mission 0105:

Eagle 05's mission tasking is to sit five minute strip alert for Close Air Support.  The ATO only provides a departure and recovery location, it doesn't provide any information about where they'll be flying.  Without one more point the mission can't be plotted.  When TaskView tells you "some mission's could not be plotted" it doesn't always mean something  is "wrong".  Missions like this one don't have enough info to plot.

The tree view above only showed the missions assigned to the 493FS.  Returning to the list of all the ATO's units, you can use Windows CTRL and Shift keys to highlight multiple units:

When all the units are selected and "Tree" is pressed you'll get a tree view of all the ATO's Units and Missions:

A great new feature in TaskView 3.3.1 is the ability to sort the tree view list.  Click on "Callsign":

With the ATO's missions sorted by Callsign lets say you hear someone ask a question about GASER 02.  You left click on mission 0147 and bring up all the details:

Now you know GASER 02's track (AEW North), IFF code (0147), who/when they're refueling (Eagle 55 with an ARCT of 0834A)  and what refueling system they support (Boom).  Since they aren't scheduled to land until 1400 you might sweet talk another ARCT if you can get your receivers over to AEW North.

The tree view is the best way to find an ATO mission, view it's information as text and plot it's tasking on the screen.  Keep the tree view up to find/view missions and use the main TaskView window to view/plot airspace.