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Creating Custom Loadouts for your airplane

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One of the common things seen in both Screenshot forums is custom loadouts. Usually when I take pictures it's of some loadout I've seen somewhere, particularly on USAF or US Navy jets. But having figured it out over a year ago, here's a short sweet tutorial on having something cool to use in your missions.


So we'll keep it simple and I'll use one for my Afghanistan map install:




As you can see I'm using the Mirage Factory F/A-18A with a custom loadout that's more used today with Operation Iraqi Freedom/Enduring Freedom. Basic rundown is an AIM-9X. GBU-12, two tanks, ATFLIR, GBU-38 JDAM, and an AGM-65E Maverick. And as you can see, it's all assymetric, as if you tried this in the Loadout Screen, the pylons would have been loaded symetrically. But since I don't want that, I want this load. Here's my loadout in the FA-18A_LOADOUT.ini:






















Now how do we figure this out?:


// Station 1 = LeftInnerWingStation (FT, BOMB)

// Station 2 = RightInnerWingStation (FT, BOMB)

// Station 3 = LeftInnerWingStation2 (EOGR, ARM)

// Station 4 = RightInnerWingStation2 (EOGR, ARM)

// Station 5 = LeftOuterWingStation (FT, BOMB)

// Station 6 = RightOuterWingStation (FT, BOMB)

// Station 7 = LeftOuterWingStation2 (EOGR, ARM, SAHM)

// Station 8 = RightOuterWingStation2 (EOGR, ARM, SAHM)

// Station 9 = LeftOuterWingStation3 (IRM, AHM) // Use stations 9 through 12 for quad IRM/AHM

// Station 10 = RightOuterWingStation3 (IRM, AHM) // Use stations 9 through 12 for quad IRM/AHM

// Station 11 = LeftOuterWingStation4 (IRM, AHM) // Use stations 9 through 12 for quad IRM/AHM

// Station 12 = RightOuterWingStation4 (IRM, AHM) // Use stations 9 through 12 for quad IRM/AHM

// Station 13 = CenterlineStation (FT)

// Station 14 = LeftSparrowStation (SAHM, EP, AHM)

// Station 15 = RightSparrowStation (SAHM, EP, AHM)

// Station 16 = LeftSidewinderStation (IRM, AHM)

// Station 17 = RightSidewinderStation (IRM, AHM)


Okay looking at this list it makes life easy as now I can figure out where things go, and when I put them there they will go where I want them. Sooooo... we'll break this coding down to get us started.





Naturally the first line is pretty straightforward, it designates what is going to go on that particular pylon. As you can see it's going to be the AIM-9X and I use that designation at the end of the line. Next is the "[17]" which corresponds to the last line, "Station 17 = RightSidewinderStation (IRM, AHM)" So naturally the AIM-9X is an IRM, therefore it will go there. Next is pretty self-explanatory, only 1 can be fitted on the pylon and therefore I will put "1". It HAS to follow the same number as the previous line, or the game will not load it on the assigned pylon. The only modification is MER and TER loading, or Maverick triple rail system (such as on the A-10, F-16). The only addition will be the "RackType" in the grouping:






And it simply specifies that 6 Mk82s will be loaded on a MER when you start flying.


But what if the modder doesn't have the courtesy to spell it out to make it easier for you? Open the specific aircraft _DATA.INI and look for something like this:

















The important number is StationID=17, as that's what corresponds to the listing above, and that is number 17, so therefore that's where I'm going to put my AIM-9X. Now, the next part is the weapon listing, such as the drop tanks on the Hornet. Sooo we can go to the _DATA.ini and copy and paste the Fuel Tank name onto the Loadout.ini and save and it should show up provided you put it on the right pylon. The GBU-12 is different, since I refer to it as such, but its asctually a GBU-12D_N, and therefore I will put that at the required spot. But if that's not available how do we figure it out? The line you're looking for is:




In the GBU-12D_N_data.ini file. This way you can always be sure that you get the right name for the weapon and viola! It shows up.


It should be noted that you cannot mount weapons that are not accepted by that pylon. Since I just recently re-downloaded this aircraft I spent some time updating it, and gave it LGR capability. Well, it took some fanagaling but before it would load an AGM-84 Harpoon on that particulat pylon! Obviously since I got it fixed I can now carry and fire Laser Mavs if needed.



With Expansion Pack 2, now things got easier, and better. For years we had to deal with the same loadouts, yeah okay we edited then through the loadout screen armed our aircraft to what we needed for the mission. For me since I play more theater-oriented, such as Afghanistan, I don't need those huge 2,000lb JDAMs, obviously the lighter stuff is needed right? So when I go through the Mission Editor I use a specific map loadout, which is of course on the Loadout.ini that I have worked out before. Or if you want a SEAD flight that can carry bombs instead of HARMs, then you can do that... As it saves the time of having a SEAD flight have weapons that won't do anything anyways, but of course this is install specific and user specific, but a handier tool now that it's actually built into the game, as opposed to KMD.


FM Issues

It should be noted that if you do assymetric loadouts (such as the one above) on Hard settings handling of your aircraft will suffer. Now, there are topics to add trim settings so you can counteract this, but this is only a concern when using the Hard FM setting, not the Normal or Easy.

Edited by EricJ
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