Good morning! I’ve come across an issue with the HSS-1 Seabat. In principle the following error could occur with any helicopter with a dipping sonar, but my two encounters with the error (once in a scenario, and then once again in testing) have both occurred with the Seabat.
In the attached test scenario, a HSS-1 Seabat from the USS Essex is assigned to an ASW patrol zone around the carrier. It is currently in the process of deploying its dipping sonar, which will keep it from moving for several minutes. With the added fuel expenditure from hovering however, it is 35 seconds away from bingo fuel. When the helicopter reaches bingo fuel, it doesn’t RTB and instead finishes deploying its dipping sonar. Once that timer expires, the helicopter recognizes its bingo status and starts to return to base, however by then it is too late, and it runs out of fuel and crashes just before it gets back to the carrier.
From a player standpoint, I can think of a couple workarounds, especially once this problem is realized:
1) set the joker fuel doctrine for the ASW mission to much more conservative level, such that the helicopter will be more likely to RTB before it starts to deploy dipping sonar in a situation where that deployment will lead to fuel exhaustion
2) set a much more conservative patrol area so it will always remain closer to its base, although as this would also decrease the bingo fuel level I’m not sure it would completely avoid the issue
3) always micro the Seabat (and helicopters with similar endurance levels and reliance on dipping sonar), only using it in situations where it can be watched closely to prevent it from getting itself trapped
However, these mitigation methods notwithstanding, a technical solution would be preferable. The solution I can think of would be having helicopters with dipping sonar check to make sure they won’t reach bingo fuel when deploying dipping sonar before deploying it, but I have no idea how feasible this suggestion would be to implement.
As I said in the beginning, I don’t see any reason why the above issue couldn’t happen to any helicopter with a dipping sonar on an ASW mission (as the mechanics are all the same); however, I don’t exactly have a raft of ASW helicopters running out of fuel in other scenarios, nor have I seen any reports elsewhere if something like this occurring. So there may be something specific to the Seabat (my guess it has limited endurance compared to other ASW helicopters) which makes this predicament more likely to occur.
Build version is .14, but I’ve seen nothing in the changelogs to suggest that a more recent version would fix this issue. A test scenario exhibiting the problem is attached.
Thanks for your help as always!
(As a rather humorous aside, I first encountered this issue when playing Seven Days in October. A Seabat operating from the USS Randolph crashed, which prompted my investigation into what might have happened. Rather hilariously, that scenario’s LUA tension script raised the tension level to high after the Seabat’s crash, so it is not out of the question that the above technical issue may end up provoking WW3 in game. Fun times!)
< Message edited by WSBot -- 4/29/2021 4:46:49 PM >