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A while back, residential Sound Designers Ondřej Matějka and Jan Dušek were sent to record the sounds from the home-produced Aero L-159 Alca light subsonic aircraft and the new CZ 805 BREN A1 assault and modular rifle. As both will be making their debut in the upcoming Arma 2: Army of the Czech Republic DLC, we took it as a chauvinistic opportunity to scavenge through our imagery archives and bring up some memorable moments!
A friend of Lukáš Miláček, who is the Executive Producer on ACR, got the team in touch with the commander of the Czech military airbase in Čáslav. Alongside a handful of JAS-39 Gripen jet fighters, this base offers refuge to the Aero L-159 Alca. Produced by the Czech company AERO Vodochody, the Alca has been the Czech Air Force’s light multi-role combat aircraft since 2000 and is used for a variety of military purposes. Its relatively affordable price tag has also made it popular for training purposes. For example, on the day of our appointment a live fire exercise was scheduled. Unfortunately, it couldn’t go ahead due to weather conditions.
Reporting in at 7 o’clock sharp, Ondřej and Jan were saluted by a technician from the Czech Air Force, who would assist them throughout the day. After being introduced to the native bird of steel, the team began installing microphones in and around the Alca. Then, with its wheels still touching the ground, the pilot ran the engine at various thrust levels. Simultaneously, the microphones were all recording the different parts in- and outside the plane.
Next up were the non-engine sounds, such as refuelling, flap and aileron movements, opening of the cockpit, and even the little ‘clicks’ made by onboard switches. As Jan states it, the only missing audio recordings were those from missile launches, blazing guns and bomb droppings (which, according to this author’s opinion, was probably for the best).
In total, it took the team 6 hours to get what they needed. Bringing home lots of useful data (including tons of photographs for visual reference), we were happy to see our team return safe and sound.
One of the latest great achievements in Czech weapons engineering is undoubtedly the brand new CZ 805 BREN A1 assault and modular rifle. Made by Česká Zbrojovka, the rifle lends its name from the renowned 1930s BREN light machine gun, which was designed by the Czechoslovakian company and adopted by the British right before WWII (BREN stands for BRNO-ENFIELD). The CZ 805 has seen a long development process, and many iterations after its original design, it was finally taken into full production in 2011; after it had won the Czech Army bidding for a new assault rifle (competing against the Belgian FN SCAR). The most special aspect about the CZ 805 BREN A1 is that it is an extremely customizable weapon system adjustable to fit any soldier´s needs.
In our ongoing strive for authenticity, we reached out to Česká Zbrojovka for help with the visual and audio virtualization of the CZ 805. More than open to the idea, the company invited us to its private firing range. Grabbing the opportunity with both hands, Ondřej and Jan drove up to Brno, where they were welcomingly received by one of Česká Zbrojovka’s top guys. Proud as a peacock, the man spoke lovingly about ‘his’ BREN; rightfully bragging about its accuracy and ability to pierce through Kevlar-protected vests.
Following the same procedure as with the Alca, the team began by setting up multiple microphones at various distances – close, medium and long range. While a Česká Zbrojovka employee fired down the range, they recorded the various weapon sounds, like single shots, bursts and reloads. With a soft voice, Jan even admitted to an unsuccessful attempt at firing a few rounds himself. However, supposedly due to incorrect weapon handling, he (figuratively) hit anything but his target.
All in all, we’re proud to say that the close collaboration with Česká Zbrojovka continues to this day. For the Army of the Czech Republic DLC, they gave us access to a database of photos and even the extremely detailed (and valuable) 3D blueprints of all their weapons in the DLC (Scorpion EVO II, CZ75 pistol variants and CZ 750 sniper rifle). All in all, with this great support, the CZ 805 BREN A1 is promising to become one of the most accurately modelled weapons in Arma so far. A big special thanks to everyone at Česká Zbrojovka!
Arma 2: Army of the Czech Republic is now available for pre-order at Store.bistudio.com The DLC features a wide range of Czech Army vehicles, aircrafts, weapons (including all those developed by Česká Zbrojovka), a diverse set of brand-new missions, and even two new summer-season terrains: Bystrica and Bukovina.
Ondřej “Matěj” Matějka
Lead Sound Engineer and Music Composer Matej is a true veteran with thorough experience in Arma’s sound, and the proud owner of the company’s biggest beer belly along with his classic ‘socks in sandals’ footwear. A man who never objects to getting his equipment soaked and covered in grime or to put his own life and welfare at risk when it comes to recording authentic sounds in the field.
Jan “Důša” Dušek
Sound Engineer and Composer (Carrier Command) Jan now works hard on the sound of Carrier Command: Gaea Mission, but he has become our companion on various field trips. Also, he made a remarkable contribution to the sound of Operation Arrowhead.