Eagle Dynamics news for this week announced that the Su-33 Flanker, a carrier-borne derivative of the Su-27, will be receiving some big updates for owners of Flaming Cliffs. A new flight model as well as some new features, engine modes and revised carrier physics are all part of the update.
What is the ‘Professional Flight Model’?
DCS has multiple levels of flight and system modelling which can make things a bit confusing at times.
The Standard Flight Model (SFM) comes from Lock On: Modern Air Combat and represents an older way of doing flight modeling on PC flight sims. Its data driven and has scripted elements to it. For example, in the older versions of aircraft using the SFM you could perform a ‘cobra maneuver’ by button press.
Advanced Flight Model (AFM) goes with a more physics based model simulating actual forces on aircraft surfaces to achieve a realistic feeling of flight. Fewer or no scripted elements are a part of this flight model. Hydraulics and fuel system modeling comprise a AFM+ setup.
Finally, DCS started down the road of Professional Flight Model (PFM) a few years ago and have been slowly updating aircraft to support this level of detail. Realistic simulation of nearly all elements of aircraft including its construction (such as the individual elements of a landing gear system, its hydraulics, etc.), flight surfaces, wind tunnel testing, and other data are all fed into the system. I’m sure I’m not doing the complexity of this justice but nonetheless its a very high level of detail.
At the moment, aircraft like the F-15C and Su-27 have been upgraded to use the Professional Flight Model while other aircraft from the same Flaming Cliffs release are using the Advanced Flight Model and some including the MiG-29 and the Su-33 are still using the old Standard Flight Model.
Whats the big deal? Upgrading the Su-33 (and MiG-29) will bring those aircraft into a level of flight modelling detail that hasn’t previously been available. Their flight feeling should be one of more nuance and detail and there won’t be scripted stalls or other departures from normal flight – it’ll all be handled by the physics systems.
New Su-33 features
In addition to the Su-33 PFM update, we’re also seeing some new features for the aircraft.
Here are some highlights directly from the update:
- The adaptations that make the Su-33 aircraft carrier-capable have been updated and improved to include the wing-fold mechanism, reinforced landing gear struts, and the inclusion of high-gain nose wheel steering for use on crowded carrier decks.
- The physical mechanisms by which the arrestor hook engages the aircraft carrier arrestor wire has been greatly improved. Correct physics have been applied to the arrestor wire and its’ interaction with the aircraft.
- The automatic collision avoidance system (“Uvod” mode) is now included and allows safe nap-of-the-earth flying.
There are many others so I encourage you to check out the full update for details. For carrier based aircraft fans, things are looking up in DCS with the Su-33 receiving upgrades and carrier interactions in general being updated. Of course the addition of the F/A-18C Hornet and Nimitz Carrier along with the Straight of Hormuz map will provide some interesting possibilities and potentially even some carrier duels in the future of the series.
Featured images and screenshots come from the DCS World Weekend News Update.