DCS World is slowly building a collection of modules for their WWII and modern combat simulations and excitement is always high around any new modules. None is higher than the mention of the potential for an F-16 module. The latest details coming out suggest that the F-16 is one of the next aircraft on the list and that isn’t all.
Falcon and Apache development
We’ve got a number of sources to reference here for the latest rumours that have been flying around the community about the F-16 and AH-64.
First, Eagle Dynamics and The Fighter Collection offer a professional product called The Battle Simulator. I’m not sure exactly who the clientele are for The Battle Simulator but the website makes an effort to precisely describe the features of DCS World and offers up hints that clients can request various professional systems and customization based on need.
The website provides a list of content currently in development and it includes both current and future fixed and rotary wing aircraft that we’re familiar with in DCS:
The simulation focus of TBS is on fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft that currently include the A-10A, A-10C, F-15C, Su-25, Su-25T, Su-27, Su-33, MiG-29, L-39C/ZA, and the Ka-50. Other aircraft are in development such as the F-16, F/A-18, and AH-64.
We’re well aware of the DCS: F/A-18C module but we’ve heard precious little about the F-16 and AH-64.
Then, there is the new DCS: World commercial that just came out today.
The trailer doesn’t give anything away but the description sure does:
Exciting new aircraft coming to DCS World like the F-14 Tomcat, F/A-18C Hornet, F-16C, F-4E Phantom II, Mi-24P Hind, P-47D Thunderbolt, and many more!
Back to the TBS website, there are also confirmations that new maps are being developed as well. On the TBS website it says:
New theaters in development: Syria, Crimea, and Afghanistan
We’ve also heard a few words here and there that other maps would be in development and that Syria and Afganistan were on the list. Interestingly, Crimea is mentioned and in the past, that map had been considered off-limits due to the sensitive geopolitical nature of that scenario (although the same could easily be said about the Caucasus and the Persian Gulf). Also interesting is the lack of mention of the DCS: Persian Gulf map but that may just be an omission.
Module speculation and timelines
It isn’t terribly surprising that Eagle Dynamics might do a F-16 module at some point. Over 27 countries fly the F-16 and over 4,500 have been built making it one of the most popular forth gen fighters to see service. Envisioned as a light fighter with some limited capabilities, the modern F-16C in various blocks has become a high tech multirole strike fighter capable of precision ground attack and air to air combat.
The F-18 and F-16 share technological similarities in systems and in capabilities and Eagle Dynamics has been keen to point out that their F/A-18 module work is also directed at building a foundation for other complex fourth gen fighters. Does the F-16 fit this bill nicely? Yes, yes it does.
A DCS: F-16 module also makes sense from a financial point of view. The Hornet is a popular aircraft and from the limited word we’ve heard, it’s pre-sales have been good. The F-16, with its use by many air forces around the world, would also be a popular aircraft for DCS World. It wouldn’t offer much different in terms of raw abilities as the F/A-18C but, like any airplane, it would have its fans and seeing large numbers of a high fidelity F-16 in multiplayer would be a welcome sight.
Of course, Falcon 4.0/BMS fans might see this as encroachment on their territory, but I think that series long success simulating that aircraft means that Eagle Dynamics has a high standard to live up to. It’s also been 20-years+ of F-16 simulator dominance and it’s only a matter of time until DCS covers the same territory.
What about the AH-64? We’ve got a good number of helicopters in the series the the Huey, Mi-8, and Black Shark being some of the helicopters that I’ve seen a lot of players using and talking about.
The AH-64 comes up a fair bit in discussions and I can see it being another popular module. Virtual helicopter pilots would surely jump at the chance of flying one.
It’d also be a great counterpoint to the already confirmed DCS: Mi-24 module. Two different takes on front line helicopter aviation.
None of these modules are especially “new” as a forum post dating back to 2008 by Matt Wagner showed early work on both of these modules before they became concerned with other priorities.
The timeline is hard to say but definitely in the 2019 or 2020 range for any of these modules as it seems that Eagle Dynamics is going to be very busy with Persian Gulf, the new Nimitz-class carrier, and the Hornet this year. Other aircraft are also in development such as the P-47 but no word on when we might see that. In other words, don’t get too excited too quickly.
In the meantime, a 4+ gen light fighter in the form of Deka Ironworks JF-17 module might be arriving sooner. That too remains to be seen but it does show some interesting times ahead for the DCS World fan-base.