Heatblur is continuing with their monthly status reports on how their F-14A/B Tomcat module for DCS World is coming along and this month we get an in-depth look at two campaigns that Heatblur will ship with the module featuring both the F-14A and the F-14B.
Focus on campaigns
I think I wore out my Top Gun quotes the last time I talked about the Tomcat so I’ll digress this time and get strait to it. Heatblur is making good progress on the F-14 module from their status update as systems come online and the aircraft becomes more and more flyable.
This month the focus is on the campaigns for the F-14. Yes, I said campaigns, indicating more than one. Heatblur is going to develop separate campaigns for the F-14A and F-14B and ship both of them with the module.
The first F-14A campaign is set in the late 1980s in the Persian Gulf and making use of the Persian Gulf map. Heightened tensions in the gulf and particularly through the Strait of Hormuz will be the background for F-14A carrier ops.
In the second campaign, the F-14B is featured on the Caucasus map featuring a WWIII type scenario where the fall of the Soviet Union doesn’t happen the way we remember it and things go from Cold War to hot very quickly. A US carrier group conduction a freedom of navigation exercise in the Black Sea quickly has to pivot to a war footing.
Heatblur has been talking for a while about making sure that their modules are well supported and come with lots of extra content. We’re still waiting to see some of that come about with the AJS-37 Viggen but its still in the works.
The F-14 is the same with a Forrestal carrier planned and some other stuff talked about more nebulously.
Here’s part of the statement:
We’re always been committed to ensuring that we launch of products with as much free, high quality content as we can. This includes e.g. campaigns and AI aircraft, ships and other assets. The F-14 will be no different – it will ship with two campaigns; one for the F-14A and one for the F-14B (A+). Work has begun on these, but they will not be part of the Early Access release. Early Access will however have Single Missions, Multiplayer Missions, Training Missions and Instant Action available from day one.
But there’s also this nugget:
Effort will be made to include historically accurate airwing compositions and squadrons as part of the campaign.
Besides Campaigns, we’re working hard on both announced (Forrestal Class) an unannounced extra content (aircraft & other units) for the F-14. On full release, we believe it will be one of the most comprehensive packages available for standard DCS pricing.
Its not said explicitly but it sounds like AI aircraft will probably be a part of this release. Similar to the interceptor variant of the Viggen, the JA-37, coming to DCS, these aircraft will probably be available to all in DCS World but primarily ideal for use the F-14.
The E-2C Hawkeye is already present in DCS World leaving the two other major players, the A-7 Corsair II and A-6 Intruder on the list. Both of these have at various points been possible future RAZBAM module releases, however, neither are on the short list. The A-6 would be particularly exciting as that type would enable strike abilities for the Carrier Air Wing that F-14 squadrons would have to support.
In-case you missed it last month
Last month we also saw a really cool low altitude run through the valley at high speed. It’s a placeholder cockpit but still looking really good.
I’m a little surprised that we haven’t yet seen the final textured version of the F-14 exterior yet (just the untextured “Chromecat”) or see the completed cockpit. I say this only because the teasers we saw before looked very well evolved and essentially complete to me. But what appears to be and what actually is tend to be very different things.
Whatever the case, Heatblur is busy making the F-14 into a top level module and I suspect that 2018 will be the year of Carrier based flight operations for DCS World.