Heatblur F-14 Q&A, Jester AI, and oh… an AIM-9X on the Hornet

There’s been some “miscellaneous” news piling up for DCS World that I haven’t had a chance to report on that many of you will find interesting. There’s a podcast Q&A with Heatblur, the DCS: F-14 module developers, another separate video release with the voice actor and director for DCS: F-14’s Jester AI, and finally Wags shows off some new air-to-ground modes on the DCS: F/A-18C… and throws in an AIM-9X Easter Egg.

Ralfi’s Dark Alley with Heatblur

Heatblur is busy developing and supporting the DCS: AJS-37 Viggen and the forthcoming DCS: F-14 Tomcat module but they were able to take some time off and talk to Ralfidude in a very interesting Q&A.

Ralfi and Heatblur developers talk all things DCS, F-14, Viggen, and a little bit about the split between the MiG-21 and AJS-37 teams. Mostly though, the Q&A is focused on what they are doing with the F-14 and how that project is coming along. Really worth a listen if you’re interested in the module but also if you want to get a sense of what a team has to do to make a DCS World module happen.

This is JESTER AI

Heatblur has been talking about JESTER AI for a while. No doubt named after the fictional pilot who trains Maverick in the movie Top Gun (Jester was played by Michael Ironside), JESTER AI, sits in the backseat of the F-14A and B being developed by Heatblur.

The concept of the AI back there is to do all of the work that a typical RIO in an F-14 would do including call out aircraft sightings and let you know about warnings and threats. It seems that Heatblur is also intent on making the voice overs interesting and avoiding repetition as much as possible. JESTER AI should be a very interesting feature for this module.

Check out the video from Heatblur with the voice actor and director as they go through the recording process. In doing so, you’ll also get a decent look at the F-14’s back seat as they fly missions to inspire the VO process.

DCS: F/A-18 rocket changes and… hello AIM-9X

I think Matt Wagner secretly loves to drop little hints in each of his videos. Sometimes they are subtle like this one which I completely missed on watching the latest video update on the DCS: F/A-18C. Matt doesn’t call it out but his look over his left shoulder during a demo on the new rocket launcher behavior clearly shows an AIM-9X sitting on the wingtip rail of his Hornet.

I would not have noticed this except for an eagle eyed user on r/Hoggit who pointed it out.

AIM-9X-hello.JPG
Yep, that’s an AIM-9X.

The AIM-9X is the most modern of the Sidewinder missile family and it incorporates a number of really interesting features. Chief among them, is the thrust vectoring and off angle engagement capabilities. It also has an improved seeker and engagement range.

Check out this video showing a real life firing test:

This won’t be DCS’ first off angle engagement missile as the AA-11/R-73 “Archer” missile has similar abilities. It will, however, be the first Western aircraft in-series with such abilities and it should further transform and improve the F/A-18C’s close in dogfighting capabilities above and beyond what it can already do.

The AIM-9X needs the JHMCS for that off angle engagement ability so its unclear if the Hornet module will wait for both features to be implemented at once or if we’ll see the AIM-9X first and the helmet arrive later.

There are also changes to the rocket and cluster bombs which was the actual point of this new video. Pre-flight, the rockets can now be set to barrage or single fire mode using the mission editor. Cluster bombs also get some changes and updates. Also, if you want to have a look at the new Chiraz airbase, you’ll see it and the terrain nearby in this video.

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