The biggest changes in the latest 126.96.36.19988 Open Beta patch are aimed at the DCS: F/A-18C Hornet adding a new weapon and some new features to the early access jet. The JHMCS is now available for the AIM-9X. The patch also promises some bug fixes to the Hornet’s radar system – more on that later. There are also some updates (and new bugs) for the MiG-21, Viggen, and more!
JHMCS is here
A first for Western aircraft in DCS World, the JHMCS is now available for the DCS: F/A-18C and it enables a range of new features for the jet. Or it will, as the features are added.
At its most basic level, the JHMCS can show you the same kind of information as the HUD can but at any orientation in the cockpit. It blinks off when you’re looking at the HUD but once looking away the helmet takes over. The JHMCS enables you to track and engage targets at 80 degrees off boresight (although the AIM-9X can actually engage at 90 degrees).
If you want more information on how to work with the new helmet, check out this video from Matt Wagner’s academic series on the Hornet.
Another take on the training video is Spudknocker’s excellent tutorial on the JHMCS which covers much of the same content as Matt Wagner’s but also talks about what the sight can do in the future. Check that out!
Laser Maverick ready
The AGM-65E is a laser designated version of the AGM-65 Maverick family of air-to-ground missiles. The missile packs a punch and when properly designated can take out targets with precision accuracy.
Right now, the F/A-18C Hornet in DCS does not have a targeting pod with which to designate targets but you can still use this missile thanks to a JTAC spotter on the ground using a laser to designate the target or a buddy lase from a AV-8B Harrier (as an option).
Though the new weapon system is appreciated and ready to use, there are some issues when it comes to reloading the Mavericks. Namely, they won’t uncage if loaded on the field.
Hornet radar reportedly still buggy
There were great hopes that the radar would now function better on the F/A-18C Hornet. By all rights, it works fine much of the time but it comes with some significant bugs that make holding a lock on target difficult (and making AIM-7 Sparrow usage extremely challenging at times).
Word from the community, although I haven’t tried it myself yet, is that there are still issues and bugs. The Hornet is certainly in
New afterburner effect for Viggen, fixes and updates
Heatblur hasn’t forgotten the AJS-37 Viggen and its getting some new updates for the jet including this very long list of updates:
- Exterior mirrors now reflect the environment
- Fixed various clipping and shine-through issues in exterior (esp. Cockpit)
- Sculpted new normal map for exhaust nozzle and area
- Sculpted new normal map for exterior exhaust shell
- Added RoughMet textures for the exhaust shell
- Added turbine texture for better deep engine detail
- Metal elements on wings now have appropriate material definitions
- Animated engine exhaust fan
- Interior engine sounds now loop properly
- New! Improved visual fidelity of afterburner
- Afterburner now cast lights inside engine exhaust pipe
- Afterburner now cast lights on surrounding objects and terrain
- Corrected afterburner z-fighting
- Afterburner planes do not render at high viewing angles.
- Corrected afterburner self-illumination
- Fixed glass in LoD (distant) models turning opaque and bright.
- New! Added significantly better quality uncompressed normal maps for entire exterior
- Light domes are now appropriately shiny
- Fixed wheel/tire animation values so they spin at correct speeds.
- Fix to timeline appearing late in PLAN-bombing mode.
- Fix to time-to-destination display in TID.
- Fix to Rb15 missile-in-target-time.
- Fix to Rb15 missile-in-target-time displayed even though no Rb15 is selected.
- Update Rb15 definitions for AI. AI will now use the missiles properly.
Of course, the visual effect of the afterburner is of particular note and interest for many (of the visually inclined types like myself anyways) and the new effect is a substantial upgrade over the old one. Check that out in the comparison below.
MiG-21 updates, and some bugs
A hot fix is coming to fix an error with the latest update for the MiG-21. This patch was supposed to sort out gauge lighting on the MiG-21bis’ cockpit, however, it seems to have introduced a new problem where the gauges go black in everything except bright sunlight.
Working hard to sort out the problem, Magnitude 3 have solved the problem which can be manually applied or you can wait for Friday when a hotfix should sort out the problem.
There are some other items on the list of fixes for this jet:
- Fixed gauge lights. (ED note: not actually fixed until Friday now)
- Fixed missing SPS/IAB panel texts.
- Adjusted suspension.
- Improved boundary layer blow system effects.
- Improved engine device code to reduce FPS stutters.
- Added navigation data for Persian Gulf.
Adding new features and bug fixes to the Hornet, Viggen, MiG-21, and other jets have been long awaited and this patch certainly tries to deliver at least some of that. Though marred by some bugs, these issues will be fixed themselves and at that point.