DCS: F/A-18C datalink, near term planning, new tutorials

A ton of small updates have been coming out about Eagle Dynamics DCS: F/A-18C Hornet including a near future roadmap, some new tutorials from Matt Wagner, a feature change for the Maverick slew, and more. It’s time to do an update!

New datalink and radar modes

Matt Wagner once again goes into great detail on the new datalink and radar mode work that’s currently being done on the Hornet. This latest update shows off their efforts to bring some new radar modes, namely, Latent Track While Scan (LTWS) which will give the Hornet some sneaky options for firing radar guided missiles without a single target lock.

There’s also something I never knew about before which is Non-Cooperative Target Recognition (NCTR). A quick dive into this basically tells me that the Hornet’s radar and sensor systems have the ability to, if given the right angle and range, ID an aircraft type by using the shape of the return (apparently the engine intakes play a big role in this). In Matt Wagner’s example, an IL-76 transport is correctly ID’ed without an IFF response. Amazing!

There’s more so check that update on radar and datalink out!

New Hornet tutorials

Changes to the way that the Hornet’s weapons are fused (they infact are now fused as opposed to before) have cause some folks some grief so Matt Wagner did a video showing off both fusing and some good attack run parameters – this first video doesn’t have a voice over.

There’s also the new video that shows the adjusted logic for break X and some improvements to bombing accuracy for the aircraft. This second video has good voice over talking about what he was doing. The higher altitude CCIP bombing attacks are particularly interesting to me – having suffered a number of SAM and AAA hits flying lower altitude attacks.

The Maverick slew option

The infrared seeker slew option for the Hornet’s Maverick has been problematic since it was implemented for the module on owners of the popular Thrustmaster Warthog. In the real jet you need to press on the TDC and then slew, however, on the Warthog it has some hardware issues that prevent this from working.

There’s a new option in the menu that gives you the option of doing it the realistic way or doing it with slew only (without the press-down).

See Matt’s video about that too.

Near term planning

Every so often, Matt Wagner likes to give us a good overview of what the team is currently working on with multiple programmers dedicated to the DCS: F/A-18C module completing systems and adding new features.

In the near term the team is intending to bring to us the following features:

  • JDAM basic operation minus dynamic launch zone
  • HARM TOO and PB modes
  • Latent Track While Scan (LTWS) and Track While Scan (TWS) air-to-air radar modes

Those are expected though not guaranteed for the February 27th patch update.

From there the team is intending to work to bring us the Data Link, new IFF system, JDAM dynamic launch zone, a datacard system, the Lightening II targeting pod, and the JSOW standoff weapon.

Hornet looking more complete

It’s possible that some of these may be implemented by mid to late March and that’s pretty exciting because in just a few more months time the Hornet is going to start looking a lot more like a feature complete 4th gen multi-role jet fighter – especially with the JSOW, LTWS radar track, a more sophisticated IFF, and JDAM being added to the mix. That’s not to mention the Link 16 which I think will be nothing short of revolutionary for the Hornet’s situational awareness and ability to support team operations.

Many have considered the Hornet a liability in some team operations (with its spotty IFF) but these features will turn that concept on its head. The Hornet will gain some impressive abilities to see without being seen and track and fire weapons without requiring a lock not to mention the impressive stand-off ranges that the JSOW offers.

I’m also really interested to know what the datacard system will offer. Will Eagle Dynamics use some of Heatblur’s efforts with the Viggen to pre-program attack and flight routes using the F10 map?

Read these updates and more from Matt Wagner’s Hornet mini-updates thread.

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