This Friday’s DCS World Weekend News was largely focused on the DCS: F-16C module now in development at Eagle Dynamics. We’ve learned the block and upgrade version as well as gaining some insights on how the DCS: F-16 will release. Let’s get to know the Viper a bit more!
Great flexibility, features
Eagle Dynamics has chosen an F-16 block and upgrade that provides us with some of the greatest flexibility possible giving us one of the most capable F-16s around and also matching us up with an aircraft that – though representing the USAF Air National Guard standard of F-16 also matches that of multiple NATO allies.
So what is Eagle Dynamics building? The model selected is an F-16C Block 50 with the Common Configuration Implementation Program (CCIP) upgrade which gives us a jet that is roughly from 2007. Fairly recent! The Block 50 jet has the potential to include conformal fuel tanks (commonly seen on Polish and Israeli F-16s) and a dorsal spine compartment though we don’t yet know if we’ll see those on the DCS version.
Eagle Dynamics is rolling the project through their development team in a similar fashion to the F/A-18C and bringing new people into the project as they complete their duties on the Hornet. This week’s update also makes clear that this project is in no way slowing down progress on the Hornet:
In parallel with the Hornet, we already have a sub-team working on the Viper that includes programmers who have completed their Hornet tasks. Much of their focus is currently on the flight model, Flight Control System (FLCS), cockpit and the external model. Using much of what we learned with the Hornet, progress has been good, and is in no way slowing down Hornet completion.DCS World Weekend News Update
The core systems for the F-16C Block 50 CCIP include:
- F-110-GE-129 turbofan engine
- AN/APG-68(V)5 multi-mode radar
- AN/ALR-56M Radar Warning Receiver
- AN/ALQ-131/184 ECM pods
- CCIP (Common Configuration Implementation Program) update
- ALE-47 countermeasure system
Because its a big project, just as the Hornet is, there will be a phased release with certain features coming during early access and other more complex features emerging later. Eagle Dynamics is calling this “Early Access Release” with a follow up “Product Sustainment” phase.
Phase 1 Early Access Release:
- Color Multifunction Display (CMFD) symbology, Horizontal Situation Display (HSD) format, and Head-up Display (HUD) symbology
- Digitally TACAN and Electronic Horizontal Situation Indicator (EHSI)
- BDU-33, BDU-50LD/HD, Mk-82LDGP, Mk-82AIR, Mk-84LDGP, BLU-109/B, CBU-87 CEM, and CBU-97 SFW unguided bombs
- 2.75” rockets LAU-68 and LAU-131
- Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System (JHMCS)
- AIM-9L/M/P/X Sidewinder
- AIM-120B/C AMRAAM
- M61A1 20mm cannon
Phase 2 Product Sustainment:
- Multifunctional Information Distribution System (MIDS)
- Link 16 Data Link
- AGM-65D/G/H/K Maverick
- AGM-88C HARM
- AN/ASQ-213 HARM Targeting System (HTS)
- Sniper XR Advanced Targeting Pod
- GBU-10, GBU-12, GBU-24A/B laser-guided bombs
- BRU-57/A Smart Rack
- CBU-103 CEM and CBU-105 SFW Inertially Aided Munitions (IAM)
- GBU-31/A, GBU-32, and GBU-38/B JDAM
- AGM-154/A and /B JSOW
- AGM-158/A JASSM
- Integration of the JHMCS with the HARM Targeting System (HTS), Link 16, and AIFF
- ALE-50 towed decoy
Similar to the F/A-18, we’ll see some of the more basic systems and weapons come into play first. Unguided bombs, rockets, TACAN, colour MFDS, JHMCS, and the jet’s air-to-air weapons will be first with more advanced features such as the Data Link and HARM Targeting System coming later on.
Eagle Dynamics has a kind of system going here now and it wouldn’t surprise me if the same programmers will do the follow up work on the F-16 following their same efforts on the Hornet. Sounds efficient and I suspect we’ll see this module progress more rapidly than the Hornet did.
The question is always still, when is this going to happen and when will we see more? I suspect we’ll start to see some work in progress images from this project sooner than later but I don’t expect to see anything approaching early access for the F-16C until at least the second half of 2019.
Also in Eagle Dynamics pipeline is the Mi-24 Hind which we have no new information about right now but hopefully we’ll find out more soon. Longer term, Eagle Dynamics has still committed to doing the F-4E Phantom II which will likely follow in the same development pathway and footsteps as the F/A-18C and F-16C before it.