There’s been a small flurry of updates for the DCS: F/A-18C in recent days and I’m here to get myself and you caught up on the latest for Eagle Dynamics currently in development Hornet module.
JDAM update delayed, new release cadence
The breaking news (posted just hours ago) is that the update that was intended to bring us the JDAM for the Hornet is being delayed. To be clear, the beta update for DCS World is going ahead tomorrow but the update specific to the Hornet’s new JDAM capability is being put on hold.
There are apparently some issues that Matt and team aren’t satisfied with and don’t want to rush out to release. Importantly, other modules also use the JDAM and there are concerns that the updates will cause problems across other projects so they are doing their due diligence and holding back.
Matt Wagner also announced a change to the DCS: F/A-18C Hornet update cadence. Rather than every two weeks, they are moving to a monthly update scheme:
In a related matter, we will be moving Hornet updates to a monthly event, rather than generally every two weeks. We simply need more time for proper testing to avoid bugs, break other products, and avoid the need for hot fixes. While waiting is always hard to do, this will ultimately provide a more stable and solid product.Matt Wagner on the DCS World Forums
I know some may be concerned that this may indicate a slowing down on Hornet development but it doesn’t sound like that is the case. Instead, it seems that the team wants more time to work on updates without having to make sure that it’s ready for release within two weeks – ala the JDAM situation.
The LTWS update is still planned and the JDAM is expected to arrive in the April 10 update.
New feature demonstration videos
Two new videos have come from Matt Wagner featuring many of the new systems that are coming for the Hornet in the near future. LTWS, JDAM, and changes to the IFF/datalink system are all being featured in these two videos.
In this second video, Matt shows off a Multi-Target Attack Pass with both Pre Planned (PP) and Target of Opportunity (TOO) modes. Apparently even with these more “basic” functions available the JDAM can be used to strike multiple targets in a single pass. The AUTO delivery method will come later.
GBU-38, GBU-31, and GBU-31(V)3/B are all planned for early addition while the GBU-32 (a MK83 with JDAM kit) and BRU-55/A will be added later. The BRU-55/A is of interest as well because it brings back dual carriage of smart weapons (such as the JDAM but also potentially the Paveway LGBs – unless I’ve missed a detail). These are all mentioned in this mini-update.
New Hornet mission for Normandy map owners
There was also a new Hornet mission released, this time featuring the DCS: Normandy map featuring an operation targeting enemy bunkers near Cherbourg in preparation for a follow-up operation.
This mission will eventually make its way into DCS World but you can download it right now and play it.
Still to come
The Litening II targeting pod is still one of the most requested features for the Hornet at the moment and it is coming after the HARM programming is complete. We still have a little ways to go before we get that feature.