Eagle Dynamics will be offering the DCS: F-16C up for pre-order sometime later this week with a 20% discount for players who buy in early. As we near that date its worth bearing in mind that this product is still in a state of flux and there have been a few changes that you might want to know about. With these changes in mind does the F-16 still appeal and will you be pre-ordering? Let’s talk all things F-16C!
Eagle Dynamics narrows down list of systems
As far along as the DCS: F-16C is, the list of systems appear to be still in a state of flux as the team specifies not just the specific F-16 Block but also the type of software and upgrades specific to the jet they want to simulate. I’m told by people who know better than me that Falcon BMS simulates a few different jets and sometimes inconsistently so which makes some people happy and others less so.
Eagle Dynamics approach appears to be much more specific and the latest that I’ve read is that the F-16C Block 50 with CCIP upgrade is likely to be using the tape 4.2 software update – though Matt Wagner was keen to point out that they have not yet determined the final variant.
So, what does this all mean?
The F-16C may not have all of the features that some people are hoping for and in recent days a post on the DCS: F-16C forum has changed a few times omitting a few systems.
What’s in? What’s out?
The changes are focused entirely on the phase two part of the F-16C project. These are your advanced air-to-ground weapons and sensors. Here’s the list as it stands now compared to the one that we had several weeks ago.
- Multifunctional Information Distribution System (MIDS)
- Link 16 Data Link
- A/G radar modes
- AGM-65D/G/H/K Maverick
- AGM-88C HARM
- AN/ASQ-213 HARM Targeting System (HTS)
Sniper XR Advanced Targeting Pod
- AN/AAQ-28(V) LITENING 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 and GBU-38/B JDAM
- AGM-154A and AGM-154B JSOW
- Integration of the JHMCS with the HARM Targeting System (HTS), Link 16, and AIF
- ALE-50 towed decoy
At the moment, the Sniper XR Advanced Targeting Pod and AGM-158/A JASSM are out. In is the AN/AAQ-28(V) LITENING targeting pod. I didn’t see this but apparently the AGM-154 JSOW was out earlier today and is now back in.
Never on the list was the F-16C’s Conformal Fuel Tanks (CFTs) commonly seen on Greek, Polish, and UAE F-16s. I thought they would be great to have but I understand the desire to model a specific F-16C and be consistent about that modeling even if a cool feature gets missed.
Ultimately, this is about what is available publicly and what Eagle Dynamics can realistically represent without getting into the realm of classified and restricted information. Where that line is is far beyond me so I will leave the decision in Eagle Dynamics hands.
Does this change your mind about the F-16?
These changes and a comparison chart (and discussion) posted on r/hoggit linking to Ralfidude’s Twitter account comparing the DCS: F-16C Block 50 with the DCS: F/A-18C Lot 20 have at least some questioning their interest in the DCS: F-16C. I’m not among them.
For me, my interest in nearly every DCS module I own is the experience. Does this module offer me a chance to experience something in the virtual sim world that I couldn’t otherwise experience in real life? Is that a good experience offering me something interesting above and beyond what I already have? If so, I’m in.
The F-16C is a hot fighter with one of the best engines in the 4th gen fighter business. It has tremendous flexibility as an air-to-air fighter that is also great at precision strike. It may have some limits placed on it depending on the final configuration of weapons and sensors but it will still offer lots of options even if a couple of the wiz-bang features get eliminated.
I tend not to be interested in aircraft in DCS, IL-2, or any other sim based purely on spec sheets but rather on the experience that it can offer me. The DCS: MiG-19, DCS: AV-8B, DCS: F-14 and DCS: AJS-37 can all do interesting things or let me experience an interesting moment in aviation history and that’s why I want to fly them.
That’s just my opinion. What about you? Do the changes affect your pre-order decisions or is the chance at flying the F-16 with that beautiful bubble canopy and still comprehensive list of weapons appeal?
We’ll hopefully have some more certainty by the end of the week as Matt Wagner does a 5-minute introduction on the DCS: F-16C as part of the DCS World Weekend News update. Stay tuned for that!