Suddenly becoming that much more real, Deka Ironworks has released their first academic video for their JF-17 Thunder 4th gen fighter for DCS World. The first video focuses on two air-to-ground weapon systems and their associated avionics and even the aircraft’s targeting pod. There’s a lot here so let’s have a look!
LS-6 and C-701T for first video
I’m sure there’s method to the madness but it seems like an interesting choice to start with two precision guided munitions for a first academic video. On the other hand, this video as a marketing tool does help dispel the notion that the JF-17 might be anything but a high fidelity module. It certainly looks like one based on what we saw here with features such as the LS-7’s INS alignment having a realistic alignment time, various avionics and procedures such as master mode switching to A-to-G, the air to ground radar(!), and target waypoints all being shown off.
If Deka Ironworks wanted to make an impression on fidelity, this would be the way to do it.
As for the LS-6 and C-701T, these are weapons that I’m not at all familiar with. So its time to do a little dive into what they are. They do have their analogs in the western arsenal that should help to understand what they are and what they can do.
- The LS-6 is a INS/GPS/GLONASS glide bomb similar to the JSOW. With a 60km stand-off range and a 500kg warhead, this weapon packs some serious capability.
- We also have the C-701T which is an export version of the YJ-7. This is a rough analog to the Maverick with a max range of 25km and a 29kg semi-armor piercing warhead.
- Also featured in the video is the WMD-7 – a laser, electro-optic and IR targeting pod similar to the Litening.
On to the video
To set a few expectations, the video is a good overview although it does kind of gloss over a few things such as waypoint entry and coordinate inputs for the guided weapons. Still, I have a decent idea now of how to make use of the TPOD to put a weapon on target. The audio quality is also not ideal and a boosted microphone and additional audio mixing might help the presenter. Minor issues for a third party developer making their first big splash in the community.
Additional JF-17 hype
This is slightly off topic but only slightly. A Pakistani produced movie called Sher Dil (2019) features ample JF-17 footage. In a scene released to YouTube, two JF-17s intercept a pair of Indian Mirage 2000’s and I was actually kind of impressed with the footage.
I’ve watched trailers and clips from movies similar to this before and my expectations were set relatively low, however, this short clip might surprise you.
No doubt some enterprising DCS World cinematic creator will look to be inspired by at least a few shots from this for a future DCS: JF-17 video.
The cockpit and other updates
The video also goes into a little more detail on the state of the project. Originally intended to release this summer, the chief modeller and texture artist for Deka Ironworks was hospitalized and only released from hospital in late August. This is why we haven’t seen many visual updates.
This first video does show off the cockpit but it is still only a placeholder for the final effort which will hopefully meet our now really high expectations thanks to the latest efforts from developers such as Heatblur, Eagle Dynamics themselves, and even RAZBAM who have seriously upped their game recently.
Meanwhile, it seems like the programming team have been busy making sure that the JF-17 launches with a lot of stuff available right from the start. An air to ground radar? Yep! Targeting pod? Yep! Precision munitions? That’s what this video is all about. Presumably there’s much more to the list but I have to say that this is encouraging.
Lots of interest?
I’ve heard from many on this blog and elsewhere that there are squads and multiplayer groups out there that are desperate to have a 4th generation multi-role fighter to go up against the several that the BLUEFOR team now have access to. The JF-17, though not a silver bullet, has considerable capability and that will make for some interesting changes to the DCS World multiplayer scene.
The JF-17, if it proves popular, may also spur on development of other high fidelity REDFOR aircraft. Though there are significant challenges both in terms of resources and in terms of politics, if it is possible, there is probably a market for them.
As for Deka Ironworks, nailing the JF-17 launch is important and we’ll see how this goes over the next several weeks. I will definitely be following all updates closely!