Are we any closer to guessing Eagle Dynamics’ milestone aircraft?

Back at the start of the year, Eagle Dynamics teased us that they had a milestone aircraft in development behind the scenes and that they had considered unveiling it for their 2020 cinematic but decided against doing that. When Eurofighter showed up yesterday morning I thought maybe this was what they were talking about but it clearly is not. So… what is it and are we any closer to guessing? Speculation time!

None of the usual hints

Eagle Dynamics often teases us with hints of what their next aircraft might be. We’ve seen Matt Wagner often look over at something parked on the tarmac in an almost obvious if non verbal (and occasionally verbal) way of teasing us that they are working on something new during a training mission for something else. This time around we haven’t seen those teases or if we have they haven’t been noticed yet.

A milestone aircraft implies that whatever they are building, it will be a big deal for Eagle Dynamics, for us as fans, and should mark a definitive point in development of DCS World perhaps combining technologies and features together that they have been perfecting for a while.

Given the popularity of modules such as F/A-18C and F-16C I would guess that this milestone is also intended to sell in numbers and appeal to a wide variety of interested Eagle Dynamics fans. There may also be an intended plan to combine a new aircraft with some other module in the way that DCS: Supercarrier and DCS: F/A-18C combine together.

We are no closer

An old work in progress shot from Belsimtek before the F-4 project was put on ice.

Without any additional hints or teases it’s difficult to make any accurate guesses. There are three aircraft that come up frequently in community discussions that may yet steer the ship.

The first is the F-4 Phantom. The community was very much awaiting the F-4 Phantom and there has been disappointment when it was announced that Belsimtek was being rolled back into Eagle Dynamics and that their team was being repurposed to focus on the F/A-18 and F-16.

The F-4 Phantom has a strong legacy as a fighter jet serving notably in Vietnam although that is only part of the story. The F-4 saw service with the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force with the last of these frontline users retiring their F-4’s in 1996. The RAF also flew F-4 Phantoms and retired theirs in 1992. Israel retired their F-4’s in 2003, Germany in 2013 and Greece in 2017 among many others. Japan and Iran still operate the F-4 in various configurations today.

The second is the Tornado and specifically the ground attack IDS variant. The ‘Tonka’ as its affectionately known, has just been retired from the RAF’s service though it still serves Italy, Germany and Saudi Arabia. Adept at low altitude precision strike, the Tornado would be an interesting addition to the series and one that many would love to see. The ADV variant saw much more limited use and while I think a few would love to see that version too… I doubt it would be a focus and it doesn’t strike me as a ‘milestone’ type.

Finally, there are two on my list and that have been brought up by the community that I can’t help but group together. Eagle Dynamics’s legacy is with the Flanker. DCS World traces a lineage of sim titles and products going back all the way to Flanker and so a milestone product could be a return to the Su-27 Flanker or some Flanker derivative.

Over the years we’ve heard different reasons why the company would not be doing a high fidelity model of the Su-27. From requests denied by the Russian MoD to it not being likely profitable enough given the time and resources to put it together. Still, the Flanker holds a special place in many flight simmers hearts and the Su-27 has both capability and mystique to it that I think would sell copies.

Although just about any Flanker variant would do, a two seat Su-30 with multi-role capabilities would be more of a match for the modern 4th gen jets that we’ve seen being added to the opposing air forces of DCS World. Although the latest versions of the Su-30 are very likely off limits, early versions are more related to the 1995 era Flankers and so there’s likely to be a wide enough range of dates of use and modifications that Eagle Dynamics might be able to pull off an earlier version without running afoul of any issues with secrecy.

Another possibility is a revamped F-15C Eagle. Although RAZBAM is progressing well on the F-15E, the F-15C is a different aircraft with a different role that is albeit more limited than what we’ve seen come from Eagle Dynamics recently (given the spate of multi-role types with weapons lists that go on for pages). Still, a large number of people in the community have said that they’d love to see an upgraded F-15C Eagle. Perhaps one representative of the early 2000’s would be more in line with what has currently been coming to the series.

Or maybe its something different

Plenty of people have suggested that maybe its a helicopter that they are working on. Over the years we’ve heard people ask about and Eagle Dynamics talk about doing various versions of the AH-1 Cobra/Super Cobra attack helicopter. It would certainly fit with the marine theme that the company has been following over the last few years.

Another is the AH-64 Apache which is highly desired in helicopter circles. With the experience being gained on the Mi-24P, an Apache would be a great next jump for the series and I can see it happening eventually.

It could also be something bigger like a bomber. A modern jet bomber would be a milestone project on a scale that we haven’t seen. While DCS World’s maps aren’t especially ideal for simulating long distance bomber operations, it could still be shoehorned in and I know there would be interest from at least some of the DCS World community.

I feel like many of these are longer shot chances… but you never know.

Any thoughts out there in the community? Have you heard of something new? Let’s discuss in the comments!

22 Comments Add yours

  1. CanadaOne says:

    I’m going to say a C-130. Because that might be as good a guess as any, and it would be fun. I had a great time in the CaptainSim C-130 in FSX.

    And a Spooky version would be sinfully fun to fly.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      Not a milestone project I’m guessing but a good number of people have asked about a C-130 before. It’d be an interesting element to include in the sim!

      Like

  2. Alex says:

    High fidelity model of Su-27SM (first flight 2002, first delivery 2003) would be great!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Flappie says:

    Why not a V-22 Osprey? She’s definitely a milestone aircraft, and she’s carrier-capable.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      Great suggestion! I forget about the V-22 all the time but that would definitely be a unique addition!

      Like

  4. Mischiew Rithe says:

    Firstly they haven’t said the Eurofighter was it, they would have, so I don’t believe that’s it. It’s also “later this year”, we’re just early Spring.

    “Later this year, we are looking forward to announcing an eagerly awaited aircraft for DCS World. This will be a highly detailed and complex aircraft representing a huge milestone”

    It’s not just a milestone but a *huge* milestone, which makes me think there’s something very special and significant. It’s also eagerly awaited, so it’s not something completely out of the blue. I don’t think an F-15C could be a huge milestone when another variant, as different as it may be, is already in the works. Would something more “niche” like a bomber, or another helicopter, would be described as “eagerly awaited” and “huge milestone”? I don’t think so.

    I’m pretty convinced the huge milestone is not a category or an aircraft but something they could not access earlier, and that is now allowed by, say, Russia. The Flanker would be my best guess, for all the reasons you mentioned.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mischiew Rithe says:

      Actually, another huge milestone would be an access to a very recent (military) jet, but I don’t even want to go there 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. ShamrockOneFive says:

        Yeah I can’t see them gaining that level of access 🙂

        A Flanker of some kind or another does seemingly fit the bill! It’d be a massive contribution to multiplayer, a great legacy to continue and it’d be something special for sure.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Mischiew Rithe says:

        Let’s hope 🙂

        I was just thinking the huge milestone could be yet at a different level, like an official military trainer (similar to what Razbam was trying to achieve with the M-2000C) and at the same time a user module for us. And with that hypothesis, we could go in any direction.

        Many sim vendors are trying to play on two levels to stay alive, I believe ED did that in the past (or is still doing it? I’m not informed well enough to be sure). It’s more rare when they can share the same modules with their “ordinary” customers.

        Like

  5. Michael Thomas Dwyer says:

    My take on the Su-27 (I would rather have a Mig-29) is that it needs to be done by an outside studio so that ED can stay out of the dog house with the Russian MoD. Razbam’s Cuba team, or Deka would be well suited to this.

    I like the bomber idea but think (and hope) it’s not a modern bomber but a B-25 or B-26. I think the complexity would be interesting but not too high since it’s WWII, and adding a bombardier position would be very cool. The size of the map would not be an issue really for any two engine WWII bomber.

    Still, I think any guess is as good as any other, no real clue at this point.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      I think if ED were to go for a high fidelity Flanker of some sort it would have to be with blessings from the Russian MoD. They surely have contacts and times, rules and personalities change all the time so what may not have been possible last year or a few before that could have changed now or say more recently.

      Some medium bombers for WWII would be interesting as well!

      All making guesses at this point!

      Like

  6. gregfp66 says:

    I’m hoping for a su-33, what made me think this? Well everything above a huge milestone (= russian aircraft) and they gave the fc 3 model for “free” by buying the supercarrier so i think there is something there

    Like

  7. Warlock says:

    I’d really want to see a Ah-64D Apache Longbow. Although this is a solid bet, I think I can put another bet – Stealth. After the really surprising reveal of the Typhoon, I wonder if they might have in store something like a NightHawk. Going as far as F-35 sounds insane, but… Hey, it’s still less classified than the F-22.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Blue 5 says:

    MiG-25!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. JP says:

    F117A

    Liked by 1 person

  10. GregP says:

    Milestone could also mean a type of aircraft, and the sim tech necessary to accurately represent it, that they hadn’t previously been able to do. Thus my guess would be a bomber like the Tu-95, B-52 or B-1 — something that would require solid multi crew functionality for the first time. Sure, map size would maybe be an issue, but they would likely have a larger map in the works to support it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      Great suggestions Greg! Could easily be one of those if they had some big ambitious plans for both a module and maybe a map too. A possibility!

      Like

  11. boxcarleader says:

    Personally I’m hopeful for the big bomber idea. No Sim ever covers the big friends they have been used in every action since ww2. And had a serious if not celebrated effect if not that then an F-111 /F-117/ or a C130 stand out to me

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      Hey Boxcar! Looks like MicroProse could have the answer there with the screenshots they have been teasing of a B-17. What they are building exactly will be interesting to see more fully revealed.

      Something B-17, F-111, B-1B scale would be interesting in DCS. That’s for sure!

      Like

  12. Jonathon Coughlin says:

    Most likely: Cobra, F4
    Long shots: F117 (stealth milestone), Gen 4 Russian fighter
    My Wildest Dreams: C130, Rafale, Gripen,

    Like

  13. Stoph says:

    Virpil Controls are today offering DCS branded mousepads with an Su-34… Do they know something we don’t?

    Would be a very interesting aircraft: bomber, but not too big for the maps. Side by side multicrew

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      Oh that’s interesting!

      Like

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