DCS F-86 Sabre and MiG-15bis call out for a Korean War expansion

The headline is a mouthful but I think it only makes sense to do a mini-review of both of these aircraft for DCS World because it should be relatively obvious that these two aircraft are designed from the get-go to compliment each other. So let’s talk about the famous F-86 Sabre, the MiG-15bis and why I think it’d be great if DCS World goes all-in on a future Korean War scenario.

Streaking into the skies with the F-86 Sabre

Just like the Mustang before it, the Sabre is a jet with a mystique and a reputation behind it and while it doesn’t quite occupy the same kind of general public imagination, ask anyone who is an aviation fan and they will know exactly what you’re talking about.

The F-86 is the jet that carried the USAF and many allied nations truly into the jet age and it’s combat performance over Korea was regarded as exemplary. With an impressive combat record and a good reputation, I was pretty eager to hop into the cockpit of this jet and try it out. Although the free trial only afforded 48-hours and although I was strapped to get more than a couple of hours out of it at the most, what I did see caused me to fall in love with this jet and this module in DCS World.

The clincher was somewhere between the testing the aircraft out in rocket attacks in a practice mission and flying a short multiplayer mission with one of the people I fly regularly with.

The F-86 is a joy to fly with acceleration of a jet fitting its era and handling that is very very interesting. At speeds below Mach 0.8 the Sabre is predictable and handles extremely well with an easy to manage turn and very good roll rate. I’d even call the Sabre relatively agile when not fitted with tanks or rockets. Even when fitted it still feels good. Flying along in the jet just feels great with a slight hint of lateral instability.

Get closer to Mach 0.9 and things start to get a little wonky. Suddenly the ailerons don’t want to behave giving very little or a lot of roll all at once and the aircraft starts to shudder. From a pilot perspective, I’m sure that’s a bit disconcerting but from a sim perspective it makes this aircraft feel alive!

At the end of the day, flying the F-86 in DCS World feels like that halfway point between the later jets and the WWII warbirds which is so befitting of an aircraft of its era.

Enter the MiG-15bis

Although there was quite a bit more going on during the Korean War than just the F-86 Sabre and the MiG-15 fighting it out, the imagination definitely springs to these two old foes first and so it’s kind of a treat in DCS World to be able to fly both of these aircraft.

The MiG-15bis is an improved and refined version of the earlier MiG-15 and an aircraft and airframe that has its own legendary status. Developed from the straight winged MiG-9, the MiG-15 was a proven design that served as the basis for the follow on MiG-17 with the basic configuration continuing on through the MiG-19 as well as a whole host of Chinese derived licensed and unlicensed aircraft later on.

Although superficially similar looking, I found the MiG-15bis to be very much its own aircraft versus the F-86. My familiarity with the MiG-19 made flying the MiG-15 fairly easy to do with many of the same concepts in place in this jet as well. The MiG-15 is also very interesting because unlike the F-86, it tends to behave itself much more readily at near Mach 1.0 airspeeds although it certainly stiffens up on the controls.

While the F-86 was fairly easy to handle in pitched dogfights, the MiG-15 required a heavy reliance on precise rudder control to prevent the aircraft from stalling and flicking out of some of the tightest of turns. Getting maximum turn performance out of this jet is substantially harder than in the Sabre. Fast high speed passes are more this aircraft’s bread and butter.

A Korean Air war simulation is overdue

The Korean war has never captured the attention of simulation or gamers or even the public at large but when it comes to flight simulation – I think there is a legitimately missed opportunity here and that really came clear to me in my brief time with these two aircraft.

With documentation surely available for a wide variety of Korean war era aircraft and with a scale and scope of a battle that could be at least partially condensed into a DCS World map, I feel like these two aircraft are the springboard for something that could be so much greater.

While WWII in DCS World is really coming together now after many years of development, I almost feel like DCS World’s strengths in jet combat are best served with the Korean conflict. A proper 1950-53 Korean map, and a small collection of flyable and AI aircraft including the Tu-2, B-29, IL-10, La-9 or La-11, F-80, Meteor, and others could all contribute to a very interesting campaign and capture the attention of people who have been long asking to see this air battle done.

With aircraft like the P-51D turned F-51D for Korea already available and a F4U-1D shoehorned into the Korean conflict, there is lots to draw on already.

Eagle Dynamics and DCS World has always been less about creating thematic collections and instead opening the door to a wide variety of air combat possibilities so this expansion of content for this scenario is unlikely to happen but I feel that’s a bit of a shame. These two modules for DCS World may be a few years old and not quite as detailed as some of the latest types but they are both still brilliant aircraft simulations that deserve a chance to shine more than they do.

9 Comments Add yours

  1. oboe says:

    Agree completely, the Korean conflict could be a very interesting setting in DCS. I would love to see the F9F Panther modeled as well, but we’d also need a WWII-1950s era carrier for naval operations. This carrier could do double duty for the Corsair, too.

    Fun to let your mind consider the possibilities!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. 79vRAF says:

    Difficulty is that they have had a very long time to do this. F-86 was the aircraft that got me back into DCS. I like the fact you’ve still got WW2 era technology combined with a jet engine.
    There’s a definite gap in the market for Korea and it’s one that should be explored. The aircraft used open up a range of scenarios for East v West in a range of different theatres. Bring in aircraft like the Meteor, Vampire/Venom, F-84, Mig-17, Hunter, P-80, F-94, basically all of the early sub-sonic types and there’s a lot that can be done. It would be highly desirable to some people as you’re at that cross over point where jets really are taking over but piston engine fighters can still do things that the jets can’t when it comes to range and payload.
    I’d be very happy to see a Korea map produced…please ED!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      Completely agree! Hopefully we’ll see something come together on this over time.


  3. CanadaOne says:

    Yeah, a Korea map would be welcome indeed. As would an IL-10, I’d drop cash on that in a heartbeat.

    The F-86 is great, but it could stand some work on the cockpit textures.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. GregP says:

    While obviously not a Korean War scenario, the ‘Museum Relic Campaign’ DLC can be flown using both of these planes and is quite well done. Totally agree though that the Korean theater would be a fantastic addition to DCS.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      I’ve heard good things about Museum Relic. Thanks for the recommendation!


  5. Simfan says:

    Just bought the Sabre because of your review. Got it on sale for something over 22 usd (55 percent off). I love it. This feels like history, just as much as the WWII efforts. Makes me remember those Buck Danny cartoons of my youth! So easy to start with unlike e. g. The F14B!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      It’s so much fun and I’m glad to hear you’re having a good time with it. I’m probably going to have to buy it too at the end of this sale perhaps!


  6. Simfan says:

    Shamrockonfive, I, personally always had some affection for this jet but never bought it because there is no Korea or other suitable theathre. But I will get that new -supposedly superb- campaign for it too as soon as I get to grips with the Sabres’s in and outs. I was into IL-2 much more lately just because all those ‘modern’ DCS Jets were a bit too challenging to me. This F-86 is, IMHO, not too difficult to get into … at first. Thank you and … Succes !

    Liked by 1 person

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