Leaked early in the week, it’s no surprise that Eagle Dynamics is pressing on formally with their DCS: A-10C II Warthog project which, judging by today’s announcement, has already made some significant progress towards certain key new features for the module. This is what we know!
Highlights of the update
It seems that updates to the A-10C are happening both with their professional contract with the U.S. Air National Guard as well as for those of us who are interested on the entertainment side of things. Fortunately, what seems to be good for the business has the side effect of enhancing our experience too and the DCS: A-10C II comes with a pretty wide range of new features in addition to everything that the jet already had.
There are a number of key highlights so lets start with the Scorpion Helmet Mounted Cueing System (HMCS). This is by far the coolest feature with the ability to overlay friendly aircraft and troop positions, project FLIR imagery on the target location and provide you with new levels of awareness of what’s going on around you. Let’s have a look at just some of the released images to see it in action.
That is cool!
Next up are a couple of key new weapons. The AGR-20A Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) is a conversion of the Hydra 70 rocket with a laser guidance system that turns these relatively cheap (by military standards) rockets into precision weapons. The weapon was first deployed in 2012 and has become available on the A-10C and F-16C as of 2016.
Another new weapon is the GBU-54. This is a laser JDAM which combines the flexibility of GPS and INS guidance together with a laser seeker head. As Eagle Dynamics’ update puts it so succinctly, unlike the GBU-31 and GBU-38, the GBU-54 can engage moving targets.
Finally, another headline feature, although one I’m less interested in personally, is the updated cockpit which adds more significant weathering to the textures. This update builds on the already upgraded A-10C cockpit that is currently available and adds the updated avionics along with a weathered option. It looks good and is apparently based on real world photos to ensure that the weathering is done in all the right places. I don’t see this as a huge selling feature myself but some of you may want your A-10C to look this way and in which case you’re covered.
All the new features
Those are the highlights but there are more details so here is the list that Eagle Dynamics has presented us with:
Updated External Model
- Improved 3D mesh and textures
- Removal of TISL pod
- Weathered (dirty bird) textures option
- Addition of the ARC-210 radio head
- Removal of the TISL control panel
- Addition of the Scorpion HMCS control head
AGM-65E2/L Laser-Guided Maverick
- DSMS Status and Inventory Pages
- HUD and Weapon Video Symbology
- READY, ACTIVATE, SCAN, TRACK, and SLAVE Modes
- Updated Maverick HOTAS Commands
- PRF Code Input (DSMS)
Missiles and Guided-Bombs
- AGR-20 Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) Laser-Guided Rockets
- GBU-54 Laser-JDAM
ARC-210 VHF/UHF Satellite Radio
- Radio Start
- Menu Pages
- Manual Frequency Selection
- Preset Channel Selection
- Guard Channels Selection
- Setting Preset Channels 1–25
- Setting Preset Channels 26–30
Scorpion Helmet-Mounted Cueing System (HMCS)
- Control Head
- HMCS Display
- HMCS HOTAS Commands
- HMCS Setting STAT Page
- Targeting Pod projection window
- Data Link PPLI, Mini-SPI, EPLRS, and Designated Target Symbols
- Waypoints/Steerpoint Symbols
- SPI and Hookship Symbols
- TDC and TGP Symbols
Hands on Throttle and Stick (HOTAS)
- Updated HOTAS Commands
The big question then is when is this coming out? Although no details have been released, the update today indicates that features like the cockpit, the Scorpion helmet sight, and other functionality changes have already been implemented and work on the new weapons is also proceeding apace. As this is a professional contract, something we didn’t previously know, I suspect that the pace of development may be aimed at meeting milestones set out in that contract and that once the product has been delivered to their professional customer (i.e. the USAF), we’ll be seeing our version soon after.
End of 2020? I’m going to make a guess that, yes, that will be the case. Early in the year Eagle Dynamics announced that an upgrade path would be made available to A-10C users so expect more details close to release on what the price will be for current owners.