It’s been a while since I did a good speculation piece on Stormbirds but there’s enough out there right now that it I think it may be time. So let’s speculate a little on some future DCS World content with the hot-button topic right now being the future of high fidelity Russian aircraft types. Let’s have a look what we know and what we might be able to read between the lines on. As always with a speculative piece, this is a summation of what we know connected with a healthy dose of speculation. If you find that kind of thing fun, then carry on!
Why haven’t we seen any so far?
DCS World’s jump to the extreme high fidelity modeling happened almost ten years ago and it ensured that we had access to some extremely high fidelity systems and aircraft modeling at levels that we’d never seen before. As a consequence, other aircraft were left in the dust. Some of Eagle Dynamics previous efforts, the F-15C, A-10A, MiG-29, Su-25 and Su-27/33, have kept up when it came to visuals and flight modeling (all of them have PFM quality flight models at the same level as DCS World modules) but not when it came to systems.
We’ve seen plenty of fighter jets added to the series with the likes of the F-14, F-16, F/A-18 already here and the F-15E due sometime in the next year. But when it comes to the equivalent generation aircraft from Russia, there is nothing available. And for good reason.
Reports are that Eagle Dynamics had begun the process of doing a high fidelity Su-27 Flanker but were told that they couldn’t do that by the Russian government. This was likely a change in policy as the Su-25T and Ka-50 were given, for the time, quite a bit of attention and support as I understand it. Being a partly Russian company, and one that has done business with air forces around the world including the Russian one, its no surprise that they moved on to other pastures to preserve those relationships and sidestep trouble where they can.
Times do change, as inevitable as the rise and setting of the sun, and so maybe the doors are starting to open again where they were previously shut.
The most recent news
In August, The Grim Reapers did a Q&A with Eagle Dynamics CEO Nick Grey and in that Q&A he revealed that they were looking at doing the MiG-29A. “Looking at doing” isn’t full confirmation of-course, however, it is a development nonetheless and may signal a change or at least a more open opportunity than previously available.
Of course there are various phases to building a DCS World module and it doesn’t take much imagination to realize that the first steps are in the areas of research and various administrative tasks. Securing licensing, gathering resources, and ensuring that doing further work won’t cause any issues of one type or another are up front parts of the process that we don’t really see or need to see. Such is the nature of doing simulations of often classified aircraft.
Let’s assume, however, that Eagle Dynamics may have been able to work with their connections to secure the ability to do an early MiG-29 variant. Or, maybe they haven’t but they are working towards that goal. If it does happen, it would be a major development for the series to be able to return to Russian aircraft and as close as we’ve come to Eagle Dynamics returning to their roots of the Flanker series.
Teasing and evidence
Eagle Dynamics do like a good tease and nearly every announcement has been preceded by some sort of tease that gave us a glimpse at what might be coming next. Recently we’ve had teases for the AH-64 which had helicopter fans speculating and wanting more, and now we’ve seen a few teases for the MiG-29 as well.
One of those teases is the recent Halloween Sale video. Ominous images and a spooky theme together with dimly lit aircraft and the occasional flashes of light have helped to fuel the speculation. While most of the trailer content is of aircraft we already have, we also see an F-15E Strike Eagle (coming from RAZBAM eventually), the Mi-24P (now slated to be coming Q1 2021), and… oddly the MiG-29. It’s the FC3 model of the aircraft, so there’s no specific reveal there, however, it is conspicuously and prominently placed. A tease or just a way to show off the breadth of DCS content? Why not both!
Big announcements before the end of the year?
At the start of 2020, we learned that Eagle Dynamics was planning a new “mind blowing” module that they were initially going to tease at the 2019 year in review trailer but decided to not do-so. Ultimately, I think this was a good decision as well with the team needing to focus on already launched aircraft. However, with the F/A-18C now inching towards a full release and the F-16C finally getting some new features added, the Thunderbolt receiving some big updates, the Mosquito early access due at the end of the year, and Mi-24P Hind coming in early 2021, there’s now likely going to be capacity for new modules to start to ramp up as others are finished.
In the FastJetPerformance Q&A that was released just this past week, we learned from Eagle Dynamics Business Director for DCS World, Simon Pearson, that there would be major announcements by the end of the year. Those may be a mix of aircraft and maps, new gameplay methods (such as the Dynamic Campaign which they have talked about), engine enhancements and new weather systems but perhaps we’ll also see some aircraft projects announced as well.
I am of course, still intent on seeing Eagle Dynamics finish what they have already started, however, that doesn’t mean that researchers and artists who are done with their tasks for the current job can’t move on to do something else. Eventually it will become time to reveal what those projects are.
There’s little else for us to guess about for now. We do know that new modules are coming and that at least one high fidelity Russian aircraft type is now being discussed and that it is likely the MiG-29A. It may not be the next announcement or even the one after that but one hopes, for Russian aircraft fans, that the MiG-29 and some other options might eventually be on the table. How about a full fidelity Su-25? Or the Su-27? Even earlier variants of these would surely be hits.
I leave everyone with a really interesting video by the Military Aviation History YouTube channel’s ‘Inside the Cockpit’ episode that goes into the MiG-29’s cockpit.