On the heels of the information I posted on yesterday there’s more information from Heatblur on what their plans are for DCS: F-14 and the new A model F-14 that is coming. I should say F-14’s as this first release will be followed up by two sub variants as well. Let’s have a look at everything that we know!
Get ready for three F-14A models
Heatblur is a developer with a well known reputation for going above and beyond the bare minimum. Developing just the F-14B was an incredible feat on its own and I think many of us would have been satisfied with just that, however, we are getting the F-14A model as well and it’s coming in three sub variants.
- F-14A-95-GR – This is an early F-14A that made up the shipment sent to the IRIAF. With the F-14 being well used in Persian Gulf scenarios, it makes sense that we’re getting this option as they are the only other notable user of the F-14 and the only air force still operating them. This version will have various limitations such as the lack of the TCS pod and fuel pylons. Heatblur hasn’t specified what some of the modifications might be for this variant but it’s been rumoured that some Russian weapons were also modified to operate on the IRIAF F-14’s and so that may be the case here.
- F-14A-135-GR (early) – An early USN version of the fighter equipped with the more primitive ALR-45 RWR system and minor variations relating to earlier F-14’s (gun vents and different defog systems were mentioned in the update).
- F-14A-135-GR (late) – A later version of the F-14A with the ALR-67 RWR which is the same as is equipped in the F-14B.
Releasing on November 18th will be the late F-14A-153-GR version with the ALR-67 RWR system. This is going to be fairly similar in configuration as the F-14B except with the TF-30 engines, which as I mentioned in my update yesterday, were not very well regarded and were the subject of a congressional inquiry.
Heatblur is going a step further on providing differences between F-14 variants as well with a list of modifications that can be toggled in the Special Options menu or via the mission editor. Those modifications include:
- Removal of fuel pylons
- Bullet fairing for TCS
- ALQ instead of TCS (IRIAF 95-GR)
- Early Gun vent / plate
- Fuselage RIO step strengthener panel (optional)
- Alternate front windscreen defogger array
- Early duck-tail
- ALQ-/ECM bulges
- MBU-7/p Mask
- MS22001 Mask
- HGU-55 Pilots (in lieu of HGU-33)
All I can really write on this is…. Cool! Heatblur, going above and beyond.
Heatblur has tuned and tweaked the sounds for the F-14A and B and those tweaks are coming in the next patch as well. The overall sound overhaul should fix a key issue, being able to hear the jet from too far away, while also adding plenty of new effects to the overall audio mix.
The start-up and taxi video is new so give that a listen.
If you missed the video from a week ago, this might be worth watching too (or watching again).
Operation Reforger – The Iron Heel is coming in the next patch. This is 10 fully voiced missions that will test the players skills with everything from Carrier Quals to CAP and dogfights to air-to-air refueling. The campaign uses the USS Stennis but will be replaced by the USS Forrestal in the next major patch.
The campaign also has a co-op mode with pilot/RIO or two-ship as an option. That sounds fun! Here’s the background on the campaign’s story:
The year is 1990. Russia is struggling during a time of severe grain shortage and economic crisis, Gorbachev’s policies of “glasnost” and “perestrojka” seem to be failing, while support for the president is wavering. When elections go wrong and leave Russia’s leader weaker than ever before, more and more Soviet succession states in the East Bloc are accepting Western help to overcome their economic woes, in return for a reduced influence of Soviet power. This leads to members of the Central Committee and the Politburo pointing their focus towards Gennady Yanayev, so far Gorbachev’s Vice president, but with very opposing views to him: he advocates a strong centralized government to deal with the crisis, which eventually will see him replacing Gorbachev as the new president by May 1st, 1990.
His first objective after obtaining power is to immediately secure the Soviet succession particularly in the former Soviet Satellite states, also endangering the German Unification process: unless all four occupying forces give their consent, Germany cannot re-unify. Yanayev refuses to let East Germany go and in fact he orders Russian troops from the center of the Soviet Union (Odessa and Transcaucasus military districts) to Western Europe and borders with the recently fallen Iron curtain. When tensions rise and an East German protest marching on the Headquarters of Western Group Forces (WGF – Soviet military in East Germany) is put down by brutal force, leaving several hundred dead, West Germany strikes Russian positions in East Germany, notifying their closest allies, Great Britain and the US.
Nice to have this background that covers the details of what’s going on as you get into the campaign. Sounds like a great single player experience for F-14 pilots!
And so much more
These are the highlights from the Heatblur F-14A update but there is so much more to the update that I can’t possibly cover it all. Worth the read if you’re a fan of the F-14 in DCS World. Hop over to the DCS World forums and give it a read.
I know I’ll be marking November 18 on the calendar for some serious F-14 flying. Should be fun!