Heatblur formally announces DCS: F-4E Phantom! (updated)

In a teaser trailer titled “Legends Never Die,” Heatblur has set the DCS World community on fire with the long requested, awaited, and anticipated F-4 Phantom for DCS World. We don’t have much information yet but here’s what we know!

This article has been updated on January 25th at 5:22 pm EST

“Phantoms Phorever”

You’ll absolutely want to watch the teaser trailer first. So, go and watch it!

What we know

Now that you’ve seen the trailer, let’s break down what we know.

Heatblur have been working on an untitled and unannounced project for some time. We learned about it from their semi-regular status updates but we didn’t know what they were doing (beyond the A-6 and the joint Eurofighter Typhoon project). Many of you guessed that the gunsight pipper from the end of the DCS World 2022 and beyond trailer was from an F-4. Some of you also guessed it might have been from Heatblur. Turns out that this was the correct guess!

The trailer and its description say some interesting things too. First, the “2022” on the trailer seems more certain than I would have expected from a DCS teaser trailer. It makes me wonder how advanced this project is and if its been silently developing for a long time now. I never rule out release date slippages in software development but I think we can surmise that Heatblur and Eagle Dynamics do currently plan to release this jet sometime over the next 11-months.

The description of the video also backs this statement up with one other tidbit.

The legendary Phantom family is coming to DCS, starting with the DCS: F-4E in 2022

I hover over the words ‘starting with’ which makes me think that Heatblur is intending to offer something in a similar vein to what we’ve seen from the F-14 where we eventually saw an A and B variant. Will we see more variants beyond the E model? It seems likely.

Of course, an F-4 Phantom from legendary developer Heatblur is going to be music to most people’s ears. Their treatment of the F-14 remains of the best flight sim modules ever to be produced and their team clearly already have the technology to handle a complex two seater fighter jet from that era so the F-4 is in many ways an extension of work that has already been done.

I’m expecting more information and details will be forthcoming soon!

Information updates (Jan 25th at 5:22 pm EST)

As expected, IronMike and Cobra8472 from Heatblur have been active with posts on community forums and with a significant Q&A update that further sheds light on this project.

First, one post from Cobra8472 on r/hoggit gives me the strong sense that this has indeed been a project that has long been in development and that the announcement today is part of the home stretch for development.

That was followed-up with an excellent Q&A that you can read fully here. In short, Heatblur is planning to offer the DCS: F-4E first with a couple of versions. One version will be an earlier variant while the other will represent a later version with the DMAS (Digital Modular Avionics System) update.

There will be, according to Heatblur, a Navy variant that will be coming as part of a separate development. It appears that Heatblur intend to release a family of aircraft and that starts with the F-4E but then represents further developments.

I have seen some questioning the version and I do think that the E model of the F-4 represents a smart move. The two versions bridge a gap between the 1960’s and the 1980’s and later which mean that this Phantom can fit in with both a Cold War crowd as well as be placed next to more modern offerings. Seeing service in abut dozen different countries, different modifications of the F-4E are still in service in Greece, Iran, South Korea, and Turkey.

More on all of this as it develops!

26 Comments Add yours

  1. Ken-Dagfinn Rian says:

    YESSS!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Gretsch_Man says:

    Holy smoke!!

    At last, ED is given us the chance to become a Phantom Phlyer. I’m all in!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. harryvoyager says:

    All I need to know is, when does the pre-order open?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Robert Haynes says:

      Normally I advise against pre-orders. But Heatblur has been so good at delivering what they promise, and at such a high level that I am planning on pre-ordering as well.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. CanadaOne says:

    This is why I come to Stormbirds. It’s where I get the news.

    Not a huge fan of the Phantom, but if it’s Heatblur it will be damn good for sure.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Warlock says:

    I knew they’ll eventually get to the Phantom, and I really hoped It would be Heatblur that develops it. They just have an amazing touch with older aircraft.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Grach says:

    I really wish the nuclear weapons get some much needed love and better visuals are implemented (flash and mushroom cloud, shockwave etc) with this new module. The nukes at the moment are also way to overpowered in terms of explosive damage to aircraft, damn near impossible to drop the larger of the two nukes from the MiG-21 without being killed yourself.

    Looking forward to DCS getting more Vietnam-era modules!

    Like

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      As I understand it, nukes killing the attacking aircraft was a major problem and part of the reason why they had to get inventive with the bomb toss procedure – but even then it was risky.

      Nukes are a zero sum game. Everyone loses. As much as its sort of a gag on the MiG-21, I don’t think they are very interesting from a sim perspective.

      Like

      1. Grach says:

        Fair criticism of the inclusion of nuclear weapons in the game, although it would still be a cool feature to have in single-player for some cool alternative-history scenarios of Cold War battles.

        Correct me if I am wrong but I am pretty sure the larger of the two nukes on the MiG is 10kT, this is smaller than the Hiroshima/Nagasaki yields and if a B-29 can survive dropping that, then a MiG can outrun the blast easy.

        Like

      2. Yvan Laine says:

        Yes, the Phantom was the war machine while I worked on the RF-4C from 1966 to 69 at Shaw AFBase as a Pneudraulic Specialist.
        Loved the dual hydraulic system back up with air system for emegency.
        Darn good memories and that era will always be in my heart.
        Sgt. Laine

        Like

    2. Urgent Siesta says:

      A nuke detonation is very much like a regional weather event, rather than a puny 2000lb bomb explosion. As such, convincing nuke explosions are more of a simulator effect than a module accessory, and it would need to be ED themselves that implement it.

      Since there are already a handful of flyable nuke-capable modules (Viper, Hornet, Harrier, Sabre), as well as many of the existing AI airframes, we can assume that ED have no interest in this particular weapon.

      It doesn’t make sense to bring it to the game as it’s just doesn’t fit into any of the (interesting) scenarios, nor fit the known limitations of the engine.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. 1_Robert says:

        I’m excited that HB is doing the Phantom. I would love to see a Vietnam theatre one day with carrier ops…etc.
        Now we need a Thud in development 🙂

        Like

  7. Blue 5 says:

    Hot damn!

    Like

  8. Blue 5 says:

    Mind you, the line ‘I wouldn’t change a thing’ made me chortle as being a) very Hollywood and b) missing the whole “We really should have put a gun in this thing” – aka F-4E

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      A little bit of American gusto. Not a bad thing in a hype trailer 😉

      Like

    2. Grach says:

      I wonder if anyone has a source on that exchange, made the trailer very epic.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. ShamrockOneFive says:

        Yep! Spudknocker located the source: https://twitter.com/spudknocker1/status/1486105422071169024

        Like

  9. Urgent Siesta says:

    I found THIS very interesting (from the video description): “Special thanks to Military Visualizations for generously lending their engine nozzle model for this cinematic trailer production.”

    Could that mean MilViz is actually getting involved, and bringing some of their Phantom “DNA” to the project?

    Like

  10. Gasman says:

    Phinally! I’ve only been waiting for this since DCS was born!

    Like

  11. _BringTheReign_ says:

    It’s a great day to be alive! A legendary team making a legendary aircraft – and in multiple variants too? Am I dreaming?

    Like

  12. 1_Robert says:

    I’m excited that HB is doing the Phantom. I would love to see a Vietnam theatre one day with carrier ops…etc.
    Since they have the two seater nailed down, maybe HB can take a go at a SAM hunting Wild Weasel Thud 😄

    Like

  13. Osskozzot says:

    Nice!! F-4, huey, Migs… all we need now is a Vietnam Map !!

    Like

  14. TOny says:

    Can’t wait 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Blue 5 says:

      Getting close to a pretty good Yom Kippur, Golan front.

      I recommend Gen. Spector’s ‘Loud And Clear’ or his novel ‘Phantoms Over Israeli’ (which is fiction but largely derived from his memoirs)

      Like

  15. butcher75 says:

    People are going to lose it over this, Super happy for the guys that have been screaming for this for so long.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. FN1TGHOST says:

    RF-4C please 🙏

    Like

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