DCS World developer OctopusG is back in the news again (twice in one week!) thanks to a new post that’s been made on their Facebook page showing off some work in progress renders. They appear to indicate that a Su-17 is under development. Let’s have a look!
Early cockpit renders
Three images were released on the OctopusG Facebook page cryptically saying “Next…” It didn’t take long to compare the renders with real world images and establish that this is the cockpit of a Su-17 NATO codename “Fitter” or one of its export derivatives (Su-20 or 22).
OctopusG is just a one person show so far as we know so this project at the moment is all about the modeling aspect. Eagle Dynamics provide additional support to the I-16 project to get the flight model and programming in and we don’t know what the arrangement here might be.
Remember when Leatherneck/Magnitude-3 put out a Merry Christmas image with an aircraft under wrapping paper? The outline seemed to suggest a Su-17/22 and speculation is rife in the community that this might be a partnership with modeling and artwork provided by OctopusG and programming by the Leatherneck team.
We don’t know what the details are right now but this is potentially an exciting development if its true. Of course it remains purely speculative by me and others in the community.
Before the hype train leaves the station, this may also be a good time to set expectations.
Right now we see a 3D model. Untextured. Likely unoptimized. And not much else. Making a DCS World module takes thousands of hours of work across multiple disciplines so while this 3D model is very impressive it is likely at the start of a long process rather than nearing the end.
Still, the possibility of another Cold War era jet joining the ranks is a welcome one.
A bit of history
While this project may be years from completion, let’s engage in a bit of a history lesson. We start with the Su-7 which was initially pitched as a front-line fighter project and emerged as competitor to the MiG-21. 200 of the A model fighter were produced and briefly deployed. The follow-on Su-7B emerged as a fighter-bomber and here it became successful emerging as the primary fighter-bomber for the Soviet Air Force for many years.
The Su-7 had an Achilles heel as its swept and thin wing required a high landing speed. How high you ask? 340-360km/h! This lead to several attempts at redesign with different types of flaps and other aerodynamic changes made until Sukhoi’s designers settled on a variable sweep wing. The Su-17 was born.
Between 1969 and 1990, 2,867 Su-17s were constructed including the Su-20 and 22 variants. It went on to serve in a variety of air forces seeing combat in Angola, over Iraq, Syria and Iran, and elsewhere with it performing in air combat and ground attack missions.
Such is the type’s longevity that the Fitter still flies with air forces today including in Poland. Check out this display from just two years ago. The Su-22 in Poland is being phased out as the country buys F-35s to replace its legacy aircraft but you can appreciate the long run of the type. Check out this airshow video.