Heatblur shows off F-4E Phantom with ‘precision strike’ capability

A nice little Easter-weekend message from Heatblur gives us a great preview of some of the capabilities that Heatblur are ensuring are part of the DCS: F-4E Phantom. A screenshot and some follow-up comments show off the ‘precision strike’ capability of the Phantom. Let’s have a look!

Precision strike

I think the common view of the F-4 Phantom II is as a Vietnam War-era interceptor. Tangling with MiGs, firing sometimes unreliable missiles, and getting into some legendary air battles is certainly what fills my head first when someone mentions this airplane. But the F-4 is a bit more than that with many different versions of the F-4E, flown by over a dozen air forces, operating in both air defense and strike roles from the 1970s through to the mid 2015s.

So as excited as many of us are about getting a Vietnam era jet, the F-4E specifically transcends that a bit and can and will be useful in experiences that fit both Cold War era as well as the modern era.

That’s all to preface the news that Heatblur are showing off and confirming that the F-4E will launch with the ability to engage targets with precision strike capability.

Pods, AI and liveries

AN/ASQ-153 Pave Spike is pictured on the screenshot above together with some GBU-12 laser guided bombs on the wing pylons. The Pave Spike was used between 1974 and 1989 on the F-4C and F-4E Phantom fleet with the pod fitting into the left forward missile well – replacing an AIM-7 in the spot when fitted.

Heatblur confirm that the F-4E will have both the Pave Spike and the AN/AVQ-26 Pave Tack. Both are electro-optical pods intended to find and designate targets for laser guided weapons. The Pave Tack differs by being a larger pod needing to be fit in the centerline position (replacing the fuel tank) – its also much bigger and heavier. The earlier Pave Knife pod is not planned.

We also know that Heatblur are bringing the F-4 out with Jester v2 AI to support the flying of the two seat aircraft. Jester v1, with the F-14, later gained the ability to scan for and target objects on the ground for that jet’s precision strike capability so its likely that Heatblur are leaning on or improving that system.

The screenshot also features a livery for the Greek Air Force. In addition to that, Heatblur have previously confirmed or shown schemes for the Luftwaffe, Japan, Israel, and British schemes. These won’t precisely correspond to those nation’s aircraft (the F-4EJ for example has different equipment) but its still a nice nod to all of those Phantom operators.

Check out Heatblur’s post here!

19 Comments Add yours

  1. are those long sticks clipping into the aircraft body or is there a recess for them to slot into?


    1. harryvoyager says:

      The Sparrow racks are recessed. The F-14 has those too, but they are usually covered by the Phoenix racks.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. ShamrockOneFive says:

        Right! I forgot the F-14 had a similar feature.


    2. harryvoyager says:

      Addendum: if you look closely at the Pave Spike, it is actually hanging off an extender mounted into the left chin Sparrow trench. You can see where the air frame scallops in to accomodate the missile.

      And I imagine all the aerodynamics engineers are looking at that mess and using some quite colorful language…

      Liked by 4 people

      1. ShamrockOneFive says:

        No doubt! I saw a reference to “Pave Drag” from pilots on one of these pods.

        Liked by 2 people

    3. ShamrockOneFive says:

      The Sparrows? They are semi-recessed into the body.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. CanadaOne says:

    I’ve never been an F-4 Phanatic – you see what I did there 🙂 – but Heatblur makes such nice stuff I might have to get it just to have the newest bestest flightsim toys.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      Heatblur makes a compelling case for any aircraft they choose to simulate. The Viggen may not have been in the consciousness of a ton of people prior to it coming out from them but it’s been propelled to near cult-like status now.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Splash says:

    I believe that Heatblur should release a specific Vietnam version like F-4C or F-4D.


    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      Indeed! Something like that seems to be the plan as well.

      Heatblur indicated early on that their intent is to develop two versions of the F-4E in one pack and then an unspecified Navy variant in another.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Blue 5 says:

        F-4J would make most sense as a late USN / USMC version. Shame we cannot have a G variant, though I reckon some of the Es were fitted out for HARMs, maybe?


    2. Urgent Siesta says:

      Like Shamrock said, another version has been confirmed – and as a separate purchase module. Given the vast differences across it’s loooong life-span, entirely reasonable.

      Most folks saying it’s going to be a USN variant of some sort, which makes a lot of sense given the HB line up & Forrestal CV, etc.

      As a tangentially related item, it’d be really cool to see them make the A2A interceptor version of the Viggen some year…

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Blue 5 says:

        USN had beautiful paint schemes and the non-cannon variants are much prettier IMHO.

        Am sure a Navy mod will be out shortly after release.

        When can I buy it, please? 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Colin says:

    Excuse my ignorance on all things Phantoms, but the E version is USAF only, right? so no carrier operations with this Heatblur release? I like the idea of Vietnam era Phantom operations but would have preferred Naval operations … perhaps when we get the rumoured A-6 Intruder this might happen.

    I’ll buy this module all the same though, looks good so far.


    1. Urgent Siesta says:

      USN version coming as a separate module sometime in the future. Most speculation seems to be around a J version.
      If it goes like the F-14B & -A went, expect it to be at least a year or two before it’s released.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. ShamrockOneFive says:

      The E version is a land based variant yes. Not exclusive to the USAF but in US service that was the service that flew it.

      No carrier ops with the E.

      The second F-4 project will feature a Navy variant. Confirmed by Heatblur.


  5. Colin says:

    Thanks, we’d need an appropriate map and carriers too I suppose for true Naval Vietnam sea borne operations … I can only hope I live long enough to see it all come to fruition ! So many DCS plans, its almost overwhelming … but very exciting 🙂 This with a true dynamic campaign in this area would be wonderful, flying Phantoms with Intruders in co-op or otherwise.

    PS does anyone know what ever happened to an English Electric Lightning module that was hinted at for DCS a few years back?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      The EE Lightning was done by one of the artists at RAZBAM. Like many project they have on the go, it’ll be something that happens eventually. But it’s a long ways away.


  6. TheSimNet says:

    This bird is looking beautiful, cannot wait to fly it!

    Liked by 1 person

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