Well, guys, it’s been ‘two weeks’ since the DCS: F-5E Tiger II came out it and has moved into ‘highly favored’ status in my module ‘hanger’. It’s is fun in the extreme to fly around in, and it’s fairly competent as a ground attack platform (with practice, of course) but in air to air, it’s got to stay up close and personal, and not let the opposing aircraft extend at which the other pilot may be able to reach out and touch you with radar guided weapons . Easier said than done, that. A knife fight inside the confines of an elevator, with one hand tied, is probably a good comparison of the difficulty involved. The lack of radar guided medium range missiles, or even a more capable radar set have left me feeling a bit wistful. It’s hard not to think a little about another pending, ‘early access’ module. Yes, I admit it. The DCS: F-5E Tiger II by Belsimtek, as an “Early Access” module, is barely out and already, I’m thinking about the DCS: F/A-18C Hornet, which will most likely be the next DCS ‘in-house module’.
For me personally, I guess it has more to do with scenarios against SU-27s , Mig-29s and even Mig-21s which can sometimes be more challenging than is desireable. In the F-5E against such opponents, guile can be useful sometimes but results are spotty at best. The Hornet on the other hand, is much more suited to the task than the ‘still very cool Tiger II’, which I still fly at every opportunity. However, up to this point, I seldom fly an air to air role because from an actual combat operations point of view, I as a player, still have the same delimma the U.S. Air Force had with this plane. Despite the F-5’s agility as a training tool, it is still first and foremost, a supersonic ‘bantam’ fighter-bomber’ as opposed to a true multirole strike fighter like the F/A-18C Hornet. The Nevada Map is one place however where the F-5E can really shine in the hands of a very skilled pilot or assuming the ‘newbie’ pilot can learn, from their mistakes, apply those lessons and become a more skilled sky warrior (In my case, a real exercise in patience and a heathy amount of doggedness.)
So yeah… I’m thinking about Hornet, more than say, last year. Back then, I knew that module was a little more far off. Third party addons were in their infancy. (still are to a degree), and NTTR was still in the future, and while it’s still only an ‘Alpha’, the idea of a ‘Hormuz Map’ , is becoming more ‘real’, in my mind at least. The possibilities are beginning to ‘pile up’ in my mind, including one ore two missions more suitable for the F-5E, (Especially those ‘covert liveries ‘), as we hopefully , get closer the eventual announcement of the next ‘theater map’. ‘Hormuz ‘, offers the possibility of counter-insurgency type targets and operations in addition to the naval stuff.,than are practical in the current theater. Such missions are ideally suited to F-5 and L-39 modules.
Most of us in the DCS World Community have been waiting for ‘The Bug’‘ to come out almost as long as we have been waiting for the sequel to Top Gun. We still wait for both, but the module from ED IS getting closer to reality, and if information is slow coming out at this point, it’s only to minimize the roar of “how soon?” That being said , it’s human to want to know the answer to that question. Naval Air Operations is lacking in DCSW and as is an has been, long overdue. Up to this point the FC3 SU-33 offers the only opportunity to take off and land on a boat and only with a SFM; though I understand an update is in the works. The Admiral Kuznetsov, could use a rework too. It will probably get one perhaps.In fact, I would hope that perhaps some additional surface vessels might be in the pipe at some point. Anyway to the subject at hand, DCS: F/A-18C Hornet , would be welcome by some if they never come out with ‘the boat’. ( Don’t freak. I’m sure they will eventually.)
Getting the Hornet, at a significant lead over the ‘Carrier’, if it does pan out that way, might not necessarily be a bad thing. I don’t really expect that. I do however,reflect on the fact that while some of the weapons and sensors on the Hornet are also present on the A-10C. That’s the good news. The bad news, is now, I have to do it faster. Quite a bit faster, probably. Processing all that, and executing procedure quickly will be paramount if I’m to survive the virtual sky in this new bird, when it does come. I would not be opposed to taking all the time need to really get comfortable with this plane before I tried to land on the boat. That being said, and all things being equal, if ED, does make carrier ops available soonest, then I will most likely wait as long everybody else does before trying. In other words; not.
Obviously, it would be useless to prognosticate about the ‘timing of when’, the developers at ED will make this module available, for ‘Early Access’ At this particular point in time, I’m just another fan, waiting with the rest of you. But I have no doubt, they will do their best to make it so, as promised. I’m just as certain that they that they will NOT do so, until it’s READY. None of us want a ‘buggy’ Hornet , if you’ll pardon the pun, as evidenced by some comments complaining about ‘bugs’ in some 3rd party modules, which are in part exacerbated by user demand pressure, some of which is at least in part ‘self inflicted’, because of the developers desire to meet that demand pressure, by throwing tidbits of information, that often, just makes things worse. In fact, it drives them nuts, because no matter how forthcoming they are; it’s never enough. As a result, they, as do most other developers, nowadays, tend to keep things under their collective hats. Try not to take it too hard, it’s not personal. They are only trying to protect their sanity.
Finally; there are few among us who don’t at least, have some idea of how monumental a task it must be to reverse engineer , copy,model and then ‘construct’, a virtual airplane, even one as relatively basic as say, a C-101. Throw in a few things like a working A2G radar, in addition to the usual stuff like TGPs and Maverick capability, and you’ve got a big job. To say the least, including all the possible load-outs and liveries. And then, there is the ‘boat.’ As I understand it ‘the carrier’, will be a more animated place than F3C’s Kuznetsov. This adds up to a ton of work. Knowing all this we should try to cut them some slack and let them do their work just a bit longer. In the meantime, I suggest the best use of time for those of us who it, to really enjoy Belsimtek’s newest creation and really ‘wring her out’. She’s really fun to fly, and training missions are already included. Not bad for an early access module, and with few bugs thus far. So let’s try not to spend so much time waiting for next ‘hottie’, to come in through the door; we just might miss ot on how cool the one we’re with really is. That would be a shame indeed, fellas.