The Falcon series, started in 1984, made the F-16 an iconic aircraft in the video games industry. With 4 game released, it brought more than 3 decades of aerial orgasm to several generations of players. As the development halted, a small Russian studio started to gather attention and players. After Lock-on, Eagle Dynamics released DCS World, an open architecture simulator which allows any aircraft development. The F-16 became one of the most wanted aircraft.
11 years after the introduction of DCS, we are now one step closer to the next F-16 simulation. Eagle Dynamics leaked the info as they listed again the F-16C in their recent ad, and inside sources confirmed the project is being discussed. Variant is not firmly decided yet, however the block 50/52 is on the table if enough informations are available. We are now waiting for the official announcment.
F-16 C – Block something ?
The Jet is already well known from Falcon simmers, but let’s decrypt a bit the specs for those who are unfamiliar with the beast.
(Block 52 values – variant still to be confirmed)
- AN/APG-68 radar (Max Range 184nmi)
- F100-PW-229 (Thrust to weight ratio: 1.06)
- Combat Radius up to 740nmi (1370 km).
- 6 Air / Air Missiles (Aim120, Aim-9)
- SEAD Capable: AGM-88 Harm, Shrike
- Radar Cross Section: 1.2
While it is questionable how accurate the modeling and the specs will be in DCS, this will be a jet capable of striking anywhere in Caucasus and coming back to his home plate. The limited missile loadout may prove a challenge against more heavily equipped F-15 and Su-27, but its low radar cross section, even lower than the Mig-21, will allow him to sneak close in without much issue. While a great jet on paper, it will face survivability issues. The single engine design will not forgive any mistake.
Although an iconic plane, the plane will not be a game changer in multiplayer. With the F/A-18C getting introduced later this year, DCS world is getting a modern, multirole jet. The F-16C will allow refined scenarios and campaign, but not really change the online scene.
The forces behind the project.
Eagle Dynamics is the studio behind DCS. The devellopers know the game – and they can improve the core engine to follow their development needs. They are currently working on the F/A-18C and are about to release a Yak-52. They already talked about the F-16 when DCS initially launched. With the latest engine development around the Hornet, the engine is now ready to accomodate such modern jets. It will be interresting to see how the technologies introduced with the F-18C will fasten the development of other US jets.
Belsimtek is a successful DCS studio. The developers brought us several popular modules such as the Huey and Mi-8. Today, they are working on a joint project with Eagle Dynamics: The F/A-18 hornet. They don’t have much more to prove. However, Belsimtek is already with 3 projects running. The F/A-18C, the Mi-24, the F-4E…. While we heard very little from the Phantom, and pretty much nothing about the Hind, Belsimtek confirms these are still on the way.
Red is Dead ?
While F-16C fans are getting crazy, there is still a question mark. Where are the red aircrafts? There is a massive influx of modern NATO planes, but there is only the original flamming cliffs Su-27 and Mig-29 to go against them. Likewise, ED launching two “competiting” products in a row is a surprising move. Current player base will likely get it since they’ll have time to get bored with F/A-18C….. However when F-16C get released, it would be surprising that new players gets two jets with comparable features. Beside becoming a F-something simulator, let’s hope the company isn’t taking too much risk on the long run!