The first round of the SATAL competition, sponsored by Heatblur, is over. With a very nice show produced on twitch, it will be the tournament to follow in this year.
After the TAW squadron won against the 104th, Nicholas Dackard, head of Heatblur, was interviewed by the show’s host. They answered a few questions from the host and spectators, and we learned a few more things about the upcoming F-14s. Here is the report :
The Aim-54 Phoenix, the Tomcat’s signature weapon, is obviously among the most sensitive subject Heatblur is working on. They report having access to a wide range of documentation, including some unpublished stuff. They are stating that the missile performance may surprise players. Asked about the arbitrary 7G missile limitation in-game, Nicholas answer that they are working around it without sacrificing the missile effectiveness.
“They have been maybe some compromises we had to do to make it fit into DCS missile modeling, but in general I think we are getting really really close to its general performance and we’ve invested a lot of money and time in performing things such as CFD simulations so that we would be able to figure out exactly how the missiles performs in various conditions”
Beside the interview, they are more informations on the missile simulation available here:
Asked about engine limitation and aerodynamics, Nicholas comes to the same conclusions than we heard in the Razbam Interview by the 59th, last year. When it comes to aircraft simulation, they are no limits into what you can code, you will have to write your own simulation within the game. DCS only receives the output of the Heatblur FM simulation, so they are no real issues implementing swept wing.
F-14 Variants & Timeline
Heatblur was asked about the Iranian version of the F-14 Tomcat. They confirm a variant will be available in the game. The main difference will be the TCS – Television Camera Set which is removed, and the pilot 3D model. It will come with its own liveries.
Early access is confirmed for 2018. Regarding variants, we are learning that the F-14B will come first. A couple of month later, the F-14A should be ready, and the Iranian Cat will get delivered shortly after.
Systems and Weapons
The F-14 will feature a functional datalink featuring the Link 4 protocol. Regarding ground weapons, the definite list is unpublished yet, but Nicholas mentioned that it will be able to carry pretty much anything.
“It can basically carry LGBs, all type of PGM, dumb bombs, and even air to ground rockets”.
Heatblur plans to release some in-depth video of the aircraft system later in March.
Asked about the assets shipping along with the F-14, Nicholas did not detailed much, but mentioned plans to ship more AI content with the jet, beyond the already announced Forrestal Class carrier. Let the speculation begin !
“We’re working on the Forrestal Class Carrier,and we are working on some other ship units there, which we gonna launch on or after the F-14. And we are also working on some “few secret” – other additions which I think will bring the F-14 package one of the most heavy package available in DCS. […] We think the asset we’re announcing, that will ship with the F14, will be very useful to enhance the module itself.”
They are still a lot to learn about the F-14 and we definitively look forward to what Heatblur will bring this year. Kudos to the SATA team for organizing this interview.
You can listen to the entire interview there: https://www.twitch.tv/videos/232318162?t=02h23m26s