On Wednesday Heatblur Simulations released the F-14 Tomcat for the Digital Combat Simulator (DCS World) as expected. The US-American combat aircraft was already available in advance from last October. Now pre-orderers can download the Tomcat via the module manager. However, the installation of the current OpenBeta version is required. Everyone else can get the product for about 80 US-Dollar either in the Heatblur-Store or at Eagle Dynamics.
The F-14 Tomcat is the second project from Heatblur Simulations after the Saab AJS-37 Viggen (read review). The development is said to have taken several years, according to the product page. The 3D model is therefore a digitization of real machines in several museums on the basis of laser scans and a special photogrammetry method. In addition, the detailed External Flight Model (EFM) was verified by real Tomcat pilots. Last but not least, Heatblur also emphasizes the replica of the AN/AWG-9 radar.
Multiplayer flights with the F-14 Tomcat
Because the Tomcat is designed as a two-seater combat aircraft, multiplayer operation with a two-person crew should also be possible in DCS World. One player then flies the plane, while another acts as Radar Interception Officer (RIO) and operates the systems. If you prefer to fly alone in the cockpit, you can use JESTER instead. This “almost lifelike” artificial intelligence then takes over the role of the RIO. By the way, the name comes from the movie Top Gun: Rick “Jester” Heatherly is the flight instructor of the young fighter pilot Pete “Maverick” Mitchell.
When it was introduced in the mid-1970s, the F-14 Tomcat was designed exclusively as an air superiority fighter and reconnaissance aircraft as well as for US Navy fleet defence. In the 1990s, however, the requirements changed and the aircraft was equipped with a LANTIRN target container for use against ground targets. This upgrade is also known as the Bombcat and is also part of the DCS World module.
What’s to come
Not yet included is the Tactical Air Reconnaissance Pod System (TARPS) for air reconnaissance. Also the original model variant F-14A is still missing. However, Heatblur would like to deliver both in the course of the Early Access phase.
The currently contained F-14B comes in comparison to the original version with newer engines of the type General Electric F110-GE-400. The previously installed Pratt & Whitney TF30-P-414A were notoriously unreliable and very susceptible to stall in the compressor stall. The upgrade also resulted in a significant increase in performance.
In 2006, the US Navy finally phased out the F-14 Tomcat. Since then, the model has only flown with the Iranian Air Force. The United States had sold a total of 30 Tomcats to Iran when the Shah was still in power. Only years later it came to the Islamic revolution, therefore the Americans did not deliver the last specimen.