Digital Combat Simulator

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Digital Combat Simulator
Developer(s) Eagle Dynamics
Publisher(s) The Fighter Collection
Engine The Fighter Collection Simulation Engine (TFCSE) / Eagle Dynamics Graphics Engine (EDGE)
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows 64bit only
Release date(s) 17 October 2008 (Russia),
10 December 2008 (English-language download),
7 March 2009 (Germany),
2 April 2009 (North America)
Genre(s) Combat flight simulator
Mode(s) Singleplayer, multiplayer
Distribution DVD, Download

Digital Combat Simulator World (DCS World) is a free-to-play digital military aircraft battlefield simulation developed by Eagle Dynamics (ED). It includes a free Sukhoi Su-25T attack aircraft and TF-51D Mustang, and is extensible through additional DCS modules as well as user-made add-ons and mods.

DCS World features a large area of the Caucasus region that encompasses much of Georgia - the location of the Russo-Georgian war in 2008, as well as additional locations such as Nevada and Iran, UAE and Oman which are scheduled to release in late 2014.

Additionally, DCS World includes: mission and campaign editors, online multiplayer, large inventory of air, land and sea combat units and weapons, advanced AI, mission generator, dynamic weather and seasons, training missions, mission replay system, and pilot log book.

This all allows the creation of real-world combat missions. DCS World allows both realistic game play and more simplified game play to suit the player.

DCS modules that can plug into DCS World include aircraft, maps and ground units. Modules for DCS World include modules developed internally by Eagle Dynamics, as well as those by certified third party developers. The first third party aircraft to be introduced was the UH-1H Huey.

Future and upcoming modules include the McDonnell Douglas F/A-18C Hornet, Aero L-39 Albatros, MiG-15, and Bell AH-1 Cobra.

In the first quarter of 2015 DCS World will be relaunched under the guise of DCS World 2 via a free update. 'DCS World 2' brings all the current aircraft, land units, and terrain into the new Eagle Dynamics Graphics Engine (EDGE) featuring DirectX 11.

Aircraft Modelling in DCS[edit]

As DCS World is Eagle Dynamic's effort to bring both their current flight simulator projects and parts of previously released stand alone products - such as Lock On: Modern Air Combat and the original Black Shark - all under one framework, fidelity of individual aircraft simulation varies from module to module.

The realism of the aircraft simulation varies according to the type of flight model, the level of system modelling, and the style of cockpit.

Flight Models[edit]

There are four aerodynamic flight models used in DCS World:

  • Standard Flight Model (SFM) - A data driven flight model, with some pre-defined scripting for some complex aerodynamic events. It should be noted that this applies to older aircraft only, and that Eagle Dynamics appears to be in the process of upgrading aircraft that use this model to more advanced flight models. The only aircraft availible to be flown by the player that have a Standard Flight Model are the Su-33, and all three variants of the MiG-29.
  • Advanced Flight Model (AFM/AFM+) - Airflow and edge of envelope simulation, using multiple points of force application and calculation on the relevant flight surfaces. Scripting of complex events is not used. An augmented AFM+ model which includes limited modelling of the fuel and hydraulic system weighting is also included in some aircraft (Su-25 and A-10A).
  • Professional Flight Model (PFM) - An expansion of the AFM, this level of modelling includes data from complex model wind tunnel simulation, a much more detailed and dynamic aircraft model (for example taking into consideration deployed or retracted landing gear, and the effects of deploying them in flight), complex simulation of control surface movements, complex simulation of autopilot actions, and the effects of fluid movements (fuel and hydraulic) on flight dynamics. This level of modelling also includes actual real world aircraft test data, where possible.
  • External Flight Models (EFM) - A subset of the PFM, made available for third party developers, it essentially defines all external forces from the PFM, but allows the developers to calculate and apply internal forces (fluid movements, control surfaces, etc.) within their own model.

System Models[edit]

There are two levels of system modelling in DCS World:

  • Standard Systems Modeling (SSM): Only cockpit system essential for flight, navigation, and combat are directly simulated - although the range of systems needed for these can be quite broad. Player control is limited to keyboard, mouse, and joystick/HOTAS controls.
  • Advanced Systems Modeling (ASM): Most cockpit systems are carefully modeled, even if they are not directly related to flight, navigation, or combat. Almost all cockpit controls are functional, allowing the player/pilot to interact with them using mouse or touchscreen. This means that for the most part, the aircraft can be controlled via on screen controls and the joystick/HOTAS controls, although keyboard controls are still an option.

Cockpit Models[edit]

  • 3DoF (3 degrees of freedom): A fully simulated three dimensional model of the cockpit, which the player/pilot can rotate the camera to "look around", and control the level of camera zoom. Head tracking hardware - such as TrackIR is supported. Eagle Dynamics is in the progress of upgrading aircraft from 3DoF cockpits into 6DoF cockpits. The MiG-29 series are the only aircraft that have a 3DoF cockpit.
  • 6DoF (Six degrees of freedom): A fully simulated three dimensional model of the cockpit is presented, which the player can not only "look around", but move the camera/head freely in three dimensional space. Combined with head tracking hardware, this allows player/pilots to "lean around" the flight stick to see controls on the panel in front of them, crane their head to look over the dash, or turn around and lean around the seat to look behind the plane in flight.

Eagle Dynamics Produced Modules[edit]

DCS: KA-50 Black Shark[edit]

A simulation of the Russian Kamov Ka-50 single seat attack helicopter, Black Shark was originally released in October 2008 as a stand alone simulation, with the updated Black Shark 2 released in 2011 to upgrade the simulation, and to change it to an expansion module for DCS World.

The Black Shark 2 module incorporates Eagle Dynamics Professional Flight Model, the Advanced Systems Model, and presents the player/pilot with the full six degrees of freedom style cockpit.

The Ka-50's full selection of armaments are simulated, allowing players to adapt the helicopter to gunship, anti-armour, and bombing mission roles.

The Ka-50 employs a high degree of automation, including a complex autopilot system, the Shkval-N video targeting system, laser ranging and tagging for laser guided ordnance (Kh-25Ml and 9K121 Vikhr missiles), and a helmet mounted targeting system. These systems allow a single crew member to assume both pilot and gunner roles simultaneously.

The Ka-50s battlefield data link systems are also simulated, allowing players in a multiplayer environment to coordinate, and share targeting and navigation aircraft between Ka-50 helicopters, although data sharing between the Ka-50 and other Russian aircraft is not possible.

DCS: A-10C Warthog[edit]

Released April 22, 2011. DCS: A-10C Warthog is a PC simulation of the U.S. premier Close Air Support attack aircraft, the Fairchild Republic A-10C Thunderbolt II. This is the second aircraft in the DCS products, following DCS: Black Shark, and raises the bar in the DCS products range. DCS: A-10C Warthog provides a realistic PC simulation of a modern fixed wing combat aircraft in regards to flight dynamics, avionics, sensors, and weapon systems. The player also has the option to play Warthog in "Game" mode for a casual game experience. Players can fly missions in the Caucasus region of the Black Sea against and with a wide array of air, land and sea forces with new and improved artificial intelligence. Players can create and share their own missions and campaigns with the included Mission and Campaign Editors, and fly with and against friends online using the included online game mode.

DCS: P-51D Mustang[edit]

First title in the "Flying Legends" series released September 17, 2012. Developed alongside ED partner The Fighter Collection, DCS: P-51D Mustang offers both highly detailed simulation and easy-to-play "game" mode options for both hardcore and casual gamers. 'Simulation Mode' allows the player to control the P-51D just as a real pilot would, while 'Game Mode' removes and simplifies most of the systems including the flight model, making for much more easier accessibility and flying. As with most other DCS World aircraft modules there is the addition of an interactive training system which puts you in the cockpit with an instructor that gives you step-by-step training instruction to fly the Mustang.

The module was developed with the assistance of Eagle Dynamics partner; The Fighter Collection, to achieve the highest quality and accuracy.

DCS: Combined Arms[edit]

Released in June 2012. DCS: Combined Arms gives the user control of ground forces during the battle. Players can use the strategic map to move ground forces, set artillery fire missions, and control the ground battle, as well as assume the role of a Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC) and designate targets for close air support aircraft, or directly control an armor vehicles or air defense weapons and engage enemy forces.

Combined Arms plays similar to real time strategy games, a first person armor warfare simulation, or direct the ground battle from the cockpit of a DCS aircraft like the A-10C Warthog, Ka-50 Black Shark, or P-51D Mustang.

Combined Arms supports both single player and multiplayer gameplay. When in multiplayer, different players can take on different roles such as artillery commanders, tank commanders, pilots, JTACS, etc. All roles can be changed dynamically during the battle.

DCS: Flaming Cliffs 3[edit]

Successor to Lockon Flaming Cliffs 2 and released April 30, 2013, Flaming Cliffs 3 (FC3) is the next evolution of the Flaming Cliffs series. FC3 features the F-15C Eagle, A-10A, Su-27, Su-33, MiG-29 and Su-25. While not as sophisticated as individual aircraft modules such as the A-10C, FC3 aircraft provide an easy learning curve for new players and focuses on a broad range of aircraft including air-to-air fighters and ground attack aircraft. FC3 adds a wealth of new features and improvements to previous versions of the Flaming Cliffs series. Like DCS A-10C & DCS Black Shark 2 FC3 is a module of DCS: World, which makes it compatible with all other DCS: World titles like A-10C, Black Shark 2, P-51D, and Combined Arms online and offline.

Through continued support additional content has been added via updates. These additions consist of high quality six degrees of freedom cockpits for the Su-27, A-10A, Su-25, Su-25T and Su-33 replacing the current dated cockpits, as well as Professional Flight Models (PFM) for the F-15C Eagle, A-10A Thunderbolt, Su-25 Frogfoot, and Su-27.

DCS: Fw 190 D-9 Dora[edit]

Released August 6, 2014. DCS: Fw 190 D-9 Dora is the second "flying legends" title, simulating the Focke-Wulf Fw 190 D-9, with the same accuracy and detail as the P-51D Mustang module. Like previous DCS World titles, features a detailed reproduced model of the aircraft, including the external model, fully interactive cockpit, mechanical and fuel systems, and a Professional Flight Model (PFM).

DCS: Bf 109 K-4 Kurfürst[edit]

Released December 3, 2014. DCS: Bf 109 K-4 Kurfürst, like previous DCS World titles, features a detailed reproduced model of the aircraft, including the external model, fully interactive cockpit, mechanical and fuel systems, and a Professional Flight Model (PFM).

DCS: L-39C/ZA Albatros[edit]

Set to release in Q2 2015. DCS: L-39C/ZA Albatros will be the first fixed wing module to feature multiplayer front seat and back seat capability. In addition to its training role, the L-39 can be loaded with ordnance and act as a light attack aircraft.

DCS: F/A-18C Hornet[edit]

The F/A-18C Hornet is currently in the early stages of development, with little info released. Expected for beta release in 2015 - 2016.

DCS WWII: Europe 1944[edit]

Currently in development by Eagle Dynamics, DCS WWII: Europe 1944 aims to satisfy seasoned aces as well as attract new pilots to the WWII simulator genre. DCS WWII will include in-depth manuals and training tutorials, detailed six-degrees-of-freedom cockpits with detailed modeling of each button and system, detailed terrain of iconic Western Front locations, a single-player experience recreating famous battles from both sides, and online multiplayer. Flyable aircraft are to include the P-51D Mustang, Focke-Wulf Fw 190 D-9, Messerschmitt Bf.109, Republic P-47 Thunderbolt, and Supermarine Spitfire Mk. IX, all released periodically from August 2014 to late 2015. Other aircraft to be released at a later stage include the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress and Messerschmitt Me.262A-1.

Terrain Modules[edit]


Scheduled to release in Q1 2015, Nevada will be one of the first terrain modules to be released and integrated into DCS World. The module will feature Nevada, Arizona providing a 360x360 km area of free to roam terrain. Iconic locations such as Las Vegas, Groom Lake military installation (known as Area 51), Nevada Test and Training Range (NTTR), Nellis AFB, and Lake Mead will be featured.

Nevada will be the first terrain integrated into DCS World to run on the Eagle Dynamics Graphics Engine (EDGE), providing new particle effects, higher texture terrain support, unlimited world size, and DirectX 11 support as well as allowing up to four GPU's via Nvidia SLI/AMD Crossfire.

Additional technical features include clipmaps, terrain shadow projection, and the option to project a map on a globe surface providing realistic curvature of the earth.

Strait of Hormuz[edit]

Scheduled to release in Q1/Q2 2015, Strait of Hormuz will be one of the first combat theater maps to be released and integrated into DCS World. The Strait of Hormuz terrain module will feature the countries Iran, UAE and Oman, providing a 390x390 km area of free to roam terrain. Iconic cities and locations to be featured include Dubai, Bandar Abbas, and islands Abu Musa and Greater Tunb, while featuring accurately rendered airbases in Iran, the UAE and Oman.

As with all other terrain modules such as Nevada, Strait of Hormuz will run on the new Eagle Dynamics Graphics Engine (EDGE).

Third Parties[edit]


The BelSimTek company was founded in 2011. BelSimTek is a Belarusian Engineering Innovative company that uses the skills of high-level scientists and engineers from Belarus, Russia and Ukraine to create professional-level flight simulators for both private and commercial companies.

DCS: UH-1H[edit]

Developed by Belsimtek and released April 30, 2013. Sponsored by Bell Helicopter, DCS: UH-1H Huey features a great level of modelling depth that reproduces the look, feel, and sound of the legendary Huey with detail and accuracy. Developed in close partnership with actual UH-1H operators and experts, DCS Huey provides a realistic approach to flying a Huey.

DCS: UH-1H Huey is the first DCS title to offer multiple player positions, including pilot, co-pilot, and door gunner. The helicopter can be flown as either a lightly armed combat transport or a close air support platform armed with steerable rapid-firing machine guns and unguided rockets.

Additional content has been added via updates, such as troop transporting abilities, cargo sling loading, and door mounted M134 miniguns. Content to be added at a later date includes troop loading and unloading animations and multi-player crew control.

DCS: Mi-8MTv2 Magnificent Eight[edit]

Second module developed by Belsimtek and released September 4, 2013. DCS: Mi-8MTV2 Magnificent Eight is a realistic PC simulation of the Mi-8MTV2, a combat transport and fire support helicopter and an upgraded variant of one of the most widely produced helicopters in the world - the Russian Mi-8. Developed by Belsimtek, the team behind the title DCS: UH-1H Huey, DCS Mi-8MTV2 continues to deliver realism and immersive gameplay within the DCS World virtual battlefield.

The simulation features accurate modeling of all primary aircraft systems, avionics, and proper functionality of nearly all cockpit switches and controls. Flight and other dynamics are modeled using real-time physics calculations and tuned using actual Mi-8MTV2 documentation and pilots involved in development and testing. The result is a helicopter model that correctly presents complex dynamic effects particular to helicopter flight, such as: autorotation, vortex ring state (VRS), translational lift, and many others.

DCS: F-86F Sabre[edit]

Released on July 25, 2014. DCS F-86F Sabre allows players to feel what it is like to fly the legendary North American F-86 Sabre, with a professional level flight model, an interactive cockpit, fully functional weapons, a detailed damage model and a highly detailed aircraft. Players can experience the strengths and weaknesses of the Sabre in combat and find out why seasoned fighter pilots often look back at the Sabre as the most enjoyable aircraft they ever flew. As part of DCS World, players can fly the F-86F Sabre in a fully realized combat environment with working weapon systems and capable air and ground threats.

DCS: MiG-15Bis[edit]

The MiG-15Bis is currently in development. Beta version to be released in Q1 2015

DCS: AH-1G Cobra[edit]

The AH-1G Cobra is currently in development. Beta version to be released in 2015.

Leatherneck Simulations[edit]


Released on September 18, 2014, the DCS: MiG-21Bis Fishbed includes both Air-to-Air and Air-to-Ground capabilities with various conventional weapons like missiles, rockets, bombs, and a built in 23mm cannon. The Mig also uses less widely known weapons such as advanced air-to-surface guided missiles, retarded, nuclear and general purpose bombs, and some special devices. The DCS: MiG-21Bis module features all the features as the other DCS aircraft modules, such as highly detailed six-degrees-of-freedom cockpit with detailed modeling of the MiG-21Bis instruments, navigation, electrical, radar, engine, fuel, and weapon systems, with fully interactive cockpit controls and an accurate highly detailed airframe.

Virtual European Air Operations (VEAO)[edit]

VEAO Simulations Ltd is a UK registered company developing realistic 3D aircraft models with fully working cockpit functionality and environments for Digital Combat Simulator.

BAE Hawk[edit]

Currently in the final stages of development. DCS: Hawk will feature the BAE Hawk T.1A Trainer, along with full accessibility to almost all switches and systems, allowing the player to operate the aircraft just as a real Hawk pilot would. Beta version is scheduled to release in late 2014. A future non-free update post product launch will introduce a Professional Flight Model to the Hawk.

Eurofighter Typhoon[edit]

The Eurofighter Typhoon is currently in the early stages of development. Estimated release date of 2015.

VEAO Development Roadmap[edit]

See a list of future aircraft being developed by VEAO here

Coretex Design[edit]

CoreTex Designs is a team of individuals looking to create a high quality DCS add-on to the best of the teams ability. Some of CoreTex Design members have years of experience in the flight simulator community including various degrees in Game Art & Design).

F/A-18E Super Hornet[edit]

The F/A-18E Super Hornet is currently in the early stages of development. Release date unknown.


C-101 Aviojet[edit]

The C-101 Aviojet is currently under development. Scheduled to release in Q1 2015


External links[edit]