I was abroad when the video was released, now that I am back, I can finally watched ED’s video:
After a couple of minutes with LibreOffice Draw, I approximated this sketch (I drew only what looks quite clear, not every detail):
When compared to the F-4’s gunsight, it is quite close. The following are two frames from a gun kill scored by an Israeli F-4 crew on 21/11/1972; the unfortunate target is a MiG-21 (Source: Israeli F-4 Phantom II Aces. Bloomsbury Publishing.).
Other aircraft that may claim the gunsight are the F-104 Starfighter or the F-105 Thunderchief, but their gunsights appear different from the one in the video.
Note, however, that the gunsight can change depending on the version / block. One of the most blatant cases is the F-14 and the HUD we are all familiar with, and the SparrowHawk upgrade.
Time will tell is this is really the correct aircraft being developed. What is certain, is that an F-4 is coming at some point, but there is no official announcement yet.
Guess the Dev!
Here is the question: who is making the F-4?
- We know that Heatblur has a “secret” module that will ship before the A-6.
- HB has recently launched the Forrestal, plus they are collaborating with TrueGrit.
- HB has developed a brilliant AI to enamb.
- We know that the module displayed at the end of ED’s “YYYY and beyond” videos is made by ED.
- Furthermore, we know that Belsimtek was working on the F-4E before merging with ED and moving to other projects (Viper).
- We also know that, during a recent interview (in Russian, here is the discussion in r/hoggit) the F-4 was mentioned, but the developer was not specified.
In all likelihood, Eagle Dynamics is working on the F-4. If that’s the case, we will surely get the F-4E, although and additional naval variant would be more than welcomed (see HB and Aerges, and their multiple-variants F-14 Tomcat and Mirage F1).
The following are some images released by Belsimtek before the merge with ED.
F-4: Why the hype?
The F-4 is certainly one of the most awaited modules of DCS. But why?
Flexibility and Popularity
The Phantom II demonstrated superb flight characteristics, flexibility and adaptability to almost any possible task: from air-to-air to air-to-ground, from reconnaissance to suppression of enemy air defences. Eventually, even as a target.
Those qualities are reflected in its longevity and popularity: introduced in the early 60s, it is still in service today! More than a dozen countries use or used the F-4 for the most disparate tasks. For example:
- United States: AF, Navy, Marines, NASA. Up to the 90s;
- UK: from late 60s to mid-90s;
- Israel: from late 60s to mid-200s;
- Iran: from late 60s, still in service;
- Germany: from early 70s, to 2013.
Here is a more detailed and complete list (Wikipedia).
The World Wars fighter
The F-4 Phantom was employed in an incredible amount of conflicts all over the world: from Vietnam to patrolling the European skies and seas during the Cold War, to the wars in the Middle East under Israel’s Star of David, and the never-ending war between Iran and Iraq.
In its long and varied operative life, the Phantom II has seen a plethora of opponents, and used a wide array of weapons. These aspects enable a ton of new settings and scenarios for DCS missions makers and players, on top of finally providing a key asset for the increasingly popular Cold War servers (I’ll be damned if I ever managed to find a free F-14 RIO slot!).
A new challenge
Let’s be honest: after a few hundred hours, flying as Radar Intercept Officer in the F-14 Tomcat feels… easy. The AWG-9 may be obsolete to modern standards, but it is still incredibly powerful, providing a level of SA unmatched by any other aircraft not flown by a computer and LINK16-dependant. Its weapons are great and easy to use, both the AA and the AG, and it is a very effective platform both in BVR and WVR, proving a more than capable adversary even versus modern fighters.
The F-4 Phantom II is surprisingly similar to the F-14 Tomcat in many aspects (someone called the F-14 the “Phantom III“) but, depending on the version developed, has several technological drawbacks: from the lack of slats, internal gun, and the subpar AIM-7 of the earlier models, to the advent of tough opponents, such as the MiG-25 and, later, the MiG-29, which make the tech difference much more pronounced than the Tomcat.