If I were to ask you what makes DCS interesting and distinct, what would your answer be? I could guess that a varied range of answers could arise: from the people that love the action of close-in dogfight on both jets and props, to the folks that love dropping death from above with bombs; and those who prefer low level flying with helicopters or the few that enjoy tank combat!
But, aside from a couple of helicopters, we have not seen a specific type of gameplay which could be beneficial in bringing combined arms and air corps close by bridging the gap: Cargo.
I know that this opinion is not one that is shared by many, but I ask of you to at least read what I want to say here as I think I have a proposition for everyone who has any doubts.
Last year, a modder known as Anubis released a mod which is not only unique but one that has no precedent in the game: a relatively high fidelity C-130J Super Hercules with a clickable cockpit and an EFM (external flight model). This mod allowed me to have my first taste of what could be possible with a heavy cargo aircraft inside of the simulator. And I was immediately taken by surprise.
I always used to think that flying a cargo aircraft would be boring and tedious, but I was proven wrong. Cargo aircraft are not only for hauling cargo to and from airbases, but they can also deliver it directly to the troops/civilians in need straight to them by dropping it via parachute or LAPES in the case of the Hercules (Low Altitude Parachute-Extraction System).
With these capabilities, not even taking into account the mountable cannons, allow for some interesting mission scenarios for multiplayer sessions. One of which being a very interesting combined arms scenario which includes almost every playable vehicule type: "A group of soldiers, accompanied by a small armored regiment and attack helicopters, is in need of reinforcements. A group of F-16CM will escort a pair of C-130 loaded a paratrooper regiment and vehicules. The mission is to get the C-130s to their drop point and back to base safely."
To me, this is a multiplayer mission which I would love to be a part of as I wouldn't even have to choose which part to play because, surprisingly, all of the components in this mission are player controlled in one way or another. Even the dropped vehicules cold be player-controlled once they are on the ground. That being said, at the moment this scenario would only be possible thanks to the C-130 mod. Which leads us to the question on the title: Do cargo aircraft have a place inside DCS World?
To me, yes, they do. The C-130J mod has showed me how surprisingly fun tactical cargo aircraft can be in DCS; and, by looking at the way that the community has responded to this mod, I am not the only one that thinks that way. If, at any point in time, Eagle Dynamics were to release a high fidelity module of a tactical cargo aircraft; you can count me as a day-one buyer. Here's hoping that that happens one of these days.
This mod can be found on this discord server, where it was originally published.
About the writer:
Santiago "Cubeboy" Cuberos
Longtime aviation fanatic with particular preference towards military aviation and its history. Said interests date back to the early 2000's leading into his livelong dive into civil and combat flight simulators. He has been involved in a few communities but only started being active around the mid 2010's. Joined as a Spanish to English translator in 2017, he has been active as a writer and content manager ever since. Twitter | Discord: Cubeboy #9034