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  • Writer's pictureCaio "Hueman" Barreto

Light Attack: Low and Slow over DCS World

Updated: Jun 12

If you've played DCS for long enough, you're likely familiar with the usual air-to-ground gameplay loop: Find target areas on map, write down coordinates, punch coordinates into appropriate weapon or targeting pod, rinse and repeat.



There is absolutely nothing wrong with this - and learning how to manage your aircraft's systems to the point of becoming an utterly efficient TGP wizard raining down GBUs from above is a satisfying achievement. But, as with any single activity, doing it over and over again can get stale after a while. It's perhaps no surprise, then, that Cold War-era modules (and servers to play them on) have been more popular than ever - aircraft where, by and large, radar and advanced sensors take a backseat to the Mk. 1 Mod 0 Eyeball's central stage presence. There is, however, a subset of DCS World modules which takes this even further: Light attack aircraft. In DCS World, this group is mostly represented by jet trainers with attack capability, such as the MB 339, L-39ZA and C-101. But two mods you can try for free stand out: The OV-10 Bronco by SplitAir, and the A-29B Super Tucano by Luiz Renault.

While both of these aircraft are propeller-driven, and often get mistaken by casual viewers for aircraft of WWII vintage, don't let their looks deceive you: They are both purpose-built ground attack aircraft, able to carry copious amounts of ordnance for their size. They offer the hands-on flight experience of a warbird with the instruments, navigation and weapon systems of modern aircraft. They both also have large canopies with great all-around visibility, a great asset when flying at treetop level, looking for targets while constantly rolling and pulling turns to evade ground fire. There's something else to flying in DCS when suddenly every 23mm AA gun is a very real threat.

But flying these slower airframes isn't all about handicapping yourself - you do get a whole new set of capabilities from these unique aircraft. For instance, they can easily be operated from most in-game helicopter FARPs as long as there is a road or sufficiently large, level open field next to it. Their slow speed maneuverability also makes them excellent helicopter hunters.

Their ability to loiter over target areas and take a closer look also makes them great for spotting targets for other players in their fast jets - a role which the Bronco is particularly well suited for. OV-10 AFACs (as well as their colleagues in aircraft such as Bird Dogs and Mohawks) were an integral part of the Vietnam air war, marking targets with smoke rockets and coordinating strike fighter attacks, a role which I see as criminally underrepresented in DCS - and if you think playing AFAC would be boring, the first burst of ZU-23 fire you have to dodge as you roll in for a mark is sure to convince you otherwise.

If Vietnam-era aircraft aren't your thing, the A-29 offers all the amenities you'd expect in a modern 4th generation fighter. MFDs, HUD, NVGs - despite the mod in its current implementation having a simplified flight model (SFM), with its associated quirks, it does have fully functional custom avionics, and is an absolute blast to fly. It should give you a taste of what's to come once RAZBAM releases their official A-29 module - an easy to fly, nimble little turboprop with modern avionics and weapons.


If you're looking for something new in your DCS World experience, and the idea of cutting grass with your propellers while dodging red 23mm tracers entices you, I'd encourage you to try these lighter machines out. I know I've had some of the best fun in a while with them.

 
About the Writer

An incurable aviation fanatic since childhood, fascinated by the design and history of practically anything that flies. A long-time fan of flight games, he currently studies aeronautical engineering and pursues his hobbies of drawing, writing and flight simulation on his spare time. See Staff Profile.

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