Low Level High-Stakes Logistics: Flying supply runs in DCS World
Updated: May 30
Because of circumstances beyond my understanding, I have found myself flying a type of mission I never expected to fly in DCS: Logistical supply runs. I have learned a couple of lessons while trying to survive in these scenarios, so let's talk about them!
THE RECENT EMERGENCE OF PLAYER DRIVEN LOGISTICS
In missions like the many variants of Foothold, a relatively popular mission that many servers run nowadays, player driven logistics are key for the proper function of the mission. Up until now I had only seen smaller-scale implementations of these functions in-game, specially on multiplayer-focused content.
The way that has been implemented is that if an airbase is "liberated", either a player or an AI logistics aircraft will need to unload supplies on it to capture it and reinforce it. To do this properly, it is essential that at least one of the players playing the mission takes the role as the AI is not the best at its job. That is where I come in, as I am one of the only ones in my group that actively flies helos in the sim.
STAYING LOW AND FAST TO SURVIVE
Just like we have seen in the recent Russo-Ukrainian war, helicopter survivability rates go up as they get low to avoid both visual and radar detection. The same applies to DCS. To run some of these logistic runs, I have had to go so low that all I see is my shadow reflected on the grass as I speed towards the objective.
Doing this with cargo is a bit tricky, as the load you are carrying is worth more to the team than you are. Distance becomes a bit of a problem too, specially in maps like the Persian Gulf and Syria. I have done logistic runs that have lasted well over two hours due to the fact that the distance between the objectives and our bases grew and grew as my buddies kept capturing areas non-stop. It was a very fun experience and a very refreshing one for me.
I depended on my friend's escort throughout the runs as the enemy did try to intercept my flights many times. It was a team effort to get me to the objective, which was somewhat of a challenge when coordinating with your friends over a Discord call. But we managed.
THINGS TO COME: THE FUTURE OF LOGISTICS IN DCS
If we have this level of logistics and non-combat flying in DCS right now, I can only speculate how much it will change once the official C-130 module releases. It would be the first fixed wing logistics aircraft in the game with the ability to be extremely flexible as to how that cargo or those troops get delivered.
I love DCS for its combat aspect but I really enjoy this side of it. A side that does not hurt the enemy by directly engaging with it, but by facilitating the fight with the delivery of every tool necessary to bring the fight to them.
About the author:
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 the co-founder of Skyward ever since. Twitter | Discord: Cubeboy #9034