Overview: DCS F-86F Saber by Eagle Dynamics
Updated: Mar 29
In a simulator known for its 4th Generation fighters, Beyond Visual Range (BVR) combat and advanced sensors, there are only a couple of birds that stray from this. To me, one of the best ones that I have had the pleasure to enjoy for quite a while is the F-86F Saber!
This module is quite old by now but it does not mean that it is useless. It is a module that has its own place and one that offers, alongside its rival the MiG-15, one of the most unique combat experiences in the sim.
FROM ENTIRE DIFFERENT ERA, BOTH IN AND OUT OF THE SIMULATOR
Everything about the Saber is old school, from its design to the actual module. Even the backed-in shadows in the cockpit belong to a previous era of DCS, one that did not even have the Eagle Dynamics Graphical Engine (EDGE) and all the fancy technology that we have become so used to with modern day DCS. In that regard, it is like a time capsule as to what DCS once was and I say that with the best intent possible.
Does this mean that the Saber is not detailed or lacks that DCS quality to it all? Not in the slightest. It could just stand to benefit from a visual upgrade down the line.
Cockpit design is pretty straight forward, important switches are within reach at all times and they follow a natural flow that allows you to be mission ready in no time. It is a very, very simple bird in its operation and there aren't really any notable quirks that make it feel unique. It is unique when it comes to comparing it to other birds of its era, though.
The MiG-15 is a bit more complex in its operation, but it is still rather simple. There is no other way to describe it. That's the nature of these aircraft, since they are a product of their era. Jet propulsion was relatively new and there were not any advanced systems as we know them now so the avionics are very straight forward. It was you, your aircraft, and the sky.
Here are some of the shots of the cockpit so you can see when I say that it would benefit from a visual upgrade:
THE GOLDEN ERA OF AIR COMBAT
So we come to the actual point of the Saber and the reason why I find the bird so appealing. There is no better aircraft to dogfight with in DCS, period. This is just pure, unadulterated air combat in its purest form. If what you like is the sense of losing yourself while keeping your eyes on your enemy, twisting and turning until one comes out victorious; then this module is what you should get day-one in DCS. It's just you, your guns and your enemy.
These birds are surprisingly fast and incredibly agile, agile enough to outturn even some modern fighters that have flight computers and stability augmentation when its pilot fights intelligently. Just know your limits and do not engage in scenarios where you know you will be at a disadvantage and manage your energy.
When it comes to weapons, it does not have that many. It has just enough so that it could be considered a ground attack platform, and not even a very flexible one. Which is understandable seeing as that's how aircraft design philosophy was at the time.
M3 MACHINE GUNS x6
These are your main weapon. Lots of ammo but lacking in armor penetration and damage overall. They can feel rather weak as some aircraft seem to just eat your bullets away with no significant damage taken. Thankfully, you have six of these!
Practically worthless against anything that is maneuvering, these missiles are better used for big targets such as bombers. They are easily spoofed by flares or the sun.
Nothing out of the ordinary here, these are your average HVARs. It can carry 12 of these!
M64 AND M117 BOMBS
Only two of these, but if your aim is true you will kill whatever it is you aimed at. Guaranteed!
What this module is is a homage to unaltered and pure piloting. A module which can only be enjoyed if what you want is to struggle your way through a fight with very limited aid from your aircraft or instruments.
It is a lovely module and one that I recommend to everyone out there to try at least once. If there only would be more servers which ran missions dedicated to this style of fighting, that would strengthen my recommendation even more. But for that to happen, the entire DCS community would have to shift interests, something I do not see happening.
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