Review: DCS Mi-24P Hind-F by Eagle Dynamics
If there is one helicopter that has captured my imagination ever since I was a child, it has to be the Mi-24. From movies to video games and even in-person, I have always had the Hind in mind. Now, after years of development, Eagle Dynamics has finally released their Mi-24P Hind module to DCS; allowing us to have the highest fidelity simulation of this aircraft to date!
Since it is still very early in its early access (EA) period, not everything is set in stone when it comes to 3D assets, audio, systems, etc. Therefore, this article will be kept up to date as updates arrive to the module.
I will divide this article in several areas, as per usual, to make it easier for you to go to the parts that interest you the most. This is so you can judge this module for yourself and decide if it is a fit for your own flying style.
External and internal 3D models
Ease of use and learning curve
The state of ED's Early Access products
Is this aircraft for you?
EXTERNAL AND INTERNAL 3D MODELS
The Hind-F is the latest module by Eagle Dynamics, so it is natural that it has one of the prettiest and most detailed 3D models currently in-game. The level of detail reaches levels of absurdity in some areas, it is outright gorgeous.
From the rivets on the outer fuselage and the way that they have depth, to the internal turbine model that is only visible from certain angles; it is clear that a hundreds upon hundreds of hours were spent recreating the Hind to the highest level of detail possible. It boggles my mind how such a detailed model does not tank my PC's frames like some other aircraft have done in the past. It must mean that it has also been highly optimized, which is a feat in and out of itself. (Example of what I said here on the gallery above).
It is in areas like the rotor that you can clearly see how detailed the model really is. Every single mobile part has been painstakingly detailed and animated. It is hard to see when it is rotating, but the texture work is also sublime. I love it.
The external model might be gorgeous, but what you will be staring at the most is the cockpit. In this regard, the cockpit model has nothing to envy from the external model. The cockpit is bathed in the all too familiar Soviet teal-like blue. Every switch and button has been animated and textured in great detail. Metal textures look realistic and gauges feel alive. It feels like you are not flying a brand new Hind, but one that has been slightly weathered with time. even the leather on the seats and on the canopy frame looks fairly realistic! Cockpit lighting is just...beautiful. There is no other way to describe it. Here I will leave all the pictures that I have taken of the cockpit so you can see everything that I have said so far:
The most striking part of the effects is what appears to be the application of the new propeller technology to both main and tail rotors. It is the most convincing rotor effect I have seen in a simulator until now. At night you can actually see the halo emitted by the tip lights much more clearer than with other helicopters. This is great stuff, I tell you. You can see the halo effect which I talk about here on the Armament section of this article.
External lights look much different than in other modules. Gone are the floating balls of light and in are the more realistic looking navigation lights. Here, have a look:
Audio-wise, the Hind also makes itself known. Seriously, you will hear this beast approaching you. The multi-layered external audio design gives this bird a distinctly unique sounding engine and rotor sound from different angles. This has been applied on multiple modules over the years so this tech is nothing new. But its implementation here is excellent. I leave you with a recording so you can hear a bit of this design for yourself. VOLUME WARINING. Fly-by at maximum IAS (330 Km/h)
Just like the last time I talked about a helicopter flight model, I will state the following: I would like to clarify that I am mostly a fixed wing pilot. Most of my thousands of hours of flight sim experience have been with all sorts of fixed wing aircraft, not with rotary wing. I do not know the exact number of hours I have spent on rotary wing aircraft on both XPlane11 or FS2004, but I know it is not enough to say that I am deeply knowledgeable on how helicopters behave inside flight simulators but I can defend myself with them.
So my opinion in this category is one that comes from a more amateur side, unlike my fixed wing reviews. I will not be judging its realism either as I have never flown a helicopter in real life, and the only "real" helicopters I have flown are mini-coaxial RC helicopters as a child. My experience with helicopters has expanded since I said this, but I still stand by this.
With that out of the way, I would like to talk about how the Hind is the most unique-feeling helicopter I have ever flown on a sim. It does not like to hover, it is heavy and yet it is the fastest helicopter I've seen, to the point where I have gotten myself into retreating blade stalls because I was overspeeding it on a shallow dive (360-370Km/h).
It is not maneuverable in the way that some other helicopters are, you will not be doing loops like a Bo-305 or a Gazelle. At high speeds, you will notice that it relies a lot on its wings for stability and that the tail acts like a tail, aiding in stability. It is clunky, it feels like you are flying a boat; yet, it has to be the most fun I have had on a helicopter so far.
The Hind demands your attention at every moment, specially at low speeds. Once you start gaining momentum, it just goes. I can not attest for its fidelity in relation to a real Hind, but it sure feels like what I would think a Hind would. I have enjoyed every second of it.
If what you want is a modern tech-filled helicopter, you have come to the wrong place. The Hind shines on missions in which air superiority is guaranteed and AAA is light to none over the area of operations. Your armament and design lend themselves to a gun-ship style of mission, mostly proportioning CAS for your troops and escort for convoys.
This is a helicopter which is capable of doing sling-loaded cargo deliveries as well as troop transport. Hell, if you are empty and light, you could do both at the same time! You can do it all, as long as you are brave enough to get close to the enemy. Your ATGM missiles do not have enough range for you to do stand-off shots, a-lá Black Shark, nor are your sensors good enough to give you an accurate representation of the battlefield around you. You will have to get close and dirty with this helicopter. o
AT-6 Shturm-V-2 (9K114) ATGM
This is your only ATGM. Guided by a SACLOS (Semi-automatic command to line of sight) system, they required to be manually guided all the way to the target. Employing them can be a team effort, but I can assure you that both with Petrovich AI or with multicrew, that they can be an effective weapon!
GSh-30-2 30MM CANNON and MG PODS
The meanest weapon in your arsenal, by far. It is mean and it sounds mean. It is loaded with 250 rounds, which can last either really long or they can be gone in an instant depending if you use it on low or high fire rate. Here are examples of how both sound, enjoy.
Short burst, low fire rate:
Short burst, high fire rate:
You also have access to Machine Gun (MG) pods equipped with 12.7, 7.62 and 30mm grenades, which can be a bit lackluster with the current DCS damage model.
B-8 AND UB-32 ROCKET PODS
These are devastating for area denial purposes. You can equip both S-8, S-5 and S-13 rockets as well as larger S-24 rocket, those do not come on a pod.
A bit difficult to use precisely. They are still as deadly as ever, though. You have access to 100, 250 and 500Kg variants. As well as a bomblet dispenser!
EASE OF USE AND LEARNING CURVE
This is not a helicopter that can get the "Baby's first helicopter" award. It is not as easy to fly as a Huey nor is it as forgiving as a Black Shark. It lies somewhere between the Ka-50 and the Mi-8 in terms of learning difficulty. Mainly because, while you do have a stability augmentation system (SAS) in the form of your autopilot, it is far from the computer assistance encountered on the Ka-50. And yet, I have found that it is much easier to land in comparison to the Mi-8.
It has a relatively shallow learning curve, at least shallower than the Mi-8 or the Huey. Specially the Huey since that one has no kinds of assistance whatsoever, which makes flying it more similar to trying to balance a yoga ball at 100Kts.
I found that, on my 12 hours of flying time since release, I have been able to operate the Hind to a level in which I have been able to perform combined attacks with fighters and even multicrew employment of ATGMs!
PETROVICH AI, YOUR BUDDY.
Lastly, the Petrovich AI. While simple, it has got to be one of the most useful and beginner friendly aspects of this helo. Its manner use and UI are a bit clunky, being controlled solely through a 4-way hat switch, but it manages to make solo-pilots combat capable! I haven't had many issues with it, both from a gunner and pillot's perspective.
THE STATE OF ED's EARLY ACCESS PRODUCTS
This part is for those who are wary of EA products or those who have been disappointed by Eagle Dynamic's Early Access programs in the past. I know how something like the Hind being released as an EA product can generate a bit of doubt or mistrust, and it is understandable! After what happened with the F-16C's EA launch, with it being broken (lacking a damage model, broken collision boxes, lacking essential systems and weapons, etc.) many players have grown bitter with time, and I understand it. I was angry too when that took place.
But with the Hind, ED seems to have finally proven that they have learned their lessons from that event. All the systems implemented currently, work. Both cockpits (pilot and gunner) work to the extent in which I expected them to. But does this mean it is perfect? No. Does it have to be perfect on day one of an EA period? No. What is here is what should be the standard for any future ED Early Access programs for DCS World. A solid fundament in which systems will be built upon as the EA period progresses. Well done, Eagle Dynamics! Your devs should be quite proud of their work.
IS THIS AIRCRAFT FOR YOU?
If what you want in a module is:
A beast of an aircraft that makes you feel like you own the skies.
To annihilate any light armored targets in your way.
A uniquely-feeling flight experience.
A helicopter that can prove to you how fun helis can be.
If you don't mind:
Dying over and over trying to hover
The lack of truly stand-off ATGMs.
Having to find a friend to share this awesome experience with.
Being bullied for becoming a rotary wing fan.
If all or some of the above is what you want, then ED's Mi-24P Hind-F is for you.
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