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Mini DCS A-10C Review by Eric J

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Mini DCS A-10C Review

By Eric J




The A-10C is perhaps one of the best aircraft to fly, along with the A model Hog I reviewed beforehand.  However the A-10C is the jewel in my opinion of the study modules (FC3 is still good don’t get me wrong) and deserves note as it’s perhaps the most complex aircraft compared to the other modules.  That and its wartime record (of which I’ve used in Afghanistan myself) gives the aircraft an excellent reputation for an old aircraft still doing its job to the warfighters currently in Afghanistan and again in Iraq against ISIS.


Flight Model

As of 1.2.14 the flight model of the C model is unchanged, but there are still some nuances when flying the C compared to the A model in Flaming Cliffs 3.  Maneuverability is better but there is still oscillation when you pull too hard on the stick, and you can lose control of the aircraft but that’s if you consistently pull the stick.  Generally though the C model flies better and in various mountain flying tests can be inverted and not crash into the side of the mountain, but again take it easy when handling the A-10C anyway.  And it is recommended as always to be firm with the aircraft and it will perform for you.  It is not a speedy aircraft but overall it is comfortable for me is that what it does in real life.


To start somewhere on this aircraft I will start with cockpit stuff and then go into the other details as they come along.  So the first thing is of course the cockpit is fully clickable with full 6DOF support.  Of course most of these have keyboard mapping and quite honestly when transitioning from the A model to the C model it looks daunting at first.  Well, the most daunting task of the A-10C is of course the startup sequence.  If I remember correctly there are nineteen steps in performing this task and quite frankly was one thing that initially turned me off about this aircraft.  I don’t mind taking the time to learn clickable planes and compared to the VRS Super Hornet F/A-18E, the C Hog is way more complex than that aircraft, which relatively speaking is easier and when the DCS: Super Hornet comes out (or DCS: Hornet) I may transition to those jets.  However there is an automated sequence that is available for both startup and shutdown so if you’re like me who really doesn’t care about learning the steps, then that option is always available.


Along with that are the myriad CDUs, radios that of course are well explained in the rather exhaustive manual (which is as a PDF document, 671 pages.  So there’s a lot of manual reading.  However while complete, it still takes a lot of flying and practicing to get proficient at the basic level as it’s highly recommended to take it one step at a time and recommended to (if you can afford it) a Thrustmaster Warthog stick.  However I do use a TM Hotas X and quite honestly don’t mind using it as it’s growing on me and recommended as a “low end” stick but otherwise has proven to be real nice for the most part in flying in the C model.  However, if you can afford to purchase such a stick then it’s highly recommended and the simulation recognizes the stick and automatically maps everything for you according to the correct stick functions.  It also shows you what does what in the manual.  For those without such a stick it takes some hunting and pecking and while not as complete as the regular manual, the Quick Start manual does help greatly in figuring out what to at least get you shooting.  The reason is that it shows the keys to use and below is a small short reference for those who need to get flying in the air and have spent hours trying to figure everything out:


 HOTAS CMS Forward    =  Ejects flares/co untermeasures

 HOTAS Boat Switch Aft =  White Hot switch for TGP

 HOTAS Boat Switch Center =  CCD (normal camera) switch for TGP

 HOTAS Boat Switch Forward =  Black Hot switch for TGP

 HOTAS China Hat Switch Aft =  Resets TGP and Maverick and HUD when thatpage is SOI

 HOTAS China Hat Switch Forward =  Zoom in/out for Maverick and TGP when on that specific page

 HOTAS DMS Aft =  Zooms out TGP view

 HOTAS DMS Forward =  Zooms in TGP view

 HOTAS Master Mode Button =  Switches between NAV, GUNS, CCIP, and CCRP modes

 HOTAS Slew Do wn = Moves Pipper  down when TGP/HUD/Maverick is SOI

 HOTAS Slew Left = Same as above and moves the pipper left

 HOTAS Slew Right = Same as above and moves the pipper right

 HOTAS Slew Up = Same as above and moves the pipper up

 HOTAS TMS Forward = Allows you to select AREA and POINT settings on the TGP,

 where POINT is designed for moving targets.To designate for targets hold this command down which

 is necessary for JDAM and the CBU-103/105

 Nosewheel Steering Button = During flight allows you to fire the laser from your TGP

 (IR or Designator/Both) and naturally when you land allows you to steer the nosewheel


While the above doesn’t cover everything it does allow you to get started and as you spend more time in the manuals as well as the various supporting forums to ease you along in your journey (and what it is) in becoming a proficient pilot, as well as getting in the virtual cockpit and flying the aircraft.  As you see also most of this focuses on weapon employment which of course is what the A-10C is best at, in the simulation and most definitely in the real world.  As a former JFO who deployed to Afghanistan needless to say when these were supporting elements in my light infantry company they were always welcome.  But overall the handling of the C Warthog is of course better than the A but I still fly the A because I like both for their own reasons.  The A version for its simplicity and ability to focus sometimes better on the fight, while the C model with its bells and whistles offers expanded capabilities and abilities in the close air support fight.  The only other thing compared to the FC3 A-10A is that when you land ensure you activate the Nosewheel by pressing the N button (keyboard default) and it will enable steering.  I’ve found this out the hard way when starting on the C as when I landed at speed the rudder does provide some input and help but when you slow down the aircraft moves around so remember to do this everytime you land.  It also when using the TGP enables you to fire the laser designator/IR Laser when the system is SOI.  And for those who always hear it and wonder what it is, it means Sensor of Interest, or in layman’s terms, makes that page or HUD active for you to directly manipulate.




The last part of the module is the JTAC portion, which is very comprehensive and while as a JFO I offered my input to the module I can’t think of everything and therefore the other JTACs or SMEs still made this one of the best modules to date.  And yes I am one of them but the product shines through as the least buggy of the modules so far and quite honestly while I tend to express my opinions later in the review, I do highly recommend learning this plane.  As five weeks into flying it I still have a long way to go in knowing everything, but then again I know enough to be successful on the virtual battlefield.  Admittedly I did not and don’t use the JTAC portion of the module simply because I’ve done the real thing so overall I don’t need to “get on the ground” that much and simply fly as if a JTAC was talking to me for when I practice flying.


While I touched on weapons use above, the aircraft with its upgrades uses the AN/AAQ-28 Litening III targeting pod (or as colloquially referred to as the “TGP” on various forums) as its main sensor platform and at first is hard to use but once you get the basic familiarity of the system and its limits and capabilities, becomes second nature to use compared to the A model.  But the merit of the A model is that you can focus on shooting more than the C, which to be fair has done its fair share but overall in some cases takes a bit longer as you need to put the TGP in the right spot but in some cases allows you to setup for shots better than the A version.  And like most other things when the DCS: Hornet and DCS: Super Hornet modules are released the constant use of the TGP will help you along (given the constraints of those airframes of course) in using that on those aircraft.


The C model can also through the TGP use the JDAM and WCMD munitions, as well as the Paveway GBU-12 and GBU-10 through the internal laser designator (which can also “shoot” an IR laser as well for A-FAC duties).  More often than not I use the GBU-12s more than the GBU-12s or even the GBU-31s as their better and more precise than the big brothers.  However even I like the big booms (former forward observer so high explosives in a way my specialty) and needless to say they deliver.  However a full range of rockets, and bombs are available for use if you prefer the old iron bombs (and the TGP can also enhance accuracy if you use it right) to hang off the pylons, as well as fuel tanks and travel pods (which don’t do anything but good enough for atmosphere for a related mission) and uses historical configurations as well as preset configurations for you to explore the aircraft and use.  And the gun of course is well modeled, and you can select from a Combat Mix to HEI to Training Practice rounds.  And while the screenshot is just a taste of what you can carry the aircraft responds accordingly when the munitions are dropped from the aircraft as re-trimming your aircraft is of course a necessity.


With all of this the aircraft is fun to fly just on its own and without the weapons play.  The aircraft does come with Night Vision Goggles so unlike the un-modded A-10A, is day and night capable and only enhances your virtual flight.




3D Model/Textures

Like the A model Hog the A-10C is accurately modeled in the 3D model.  My only complaint which is superficial is the inclusion of the Pave Penny pod and the mounting frame.  Current A-10Cs do not mount this as its unnecessary weight and drag on the aircraft.  While practically this doesn’t hinder or enhance play it would be good to have a correct aircraft (and so the Hog C pilots have another reason to act superior on the forums).  Despite this everything works as it should and the cockpit needless to say is fully functional.


From what I’ve seen on the forums a lot of people seem to make a lot of skins for the A-10C and therefore neglect the A version, which uses the same templates and textures.  It causes confusion for some people from what I’ve seen who assume A-10A textures don’t work with the A-10C, and after doing a few myself, the only major difference is the wedge behind the cockpit is mapped… somewhere.  In any case the details are always amazing and always appreciate the time put into the default textures.  My only real complaint is the 23rd FG version, in which the colors are totally off and to me looks like the artist used some decals from an image for the shark mouth, which in my opinion is lazy but overall though the two-tone grey textures are topnotch, and while as an artist it’s slightly off to me, it works and therefore I deal with it.  I just prefer the European 1 still to the two tone grey but again that’s a personal opinion and not anything against the art team of Eagle Dynamics.


And needless to say if you don’t like the textures at all that Eagle Dynamics supplied with the module, the templates in Photoshop format are available from the main DCS site.  Manipulating them is at first difficult but again the quality of the templates (I wish they would add some more of the 3D mesh areas for the other bits that seem to be missing, such as the wedge antenna and the doghouse between the engines as well as the holes in the airframe) is very impressive and comes with the MD textures, so I do appreciate putting MD first as a Maryland resident but that’s not the case.  While there is no reason to assume anything it does help with orienting various textures on the 3D mesh, such as the engines, which require careful orientation in order to look right.


And last but not least, various liveries are available online at Lockonfiles.com, the main DCS site, as well as on CombatAce.com.  Adding them to the stock liveries is easy and if done correctly can enhance your play online or by yourself.





I went over most of the functionality of the aircraft above, but for this portion again it looks daunting at first but overall the cockpit is fully clickable and works great.  After a while the operation of various systems does become second nature and instinctive to use but overall if you take the time to figure the aircraft out, is very rewarding (like anything in the DCS series) the aircraft will provide you with good playtime as well.


Major issues so far        

It wouldn’t be fair to say that the aircraft is bug free; however compared to some other aircraft it’s relatively bug-free.  Granted Eagle Dynamics/TFC doesn’t catch all of the bugs but overall there is no feeling of it being bugged and not usable.  It’s fun and enjoyable to fly and that reason alone that the bugs are kept to a minimum keeps me flying it.  However the ones that seem to be notable is improper inventory notations through the DSMS page when rearming on the ground but as such the weapons do show correctly on the aircraft.


Final Thoughts

While at first I shied away from the A-10C because of the complexity, not the overall quality of the product I highly recommend buying this module if you can.  Not because I had a personal part in the overall grand scheme of things but the fact that it is one of the best polished modules to date.  Granted every program has its issues but the patch updates keep it flying well and starting to enjoy the aircraft more and more as I get more competent with it.

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