F-35A Lightning II, built on the Digital Combat Simulator platform is a full combat simulation game
F-35A LIGHTNING II
F-35A Lightning II will be a Lockheed Martin Licensed Product that features a beautifully rendered and faithfully detailed simulation of the F-35A and will not only be available in DCS World, but will include campaigns, training and instant action missions.
I have been designing and producing flight simulation products for both the general public and the military for almost 30 years. These projects have manifested in many different forms, ranging from F-22 and B-2 avionic integration into the most advanced simulators ever built, to a number of flight simulation games including; Saber Ace, Luftwaffe Commander, Combat Pilot and the first flight simulation center designed for the general public - FighterTown. But with all the projects, there has always been the same goal, to bring the joy and excitement of military aviation to a worldwide audience. The F-35A simulation includes more than just how a particular aircraft injects fuel into its turbojet engine or how it reacts to a high speed roll using only rudders. While important, they are wasted without significant intangibles such as easy to understand and reliable training in the form of missions, videos, and documentation. So it is with these core values and design prerequisites that we approach development of the F-35A Lightning II, the first of the series which includes the F-35B and C model
OPERATIONAL EVALUATION, OPEVAL (BETA),
OPEVAL is our form of Beta. It is used by aerospace and defenses contractors to bring weapon systems on line prior to being released with full operational status. Each test or evaluation within a specific area will be flown by F-35 Test Team Members, who will reference Test Cards and fly predesigned hops using a modified “DCS mission selection”, within DSC World, on Kinney Interactive Servers. Please note; that all Test Team Members will be required to download DCS World, which is free. They will then be given exclusive access to the Kinney Interactive Servers. Each F-35 model, starting with the A, will have their OPEVAL broken down into specific areas for testing and evaluation. These consist of an evaluation and or modification of the aerodynamic flight model, Avionics including navigation, communication, ECS, weapon operations, and aircraft systems to include the development of standard operating and emergency procedures and checklist. Finally, once the aircraft is certified as operational, F-35 Test Pilots will fly and evaluate training, combat and campaign missions. Test Team Members will be flying long before the general public; it is with their input that the F-35 will be made fully operation and ready for release to the DCS Community.
KINNEY INTERACTIVE SERVERS
Every F-35A Test Team Member will be given exclusive access the Kinney Interactive high speed servers where you will fly an evaluate every aspect of each F-35 model - starting with the A, ensuring a high level of fidelity and reliability prior to release to the general public.
F-35A Lightning II will include a number of squadrons from the countries that have the selected the F-35A as their next generation Strike Fighter. Lightning II’s systems, be it electric, hydraulic, fuel, navigation, or weapons, will be modeled in complete detail, following in the same high fidelity design philosophy as the DCS A-10 Warthog. The good news on the learning curve is that In many ways, because of the automated computer systems available on the Lightning, operation is much more straight forward than older less capable aircraft.
High resolution photos of the 3D model can be seen here...
Much is known about the basic systems on the F-35, it is a single engine, single seat design from Lockheed. A lot of the system integration will be updated and or modified as new information becomes available. I’ve included just a sample of the information available to the design team.
The F-35 truly is an electric jet, unlike current-generation fighters, the Lightning II will rely on "more-electric" systems to operate the aircraft, including an electric starter, electrically driven flight-control surfaces, and all-electric auxiliary power and emergency power.At the foundation of this innovative architecture is the electrical system, which includes the ES/G and the IPP. The IPP or integrated power package, a subset of the Power and Thermal Management System (PTMS), combines into a single system the functions traditionally performed by the auxiliary power system, emergency power system, and environmental control. At the heart of the IPP is a small gas-turbine engine that provides power to the engine-mounted starter/generator, bringing the engine to its threshold starting speed.The engine then increases to idle speed and the electrical system, which includes the engine-mounted starter/generator (ES/G) transitions from operating as a motor to operating as a generator.The IPP is also available for in-flight emergency power.
Avionics integration on the F-35 represents quite a challenge both in the availability of non-classified information and the implementation within the basic DCS code structure. Remember that High Fidelity simulation is the goal of every DCS project – THE F-35 IS NO EXCEPTION.
That being said, we do have some very good information especially on the crew interface. It may be true that we do not know exactly how a piece of hardware works, but we do know the amount and types of information the crew has or will have available within a margin of acceptable error. We do know the basic number and types of air and ground threats that can be tracked simultaneously and the sources, for the most part, of addition sensor information available from other assets such as wingman, AWACS, friendly aircraft, etc. We will develop and test acceptable limitations on the amount and reliability of this information under a variety of variables such as range and line-of-sight. And with all F-35 modeling; MAKE CHANGES AS NEEDED OVER THE LIFE OF THE SIMULATION. It wasn’t that long ago that the F-18E was classified… Now you can buy the flight manual on line!
Areas of risk in Avionic Integration include the development and certification of an Air-to-Ground Radar and the implementation of Synthetic-aperture radar or SAR. Both will require modifications to the existing DCS code base; work that the engineers at Kinney Interactive are capable of doing. And as a reminder, I lead teams that wrote integrated and tested avionics systems into simulators for both the B-2 and the F-22.
The F-35 features a integrated helmet mounted display or HMD which will be designed into the simulation along with the reconfigurable instrument all glass panel, and the aircraft's low radar signiture. Once integrated, the F-35A will be quite the BEAST over any battlefield! I have included below a small fraction of the information availably to the Kinney Interactive design team. In addition the Kinney Interactive design team will be making trips to fly in and document capabilities of the F-35 demonstrator simulator, including the HMD.
F-35A Lightning II will include squadrons from several different countries which have selected the F-35A as their next generation Strike Fighter. Specific squadrons within the listed countries will be selected by the founders
GAME MODES - STAND ALONE
F-35A will utilize the stand-alone mode to facilitate Campaigns, Training Missions, Instant Action Combat Missions available through DCS World. In addition specific founders that are part of the OPEVAL or Beta team will use a standalone version to fly test hops.
·INSTANT ACTION. Will allow you to quickly fly any pre-built mission allowing F-35A pilots to get right into it!
·CREATE FAST MISSION. Will give access to the mission generator so you can quickly create missions according to your specified parameters.
·TRAINING. An extensive set of training missions will be provided to ensure that every F-35A Pilot is completely comfortable with the operation of the aircraft and all of its avionic systems.
·CAMPAIGN. F-35A will include two campaigns in the Black Sea region. Unlike Missions, Campaigns are a series of missions linked together in a logical way resulting from your mission outcomes.
·REPLAY. After each mission an option will be available to save as a replay file.
·MULTIPLAYER. Available through DCS World, allowing for online interaction with other DCS pilots and Combined Arms
·MISSION EDITOR.The Mission Editor allows you to create missions big and small.These missions can then be used as single player missions, multiplayer missions, training missions, or to populate a campaign.This is a powerful tool and is the same one used to create the missions and campaigns included with the game.
·CAMPAIGN BUILDER. Using missions created in the Editor, you may use the Campaign Builder to create your own campaigns that you can play yourself or share with friends.
·INTEL BRIEFS.DCS WORLD provides full intelligence briefings, including data and images, of all the air, land, and sea units in the game.
·OPTIONS. You will have a number of options available allowing for customization of your graphics, audio, input, and game play options.
·CAREER FILE / LOGBOOK. Will allow for the creation and or deletion of careers and will display pilot awards, rates, accomplishments and statistics. All TEST TEAM MEMBERS will have the Test Team Icon displayed.
·MISSION BRIEFS. You will have detailed briefs available for missions including Online Missions through the F-35A community & high speed servers.
Again, all of us here at Kinney Interactive thank you for your support, and it’s important that you know that all of the funds will go towards the development and integration of F-35A Lightning II, (and reward fulfillment). Possible additions, based on Reach Goals, are listed below. Please note these goals will extend the schedule but will not change the initial delivery of the F-35A.
F-35A Lightning II includes Campaigns, Training & Instant Action Missions
F-35A + Ground Crew includes interactive Crew Chief for launch and recovery activities. We will also work to integrate the ability of the pilot to do a "Walk Around" prior to flights.
$155,000 - F-35C F-35A + F-35C will include CVN – 78 with full carrier operations plus interactive deck crew. Plus two more campaigns, (one Navy & one USMC), additional Instant Action, Training, and Online Missions. F-35C will have paint schemes for TWELVE SQUADRONS, (8 Navy / 4 USMC) Squadrons are subject to founder selection…
$220,000 - F-35B F-35A + F-35C + F-35B will include the LHA-6 America with full carrier operations plus interactive deck crew in support of the VSTOL fighters. Plus two campaigns, additional Instant Action, Training, and Online Missions. F-35B will have paint schemes for EIGHT SQUADRONS, (4 USMC / 2 UK / 2 Italy) Squadrons are subject to founder selection…
$775,000 - Taiwan F-35A + F-35C + F-35B + Taiwan will include Taiwan and the coast of China databases along with campaigns and missions in a conflict with China. The Mission Editor will be updated to include the latest ground and air threats.
For years I’ve developed games for publishers, all well-meaning, who have dictated content including features and growth potential. This was only right and proper as they were funding the project, they certainly had the right to make creative decisions. However, this lead invariably to compromises based on a philosophy which demanded a vanilla approach in design with the hope of attracting and or satisfying the maximum number of customers; a demand, I might add, directed many times by individuals with little or no passion for the product or its core users, and more often than not pleased no one completely. In addition, Kick Starter, allows us to involve founders as Evaluation Team Members. This will not only give us more test pilots, but allow for specific founders to get into the product much earlier than the general public and play a significant role in the development of this wonderful simulation product. And Finally, High Fidelity Flight Simulation projects have no chance of being funded through conventional avenues. For these reasons we have taken this approach at building a flight simulation product in order to have abandoned the typical developer / publisher model and place the future of F-35 Lightning II in the hands of flight simulation enthusiast. With this in mind I’ve tried to give you as much information on the game design as possible. I believe this is the only way to grow the Military Flight Simulation Experience, a segment that is sorely in need of an update. That being said, the team is ready and primed to build the next great aircraft for DCS – an aircraft that we will build together. YOU, each and every founder is our publisher, and we couldn’t be happier about that!
DCS WORLD TRAILER - For those who have not seen or played DCS World
Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Before I start any project, practically a software project, I always evaluate the risk based on the features, schedule and budget I’m working with. It is for this reason that we are using the outstanding DCS engine as the backbone of F-35A Lightning II – risk reduction. It’s also why I’m starting with a proven team of professionals that I’ve worked with for years, and a solid design document so everyone is on the same page – one vision. There are some unknowns when it comes to integrating new technology into the DCS base code, but most of the risk involves getting accurate information as to make the F-35A as complete as possible. It is possible that the delivery of the final product could slip a bit in our attempt to bring the best F-35 out of the shoot. And it is for sure that we will make regular updates as information becomes available. But after careful examination of the simulation product we intend to build, I feel more confident than ever before of delivering the OPEVAL test flights on time, and as you know the Test Team will be flying long before the general public gets their hands on the aircraft. Let me say again, we plan on building a product that elevates the bar on combat aircraft simulations, even within a the very fine DCS community; providing years of entertainment for all – A AIRCRAFT WE CAN BE PROUD OF.
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