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Community A-4E-C for DCS World, v2.0

About the A-4E-C Project

The A-4 was a cold war workhorse which proved to be a capable, reliable light attack aircraft to dozens of nations around the world. From the jungles of southeast Asia, to the desert of Sinai, to the coasts of South America, the scooter was a common sight above battlefields around the world for decades.

The A-4E-C represents more than five years of work on behalf of the development team. We're thrilled to share our most comprehensive DCS World module to date in this 2.0 "Forever Free" update, featuring a realistic flight model, improved systems simulations, increased functionality across all DCS World's available maps, full carrier compatibility, radios, air refueling, and improvements to the ground radar, sound feedback, textures, controls and inputs. This update also adds a user manual in PDF format as well as in the DCS kneeboard, packed with useful checklists and procedures that cover everything from start-up to weapons deployment.

If you haven't flown the A-4E-C since version 1.4, this is a great time to see it again for the first time. If you're new to DCS World, we hope you will find the A-4E-C a good option to learn to fly, and instructive in helping you decide what other modules you might want to pursue next.

We'd like to thank the dozens of people in the DCS World community who have made contributions in bug reports, liveries, expertise, research, videos, community flight instruction, server hosting and for their camaraderie over the years. We dedicate the module to the memory of Eric "Gospadin" Mudama. This labor of love would not have been possible without his initial coding and project coordination.

DO NOT redistribute this mod without permission!

Contributing Developers

Gospadin, Heclak, Joshua Nelson, plusnine, Farlander, gyrovague, kryb/Archimaede, Merker, Jones, Nero

Community Contributors

SkateZilla, uboats, Dr. Manius, LevelPulse, Cubeboy, Talo, GVad, OpticFlow, pohlinkzei, Coragem, Sidekick65, SPINEG, Shadowfrost, Sport, Historiker, rudel-chw, Luciano, Malamem, HellesBelles, Bungo, Corsair016, FlyingHueman, JacobBadShot, JP Gabobo, Rob, ataribaby, The Original HoggitDev Team, Eric Haugen

Features

  • Realistic external flight model and engine simulation
  • Clickable cockpit
  • Carrier landing and takeoff
  • Air refueling
  • AN/APN-153 Doppler Navigation Radar
  • AN/ASN-41 Navigation Computer
  • AN/ARC-51 UHF Radio
  • AN/ARN-52 TACAN
  • AN/ARA-63 MCL (ICLS)
  • AN/APN-141 Radar Altimeter
  • AN/APG-53A Radar
  • AN/APR-23 Radar Homing and Warning System (ECM)
  • AN/ALE-29A Chaff Dispensing System
  • Automatic Flight Control System (AFCS)
  • Approach Power Compensator (APC)
  • AWE-1 Aircraft Weapons Release System (AWRS)
  • CP-741/A Bombing computer (CCRP)
  • AGM-45A Shrike anti-radiation missile (SEAD)
  • New weapons:
    • AN- series WWII munitions: M66, M81, M88
    • MK4 HIPEG 20mm gunpod
    • Mk-77 napalm canister
    • SUU-7 bomblet dispenser
  • Unique sounds inside and outside the aircraft
  • User manual (PDF and Kneeboard)

Version 2.0 Changelog: Featured Items

  • Features:
    • Added External Flight Model (EFM) with flight dynamics, suspension, slat simulation, differential braking, cockpit shake, wing vapour and more.
    • Added Pratt & Whitney J52-P-8A engine simulation.
    • Added SuperCarrier compatibility.
    • Added carrier mod support (HMAS Melbourne, HMS Hermes).
    • Added air-to-air refueling.
    • Added exterior engine sounds.
    • Added many interior sounds.
    • Improved interior sound localization and feedback.
  • Systems:
    • Added AFCS stability augmentation.
    • Added AN/ARC-51A UHF Radio with VOIP. (thanks Harald)
    • Added AN/ARN-52 TACAN.
    • Added AN/ARA-63 MCL (ICLS).
    • Added AN/ASN-41 Navigation Computer drift on long flights and heavy maneuvers.
    • Added CP-741/A bombing computer.
    • Added fuel flow system.
    • Added oxygen system.
    • Improved Approach Power Compensator (APC) behavior.
    • Fixed spoiler behavior to deploy/stow properly (weight on wheels, engine RPM under 70%). (thanks pohlinkzei)
  • Weapons and Loadouts:
    • Added BDU-33 training bombs.
    • Added SUU-25 parachute illumination pod.
    • Added empty fuel tanks.
    • Added AIM-9 growl and lock tones (fixes missing sound bug).
    • Improved AIM-9 missile loadouts, sidewinters are now available to mount on stations 4 and 5.
    • Removed non-functional loadout options to reduce confusion about module functionality: AGM-12C Bullpup, AGM-62 Walleye, D-704 Refueling Pod (see FAQ).
  • Missions:
    • Added new instant action missions across all maps (thanks Sidekick65, Cubeboy, Shadowfrost, SPINEG).
    • Added runway strike and anti-ship strike roles.
    • Improved instant action missions.
    • Added Argentina and Chile to available countries.
  • Textures:
    • Added unique helmets, pilot uniforms and patches.
    • Added preliminary damage textures.
    • Improved exterior and interior textures. (thanks HellesBelle, Sport, JP Gabobo)
    • Fixed exterior and cockpit model material names to avoid conflicts.
  • Liveries:
    • Added Community III: Forever Free, 2021 (Fictional).
    • Added Community IV: Sea Otter, 2021 (Fictional).
    • Added Argentina FAA Falklands Brigada IV and V, 1982. (thanks GVad)
    • Added Australian Navy Squadron 805, 1972. (thanks HellesBelle)
    • Added Brazil Marinha do Brasil VF-1 LoViz, 2018.
    • Added Brazil Marinha do Brasil VF-1 15 AÑOS, 2013. (thanks Bungo)
    • Added Finland FiAF, 1984 (Fictional). (thanks FinCenturion)
    • Added Malaysia TUDM M32-29 No.9 Squadron, 2004. (thanks JacobBadshot)
    • Added USN VA-46 Clansmen, 1967.
    • Added USN VA-83 Black Lancers, 1966.
    • Added USN VA-106 Gladiators, 1967.
    • Added RAF Empire Pilots Test School Raspberry Ripple (Fictional). (thanks FlyingHueman)
    • Added RNZAF Golden T-Bird No.2, Squadron Ohakea, 1986. (thanks Corsair016)
    • Improved inaccuracies and naming across liveries.
  • Quality of Life:
    • Added PDF and kneeboard manual (press RSHIFT+K) in the cockpit. (thanks Rob, Sidekick65)
    • Added cockpit controls indicator (press RCTRL+ENTER in the cockpit).
    • Added AN/ARC-51 UHF Radio frequency presets printout to right console panel.
    • Added new input categories.
    • Added dozens of inputs and variant input options.
    • Added special menu options for Trim Speed, Cockpit Shake, CSS mode FFB Deflection, Simple Braking (Rudder Assist).
    • Added a command to request the ground crew to lock the slats (useful for aerobatic formation flying).
    • Improved labeling alignment across tooltips, inputs, user manual and NATOPS manual for easy searching.
    • Improved trim reset for smoother performance.
    • Improved keyboard axis input behavior and recentering.
    • Improved smokewinder pod operation (weapon function select independent).
    • Improved main menu logos and iconography. (thanks Sport)
    • Fixed FFB stick support.
    • Fixed lots, and lots, and we mean LOTS of bugs. (thanks to the many A-4E-C users who helped identify, replicate and solve these!)

See full changelog

Known Bugs and Incompatibilities

  • Incompatible with AH-6J Little Bird, CH-47 Chinook, and CH-53E Super Stallion mods (DCS bug).
  • Pilot blacks out when throttling up to hook up to catapult on SuperCarrier.
  • Dispensing high volumes of bomblets (40+) from SUU-7/CBU-1/CBU-2 can cause performance dip or crashes to desktop.

See full issue list

Installation

Failure to perform these steps will result in DCS World not recognizing the module, inability to use the module, input errors when using the module, or client integrity check failures on multiplayer servers that require them. Never install the A-4E-C files directly into your DCS World installation files! Installation size is around 1 GB.

STEP 1: Upgrading from an older release

  • If you are upgrading from an older version of the A-4E-C, completely uninstall your old version. If this is a brand new installation, skip this and move on to Step 2.

  • First, uninstall the module's files from C:\Users\username\Saved Games\DCS\Mods\aircraft\A-4E-C

  • Next reset your A-4E-C input bindings by deleting the contents of C:\Users\username\Saved Games\DCS\Config\Input\A-4E-C

STEP 2: Installing the module files

  • Download the latest official A-4E-C release package. Do not download directly from the Github repository.

  • Place the Mods\aircraft\A-4E-C folder in into your Windows user folder's Saved Games folder for DCS, e.g. C:\Users\username\Saved Games\DCS

  • If you have installed other DCS World mods, you might already have the Mods and aircraft folders indicated in the file path. If so, merge the new A-4E-C folder into the existing folders.

  • Never install the A-4E-C files directly into your DCS World installation files!

STEP 3: Verify installation

Launch DCS World. If your installation was successful, the A-4E-C theme icon appears as a option in the main menu:

Image of DCS World Menu with A-4E-C Theme

Installation Troubleshooting

Your correctly installed files should look something like the following image, substituting your Windows account name where the image displays Partario. If you're using the openbeta branch of DCS World, the folder might be DCS.openbeta instead of DCS:

Image of A-4E-C installation

  • If you have multiple DCS-related folders in your C:\Users\username\Saved Games, for example, DCS, or DCS.openbeta. If you are unsure which folder your DCS World installation is using, locate the dcs_variant.txt file in the game files. If this file is present, its contents determines the folder structure your DCS World installation is using. Alternately, load DCS world and use the mission editor to create and save a mission. Search this mission file using Windows explorer to locate the proper folder structure.

  • If you are receiving an authorization error at launch, you have installed the module incorrectly. Revisit the installation instructions above. Be sure to remove any and all improperly installed files before correctly installing the module.

  • If the A-4E-C icon in the DCS main menu shows a default DCS logo, is missing the theme background and music (or you experience crashes when loading a mission), you have incorrectly downloaded the module. Download the latest official A-4E-C release package.

  • If you can load a mission, but can't take control of the A-4E-C, ensure you have installed Microsoft's Visual Studio 2015, 2017 and 2019 Redistributable libraries. Restart your computer after installation of the appropriate libraries. For most users, this is vc_redist.x64.exe

  • If you can't find the A-4E-C in the Mission Editor, ensure the historical mode filter is disabled by toggling the clock icon at the bottom of the screen, as shown in the following screenshot:

Image of the Mission Editor pointing out the location of the Historical Filter

Multiplayer Troubleshooting

  • A DCS standalone server hosting missions with the A-4E-C must have the A-4E-C module installed.

  • A server can host players who do not have the A-4E-C module installed on missions that feature it, you will need to be ready to get a little hands-on with your mission files. The Mission Editor dictates that any mission with an A4-E-C in it requires the module (just as it would any other aircraft), and it's .miz mission files are, in fact, .zip files.

  • Make a copy of your .miz file, and rename it with a .zip file extension, and unzip it.

  • Inside, you will find a mission file (no extension). Open this file in your text editor of choice (Notepad works just fine), and search for requiredModules. Remove the A-4E-C's entry, as shown in this example:

["requiredModules"] =
{
     ["A-4E-C"] = "A-4E-C",
}
  • Once you have completed the edit, save the mission file, and re-create a new .zip (carefully maintaining proper folder structure, of course). Rename your modified mission .zip back to a DCS .miz file extension instead.

  • Finally, test your altered mission by yourself or with a friend to ensure it loads properly, and that clients are able to load into the mission or server without the A4-E-C installed. In this instance, DCS will display any A4-E-C units as default-livery Su-27s, and players without the module cannot take control of unit, just as if they did not own any other DCS module in a multiplayer mission.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is it really free?

Yes! The A-4E-C will remain forever free!

Q: Are there any plans to obtain the Eagle Dynamics SDK, make the module official, or make the module a part of the default DCS install package?

No, the A-4E-C will continue on as a free and open-source resource anyone can download and install to enjoy.

Q: Can I donate to the A-4E-C project?

No, we cannot accept donations, but we appreciate your words of support! There are so many good causes out there. Consider donating to one of those instead!

Q: Can I get involved with the A-4E-C project?

Yes! First, join the Community A-4E-C Discord server and introduce yourself! We can always use a hand from game artists, programmers or reliable testers as we continue to move the project forward. If you think you have something to contribute, don't hesitate to reach out in the chat.

Q: Is there a manual or tutorials?

Yes! Locating the NATOPS manual for an A-4E/F is the gold standard for understanding this aircraft, but there is a lot of helpful guidance included in the user manual. To access the manual:

  • Once inside the cockpit, open the kneeboard by pressing RSHIFT+K
  • Read the PDF manual in C:\Users\username\Saved Games\DCS\Mods\aircraft\A-4E-C\Docs or read it online

Past that, Sidekick65's YouTube Channel features high-quality video tutorials on many systems.

Q: Is there a paint kit I can use to create my own A-4E-C liveries?

Yes! This A-4E-C Paintkit includes the aircraft's top, bottom and fuel tanks. See the included liveries for helpful examples setting up your description.lua files.

  • Liveries created for versions of the A-4E-C prior to 2.0 must update the material names in their description.lua

  • Install original or downloaded liveries just as you would for any other module, in C:\Users\username\Saved Games\DCS\Liveries\A-4E-C

  • Never put your hard work at risk by installing liveries to the module's files!

Q: Can I fly the A-4E-C as a tanker?

No, not at this time.

Q: Will guided weapons like AGM-12 Bullpup or AGM-62 Walleye be added?

The AGM-12C Bullpup is a possibility with more work, but no promises just yet! Our A-4E-C cockpit model lacks the TV monitor used for the Walleye display.

Q: Why doesn't the A-4E-C have a nosewheel steering button?

There is insufficient evidence to suggest that the A-4E had NWS. According to our research the the revisions and reworks relating to the NWS were applied to only the -F models. If you find evidence that E's did in fact have NWS, please share it!

Q: Are there any plans to simulate other variants or later models of the A-4?

No, there are no plans nor keen interest to pursue this, especially since there is a lot left to add and improve one with our beloved A-4E-C. Additionally, the advanced avionics in later models would not be able to be completed in a satisfying manner.

Q: Why doesn't the A-4E-C work with my favorite mission or multiplayer scripting system?

Some scripts or other utilities need to be informed of the A-4E-C's existence or other specificities in order to accommodate it. If you know of a mod or script that should accommodate it, be sure to let the author know!

Q: What's the theme song in the DCS main menu?

Crow, by Eric Haugen