Remember the next generation F-35 fighter jet? There's news about it...the general in charge of the project got replaced due to failure to achieve performance targets. It's a short article, and check it out here.
I remember the first time I heard about the F-35 fighter was in Jane's Fighter's Anthology, which happens to be a realistic combat simulator released back in 1997, and it allows you to fly planes from the 1950s to 1990s, including theoretical planes like the Aurora stealth surveillance aircraft.
Screenshot of a F-35 in Hanoi, from the game Fighters' Anthology.
Man, that game was really old school but I remember having a lot of fun with it as I played it with my older brother. It captured my imagination about the world of modern militaries, and I usually flew Russian aircraft in quick-missions, such as the MiG 29 and Su-27. Data-wise, the game had a whole load of it, allowing you to customize the load-out according to the hardpoints (I'm not sure how they made sure the payload was actually compatible with the hardpoints) and even presenting videos and info about the planes/missiles they had (but not for all of them).
The boxart of the game.
One of my best memories was flying in the Vietnam campaign, and I was in a F4J Phantom II. I was fighting against MiG-15s, and I was chasing one down in the clouds...and I managed to be right behind his tail and fired a AIM-6B sidewinder, killing the MiG-15 right away (in the game, the AIM-6B had lousy tracking, scoring a 65% hit percentage at ideal situations, like right at the back where the jet engine is hottest). It was really a proud moment for me :)
Playing that Vietnam campaign with 'old' technology made me really realize how challenging it was for fighter pilots in the past, who did not have the benefit of beyond-visual-range AAMs and laser-guided GBUs, and had to depend a lot on skill and luck to get through each day. Flying a MiG-15 is even worse than a F4J, you had no radar at all and you only had cannons to hit planes with.
Unfortunately, realistic simulators do not generate a lot of money in the consumer market (maybe in military training they do make a lot of money), and it's my observation that they have taken a backseat in the current gaming arena. We still have games that might fit the realistic bill like CoD MW2, America's Army, SOCOM, Rainbow 6, Ghost Recon etc....but I notice there's a trend of added artistic license to the games, like stylized uniforms (MW2 featured re-designed AK-47s interestingly) and even certain departures from the real world (to add more excitement? I have to admit the plot for MW2 was pretty outrageous but had a good pace to it).
Oh well, the Jane's series of military games provided me with good memories (I played Longbow Gold, Advanced Tactical Fighters and FIghter's Anthology), and these memories are gonna stay in me for a real long time. I think JQ also played with Fleet Command...
And again, thanks for reading and supporting us with your endless enthusiasm! It is always a great pleasure to put posts up on the passions we share in life :)