DCS Aerial Refueling

With RAZBAM’s recent announcement of the KC-135 with MPRS and the discussion in the DCS 2.5 Screenshots thread, I thought a separate topic was warranted.

I’ll preface this by saying that my usage of tankers in DCS is something I almost always put in, either tactical or strategic, depending on the airframe. It’s one of those SOP things that I like to have in a mission for the immersion factor, regardless of utility.

As most of you probably know, DCS currently offers the KC-135, KC-130, S-3B, and IL-78 tankers. Of these, only the S-3B is a tactical tanker. The Community A-4E mod has a buddy store, but it doesn’t presently work. In the future, we are supposed to get a KA-6 and probably a A-6E with a buddy store option, as well as the mentioned MPRS pods for the KC-135. These are some pretty varied options for tanking, especially once the MPRS and KA-6 arrive, as they both offer a lot more flexibility to mission makers. However, DCS presently has a problem, in that a tanker cannot have both probe and drogue in addition to boom and receptacle. I’m sure this limitation will be lifted in the future, but it kind of sucks because it means you have to have two separate tanking aircraft for the two systems… Which is a pain because tanking is mostly a strategic asset and in our relatively limited map space it’s wasteful to have two assets like that. Further, tactical tanking can’t really pass gas in the quantities that are soon to be required, especially for aircraft like the F-14.

DCS has a little exploit though, in that tanking is tanking, so it’s possible to link a probe up with a boom and vice versa. It’s a bit more difficult as a probe aircraft to “cross the streams” as it were, but certainly doable and probably comparable to the iron maiden experience real pilots complain about with the KC-135. I’ve been thinking that this might be an acceptable break from reality, to simply use boom aircraft entirely as strategic fuelers except in special circumstances where a KC-130 or MPRS is warranted (ie, no receptacle aircraft in mission).

I think two things impact aerial refueling right now: it’s hard to do it and most scenarios don’t warrant it. With that in mind, is it really such a big deal? Or will we see an expansion into the future where it becomes absolutely necessary? Think of the recent Strike Fighter mission for the Bug: the mission that was based on had no less than 2 scheduled refueling points. If you fly it to completion, you will likely have to grab gas at the tanker on the way back, depending on how much you burn dogfighting the Fishbeds.

A few resources for those interested:



A very cogent post!

I do think if it becomes more of a requirement, we’ll need some sort of cheat option. Perhaps where simply holding a rough formation within a few feet of the tanker to get fuel.

I mean, we have ‘cheats’ for things like auto-startup and labels, to help make the sim a bit more approachable. I’d say refueling is fair game too.

Or perhaps they offer a mode for controls similar to how a sniper scope works in an FPS game; your range of motion is limited in the name of giving more precision. In dcs, I’d imagine that as engaging a shift key and getting say, half the in-game joystick travel mapped to the full range of your physical joystick.

Again, all optional (and enforceable either way in mp)

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Yes, definitely need an easy option if it ever becomes a requirement; though I feel as if the size of the maps wont warrant it unless they become twice as large.

This is so wrong appearance-wise, but it worked! Was pretty difficult, too.

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OK…wow. Guys. Seriously?!
Hehehe just kidding. :wink:
Just- just tell me that would not work in the real world.

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Well, if you hung a bucket on the side… :thinking:

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Man I didn’t know the air force were so socially progressive :rainbow_flag: :stuck_out_tongue: :eggplant: :eggplant:


bUmPiNg this cuzz I have a question: Has anyone found a parameter (I assume in a lua file, somewhere) that defines the ‘window’ where the basket ‘grabs’ the probe? Seems it is automatic at a point about where the tip of the probe == radius of the basket.

I ask because, well, it’s starting to bug me - I want to be required to stick the thing into the thing, not have it reach out and grab…my thing (disconcerting almost). I’m sure the logic will always ‘grab’ it but I want to shrink this value.

Googling hasn’t been much help. Grepping the lua files all I find, for each acft, is this entry:

air_refuel_receptacle_pos = {6.731, 0.825, 0.492},

I can’t find an option for “Hard/Easy Refueling” in the UI either - I see it mentioned every now and then. Perhaps it’s more people requesting an “Easy” mode?

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