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DCS Product Terms


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  • ED Team

The below is provided to explain the various fidelity levels of flight dynamics and cockpit systems modelling available in our various DCS aircraft simulation products. We provide this to you to help better understand what you are purchasing:


Standard Flight Model (SFM). This has not changed and defines a more data-driven means of achieving flight dynamics, in conjunction with some scripting. SFM was used in the Lock On series and is still used for AI aircraft.


Advanced Flight Model (AFM) and AFM+. An AFM uses multiple points of force application and calculation on the relevant flight surfaces. This simulates edge of envelope conditions well and avoids scripted behaviors as used in an SFM. This system also partially implements the aircraft's flight augmentation systems. Further evolution of the AFM is what we term the AFM+ and this uses the same calculations as AFM but adds limited modelling of the hydraulic and fuel systems.


Professional Flight Model (PFM). This is generations beyond an AFM/AFM+ and is based upon:


  • Use a wider array of wind tunnel tests CFD methods for aerodynamics parameters calculations.
  • A higher level of aircraft construction details for forces calculations. For example: our landing gear model includes individual kinematics of retracting/extending is used to calculate its movement, servo-piston forces, etc. In such cases, we truly use real lengths, arms, etc. This also includes such items as a realistic simulation of airflow along the airframe due to the propeller or helicopter rotor thrust.
  • Realistic simulation of Flight Control, CAS and Autopilot systems.
  • Realistic simulation of Hydraulics, Fuel, Electrical, Engine and other systems influence flight characteristics.
  • Unprecedented access to test data packs.


This is combined with much more detailed and accurate accounting of the physical forces on the aircraft and airfoils. DCS examples of the PFM include the A-10C, Ka-50, P-51D, UH-1H, Mi-8MTV2, F-15C, Su-33 and Su-27 for DCS Flaming Cliffs, and the Fw190-D9.


External Flight Model (EFM). Used by our partner developers, the EFM uses only a part of PFM - rigid body physics and contact model. What forces and moments are applied to this rigid body from aerodynamics and any other sources except the contact forces is up to EFM developer.


Standard Systems Modeling (SSM). A DCS module using SSM is characterized as including just the most essential cockpit systems and using keyboard and joystick commands only to interact with the cockpit. Examples of SSM in DCS include all of the Flaming Cliffs 3 aircraft.


Advanced Systems Modeling (ASM). An ASM enabled aircraft goes into great depth to model the intricacies of the various cockpit systems, to include functionality for almost all the buttons, switches, dials, etc. A key element of an ASM cockpit is the ability to interact with it using your mouse. ASM DCS examples include the A-10C, Ka-50, P-51D, UH-1H and Mi-8MTV2.


See breakdown here: https://www.digitalcombatsimulator.com/en/support/faq/general/

Edited by NineLine
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