With the ironically named Danger Zone update released in War Thunder comes a new asset to the good old US Navy Tech Tree: the iconic F-14A Tomcat.
The Tomcat will come with several capabilities previously unavailable to pilots of top-tier battles ranging from tracking multiple targets at once to the infamous AIM-54 Phoenix radar-guided missile.
Let’s skip the whole ‘subject to change' stuff and get straight into one of the Tomcat's functional highlights; it’s ability to track up to SIX different targets at the same time! In case you don’t quite know what that means, it essentially turns the effort of having to wait until you either see a moving dot on your screen and seeing enemy aircraft pop up on a sometimes-unreliable spotting system into something more akin to Ace Combat. Point your nose in the right direction and you should have six radar signatures right up there on your HUD. To the guys planning on using this to your advantage in Simulator Battles, make sure you know what you’re looking at before firing.
Overall, this new game mechanic could tip the scale in favour of the F-14 being an overpowering addition to the game, similar to the Harrier with its powerful weaponry. However, there are simple counters to this ingame including but not limited to the use of notching, chaff, etc.
Something War Thunder Pilots have long been good at is adapting to seemingly overwhelming technology on the opposing side, and that same attitude is sure to survive the onslaught of new Mavericks (and that’s not the missile!).
Moving onto the ‘A’ variant’s engine setup, aviators will be welcome to the Tomcat’s two Pratt and Whitney TF-30 P-412A turbofans.
These things give you a max thrust of 4860kgf and 8020kgf at afterburner (friendly reminder that you get TWO of these!) besides giving you a boost in speed, you can utilize the fact that you have two very powerful engines to increase your chances of returning to base after a hit, as you can indeed fly on only one engine.
Of course, one engine won’t matter all that much in the case of a missile hit, in which case; good luck. Additionally, due to the two engines being spaced apart, with the airbrake in-between, you naturally make for a relatively large target for gunfire. Saving it from this is the Tomcat’s manoeuvrability in-game and not just in the movie. To paraphrase MikeGoesBoom, during his test flight of the Tomcat on the dev stream:
“It’s not impossible to win a dogfight against a Tomcat, but it takes skill”MikeGoasBoom - War Thunder Streamer
This in mind, you can expect an easy time keeping up with most enemy aircraft should you find themselves guns-on-target, although you’d better practice evasive manoeuvres due to the ease in hitting its absolutely T H I C C rear end with your cannons.
You will mostly find that your longer & more enjoyable dogfights are against MiG-23MLDs thanks to their similar turn rates, so engage with caution.
Other than that, you can expect a good fight against enemy Phantoms and MiG-21s, but as usual, remember that it’s worth using your missiles first. Unless you’re the most hard-core Top Gun fan.
If you do find yourself going toe to toe with an F-14, don’t let the above scare you into thinking the Tomcat is instant death once engaged. Think of it as a better Phantom, really.
The Tomcat will bring forth new missiles to the game as well, most famously the massive AIM-54 Phoenix radar-guided BVR missile, of which you can carry up to six exclusively on the Tomcat, it’s only launch platform.
These may at first seem to be your ordinary, plain radar-guided missiles but it sure gets better.
Unlike the radar-guided missiles we have currently in-game, these take the name “Fire and Forget" to a whole other level; you can fire these and immediately switch to the next target. In fact, you can fire all six of these missiles without having to maintain a lock on all six targets!
This is accomplished by the Tomcat’s TWS (Track While Scan) radar, which instead of guiding a single missile to a single target, will track the location of each target and update it to each missile assigned.
If you think this in itself is overpowered, there’s more. You can launch each of these missiles toward all six targets, and not a single one of them will get a launch warning! As mentioned, the radar system effectively pings the location of each target, and each missile moves based on where its target is (not where it isn’t). This means that, unlike previous systems, no concentrated ‘beam' of radiation is sent out to your target. This would mean that, if you were to be targeted by this system, you would know that there’s an enemy aircraft picking you up on the radar, but your RWR would not indicate a launch warning. Essentially, the missiles (in a sense) guide themselves.
Before you soil your pants however, bear in mind that this is a long-range missile, and therefore will have ALOT of fuel to burn in its travel time. As such, the Phoenix leaves behind a VERY visible smoke trail that (depending on your situation) can provide ample time for realizing you have what is essentially a guided, stealthy Tiny Tim coming for you.
Additionally, and rather ironically, the Phoenix is like the early radar-guided missiles the community was given access to some years ago now in that it is not very manoeuvrable. Some simple evasive manoeuvres, even without the use of chaff countermeasures, can throw the missile off.
Along with the Phoenixes, it comes with what is now the American Standard in Top Tier: AIM-9 heat-seeking missiles, a 20mm high RPM cannon, and AIM-7F missiles. This selection may seem bland and pretty underwhelming given the new update, but guess what? You can carry ALL of the mentioned weapons in a single sortie! That’s right, you can play the Tomcat to all of its strengths in a single fight. Lurk above the battlefield and spend your Phoenixes before getting in slightly close with those Sparrows, then mop up whatever’s left with your AIM-9s and your gun. Now that, my friends, is something. Especially in Simulator Battles.
The F-14 is a hell of a plane.
But don’t let this discourage you from trying against it. The Tomcat introduction seems to carry a ‘tough, but fair' vibe. Certainly, however, you can expect definite spam within the first few weeks of Update Day. That being said;
Danger Zone is one hell of an update!
With heightened politics, financial sanctions and many other real-world issues that are taking place right now, it’s to no surprise that these topics may crop up in games such as War Thunder. This is why many players are now asking if War Thunder/Gaijin will be affected by financial sanctions due to the current conflict in Ukraine. We would like to stress that this article will only cover the impact on Gaijin/War Thunder and has nothing to do with the conflict in Ukraine itself.
Gaijin was originally founded in Moscow by Anton and Kirill Yudinstev back in 2002, there are numerous sources such as crunchbase, Handwiki and the waybackmachine which state that although Gaijin was founded in Moscow their headquarters are located in Budapest (addressed Hungária körút 162-166, 1146 Budapest, Hungary) with numerous offices located around the world.
Here are some sources below that explain these facts;
Gaijin Entertainment is the largest independent video game developer in Russia. Founded in 2002, Gaijin Entertainment employs more than 100 people, consisting of industry thought leaders and highly qualified specialists. Gaijin Entertainment has offices located in Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Voronezh and Sevastopol and in 2013 opened a new office in Germany(source crunchbase)
Gaijin Entertainment was founded in 2002 in Moscow by Anton and Kirill Yudintsev, whose first big project was the PC racing game Adrenaline. After the successful launch of War Thunder, an office in Germany was established, to manage global operations and marketing. Presently, all Gaijin online games are operated from Germany, Cyprus and Hungary, while the development is scattered across Europe.Source: (handwiki)
These sources clearly show that yes although the main developer company was founded in Moscow their main operations for War Thunder do not operate out of Russia and their main headquarters are in fact in Budapest.
Please let me make this clear that I or anyone who helps with EWT are in no way experts in financials or political issues so this is something we can’t really clear up, we have been monitoring various forum topics and discussions about this and sadly there isn’t much to go off either.
What we do know is that after sanctions back in 2014 there was absolutely no action taken against Gaijin or WT so it shouldn’t be the case this time around too.
As the headquarters are registered in Budapest (Hungary) this means that they shouldn’t be affected by sanctions anyway as pointed out here;
As you can see from a Forum Moderator’s response they don’t wish to get involved in any political debate/discussion on their forums and link users to their EULA. https://warthunder.com/en/support/eula/
So if it does happen one day, I’m sure they’ll be quick to let us know the implications of one, but for now, don’t worry about sanctions affecting the game.
The War Thunder chat has been temporarily disabled because of the sheer amount of political debates taking place across the internet on multiple discussion boards and within games, to prevent the community from falling into a forever-pit of political discussions and hate speech they’ve disabled this feature until further notice... sadly, we don’t know how long ‘temporarily’ means…
You can still use ‘Quick Commands’ and voice chat is active for Squadron Members, let’s hope they enable the chat feature soon as it’s causing more frustration not being able to vent my anger at those spawn camping or robbing my kills!
Perhaps they’ll finally fix the damn thing too, the chat system has always been a pain when it does decide to work.
Here’s the server update posted on the 28th February 2022 https://forum.warthunder.com/index.php?/topic/547941-server-update-28022022-in-game-chats-have-been-temporarily-disabled/
For the first time in War Thunder history, they’ve delayed the most recent major update which would usually drop around 18th – 22nd of March, instead, they have continued development blogs with at least 5-6 posted in one week.
We can only assume that this is a marketing tactic to safeguard the company but also as a moral obligation to not encourage people to play a War orientated game at the moment, there is no official confirmation from Gaijin but it certainly seems like the next update will be unfortunately delayed until further notice.
We’ll say it again that we’re not clued up on politics or how the sanctions will work, for now, War Thunder seems to be in safe hands moving forward and the game shouldn’t be affected.
If there are any changes or interesting topics raised, we’ll be sure to publish them.
Stay positive and keep up the grind.