Indiafoxtecho is in the final stages of development of its F-35 Lightning II for Microsoft Flight Simulator. A couple of months ago we saw some stunning shots of the aircraft in MSFS, along with the USS America aircraft carrier. This month, the developers unveiled the first images of the F-35’s unique cockpit, with a focus on the Primary Control Display (PCD).
The PCD occupies the center stage under the canopy of the F-35, as it’s the main interface of the stealth aircraft. Pilots can access a variety of functions through the PCD’s four independent “portals”, where most of the systems can be managed.
Indiafoxtecho tells us that these portals are divided into pages, which are assigned to functions and systems of the F-35. Many of these systems are related to the aircraft’s fighting capabilities, like sensors and weapon systems, so these will be INOP in MSFS, despite being aesthetically represented.
To help us understand what is being implemented for this “civilian” version of the F-35, Indiafoxtecho shared a list of all the operational functions:
AP -> AUTOPILOT (pop up): fully functional, data input via virtual keypad
CHKLST -> CHECKLIST mode: real world checklists are classified, we adapted this page to fit to the MSFS rendition
CNI -> COMMUNICATION, NAVIGATION & IDENTIFICATION -> COM A, COM B, VOR, VORTAC, IFF and audio control functionality implemented. Data can be entered via a virtual keypad.
DTM -> DATA MANAGEMENT page: basic functionality will allow the pilot to review GPS data and waypoints. In reality this page is also used to store, send and receive images, videos, mission data etc.
EFI -> ELECTRONIC FLIGHT INSTRUMENTATION: fully functional
ENG -> ENGINE PAGE: fully functional
FCS -> FLIGHT CONTROL SYSTEM: fully functional – for accessibility /gameplay reasons some STOVL functions are controlled in this page even if IRL they are assigned to HOTAS control.
FUEL -> fully functional
HUD -> partial implementation, not all the symbology is implemented
ICAWS -> INTEGRATED CAUTION And WARNING SYSTEM page: partial implementation, the system supports only a subset of the real world caution and warning messages
PHM -> PROGNOSTICS and HEALTH MANAGEMENT page: basic implementation: will only report systems availability and functionality
SMS -> STORE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM – minimal functionality: it will only be possible to control the weapon doors
TSD -> TACTICAL SITUATION DISPLAY – partial implementation: page will only show the current waypoint, VOR and VORTAC estimated positions. Also, to save memory, at the moment only one TSD screen is available (in reality there are 3 separate pages).
Also important is a list of functions that will be displayed in the PCD, but will not be functional:
ASR – Air to Surface Radar
DAS – Distributed Aperture System
SRCH – Search mode
TFLIR – Targeting Forward Looking Infra Red
WPN-A – Air-to-air weapons
WPN-S – Air-to-surface weapons
Yep, the fun stuff won’t work, but that’s to be expected. While we know a military fighter jet will always be severely handicapped in its abilities in MSFS, many simmers just like to fly them around and take advantage of the performance of such an airplane. It’s also an absolute looker!
To round things up, a couple of additional notes. Indifoxtecho has said that the plan is to release the F-35 for Xbox as well and, for a release date, there’s a new vague estimate: “approximately another month“.