If there’s something MSFS lacks is a good variety of military fighter jets… Ahah, just kidding! There are plenty already, and they keep on coming. You don’t need to go far back, because just this week Indiafoxtecho released the sophisticated F-35, and we recently learned about an ambitious project from a Ukrainian team to create a highly detailed MiG-21 for Microsoft Flight Simulator, among many others already released or in-development.
But there’s more: the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor, a precursor to the F-35, is being developed by IRIS Simulations, who say it will actually be out already this month. IRIS isn’t really calling this product an “F-22”, possibly for licensing reasons, but they are naming it the next best thing: Advanced Tactical Fighter, the name of the program that led to the development of the actual aircraft.
We’ve had a bit of news from IRIS Simulations over the last year. They have two airplanes already out for MSFS, the Jabiru J160/J170 and the Tutor T.1, both very similar, so the Advanced Tactical FIghter will be a significant departure from what the developers have worked on so far.
You may remember that IRIS Simulations announced other projects in the past, most notably the Pilatus PC-9 and PC-24, two officially licensed products that were first revealed back in July. We’ve since heard nothing about them… instead, the team is coming out with a military jet. While the developers didn’t share anything yet in terms of features or anything else to expected, they did say that it’s coming this month of January, 2022.
Interestingly, this announcement from IRIS Simulations brought forward another project that is also aimed at the release of an F-22 for MSFS. Top Mach Studios, who have a freeware model of the Raptor available through Flightsim.to, have said after IRIS’ announcement that they are too working on a “high-quality payware version” of the F-22. Apparently, a beta release is imminent, in what the developers say will be a big improvement over the freeware version that has been available since the summer. We should have some additional news about this one over the coming week or two.
Suddenly, two payware F-22s are coming to MSFS. It will be interesting to see how they compare, not only between the two, but also with the recently released F-35, whose airframe is very reminiscent of the F-22, despite the totally different cockpit and functionality.