DCS world


Digital Combat Simulator World 2.5 can be the most realistic and satisfying combat flight simulator you have seen to date. It can also be an arcade game, depending on how you set it up. This quick-start guide will help you setting up DCS world as a simulator and get you airborne in no-time.

DCS comes with two free aircraft

  • The Su-25T
  • The TF-51D

Both aircraft are excellent to try out the sim and learn how to use it.

  • The Sukhoi has somewhat simplified aircraft controls, but has its focus on a wide range of weapon and detection systems.
  • The P51 Mustang has no weapons, but features a complex flight model and interactive 3d cockpit.

Payware add-on aircraft come in various levels of detail and complexity. Each aircraft comes with excellent documentation, some of them are extremely well simulated and have fully authentic systems.



Setup (basic)

After the program has started, on the top click on the gear symbol to open settings.

Select the tab “CONTROLS”

On the left top, select the box that says ALL and click on Axis Commands

  • Double click on the ‘Pitch’ box under the joystick that you use to fly the aircraft
    • Move your joystick pitch axis fully up and down
    • In the Key / Button field you’d expect to see something like JOY_Y or similar.
    • Then press OK

Now the important bit! If you have more than one joystick, make sure the pitch value for all the other joysticks are blank. If not, left click on a box and click the ‘Clear’ button on the bottom.

Repeat this process for the roll, yaw and Thrust.


Note: If you have two separate thrust levers, leave the ‘Thrust’ field empty and set ‘Thrust Left’ and ‘Thrust Right’ instead

On the top bar, select the box that now says ‘Axis Commands’ and select ‘Search…’

in the search box type ‘trim’

  • Double click on the ‘Trim: Nose Up’ box under the joystick that you like to use
    • Click on the RESET button
    • Then press the appropriate joystick button
    • Click OK
  • Repeat for trim down

If you have a spare button you can also assign one for ‘Wheel Brake On’

To change a keyboard command, follow the same procedure,

  • Search for ‘Dragging Chute’
  • Select the box under keyboard
  • Press the ‘Clear’ button
  • Double click the box
    • Press [Right Ctrl]+[P]
    • Press ‘OK’
  • Thank me later!
    • (Every time you think to pause the sim, you’d have lost the brake chute :P)

Here is another tricky one: If you want to save your joystick profile:

  • You have to select a box (left click on any) under your joystick.
  • Click the ‘Save profile as’ button
    • Give your file a name like FIOjoystickprofile01.diff.lua
    • press OK

There is no need yet to setup all buttons for weapons and other things yet. You can do that later when you know which ones you are likely to use more often.

Select the tab “GAMEPLAY”

  • In the lower right corner click the ‘Simulation’ button
  • Tick the box ‘Mirrors’ ON

select the tab “AUDIO”

  • Tick all 4 boxes ON

Select the tab “MISC.”

  • Tick Head Movement by G-Forces in Cockpit
    • Leave the rest as it is or set as you prefer

Select the tab “SPECIAL”

  • Select the TF-51D
  • Set the take-off assistance slider to zero.

Press OK to return back to the main menu

Flying the Frog foot

This Russian ground attack aircraft is a good way to get acquainted with combat flying.

Unlike the more advanced aircraft in DCS, the buttons in the 3d cockpit of this aircraft cannot be controlled with the mouse, and hence you will need to operate the systems of this aircraft with keyboard or joystick buttons.

May I suggest taking a pen and paper at hand and make notes of the required key combinations whilst playing the training missions. It is of course also possible to change keys and assign joystick buttons by pressing [Esc] and find the ‘ADJUST CONTROLS’ section


Start and Take-off

You are now all setup for the first training mission.

  • On the right of the screen, click TRAINING
  • Select the Su-25T and mission “Aircraft Start-Up, Taxi, and Takeoff
  • Thoughtfully ignore the mission briefing and click FLY

Follow the verbal instructions until you are airborne, then go and have some fun trying out the “Grach”.

Flight safety notes:

  • When you hear a buzzing sound before taxiing, just ignore it, it is the stall warning.
  • Unlike the instructor says, taxi-speed is not shown on the Heads Up Display [HUD]

Once you are done (or dead) press [Esc] and ‘Quit’.

Approach and Landing

The Basic Flight Controls and Navigation session is basically an exercise of fly through boxes. Just skip that one and carry on with ‘Landing-Easy’

Safety notes:

  • Look active and awake during the first 5 minutes of talk about the instruments
  • Basically follow the yellow RMI on the HSI to way point 3.
  • After way point 3 it shows 17, that’s airport 17 and you can follow the HUD
  • It will automatically switch to ILS once intercepted
    • Keep the large and the small circle aligned on the HUD
    • Crosscheck with the analogue  flight director bars
  • Land a bit faster than the bloke tells you. about 280 should do
  • Use the brake chute immediately after Touchdown!
    • Landing without brake chute is extremely difficult due to poor stability
    • Avoid using nose wheel steering at high speed, keep wings level at all times.


The ‘landing-Difficult’ mission is pretty much the same but in bog weather.

Runway and approach lights are off by default. If you ask ATC nicely they might turn them on at their own peril. press the [\] key to initiate ATC comms.

To avoid confusion, when the instructor says there is no ‘Russian ILS’. In practice basically you don’t have flight director bars or a HUD, but you will get a localizer glide slope kinda presentation on the HSI. Basically a Raw data approach into the dark, good luck!


Weapons training

OK; remember the nice, powerful and agile little jet that you just flew?

That’s baby’s gone once you have external stores on. Now you fly an overweight, under powered, draggy sluggish pregnant goose.

Keep the speed up and try to approach the green gates slightly from above, if you miss any you have to turn around to hit it again. With stores on you can barely reach corner velocity in straight and level flight, which means you fly 45 degree angle of bank turns with full power like a Cessna 152.

Safety notes:

  • Bombs go with a bang, stay out of the blast!


Enjoy the training missions and learn all about the different armament and sensors. Configure your joystick keys as you go.

The quick reference guide is meant to refresh your memory if you haven’t played for a while.

Once you have completed all the training scenarios, try the ground attack mission before going all-in multiplayer.

Try the TF-51D for some proper stick and rudder flying and and a bit deeper system simulation.

I hope this was helpful in any way, Blue skies!




Post mission BBQ


Su-25T Quick reference:

Mouse look

By default you use the mouse to look around. Press LAlt-C to turn it off

Weapon status panel

  • РАБОТА – Weapon type
    • /////// – No weapon selected
    • нрс – Rockets, press [d] to cycle
    • б      – Bombs, Press [d] to cycle
    • впу – Canon, press [c] to select
  • Orange pylon marker – Weapon available
  • Green pylon marker – Weapon selected


  • [1] to cycle HUD navigation modes
    • enroute
    • terminal
    • approach

Air to ground

Unguided bombs

  • [7] Air to ground HUD
  • Weapon setup:
    • [D] Cycle through various bombs.
      • HUD will display опт змл (optical targeting) and б (bomb)
    • [Ctrl]+[Space] number of bombs in salvo
    • [v] salvo interval in seconds: .1 .2 .3 .4 or залп (all at once)
  • CCIP Continuous Calculated Impact point
    • Dive at ~40 degrees a target
    • In the HUD, aim the green pipper over the target,
      • observe that it connects to a vertical line
    • пр in the HUD means you can release release the weapon
  • CCRP Continious Calculated Release Point
    • Aim the pipper at the target, press and hold the fire button
    • Fly level over the target, the bomb should release at the correct time


  • [7] Air to ground HUD
  • Weapon setup:
    • [D] Cycle through various weapons.
      • HUD will display кмг (KMG)
    • [Ctrl]+[Space] number of dispensers in salvo
    • [v] set серия кмгу-мвд (Special for sub-munitions)
  • Release CCIP or CCRP, fly low and fast, aim slightly before the target

Air to ground rockets:

  • [7] Air to ground HUD
  • Weapon setup:
    • [D] Cycle through various weapons.
      • HUD will display с5 or any other rocket type
      • Weapon panel will show нрс (rockets)
  • Aim the HUD pipper at the target,
  • The left vertical bar shows range,
  • Fire when пр appears on the HUD

Air to ground cannons:

  • [7] Air to ground HUD
  • [C] Canon mode
  • [Ctrl]+[Space] to switch modes
    • no.1 1x Internal 30mm cannon
    • no.2 2x external 23mm gunpods angled (observe green light)
    • no.4 4x external 23mm gunpods angled (observe green light)
    • все (All) – 4x external 23mm gunpods bore sight position (no green light)
  • RCtrl and ] to depress the barrels (decrease range)
  • RCtrl and [ to raise (increase range)

TV Guided bombs

  • [7] Air to ground HUD
  • [O] to turn Shkval sensor ON
    • HUD shows тв (tv)for range
  • [,][/][.][;] to move sensor, [RCtrl]+[i] to reset
  • [=] and [-] to switch between 8x and 23x magnification
  • [Enter] to ground stabilise the sensor
    • Display shows кс and seconds weapon flight time
  • Change target box size [RCtrol]+[[] and [RCtrol]+[]]
    • Once locked АС will be displayed

Radar warning receiver and counter measures

  • Radar Warning Receiver
    • Dashed line is thread range
    • outer blips primary thread direction
    • Inner green blibs secondary thread
    • Above and below indicators in the centre
    • Thread types:
      • Π = Fighter aircraft radar or active missle radar
      • 3 = Long range SAM
      • X = Medium range SAM
      • H = Short range SAM
      • F = Ground based early warning radar
      • C = AWAC’s
    • [Rshift]+[R] RWR filter
    • [Ralt]+[.] and [,] RWR volume up/down
  • [E] ECM (Electronic Counter Measure?)
    • сап on HUD
  • [LShft]+[E] IR jammer
    • созп on HUD
  • [insert] Chaff
  • [Delete] Flare
  • [i] Fantasmagoria pod
    • 58 in HUD Kh-58U anti radar missile 120km range

Air to Air Missiles (IR)

  • [6] Air to Air HUD
  • [D] Weapon select
    • R-60M 8km range
    • R-73 30km range



Bulls eye position report

Bulls eye is the format used to report your position, and to receive a position from the radar controller in ‘BRA’ (Bearing Range Altitude) from waypoint 1.

For example

“SkyEye this is Dutchman, Bullseye 240 for 65 metrics 5”

  • SkyEye is the Awac, Dutchman is my call-sign,
  • Bearing – 240 from the bulls eye
  • Range – 65km from the bullseye
  • Altitude – 5000 metre

To interpret the data set the HUD to en route navigation and have way point 1 active



  • Set the HUD to enroute navigation,
  • waypont 1 as the actie waypoint [LCtrl]+[`]
  • Consider the middle of the HSI the bulls eye.
  • You are at the tail of the RMI needle.

Weapon systems control panel (Left main panel)

Canon mode

  • Right dial [Lctrl]+[space]
    • no1 залп – Salvo фикс (internal 30mm cannon)
    • no2 фикс – 2 active gun pods
    • no4 фикс – 4 active gun pods
    • все (All) –
  • Barrel angle [RCtrl]+[[] Up and [RCtrl]+[]] down


Heads up Display

Keys 1-9 select different modes.

  • 1) Navigation (cycle through modes)
    • мрш  En route navigation
    • взв   Arrival
    • пос  Approach
  • 6) Missile aiming
  • 7) Air to ground
    • опт змл (optical targeting)
    • впу = Internal 30mm Canon [4] indicates 4/4 ammo remaining. [3] is 3/4 etc.
    • ппу = Canon pods 23mm at 3000 rpm.
  • 8) Gun sight


How I have re-mapped my keys:

  • [RCtrl]+[P] for dragging parachute
  • POV hat for moving sensor (tv/laser) to replace [,][/][.][;]
  • [Insert] and [page up] to change target box on tv
  • numlock for moving head position



External links:

Default keyboard layout



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