Linux Air Combat

Linux Air Combat

LINUX AIR COMBAT is a free, open-source combat flight simulator developed by for the LINUX community. Its roots came from the well-known "classic" flight game known as "GL-117", but this new incarnation has been extensively re-written and improved.

LINUX AIR COMBAT is also known as "LAC".


  • Free and open source distribution. The clean source code compiles without modification on major LINUX distros
  • Very smooth, simple, high-performance graphics yield high frame rates even on modest computer hardware
  • 45 flight/view functions can be mapped to any detected joystick axis, button, or keyboard key
  • Modern, multi-axis analog/digital joysticks support precision control of elevators, ailerons, rudder, throttle, etc.
  • Mouse control of elevators, ailerons, and weapons for those lacking a joystick
  • 54 different flyable aircraft from World War II
  • A theoretical Jet fighter with performance similar to the General Dynamics F16
  • Industry-standard "Air Warrior" style viewsystem is easily configurable for other view options
  • Sophisticated flight model with stalls, high-speed compressibility, high-G blackouts, and redouts
  • Realistic high-altitude degredation of engine performance
  • Fuel consumption is proportional to engine load including WEP/Afterburner effects
  • Flight performance is degraded when lugging heavy bombs, missiles, or rockets
  • Flight performance is degraded when aircraft are damaged
  • Simulated RADAR to help locate opponents
  • Enemy airfields and RADAR facilities can be damaged or destroyed
  • Simulated IFF to help Identify Friend verses Foe
  • Guns combat
  • WW2-era Air-to-Ground rockets
  • WW2-era bombs
  • Missile combat (only when flying jets)
  • Flares and Chaff operable as missile countermeasures
  • Free flight mission
  • Four tutorial missions with detailed audio narration to help beginners get a quick start
  • Five Offline combat missions
  • Online "Head to Head" mission suitable for air racing or combat (2 players only. No server required.)
  • Free, high performance Linux Air Combat Server is now available at
  • Three distinct, ten-player Internet missions in various terrains, with strategic airfield combat (Internet and access to a free LAC Server required)
  • User-loadable graphic aircraft models support the free, open, well-known ".3ds" format
  • User-loadable background music, sound effects, and narration files support industry-standard ".wav" format
  • "Talking Cockpit" can verbalize target location so you can hear it without diverting your eyes
  • Innovative "Network Router Panel" on cockpit shows network telemetry and comms data flow from other players
  • Best-of-breed network user management with interplayer status messages on the cockpit panel
  • Powerful integration with "Mumble" for world-class voice communication between players
  • Dedicated Mumble server manages a rich heirarchy of voice radio channels and online help
  • Automated radio messages verbalize enemy airfield status when Mumble Radio is properly tuned
  • 16 Comms-related functions can be mapped to any keyboard key
  • Text-only, low-bandwidth comms option acts like a "Morse Code" radio, generating real Morse code
  • Airfields with defensive guns challenge nearby opponents and protect nearby allied aircraft
  • Airfield defenses can be damaged and degraded with bombs, rockets, missiles, and/or machine guns
  • Damaged airfield defenses are gradually repaired by surviving airfield maintenance personnel
  • Air raid sirens blare loud on damaged airfields
  • Bombers have autogunners that take shots at nearby hostile fighters
  • "Norden" bombsight emulation makes precision, medium or high altitude bombing possible
  • Realistic bomber climb rates: Heavily loaded bombers need a long time to climb to altitudes high enough to avoid fighters
  • Realistic bomb-run tactics make heavy bombers vulnerable to opposing fighters during critical mission segments
  • Heavy bombers can destroy an airfield in a single sortie if well flown and undamaged by opposing fighters
  • Real-time, automated radio and RADAR warnings alert players when their airfields are threatened by strategic bombers
  • Supported by an active development team for bug fixes

    Primary web site:

  • Minimum system requirements: 

    Running Linux Air Combat requires desktop Linux supporting all of the usual and customary OpenGL and SDL run-time libraries. Specifically, like most desktop LINUX systems, yours should have all of these:

  • libfreeglut3
  • libSDL1.2_0
  • libSDL_mixer1.2_0
  • libmesaglu1
  • libmesa
  • If your LINUX system is typical, you will need to compile LINUX AIR COMBAT from the free source code (the well-organized source code makes this very easy, even for non-programmers). In addition to the prerequisites listed above, you will also need gcc (almost always present), and all of these tools and libraries, which are generally NOT preinstalled in most major LINUX desktop distributions:

  • gcc-c++
  • Code::Blocks
  • Libfreeglut-devel
  • libSDL-devel
  • libSDL_mixer-devel
  • Experienced LINUX users will recognize all of these as well-known LINUX components. For most of the popular LINUX desktop distributions, every one of these components will be freely available through the usual and customary means, using free package managers. If you have a good Internet connection, you should be able to get everything within 5 or 10 minutes and with just a few mouse clicks.

    Developer: Robert Bosen
    See also:


    Stable production Version LAC6.03 Now available for free download

    Linux Air Combat (LAC) development has now reached a stable release, marking the end of the design and feature coding phase. Version 6.03, supporting 54 historic aircraft from World War II, is now available for free download from or from the main LAC web page here:

    Linux Air Combat has been upgraded to version 5.67 as of late February 2018.

    Improvements include:

    1- Better aircraft and airfield graphics: A new subfolder, named "Optional3dModels", contains more detailed .3ds models for some of the aircraft, and for the HQ airfields. Use of these files is optional. When none of these files are used, the visual appearance of the aircraft and arfields is optimized for maximum frame-rate, which will work best on older, or lower-powered LINUX desktop PCs, and which will always result in the smoothest graphics. On the other hand, users with sufficiently modern and/or sufficiently powerful Linux desktop PC hardware can replace any of the files in the old ~/models subfolder with the corresponding files from this new "Optional3dModels" subfolder, and the corresponding aircraft or airfield will thereafter look a lot better.

    2- Source code has been cleaned up a little bit more. For example, I eliminated every reference to the unused "stdlib.h" header file. I also made the code more robust so that it is no longer possible to use misconfigured text fields within the LacConfig.txt or LacControls.txt files to cause "buffer overflow" errors. This was done by modernizing all of the relevant instances of "strcpy()" and "strcat()" within all of the code files, replacing them with "strncpy()" and "strncat()" as appropriate.

    3- I fixed a small visual anomaly that was causing a tiny "shimmering" effect along coastlines when flying certain aircraft. This has made visual effects even smoother when flying those aircraft.

    4- Two obscure name references were changed from "AIR COMBAT FOR LINUX" to "LINUX AIR COMBAT".

    5- I eliminated the redundant menu option that was allowing players to try to change their aircraft immediately before launching each mission. (The preferred way to do this is to use the prominent "DEFAULT AIRCRAFT" menu logic that is displayed at top of the list of missions.)

    Get latest version here: