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Question about using Radar in F-5E


Steamypete
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I'm fairly new to DCS and the F-5E but I have some experience in flightsimming. I'm very happy I discovered DCS. I've been flying in Xplane and FSX for years but the lack of a goal in those games has always put me off. DCS is completely different and I finally found a purpose in flying.

 

At the moment I'm leaning to fly the F-5E step by step. Startup, Take-off and landing are going great. So now its time to learn some combat. I've done the training missions and they went fine. So now I'm learning to use the radar. The tutorials tell me the radar has a range up to 40 miles. I have set up a training mission with 2 transport planes at 10000ft at 40miles from my F-5E also at 10000 ft. I then try to spot them on my radar but I am failing every time. I can get them on my radar when I am at 8-10 miles range not sooner. I can spot them visually by then. I've tried again and again but have no idea what i am doing wrong. I tried changing elevation, range, etc.

 

Any help or tips are appreciated. Thanks.

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what is the aspect of your targets? The f5 radar is not great so beware that a target moving abeam to you will generally not get picked up well. a head on aspect is typically the best. Also, are you at 10000 ft as well? the f5 radar and slew up/down so make sure your targets are within the radar cone.

 

Finally, i dont typically enter DF MSL mode until I'm close range.

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Why would a target moving abeam be difficult to pick up?

 

i think the radar uses the doppler effect, so the capability of accquisition depends on the relative velocity between the radar and target, where at a low relative velocity the target is harder to detect.

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Thank for the answers. I guess the radar in the f-5e is not used in combat the way it is explained in the tutorials. It only guides you to your target from 40 miles away if a lot of conditions are met. ( target is a bomber moving head on and above 5000ft. ;-)) does it make sense then to use it at all at long range? Or is switching it on at 10 miles when preparing to launch missles the more common way to use it.

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i think the radar uses the doppler effect

 

I think it doesn't. There certainly is no mention of it in the manual and the amount of ground clutter I see on the scope when I point it at terrain seems to confirm that - Doppler filters are meant to get rid of just that.

 

Thank for the answers. I guess the radar in the f-5e is not used in combat the way it is explained in the tutorials. It only guides you to your target from 40 miles away if a lot of conditions are met. ( target is a bomber moving head on and above 5000ft. ;-)) does it make sense then to use it at all at long range? Or is switching it on at 10 miles when preparing to launch missles the more common way to use it.

 

It'll be used differently depending on the job. In one of the missions provided with the module - the one where you're supposed to intercept a C-130 - I picked it up quite far out in the 40nm setting. Then as I got closer I'll switch to 20 and 10nm. 10nm is as far s the TDC will go, so you can't lock a target beyond that. OTOH if I know I'll be engaging fighters or fighter sized targets I'll start my search in 10 or 20nm. Or turn it off all together and go for a stealthy approach.


Edited by lmp
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does it make sense then to use it at all at long range? Or is switching it on at 10 miles when preparing to launch missles the more common way to use it.

 

A good tactic if you know where the target is. Don't give yourself away on his RWR, if equiped.

 

What if you have no idea where the bad guy is. You didn't make the mission, the F10 view is disabled, and there isn't a friendly AWACS/GCI. All you know is the bad guy is within 40 miles but you don't know the direction.

 

Having a long range radar makes a hell of a difference then.


Edited by Paganus
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What if you have no idea where the bad guy is. You didn't make the mission, the F10 view is disabled, and there isn't a friendly AWACS/GCI. All you know is the bad guy is within 40 miles but you don't know the direction.

 

Having a long range radar makes a hell of a difference then.

 

Wel thats exactly the scenario I would like to practice. "Search for enemys using the radar"

But it seems a bit unpractical knowing that the radar only works at 40 miles range in very strict circumstances. I,m trying to understand when the radar has a practical use since mostly you have a visual before the radar starts finding a contact. Or maybe low visibility is where it comes in handy?

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the idea of an aircraft searching down its own targets is kind of a videogame fallacy, few fighters irl have radars loud enough to even think about doing that with any sort of efficiency, especially before the end of the cold war. even then, they still let the awacs do the searching first, as there are all sorts of tactical advantages of not using your own radar. powerful radars like on the f-14/f-15/su-27/mig-31 are motivated by scenarios that are somewhat of less concern to customers of something small and cheap like the f-5 -- if they really had an ashm or cruise missile attack coming their way they'd reach for the batphone first.

 

it's more reasonable to think of the f-5 radar as a slightly overgrown gunnery radar than as an sa tool like on the f-15.


Edited by probad

МИР

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Well, wikipedia does claim that it is a pulse doppler radar, but I haven't found any other sources for this. There are some NASA papers that discuss various modifications of the APQ-153 which mention coherent doppler functionality, but this may be part of the modifications (haven't read the whole document). The lack of any measurement of target speed, and the inability to discern a head-on target from ground clutter in a look down situation makes it very unlikely that it is a pulse doppler radar.

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i think the radar uses the doppler effect, so the capability of accquisition depends on the relative velocity between the radar and target, where at a low relative velocity the target is harder to detect.

 

I believe all radar sets use the doppler effect to a degree. Only the as-advertised pulse doppler radars actually use the doppler effect as a filter. Let me explain:

 

Radar uses light waves and because light waves move from the radar into the air, they change 180 degrees in phase upon incidence with a medium of higher density (an aircraft).

 

It stands to reason that if an aircraft is beaming the detecting aircraft, the phase change of some of the reflected light will destructively interfere with the incident light (see diagram below). When an aircraft is moving away or towards the detecting radar however, the doppler effect causes a frequency shift in addition to the phase shift from reflection. Therefore, the crests and peaks of the reflected and new incident waves do not line up and cannot completely destructively interfere.

 

Of course, this is negating the effect of wave modulation which is how most modern radar sets avoid this problem as well as jamming and interference from other friendly emitters. Modern pulse doppler radars actually use the doppler effect to filter out anything with a frequency shift smaller than a certain threshold whereas older radars do not have this capability.

 

slide_19.jpg

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I have some air to air kills vs the Su 27 or Mig 29 but I do not go out hunting them because they are much superior fighters than the F-5E if I think they see me I hide or run. They can shoot from a long way out and I rarely survive the 2nd or 3rd missile shot.

 

Those few kills on elite fighters have been either by blind luck or the opposing aircraft were defensive against superior air or ground threat and were distracted.

 

I rarely use the radar in the F-5E. Its no good for searching and it does not identify very well where your target is in the sky. By the time you get it on radar you can see the bogey so the radar serves little purpose except for ranging. However if I can identify wings and tails by looking at a bogey I am in range of the AIM-9P5. If I can Identify an aircraft visually its a goner.

 

When the radar comes in handy is inside 5 miles with the gun. The ranging is very good for this so if I am close in going for a guns kill its radar on Dogfight Guns mode and A/A1 on sight mode. GUNS GUNS GUNS!!!

:joystick:

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To the OP

 

the radar is kinda limited against fighters, but you can adjust elevation of the radar atenna upwards and downards, to more efficiently track targets. So while still farily weak it is more powerfull then the Mig21Bis Radar.

 

 

 

the idea of an aircraft searching down its own targets is kind of a videogame fallacy, few fighters irl have radars loud enough to even think about doing that with any sort of efficiency, especially before the end of the cold war. even then, they still let the awacs do the searching first, as there are all sorts of tactical advantages of not using your own radar. powerful radars like on the f-14/f-15/su-27/mig-31 are motivated by scenarios that are somewhat of less concern to customers of something small and cheap like the f-5 -- if they really had an ashm or cruise missile attack coming their way they'd reach for the batphone first.

 

it's more reasonable to think of the f-5 radar as a slightly overgrown gunnery radar than as an sa tool like on the f-15.

 

 

People really need to stop comparing legacy aircraft to modern era fighters. WHen the first F5E was introduced in early 1973 ( earlier radarless F5A/B were around since the early 60s) 4th generation fighters were still not yet around. and For the early to - mid 1970s, you really couldnt have packed a bigger radar into such a small airframe.

 

 

Countries that were buying these aircraft generally had smaller economies ( F5 series were a bigger export success than the F4) and in turn any hostile neighbor who was under pact sphere of inlfuence, would be possessing Mig21's at best. which this aircraft is perfectly capable of fighting.

 

Over its life there have been Updated F5s, IE the Singaporean F5 had 4th generation avoinics, MFD's, or the more recent modification, the Brazilian F5EM, which has a new radar, color displays , Amram capability, and ability to self employ PGM's. So a F5EM most certainly could take on a more modern designs like a Mig29 or an F16.

 

In the current configuration we have is legacy era tech ( only the RWR is not antiquated, same one as on the A10) . It should not be compared to anything newer past the 3rd generation.

 

Also many of the former F5 operates have replaced them, or at least bought newer fighters, with F5 taking a reserve/ secondary backup role. these former users now often have F16's or other lesser expensive lighter weight 4th generation aircraft ( or in some cases newer) as F5 replacements.

 

 

Well, wikipedia does claim that it is a pulse doppler radar, but I haven't found any other sources for this. There are some NASA papers that discuss various modifications of the APQ-153 which mention coherent doppler functionality, but this may be part of the modifications (haven't read the whole document). The lack of any measurement of target speed, and the inability to discern a head-on target from ground clutter in a look down situation makes it very unlikely that it is a pulse doppler radar.

 

The early model F5E's that first came out in 1973 ( also lacked RWR initally) had used the An/APQ 153 radar, but we have the improved successor, the AN/APQ 159 (V3) Radar installed the F5E's, which would have came a few years later. Still a weak small radar, but it more reliable, includes double the range, offboresight tracking, and a Phased Array Antenna, which allows it to be elevated up and down.


Edited by Kev2go

 

 

 

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I have some air to air kills vs the Su 27 or Mig 29 but I do not go out hunting them because they are much superior fighters than the F-5E if I think they see me I hide or run. They can shoot from a long way out and I rarely survive the 2nd or 3rd missile shot.

 

Those few kills on elite fighters have been either by blind luck or the opposing aircraft were defensive against superior air or ground threat and were distracted.

 

I rarely use the radar in the F-5E. Its no good for searching and it does not identify very well where your target is in the sky. By the time you get it on radar you can see the bogey so the radar serves little purpose except for ranging. However if I can identify wings and tails by looking at a bogey I am in range of the AIM-9P5. If I can Identify an aircraft visually its a goner.

 

When the radar comes in handy is inside 5 miles with the gun. The ranging is very good for this so if I am close in going for a guns kill its radar on Dogfight Guns mode and A/A1 on sight mode. GUNS GUNS GUNS!!!

:joystick:

 

the Mig21 is in a similar predicament. It also is inferior to compete against modern aircraft, yeah its not impossible to shoot them down, but your at a very significant disadvantage in that aircraft as well. It too has to fly with radars off, and try to use terrain masking to try to avoid detection. While the Mig21 radar does allow For IFF, and Sarh Guided R3R missiles, they are short ranged. By the time you do get effective firing range, you can also visually spot the target. Its radar is less reliable, more prone to ground interference, has no off bore sight , lesser range, and the elevation of the antenna is minimal, ( 1 switch). The RP22 Saphir tbh is closer in performance to the An/APQ 153, than the the AN/APQ 159 that we have on the F5E-3

 

If you cant find a target on the F5Es Radar, then remember that the Mig21 is going to be even more limited in trying intercept a fighter sized target with its radar.

 

For people who want to Fly legacy aircraft and have reasonable match-up that isnt 1 sided, i suggest finding cold war servers, where there are no 4th generation fighters.


Edited by Kev2go

 

 

 

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  • 4 weeks later...
the Mig21 is in a similar predicament. It also is inferior to compete against modern aircraft, yeah its not impossible to shoot them down, but your at a very significant disadvantage in that aircraft as well. It too has to fly with radars off, and try to use terrain masking to try to avoid detection. While the Mig21 radar does allow For IFF, and Sarh Guided R3R missiles, they are short ranged. By the time you do get effective firing range, you can also visually spot the target. Its radar is less reliable, more prone to ground interference, has no off bore sight , lesser range, and the elevation of the antenna is minimal, ( 1 switch). The RP22 Saphir tbh is closer in performance to the An/APQ 153, than the the AN/APQ 159 that we have on the F5E-3

 

If you cant find a target on the F5Es Radar, then remember that the Mig21 is going to be even more limited in trying intercept a fighter sized target with its radar.

 

For people who want to Fly legacy aircraft and have reasonable match-up that isnt 1 sided, i suggest finding cold war servers, where there are no 4th generation fighters.

 

 

 

So in a historical nutshell the radar is terrible? I was wondering because I bought the nodule earlier today and found the radar excellent for guns and a waste of time for missiles, you might as well spot the enemy, get a buzz and fire based on angle as opposed to slewing like madman.

 

 

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So in a historical nutshell the radar is terrible? I was wondering because I bought the nodule earlier today and found the radar excellent for guns and a waste of time for missiles, you might as well spot the enemy, get a buzz and fire based on angle as opposed to slewing like madman.

 

Thank you everybody for the eloborate answers about the history of the radar, why it was build that way in that particular time period, the theory of its working, etc. I learned a lot in this thread.

 

But really my question was more practical. How do you use it when you play DCS? Not how it was used in RL.

 

I guess I came to the same conclusion as the poster above. The aiming assist of the Radar for guns is awesome. (DG mode) I find it to be very accurate and I use it all the time. But for missile firing and target searching I find it useless. Correct me if you think I'm wrong.

 

So here is how I use the radar when playing.

 

1. Leave it in Standby mode, i guess this reduces your own radar signature as wel.

2. When engaging in a dogfight, leave it of when firing missiles. It not helping your missiles hit target anyway.

3. Turn it on before switching to guns to help with aiming.

4. Turn it off again when you are victorious.

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Thank you everybody for the eloborate answers about the history of the radar, why it was build that way in that particular time period, the theory of its working, etc. I learned a lot in this thread.

 

But really my question was more practical. How do you use it when you play DCS? Not how it was used in RL.

 

I guess I came to the same conclusion as the poster above. The aiming assist of the Radar for guns is awesome. (DG mode) I find it to be very accurate and I use it all the time. But for missile firing and target searching I find it useless. Correct me if you think I'm wrong.

 

So here is how I use the radar when playing.

 

1. Leave it in Standby mode, i guess this reduces your own radar signature as wel.

2. When engaging in a dogfight, leave it of when firing missiles. It not helping your missiles hit target anyway.

3. Turn it on before switching to guns to help with aiming.

4. Turn it off again when you are victorious.

 

If you are fighting MiG-21's or russian hardware in general, just leave it on. They get zero SA from their RWR anyway. I mean, they can't determine if it's an F-15, a friendly or an F-5.

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So in a historical nutshell the radar is terrible? I was wondering because I bought the nodule earlier today and found the radar excellent for guns and a waste of time for missiles, you might as well spot the enemy, get a buzz and fire based on angle as opposed to slewing like madman.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

 

:doh:

 

m8 theres no point on using radar for missiles considering it only uses Aim9 IR Heat seekers, and has no radar guided missiles. Yes in theory it can be used to help present a firing solution for closing, but its honestly not necessary for IR seekers. I dont even bother using radar for IR seekers even when flying aircraft with more modern radars Like m2000 or F15. besides locking onto a enemy with a radar will only alarm him further, and even likelier that he will pop countermeasures.

 

 

Again apart from Guns solution once Within visual range, you can still use the radar to "search" for a target. again Its not good, but the AN/APQ 159 still more powerfull than the Mig21bis Saphir 22.


Edited by Kev2go

 

 

 

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Case/Tower: Corsair Graphite 760tm ,Asus Strix Z370- E Motherboard, Intel Core i7 8700k ( Noctua NH14S cooler),Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4 32gb ram (2666 mhz) , (Asus strix oc edition) Nvidia Gtx 1080 8gb , Evga g2 850 watt psu, Hardrives ; WD 1TB HDD, Samsung evo 860 pro 1 TB SSD, Samsung evo 850 pro 1TB SSD.

 

 

 

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Thank you everybody for the eloborate answers about the history of the radar, why it was build that way in that particular time period, the theory of its working, etc. I learned a lot in this thread.

 

But really my question was more practical. How do you use it when you play DCS? Not how it was used in RL.

 

I guess I came to the same conclusion as the poster above. The aiming assist of the Radar for guns is awesome. (DG mode) I find it to be very accurate and I use it all the time. But for missile firing and target searching I find it useless. Correct me if you think I'm wrong.

 

So here is how I use the radar when playing.

 

1. Leave it in Standby mode, i guess this reduces your own radar signature as wel.

2. When engaging in a dogfight, leave it of when firing missiles. It not helping your missiles hit target anyway.

3. Turn it on before switching to guns to help with aiming.

4. Turn it off again when you are victorious.

 

 

Its not a bad strategy. TBH this is what i more commonly see Migs doing only becasue thier SA is more limited, and they prefer to limit thier aircraft signature. while you too can employ this tactic in the F5E as another poster above me has said the RWR offers fairly minimal SA on the MIg, compared to the Ip- 1310/ALR on the F5

 

The Spo10 RWR, just provides him there is a another radar source and a general direction ( not as precise as on the F5), Spo 10 RWR can not distinguish friend from foe, So he would have to spot you on his own radar first, and then IFF the blip on the screen, to confirm you are the Foe assuming you and him dont merge into visual contact by then.

 

to compare

 

gallery_19311_694_4608.jpg

 

022.jpg

 

To the IP-1310/ALR ( also familiar to any A10 Drivers)

 

hqdefault.jpg

 

 

truth be told even the SPo-15 found on su25 and 4th gen mig29 and Su27 in DCS is improved but still crude compared to western RWR in general.


Edited by Kev2go

 

 

 

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Case/Tower: Corsair Graphite 760tm ,Asus Strix Z370- E Motherboard, Intel Core i7 8700k ( Noctua NH14S cooler),Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4 32gb ram (2666 mhz) , (Asus strix oc edition) Nvidia Gtx 1080 8gb , Evga g2 850 watt psu, Hardrives ; WD 1TB HDD, Samsung evo 860 pro 1 TB SSD, Samsung evo 850 pro 1TB SSD.

 

 

 

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  • 2 years later...

The F-5's radar is only really useful in two ways:

 

1-In dogfight mode, to get firing solutions for the 20 mm canons and help you shoot more accurately.

 

2-As a psychological trick: Since the Mig-21 is faster than the Tiger in a straight line, in Alpen Wolf's Cold War server, some of us use our sets to spook zooming Mig-21s.

 

Knowing how their RWR works, we can paint them and make them nervous before we actually see them. The least experienced pilots will then make a mistake out of uncertainty, like taking evasive actions and loosing speed, or climbing out of terrain cover and lighting their afterburners.

 

But that's pretty much all you can do with that radar. That's why the F-5 is essentially a visual dogfighter and very dependent on GCI control.

 

Aggressor Squadrons are so effective because they work in that way, guided by AWACS or EWR.

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  • 1 year later...

Appreciate this post, I thought radar was broken or settings were incorrect when I couldnt even detect a bomber 20-30 miles ahead of me with me chasing it. At least I know its limitations now; after installing the radar graphics fix I thought I'd broken something.

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the Mig21 is in a similar predicament. It also is inferior to compete against modern aircraft, yeah its not impossible to shoot them down, but your at a very significant disadvantage in that aircraft as well. It too has to fly with radars off, and try to use terrain masking to try to avoid detection. While the Mig21 radar does allow For IFF, and Sarh Guided R3R missiles, they are short ranged. By the time you do get effective firing range, you can also visually spot the target. Its radar is less reliable, more prone to ground interference, has no off bore sight , lesser range, and the elevation of the antenna is minimal, ( 1 switch). The RP22 Saphir tbh is closer in performance to the An/APQ 153, than the the AN/APQ 159 that we have on the F5E-3

 

If you cant find a target on the F5Es Radar, then remember that the Mig21 is going to be even more limited in trying intercept a fighter sized target with its radar.

 

For people who want to Fly legacy aircraft and have reasonable match-up that isnt 1 sided, i suggest finding cold war servers, where there are no 4th generation fighters.

 

I have to disagree here. In DCS, the MiG-21bis radar is vastly better than the AN/APQ 159. Fairly easy to detect targets with, has IFF capability and interference buttons to remove cloud clutter and jamming. It is strong enough to keep lock in most situations. Even when using heaters like R60M, I use the radar most of the time. It also help with A/G rocket delivery and Kh-66. F5E's radar does not help with pinpointing your target or IFF. Like the F-86F, I only find it useful for gunnery.

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