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Radar obtains tracks at highly inconsistent ranges


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Using an identical simple test setup with a co-altitude target hot off the nose of the aircraft, I am able to detect the target at fairly consistent ranges (a bit over 50 miles for the MiG-31 I'm using here) but the radar will not allow me to initiate a track until a seemingly arbitrary closer range. In one instance I've managed to track the target in SAM very shortly after it was detected, and in another I haven't managed to bug the target until it was within approximately 12 miles. This seems to happen in both RWS/SAM and TWS, though I've only tested TWS once.

What I would expect to happen is that the radar should allow me to initiate a track as soon as the target is detected on the scope, and if the track is unreliable then it might drop as subsequent sweeps fail to detect the target. (I'm not sure if probabilistic detection is supposed to be implemented on the radar right now but in any case the target was being consistently detected by all sweeps after initial detection.)

I've attached two DCS tracks showing tests, in one of which I managed to obtain a radar track on the target at about 47 miles and another in which I couldn't manage to until 24 miles. I go into VS at the start of the 24 mile test because I had a feeling doing that might be contributing to the issue, but I'm not sure it really matters.

JF-17 Detection and Tracking - No VS.trk JF-17 Detection and Tracking - VS first.trk

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Since I am newb in A-A fightI usualy stick with TWS and I noticed that my target (MIG-21) sometimes pops on radar then it is gone. That can happen several times on 50-40 nm. I also noticed that target like to "fadeout" from screen slowly and in all those times I am unable to put any kind of lock on target. I am aware that I am not best dogfigther in jeff, but this don't help, not to mention SD-10 horrible target tracking (looks like fairly recent behaviour) nowdays. (I can't recall almost any hit on target with SD-10 in BCR mode. Not sure is this due to radar, or missle prefiormance on game. In tacview, when missle was at target (missed) it was still well above mach 2,2 (forgot exact speed).

All in all, I am not happy with radar now. Back when I got Jeff, even with my mediocre skills in BVR I was able to rack up decent nuber of hits when I tried A-A then. Few weeks back, nothing works as it was.

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37 minutes ago, Aries101 said:

I can't recall almost any hit on target with SD-10 in BCR mode

If you're firing on a mig-21, you need to set the target size to small - by default it is on medium, and that means the missile turns on its radar 5nm away from the target. Since the RCS of the mig-21 is small, you need to put it on small, and keep the target tracked until the missile goes pitbull.

 

I agree though, I can reliably see a target on radar, and I can't lock it. I have to wait until it gets closer, and that's not how radars work at all. I should be able to lock a target even before I see it on the returns. 


Edited by Napillo
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This weird inconsistency is also present on ED's modules, and it's the main reason why I stopped flying them altogether.

I highly doubt real airborne radars refuse to lock onto targets until they're 60% of the way from the detected distance.

The the way "unstable" lock is modeled is a complete farce too - how come as soon as I bug a target in TWS/SAM or go STT, the radar drops the lock because it can't see the target anymore, but as soon as it's in search mode, it detects them in every sweep?

VS-STT is borked as well. You can spot a Flanker way beyond 60nm, but STT it is impossible until they get within 30nm. You can bug in TWS/SAM at greater distances than with VS-STT.


Edited by J20Stronk
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the latest changelog mentions a few fixes:

  • Fixed: AA radar unexpected target unlock
  • Fixed: AA radar antenna stabilization
  • Fixed: AA radar RWS auto mode behaviour
  • Fixed: AA radar target course render on B-scope screen

tried it out since the update?

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1 hour ago, Napillo said:

the latest changelog mentions a few fixes:

  • Fixed: AA radar unexpected target unlock
  • Fixed: AA radar antenna stabilization
  • Fixed: AA radar RWS auto mode behaviour
  • Fixed: AA radar target course render on B-scope screen

tried it out since the update?

The biggest changes were the RDR page actually displaying target position and aspect like an actual B-Scope, TWS trackfiles now update in real time as opposed to just being hit returns with a vector, and the radar no longer drops TWS/SAM bugs randomly.

 

However there is still a big discrepancy between detection range and lock-on/tracking range, and VS-STT is still useless.

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1 hour ago, J20Stronk said:

The biggest changes were the RDR page actually displaying target position and aspect like an actual B-Scope, TWS trackfiles now update in real time as opposed to just being hit returns with a vector, and the radar no longer drops TWS/SAM bugs randomly.

 

However there is still a big discrepancy between detection range and lock-on/tracking range, and VS-STT is still useless.

for range issue, will be addressed for next update

with detection probability implemented, it cannot guarantee a constant detection at every frame when distance is around detection boundary

1 hour ago, Napillo said:

where is this 'VS-STT' documented? because it sounds like BS, you can't get an STT from VS.

Lock a contact in VS mode will enter STT if lock succeeds.

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3 hours ago, Napillo said:

where is this 'VS-STT' documented? because it sounds like BS, you can't get an STT from VS.

It was added like 2/3 patches ago. Similar to the F-14s PD-STT. Would be really useful if it could actually keep a stable lock past 30nm.

 

2 hours ago, uboats said:

with detection probability implemented, it cannot guarantee a constant detection at every frame when distance is around detection boundary.

I get that there was some lock instability added at max detection range of a specific RCS return, which I can see as plausible behavior of a radar.(I'm not a Radar engineer.)

The thing that seems questionable both in the Thunder and ED's own modules is the huge gap in distance where the radar can see the target and where it can acquire a "stable" lock. Often times it's as far as 15nm between max detection and max stable lock ranges.

ie. Su-27 at 40k ft is spotted at 55nm in TWS HI-PRF, track file is made by 5nm of displacement, but I can't bug it until 35nm.


Edited by J20Stronk
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37 minutes ago, J20Stronk said:

It was added like 2/3 patches ago. Similar to the F-14s PD-STT. Would be really useful if it could actually keep a stable lock past 30nm.

 

I get that there was some lock instability added at max detection range of a specific RCS return, which I can see as plausible behavior of a radar.(I'm not a Radar engineer.)

The thing that seems questionable both in the Thunder and ED's own modules is the huge gap in distance where the radar can see the target and where it can acquire a "stable" lock. Often times it's as far as 15nm between max detection and max stable lock ranges.

ie. Su-27 at 40k ft is spotted at 55nm in TWS HI-PRF, track file is made by 5nm of displacement, but I can't bug it until 35nm.

 

then gap issue will be addressed for next update

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1 hour ago, J20Stronk said:

I get that there was some lock instability added at max detection range of a specific RCS return, which I can see as plausible behavior of a radar.(I'm not a Radar engineer.)

The thing that seems questionable both in the Thunder and ED's own modules is the huge gap in distance where the radar can see the target and where it can acquire a "stable" lock. Often times it's as far as 15nm between max detection and max stable lock ranges.

I'm not a radar engineer either, but there's radar software and algorithms, and tests that you can look up and see that that's not how radars work at all. There should be a difference between detection and lock, but it should be that you can lock things faster than you can see them on the radar. In other words, an STT should be able to aquire a lock even if the range is greater than 60, the radar won't show the contacts until they're confirmed / obvious. Check out Skolnik's radar handbook.

 

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On 6/22/2022 at 5:47 AM, Arctic Fox said:

What I would expect to happen is that the radar should allow me to initiate a track as soon as the target is detected on the scope, and if the track is unreliable then it might drop as subsequent sweeps fail to detect the target. (I'm not sure if probabilistic detection is supposed to be implemented on the radar right now but in any case the target was being consistently detected by all sweeps after initial detection.)

I've flown a bit since the last patch, and it's worse than it was before - I can't lock an f-16 with a vc of 1200 kts or more within a distance of 40nm??? I see it on scope when it gets within 50 or 60, I can try to lock it at 40, but it locks then drops immediately, locks then drops immediately, even though its showing properly in each scan that passes over the target - is there no history kept for the tracks then? within 35 or so i get consistent locks that don't immediately drop, but there's no radar in the world that would behave this way irl. The only thing I can think of is that it was "balanced".

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12 hours ago, Napillo said:

I've flown a bit since the last patch, and it's worse than it was before - I can't lock an f-16 with a vc of 1200 kts or more within a distance of 40nm??? I see it on scope when it gets within 50 or 60, I can try to lock it at 40, but it locks then drops immediately, locks then drops immediately, even though its showing properly in each scan that passes over the target - is there no history kept for the tracks then? within 35 or so i get consistent locks that don't immediately drop, but there's no radar in the world that would behave this way irl. The only thing I can think of is that it was "balanced".

I confirm

12 hours ago, Napillo said:

 The only thing I can think of is that it was "balanced".

If it's true, that's really sad., but not surprising from ED


Edited by sylkhan
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