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Old 04-18-2019, 08:30 AM   #1
Hoggorm
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Question How do I efficiently use the radar?

Hi,

I'm usually flying helicopters or the A-10. I was thinking of learning the F-5 but have serious issues understanding the radar. First and foremost, I really struggle finding targets at all.

I made a simple mission where I was trailing a Su-25. Same altitude and a few miles behind. Unfortunately, it took a long time before I was able to see the Su-25 on the radar at all. I was able to lock something up, but the + sign that should appear in the middle of the radar indicating where to steer was not present so I had not idea where to steer.

After using the F10 map and basically visually seeing the Su-25 I finally got a lock on it using the radar.

Now this was a target flying in the same direction as me at the same altitude. If this was not an AI, but another player in a Mig-21 for example I cannot imagine I would have seen anything at all before I was shot down myself.

So how do I learn to use the radar, why is it so hard to find targets and how do I train so that I get better?
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Old 04-18-2019, 08:44 AM   #2
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I'm sure someone will have an answer, but honestly, every YouTube video I've watched with anyone flying the F-5, they do so by skulking around low between mountains and pick people off visually. Can't recall anyone every prosecuting a radar contact in the F-5...
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Old 04-18-2019, 09:41 AM   #3
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Honestly, it's pretty useless to find targets. It's not even what it's there for. It's an intercept radar that assumes you already know where to point it, having been given a BRA from AWACS or GCI.

On top of that it doesn't have IFF, so even if you find something on your radar screen you won't know whether it's a friendly or an enemy.

You're far better off sticking your head outside of the cockpit and looking for the enemies visually. If it makes you feel any better, the Mig-21's radar is almost as useless.

It's pretty good for calculating your gunsight though.
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Old 04-18-2019, 09:47 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoggorm View Post
Hi,

I'm usually flying helicopters or the A-10. I was thinking of learning the F-5 but have serious issues understanding the radar. First and foremost, I really struggle finding targets at all.

I made a simple mission where I was trailing a Su-25. Same altitude and a few miles behind. Unfortunately, it took a long time before I was able to see the Su-25 on the radar at all. I was able to lock something up, but the + sign that should appear in the middle of the radar indicating where to steer was not present so I had not idea where to steer.

After using the F10 map and basically visually seeing the Su-25 I finally got a lock on it using the radar.

Now this was a target flying in the same direction as me at the same altitude. If this was not an AI, but another player in a Mig-21 for example I cannot imagine I would have seen anything at all before I was shot down myself.

So how do I learn to use the radar, why is it so hard to find targets and how do I train so that I get better?
It's not actually a really eficient search radar. Too short range and gets blind if looks down. Maybe you can find a B-52 at 20+ Mn, but not a fighter. The radar is used mostly in dogfight mode.
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Old 04-18-2019, 09:53 AM   #5
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As others have mentioned, it's not really meant for search unless you're going after something particularly huge, like a bomber formation.

Its primary use is to drive the gunsight and possibly the missile gimbals so they're pointing in the right direction as you dive into the merge. You're not exactly getting the AIM-9X, but not needing to squeeze the target into a very tiny box in front of your nose before you can uncage helps ever so slightly.

Funnily enough, it can also be used as a bit of a ground warning system in bad weather — pull the range down to the lowest setting, and if you start picking up clutter as you descend through the clouds, ease up on the descent speed.
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Old 04-18-2019, 11:12 AM   #6
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All you’re doing by using the radar is alerting the enemy to your position. Switch it off and use Mark 1 eyeball. Get vectors from AWACS or Ground Radar stations.

Play to the F-5s advantages, it’s small and nimble and difficult to keep track of in a visual fight. And it’s got some excellent guns
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Old 04-18-2019, 07:06 PM   #7
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The radar is good for using the quick acquisition modes like MSL or GUN. Aside from that, it's a poor tool.
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Old 04-18-2019, 08:02 PM   #8
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Thank you all for your contribution. I can understand why I had a hard time finding targets.
I'm not very good at spotting airborne targets, so flying the F-5 will be a real challenge I think...
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Old 05-11-2019, 05:32 PM   #9
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I've yet to usefully lock up a target with the F-5's radar. Even when I can see it in front of me (which isn't often since I use VR and spotting is abominable). The radar seems to be even more blind than the VR.
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Old 05-14-2019, 08:24 AM   #10
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I'm glad I read this. I am doing the training missions and thinking to myself that the whole radar search business is taking an age even when I know where the target is. This saves me wasting more time trying to perfect something that is almost useless in most situations.

Besides flying around the dirt is a blast in an F-5E.
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