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Does the Hornet have a better radar than the Tomcat?


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AWG-9 there would be tradeoffs due to modernity versus the range.  AWG-9 arguably superior to APG-65.  APG-73 could not utilize the Phoenix to max range even if the plane could carry it. 

 

APG-71 would be superior to both by far.  Had huge potential and surface was relatively barely scratched and would have continued to grow the Eagle multi-stage improvement program.   AN/APG-79 is way too advanced to be a fair comparison.  

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The AWG-9 is better for the fighter role, it can save more track files and is over all a more powerful radar. Although it could be said in the multirole aspect the APG-65 does also have the Ground radar option to consider. In terms of A2A I would say the AWG-9 is better but you also have to keep in mind that its older tech and was always designed to be used in a 2 person set up. 

 

It also perhaps on personal preference. The AWG-9 uses Sector PPI type display which for new comers could be seen as a scope that makes more sense in their head. On the other hand the Navy during the 1990s and 2000s change standards with the Hornet and with the F-14B/Us with the PTID and F-14Ds once they got the MFDs to play with and switched to the traditional B Scope display as seen in the F-16C and F/A-18C within DCS which over all gives better symbology due to being on a MFD and thus a little bit more tactical awareness.

 

In terms of a pure fighter aircraft the AWG-9 is slightly superior but the F/A-18A-C were never designed as Air superiority aircraft alone. So taking the aircraft at face value it pretty much all depends on the situation and needs at the time. 

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As much as I love the F14 and AWG9, and also HB's attention to detail and quite realistic radar modelling, it is primarily a "fleet defender" radar design for interception of high closure targets over the sea. The F14a/F14b AWG9 radar does have sheer power, but suffers from having relatively, compared to modern radars, large filters and a lack of programmable digital signal processing. The F15 did receive a DSP shortly after release which transformed its capabilities, allowing it to remain dynamic to new techniques and threats.

 

When you get into the reality of dynamic, manoeuvring targets over land the AWG9 suffers and you need a skilled RIO to compensate, even then I feel uneasy at engagements between 30-10miles in the F14. Also, the "ground mode" of the AWG9 is quite austere.

 

TLDR: The F18 and F14 radars are each good at supporting the specific purposes of their host platform. They are each better at different things.


Edited by Sideburns
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Sideburns gave the best answer I feel. Unfortunately "better" could be a very subjective word. In terms of pure technology, objectively the F18s radar is superior. It is after all much newer technology. It has less power, which means less range, but since it doesn't need to support the Phoenix missile it doesn't need it. In every other respect it is superior, one of the more obvious advantages: It can be operated by the pilot and doesn't need another person in the back. 

 

As far as DCS is concerned i think that currently the AWG9 is modeled very realistically, and probably much closer to reality than any other radar in the game. Which translates to poorer performance in general (and possibly also due to bugs) than any other radar in the game. Was it as bad as this in real life? Hard to tell, but I feel that Heatblur have modeled it very well, warts and all, and all it needs is a little bit of polish, and some more bug squashing. (It currently loses tracks far too frequently in TWS, which might be the way it worked in real life? Who knows). 


Edited by Lurker
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In short, yes! it's a much better and newer radar. On top of that, not all radar modeling is done the same in DCS. HB generally goes for the devil in the details route. And finally, even IRL, the radar was just bad. There is a reason why the whole thing was retired after all.

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10 hours ago, captain_dalan said:

In short, yes! it's a much better and newer radar. On top of that, not all radar modeling is done the same in DCS. HB generally goes for the devil in the details route. And finally, even IRL, the radar was just bad. There is a reason why the whole thing was retired after all.

 

I mean... it's an old radar so sure, newer ones will have more refined filtering, better range, less drawbacks etc.

But to say it was a bad radar is rather pushing it... there's some clear advantages to having "unfiltered" results and manual operations when it comes to defeating ECM that digital radars would only start scratching decades later. It's a lot harder to fool a person than a computer.

 

As you may have noticed, there's an entire unsimulated section of the AWG-9 panel dedicated to doppler gates and noise control... that's the kind of place where the actual magic happens. Much as HB has given us a refined simulation of an old P/PD radar system, don't forget you're only seeing a part of the real RIO seat.

 

So yes, the Hornet's radar is a lot more user friendly, but I would never outright state "it's a better radar" because there's so much more to radar than output power and doppler gates. This is all FIRMLY in the realm of DCS-ism.


Edited by Noctrach
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Not even close. The APG-73 might have some more modes but it's a fairly small dish and can be compared to the Viper's APG-68 in performance. It's not a long range radar by any means and surely overperforms hugely in DCS, just like the Viper's radar does. ED does not seem to understand how basic radar mech. works.

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53 minutes ago, Noctrach said:

 

I mean... it's an old radar so sure, newer ones will have more refined filtering, better range, less drawbacks etc.

But to say it was a bad radar is rather pushing it... there's some clear advantages to having "unfiltered" results and manual operations when it comes to defeating ECM that digital radars would only start scratching decades later. It's a lot harder to fool a person than a computer.

 

As you may have noticed, there's an entire unsimulated section of the AWG-9 panel dedicated to doppler gates and noise control... that's the kind of place where the actual magic happens. Much as HB has given us a refined simulation of an old P/PD radar system, don't forget you're only seeing a part of the real RIO seat.

 

So yes, the Hornet's radar is a lot more user friendly, but I would never outright state "it's a better radar" because there's so much more to radar than output power and doppler gates. This is all FIRMLY in the realm of DCS-ism.

 

This is a well stated summary.

 

There is an entire ECM world that none of you know about, that will never be simulated. 

 

During an OAB exercise off of Ike, we were launched as a DLI, having the only jet in the air wing without tanks onboard, into a 300’ overcast. Probably the most technically talented RIO I’d flown with, a genius who worked at LMT on the A12. We had been listening to frantic calls from the E2C about a high speed inbound rider, low altitude, jamming and chaff. Everyone thought it was an F111. The outer CAPs didn’t have the fuel, the geometry, or the speed to catch it. So we were launched. I cut across the bow off of CAT One, rolled out on the intercept heading, and left the engines in afterburner. We ended up intercepting the inbound bogey at 500 MSL, 50 miles from the ship, despite the jamming and chaff, flying the entire profile in the clouds.

 

He was doing 540 KIAS, and we rolled out behind him, above Mach, which was daunting that low, with the ASI unwinding to below SL as we exceeded the number. Craig kept after it, the powerful radar energy burned through the jamming, he tweaked and employed mode agility, and we kept contact and closed carefully from the rear quarter after simulating forward quarter shots. I came out of burner, which causes a bobble, careful not to end up in the water. Radar altimeters are worth their weight in gold.

 

Out of the murk, a massive B1 materialized, filling my windscreen. I had offset the diamond slightly to the upper left side of the HUD, because we were closing in the clouds, and it’s a good thing I did. The B1 was massive compared to the F111 we expected. I eased to the right, and pulled alongside. The B1’s copilot was visibly pissed, banging on the glare shield when he noticed us out there, and he realized that he had been “killed” by the decrepit, outdated, useless, archaic weapons system in the F14A.

 

A Hornet would have never seen the thing, much less had the speed or fuel to execute the intercept. Because the threat has changed, we will likely see another platform fielded by the Navy, with the range and speed and electronics agility to execute similar engagements.

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6 hours ago, Victory205 said:

One, rolled out on the intercept heading, and left the engines in afterburner. We ended up intercepting the inbound bogey at 500 MSL, 50 miles from the ship, despite the jamming and chaff, flying the entire profile in the clouds.

 

On this note, do you know if there's any unclassified material on running a good intercept for a jet like the Tomcat beyond P-825?

The 40K separation intercept timeline is a very nice starting point with good FQ engagement options and easy target aspect benchmarks to follow for a stern conversion turn.

Is there anything that goes more in depth?

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Bob Shaw's "Fighter Combat" has a chapter on Tactical Intercepts. It's back in print and can be had from the usual sources. When it was released, we all thought that the book should have been classified. If you are seriously interested in air combat, grab it before it dries up again, it is a must-have.

 

My comments on the Hornet reference the Legacy models that we were beginning to get in the USN in the late 80's. The USMC got the bumblebee first, and USN A7 squadrons didn't begin to transition en masse until the late 1980's. At the time, AMRAAM hadn't been fielded. The Hornet is a versatile aircraft, but it replaced a light attack bomber, and essentially did the same mission, adding  BVR capabilities. The Super Hornet does better and AMRAAM helped, but the threat also changed massively in the early 1990's. It was bizarre for my airline to start flying to places in the Soviet Union that were on our target list, just a few years prior.

 

Understand that jamming changes everything, and having a RIO and the ability to evaluate emitters and take appropriate action was valuable against long range bombers with sophisticated jammers and chaff layers in the formation. That sort of thing isn't sexy, but that's what the AIM54/AWG9 was all about. Almost all AIM54 fleet missile shots were set up to get specific data points on that sort of complex, detailed scenario.

 

For the past fifteen years or so, where the USA has been engaged, the air to air threat has been so low that the CAS mission could have been performed with AD1 Skyraiders. That is all about to change (maybe), and we'll see long range fleet air defense fighters at some point. Probably because the "Military Industrial Complex" will pay China to make enough blustering threats to land some lucrative new orders. 😉

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1 hour ago, Victory205 said:

Probably because the "Military Industrial Complex" will pay China to make enough blustering threats to land some lucrative new orders. 😉

*Ding ding ding ding*

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On 12/5/2020 at 4:45 PM, Victory205 said:

So we were launched. I cut across the bow off of CAT One, rolled out on the intercept heading, and left the engines in afterburner. 

 

As I have learned through DCS, the carrier can introduce a significant error on your magnetic heading. How did you deal with this when launching towards a specified intercept heading and subsequently held it during the time the compass corrected itself?


Edited by MBot
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A shame there's no simulation, however rudimentary, on ECM & ECCM since it is a crucial aspect. 

F-14B; F/A-18C; A4E mod; FC3 (F-15C, SU-27); SU-57 mod | Syria; NTTR; PG | Supercarrier

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Core i9 9900k 5.0Ghz, Asus ROG Maximus Xi Hero, 32GB G.Skill Trident 3200, Asus RoG Strix 2070 OC, 1TB x Samsung Evo 970 M.2 boot. Samsung Evo 860 storage, Coolermaster H500M, ML360R AIO

 

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Eh, when I first got the module, I thought the hypoxia from not turning on oxygen was a graphics glitch. (Jester didn't tell me to on assisted startup,  nor is it mentioned in the cold start tutorial). Needs some G effect breathing with it.  

F-14B; F/A-18C; A4E mod; FC3 (F-15C, SU-27); SU-57 mod | Syria; NTTR; PG | Supercarrier

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Specs & Wishlist:

 

 

Core i9 9900k 5.0Ghz, Asus ROG Maximus Xi Hero, 32GB G.Skill Trident 3200, Asus RoG Strix 2070 OC, 1TB x Samsung Evo 970 M.2 boot. Samsung Evo 860 storage, Coolermaster H500M, ML360R AIO

 

Samsung Odyssey+ WMR HMD; VKB Gunfighter 2 with MCG Pro + T-rudder Mk IV; Virpil T-50CM v3

 

Wishlist:

AC: F-14D, YF-23, F-4S, MiG-35, MiG-29K

Maps: Miramar, Vietnam, MiG Alley, Midway

 

 

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On 12/5/2020 at 10:45 AM, Victory205 said:

 

This is a well stated summary.

 

There is an entire ECM world that none of you know about, that will never be simulated. 

 

During an OAB exercise off of Ike, we were launched as a DLI, having the only jet in the air wing without tanks onboard, into a 300’ overcast. Probably the most technically talented RIO I’d flown with, a genius who worked at LMT on the A12. We had been listening to frantic calls from the E2C about a high speed inbound rider, low altitude, jamming and chaff. Everyone thought it was an F111. The outer CAPs didn’t have the fuel, the geometry, or the speed to catch it. So we were launched. I cut across the bow off of CAT One, rolled out on the intercept heading, and left the engines in afterburner. We ended up intercepting the inbound bogey at 500 MSL, 50 miles from the ship, despite the jamming and chaff, flying the entire profile in the clouds.

 

He was doing 540 KIAS, and we rolled out behind him, above Mach, which was daunting that low, with the ASI unwinding to below SL as we exceeded the number. Craig kept after it, the powerful radar energy burned through the jamming, he tweaked and employed mode agility, and we kept contact and closed carefully from the rear quarter after simulating forward quarter shots. I came out of burner, which causes a bobble, careful not to end up in the water. Radar altimeters are worth their weight in gold.

 

Out of the murk, a massive B1 materialized, filling my windscreen. I had offset the diamond slightly to the upper left side of the HUD, because we were closing in the clouds, and it’s a good thing I did. The B1 was massive compared to the F111 we expected. I eased to the right, and pulled alongside. The B1’s copilot was visibly pissed, banging on the glare shield when he noticed us out there, and he realized that he had been “killed” by the decrepit, outdated, useless, archaic weapons system in the F14A.

 

A Hornet would have never seen the thing, much less had the speed or fuel to execute the intercept. Because the threat has changed, we will likely see another platform fielded by the Navy, with the range and speed and electronics agility to execute similar engagements.

 

This is awesome - this should be made into a movie or a book!

 

It's too bad that we cannot have anymore sophisticated jamming in DCS other than what we have now. Understandably so. If you are at liberty to say, what did you see on the TID screen if you switched to it while chaff was in the air? Did it create false contacts or does it only clutter the pulse mode if the target is beaming (which as I understand, you would not see from the pilot's seat directly and you'd ask the RIO)?


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On 12/5/2020 at 3:28 PM, Noctrach said:

 

 

 

As you may have noticed, there's an entire unsimulated section of the AWG-9 panel dedicated to doppler gates and noise control... that's the kind of place where the actual magic happens. Much as HB has given us a refined simulation of an old P/PD radar system, don't forget you're only seeing a part of the real RIO seat.

 

So yes, the Hornet's radar is a lot more user friendly, but I would never outright state "it's a better radar" because there's so much more to radar than output power and doppler gates. This is all FIRMLY in the realm of DCS-ism.

 

That unsimulated section is completely irrelevant for us DCS users. And seeing how radar performance fluctuates between patches (i mean at times you lose an STT lock just by daring to go in a bank and with other patches you can do a Split-S and still not lose a lock) i'd take a Hornet over a Tomcat any day of the week. With the later at least i'll have consistency. I don't know, maybe the thing works better with a human RIO, but not all of us can afford one, and all of us payed the same price of admission.

Current modules:

FC3, Mirage 2000C, Harrier AV-8B NA, F-5, AJS-37 Viggen, F-14B, Combined Arms, F/A-18C, F-16C, MiG-19P, F-86, FW-190A, Spitfire Mk IX, UH-1 Huey, Su-25, P-51PD, Caucasus map, Nevada map, Persian Gulf map......ah yes, forgot the Super Carrier! Shows you how often i fly these days....

 

Modules in waiting: F-14A, MiG-23, F-4U, F-8, Falklands Map

 

 

Wish list: South East Asia map, F-4J/N, A-6, F-15A/C, Su-27, Sea Harrier FRS.1, Mirage III, MiG-17.

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