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Can't lock Link 16 targets and how to display wingman


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New to the F-16 and can't figure out how to lock Link 16 Targets.  When I fly the training missions, all the targets show up nicely on the FCR and can easily be tracked/locked/bugged.  But when flying in a server with Link 16 activated, the targets show up as red triangles just fine, but the triangles can't be locked and the white dot isn't there generally.  It shows up sporadically, if at all, but then disappears by the time I get the cursor on it.  

 

Sometimes the white dot shows up long enough to get a lock, but most of the time it's just Link 16 triangles.  I know scan rates, FCR modes, etc. have an affect on target visibility, but Link 16 seems to mostly eliminate the white dots.

 

Obviously I'm doing something wrong and it's probably something simple, but could someone please explain?

 

Also, I'm unable to figure out how to display my wingman when using Link 16.  I've set up the Link 16 options with me as 00244 and him as 00245 (does it matter what these numbers are as long as they're in sequence?  Could I just set 00101 and 00102?), set myself as lead, he sets himself as #2, but he doesn't show up and just remains a green circle.  Does it have something to do with the callsign on the 2nd Link 16 DED page where mine will say something like PC31 and his will say CY45?  I've tried to change mine to match his, but it only lets me change one of the letters with the increment/decrement button, and when I press Enter it just goes back to the original letter.


Edited by dporter22
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New to the F-16 and can't figure out how to lock Link 16 Targets.  When I fly the training missions, all the targets show up nicely on the FCR and can easily be tracked/locked/bugged.  But when flying in a server with Link 16 activated, the targets show up as red triangles just fine, but the triangles can't be locked and the white dot isn't there generally.  It shows up sporadically, if at all, but then disappears by the time I get the cursor on it.  
 
Sometimes the white dot shows up long enough to get a lock, but most of the time it's just Link 16 triangles.  I know scan rates, FCR modes, etc. have an affect on target visibility, but Link 16 seems to mostly eliminate the white dots.
 
Obviously I'm doing something wrong and it's probably something simple, but could someone please explain?
 
Also, I'm unable to figure out how to display my wingman when using Link 16.  I've set up the Link 16 options with me as 00244 and him as 00245 (or something similar), set myself as lead, he sets himself as #2, but he doesn't show up and just remains a green circle.  Does it have something to do with the callsign on the 2nd Link 16 DED page where mine will say something like PC31 and his will say CY45?  I've tried to change mine to match his, but it only lets me change one of the letters with the increment/decrement button, and when I press Enter it just goes back to the original letter.

If the triangle is hollow, your radar isnt actually picking it up. Its just a surveillance track. And I dont think you can add wingman in game, it has to be done through the mission editor.


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Correct, that's my question.  How do I lock it if it's just a surveillance track?

 

That's too bad you can't see your wingman.  I wonder why the manual would have a whole section on how to do it, but then not say it's not implemented.

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Correct, that's my question.  How do I lock it if it's just a surveillance track?
 
That's too bad you can't see your wingman.  I wonder why the manual would have a whole section on how to do it, but then not say it's not implemented.

You cant lock a surveillance track, you might need to play with your antenna elevation or scan azimuth the get him on radar
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Maybe I'm using the wrong terms but I'm simply asking how to lock the target.  There's a red triangle, but no white dots, radar is set up correctly, how do I lock it if there's nothing to lock? 

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Your radar has to detect him first. In other words, you need the white dot.

 

The red triangle is another aircraft telling you where you should aim your radar to pick him up yourself, but your radar cannot lock something it hasn't seen yet.

 

If I'm getting a red triangle then I narrow my scan azimuth so that my radar sweeps over the target faster. Adjust your scan elevation so that you're searching above and below the last known position.

 

Once the white dot appears, then you can lock.

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5 minutes ago, dporter22 said:

Maybe I'm using the wrong terms but I'm simply asking how to lock the target.  There's a red triangle, but no white dots, radar is set up correctly, how do I lock it if there's nothing to lock? 

Use the radar cursor control to slew the captains bars (I I) over the target and press TMS up to lock it up. TMS down to unlock

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you can also lock a full triangle, so not hollow.


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59 minutes ago, Falconeer said:

Use the radar cursor control to slew the captains bars (I I) over the target and press TMS up to lock it up. TMS down to unlock

Correct, but the problem is that there's no white dot to lock.  That's my question.  I've tried RWS and TWS with the azimuth and bars at at full and there are no dots.  I shouldn't have to narrow the radar should I?  Isn't the point of a long range scan to sweep a large area to pick up multiple targets.

 

Works fine in the training missions.

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so you're not seeing contacs at all, while they are visible on the datalink? Is that what you mean?

 

If so, it's most likely they are outside of the scan zone of the radar. Imagine the scan zone as some sort of icecream cone, both from the top and from the sides. You need to move the scan zone, so that the contact is in that zone. 

 


Edited by Falconeer

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He's explaining at as clearly as he can, but I'll give it a go!  Red triangle with a small number near it will give you an estimated altitude depending on what's tracking it.

Your data link sees the target but your jet's internal radar does not. You may have your radar pointed at the targets bearing, elevation of the radar looks to be your issue!

If you look at your captains bars there are 2 little numbers to the right that indicates what altitude it's cone of vision is seeing. You need to adjust your radar elevation setting to fit the targets altitude in between what your captains bars are currently looking in 🙂

Narrowing your radar, and switching to a 2 bar scan pending range may help. You wont detect much outside of 80 miles reliably. 

Hope this helps!

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OP you might find a guide useful, like https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Byn5HSkndzU It's 35 mins long, but hey, you're playing DCS and it's a study sim. The video explains what's happening with your radar when it scans the sky. Radar contacts don't always show up 100% reliably and DCS tries to model it, although right now the consensus is that the DCS F-16's radar is way too powerful/reliable at the moment.

 

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Sorry guys, I've read the manual several times, read Chuck's guide several times, watched multiple videos, flown the training missions several times, etc. and I'm still not able to get any targets on the FCR when using Link 16.

 

In the screenshot below there are four Link 16 targets well within radar range, but I'm unable to do anything because there are never any white boxes.

 

Like I said earlier, I've tried RWS and TWS, TMS right, slew the cursor over and TMS forward, changed antenna elevation, changed azimuth and bars etc. but there are no targets.  The Link 16 symbols just continue towards me even into visual range and still no white boxes.

 

What am I doing wrong?

Screen_210630_144041.png

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You're in TWS mode, so there's no radar lock. You have a target selected (see the circle around the second target from the left) and you are currently outside of rmax of your AIM-120. You do not need a radar lock in TWS. Just close the distance and fire.


Edited by Xavven
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Complementing what Xavven said,

 

Look at your HUD - you have a bugged target (bugged = selected for weapon employment in TWS mode) due to the box on the HUD.

 

You were expecting a white box, but that is only on RWS mode or TWS for contacts not yet turned into a trackfile. Once a hit becomes a trackfile, it changes into the triangle you are seeing on the left MFD.

 

Also, while you have the radar as the selected sensor, you can use TMS right short to cycle through the targets that are solid triangles. Once there is a bugged target in TWS, the radar will keep its azimuth and elevation centered on it.


Edited by SFJackBauer
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5 minutes ago, SFJackBauer said:

Complementing what Xavven said,

 

Look at your HUD - you have a bugged target (bugged = selected for weapon employment in TWS mode) due to the box on the HUD.

 

You were expecting a white box, but that is only on RWS mode or TWS for contacts not yet turned into a trackfile. Once a hit becomes a trackfile, it changes into the triangle you are seeing on the left MFD.

 

Also, while you have the radar as the selected sensor, you can use TMS right short to cycle through the targets that are solid triangles. Once there is a bugged target in TWS, the radar will keep its azimuth and elevation centered on it.

 

Just to clarify: In DCS all datalink contacts belonging to the opposite team are always identified as hostile. In real life there are multiple colours and shapes for contacts. Green circle for friendly ID criteria, white box for unknown, yellow box for partial hostile ID criteria and red triangle for fully met hostile ID criteria. Mission or campaign specific ID criteria can be loaded via the DTC and classify targets based on aircraft type, IFF response, etc. And if the tracks are hollow they're just link tracks and if they're solid they're being tracked by your own radar. So yeah, until DCS includes some sort of ID system, all hostile tracks will simply be shown as red triangles in TWS.

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Posted (edited)

"Lock" is a funny word when it comes to radar. I don't know if there is an agreed upon definition of what is and is not a lock in the F-16. I would recommend using the more common terms like "track "bug" "STT" and similar. Unless there is functionality I'm unaware of, it's not possible to bug any contacts which are known exclusively to the datalink. To bug any contact (i.e. make it target of interest) the radar must have contact with the target.

 

Due to the display of the FCR it can be confusing or even impossible to know what state the contact object is in and how to proceed. Here is what a single IL-76 looks like with MIDS on and TWS but the radar is aimed (or too far) so that it does not see the contact.

image.png L16 contact without radar detection is hollow.

image.pngRadar aimed down to see target and at first a contact is displayed near L16 object because not enough information is available to make a track file.

image.pngAfter a few scans the target becomes a track file. At the same time it is correlated with the L16 track becoming a filled triangle.

image.pngTurning MIDS off to see radar without L16. It's a non-steppable/non-snappable tank track*. Normally L16 remains on but this shows what's happening better.

image.pngWith cursors over track TMS forward the first time. Azimuth narrows to "A2" and cursors snap to object. Track is "system type"*.

image.pngTMS forward a second time. Now you can see the track is bugged by the circle around it.

image.pngTMS forward a third time. This commands STT which is signaled by the cursors and all other tracks disappearing.

 

Now I will do the exact same process again but leaving L16 on.

 

image.pngRadar can't see L16 track

image.pngRadar contact next to L16 track

image.pngRadar makes track, correlates with L16 track

image.pngMIDS remains on.

image.pngTMS forward once, cursor snaps to target, azimuth narrows "A2"

image.pngTMS forward second time. Target is bugged.

image.pngTMS forward third time. Target is STT.

 

*Since the last time I looked tracks were shown (with MIDS off) as solid for tank-type and hollow for system-type. That is no longer the case. Currently tank-type and system-type look identical. The difference is that tank-type cannot have cursors snapped to them nor will they appear in the TMS right short rotary stepping through tracks.

 

The radar should be understood fully without L16 first. The addition of L16 information is very confusing because sometimes it correlates with radar data and sometimes not.


Edited by Frederf
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3 hours ago, Frederf said:

-snip-

 

Very thoroughly explained and visually represented Frederf. Well done.

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Afterburners are for wussies...hang around the battlefield and dodge tracers like a man.

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Thanks.  

 

I've noticed a few issues, not sure if they are bugs.

 

For example, TMS right may or may not bug correlated L16 contacts.  Seems like you have to slew the cursor over them even though neither the manual nor the training mission says so. 

 

Also, if you TMS forward a correlated contact and then TMS aft to go back, it won't let you TMS right to cycle through other contacts anymore and it won't let you TMS forward any of the other contacts.  You have to TMS aft all the way back to RWS and start over. 

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TMS right does a few things. Tracks get "promoted" and "demoted" between tank-type (lesser) and system-type (greater). There's a limit of I think 10 system-type tracks. They're the good ones that you can TMS right step through, snap cursor on, and shoot missiles at.

 

TMS right only steps through system tracks. What a quick tap of TMS right will do is if there are no current system tracks it will elevate all present tank tracks to system. This used to be visible using the plain radar (MIDS off) by seeing all the solid squares turn hollow (I miss this version as it was more clear at least when MIDS off). Currently both tanks and systems are solid so you can only tell by cursor snap and other behavior. One behavior is that if you have 1 system track the rotary only will pick that one system track and won't promote any tanks automatically (since you don't have zero systems).

 

You can also promote/demote tracks on an individual basis with TMS up/down. I think there's also an extra TMS down that demotes all systems to tanks right before reverting to RWS on the next TMS down. I'm foggy on that memory.

 

You should be able to unbug a system track while retaining all other system tracks. You might be pressing TMS down one too many times (see above sentence).

 

I invite you to get something like 6 big fat radar targets and promote 3 of them system-type with TMS up and then see that when you TMS right rotary you only cycle through the promoted system type and not the unpromoted tank type.

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Posted (edited)

In TWS mode, when trying to acquire target (or more of them, doesn`t matter) by using TMS Forward to put them from Track Target to System Target, symbology doesn`t seem to be right, based on the manual and this tutorial. Target icon big filled square does not change to big empty square.

Then with pressing TMS Right to go from System Target to Bugged Target - to bug the target, the target gets a circle around the square, which is ok, but still the box is full (should be empty, but should be empty when target get into System Target state in the 1st place). Check the track I have attached.

Is that a bug, or the symbology has been changed recently?

f16_systemTarget_issue.trk


Edited by skywalker22
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I just watched this video and was practicing radar stuff earlier and came across the same issue.

 

I'm fairly new to the Viper though, so I don't know if the system was doing things correctly and just not displaying it, or not working at all.

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Posted (edited)

Agree this is a problem. Got very confused yesterday trying to work out what was going on. There is now no difference between track target and system target (in the FCR MFD display iconography), so this is clearly not working correctly.


Edited by Rowntree
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