Ground and Naval radars

Hello tankers.

Today we’re going to take a look at how to use fire control and radar to effectively get rid of all kinds of mosquitoes trying to spray you (yeah, because if you’ve been bitten, there won’t be much left of you afterwards).

While the majority of anti-aircraft guns have no means of assisting anti-aircraft fire, higher-level vehicles (BR 7.7 and above) are equipped with radio rangefinders and radars (for surveillance and/or fire).

!! Detail !! that tutorial are a traduction with Deepl of my work in french section. Images are in french, copy/past form the original topic.

!!! WARNING !!! As naval and land radars work in the same way, I’ll only detail the latter here.
Being limited to 2 tags for the moment, the Naval tag will be added later.

-1°) The different detection and guidance equipments:

-A) Radio rangefinders

Quite uncommon, and found mainly on the M163 and its derivatives, the radio rangefinder can be used to lock on to a target and give its distance. For simplicity’s sake, the radio rangefinders present in the game also give the target’s trajectory and the point to aim at.

As these vehicles are not equipped with radar, only the “Lock target” command is required [see point -2°) useful commands.

Click Here: Radio rangefinder

-B) Air surveillance radars
Next came the first generation of radars. Air surveillance radars are used to monitor airspace. The first antennas were also used to track a target. In fact, in “target tracking” mode, the vehicle no longer has an air watch. You therefore need to remain alert to what is happening in the sky around your target.

Click Here: Air surveillance radars

Planes and helicopters equipped with RWR can detect these radars and will therefore be alerted to the presence of a threat.

-C) Firing guidance equipment
Finally, as technology has evolved, the latest vehicles are equipped with a fire guidance system in addition to the air surveillance radar. This additional equipment keeps the surveillance radar active, so that you can keep an eye on other aircraft in flight without having to turn your head in all directions.

There are two types of equipment:

  • Firing radars, which use a second radar to lock on to the target, giving the point to aim for in order to hit the target. Be careful, these radars can be detected by your opponents who are equipped with a RWR warning them of a radar lock. You can lock on to a target without switching to sniper view.
Click Here: Firing radar

  • Named IRST (Infra-Red-Search-and-Track), IR Trackers are an optronic device that requires you to switch to sniper view to lock on to the target. Using a thermal camera, this equipment cannot be spotted by your opponents, who will have no idea that an anti-aircraft gun is out to get them.
    This equipment is most often found on IFVs (Puma, VBCI or BMP-2M, for example), enabling these vehicles to deal with light aerial threats (helicopters, low-altitude aircraft).
Click Here: IRST


-2°) Useful commands:
Here are the commands you’ll need to use the radars:

Click Here: Commands

In order of image top to bottom:

  • Lock target: Used when SELF-GUIDED ground-to-air missiles are available on the vehicle (Mistral, Stingers etc). Other missiles (on ADATS, ROLAND or 2S6 ZPRK for example) are remotely controlled by the launcher.

  • Change missile guidance mode: Used to change the way the missile is guided: either it follows the guidance beam directly, or it takes a lead on the guidance beam. (See point -3°) -E) )

  • Activate/deactivate radar/IRST scanning: used to turn your radar on or off. Turning your radar off can be useful for not revealing your presence on the battlefield to aircraft too early. Another useful feature of switching off your radar is that it can be lowered or stored in a slot (in most cases), reducing your silhouette and preventing you from being spotted by opponents on the ground.

  • Alternate between Radar and IRST: Some SPAAs have radars ( surveillance and fire) AND IRST fire optronics. This command allows you to use IRST (undetectable or on small targets such as reconnaissance drones) instead of fire radar.

  • Change the scale of the radar/IRST screen: Most vehicles can change the spotting distance: either use a low distance to see a nearby target more easily, or a high distance to spot a possible threat as early as possible.

  • Selecting the target to lock: When multiple aircraft are in the air, you may want to lock on to one target over another. This can be done, and your radar will try to lock on to that target first. A lock via the sniper view allows you to override this priority.
    On the Pantsir S1, with its multi-targeting, you can switch from one target to another. (See point -3°) -F) )

  • Lock the radar/IRST on the target: Well, as the command says, this locks the selected target or the one aimed at in sniper view.

!!! WARNING!!! For vehicles equipped with cannon + missiles, missile fire is triggered by the “secondary armament fire” button. For vehicles equipped only with missiles, missile fire is triggered by the “fire main armament” button.

Click Here: Self-guided infrared missiles

!!! WARNING !!! Self-guided missiles can be decoyed by Flares. For REMOTE GUIDED missiles, the launcher’s radar lock can be lost because of the Chaff (the chaff) but the missiles themselves are not sensitive to decoys.

-3°) Operating details and information displayed:

-A) Field of detection
Radars have a detection field outside of which a target cannot be detected. As most ground-based radars are mounted on a rotating base, they cover 360° of the horizon. However, these radars also have a detection height. If an aircraft is too high and/or too close, it will not be detected. A green band (the height of which varies depending on the vehicle) will pass through your field of vision regularly as your standby radar rotates.

Standby radars (or in standby mode for vehicles without a firing radar) are fixed and the area scanned by the radar does not change inclination, even if you tilt your vehicle using the terrain.

Target tracking (or tracking mode) radars can tilt and track targets that are normally outside the surveillance range of a standby radar (almost to the vertical of the vehicle).

Click Here: Field of detection

-B) Symbology
Various symbols are displayed on your interface to indicate the layout and capabilities of your equipment. Let’s take a look at these symbols:

Click Here: Symbology




-C) Radar modes

Two radar modes are available: Search and Tracking.

Search mode means that an air surveillance mode is active.

Tracking mode means that a target is locked. If the standby radar is also used as a firing radar, then in tracking mode, the airborne watch is deactivated.

All this is automatic.

Click Here: Radar modes



!!! WARNING !!! In “Tracking” mode, the turret (direction and elevation) is slaved to the firing radar and automatically moves the turret according to the movements of the target to assist aiming and firing.

-D) Identification Friendly or Foe (IFF)
While early radars simply detected and/or locked on to targets, the latest radars have a Friend or Foe (IFF) identifier that can be used in conjunction with aircraft to quickly identify who is or isn’t a threat. To simplify the game, all friendly aircraft are identified as such, even if they have no on-board electronics.

This friendly identification is displayed by a double chevron on the radar.

Click Here: IFF



-E) Missile guidance mode
Currently, 2 vehicles have an alternative missile guidance mode: the Pantsir S1 and the Bravy (ship).
These guidance modes are as follows:

  • shot 2023.07.30 14.17.51 - Copie
    direct tracking of the guidance beam: Identical to the guidance of other ground-to-air missiles currently in game, the missiles follows the guidance pointed by the launch vehicle. This mode is suitable for targets that are slow, relatively slow, not very manoeuvrable or heading your way.
Direct beam tracking

  • shot 2023.07.30 14.18.11 - Copie
    Indirect beam tracking with intercept trajectory: Similar to Air-to-Air missile guidance, which moves ahead of the target trajectory onto an intercept trajectory. This guidance mode is effective for very fast or relatively close targets. However, because the missile moves ahead of the target, if the target changes direction completely, the missile is almost certain to be lost.
Indirect beam tracking

  • shot 2023.07.30 14.18.32 - Copie

    Automatic mode: In automatic mode, the AI chooses the missile’s guidance mode (direct tracking or intercept trajectory) based on the target’s flight parameters. However, because the guidance mode can change, the missile can easily be lost.
Automatic mode

!! Detail !! On the Bravy (USSR boat), only the "Automatic" mode is currently available.

-F) Multi-target radar
At the time of writing, only the Russian Pantsir S1 has a multi-target ground/naval radar.
This feature allows multiple aircraft to be pre-targeted in the fire radar’s target lock cone in addition to targeting a specific target.
To switch from one target to another, use the “Select target to lock” command described above.
To fire several missiles at several targets, lock on to a first target, fire your missile and then switch targets. The missile will then follow the target locked before the change and the next missile will be guided directly by you. To fire a third missile at a third target, repeat the manoeuvre, your first two missiles will be guided to their respective targets and you will guide the 3rd missile directly.

Click Here: Multi-target guidance



!!! WARNING !!! For missiles to be guided towards their target, the latter must remain within the cone of the firing radar. If a target leaves this zone, the missile will no longer be guided.

-G) Special case of low altitude targets
When locking onto a target at low altitude, the radar plot is jammed by the radar’s reflection off obstacles (rocks, trees, houses etc etc etc). In fact, at low altitude, the fire guidance interface will usually be shifted downwards. The information on the point to be aimed at remains correct, but it will be necessary to apply an aiming correction.

Click Here: Locking and counter-locking offset



IRST optronics are not jammed at low altitude and the lock is therefore on target. However, some IRSTs do not give firing corrections.

Click Here: IRST at low altitude



That’s the end of this guide, and you’re now armed to defend your team-mates against the nasty mosquitoes of War Thunder.