RWR and Radar rework discussion

I generally like the RWR rework, however in air sim games it has significantly changed what notifications players receive. Based on my reading of the RWR rework post many of these new mechanics only operate in simulator battles.

The specific instance I am aware of is the F-4J does not receive radar or track notifications from Mig-21, -23, or -29. I have confirmed being hit with at least two radar guided missiles from Mig-23 without the RWR track warning.

Based on the in-game band notices, only the A-10A Late and the F-4E among rank 7 US planes get RWR pings from J-band radar such as on the Mig-21 and -23 (and -29 and Tornadoes). A quick look at other planes indicates this isn’t specific to the US or even to US sourced planes.

However, this is unverified but based on the RWR notes: If the F-4J operates solely in PD mode, the Mig-21 and -23 will not get RWR pings either as their RWR no longer respond to PD. Because the F-4J PD mode is a velocity search, it leads to lots of locking to determine target range.

I’m interested in a discussion of the new RWR experience in sim and what if any changes should be made to improve it, change balance, or how player’s should operate specific planes to best effect. If you have confirmed specific plane to plane warning or lack, I’d like to know too.

I went down a bit of a rabbit hole looking at the F-4J equipment before realizing that using PD should even the playing field. My take is that except for the AIM-7F (post-1976) the rest of the US F-4J equipment is pre-1972. It looks like US planes in active service received a RWR upgrade (AN/APR-45/46) around '72 that detected J-band and also had pod or internally mounted track-breakers for J-band radar that could integrate with RWR or operate independently (AN/ALQ-126). I don’t have a good date for the AN/ALQ-126 except a web source saying they were retained in the F-4J to -4S upgrade that occurred late '70s.

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It’s going to be impossible to maintain realism while also maintaining a reasonable balance.

The truth is, US Vietnam war-era fighters are fighting Soviet tech 5-10 years in the future at their BRs.

For whatever reason, the US Cold War lineup only ever received the early versions of their respective models. (F4E is like block 3 or something) So, they are stuck fighting radar technology that didn’t even exist when they were in service. It’s extremely apparent on the F-14A which can’t identify almost anything it actually fights.

Actually, the F4E is one of the worst examples since it lacks a massive amount of historical armament.

Meanwhile at Gaijin HQ:
“Should we make US players grind a nearly 100% copy paste F-4E with all the ordinance we’ve been holding back from it all these years?”
“Sure sounds like a great idea to me!”
Suggestion passed to developers

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I definitely agree with the tension between realism and balance. I suspect that the weather additions may be a soft balancing adjustment to provide other “cover” due to some aircraft not getting warnings. I’ve accepted that aircraft are matched mostly based on their in-game competitiveness, but I like the semi-historical accuracy of individual planes. With the EC BR rotation, I’ve become much more of a fan of similar variants with slightly different loadouts or equipment as long as they sit a BR step apart.

I think anything at 11.7, like the F-14A, is going to struggle no matter what until EC goes to 12.7+ and adds another bracket. That’s a different WT mechanic that’ll change in a few updates and is the fate of all top-tier aircraft after their reign ends.

To be honest, what we really need now is MAW (Missile Approach Warning) and ECM (Electronic Countermeasures)
RWRs only detect radar missile, however some RWR sets ingame were able to detect IR missiles too, allowing for proper countering of, for example, the AIM-9M.
That, and the fact that to defeat a SARH missile, you need to defeat radar… but with what? Notching and chaff are limited, but ECM would add a whole new list of features to the game

I can see MAW working in game, but based on what I was reading about the AN/ALQ-100 and -126 it just automatically broke tracks or made the tracking radar think the plane was somewhere else and tricked radar proximity fuses into being duds. ECM of that type seems a bit OP on anything other than a B-52. I already find the Su-39 with IRCCM annoying in my F-4J as I don’t fly with a gunpod.

Do you have any thoughts on what type of ECM or how they would work in game?

Just as something to break locks and defeat radars… sometimes.
That technology is old too, for example if you look in War Thunder, the MiG-21SMT has a weird pod underneath it
That’s the SPS-141 ECM pod that carried countermeasures and radar jammers, and was used by vehicles as old as the Su-7B, which is literally at the start of Rank VI.

No RWR could detect an IR missile. There is simply no radar emissions to detect. You can only detect an IR missile with UV or Active Doppler sensors.

Examples of this are the Harrier GR.5/7/9 Have a rear facing active doppler sensor for detecting all launch types. And the Apache has UV sensors that detect the flash in UV from the motor.

But these of course are not modeled in game because NATO.

UV based MAWS are already available on the helicopters that have them. Only the GR.7 has an active doppler sensor to my knowledge, don’t think the AV-8B+ has that in its tail. Which is a new sensor type we don’t have in game and would need new code to be implemented.

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The installation of ultraviolet sensors on aircraft was carried out for the first time in Russia…
Самолёты Ил-76 ВТА ВКС РФ получат новые бортовые системы защиты (
Размещение ультрафиолетовых датчиков (изд… | Война История Политика | ВКонтакте (




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I think US rank 6 aircraft also started carrying ECM pods, especially for SAM defense.

They’re definitely cool! I’m not sure what they would do in game, though. I’d be entirely fine with them working against AI AA, and I might give up a pylon to avoid midmap AA. I’m not sure I would notice them ‘sometimes’ working against radar missiles as I find the Sparrows pretty finicky already. I don’t know how effective other country’s radar missiles are. If WT had a well developed BVR situation maybe, but even on the big sim maps I rarely engage in any BVR combat as radar locks are too likely to grab a friendly near the LOS to the indended target.

I couldn’t find anything on how some of the podded ECM integrated with the RWR (other than that they could), but I would definitely be up for using pods to modify (especially augment with additional warnings) RWR behavior if that has any basis in real systems.

Sparrows are SARH. If you defeat the carrier’s radar, you defeat the missile. Plus, with ECM, the radar is counterable, so instead of going low you can just jam whatever is locking you, or even simply hide your location from a search radar so it appears like you’re somewhere else. ECMs would give another option in terms of counters against threats.

ECM is an extremely complex topic, and people tend to overestimate the capability of the sort of ECM systems aircraft currently in the game had.

For starters ECM that works against pulse radars is usually completely ineffective against pulse Doppler radars (and vice versa), and a lot of early ECM pods only jammed pulse radars. In addition the sector coverage by ECM pods is often pretty poor. For example a lot of American ECM pods were designed for use against SAMs, so had the antennas angled downwards, making them completely useless against radars above you.

To help visualizing what @Flame2512 is talking about here is the AN/ALQ-101-10 British ECM pod (based on a American design)

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With the confirmation of the F-111, the IR based AN/AAR-34 MAWS may turn up, It’s a rear quadrant only system.

Because that capability was provided by ECM systems integrally mounted to the airframe, not the pods.

Sure, I was just pointing out the limitations of pod based ECM. Even Sky Shadow has a 60 degree antenna coverage. Albeit not limited in elevation to ~20 degree like the 101-10. But systems that are integral are superior in coverage. This can be seen on Zeus (ARI 23333/1) for the Harrier GR5/7/9, has antenna in all directions.

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Again that depends on the aircraft and the system. Modern integrated ECM systems probably provide good coverage. By comparison integrated ECM on the Su-27 only covers a cone centered on the aircraft’s nose; and many bombers had ECM systems that only covered a a section of the lower hemisphere of the aircraft, because their job was to confuse long range surveillance radars and SAMs.

Modelling ECM accurately will be very hard because every system has different coverage and functionality, and due to the sensitive nature of ECM, that information is rarely released (even for old systems).

If anyone does want to discuss British E-War systems, I have a topic on that;

As Flame2512 mentioned as these systems vary greatly from country to country and airframe to airframe it isn’t an all encompassing topic as I only have information on British systems.