F-14 BVR Part I: Sanitization and Radar Mating

Long overdue article, it should have been much longer and complex, but since I added the BVR Flow and the Mating to the kneeboard pack months ago, a brief and simplified description of it will do for now.

Brief intro: Sanitization and Mating

Long story short (long story is here: CNATRA P-825, 10-2), the Sanitization consists in a complete check of the airspace before focusing the antenna on a specific target. Recommended radar settings for the T-45 are RWS/140°/6B.

The Radar Mating is another important concept: the idea is dividing the airspace in two vertical areas, slightly overlapping. The advantages are intuitive, such as faster sweep of the airspace, each area is responsibility of an aircraft (AoR) and each aircraft will sanitize its own AoR.
In the T-45 (source, again, the CNATRA P-825, 14-13), the mating is done with the aforementioned radar settings by placing the cursor at 25nm and adjusting the elevation. The first aircraft will then cover between 40,000ft and 25,000ft and the second between 25,000ft and ground. The F-14B doesn’t support any of these settings and doesn’t even have a radar cursor.

TID and its limits

The closest thing to a modern MFD is the TID (can’t wait for the F-14D, if we’ll ever get it!). It reports the higher and lower limit of the airspace covered by the radar. Following a procedure vaguely similar to the navy’s, we can find a value in-between the Leader’s lower limit and the Wingman’s higher limit. Such value should be the altitude of the aircraft minus/plus a certain offset to allow for a certain degree of overlapping. The following is a sketch displaying (approximated) the airspace covered by means of the procedure just described.

bvr-1-radar-mating-test-4-bars
The area covered by 4B is insufficient to ensure efficient coverage of the areas above and below the pair at short range. Since we lack the 6B option (it would have been great in this case), we can try with 8B:

bvr-1-radar-mating-test-8-bars

The 8B setting is wide enough to cover the airspace but, unless the terrain offers ample masking possibilities, it is probably too focused on the short range whereas, usually, most of the threats should be within 5000ft-30000ft.

There is another problem that this solution does not solve: at 25000ft it is fairly balanced, but if the F-14s are cruising at 35000ft of 15000ft, the situation changes.

bvr-1-radar-mating-test-8-bars-different-altitude

Improvising. Again.

Starting from the above solution, I created three templates (Kneeboard Pack, Mating and Airspace sharing). This page shows a default setting similar to the doctrinal radar mating and a couple of experiments useful to overcome the limitations of the platform.


bvr-1-radar-mating-coverage-kneeboard

AWG-9 WCS: BASE

This is the default setting. The airspace covered is fairly similar to the one proposed by the CNATRA for the T-45: it properly covers both the airspace above and below the FL of the F-14s with a good overlap in the middle. Unfortunately, not having the 6B setting at our disposal makes the overlapping area too big but 4B have the opposite issue as we have seen.

AWG-9 WCS: LOW FOCUS

The look-down capabilities of the F-14B are not comparable to more recent aircraft. In a look-up situation instead, the AWG-9 is almost undefeatable. Therefore, I added a testing configuration to better handle the situation. It may be not standard or realistic, but in terrains such as the central Caucasus, it really works.

AWG-9 WCS: WM COVERING

This is another non-standard setting. The point is maximizing the airspace monitored by the wingman in case the Leader is focusing his antenna (IFFing, for instance). It sacrifices most of the higher part of the airspace (where theoretically any aircraft should have been spotted already) to focus on the same FL and the lower part of the airspace, where a threat has easier time masking.

Purpose in DCS?

So, what is the point of all of this when it comes to DCS? Properly mated radars and sanitized airspace increase the chance of spotting sneaking ground-huggers. It also dramatically increase the SA, a fundamental factor in a BVR engagement. The sanitized airspace should be the default condition at the beginning of the Timeline.

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