War Thunder background
Radar Station: New opportunities in the game

Radio detection had become an important military technology at the beginning of WW2: all parties actively used radars to detect different target types. After the end of the war progress in radio technology and electronics provided even faster development of the onboard radars for aircraft, ground vehicles and vessels.

We have always endeavoured to implement vehicles in our game with maximum accuracy, and that’s why when we introduced more modern vehicles we understood that this technology should also be implemented.

In real life aircraft progress and its strike capabilities forced the development of the ground-based countermeasures. Adding new vehicles in the game - strike helicopters with long-ranged ATGMs,  air-to-ground missiles for the jet aircraft, as well as increasing speed and bomb load of these aircraft made it necessary to introduce countermeasures that could be used by ground vehicles to meet new threats.

After the end of the war airborne radars became an important component of combat air force, which actually defined the efficiency of the warfare system as a whole - and we could not ignore that.

In War Thunder update 1.87 "Locked on!" we will introduce new game mechanics - a sensor system, that will consist of means for radio detection and target lockon, as well as means for finding firing solution for airborne armament. Radar stations in War Thunder are implemented with high accuracy, taking into account all technical and physical capabilities of the real vehicles, plus they will be easy to use in the game.

For the ground vehicles radar stations may consist of several elements:

Radar in surveillance mode
Radar in surveillance mode
Radar in tracking mode
Radar in tracking mode

Some vehicles in the game have less complicated systems, thus American М163 SPAA only has a simple rangefinder. Such a vehicle will not be able to radio detect targets but will be able to lock on visible target and receive an accurate lead marker.


As for aircraft radars, at the moment planes are equipped with stations of a simple design with less capabilities, however they also allow to increase pilot’s field of view, adding instrumental detection to visual.  And unlike stations for ground vehicles airborne radars provide detection in a specific sector and players will have an opportunity to choose different detection modes, for example, narrow this sector in order to increase detection speed.

Some airborne radars after locking on target also provide lead impact point for the airborne armament.


For the self-propelled anti-aircraft guns and aircraft equipped with radar stations we also redesigned the lead markers in order to increase the effective range of fire. As in the real firing control systems on self-propelled anti-aircraft guns new calculation method use more different parameters to calculate the point where the shell will meet the target which allow unleash the full potential of artillery weaponry. So for self-propelled anti-aircraft guns with radar station and automatic 30-40mm canons the effective range of fire on captured target can be up to 4,000 meters in the case if the target isn’t moving. And for large calibre artillery systems, like OTOMATIC by using of the shells with radio fuses it is possible to destroy targets on the distances up to 5,000-6,000 meters.

In reality, the use of a radiating radar can disguise air defense vehicles if on the board of the aircraft or helicopter is installed the equipment which allow to detect the radiation of enemy radars and in some more advanced systems to receive a direction of the radiation source. This part of the “electronic warfare” we also reflected in our game. The target which is irradiated by your radar will receive a special warning and will be able to take countermeasures - for example to use maneuver or hide behind the landshaft parts for an unexpected attack. In turn, the self-propelled anti-aircraft guns will be able to disable the radars if they wish (the antenna can be folded into a hiking position) and turn them on if necessary depending on the tactical situation.

Radar station is switched off, the antenna is folded.
Radar station is switched off, the antenna is folded.

We believe that these capabilities will improve the balance between air and ground forces, as well as it will make the gameplay on radar-equipped vehicles more interesting.

We have implemented the following features of the real radar stations:

  • The possibility of detection and range of detection and capturing depend on the reflectivity of the target and the line visibility by taking into account the radio-horizon.
  • Real operating modes when searching, capturing, tracking.
  • The area and view period parameters, as well as the angular coordinate and range resolution are correspond to the real data of radar stations.
  • Impact of land reflections that make it difficult to detect targets under certain conditions.

In the War Thunder update 1.87 those self-propelled anti-aircraft guns will receive the the new detection and guidance systems which have radar as part of the weapon complex were present in reality, as well as a number of aircraft:


  • La-200 (Target detection and tracking radar)
  • MiG-19PT (Target detection and tracking radar)
  • F3D (Target detection and tracking radar)
  • Sea Venom FAW 20 (Target detection and tracking radar)
  • Javelin F.(A.W.) Mk.9 (Target detection and tracking radar)
  • Do 217 N-1 (Target detection radar)
  • Do 217 N-2 (Target detection radar)
  • He 219 A-7 (Target detection radar)

Ground vehicles:

  • AMX-30 DCA (Radar station for round view and target tracking)
  • Flakpz I Gepard (Radar station for round view and target tracking)
  • OTOMATIC (Radar station for round view and target tracking)
  • Type 87 (Radar station for round view and target tracking)
  • Chieftain Marksman (Radar station for round view and target tracking)
  • M247 (Radar station for round view and target tracking)
  • M163_vulcan ( Radio range finder)
  • ZSU-23-4 (Radar station for sector search and target tracking)
  • ЗPRK 2S6 (Radar station for round view and target tracking)

In the future, we will also work on the implementation of the ship's radar stations.

Check previous devblogs:


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