How to use radar in War Thunder

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Matthew Wilhelm Kapell
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In 2022, War Thunder received an update that brought radar functionality to several combat vehicles. Radar is crucial for detecting enemies, tracking them, etc. With so many different features, it's no wonder some gamers have trouble mastering them.

However, we have gathered information on some of the crucial radar targeting systems in War Thunder. Read on to find out how they work and how they work.


War Thunder: how to use it the radar

Aircraft in War Thunder have either target detection radars or target tracking radars. Most aircraft are both installed and operating together. Higher tier planes tend to come with advanced radar to give players an edge over other models.


Target detection radars will add a radar display and compass to the head-up display when you turn it on. This type of radar will only show friendly and enemy aircraft and where they are. The compass also has an arrow showing you the directions of the other aircraft.

Some advanced target detection radars on higher tier aircraft have better features including better area scanners and longer range.

On the other hand, target tracking radars are better than target detection radars because they lock onto an enemy and keep you informed of their whereabouts. However, you must manually lock onto a target for a green square to appear above the enemy. Although tracking radars can lock on, they tend to have a shorter range and a few factors can upset the targeting system.


Some radars like the AN/APG-100 use the same radar antenna for detection and tracking. However, you have to switch between the two modes. If you are tracking and locking onto a target, the search radar feature is disabled.


SPAA ground vehicles also have radars, which are somewhat similar to airborne radars. These radars are also able to detect and track, depending on the vehicle.

Active radar systems are what most players often encounter on SPAA vehicles. Most of them have two separate radars, one for tracking and one for detection. Others have combo radars like the AN/APG-100, where you have to switch between the two modes wisely.

Other SPAA vehicle radars are simply range finders. These do not track enemy vehicles, but you will use them to calculate the distance between you and any target. You can think of them as manual search radars.

For aircraft and SPAA vehicles, the commands to activate the radar are "Alt + R". The "Alt + F" key combination allows you to lock onto the nearest or selected target. To select a target to lock on, you need to press "Alt + T".

War Thunder: How to Use Radar Sights

Radar sights are a different type of sight than typical aircraft gyro sights. Not all planes have one, but you can determine the type of your plane.

Standard gyro sights require pilots to manually dial in ranges, but radar sights will do this automatically. As long as you're aiming at a target, the radar sights will do the dialing for you.


These sights work best in first person mode. In third person mode, they only serve to tell you if there is an enemy beyond the thick clouds waiting for you.


Here are the steps to use your radar sights:

  1. Choose an aircraft with radar sights.
  2. Enter the battle.
  3. Press Alt + F to activate them if the radar sight is off.
  4. You will see a green triangle on your HUD when the radar sights are on.
  5. If you want to disable it, press Alt + F again.

War Thunder: How to Use Radar Missiles

Semi-Active Radar Homing Missiles (SARH) were introduced to War Thunder in the Raining Fire update. These missiles are designed for air-to-air combat, eliminating the need for SPAA vehicles to equip them entirely. Although SARH missiles are quite effective in action, there is no perfect weapon in War Thunder.

First, we will talk about how SARH missiles work. As a pilot, you must track your target manually and continuously. This procedure is necessary after launching one at an enemy aircraft. The missile locks onto the mark on its own, making hitting targets a collaborative effort between pilot and warhead.

SARH missiles will track their targets and maintain optimal range or velocity tracking. You can rest assured that other units in the area won't distract him or cause him to miss. However, they can be missed due to signals reflected from the surface, including water.


Not all SARH missiles work the same. Some are immune to reflected signals, and others use different tracking approaches. You need to study its intricacies and practice your tracking technique to get the best results from any missile.


Some SARH warheads, such as the Matra R.530 and R-3R, depend on distance to close in on enemy aircraft. With these warheads you can lock before firing and safely ignore other aircraft or stray signals. You need to be at medium to high altitude to use these SARH missiles, preferably level with or above enemies.

The AIM-7D/E and several others use the radial velocity of the target and the Doppler effect to lock onto airplanes or helicopters. These warheads can also ignore other targets and signals. In contrast, you can only lock onto a target after casting, and the lock range is shorter.

It's best to aim for enemies above you to avoid signals reflecting off the Earth's surface for both missile types. The more you practice using SARH missiles, the easier it becomes to hit enemy planes and other planes.

War Thunder: How to use the M163 radar?

The M163 technically does not have a radar like other SPAA vehicles or aircraft. However, it is equipped with an AN/VPS-2 radar rangefinder.

To use the M163 DME, do the following:

  1. Go into battle with an M163.
  2. Aim the sights of the vehicle.
  3. Aim for an enemy plane.
  4. Press Alt + F until the rangefinder shows the distance between you and the plane.
  5. Repeat if necessary or stop aiming the sights.

War Thunder: How to Use the F86 Radar

The F-86F-25 jet fighter comes with a ranging radar called AN/APG-30. This radar does not really track or detect enemy aircraft like the newer aircraft radars do. Instead, it displays the range of the aircraft you are aiming at.

The steps below will show you how to use this radar:

  1. Using the F-86F-25, aim down sights.
  2. Make sure your target is within the crosshairs and scanning area.
  3. Press Alt + F until you see your target's range.

The AN/APG-30 Ranging Radar does not calculate advance but only shows you where your bullets are going and how far away enemies are. It also does not take enemy movement into account.

The distance to the enemy is 3 kilometers

In War Thunder, radars play an important role in targeting, tracking and detecting enemy movement. With many types of radar, both in the air and on the ground, players must master them to fight effectively. The fight has never been the same since radar entered the scene.

How often do you use radars in War Thunder? What is your favorite radar in the game? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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