by Richard Sheffield
A Few Defensive Suggestions
In all cases, your best defense is to remain unseen. This is why we spent so much money to develop the Stealth Fighter in the first place.
Although there are numerous types of ground-based radar systems, there are really only two broad categories, pulse and doppler types. It's important to know what type of radar you're up against and react accordingly. If you haven't made a note of it beforehand, you can go to the Satellite Map to find out the type of an enemy radar. Dotted lines radiating from a radar source indicate a pulse radar. Solid lines indicate a doppler system.
The manual does a very good job explaining how to avoid detection by both types of radar; you should reread that section several times. Here's a summary of the techniques. Pulse type radars can best be fooled by flying straight at them and then turning away quickly between pulses. You should start to notice the time interval between radar pulses as you approach a radar site. Remember, the lower and slower you go, the harder you'll be to detect. Once you're as close as you can get, wait for a pulse; then immediately turn hard away from the site. You must act quickly and finish your turn with your wings once again level before the next pulse.
Doppler types are very different. They work best against targets that come directly at them or directly away from them. You should approach these cautiously; once you're as close as you can safely get, you can get past them by maintaining a constant distance from the site as you swing around its arc.
Sometimes, despite your best efforts, you're going to be seen and the TRACK indicator will start to flash. What do you do? Well, the first thing you should NOT do is turn and run at high speed. The F-19 wasn't designed to outrun anyone. You need to use your strongest weapon, which is stealth. Try to break the lock by disappearing. Reduce your speed if you can and fly a little lower. Hide behind a hill or mountain if one is close by. Do whatever it takes to break the radar lock.
But sometimes you just can't. In this case you need to take out the radar that spotted you. Even if there are a half dozen MiGs buzzing around you, chances are they're getting their information from one ground-based radar or an IL-76 AWACS plane. Destroy the one site that has a lock on you, and the rest will be blind. This is why it's very important to keep an eye on all radar sites that are getting close to detection. Knowing which one has a lock on you is very important.
Don't let stray SAM shots spook you. Sometimes when the enemy knows you're out there somewhere but can't find you, they'll shoot a SAM in your general direction trying to panic you into showing yourself. If you react by dropping chaff or turning on your jammers, they'll lock onto you for sure. Unless the TRACK indicator on your panel is lit, they don't know where you are. If the SAM is heading straight for you, it might be just a lucky shot. A small course change may be all that's necessary to get out of its way.
The one exception is handheld SAMs that are fired at you when you wander over a heavy troop concentration. These short-range SAMs aren't very dangerous unless they lock onto you. In this case, a few flares and a course change should defeat them. Don't just drop a flare and continue on your way. If the missile loses you, it will continue on its last course. If you stay on the same heading, it may hit you anyway. The best way to avoid this problem is to note the locations of troop concentrations during the Special Activities portion of the preflight briefing. If you stay away from these locations, you won't have to deal with the problem.