A basic overview of sensors and detection in Nuclear Option. I’m putting this together in hopes of clearing up some confusion as to how detection works in Nuclear Option, especially in the case of using aircraft radar. This guide will be edited over time to be more complete, so please excuse any formatting errors.
One thing to keep in mind going forward is this: all units in this game benefit from perfect information sharing between all units on their team. If any hostile unit can detect you, THEY ALL KNOW WHERE YOU ARE. Obviously this also means that all friendly units benefit from what you can see, and vice versa. If you want to remain undetected you need to remain invisible to all hostile units.
Another thing to remember is that weapons do not care how a target is being detected. All weapons are Fire and Forget and once they’re off the rail, you can deselect a target and the weapon will still track the target, though some weapons like the Scythe require a friendly unit to keep the target detected for at least some of the flight. The details of weapon usage will be covered in detail in other guides, but the main takeaway is that the detection and the targeting system are only related in the sense that your plane or a friendly unit needs to tell the weapon where the target is at the moment it is fired, it does not require your own detection system to guide the weapon, or a certain type of sensor to be used.
Obviously, no detection type can see through or around terrain. Any unit needs an uninterrupted line of sight to detect you, but they can still see you through datalink if another unit can see you.
Visual: the pilot can see you. All units have this within about 3km
Optical: the unit can see you with a zooming camera. Cricket, Compass and Chicane all use this detection type.
Radar: ranges of 40-50km, in a forward facing cone shown on your multifunction display. Revoker and Darkreach carry radar, as do certain ground units.
How not to be seen?
Since Optical and Visual detection do not give your aircraft’s position away I will not be covering them in detail. Radar is the only sensor system that actually makes you more visible to the enemy.
All aircraft have a basic RWR in the sense that they can all detect when they are being pinged. This means if your radar is ON, and there is an aircraft in the radar cone, THEY WILL DETECT YOU as your radar ping will appear on their minimap, and the red triangle they can see around you will flash. Since they can detect you, their whole team can also see you through datalink.
This doesn’t matter if you are already being detected by, for example, another radar station. Your radar will not tell them anything they don’t already know (in terms of information they have access to that is. the radar ping might get an inattentive pilot’s attention.) However, if you are undetected, you might find yourself wanting to turn your own radar OFF in order not to give yourself away. This will enable you to get much closer to a target without being detected in some circumstances.