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Russian Active radar missile R-77

Active radar homing is a missile guidance method in which a guided missile contains a radar transceiver and the electronics necessary for it to find and track its target autonomously. The tracking can be much accurate and also have better resistance to ECM compared to passive radar guidance. Active radar homing missiles have some of the best kill probabilities, along with missiles employing track-via-missile guidance.

Battlefield 4Edit

"Once fired, these missiles will locate and track toward the nearest airborne target. Cannot lock aircraft flying at low altitude."

— In-Game Description

Active Radar is a vehicle specialization for Mobile Anti-Aircraft Artillery and Stealth Jets featured in Battlefield 4. It fulfills the role of a long-range target engagement weapon. The weapon is a dumb-fire fire-and-forget-type missile that automatically identifies, targets and guides itself towards the closest enemy aircraft it is fired at. Contrary to popular belief, the missile is not required to be fired and lead in front of the target for the missile to begin tracking. The missile will automatically track any aerial targets pointed at by the center mil dot prior to launch, regardless of difference between distance of the missile fired and the target.  The Active Radar missile will be unable to guide itself if the target is either out of range, too close to the launch source or if the target is “Below Radar”. Unlike the Passive Radar missile or SA-18 IGLA, the fire-and-forget nature of the Active Radar allows the operator and launch vehicle time to tend to their surrounding environment to identify and counter any ground threat or other aerial threats, or to enter tactical advance or retreat across the battlefield. 

Unlike similar Anti-Aircraft missiles such as Passive Radar or Heat-seekers, the operator is not required obtain nor maintain weapon lock on the enemy aircraft prior or after missile launch. It does not require the division of attention from the operator which may leave them vulnerable to enemy action. It also has no initial “target locking…” requirement to warn or inform targeted aircraft of the missile and its launcher's presence. The missile will skip straight to target tracking mode once within optimum proximity between the target and the launch vehicle, which is usually with when very close to the target. It functions similar to that of the STAFF Shell of Main Battle Tanks and the MBT LAW for the Engineer class kit. When target is tracked, this leaves very little time for targeted pilots to react, as many pilots are accustomed to deploying counter measures or evasive maneuvers after missiles are locked and fired rather than before, dealing a critical mobility hit and heavy damage, especially when both missiles strike their targets. A short follow-up cannon burst at optimal engagement range will guarantee target destruction. 

Active Radar missiles can be countered by IR Flares and ECM Jammer when activated prior to launch or prior to missile tracking. Active Radar missiles will fail to track any aircraft “Below Radar”. Missiles fired at aircraft leave a particularly blatant exhaust plume and missile streak which can be easily identifiable, especially vehicles equipped with secondary weapons which contain a magnification/zoom-in ability (such as the Laser Guided or TV Missiles), where it makes visually spotting the incoming missile from a further distance easier and thus, targeted pilots can act accordingly. Due to the launching and targeting nature of the Active Radar missile, more experienced pilots may be able to discern Active Radar missile from other similar Anti-Aircraft missile types. Its initial launch method is similar to that of the Passive Radar missile: requiring no initial lock for firing, therefore able to be distinguished from Heat Seekers and allowing targeted pilots can act accordingly to counter incoming attacks.

Due to the operational nature of the missile and lack of prior warning of the missile's presence, many players are left disgruntled and feelings of resentment upon defeat at the hands of the Active Radar missile, with users of the missile and weapons of similar operational nature regularly shunned by the community. To balance this, the game developers introduced a game update (or “patch”) alongside the Battlefield 4: Community Operations update to provide additional balancing and modification. The update provided many changes to the operation and function of the Active Radar missile, amongst other things. The reserve ammunition count of the Active Radar has been reduced from 2 to 1, increase tracking difficulty of targets at short and medium range and it can no longer track targets either “Below Radar” or too close to the launch vehicle (Full patch notes and source listed below).

Damage Statistics & EffectsEdit

The following is a list of effects and damage to specific air vehicles from impacts by the Passive Radar missiles. Damage results are consistent at any angle of impact.

Damage results are gathered post-2015 Battlefield 4: Legacy Operations update and are subject to change without notice by game developers from time to time.[1]

Vehicle Damage (per missile)
Attack Helicopter 28, Critical Hit
Scout Helicopter 28, Critical Hit
Transport Helicopter 18, Critical Hit
Stealth Jet 28, Critical Hit
Attack Jet 28, Critical Hit

Patch NotesEdit

The Battlefield 4: Community Operations patch has delivered slight characteristic and functional changes to the Active Radar missiles.[2]

  • Ammunition: Auto replenish increased to 30 seconds from 25 seconds.
  • Slight damage increased.
  • Maximum velocity increased
  • Enabled force spawn to camera for more accurate aiming
  • Enabled locking empty vehicles
  • Time to activate guiding system is now 0.5 seconds.



  • All ground-launched anti-aircraft missile uses the model of the real-life North-American AIM-9X Sidewinder, regardless of vehicle faction, while all air-launched anti-aircraft missiles use the model of the real-life North American AIM-120 AMRAAM.


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