Originally posted by Reticuli:
When you have radar contacts you either hit Auto ACQ (one of my top stick buttons on the X52) to automatically STT the closest one, or you can switch to TWS (MFD mode button) and then cycle through multiple targets. I don't recall Auto being range limited. If it shows up on the radar you can lock it, but I might be wrong. Of course, you can also launch while in TWS mode without switching to STT, not something I guess Russia had back then. You can switch on NCTR to ID targets and bump friendlies off scan, or you can simply hit IFF (throttle E + pinkie for me) to bump off any friendlies manually. There's really only one ACQ mode. There's the CAC modes, the Auto ACQ mode, then the TDC selection method. TWS I guess you could call a designation mode, since it grabs the closest/fastest closing birds the same way Flanker does. But of course it's more useful than in Flanker. With an AWACs up, TWS is pretty much useless in Flanker. You can't autolock from that mode. You can't fire at multiple targets in it. Pretty much all it seems good for is a back up if the AWACs get shot down, and even then you have to revert to the HUD/TDC (or whatever they call it) method of moving the selector over the triangle. Actually, I'm wondering if the contacts in TWS mode blink out on the HUD or not. Maybe they are stable in that mode. Perhaps my problem has been simply designating from general scan mode, using the AWACs icons as references, and being annoyed that the blips blink out when I'm not even tracking them with my radar...i.e. they just show up as raw radar blips. Makes sense. I'll have to try it out. Do AWACs ever get shot down, depriving you of the data link, in Flanker?
Ah, I see, yep, you want to be in TWS mode, when you decide to start designating targets.
Sorry, I figured that was what you were talking about.

Regarding AWAC's they can be shot down, but never should be, in a well designed mission (they should always be well protected, away from the "action", etc.)
Obviously, that's up to the mission designer.

Btw, here's an old link with some good F2 tips.
Forgot all about it.

F2 tips