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By AARON SKETCHLEY ( Ver 2.5 2015.02.25

Official Setting information is in darkgreen. Extended Universe information is in steelblue.

Active Stealth and Stealth Rules

Table Of Contents
  • Active Stealthy
  • Passive Stealthy
  • Stealth Modifiers
  • Tactics of stealth
  • Detecting Stealthy Vehicles
  • Active Stealth Q & A

  • Active Stealthy

    Active Stealth affects radar ONLY.

    Active stealth uses an energy field to bend/absorb radar - which is different from radar jamming (which tends to tell users of radar that something is out there, just not exactly where.) Active stealth is not infallible. It creates a hole in the radar returns. At a distance or in space, that hole in the return is virtually invisible. However, at close range (normal background noise disappears) or when the user is travelling in front of another object that's within the effective radar range, the hole shows up (for sensor operators that make successful die rolls, of course!)

    Active stealth is a feature that can enhance mission success IF it is used properly.

    There is a chance, due to the emitted energy field nature of active stealthy, sensor operators may interpret it as a spatial disturbance. In this situation, the target *may* move to avoid the active stealthy equipped vehicle, but doesn't consider it to be a threat due to enemy attack.

    Passive Stealthy

    Passive stealth is effective depending on the angle that the radar beam approaches from. For example, from the front, rear or sides, the F-117 is largely invisible (not completely, but largely.) HOWEVER, from the top or bottom (and probably a lot more angles,) all passive stealth airframes are just as radar reflective as all other non-passive stealth aircraft. In addition, passive stealth has a reduced effectiveness when an aircraft opens one of its weapon bays to launch a missile.

    Tactics of stealth

    Both Active and Passive Stealth have unique advantages that they bring to the vehicle that is equipped with them. However, like all features on a vehicle, they are more effective when used in certain ways and less effective when used in other ways.

    The F-117 and B-2 are never employed during daylight hours so the dark coloured vehicles cannot be seen at a distance during a clear blue day. In addition, they never ever fly over, beside or anywhere near radar sites - they fly kilometres away. The reason: defense network in a given area has holes (especially true the larger the area) - either due to malfunction, lackluster sensor operator attention spans or simply large spacing between the sensor arrays. Modern stealth aircraft monopolize on those holes to breach an air defense network. In addition - military tactic planners actually state that stealthy aircraft do not negate radar detection capabilities - they simply decrease the effective detection range of radar. Tactically it means that the holes in a defense network are simply larger for a stealthy aircraft. Stealthy vehicles use this to their advantage by avoiding flying directly over or near places that could detect them and alert aerial defense networks.

    Successful users of the tactics of stealth use the tactic of avoidance; meaning that they use every feature of the battlefield to their advantage. Whether that be distance (radar being less effective, especially against stealthy airframes at range,) terrain (mountain ranges, forest and flying nape of the Earth all are tactics that successfully avoid radar,) light conditions (vehicles are far more visible in daylight,) the aforementioned dark colouration and holes in air defense networks and so on.

    This concept may be hard to grasp, so I will illustrate it with the traditional master of stealth: the Ninja. The tactics of the ninja are exactly the same as stealthy aircraft: avoid detection, move where the opponent either cannot detect or routinely examine/patrol, precisely strike the target and then quickly retreat via the same tactics used during the approach.

    The ninja employs shadows, trees, eaves and rafters of buildings and even furniture to accomplish the ninja's objective of stealthily approaching and attacking its target. If the black garbed ninja were to run across an open field in broad daylight, the ninja will be spotted with ease and eliminated long before the ninja becomes a threat. However, if the ninja uses the tactics of stealth, secrecy and prowls successfully, they will lethally strike from the shadows and successfully retreat before their target's defenses can be raised and become effective.

    There is no difference between an active or passive stealth equipped VF and the tactics of a ninja. Remember, virtually all of the time it is a far greater success to sneak into an opponents fortifications, eliminate the one mission objective that defeats the enemy and make your escape, than it is wading through a gazillion peons, each of them of equal power to you.

    Emissions control is very important to remaining stealthy. Basically, if the player uses the radio, has their active radar on, and/or uses IR, they've effectively decided to light themselves up like a Christmas Tree in a dark room.

    When sensors are used in active scanning mode the sensors have 200% greater range, but the user will stand out like a sore thumb on enemy targeting sensors (+1 to strike for anyone attacking them.)

    In an atmosphere, speeds below mach one are recommended, as higher speeds causes friction that creates a detectable heat source (the skin of the aerospace vehicle) and a detectable wake.

    Stealth Modifiers

    The following modifies the sensor operator's die-rolls for detection, with positive and/or negative modifiers for in-game effects. They are applicable only as long as the user of active stealthy employs the tactics of stealth.

    Global modifiers to detect VF sized users of active stealthy:

    Doppler Radar
    strong winds -25%
    Storm force winds -50%
    Hurricane/typhoon force winds -75%

  • Sniper attacks (weapons that leave smoke or a contrail back to the firing unit completely negate active stealth.)
  • 1 'free' attack. Once the enemy knows that a sniper is active in the area, this is no longer applicable.
  • +25% per attack (successful or not.) Effect is cumulative.
  • -25% per melee round (until returned to pre-attack modifier conditions).

    Dection Modifiers Passive Stealthy (VF-17): Airframes designed for active stealth: Airframes not designed for active stealth:
    Base modifier (flying with the stealthiest portions towards the search radar): -80% -60% -50%
    Base modifier (flying with the medium stealthiest portions towards the search radar): -65% -60% -50%
    Base modifier (flying with the least stealthiest portions towards the search radar): -50% -60% -50%
    Opening concealed weapons bay: +20% +20% +20%
    Flying nap of the Earth: read sensor instruments at 2% 2% 2%
    Flying behind cover at low speeds: read sensory instruments at 0% 0% 0%
    Flying above Mach 1: +10% +10% +10%
    Flying above Mach 2: +20% +20% +20%
    Broadcasting on the radio - micro to short duration: +35% +35% +40%
    Broadcasting on the radio - medium duration: +70% +70% +80%
    Broadcasting on the radio - long duration to constant: read sensory instruments at 98% 98% 98%
    Minor damage to airframe: +15% +15% +20%
    Medium damage to airframe: +30%* +30%* +40%*
    Major damage to airframe: +45%** +45%** +60%**

    * 30% chance of active stealth failure. Roll again in 1D10 minutes or after every subsequent hit.
    ** 60% chance of active stealth failure. Roll again in 1D4 minutes or after every subsequent hit

    Notes: Maximum modifier always leaves a 2% chance of detection, unless if the 'Read Sensory skill at' is indicated. Read Sensory Instruments at 0% indicates no chance to detect. 98% means that unless the sensor operator is a complete twit, you're going to be spotted.

    Detecting Stealthy Vehicles

    Doppler radar
    Doppler radar is based on the principle of Doppler shift - it can only detects something IF it changes position. The detection is calculating by the shifting pattern of the return radar. This kind of detection is very effective when the object is moving towards or away from the radar. Doppler radar used to detect weather does not detect the air per se, but reflects off of the water droplets (clouds) in the air. The cloud movements are measured, and deductions are made on the wind conditions. Using Doppler radar, one could conceivably detect a stealthy aircraft via its wake when it travels through clouds; even though the actual vehicle isn't detected! (No standard combat jet fighter is equipped with Doppler radar. This type of radar is usually found on ground installations and possibly on AWACS type aerospace vehicles.)
  • +15% chance of detecting a stealthy ship or vehicle.

    The radome contains electromagnetic and visual spectrum sensors, in addition to standard search radar. The electromagnetic sensors could be used to detect spatial disturbances in the immediate area - such as incoming or outgoing spacefolds and/or cloaked ships.
  • +25% chance of detecting a ship or vehicle using active stealth.

    Active Stealth Q & A

    Does active stealth create an electromagnetic field?
    Yes. However not every vehicle has the capability to detect the field.

    Does active stealth erase the gravitational and electromagnetic fields that a vehicle has?
    No. Active Stealth may actually increase the electromagnetic field a vehicle creates. These fields are much easier to detect in deep space where the background magnetic noise is minimal.

    Does active stealth hide or conceal the stream of particles released by the vehicle's engines?
    No. In an atmosphere, these are normally undetectable (beyond heat and some potentially unique radiation emitted from the thermonuclear engines.) In deep space, these streams of particles could forseeably be used to track a vehicle. However, the trail won't remain very long due to such things as the solar wind.

    Is the active stealth energy field going to appear as a spatial disturbance?
    Possibly, it depends on the training and success rate of the sensor operators in question. If yes, there is a large chance that the enemy will flee the approaching spatial disturbance without realizing it's true nature.

  • Palladium Books Core Rules
  • Macross Compendium
  • Macross 7. Dir. Tetsuro Amino. MBS, 1994-1995. Television.
  • Macross Plus. Dir. Shinichiro Watanabe and Shoji Kawamori. Bandai Visual, 1994-1995. VHS.
  • Macross Zero. Dir. Shoji Kawamori. Bandai Visual, 2002-2004. DVD.
  • The members of the MRG and MRC

  • © Aaron Sketchley