No set of viable, good, realistic solutions presents a workable or meaningful alternative to a grid system for giving a “sector-presence” indicator (sometimes, erroneously, called ‘radar’).
Pilot’s can’t find each other, but they can find stuff on the ground, so they quank the ground war, they skirt the map to bomb factories, fighters can’t be bothered to fly escort because it rarely results in action and bombers rarely bother to form up. All of which bleeds off pilots just as surely as fog did.
This system has to not let you fly under, over or around it. It needs to be simple and it needs to be crude. There won’t be a GPS-accuracy blip giving away your position, but there might be be a grid of 16 or 20km squares with ews-style dots in the corner – a black dot with a red border = enemy planes, a red dot = lots of enemy planes. That’s all the information the client will have, I’ve no idea how the client folks will decide to display it.
Maybe there’ll be separate dots for fighters/bombers, I don’t know. Maybe we’ll be able to put some kind of range constraint so that you don’t appear on radar 600km away from enemy territory, again I don’t know at this stage.
Tying it to destroyable radar facilities would give an overpop side an advantage as well as rendering the system pointless, unless you want to find yourselves imposed with some rather unpleasant realism elements – like limited numbers of sorties and much smaller airforces – to prevent both sides from decimating each other’s radar facilities and then flying around unperturbed.
I think if you take a look at the map and size out 20km wide/high squares, you’ll see it’s absolutely not GPS. Bandwidth alone says that we don’t make it update in real-time, but probably every 30 or 60 seconds or something.