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Author Topic: Hiding a dropship during a objective raid  (Read 3890 times)

Precentor Scorpio

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Re: Hiding a dropship during a objective raid
« Reply #30 on: 21 October 2020, 17:55:17 »
So for a game i can say it is easy to hide,  but once the raid(s) begin, the defenders will begin looking in earnest.   

I can live with that option

Keep the comments coming please and thank you

Kovax

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Re: Hiding a dropship during a objective raid
« Reply #31 on: 22 October 2020, 09:58:48 »
Any planet curves, but I will use the Earth since those calculations are public & easy . . . at sea level, a observer on a tower that is 30m off the ground can see out to a bit over 12 miles- and that is with a clear horizon.  So IF a DS is landing 15 miles away from such a positioned radar station, it means the DS will not be observed landing and all the defenders have will be a direction.  With a 5/8 mech, that means they can be at the target in 30 minutes or less if it runs- like closer to 20 minutes.  Anyone want to guess what a prepared response time for defenders might be?  Btw, for a person at sea level looking out to see?  The 6 foot tall person can see a bit above 3 miles to the horizon.

Further, take that 15 miles away, it means the DS can divert from its initial trajectory while under the horizon from the radar site.  The 12 miles would also not take into account ground scattering effect as the radar tries to work on the horizon.  IF the DS landed closer the defenders would only have a bearing and a guess at range, to actually plot the location of ANY inbound contact it needs to be followed by at least 3 radar stations so its actually location be pinpointed by triangulation.
That's not wrong, but not the entire picture.  A radar tower that's 30 meters high looking for a DS that's also 30 meters high will have a significantly wider area of coverage than if only one of them is substantially taller than ground level.  Until a DS touches down, it's going to be some significant distance ABOVE the ground, and you don't dare fly as ungainly as a DS at Nape-of-Earth altitude for too long, unless you don't mind an extremely high risk factor for such a valuable asset.  That 12 mile radius suddenly starts increasing to 30 miles or more, although hills and mountains could of course decrease that.  The 20 minute race to target is now a half-hour or longer.

The point is that the defenders will be able to track the DS to low-altitude, and will know that the DS can't be TOO far from where it dropped beneath radar coverage, so overflights should have a decent chance of finding it, unless there are very significant terrain obstacles or it's WELL hidden somehow.  It takes 3 radar stations to pinpoint its exact location, but two will give you a line along which it must be, with a decent reading of distance (time lapse from send to reception of a return "ping" gives a pretty accurate range), and even one station will at least give you a general direction and pretty good distance.  That's sufficient for vectoring in air searches, either by conventional aircraft, VTOL, or ASF, and unless the LZ is extremely flat, the DS's own ASFs (if it's carrying any) will very likely have issues with takeoff and landing on unprepared ground in order to do anything about it.

Basically, the defenders will very likely know roughly where to look, if it's feasible to do so, and hiding something that large can only be accomplished in certain circumstances, because from the air it will stand out pretty clearly from a distance in any kind of open terrain.  Whether or not they have the resources to conduct that search, or to do anything about it if they find the DS, will depend on the exact circumstances.  Nearly all of the tricks mentioned in the various posts are merely ways of buying that little bit of extra time for the raiding party to complete its mission and get back before serious firepower can be called in, not ways of hiding a DS for an extended period of time in the face of an opponent who is aware that it's present.

The further from the target the DS lands, the harder it will be to find, and the longer it probably has until it's in danger, but the longer it will take the raiders to reach the objective.  Basically, it all comes down to the exact situation at the time of the raid, so ground recon BEFORE the raid will be essential for choosing an optimal landing site and judging the response time of the defenders.

Colt Ward

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Re: Hiding a dropship during a objective raid
« Reply #32 on: 22 October 2020, 10:52:40 »
A DS hunt however is also a good way to draw out recon/scout forces . . . I want to say one of the older novels had some remarks about one of the first mechs off a DS being a Rifleman to deal with any enemy air assets that came into range.  Air search assets are going to rely on the IR/Camera pods, MAD, or just plain visual detection- unless you are landing on a barren plain, 'look down' radar would lose the top of a DS in background clutter.

If you wanted to get into a real discussion of this we would have to dig out some of the old CF radar manuals & diagrams I saw.  The 12 miles I mentioned was best circumstances for the defender and why I padded the distance out to 15 miles when I claimed 20 minutes, to cover the height of the DS.  Also part of why I was looking for Aegis to see how close the radar can get to the horizon without signal loss.  Better commands do 'hover' their Spheriods to let mechs jump clear without landing, so 'horizontal flight' is easily possible with that type of DS per the fluff/fiction- but that does not have to be done, you just have to adjust the trajectory after you are below the detection threshold of any radar stations.

Nothing is ever fool-proof, but the main point would be that a defender has a limited amount of time to respond in any way.  Trying to find let alone attack a grounded DS is going to be a much lower priority than trying to find out where the raiders went from the grounded DS or defend what objectives they could be trying to reach.
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Kovax

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Re: Hiding a dropship during a objective raid
« Reply #33 on: 23 October 2020, 09:24:51 »
Trying to find let alone attack a grounded DS is going to be a much lower priority than trying to find out where the raiders went from the grounded DS or defend what objectives they could be trying to reach.
Maybe, maybe not.  If the object is to protect some critical asset from destruction, defending it takes priority.  If the object is to prevent the enemy from stealing something of high value, stranding them by destroying or chasing off the dropship could very well take higher priority.  Either way, crippling and capturing, or destroying, an enemy dropship isn't a trivial objective, and may be worth the loss of whatever the raiders came to destroy or take.  As with so many other things, there's rarely ever a single universal "right" or "wrong" answer; it needs to be decided according to the current situation where and when it happens.

Intermittent_Coherence

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Re: Hiding a dropship during a objective raid
« Reply #34 on: 25 October 2020, 05:46:33 »
And since someone mentioned it, I found a pretty neat volcano photo-


That rocket's about the right size for a battlemech BTW. About 11m give or take.

SCC

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Re: Hiding a dropship during a objective raid
« Reply #35 on: 08 November 2020, 04:21:59 »
Something to keep in mind, most planet's in BT seem to have the population of a mid-west US state, if not smaller, and probably only have their population over a similar area, if not smaller area. This means that while there will be plenty of places to land hidden from prying eyes, most of them won't be anywhere near your target, and those that are probably known to the locals, and unknown to you.

Warship

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Re: Hiding a dropship during a objective raid
« Reply #36 on: 12 November 2020, 21:35:12 »
Seems to me, the longer the planet has been colonized, the more satellites are in orbit monitoring everything.  A dropship coming in, even from a pirate point will be noticed, even in a low population planet.  Now, a younger colony, might not have the coverage.  However, the incoming scans from an invading dropship, should set off alarms.  At least from any planet worth raiding.

Mendrugo

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Re: Hiding a dropship during a objective raid
« Reply #37 on: 12 November 2020, 22:25:40 »
Based on the opening shot of MechCommander, the first thing an invading force will do is have their aerospace fighters take out enemy satellites over the operational area.
"We have made of New Avalon a towering funeral pyre and wiped the Davion scourge from the universe.  Tikonov, Chesterton and Andurien are ours once more, and the cheers of the Capellan people nearly drown out the gnashing of our foes' teeth as they throw down their weapons in despair.  Now I am made First Lord of the Star League, and all shall bow down to me and pay homa...oooooo! Shiny thing!" - Maximillian Liao, "My Triumph", audio dictation, 3030.  Unpublished.

Cannonshop

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Re: Hiding a dropship during a objective raid
« Reply #38 on: 16 November 2020, 09:09:00 »
Based on the opening shot of MechCommander, the first thing an invading force will do is have their aerospace fighters take out enemy satellites over the operational area.

which would CERTAINLY set off alarms and result in scrambling fighters, ground based radar, and telescopes pointing to the sudden gap in coverage.
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Mendrugo

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Re: Hiding a dropship during a objective raid
« Reply #39 on: 16 November 2020, 09:26:59 »
which would CERTAINLY set off alarms and result in scrambling fighters, ground based radar, and telescopes pointing to the sudden gap in coverage.

In that instance, it brought the Rattler IICs online to shoot down X-Ray Company’s DropShip.
"We have made of New Avalon a towering funeral pyre and wiped the Davion scourge from the universe.  Tikonov, Chesterton and Andurien are ours once more, and the cheers of the Capellan people nearly drown out the gnashing of our foes' teeth as they throw down their weapons in despair.  Now I am made First Lord of the Star League, and all shall bow down to me and pay homa...oooooo! Shiny thing!" - Maximillian Liao, "My Triumph", audio dictation, 3030.  Unpublished.

Charistoph

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Re: Hiding a dropship during a objective raid
« Reply #40 on: 17 November 2020, 10:24:42 »
In that instance, it brought the Rattler IICs online to shoot down X-Ray Company’s DropShip.

That was Mechwarrior 3, not MechCommander, I believe.
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Mendrugo

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Re: Hiding a dropship during a objective raid
« Reply #41 on: 17 November 2020, 10:26:17 »
That was Mechwarrior 3, not MechCommander, I believe.

MechWarrior 3 featured fixed surface-to-orbit lasers shooting down the Blackhammer.  MechCommander featured mobile orbital guns shooting down X-Ray company.  Lots of the video games used orbital guns as mission objectives and strategic considerations.
"We have made of New Avalon a towering funeral pyre and wiped the Davion scourge from the universe.  Tikonov, Chesterton and Andurien are ours once more, and the cheers of the Capellan people nearly drown out the gnashing of our foes' teeth as they throw down their weapons in despair.  Now I am made First Lord of the Star League, and all shall bow down to me and pay homa...oooooo! Shiny thing!" - Maximillian Liao, "My Triumph", audio dictation, 3030.  Unpublished.

RifleMech

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Re: Hiding a dropship during a objective raid
« Reply #42 on: 26 November 2020, 10:47:15 »
Heck, some Blakists landed their DropShips out among some remote hills and then sprayed the exterior with stucco to disguise them as "a cluster of unusually shaped rocks."

Their little society of exiles managed to keep hidden that way long enough to internally fracture and kill itself off a generation or two later.

Takeaway: As long as you bring a lot of spray-stucco, you'll be invisible.  :D

There's a spray on grass that is supposed to grow on anything so you'd have a choice of hill types. 

glitterboy2098

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Re: Hiding a dropship during a objective raid
« Reply #43 on: 01 December 2020, 09:07:58 »
Based on the opening shot of MechCommander, the first thing an invading force will do is have their aerospace fighters take out enemy satellites over the operational area.
that was a invasion force, not a raid, but i would assume that some nuetralization of enemy comm and spy sats would occur in the more "overt" style of raid.


honestly i suspect that for most raids you wouldn't disguise your dropships, instead you'd do one of several things:
for quick raids, land near your target and minimize the time spend on the ground
for longer operations, run the defensive gauntlet, have a dropship drop you into a remote area, and then leave, scheduled for a return to pick you up weeks or months later.
or a combination of the two, where a quick raid is used as a distraction for the insertion of a longer term operation force at the same time, either by the same dropship or another one.

actually hiding a dropship on world isn't really possible except in the less developed areas of the periphery.

Colt Ward

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Re: Hiding a dropship during a objective raid
« Reply #44 on: 01 December 2020, 10:25:07 »
actually hiding a dropship on world isn't really possible except in the less developed areas of the periphery.

Yet it has happened in the BTU . . .

Heserpus, one of the most defended systems in the Lyran state had three Overlords (or at least 2 & more DS) during the FCCW Skye rebellion hide on a world (or moon) in the system.  They then relocated after being discovered . . . and when they set down near DefHes, they STILL managed to hide the DS in the mountains requiring the GDL to send out the scouts to find the bivouac.

Epsilon Eridani had pirate DS landing in the backwoods for months ('62?) offloading the raider mechs and taking off loot.  When the ship would boost for a JS, it would be chased but with little hope for a intereption.

The Chaos Irregulars found themselves on Wallis protecting Ronin assets with a suspicion of pirates being on world- no actual tracking data.  They found themselves facing a assault lance of raiders and a covert strike team.

The Chaos Irregulars actually had this work for and against them several times.  Endgame at Engadine they put down a recon lance covertly on a backwater island a rough battalion of mercs were using between raids.  The pirates did not spot their DS insertion nor did 'official' reporting sources show DS rotating off that island.  Their insertion to raid a covert Blakist industrial facility for Chandy's actor did not put the plantary forces on alert.  Finally, when they were on the edge of League space defending the new Warhammer line for Nimakachi Fusion on Tematagi they were unaware of raiders that landed to test the defenses of the factory- a training exercise literally stumbled into the raiders.

The new Crimson Hawks in the short fiction set in the Jiahd were inserted covertly though their ship also lifted back off- and was expected to return the same way- for their string of objective raids on a VTOL factory world.


Worlds are big . . . Space is bigger . . . a lot of open area to hide . . . if you get detected you are not likely to break contact but if you avoid detection, you stand a good chance of going unnoticed.  Earth in the 80s (future of BTU) was much more monitored due to geopolitical reasons than apparently any world in the BTU- Hesperus! which b/c of geography has limited operating areas!!!- and still in the 80s if a plane dropped off radar or something fell out of orbit all it did was narrow the search area.  It STILL generally applies today, even with additional coverage and nearly 40 years of technological advancement- otherwise we would know where Malaysia airlines flight crashed.
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truetanker

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Re: Hiding a dropship during a objective raid
« Reply #45 on: 01 December 2020, 13:06:50 »
Wasn't there a story about a Union that combat dropped it's cargo and then went to float on water?

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Colt Ward

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Re: Hiding a dropship during a objective raid
« Reply #46 on: 01 December 2020, 14:07:17 »
Wasn't there a story about a Union that combat dropped it's cargo and then went to float on water?

TT

First GDL book . . . but it was more like it was shot up.

But that does remind me of other cases . . . the horrid Del Rio trilogy had Anastasia's DS hiding underwater when they though she withdrew.  She also hid her DS fleet on the moon over a world while waiting to save the Republic on Northwind . . . monitoring news and watching freighters travel to the planet.

By Temptations & By War had Liao insurgents on Liao waiting for a smuggler to set down in the countryside- not even the real boonies.  When a Capellan invasion force came, they landed 'somewhere' in the sticks.

TP Irian had some of those forces sneak on planet, hiding until they launched a ambush on another faction.
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truetanker

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Re: Hiding a dropship during a objective raid
« Reply #47 on: 01 December 2020, 17:22:16 »
Space is big, even an orbit.

So if I had to land, I'd rather take an Aeroport over, Combat drop my units and boost back up to orbit until I secured the zone. I mean, boosting to orbit should be SOP, followed by going to the other side of the planet, or in among the other orbital paths, only changing course if found.

Droppers carry a lot of fuel... Mechs not so much, but then they can always refuel from any ol' water source. And it's Burn, Burn, Burn pull massive G's in a straight line... Who'll when? ASFs or Dropper? My money is on the dropper... unless it's an enemy dropper, then it's Kill or be killed!

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Col Toda

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Re: Hiding a dropship during a objective raid
« Reply #48 on: 21 December 2020, 19:01:43 »
In these days of combined Arms the operational radius of ICE or Fuel cell combat vehicles are my big limiting factor . So 60 - 150km from the objective is Ideal. I presume every well established objective has a remote sensor network out 4-16 KM so they will have rough numbers , bearing,  and ETA of the raiding force  , So  minutes of notice 1-5 minutes is normal with most opposition forces .  That is 6-30 combat turns to orient defenders and time illumination artillary rounds so defending forces are not eating night penalties as much . Most objective raids speed is the most important factor in success . The whole point is the attacking force has more BV at the point of contact than the militia can muster at point of contact. What you face as defenders vary wildly . Every Affiliation tends to have different styles .  Say a LC factory complex  on a plain outside a city . I would expect 1 lance of Assault mechs  a platoon or 3 of infantry and/ or battle armor and a company of Savannah masters which is fast enough to get there before you do and some trailers with Artillary with tractors with fire control to use them.  Other Affiliations would have a lance of Combat vehicles and a lance of light or medium mechs instead Assault mechs and Savannah Masters .

I do not know long anyone can realistically keep a landed drop ship exact location unknown  . Cheap conventional craft with recon cameras just does not make it very  feasible.  The best most hopes for is that they don't find it in time . If they do they do not want to pay the price to attempt to destroy it . I use Overlord drop ships  with 2 company's of mechs 20 light vehicle bays and 2 platoons of Battle Armor and a Super Heavy Vehicle Bay ( Buffalo or Tunbo for Salvage ) . The Drop Zone is defended by 8 mechs and 12 combat vehicles  and 2 Aerospace fighters on standby. 

truetanker

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Re: Hiding a dropship during a objective raid
« Reply #49 on: 21 December 2020, 20:07:41 »
Let's break your " Theory " Col.

( Just a visual breakdown, not a heated attack. )

Say a LC factory complex  on a plain outside a city . I would expect 1 lance of Assault mechs  a platoon or 3 of infantry and/ or battle armor and a company of Savannah masters which is fast enough to get there before you do and some trailers with Artillary with tractors with fire control to use them.  Other Affiliations would have a lance of Combat vehicles and a lance of light or medium mechs instead Assault mechs and Savannah Masters .

OK : 1 LC factory on a plain near a big city about 189.294 maps away. ( roughly 60 miles [ 510 m/map < 17 hexes @ 30 m/hex > x3 approx. 1 mile ( short by 2.5, call it 3 hexes ) x 64 = 96,540 hexes ] )

Quote
I do not know long anyone can realistically keep a landed drop ship exact location unknown  . Cheap conventional craft with recon cameras just does not make it very  feasible.  The best most hopes for is that they don't find it in time . If they do they do not want to pay the price to attempt to destroy it .

Well it looks like a standard 4/6 mover would take at least an hour at max speed if the terrain was flat just to get to the drop zone.

And the Recon Camera only has a 11 mile range, 18 km, unless there's a terrain feature that prohibits it, it should pick them up. Now combat dropping is easy, offloading cargo or vehicles would count against this. But again, how long does it take to land and discharge, then fire back up to orbit?

Cause it might be a common mistake of translating a 10 level ( 20 story tall ) Dropship that's 90 meters wide and long, ( 295 x 295 feet ). Books are away at the moment. And if the cameras do see them, pretty sure the active radar of the dropper can see them too, even in passive mode ( of which their aren't rules for them in game play yet), besides the Recon Camera needs this :

Hidden units that are passed over by a Recon Camera-equipped flier must reveal themselves on an unsuccessful 2d6 roll. ~ bold'd for convenience.

TT
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Charistoph

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Re: Hiding a dropship during a objective raid
« Reply #50 on: 21 December 2020, 21:59:20 »
In these days of combined Arms the operational radius of ICE or Fuel cell combat vehicles are my big limiting factor . So 60 - 150km from the objective is Ideal.

Well, the closer you get the more dwell time you have in terms of range, but the average range of a modern IFV is close to 500 km, so that leaves about 200+km "dwell time".  The Abrams is far shorter, but it is designed more for rapid response than endurance.  The German's latest Leopard and Russian T-12 have a closer range to the referenced IFV, though.

I would hope that ICE and Fuel Cells of the 31st century would have better range than our current counterparts, but that would be assuming.  It's not like we actually have to track their fuel consumption like we do aerocraft, so I am assuming a strong efficiency in fuel use at this point.
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Re: Hiding a dropship during a objective raid
« Reply #51 on: 22 December 2020, 08:39:39 »
ICE tends to have 1,000 km of fuel : fuel cell about 600 . People tend to cushion extremes of performance not to come up short . Also motive criticals is the most common one that happens. I like to figure round trip time on target and rear guard delaying action if needed . The range I specified works ok in many situations  .  The Boomerang recon plane is cheap. Only an sctive Cap will prevent position of dropshop becoming known. The very presence of a fighter cap gives up their position

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Re: Hiding a dropship during a objective raid
« Reply #52 on: 11 January 2021, 12:18:06 »
While it's possible to move your dropship laterally at low altitude, you're basically using your main engine to hold your altitude, and your maneuvering thrusters and a slight tilt to move sideways.  The lateral speed will only be generated by a small portion of your thrust, and it's not going to be fast.  The lower you hover and the faster you drift laterally, the more likely you are to run into a physics conflict of two objects attempting to occupy the same space and time.

In other words, the planetary radar can see you for a couple of hundred miles until you drop beneath the horizon from their viewpoint.  Unless there's a radar station within around 20-30 miles of your landing site, you can do some lateral movement before touching down, but you're still not going to stray too far from where you dropped below radar coverage in a short timeframe.  If there are any aero assets in the vicinity, they should be able to vector in on your last known position at considerably higher speed and altitude, and if you haven't already landed by the time they arrive, you're going to be spotted fairly easily.  Something the size of a dropship isn't all that easy to miss with active radar scans.  If there is no air search, then you've got time to move a greater distance before putting it on the ground.  If there are no radar stations within hundreds of miles, then you've got a lot more freedom of movement, and finding you is going to take a much wider and longer search.