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Does the P4 show up on radar?
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1189 46 2016-12-13 19:34:56
camchute
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One frequently asked question that I get is: does the phantom 4 show up radar?

Anyone in aviation know the answer?  Thanks.
2016-12-13 19:34:56
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Geebax
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On generally used radar systems, no. It is too small to be seen on most radar systems, but may show up if it is close to the radar system. Most airport and traffic control radar systems are only equipped to 'see' transponder equipped aircraft.
2016-12-13 20:16:33
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camchute
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Geebax Posted at 2016-12-13 22:16
On generally used radar systems, no. It is too small to be seen on most radar systems, but may show up if it is close to the radar system. Most airport and traffic control radar systems are only equipped to 'see' transponder equipped aircraft.

Very helpful, thanks.
2016-12-15 11:37:23
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Nigel_
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Even if they could see it, it wouldn't look much different to a bird, and the movement isn't much different either.

Also, as long as we are flying below our height limit of 400ft, air traffic control has no interest, everyone below that has to look out for themselves and their neighbours.

2016-12-15 12:32:05
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Trackerputnam
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We see birds all the time on boat radars. We use that to find tuna. I would bet a Phantom would show up but look quite small like has been said.
2016-12-15 15:07:35
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Grizz 1
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most of the ATC radar systems will not have a return from less than 500 ft AGL and the tiny drones we fly can only be tracked by a military style radar.
2016-12-15 16:19:43
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Cetacean
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Aloha cam,

     Yes, the military can.  I have been tracked and jammed under interesting circumstances.  It was an educational experience and I survived it.  That is the way it was planned and designed.  I know the boundaries now and can call the military tower for flight permission as required.  Sundays are best!

Aloha and Drone On!
2016-12-15 16:55:17
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Nigel_
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Cetacean Posted at 2016-12-16 00:55
Aloha cam,

     Yes, the military can.  I have been tracked and jammed under interesting circumstances.  It was an educational experience and I survived it.  That is the way it was planned and designed.  I know the boundaries now and can call the military tower for flight permission as required.  Sundays are best!

They don't need radar to do that, if they do use radar then they can be targeted by missiles.  

Your aircraft is giving out a radio signal that they can easily triangulate and track without giving away their position.  
2016-12-15 17:16:31
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camchute
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Cetacean Posted at 2016-12-15 18:55
Aloha cam,

     Yes, the military can.  I have been tracked and jammed under interesting circumstances.  It was an educational experience and I survived it.  That is the way it was planned and designed.  I know the boundaries now and can call the military tower for flight permission as required.  Sundays are best!

Good to know.  Mahalo!

I won't lift off near MIL or commercial ATC without calling first.
2016-12-15 18:33:00
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Satstream
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You should know that flight operations near airports are prohibited and constitute a major hazard!
All unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) operators  must abide by all regulations from organizations such as the ICAO  (International Civil Aviation Organization) and any other applicable  airspace regulations in their area. In order to increase flight safety  and prevent accidental flights in restricted areas, DJI has introduced a  No Fly Zones feature to help everyone use their DJI products safely and  legally.
These zones include airports worldwide and other areas  where flying might pose an unnecessary risk, including national borders  and sensitive institutions. You can also view a full list of DJI No Fly Zones on the map and list on the DJI site http://www.dji.com/de/flysafe/no-fly

Thank you for flying safely!


2016-12-16 01:26:01
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Cetacean
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Nigel_ Posted at 2016-12-15 15:16
They don't need radar to do that, if they do use radar then they can be targeted by missiles.  

Your aircraft is giving out a radio signal that they can easily triangulate and track without giving away their position.

Aloha Nigel,

     Yes that is true, but it does not mean that the military does not use radar.  They are just careful when they use it.  I think they are safe using it on me.  The military has many interesting tools in their quiver.  Good point though.

Aloha and Drone On!
2016-12-16 01:29:14
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Grizz 1
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Cetacean Posted at 2016-12-16 03:29
Aloha Nigel,

     Yes that is true, but it does not mean that the military does not use radar.  They are just careful when they use it.  I think they are safe using it on me.  The military has many interesting tools in their quiver.  Good point though.

Mele Kalikimaka
2016-12-16 06:34:28
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Cetacean
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Aloha Grizz,

     Mele Kalikimaka right back at ya!  And add a Hau'oli Makahiki Hou!

Aloha and Drone On!
2016-12-16 13:16:16
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Geebax
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Satstream Posted at 2016-12-16 20:26
You should know that flight operations near airports are prohibited and constitute a major hazard!
All unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) operators  must abide by all regulations from organizations such as the ICAO  (International Civil Aviation Organization) and any other applicable  airspace regulations in their area. In order to increase flight safety  and prevent accidental flights in restricted areas, DJI has introduced a  No Fly Zones feature to help everyone use their DJI products safely and  legally.
These zones include airports worldwide and other areas  where flying might pose an unnecessary risk, including national borders  and sensitive institutions. You can also view a full list of DJI No Fly Zones on the map and list on the DJI site http://www.dji.com/de/flysafe/no-fly

He does not say he is flying anywhere near an airport, so he does not need a lecture on that. he simply asked if tthey aircraft can be seen on radar. And as far as can be determined, national borders are not NFZs.
2016-12-16 14:30:25
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Satstream
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Geebax Posted at 2016-12-16 23:30
He does not say he is flying anywhere near an airport, so he does not need a lecture on that. he simply asked if tthey aircraft can be seen on radar. And as far as can be determined, national borders are not NFZs.

and what about his speech : I won't lift off near MIL or commercial ATC without calling first.
2016-12-17 01:08:32
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Geebax
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Satstream Posted at 2016-12-17 20:08
and what about his speech : I won't lift off near MIL or commercial ATC without calling first.

So what? The rules allow you to fly near airports if you call them and obtain permission.
2016-12-17 01:59:23
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Satstream
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Geebax Posted at 2016-12-17 10:59
So what? The rules allow you to fly near airports if you call them and obtain permission.

There is a small red button that you can see only at full moon
2016-12-18 03:32:23
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Geebax
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Satstream Posted at 2016-12-18 22:32
There is a small red button that you can see only at full moon

I have no idea what you are talking about.
2016-12-18 14:02:23
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Nigel_
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Wasn't a P4 and it was way above the legal limit, but it did show up on the ATC radar:
"The twin-rotor helicopter was flying at 138mph and was 2,100ft in the air when the drone was noticed on radar by an air traffic controller at the base.
The controller alerted the crew to the “faint” image on the direct flightpath of the helicopter."

http://www.gethampshire.co.uk/ne ... wned-drone-12697228

There are a very surprising number of these 1 meter wide drones flying about at 1000's of feet altitude, what are they all doing?
2017-3-12 08:57:26
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WindSoul
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airport radar is meant to detect planes in the air, while plane transponder is a means to identify a plane ant not to detect if there was a plane there in first place. airspace radars function similar to bat or marine sonar, they emit a signal and try do detect an echo. there is a limit to how big an object is in order to be detected and also to whether the object is in detectable region of the radar. drones are too small do reflect a signal strong enough for detection.
2017-3-12 10:42:53
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kugaman1
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Im an ex radar specialist of 23 years.To try and explain as simply as possible.

Primary radar transmits an electronic pulse and every pulse thats hits something reflects back into the radar reciever and is ultimately displayed on a screen.

Secondary radar sends out a signal and any aircraft that are so equipped respond to that signal. They respond with a 4 number code which tells the interrogator which agency is controlling the aircraft, or if the aircraft is VFR (not under ATC / Military control).

Generally, the military use primary and secondary radar, ATC use secondary.......generally.

Now the question, can a drone be seen on radar? Well, the answer is yes and no.

Yes it can be seen if its close enough to a primary radar. Its so small that it would need to be very close to the antenna in order for a transmitted pulse reflection to be recieved. However, this then leads into a problem area that every primary radar experiences......permanent echos. These are things close to the antenna  that dont move and are permanently reflected back to the receiver. Things like hills, buildings, towers, etc.

For a drone to be detected, it would need to be so close to the antenna that it would get lost in amongst the permanent echos and therefore not be seen. Most radar systems process out these areas of permanent echos to save overloading the data handling systems.

Hop this helps?
2017-3-12 11:29:39
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WindSoul
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kugaman1 Posted at 2017-3-12 11:29
Im an ex radar specialist of 23 years.To try and explain as simply as possible.

Primary radar transmits an electronic pulse and every pulse thats hits something reflects back into the radar reciever and is ultimately displayed on a screen.

it does help me. i didnt know there are two radars. however, i believe only the radar detects position, while the id squeak detector (secondary radar in your post) can not detect position as well. there is a prior post stating that transponder signal is geo-located therefore non-squeaky planes (or drones) might not be detected at all, which i believe is wrong in the sense the drones are undetectable because they're small, not because they're radio silent.
2017-3-12 12:07:15
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Nigel_
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kugaman1 Posted at 2017-3-12 11:29
Im an ex radar specialist of 23 years.To try and explain as simply as possible.

Primary radar transmits an electronic pulse and every pulse thats hits something reflects back into the radar reciever and is ultimately displayed on a screen.


Clearly this isn't totally accurate since the drone in my post #19 was spotted by ATC radar at a distance of 6.25 miles from the airport and 2100ft altitude.  ATC then informed the helicopter that it was on a collision course and the co-pilot then saw it pass at 40 meters distance while the helicopter was doing 120knots.

Apparently the ATC was looking out for gliders and microlights at the time so did have sensitivity turned up a bit.
2017-3-12 12:38:59
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fansa84fe8a4
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There are some companies in CA that are working on drone surveillance radar.  Goleta Star and Shield Al are there, and Echdyne I think is used by the Border Patrol.  I thought Los Angeles was installing some drone radar system too.

If radar can detect some 153 MPH tennis ball, no doubt a drone is easy.
2017-3-12 13:20:24
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Geebax
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fansa84fe8a4 Posted at 2017-3-12 13:20
There are some companies in CA that are working on drone surveillance radar.  Goleta Star and Shield Al are there, and Echdyne I think is used by the Border Patrol.  I thought Los Angeles was installing some drone radar system too.

If radar can detect some 153 MPH tennis ball, no doubt a drone is easy.

It is all about the relative size and distance from the radar unit, as was expertly explained by Kugaman1. At any distance, the chances are diminished, and it is exponential, you need a huge increase in radar performance to double the detection distance.
2017-3-12 14:35:56
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RedHotPoker
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I have heard on several news broadcasts, that ISIS have begun using DJI Phantoms to drop explosives, so surely this radar omission will be addressed.
http://www.geektime.com/2017/01/ ... p-bombs-over-mosul/
http://www.defenseone.com/technology/2017/01/drones-isis/134542/
https://knowtechie.com/oh-boy-isis-outfitting-drones-bombs/

RedHotPoker
2017-3-12 14:46:28
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WindSoul
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Nigel_ Posted at 2017-3-12 12:38
Clearly this isn't totally accurate since the drone in my post #19 was spotted by ATC radar at a distance of 6.25 miles from the airport and 2100ft altitude.  ATC then informed the helicopter that it was on a collision course and the co-pilot then saw it pass at 40 meters distance while the helicopter was doing 120knots.

Apparently the ATC was looking out for gliders and microlights at the time so did have sensitivity turned up a bit.

how did you manage to fly at 2100ft? that is well above the 500m constraint.



PS: self-explanatory, you mentioned it wasnt a P4-my bad, while someone already mentioned that military may be able to detect small objects. but that looks more like a publicity stunt to me, i mean the chinook is more than adapted to collide with a drone (is meant to whitstand at least a geebie-gabbie of a goose) and fact that the tower was checking for gliders in a military area while a drone hovers in the landing vicinity of an airdrome is more of a scare-o-meter play than a real thing.
2017-3-12 14:53:13
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Geebax
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WindSoul Posted at 2017-3-12 14:53
how did you manage to fly at 2100ft? that is well above the 500m constraint.

He didn't fly at 2100 ft, he was linking to a news report. Oh dear.......
2017-3-12 16:19:22
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Labroides
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Nigel_ Posted at 2017-3-12 12:38
Clearly this isn't totally accurate since the drone in my post #19 was spotted by ATC radar at a distance of 6.25 miles from the airport and 2100ft altitude.  ATC then informed the helicopter that it was on a collision course and the co-pilot then saw it pass at 40 meters distance while the helicopter was doing 120knots.

Apparently the ATC was looking out for gliders and microlights at the time so did have sensitivity turned up a bit.

But the UFO in the incident was described as being around one metre wide (and there are no details that might give a clue as to what its radar echo may have been) and Kugaman was talking about the kind of drones we fly - not one metre weather balloons or mystery objects.
2017-3-12 16:47:09
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kugaman1
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Nigel_ Posted at 2017-3-12 12:38
Clearly this isn't totally accurate since the drone in my post #19 was spotted by ATC radar at a distance of 6.25 miles from the airport and 2100ft altitude.  ATC then informed the helicopter that it was on a collision course and the co-pilot then saw it pass at 40 meters distance while the helicopter was doing 120knots.

Apparently the ATC was looking out for gliders and microlights at the time so did have sensitivity turned up a bit.

There is no way that an ATC radar would detect a phantom sized drone at 6 miles. The radar cross section is tiny.

There are very few flat surfaces on a phantom that would give a good reflected pulse....plus the main surface is plastic and would absorb most of the pulse....think about how stealth aircraft are all angles that are anything but 90 degrees to ground radar. They are designed to reflect primary radar pulses anywhere BUT back towards the reciever. They are also painted with radar absorbing paint to minimise the reflection.

Looking at a raw (none processed) radar picture........the latest stealth aircraft are very nearly invisible. They can be seen if you know exactly where to look for them, but using a processed radar picture (as all units do day to day), the radar would see them as a weather anomoly and process them out.....
2017-3-13 00:04:44
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Geebax
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kugaman1 Posted at 2017-3-13 00:04
There is no way that an ATC radar would detect a phantom sized drone at 6 miles. The radar cross section is tiny.

There are very few flat surfaces on a phantom that would give a good reflected pulse....plus the main surface is plastic and would absorb most of the pulse....think about how stealth aircraft are all angles that are anything but 90 degrees to ground radar. They are designed to reflect primary radar pulses anywhere BUT back towards the reciever. They are also painted with radar absorbing paint to minimise the reflection.

Thank you, the voice of experience and reason.
2017-3-13 00:17:59
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kugaman1
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fansa84fe8a4 Posted at 2017-3-12 13:20
There are some companies in CA that are working on drone surveillance radar.  Goleta Star and Shield Al are there, and Echdyne I think is used by the Border Patrol.  I thought Los Angeles was installing some drone radar system too.

If radar can detect some 153 MPH tennis ball, no doubt a drone is easy.

Ok.....

We are then talking about something very, very different and not something that would track an aircraft....very different technology and not something  that the OP was originally talking about.....
2017-3-13 00:48:46
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Nigel_
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kugaman1 Posted at 2017-3-13 00:04
There is no way that an ATC radar would detect a phantom sized drone at 6 miles. The radar cross section is tiny.

There are very few flat surfaces on a phantom that would give a good reflected pulse....plus the main surface is plastic and would absorb most of the pulse....think about how stealth aircraft are all angles that are anything but 90 degrees to ground radar. They are designed to reflect primary radar pulses anywhere BUT back towards the reciever. They are also painted with radar absorbing paint to minimise the reflection.


It does have a big flat plate of magnesium alloy in the centre which I imagine is not much smaller than for a 1m size aircraft except in thickness, the bigger multicopters tend to have longer arms made of carbon fibre which contain no metal but the central chassis is not necessarily much larger.  The bigger aircraft may have a lot more lithium in the batteries to reflect radar, but they may not be nice flat plates of lithium like in the Phantom battery.

Maybe not all ATC radars are made equal, this one was at a military airport, maybe it was designed for tracking stealth drones.
2017-3-13 00:54:50
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Labroides
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Nigel_ Posted at 2017-3-13 00:54
It does have a big flat plate of magnesium alloy in the centre which I imagine is not much smaller than for a 1m size aircraft except in thickness, the bigger multicopters tend to have longer arms made of carbon fibre which contain no metal but the central chassis is not necessarily much larger.  The bigger aircraft may have a lot more lithium in the batteries to reflect radar, but they may not be nice flat plates of lithium like in the Phantom battery.

Maybe not all ATC radars are made equal, this one was at a military airport, maybe it was designed for tracking stealth drones.

Two points:
"It does have a big flat plate of magnesium alloy in the centre"

There is nothing big about a Phantom

"the bigger multicopters tend to have longer arms made of carbon fibre which contain no metal but the central chassis is not necessarily much larger".

You've made the assumption that the pilots saw a multicopter of some sort.
Since it showed up on radar, the chances are that it wasn't a multicopter at all.  
2017-3-13 01:37:08
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WindSoul
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Geebax Posted at 2017-3-12 14:35
It is all about the relative size and distance from the radar unit, as was expertly explained by Kugaman1. At any distance, the chances are diminished, and it is exponential, you need a huge increase in radar performance to double the detection distance.

you make allegations about everything:  size, distance, performance, exponential, what else: huge, increase, detection. not sure if there is any new information you are trying to contribute with or you are just waxing poetic with concepts trying to fool the audience.
would you kindly explain the added-value of your post?
2017-3-13 10:19:09
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Cabansail
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I agree that Secondary Radar would not detect a drone unless it was carrying a transponder as that is what provides the return signal, usually with the altitude encoded in the signal. The only system that would detect it is Primary Radar.

I assume that when there are flights around ships they would detect the aircraft very close to them. It may cause some discussion on the bridge.
2017-3-13 20:52:17
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Labroides
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Cabansail Posted at 2017-3-13 20:52
I agree that Secondary Radar would not detect a drone unless it was carrying a transponder as that is what provides the return signal, usually with the altitude encoded in the signal. The only system that would detect it is Primary Radar.

I assume that when there are flights around ships they would detect the aircraft very close to them. It may cause some discussion on the bridge.

On a ship, they aren't too interested in seabirds and waves so the radar sensitivity is turned down to allow them to see things that matter like ships, icebergs and land.
They're not going to see a Phantom on radar.
2017-3-13 21:03:19
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DJI Joe
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Thread purged of useless bickering. Seriously, either keep this to PMs or don't post. Keep threads on topic.
2017-3-14 08:17:34
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Avi8tor0
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When I was flying skydivers in South Carolina, Charleston approach could tell when we let them out. They got returns off of the skydiver's metal harness. Think conditions have to bee good though.
4 days ago
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9245
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There was a story recently of a "Close US Allie" (which one was not specified) that, for some reason, fired a Patriot missile at a "$200 drone" and got a hit (at the low cost of just $3,000,000) so it seems that air defense and missile radars can see them just fine.
4 days ago
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