Do Drones Show up on Radar?

Looking to go undetected with your drone? I highly recommend against doing this, but for whatever the reason may be, you may be wondering if drones show up on radar? Today, I hope to answer this question for you in a simple, yet comprehensive manner.

In general, no. Drones do not show up on radar. That being said, larger drones can show on radar. It all depends on the size of the aircraft, the complexity of the radar being used and the distance between the radar and drone.

Size of drone

The size of the drone dramatically affects its presence on radar. A smaller aircraft such as a DJI Mavic Pro, for example, will most likely not show up on a standard radar. On the other hand, a larger drone will almost definitely show as a medium-size aircraft on most radars. This is because radar works by bouncing waves off objects, the smaller the object, the less likely it is to show on the radar as fewer waves will make it back to the receiver.

Radar specifications

Radars have different levels of power and technical specifications. This means that some are more effective than others at showing smaller items.

Some small drones may show on powerful military-grade radars but not on a basic ship radar for example.


As I mentioned above, the distance between the radar and the drone affects the chances of it showing. This is because, the greater the distance, the more wave expansion takes place and hence, there is less chance of the wave bouncing off the drone.

In general, to ensure the drone goes undetected from radar, it would have to be around 3 miles away from the radar at any time.

Ways to make your drone more stealth

There are other steps which you can take to make your drone less visible in the air. I’ve compiled them below for you to reference.

  • Turn off all lights in the drone’s settings
  • Paint your drone in a dark colour
  • Turn off WiFi & Bluetooth if you have the option