Can the big, fat, sophisticated air-superiority radar in a modern fighter aircraft's nose serve as a weather radar for navigation in stormy conditions?

Alternatively would a datalink from somebody else (perhaps a tanker assigned to the deployment flight) be used to provide weather radar imagery into the cockpit?

  • $\begingroup$ It is possible that fire control radars do have weather modes built into the LRUs; I'm not sure, though. $\endgroup$ Sep 20, 2016 at 2:12
  • $\begingroup$ @CarloFelicione -- it wouldn't surprise me if they did as it's sort of an obvious function to add (if you're a pilot that is ;) but I don't know either :) $\endgroup$ Sep 20, 2016 at 2:16

1 Answer 1


Modern airborne fire-control radars have a weather mode. Examples include: GRIFO-346, VixEn 1000E, and ELM-2032 (brochure PDF links).

This site on Modern Radar Technology mentions the weather observation capability in modern combat planes:

Digital capabilities allow a radar to change its functionality at will, resulting in the modern "multimode radars" carried by combat aircraft. A multimode radar might provide modes for: [...]

  • Weather observation. [...]
  • $\begingroup$ Yes this is true. The radar needs to be capable of tuning its pulse width or wavelength to pick up an object the size of a rain drop and then switch back to larger wavelengths in the X band of the radio frequency spectrum to pick up larger objects like other planes. $\endgroup$
    – Craig
    May 28, 2020 at 6:20

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