I assume that any military aircraft can find the position to any VOR ground station. Is the VOR invisible to the military aircraft?

  • $\begingroup$ en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… $\endgroup$
    – randomhead
    Dec 4, 2022 at 4:08
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    $\begingroup$ VOR and Radar are different things. $\endgroup$ Dec 4, 2022 at 4:55
  • $\begingroup$ Sorry for confusing the terms VOR and Radar, and to be more specific in my question, is the VOR station location visible to any aircraft that has a receiving unit? Can the VOR be hidden from aircraft? $\endgroup$ Dec 4, 2022 at 5:48
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    $\begingroup$ A VOR is very easily found - provided you know the frequency (which will be published on charts, etc). Simply adjust your NAV radial until you are roughly on course, and fly in that direction for a while. If the VOR has a DME then you will know exactly when you are over it, otherwise you will just wait until your course offset swings rapidly $\endgroup$ Dec 4, 2022 at 5:49
  • $\begingroup$ I don't think the last edit helped. Now the two sentences of answer seem to contradict each other. And title has become extremely broad. Before the edit we sort of knew why you were asking the question, even though it arguably didn't seem to reflect much prior research effort. Sorry, just my 2c, consider rolling back? $\endgroup$ Feb 25, 2023 at 16:53

2 Answers 2


VOR is a civilian navigation aid. Unless turned off, any aircraft equipped with a receiver can receive the station's broadcast signal for a relative bearing. This includes military aircraft. A defending nation is of course able to turn their VOR stations off, should they find out that their adversary is so ill prepared that they have to rely on civilian navigation aids.

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    $\begingroup$ The position of each VOR station is published, since knowing you're at some range & bearing from XYZ is only useful when you know where XYZ is. So even with the VOR not transmitting, its location is still known to the world. $\endgroup$
    – Ralph J
    Dec 4, 2022 at 13:06
  • $\begingroup$ @Sanchises thanks for the explanations, though I did not understand the last sentence. $\endgroup$ Dec 4, 2022 at 18:36
  • $\begingroup$ @RalphJ thanks for the further explanation! so if the VOR station is unpublished and turned-off then they won't be detected. Where are the VORs being published? Is there an international center for that? $\endgroup$ Dec 4, 2022 at 19:39
  • $\begingroup$ @knowledgeloverx Every country has an "aeronautical aviation publication" (AIP) that is structured according to international conventions (i.e. Appendix 2 of ICAO-Doc-1006). You will typically find VORs in section "ENR 4.1 - radio navigation aids". $\endgroup$ Dec 13, 2022 at 14:44

You can find the direction of a VOR transmitter. You can't find its position - range and direction - unless it's a VORTAC station and you have a TACAN interrogator. There are missiles like the HARM that target radar transmitters. They follow the signal to its source. I don't think VOR beacons are considered to be worth the expense.


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