Will FIS-B technology replace onboard Doppler radars?

These radars can cost upwards from $20,000. Would FIS-B update quick enough to make this a efficient swap?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Not sure where you're going with this one, as ADS-B doesn't have anything to do with weather. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 14, 2023 at 2:04
  • $\begingroup$ @GregHewgill can't ADS-B receive weather information? Firefight sentry for example. $\endgroup$
    – Boeing787
    Commented Mar 14, 2023 at 2:16
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    $\begingroup$ @Boeing787 ADS-B is a surveillance technology to track aircraft. The onboard Doppler radar provides weather data. FIS-B (Flight Information Service - Broadcast) is a technology that provides weather data. FIS-B is related to ADS-B 978UAT on the technical layer; both use the same transmission frequency and modulation. $\endgroup$
    – DeltaLima
    Commented Mar 14, 2023 at 8:29

2 Answers 2


Definitely not. ADS-B radar (FIS-B) feeds are from the view of the ground station and have a delay of up to 15 minutes from scan to screen. Onboard radar is obviously instantaneous and even controllable by the pilot for the angle it scans at.

For planes that have onboard radar, FIS-B radar feed doesn't replace what they have. It's a great broader / longer distance situational awareness, but might only change the population of planes that have a radar installed on them at the very lowest end of general aviation.


No. Only onboard radar can give you information about what the weather is like now and near you, as opposed to minutes ago and as seen from the ground. NEXRAD is fine if you are using it for situational awareness and staying well away from bad weather, but for airplanes that are flying close to or directly through bad weather the time delay can mean the difference between life and death.

The NTSB has put out a safety alert on exactly this topic. Sadly, the alert mentions two fatal accidents that were most likely caused by trusting NEXRAD data too much and straying too close to a storm.

Onboard radar has its own limitations, but what data it can provide is nearly instantaneous. Weather data provided through ADS-B and other sources is best used to supplement onboard radar, not replace it.


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