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The title of this page given above is incorrect, due to technical limitations. The correct title is DRADIS.

A typical DRADIS read-out

DRADIS (Direction, RAnge, and DIStance)[1] is a highly sensitive detection, identification, navigation and tracking system, somewhat similar to radar[2], used aboard Colonial spacecraft.

DRADIS can be used in stationary configurations as well on ships. A group of Cylon Centurions are able to jury-rig a DRADIS assembly from their Heavy Raider into a stationary DRADIS tracking array in an attempt to eliminate any SAR missions from Galactica (Fragged).

Carbon composites are largely invisible to DRADIS scans (Flight of the Phoenix).

A DRADIS contact is an object or objects detected by DRADIS. Contacts are typically identified by cross-referencing with an IFF system (in the case of ships) or an astronomical database (in the instance of planets or other celestial bodies).

The symbols used on Colonial DRADIS displays for the representation of battlestars, Raptors, and Vipers are visible in the picture to the right.

File:Dradissymbol pegasus.JPG
DRADIS symbology for various Colonial Fleet units (Pegasus)
File:Radalm 217 1080i.jpg
DRADIS warning of radiological materials (The Captain's Hand)

DRADIS is also used to report radiological alarms.

DRADIS is likely a central component of the navigation computer on Colonial ships such as battlestars, as they do not navigate in sublight mode by visual means. Galactica's DRADIS, tactical and navigation data are displayed on a series of screens that form the DRADIS console, suspended above the CIC's Command and Control console.

Sourcing of the term

The "Direction, RAnge, and DIStance" breakdown of the acronym "DRADIS" was listed in an early manuscript (PDF) of the first half of the Miniseries. Since some major elements of this script were changed (such as Kobol being the sole home of the Colonies, and not separate worlds) in comparison to the completed teleplay, canonical use of this breakdown should be taken with some skepticism.

There is some evidence to suggest that the original breakdown is the canonical version. In "Kobol's Last Gleaming, Part I", Crashdown performs a DRADIS sweep of Kobol. The aerial survey is later presented to the President. For a brief moment, as Roslin takes the survey image out of Billy Keikeya's hand, the DRADIS information printed on the image is visible. The letters on the image are clear and are as follows:

Aerial Survey
D. 41376
Ra. 145.8
Dis. 43.5

The letters represent numerical values. While this is not conclusive evidence, it is consistent with the original manuscript definition.

See Also



  1. Though range and distance seem redundant, their use together works given the x, y, and z axes of three dimensional space. Range most likely refers to how far the object is relative to the x and y planes, as displayed visually on a typical radar screen. Distance would then incorporate the z plane as well to refer to the actual physical distance of an object. For example, if one ship was directly above another, the range between the two would be 0, but the distance would be how far above it is from the other ship.
  2. In "The Hand of God", some viewers believed that Starbuck said, "The decoy ships will jump into the enemy star system at extreme radar range from the Cylon asteroid." The use of "radar" would be a continuity error as official sources confirmed that "radar" does not exist in the Re-imagined Series. Others believed that actress Katee Sackhoff said "extreme Raider range", the range of the Raiders from the Cylon base, and the word was slurred so that it sounded vaguely like "radar". The matter was put to rest when Battlestar Wiki asked the writer of this episode, Bradley Thompson, who confirmed that the line in the script was "...extreme Viper range...". The final line must have been looped in during post-production without his input (probably to keep from spoiling the plot). Thompson confirmed that the final line sounded like "Raider".