Military Radome Performance and Verification Testing
Author: Thomas B. Darling
Publication: (MPD) Microwave Product Digest
Copyright Owner: NSI-MI Technologies
Incredible efforts are made by system designers to produce state-of-the-art radar and other RF based capabilities for our military. Modern radar systems are used for various purposes including, but not limited to: weather assessment; navigation; terrain following/terrain avoidance; weapons fire control; electronic warfare; enemy tracking, listening and identification, etc.
Dependant upon extremely high measurement precision, repeatability and accuracy, these radar systems all require protection from the elements. While many think about the exotic hardware and sexy looking screen shots produced by these sophisticated radar systems, most do not think about one extremely critical component of these systems: the radar dome or radome. When one considers the critical need for proper operation of these systems for our military, as well as the harsh conditions during conflicts, this component protects vital systems which can make the difference between survival and disaster.
The most well recognized radome is the one positioned on the nose of an aircraft or missile. However, many military applications, and new commercial applications, are positioning microwave based systems in other locations on the aircraft. These often require odd shapes in order to protect the RF system and to be sufficiently aerodynamic. Military radome testing is, not surprisingly, considerably more involved than for commercial applications.